When you watch as much television as I do, tv dinners are totally natural. What better way to enjoy one of Discoverys long leisurely journeys across Sub-Saharan Wherever than a hearty One Pound Allbeef Camelhandler complete with Postcolonial Mashed Potatoes and a tasty side of Idi Amin Apple Cobbler. Likewise, what complements Tony Sopranos latest debauched outburst better than a robust serving of Sicilian Meatballs microwaved to perfection beside mob-sized portions of Southern Palermo Our Thing Spaghetti and generous slices of Uncle Leons Five Families Appalachian Garlic Bread. I started back in the fifties. Dizzy Dean Chicken Pot Pies during Saturday afternoon tv baseball. Then, throughout the McCarty Hearings, it was good old House UnAmerican Fish Sticks with Dick Nixon Crinkle-Cut Fries. In the sixties I watched the Vietnam War over End Of The Tunnel Chop Suey and General Curtis Lamay Napalm Pot Stickers. The seventies were mostly OPEC Salisbury Steak on a bed of Oil Shock Baked Beans or Four Cylinder Cheeze-Whiz Casseroles. The Reagan Years featured Duck a la Orange County with Trickle- Down Garden Peas and Iran Contra Steak-Cut Home Fries. For the First Gulf War I switched to Thousand Points Of Light Pork Rinds with Desert Storm Baby Incubator Broccoli and Night Vision Ass-Kicker Corn Niblets. The Clinton Impeachment ended the century accompanied by Special Prosecutor Baby-Back Ribs with Hillary Clinton Steamed Rice and a big fat Monica Lewinsky Cherry Tart. Of course 911 changed everything. Nowadays things happen so fast, complete meals are impossible. When news breaks I reach for something simple like Twin Towers Chicken Fingers combined with crispy Cole Slaw Guiliani. Or perhaps Tora Bora Blackened Lamb Hotpot and a side of Al Qaeda Mountain Vegetables. Rapidly-moving stories out of Africa go well with Crab Mogumbo. For sudden developments in the Middle East, I usually turn to AK-47 Falafels beside Sand Dabs au Hamas or Surgical Strike Salami on a Cluster Bomb Sesame Bagel. Likewise Wall Street can provide unexpected surprises. On those roller coaster days I usually go for Beef Buy On The Dip with Correction-Not-A-Crash Glazed Carrots and Buying Opportunity Pearl Onions. O, I know. Most experts frown on frozen food. Registered dieticians say tv dinners are too salty, too oily, overloaded with toxic transfats, saturated in dead calories. Licensed nutritionists claim theyre dangerous, shot through with nasty preservatives, seriously tainted by hazardous wastes, drenched in pesticide runoffs. And then theres the New Agers: Evil, artificial simulacra dreamed up by military-industrial capitalism then forcefed into the slave-driven brain-washed proletariat by ruthless, rightwing junkfood gangsters. Interesting, but wrong. Because Ive been eating tv dinners for over half a century. And my preference for frozen over fresh hasnt caused me to suffer a serious disease, hasnt shortened my normal expected life span. In fact I feel so good about tv dinners, think Ill unpack one right now. Turn on CNN and tuck into something really good. Like Boneless Rendition Rainbow Trout. Maybe the Oil Emirates Light Sweet Half-Barrel Of Chicken. Or if Broken Borders is on, heat up a fine Mexican meal. Like Wetback Enchiladas with Low Wage Tacos and a Freedom Burrito. Tokyo, Sunday, 03/04/07