Turn off and drop in for an unplugged life

April 25, 2005|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

Turning off the television gives us a chance to think, read, create, and do. To connect with our families and engage in our communities.

- TV-Turnoff Network

It's that prime time of year when people are asked to give up for one week their inalienable rights to watch American Idol, Google their old girlfriends or spend four hours multiplaying in the World of Warcraft.

Armed with statistics and even more studies ("Among 4-year-olds, each hour of daily television time corresponds to a 9 percent increase in their risk of bullying others"), the Washington-based TV-Turnoff Network is encouraging people to "pull the plug" from today through Sunday.

That's right: Sunday - a day that the ancient Greeks originally called "The Holy Night For Looking Upon Desperate Housewives." That's right: No Jon Stewart the other nights or 30-minute diva Rachael Ray (ouch) or professional juggling on ESPN2 (double ouch).

The idea is to unplug the TV (and attendant VCR and DVD players) and home computers (and the attendant Internet and video games). It is permissible, apparently, to leave the coffee maker plugged in, provided your particular model cannot be used to transmit electronic entertainment.

According to its Web site, TV-Turn Off Week is proudly supported by 70 organizations.

Make that 71.

We not only support the cause but offer alternative activities. Follow our advice and you too will be thinking, reading, creating and doing. You will connect with your family and engage in your community. And, more importantly, you won't be a bully.

Today

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox. (7 p.m., CSN)

The Alternative: Play catch with your teenager. Seriously. But be sure to make an appointment by instant messaging - before the Internet blackout, of course.

Tomorrow

American Idol (8 p.m., Fox) The six finalists compete before the judges.

The Alternative: Be a good son and call your mother in Florida. It's not her birthday. It's not Mother's Day - right? Just call her because you love her. Granted, she won't be able to talk until she finds out if her Bo Bice moves on.

Wednesday

Married ... With Children: Hollywood Story (8 p.m., E!)

The Alternative: Overdue cuticle maintenance.

Thursday

Cheers (6 p.m., TV Land); Cheers (6:30 p.m., TV Land); Cheers (7 p.m., TV Land); Cheers (7:30 p.m., TV Land); Leave it to Beaver (9:30 p.m., TV Land); Three's Company (11 p.m., TV Land); Three's Company (11:30 p.m., TV Land).

The Alternative: Finish Bill Clinton's 957-page My Life. Then ask yourself: Was it all worth the time?

Friday

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. (5:30 p.m., HBO)

The Alternative: Rather than wasting time on this useless, brain-numbing movie, organize an end-of-the week neighborhood barbecue. It could have a theme: gracious host becomes charming and faceless leader of a band of three sexy crime-fighting women. Bring a covered dish.

Saturday

Caveman starring Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach (2 p.m., UPN). Film critic Leonard Maltin: "Dum-dum comedy saved by fantastic (and funny) special-effects dinosaurs."

The Alternative: Special-effects tulips, Sherwood Gardens.

Sunday

Desperate Housewives (9 p.m. ABC)

The Alternative: Calmly separate wife from house. Yes, it's a school night, but take her out for no reason. It's not her birthday.

It's not even Mother's Day - right?

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