How is a great TV show like a great stock?

Well, with a stock that’s done really well, you worry that by the time you recommend it to a friend it may be too late. So it goes with ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ Sundays on Fox. Yes, ‘The West Wing’ is still the best thing on television, both for its entertainment value and because it – astonishingly – teaches so much and makes us better citizens. But ‘Malcolm’ is a close second. It, too, is brilliantly written – the last two episodes especially. (Did you see the one where they take two of the kids bowling? Genius!) I’m just terrified that the first time YOU decide to watch it, you’ll get an episode that somehow fails to engage your interest . . . you’ll not make the small investment required to get to know and like the characters. But I’ve got to chance it, because ‘Malcolm’ deserves all the praise it can get. This Sunday, Fox is showing two episodes, one at 8:30, one at 9:30. And this summer you can maybe catch up with reruns. If you ever get to see the bowling one – or last week’s episode where Dewey becomes germ-phobic – well, I just think you will be grinning from ear to ear.

(Same with the Simpsons. First time I watched, 100 years ago, I couldn’t imagine what everyone saw in it. Indeed, I could barely make out what the characters were saying. Ah, but once I caught on!)

And now on to the X-rated portion of our entertainment, starting with this, from Wednesday’s Miami Herald.

A group that wants to overturn Broward County’s [ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation] has raised $14,299, while a group that supports the ordinance has collected $485, according to reports filed this week with the supervisor of elections. . .

Among the donors: Janet Folger of the Center for Reclaiming America, a national political organization based at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church; Jean Hansen, former chairwoman of the Broward Republican Party; and Ken Jennings, Republican candidate for the Florida Senate last year.

The group has spent $6,632 so far. Its largest expenses — two checks for $2,500 — went to Executive Director Joel Hawksley. He resigned Monday following disclosures in The Herald that he was charged in 1999 with sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl in Maryland. The case never went to trial.

If you wonder why some people work so hard to deny gays and lesbians the same protections, real and symbolic, that other once-despised groups already enjoy – let alone tangible things like domestic-partner health care benefits or the right of a spouse to inherit tax-free – you could read this from the previous day’s Tampa Tribune:

Gay students lobbying for discrimination protection in Florida schools got a jolting civics lesson Monday from a lawmaker who welcomed them into his office only to declare: “God … is going to destroy you.” . . .

After listening patiently for 10 minutes as the students made their pitch, Trovillion, a conservative lawmaker representing the Orlando suburbs, told them flatly: “You’re throwing your life away.” . . .

The meeting left 17-year-old Chris Vasquez in tears. Vasquez, an honors student and editor in chief of Edgewater High School’s campus newspaper, thanked Trovillion for his time but was stunned as he left the lawmaker’s office. “The Florida Legislature says we’re going to hell,” he said.


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