Monday, October 10, 2011

Must See TV

Tonight at 9 you’ve got your choice of special TV fare:

PBS is showing a documentary on the War of 1812 tonight at 9. The conflict between the United States and Great Britain provided some lasting memories for our nation, including the burning of the White House and Dolley Madison’s heroic effort to save the portrait of George Washington; Old Ironsides, commissioned as the USS Constitution; and Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans, a feat recounted in a 1959 song of the same name by Johnny Horton.

It was Horton’s song that led to one of Gilda’s and my most enjoyable triumphs in a game of Trivial Pursuit. About eight years ago, Dan’s ultimate frisbee team from Boston spent the night with us on their way to a tournament. All college graduates, they divided up into four-man teams in a Baby Boomer edition challenge match against Gilda and me.

We scorched the board, quickly landing on all the special spots at the bottom of each spoke, earning wedges on our first tries for all but the Music/Entertainment category. It took several attempts, but we finally answered a music question correctly and made our way up to the middle of the wheel. When we landed on the center spot, all we had to do is answer the question chosen by our young opponents from the choices on the next query card.

Seeking to exploit our weakness, they picked the Music/Entertainment question. They were confident they had us stumped when they read: “What song advised not to shoot ‘till we looked them in the eye.’”

You could have knocked those fellows over with the proverbial feather when Gilda and I not only named the song but also sang all the lyrics to the Battle of New Orleans.

History never sounded sweeter. If you’d like to hear the song, follow this link:

Also at 9, on E!, is the second installment of Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event.

I didn’t see yesterday’s first installment. Didn’t DVR it either. Lest you share my cynicism for everything Kardashian, it might help to keep in mind that her fans are not mindless wannabes. According to Nielsen research from early 2010, which I am confident is not too different today, Kardashian viewers tend to be single, college-educated women with no children, white-collar jobs and annual salaries of more than $60,000.

No matter how hard I shake my head at the Kardashian effect, I must admit Kim and her family are quite successful business people. Reportedly, Kim alone has amassed a $40 million fortune from reality TV shows, clothing and jewelry lines and assorted marketing activities. Not bad, not bad at all.