During these hard times, I like to immerse myself in fiction and the mockery of other people’s dysfunction. Hence some points of distraction for the weeks ahead:

 

1 TV a la carte: The quintessential viewer’s lament is that we have all this variety, yet there never seems to be anything on.

 

Well, rumour has it that you will soon be able to pick and choose your stations without subscribing to the full cable package. Just imagine all those single men with 50 channels of sports and porn.

 

2 Ice, ice, baby: It’s almost hockey season again in Canada, and no one is more excited than the city of Winnipeg. The new and improved Jets unveiled their new uniforms this week. Now let’s see if they can actually play.

 

3 Dancing with the boys: Sonny and Cher’s child, Chastity, underwent a female-to-male sex-change operation a year ago. Now, Chaz’s inclusion on Dancing With the Stars has sparked controversy among religious groups who claim he’s an “abomination.”

 

Shame on them for judging a man just for being born with a vagina. We will accept Chaz like anyone else and simply focus on the fact that he is overweight and unattractive.

4 Two and a Half Men: The new season will begin with the funeral of Charlie Sheen’s character while the real Charlie lives on. The cruel irony is too much for me to bear.

5 X Factor: The most anticipated new show is unoriginal, but apparently American audiences crave more disdainful commentary from curmudgeon-extraordinaire Simon Cowell and more inane bickering with Paula Abdul. Contestants will be ridiculed at every turn. Just the kind of thing our highly evolved TV audiences enjoy.

6 Fall “Mad”ness: Capitalizing on the success of Mad Men, two new series’ emerge this season. Pan Am and The Playboy Club are both set in the ’60s, feature hot ladies in pantyhose and men in suits with shiny hair. So much nostalgia for an era when sexually repressed people drank and smoked unabashedly around toddlers, then packed them into the car for a swirvy, fun-filled ride to their asbestos-insulated, lead-filled homes. Ah, those were the days.

7 TIFF: It’s TIFF time again, and Toronto will host the world’s hottest stars. While the festival is always a great draw, the true beauty of the experience is the gamble, so don’t get caught up in Hollywood hype.

Take a chance on the unknowns, because it’s cooler and more exclusive to say, “I just watched a three-hour movie in Swahili, and have no idea what I saw.”

8 TUFF enuff: The fifth annual Toronto Urban Film Festival is a delightful bonus for commuters. This week, subway screens throughout the city are displaying a variety of submissions. The silent, one-minute films can be a welcome distraction from the fact that you may be among strangers who have chosen not to bathe. You have to be in T.O. to enjoy that experience, but if you can’t make it, visit torontourbanfilmfestival.com