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Archive for Thursday, July 31, 2008

X marks the spot for sports jargon

July 31, 2008

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The X Games (8 p.m., ESPN) turns 14 this summer. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will air 14 hours of live X Games programming between tonight and Sunday, showcasing skateboard and BMX competitions. All broadcasts are available in high definition.

The X Game phenomenon interests me not so much as a sport but as a subculture with a terminology and language all its own. As you can imagine, I am besieged by publicity materials from all manner of programming, from reality to sports, fashion, drama, comedy and movies. But I find the X Games press releases uniquely incomprehensible. Here's a sentence from ESPN: "This will mark the first time ever that X Games will not have a stand-alone vert ramp." Good to know.

I know my inability to distinguish the lingo marks me as a confirmed fuddy-duddy, careening helplessly toward Andy Rooney-style cantankerousness. But you reach a point in life when it's best not to even try to keep up with the arcane argot of sports and youth micro-niche subcultures. It's better to stand back and marvel at their passion and enthusiasm.

¢ Look for pop singer Lady GaGa to perform on tonight's installment of "So You Think You Can Dance?" (8 p.m., Fox). She'll be performing her single "Just Dance."

The top six include Joshua Allen, Twitch Boss, Courtney Galiano, Chelsie Hightower, Mark Kanemura and Katee Shean. Two will go home tonight.

¢ CBS continues to tinker with its summer schedule. Don't go looking for "Greatest American Dog." That was moved to Wednesday nights too late to make yesterday's column. Julie Chen and "Big Brother 10" (7 p.m., CBS) will air in its place tonight.

With the Olympic Games a week away, we're still awaiting the champions of summer. But the architectural star of the games gets its own profile on "Beijing's Olympic Pool" (8 p.m., National Geographic), a look at a structure officially called the National Aquatics Centre but known as "The Water Cube."

Made of steel and plastic, it's an eyeful. It's framework contains more than 56 miles of steel-supporting pillows of high-tech plastic bubbles. "Pool" goes behind the scenes to look at the design and construction of this unique world showcase.

Tonight's highlights

¢ The top five perform on "Last Comic Standing" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Betty suggests a change of tone for the magazine on "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Shark Week continues with "10 Deadliest Sharks" (7 p.m., Discovery) and "Mysteries of Shark Coast" (8 p.m.).

¢ A married woman's murder illuminates a black market in human organs on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ A cop's rescue proves revealing on "Flashpoint" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ Lost in the mountains for days, a rancher returns a changed man on "Fear Itself" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ A rookie mistake haunts a resident on "Hopkins" (9 p.m., ABC).

¢ Michael trades secrets with an unsavory character on "Burn Notice" (9 p.m., USA).

¢ Kathy concocts a unique publicity plan for her CD on "My Life on the D-List" (9 p.m., Bravo).

¢ Matchbox Twenty, The Script and Def Leppard appear on "Live From Abbey Road" (9 p.m., Sundance).

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