Saturday, May 26, 2007

Scar & Buyer

Here in southeastern Wisconsin, those of us with digital cable television not only get your major networks (CBS, NBC, CNN, ESPN), your major network's close relatives (ESPN 2, C-SPAN 3, BBC America, the Fox Soccer Channel), your minor networks (Fuel, Logo, American Life?), and your minor home shopping networks (the Product Information Network? The Celebrity Shopping Network?), but we also have the exciting opportunity to watch home listings, 24 hours a day. It's sort of like a shopping channel, only the products tend to run a few dollars more than "simulated gemstone" jewelry.

And yet, the network, operated by Shorewest, a local real estate company, is oddly mesmerizing. That's partly because it's entertaining to hear the same vaguely insipid phrases used repeatedly over the course of a half-hour ("There's a place for everything in the eat-in kitchen...", "An artifical fireplace flanked by bookcases creates a dramatic focal point...")

But invariably, we end up watching it whenever - as we did this weekend - we have out of town visitors staying with us. For a while, my wife and I thought it was just a channel-surfing quirk: it's an odd channel, and there are lots of pictures of the unique diversity of homes in the region. But it dawns on me that the real estate prices, as much as the architecture, are something of a tourist attraction in this part of the world. Houses here are not the cheapest in the country. What they are is normal; what most of us in Generation X grew up accustomed to. Smaller and/or cruddier houses are less expensive - like dilapidated houses in bad neighborhood. And larger and/or nicer houses are -- get this - more expensive. Nice houses on lakes, say.

It's not a radical concept, or at least it doesn't seem like it. But several of the places we've lived in the past have experimented with another model - they've decided that all houses should be expensive. Thus, Shorewest TV at 11:30 p.m. Maybe not as cool as the Calatrava, but unique nevertheless.

And finally this evening, we at 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters would like to apologize to anyone whose delicate sensibilities were offended by the picture of my surgical scar posted on this feature several days ago. I thought it was a fairly innocuous, yet accurate representation of the strange little line that now makes its way up my abdomen. My wife, however, points out that it makes my belly button look like a softball.

So tonight, we'll try again, but instead of doing my own stunts, we're going to turn things over to an actor's portrayal, starring Lyndon Johnson as Mitch Teich:

Overall, I'd say it's an Oscar-worthy performance, and all I can say is I wish I'd thought of holding a press conference to show off my scar.

1 comment:

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