24/7 TV

Ken Hoffman's all-day TV diet during coronavirus

Will this be the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Our columnist hopes so. Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

My career, this long hard climb from the bottom to the middle, has come full circle. My first job in Houston was TV-radio columnist for the now-gone Houston Post. All day long, I watched TV. All night, too. I was dedicated.

Now, with the coronavirus outbreak, I'm stuck at home and back to watching TV all day and night. I am bored.

My second day on the job as TV columnist at the Post, I made a mistake and referred to KPRC, the NBC affiliate here, as KPNX, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, my newspaper stop before Houston. Simple mistake, but still embarrassing. One of the sports anchors at KPRC sent me an insulting welcome note, saying I'll never last in Houston making dumb mistakes like that. Just for the record, I'm still here. He's long gone.

The TV diet

For the past month, I've been hitting TV extra hard. My viewing habits have changed a lot since then, though. "Must-See Thursday" has become "I'll Watch Thursday On DVR When I Get Around To It."

I'm getting up pretty early, since the social distancing order came down. Early on, I started my day with our local stations' 4, 5, 6-hour morning newscasts. I never realized how many car crashes there are in Houston. The hosts are much happier, and less groggier, than I am. They're so wired and giddy, it might be time for them to pee in a Dixie cup.

I used to be a news junkie — CNN was my go-to channel. I can't watch the news anymore. All I hear is coronavirus bad news. All I see is my life's saving circle the drain. Even the five minutes of sports on the 10 o'clock news is awful because there's nothing to report.

They say that you can have 150 stations on your cable package, and you'll watch only five regularly. Mine used to be news-news-sports-sports-HBO. Now my fab five are Netflix-food-comedy-Amazon-HBO. And I'm getting ready to drop HBO because a certain show has said goodbye.

I watch the press conferences starring Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Don't you get the feeling that they have no use for each other? I happen to think they're both doing a competent job. It's just a personality and ego clash between them.

Curb to the curb?

Most depressing of all: Curb Your Enthusiasm, my favorite show ever, aired its 10th and final episode of the season on HBO last Sunday night. From the way Larry David tied up all the loose strings, I'm scared Curb is never coming back. Modern Family, another favorite, is winding down its last season, but this has been a lame farewell season. It's gone from wild comedy to sappy comedy. Sappy isn't funny. While Curb had a huge season, Modern Family should have stopped the show two years ago.

I'm down to watching The Office reruns and old Twilight Zone episodes on Netflix and WWE wrestling on USA and Fox. I'm listening to sports talk radio because I like hearing the hosts scramble for something, anything to talk about. I'm tuning in podcasts like Jim Cornette's Drive-thru, the Jim Cornette Experience and Something About the Beatles. I like Josh Innes' podcast. I get into bed around midnight, hit Youtube and the next time I check what time it is, it's 5 am.

I'm addicted to those videos where people sucker police into confrontations, and then throw the First Amendment at the officers. They goad the officers by taking video of federal buildings and security-sensitive property from the sidewalk, where the Supreme Court says it's okay. Most of the time, the police back off, but occasionally the agitator gets cuffed, stuffed and hauled off in the back of a cop car. There are hundreds of these videos and I never get tired of them.

Sold on shopping channels
I love the home shopping channels, but only if they're demonstrating products like vacuum cleaners and blenders, or selling food like Corky's BBQ or frozen croissants from France. The guy from Corky's has an annoying habit of brushing sauce all over his hands. I can't watch if they're hawking clothes or cosmetics on home shopping. Big fan of In the Kitchen with David on QVC. When David Venable digs into a plate of macaroni and cheese, porn stars could learn from his facial expressions.

I watch old reruns of Pawn Stars. A couple of things: they need to clean their nasty fingernails, all of the guys. I've seen car mechanics with cleaner hands. And the Old Man is not crusty but lovable. He's just a mean old man. Kids, don't hit your ball into his yard — you'll never get it back. I don't have to DVR Impractical Jokers, because it's on 24-hours on TruTV and Channel 57 and Channel 2.

Continue on CultureMap for Ken's thoughts on the non-sporting life.

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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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