While I was off in Singapore I think I lost the knack for watching marathons of TV shows. There aren't so many of them over there, rarely getting past things like a three-hour block of American Dragon or The Emperor's New School episodes on Disney Channel, and the last is peculiar since they started running six-episode marathons when they only had shown about four episodes. But in the United States, New Year's week means marathons, everything from Twilight Zone to The Honeymooners to Star Trek -- although I think that might have just been that G4 shows a relentless number of the Original Series episodes while framing them with so much clutter they're distracting and unpleasant to watch -- until it feels perfectly gluttonous. The one that broke me was the Monk marathon, which I gather from the commercials was only one of several we're to have this month. Part of it's the Tivo; without that, you can come in 55 minutes in and accept that it's gone, but with it, there's this natural urge to try catching the whole thing, and by the time you're done with one episode, even with commercials skipped, there's another on the pile.
My mother's a Monk fan, what with it combining her interest in detective/crime shows and her work as a psychologist. (One of the best laughs I ever got from her was when Dad asked if her obsessive/compulsive disorder patients like the show. I jumped in with: ``They never miss an episode!'' Turns out they don't.) I like the show, but never quite got where or when it was on in Singapore after a short stretch on the now-closed Channel i, so most of the episodes I've seen in recent years were on airplanes, like the one where Monk, oddly, takes an airplane. I'd think that a curious episode to show on a plane, what with Monk driving a flight attendant to drink and finding a murderer in coach, which would be thoughts I'd try to keep away from airplane passengers, but maybe they don't review all the shows on the United Entertainment Network.
The real mystery is how I saw so many of the featured episodes. I did the majority of my Monk watching in early 2003, when I had first moved in, and for fairly dull reasons didn't have a TV in my apartment yet so used the campus network's broadcast of Channel i (and other channels) in my office for entertainment, incidentally earning me a good reputation as a guy who was in his office all the time. But that was just about two or three months at one episode a week, and that all from fairly early on. Granting some of the Monk clues aren't all that tough, particularly when you read your Encyclopedia Brown books and know doctors don't take pulses with their thumbs, and remember Roger Ebert's Law of Economy of Characters, how is it that I've got memories of episodes not made until after I stopped watching the show regularly? Or am I just forgetting watching a TV show I enjoy regularly? What's going on here? These are all questions I feel I cannot answer.
Trivia: A Univac 1103A, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory's first fully digital electronic computer, was used to estimate Sputnik's orbit. Source: Something New Under the Sun, Helen Gavaghan. (And a Happy Sputnik 1 Falling Day! They dropped something on Freehold, New Jersey, for it.)
Currently Reading: Know-It-All, A J Jacobs.