Convention Survival Guide

Today's cuppa: English afternoon tea

It's Monday, Aug. 25, and the Democratic National Convention is underway in Denver, with the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul hot on its heels on Sept. 1.

Predicting the future is a tricky business -- just ask those pundits who thought Sen. Hillary Clinton was a no-brainer shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, or those who nearly wrote off GOP Sen. John McCain before the primaries -- but it's likely that there'll be lots more hot air than hot headlines coming out of both conventions.

Network TV isn't wall-to-wall as it was in the old days, but the cable newsers are out in full force, as is PBS, and there are chunks of network primetime devoted to covering the big keynote speeches.

Obviously, not all voters are interested in both conventions, so here are my suggestions for alternate DVD viewing for members of the two major parties (to be enjoyed with the hot cuppa of your choice, whether it's a soy chai latte, strong black coffee, chamomile tea or Barry's Gold Blend. You decide which voters drink what.)

Kiefersutherland_24_240_002_2 For Republicans during the Democratic National Convention:

On the small screen: box sets of "24," "Band of Brothers," "Deadliest Catch," "Friday Night Lights," "Little House on the Prairie," "The Unit," "The Shield," "JAG," "South Park" (and from its creators, the movie "Team America: World Police") and "NCIS."

From the big screen: any "Dirty Harry" movie, any movie starring John Wayne, "The Patriot," "Independence Day," "Air Force One," "Lonesome Dove," "Faith of My Fathers" (based on Sen. McCain's book of the same name about his POW experience), "The Incredibles" and "Die Hard" (one and two).

For Democrats during the Republican National Convention:Martinsheen_westwing_240_2

On the small screen: box sets of "The West Wing," "Commander in Chief," "The Daily Show With John Stewart," "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Boston Legal," "All in the Family," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Family Guy," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Murphy Brown."

From the big screen: any movie directed by Michael Moore or featuring Al Gore; "The Day After Tomorrow," "The American President" (sort of writer Aaron Sorkin's trial balloon for "The West Wing"), "Dead Man Walking," "JFK," "The Candidate," "All the President's Men" and "Reds."