We were Staycationers this past July 4 weekend, and tried something we hadn’t in a long time: we went looking for TV options, flipping the remote a little more than we’d care to and being mostly disappointed with what we found. We have a ton of cable channels in our home, and I notice there’s just a lot of wasted stuff on most of ’em!
Among the biggest wastes this past weekend were “Banned From the Bible,” on the History Channel (which opined about different versions of Biblical stories from non-biblical accounts) and CNN’s “Situation Room.”
“Banned…” didn’t surprise me in that it created super ridiculous stories from weird and minor sources, but in that it was on The History Channel. If THC has one brand, it’s that it’s fairly trusted as a historical source. This was absolute guesswork from the margins and lacked total credibility. I certainly will be more careful when directing my kids to THC in the future.

As for CNN’s “The Situation Room,” well, it just stretches 20 minutes of news into a three-hour show! In the real situation room in Washington, D.C., they go there when they need to. Wolf Blitzer’s show needs a respite, at least until the election heats up in the Fall.
But one show that has caught our attention–and we recommend it If you’re saving on gas, not hosting a big crowd, staying near home and looking for some light fare with some practical value to it this summer–is “20/20” on ABC. (Not be confused with the product pitches its former host, Hugh Downs, does on cable channels!) This past week, John Stossel examined several cultural pearls of wisdom, explaining whether they’re common sense or urban legend. Among them:

  • Parties and Picnics: Is it dangerous to swim immediately after eating?
  • Gas Gadgets: Gadgets that claim to save you money on gas are flooding the market. But do they work?
  • Running on Empty: When your car’s gas gauge reads “empty,” how much farther can you drive? And when your car’s gas tank reads empty, is it really empty?
  • Airline Tickets: Are coach fares always cheaper then first class?
  • Sunscreen: A high SPF gives you full sun protection. True or false?
  • Vitamins: Do people really need the pills? (There is actually one supplement most people do need.)

    • This kind of fare can provoke conversations and even inspire some wisdom sharing, the kind of interaction we all too rarely experience with most of today’s TV.
      I personally loved finding the truth behind some of these questions, especially since there seems to be a news story just about every day about how some new study being published in some old journal tells us that something that used to be healthy is not and something we thought was helpful wasn’t.
      If you’d like the answers from last week’s show, see them here. It was far more reliable than The History Channel, at least in this consideration.

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