Our entertainment column has been on hiatus for a while, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to read and watch lately.  I’ve actually been watching more TV than I have in a long time – because I’ll watch in the wee hours of the morning when feeding the baby.

Monk – This was a show that my wife and I always watched religiously, until Ugly Betty popped in the same time slot for a while.  Unfortunately, the show has come to a conclusion.   I was pleased with the way it wrapped up, though.  I do have a couple of seasons on DVD that I can watch when I start going into withdrawal.

NCIS – Since I’m an aspiring crime novelist, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that crime dramas top my list of shows to watch.  I’ve eschewed CSI.  Despite the strong basis in forensics, it just doesn’t seem particularly believable and seems a bit contrived from the small bits I’ve watched.  NCIS mixes forensics with other investigative techniques, all within a military setting.  I really like Mark Harmon as an actor, and the supporting cast is good as well.  NCIS is a favorite show for me to watch on my wireless headphones while I’m shoveling snow.  The fact that it’s an hour long means that I can make decent headway shoveling during the course of a show.

M*A*S*H – When I was a kid, M*A*S*H and Wheel of Fortune competed in the same time slot.  My mom liked Wheel (and actually won something in a call-in contest through the local TV station once) and Dad liked M*A*S*H.  Personally, I thought both shows were pretty stupid.  Years later, I’m still not a fan of Wheel of Fortune, but I love M*A*S*H. I really need to snap up the DVD collection at some point. (All 11 Seasons (Amazon), All 11 seasons + Movie + Bonus Material (Amazon))

I’m also doing some reading, of course.  Yesterday, my fresh new copy of Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster for 2010
arrived on my doorstep.  This book is one of my tools for fighting the winter blahs.  Shandler analyzes secondary statistics in order to determine if a player’s basic statistical inputs accurately reflect his skill set, or are based largely on luck.  It’s a handy tool to have before your fantasy draft – did a player that you like actually have a breakout year in 2009 (and thus great things on the horizon) or was he lucky?

And, of course, I’m reading short stories by the master, Lawrence Block.  I’m currently reading One Night Stands and Lost Weekends, a collection of some of Block’s very early work.  The stories are great, but be sure to read the introduction as well – it’s as interesting as any of the fiction stories in the book.

I’m also reading a few blogs, of course.  I highly recommend all of the blogs that you see in the right column.  Today, I’ll give special attention to Living with Balls.  The author writes about sports and other manly pursuits (such as relationships and farting), with an unabashedly male point of view.  Haute couture it is not, funny it often is.  Be forewarned – if you don’t like it, you’ll probably hate it.  I can’t imagine that there is much middle ground.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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