Remote Hog

The Sacramento: River of Life
9 tonight
KCET/Channel 28

It gets mighty tough watching all these programs, hour after hour, day after day, so much so that we often catch ourselves snoozing on the ol' horseshoe-shaped sofa. Now, nothing puts us out quite like a public broadcasting program involving water. Send Huell Howser and a cameraman up to Mono Lake and you've got one certified cure-all for insomnia. I've been having trouble sleeping lately—actually, the trouble is waking up too early, when there is absolutely nothing on—so I'm really looking forward to this special, narrated by Peter Coyote, who these days must have to arm-wrestle Martin Sheen for every PBS-narration gig. In this one, author and historian J. S. Holliday claims, “California would be Nevada” were it not for the Sacramento River—which has me wondering if we get a Mustang Ranch out of the bargain. Actually, while we snooze, osmosis may very well learn us something, like how the so-called “river of life”—the state's largest watershed, gathering water from an area nearly the size of Indiana—is a vital organ for hundreds of wildlife species, including four separate runs of Chinook salmon. It's also the main water feeder to the Central Valley, where an expected population explosion could effect the future of the vital resource, meaning the state's entire future could hinge on . . . zzzzzzzz . . . what? Huh? Sorry, come again. Dammit! Slept right through to Charlie Rose.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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