Tuned In

Robo-James Has Left the Building

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OK suckers, funtime’s over. Flesh-James has returned from vacation.

The Tuned In family went to California, where, it being California, we rented a Toyota Prius. My two favorite features of the car: (1) You turn it on by pressing a power button, which makes it like driving a Macintosh; (2) There’s a dashboard monitor displaying, in real time, how much power the car is using from the battery and what MPG it is getting at that moment, so that, any given second, you know exactly how smug you are entitled to feel. Come on people, let’s be people, now!

In other busman’s-holiday news, I held a TV critics’ summit (where “summit”=”a beer at some cafe in Berkeley”) with San Francisco Chronicle critic and blogger extraordinaire Tim Goodman. Because the East Coast vs. West Coast critics’ bloodshed has to stop. Increase the peace! And I flew for the first time on Jet Blue, an airline after my own heart because it provides seatback satellite TV. This made flying cross-country with two kids much easier, though at one point Tuned In Jr. Jr. asked me the mind-boggling question, “How do you turn it off?” This, apparently, was an unanticipated consumer request, because as far as I could tell, there was no off button, although you could simulate the effect by turning the brightness down to zero.

It’s one of those little design choices that unintentionally tells you everything you need to know about America. Why would you ever want to turn off a television?

And now I return to Labor Day weekend non-labor, as well as catching up on all the shows I missed while I was off looking at seals and crap. Actual non-vacation-related content coming up any day now.