Watching the last new episode of “Spy X Family” until October. Gonna be an even tougher wait for this than for Season 3 of “Ted Lasso.”

Big-time mood.

I have really tried to love Kids in the Hall over the years, but “Doomsday DJ” is the first KITH sketch that has really clicked with me.

Watched the two-part doc on the Kids in the Hall, “Comedy Punks,” hoping it might get me to like them. It didn’t work. I really want to like them (I’ve always thought Dave Foley was adorable, and I saw Scott Thompson outside a White Hen Pantry once in Chicago), but I can’t.

Not at 100 percent. But I’m okay enough to be useful, and the office workload is exploding, so I’m back working from home.

If I had my druthers, I’d be offline sucking down hot tea and watching “Aggretsuko.” Never has a workaholic, metal-loving red panda meant so much to me.

The Sesame Street Word of the Day with “Ted Lasso’s” Brett Goldstein starts with “F.” And no, it’s not the one you’re thinking.

Finally able to watch live White Sox baseball after cutting the cable cord, except it’s on Apple TV+ without our great local broadcasters.

Appreciate hearing women handle play-by-play and some analysis, but the hi-res “Megalodon” shots are weirding me out.

We cut the cord late last year, so we’re seeing how long we can go without NBC Sports Chicago (which carries White Sox games locally) before we cave and subscribe to a service like YouTube TV that carries it. Right now I’m having serious withdrawal.

Grateful for a short work week so I can road trip to St. Louis with my kid for spring break.

Checked in to our hotel after the 4.5-hour drive. Now able to relax and watch old YouTube clips of Warren Beatty on Letterman promoting Big Ass Ham.

Been steeped in Ukraine coverage and World War III-related insomnia and anxiety for the past day. After several years of studiously avoiding news for my mental health, I feel like I’ve reverted to my old newspaper wire editor days.

So, it’s time for a break.

This remarkable exchange between Stephen Colbert and singer Dua Lipa about faith is making the social media rounds.

Of course, I’ve seen unpleasant comments on the old Twitter like “I cannot believe that anyone would think he is a Christian. Plus he says he is a Catholic and a Christian. You can’t be both.” 😐

And then there’s this, retweeted by no less than noted evangelical apologist and Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller.

Having identified with all four groups in my lifetime (Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, and evangelical), I’d concur with Dr. Bradley on this.

(To clarify: I think non-Anglican Protestants and evangelicals are capable of articulating their faith. But, as Keller himself notes, “Catholicism is both a popular religion for the masses and yet has nurtured a robust intellectual class. Fundamentalism’s largely anti-intellectual stance has only grown among conservative Christians who are alarmed by the progressive excesses of today’s universities. However, this leaves conservative Protestantism in general with little ability to reach the college-educated and little ability to reflect theologically on our U.S. culture. The cultural ‘captivity’ of evangelicals—the inability to see the difference between biblical beliefs and American culture—is largely due to a lack of evangelical scholarship.")

And I disagree with Colbert on some things, but I love how open, winsome, and intelligent he is about his faith. Very grateful for his witness.

YouTube Thursday: WKRP, Cheap Trick, and a lot of late night TV

Selected highlights from recent idle drifting on the ‘Tube:

Wonder if Apple TV+ has stats on how many times we’ve seen each “Ted Lasso” episode.

Watching “Death to 2021” on Netflix, and I can’t decide whether to laugh or just fast-forward to 2023 to get away further from last year.

Watching “The Beatles: Get Back.” The most interesting thing so far is seeing whatever Yoko seems to be doing in the background to kill the time.

#EatingAnIceCreamBar
#ReadingANewspaper
#SortingHerMail

I stumbled onto “Ted Lasso” when the first 2 episodes were featured on the flight from my mom’s funeral in June. This show has been such a godsend these past few months, almost as if it was Mom’s parting gift to me or something.

The only reason I’m following the Emmys is “Ted Lasso.” I am reminded with each bad “comedy” bit and every tedious speech tonight why I avoid awards shows.

Big mistake: Watching “Ted Lasso” at bedtime soon after it premieres. Now I’m wide awake and watching the Reddit back-and-forth about it.

Thoughts keeping me up at 1 a.m.:

  1. Doctor Sharon is the therapist I’ve always wanted.
  2. If I wasn’t married, I would want my very own Roy Kent.
  3. Nate is severely testing my belief that nobody is irredeemable.

Catching up after a long week of carbs and exhaustion

Spending my Saturday catching up on Padres games and making a flaccid effort to clean my home office.

We flew to California a week ago today; we returned home early Thursday morning. I ate half the breakfast burrito my sister insisted on bringing to me less than 24 hours before, then dragged myself to bed to sleep off some grief, anxiety, and the pain of long hours crammed in a winged sardine can with a thick piece of cloth over half your face.

***

Catching up on whatever news I can stomach (which, these days, isn’t much). The news item that was the biggest gut punch for me: the latest round of buyouts at the Tribune – the first under Alden Capital ownership.

There’s so many familiar names among these buyouts, I’m starting to realize that pretty soon, only a tiny handful of people I worked with nearly 20 years ago will be gone.

Among them: three columnists for whom I built websites when I landed at chicagotribune.com in the late 1990s, including Eric Zorn – who was especially kind and patient with me and will forever be in my mind the tallest, most interactive columnist ever.

Godspeed to the folks who are leaving. And God help the people who are left.

***

I still have a lot to process from the past week. Today I spent a great morning over breakfast doing a bit of processing with one of my dearest friends. Not sure how much processing I’ll do in this space, though. My greatest anxieties stemming from the week will likely remain analog and offline. I have enough to write about online.

***

The airline we flew provides free entertainment to distract us from the cramped seats, the aforementioned long hours in a winged sardine can, and the discomfort of lugging all of your possessions in a carry-on to avoid the $30-per-bag fee for checked-in luggage.

I took home two obsessions, thanks to this free entertainment: David Byrne’s “American Utopia” concert film (directed by Spike Lee) and the Apple TV+ sitcom “Ted Lasso.”

Somehow, “American Utopia” made me feel okay about growing old, even though the “Stop Making Sense” movie provided the soundtrack of my college years more than 30 years ago, and this latest concert film reminded me of that. Byrne has aged, like we all have, but that hasn’t kept him from making joyful, energetic, and insightful art. I watched “American Utopia” on the way to California and during my return home, and it buoyed my spirits when I needed it the most.

The flight only offered the first two episodes of “Ted Lasso,” and when I got home, I went ahead and subscribed to Apple TV+ so I could binge watch the final eight episodes. It didn’t take long. (I only binge watch archived baseball games on MLB.tv, so this was a first for me.) Much has been said about the power of niceness that the show depicts, and that’s part of what I adore about this show. But the titular character demonstrates more than that; there is a resilience and stubborness in Ted Lasso’s optimism, even in the midst of his own sadness and anxiety over his failling marriage. Some critics say, well, this is fiction and not real – but why must so many shows be hard and cynical? We get enough of that in real life.

I don’t watch much TV or many movies; the critically acclaimed stuff strikes me as cynical or overwrought or trying too hard to be woke or meaningful, and I’ve had my fill of that. (Much of what passes for news or punditry also feels overly earnest or a vehicle for cynicism, and I prefer to consume such content in small doses.) I’m just hoping “Ted Lasso” doesn’t take a dark turn in its second season, which starts next month.

***

I ate my weight in carbs while we were gone. I didn’t eat as much rice as I might have six months ago, but I thought nothing of all the tortilla-based and bready, sugary stuff that made its way into my grazing. I think I ended up maybe more than 100 grams over my 100-gram carb limit at one point. But I still logged everything.

Not alarmed. I decided weeks ago that I would go easy on myself this past week. I fully expect some weight gain when I weigh myself Monday. In the meantime, I’m back on the wagon and watching my carbs again. Onward.

I totally live to hear references to the filioque dispute over the Nicene Creed on late night TV. Or, if you’re gonna get fussy about it, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

This SNL bit riffing off “Pretend It’s a City” (which I loved) was funny, but I wanted to like this more than I did. Could have used better writing and slightly less Scorsese.

The Washington Post (always worth the subscription!) has a great list of suggestions for decompressing without doomscrolling.

I’ve made a list for myself. Feel free to join me.

  • Watch the Fran Lebowitz/Martin Scorese collaboration “Pretend It’s a City” on Netflix. (So far, it feels like a one-woman old-school Woody Allen movie, without Woody Allen’s creepiness.)
  • Write a letter, note, or postcard to a friend or anybody else who could use encouragement or a bright spot in their day and drop it in the mail.
  • Do a quickie chair workout.
  • Read the Gospel reading from the day’s Mass.
  • Pray a Rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet.
  • Catch up on one of my several journals/datebooks.
  • Collect low-carb baking recipes and actually try one.
  • Breathe.

I’ve also been binging lately on “Big Bang Theory” clips on YouTube, but I’ve kind of hit a wall on those.

I’ve become way too enamored of “The Big Bang Theory” in recent weeks. I never saw it during its network run; now I watch clip collections on YouTube and reruns on cable.

It’s light viewing, and it’s become YouTube comfort media in the same way Colbert clips, Conan interviews, and John Mulaney monologues are. Old baseball games do the same for me on the DVR. All of it makes for a fine antidote to the doomscrolling habit I’ve found hard to break.

Reclining at Advent

Advent begins today. I could be in a reflective and meditative mode, setting up our wreath and candles for the season.

Instead, I’m relaxing under a fleece throw, watching random episodes of Ken Burns’ “Baseball,” on my early Christmas gift: an enormous cuddly recliner that I’ve been wanting for years. This is the kind of comfort I have craved for a long time.

I could be holier at this moment. But as this terrible 2020 begins to wind down, my gut tells me I really need this kind of extended hug before I start this new liturgical year.