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Big fight tonight over TV, not on TV

The Baltimore Sun

I don't know how things are in your house, but it might get a little tense around the TV tonight. And when I say a "little" tense, I mean the way the Gaza Strip gets a little tense.

Here's the problem: at 8:30, you have the Ravens-Steelers on Monday Night Football, which is the biggest game since the dawn of civilization, to hear some people tell it.

At the same time, on another channel, you have Dancing With the Stars, which is a huge hit this season and has much of America inexplicably riveted by the sight of Jane Seymour doing the foxtrot (when she's not coming down with food poisoning) and Marie Osmond fainting.

So you see how this could get ugly.

Are you kidding? We could have Ravens fans and Dancing fans squaring off like The Donald and Rosie.

Oh, sure, I know most households have about 27 TVs these days.

Because God forbid we should be in any part of the house where we can't grab a remote and catch the latest mutant strain of CSI or a Flavor of Love rerun.

But there's always that one TV that everyone wants to watch, isn't there?

You know the one I mean.

The Big TV.

The Main TV.

Maybe it's the 50-inch LCD high-def monster with Dolby surround-sound that set you back four grand, not counting the big leather chairs and the coffeetable the size of an altar.

Now let's say you get settled in front of that thing for the big Ravens game and someone shouts: "Don't even think about it. I'm watching Dancing With the Stars. Get lost."

This is going to cause a bit of an argument.

Things could get very, very tense -- there's no way to sugarcoat it.

In my house it works this way: The main TV is downstairs.

Oh, it's not some big fancy plasma deal attached to the wall with railroad spikes, just a humble 36-inch Sony with a remote held together with electrical tape.

But when I'm banished from there, I end up watching the junior-varsity TV up in the bedroom.

Sometimes I get kicked off that, too, and end up watching the tiny TV in the kitchen.

OK, I say watching.

But the truth is, it's more like squinting, because this TV is so small it must be GE's Danny DeVito model.

And the picture is horrible, too. Even though it's hooked up to the cable, the reception is kind of fuzzy.

(Sure, we called Comcast about it. They gave us the usual: "We'll be there sometime between 7 in the morning and 7 at night, on a day of our choosing, during a coming month which we're not at liberty to disclose at the moment. Make sure someone's home."

(After the Comcast guy fooled around with the cable, the picture improved slightly. For about a week. Then it went back to fuzzy. It seemed a little darker, too. I always feel like I have glaucoma when I watch that TV.)

I am not up on Dancing With the Stars, but I know it's been a very exciting season and a lot of fans are anxious to see what happens tonight.

From what I understand, there is still residual bitterness in some quarters over "Cheetah Girl" Sabrina Bryan getting voted off the show, and who knows whether they'll have to pump Seymour's stomach or wave ammonia capsules under Osmond's nose.

Here's the other thing about Dancing: the celebrities keep getting more and more random.

Pretty soon you're going to see Hillary Clinton doing the tango with John Edwards, and Barack Obama fox-trotting with Oprah Winfrey.

Bruce Springsteen ballroom-dancing with Katie Couric -- I'd click over from the Ravens game for that one.

But the Ravens-Steelers is Armageddon, and you need the big TV -- and high-def capability! -- to capture Armageddon in all its bloody glory.

On the other hand, the Steelers are 9 1/2 -point favorites, which means the bookmakers think this could be more like Armageddon Light, with just the Ravens getting slaughtered and vanquished.

So what?

As long as you're the one with the remote and the big TV, you're good to go.

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