Gary Herron

Yeah, as Bob Dylan sang long ago, “the times, they are a-changing.”

Last weekend, I never left my property, although I was outside for a while, having breakfast on my shaded patio and doing some yard work. For the most part, though, my best friend was what people have called “the idiot box” and “the boob tube”: my flat-screen TV.

It’s always cool to see someone we know — often Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull, sometimes state Sen. Craig Brandt — “repping” Rio Rancho on local newscasts. But to see someone you know on national TV, which has happened three times for me in recent weeks, was even cooler.

First, there was Rio Rancho UFOlogist David Marker on the History Channel’s “Unidentified” show July 18, with Marler commenting on a subject he knows well, triangular UFOs.

Then Aug. 15, I saw my son, Jesse, on Travel Channel’s “Paranormal Hotel,” talking about ghostly images he’d seen and felt at his Painted Lady Bed & Brew in Albuquerque.

Lastly, Cleveland High grad Brian Mendoza climbed through the ropes last Saturday for his 20th pro fight on Fox Sports 1 — a fight that he won. (See the sports page for more on that.)

Last weekend, with a lot of channel-surfing — namely, changing channels when a dreaded commercial came on — I caught some live sports, “Riverdance 26,” a great hour-long feature on “America’s Storyteller” Ken Burns, a DVD I’d bought for a buck at Dollar Tree about the effects social media had on the storied New York Times, and a lot of laughs on “Impractical Jokers,” which I consider the funniest show on TV.

The new production of Riverdance was updated for the 21st century after 25 years of existence — I even saw a male break-dancer in this production. I traditionally am not a fan of dancing, but Riverdance is above and beyond dancing — seeing about three-dozen men and women “clogging” in perfect step, with a staccato beat, is mind-blowing and something to be admired. (Don’t tell anyone this macho sports guy enjoys Riverdance, OK?)

On Sunday, on a PBS beg-a-thon, I watched a mid-1970s Johnny Cash concert at Tennessee State Prison (with Roy Clark and Linda Ronstadt also performing) and a 1989 Bee Gees concert.

How can you not like the Bee Gees, and their harmonies? But it was sad, watching them perform, knowing cut-up Maurice Gibb and laid-back Robin Gibb were deceased; thankfully, song-writing Barry Gibb survives.

Like you, I hate this so-called “new normal.” 2020 is the worst year of my life, but last weekend was arguably the best weekend since the pandemic began, thanks to a myriad great shows on television.