Satellite TV guide: ‘Cold Sore Confessions’

“Expand your horizons,” she said pointedly. “Explore some of the special offerings we get on satellite dish television.”

Admittedly, his cultural parameters were limited to eight or 10 newspapers, TV news documentaries, pro and college football and basketball, Criminal Minds, All in the Family, The Cosby Show and Seinfeld plus novels by James Lee Burke and Robert Parker.

She occasionally reminded him that he was full of sports clichés or conversed like a combination of Burke’s Dave Robichaux and Clete Purcell or Parker’s Spenser and Hawk.

Plus, she chastised him for not watching a sports classic such as the Winter Olympics, which he dismissed as rich sissies schussing around on two-by-fours or roller blades.

But, he agreed to check it out. After all, the satellite dish was supposed to have 200 channels in its “regular package,” but he’d limited his choices to the three major networks’ news “magazines,” half a dozen ESPN channels plus the three or four cable channels that offered the aforementioned shows in re-runs.

So, he set about going through the satellite program guide and found a plethora of outstanding cultural offerings (the italic emphasis, which sounded sarcastic, is his).

“Oh, honey,” he chortled, “we don’t want to miss this one. It’s Cold Sore Confessions. I thought there was only one of those. I heard a guy who used to go bar slumming tell his wife, ‘Really, darlin’, it’s only a cold sore.’ And, this program is an hour long. Maybe it shows her throwing him out of the house and chunking his clothes onto the lawn.”

He selected one he thought she’d like, “Look, sweetheart, it’s Turquoise Fine Jewelry on the Home Shopping Network.” Nope.

Then, there was one of his favorite show titles: “Carve Abs in Bed,” which is actually about exercises to strengthen your stomach muscles.

“Or, how about this one, ‘Deep Carpet Cleaning’.” Her suggestion was for him to watch it and take it to heart.

He did find one he thought was hilarious, “Say Goodbye to Acne,” but didn’t dare mention it to his wife for fear she’d think he was implying something about her magnificent complexion. He’s no fool.

However, t he nex t one on the guide, seemed appropriate: Secrets to a Lean, Sexy Waistline.

There was another, best kept to his male mind: Cindy Crawford’s Skin Secrets. Smooooth!

Oh, then there were two that had him wondering what was he really paying for and why: “This Month’s Featured FREE Previews” and “Tech Forum Rebroadcast.”

Still another program reminded him of the guy with the Cold Sore Confessions: “Hot Tub Fun Year ‘Round.”

“Total Gym Challenge” convinced him that “Carve Abs in Bed” was a better way to exercise.

“Get Ripped in 90 Days” really caught his eye but the info button revealed it was actually about “total body transformation.”

“Foreclosure Secrets,” he surmised, was probably sponsored by those big Wall Street banks we taxpayers bailed out.

But the real clincher for him was three separate “SRI” channel listings.

One advertised “Country Classics by Patsy Cline,” while others touted musical offerings by Bread, Chicago, John Denver, Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel, among many. Each is a 30-minute infomercial offering you just a few bars of several songs by the advertised recording artist. You get the intro bars to a song which then fades into the background, and some hawker comes on screen telling you how wonderful it would be for you to have all of Patsy’s classics to remember or Billy Joel’s or John Denver’s.

It seemed that about half of the informercials were done by Regis Philbin, TV’s oldest and richest pitchman.

All of those are real satellite TV offerings that you get in the “regular 200 channel package.”

“Honey, we’re paying 70 bucks a month for these cultural thingies! I think we need to send that rogue detective Clete Purcell and the bad-but-good-guy Hawk to put ‘em out of their misery.”

Willis Webb is a retired community editor publisher of more than 50 years. Email him at

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2010-04-15 digital edition

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