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This week is TV Turnoff Week.

Now c'mon, this just isn't realistic for me. For one thing, I work in the TV biz, so I wind up watching (well, not watching, directing) several hours worth of TV a day.

But do you really think I could give up watching the game and just listen to the radio? Or follow the ESPN GameCast or MLB GameDay?

Sorry, no way. The kids are really into it, though Mark had to steal a few looks at the game while he was writing a school essay on the computer, and Rachel was in the other room reading, all the while the Cubs were dismantling the Pirates 9-1 in front of what appeared to be a rather disinterested, small gathering at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

I spent the day trying to catch up with, well, stuff. I had forgotten how far behind I wind up getting on everyday stuff during homestands. One day last week, and I don't know where, my Costco card, my Best Buy Reward Zone card, and my Jewel (local grocery store chain) preferred shopper card fell out of my wallet. Not a big deal, really: if someone truly wants to get me points by shopping at Best Buy, they can be my guest.

So I went and got these three replaced today, though I have to say, it took me less time to drive to Costco and get a new card and drive home, than it did to try to persuade the low-paid phone person at Best Buy to send me one in the mail. Every time I call a customer service line these days, I wonder if I'm talking to someone in India. I got one of those a few weeks ago and I literally had to hang up on him because I could not understand what he was saying, all the while he was trying to tell me, "I will speak better English!"

Ladies and gentlemen, American life in the 21st Century. Welcome to it.

I finished up reading some magazines that had been sitting around for a couple of weeks and sat down to watch the game.

At one point FSN put up a graphic comparing the Cubs after 13 games in 2003 and 2004. The clubs are remarkably similar -- identical 7-6 records, identical .355 OBP's, but a higher batting average this year, and though I knew the Cubs had hit quite a few homers this year, I had not remembered they hit only seven homers through the first 13 games last year, and twenty-six through yesterday.

They made that total an even 30 tonight with Corey Patterson (first inning), Todd Walker (fourth, and his first Cub homer), Alex Gonzalez (fifth), and Michael Barrett (eighth, and he is hitting the way Jim Hendry hoped he would, in the first two weeks). I missed the last one because I fell asleep on the couch, only to be awakened as I saw Barrett rounding the bases, by a tornado warning that had been issued for southern Cook County (luckily, nowhere near here).

Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano threw masterfully, and who'd have thought he'd be the Cubs' most consistent starter so far this year? He had a great spring and has continued through the regular season, and threw 111 pitches through his eight innings, allowing only a single run when Tike Redman tripled and Jack Wilson singled him in. Francis Beltran (I almost typed "Carlos Beltran" there, wishful thinking, that) threw an efficient ninth inning to finish up.

I should give kudos here to my friend Mike from L.A., who decided not to be in our fantasy league this year, and so I asked him to pick my team when we all drafted yesterday (I thought it would have been insane to try to do it via cellphone from the skybox), and among others he chose Barrett, Zambrano, and even, yes, the Pirates' Wilson, who's not one of my favorite players but is hitting nearly .400 in the first two weeks. I also got Kerry Wood, but most of the other good Cub hitters went far too quickly for me to grab them.

So, it's a nice start to this mini-road trip of three games, and I especially like them when they're quick, two hours and twenty-five minutes, and I can post here and get to bed at a reasonable hour to get up for work at 3:30 am.