published Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

City Beat: When things you enjoy turn bad

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    "Breaking Bad" is the number one most "binge-watched" show, according to TiVo.

Recently, I’ve discovered that nearly everything that I really enjoy doing, eating or drinking is not only bad for long-term well-being, but now it also makes me feel bad.

In the past, having a doctor or research team tell me that smoking cigars, eating processed sugar or having that third, or fourth, glass of wine could lead to early death was pretty easy to ignore. What young person worries about the future?

Today, however, the immediacy of heartburn makes it easy to walk away from a glazed doughnut. It’s amazing what a little pain can do to strengthen one’s willpower and desire to “do the right thing.”

Still, it seems like a cruel joke, or a harsh penance for past sins, and lately, even decaffeinated coffee is no longer the pleasurable habit it used to be.

My latest guilty pleasure is binge-watching entire television series, and lo and behold, researchers have determined it’s killing me. Of course, we didn’t really need a fancy study to tell us that, did we? First, if we are watching “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones,” it means we are not exercising, right? And we watch them for hours at a time.

What’s not quite clear is how binge-watching the same show is worse than watching five or six hours of whatever comes on, but I’m sure there’s a study that can answer that, too.

And much of the watching is done when we should be sleeping. In my case, it’s often done in bed with a laptop, so I’m not only not exercising, I’m not sleeping.

In case you were wondering, TiVo reports that “Breaking Bad” is the show that most people binge-watch. “House of Cards,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Downton Abbey” are next, in that order. Watched them all, or at least several seasons of each. I lost interest in watching zombies get pulverized after about 10 episodes, and Kevin Spacey’s overplayed “Southern” accent became irritating in season two.

■ In last week’s column I wrote that Chattanoogan Jerre Haskew would be inducted into the America’s Old Time Music Hall of Fame, along with fellow Cumberland Trio members Tom Kilpatrick and the late Andy Garverick. Because of some miscommunication, Jim Shuptrine was mentioned but not given full credit for being a full member of the trio that was actually a quartet. He will also be inducted into the hall along with the other three.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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