www.whyville.net Jul 11, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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You may or may not notice, but I have a new name today. I could give you some public relations spiel about how we decided my image needed a new makeover or something, but that's not actually what happened. Seems a certain gentleman has already laid claim to the Mediamaven name, and thus the copyright is his. He recently sent us a very polite letter asking that we discontinue the use of what is in fact his trademark, and we are naturally complying with that request.

Ever wonder how copyright disputes are solved? Well, this is one way! Quickly and nicely... wouldn't it be nice if we all settled our arguments this way?

In any case, I *do* like my new name! Makes me feel all smart and mystical and so forth. ;-)

As usual, it's time for me to urge you to watch the shows and let me know what you think. Email me, the new MediaWiz of Whyville!

Click here for an index of this week's shows. And now, the Media Menu!

Thursday, July 11

"John Le Carre: The Secret Centre" (Ovation Network, 10-11pm ET, 7-8pm PT) Interested in spies? Real spies? In this author interview program the author of classics such as "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" talks about his double life as a spy and writer. His real name is David Cornwell and he began writing spy thrillers while serving as a real life British spy in Berlin during the Cold War. You'll never again look at all those travelogue shows about Germany's restored capitol in the same way. Cornwell explains that the skulduggery is still going on there behind the glossy new exteriors that have replaced the drab facades of the 1960's. (Note also the listing of "Spy Kids" movie for Friday 12, below.)

Friday, Friday 12

"Spy Kids" (Showtime, 8:30-10pm E/P) This movie is about a pair of Hispanic-American kids who have to rescue their parents who've been kidnapped. At 12 and 8, respectively, this sister-brother team turn out to have a natural gift for spycraft -- a business their parents used to be in. Movie reviewers paid this 1991 movie a strange compliment by calling it "smart enough to escape the kid film category". To win out over the bad guys, the kids come up with one cool invention after another, including bubblegum that can be used as a tracking device. There's no disturbing violence, by the way. Available on video.

Saturday, July 13

"America Eats" (History Channel, 8-9pm E/P) All of a sudden America's favorite foods (and maybe the world's, too) are in disrepute among medical people. This documentary shows the technology that enabled the wide availability of hamburgers, hot dogs and even the peanut butter sandwich. And you'll meet the quirky personalities who launched some of the most famous fast-food chains. The program is followed by another hour-long documentary about the origins of Hershey bars, Jell-O, Spam, frozen food and potato chips.

Sunday, July 14

Next@CNN (CNN, 4-4:30pm ET, 1-1:30pm PT) This tech-news magazine reports on government regulators who run make-believe websites to warn people away from the real web-scams. (Program repeats right away at 4:30 ET and 1:30 PT)

"A Walk In Your Shoes: Rap/Country Episode" (Nickelodeon, 5:30-6pm E/P) This reality-show chronicles the experiences of two people from completely different backgrounds who "switch lives" while cameras are following them. In this particular episode 16 year old rapper Naci Brown has 24 hours to learn to play a guitar before a live country-music audience. And Chris Young, also 16, who has been performing his own country songs for years must take dance lessons to move like a real rapper onstage. Each emerges with admiration and respect for the other's music, musical ability and culture.

Monday, July 15

"Bill Graham: Impresario" (A&E, 8-10pm E/P) This is a history lesson about the era in the 20th century when music drove the culture. And, as some writers have asserted, "Bill Graham was the man behind the wheel". His Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco became the launching pad for groups like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead as well as stars like Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Carlos Santana. If you've ever wondered where the 'look' of 60's rock posters came from, it was his doing -- he encouraged musicians to collaborate with artists and ''do their thing". Also politically active, he rallied protesters against ill-advised policies of various U.S. Presidents.

Tuesday, July 16

"Science Times" (National Geographic Channel, 9-10pm E/P) The main reports in this science news magazine, produced in conjunction with New York Times Television, are "The Physics Of Billiards" and "Ancient Poison, Modern Cure". Jerry Orbach of TV's "Law And Order" and Jeanette Lee (nicknamed "The Black Widow") explain scientifically the world's greatest trick shots. And scientists from the hills of China visit U.S. hospitals to demonstrate how a naturally occurring chemical best known as a poison can be use as a drug with surprising healing powers -- namely, arsenic.

"Refrigerator Mothers" (PBS, 10-11pm E/P) This film in the well regarded social science series "P.O.V'' explores a now discredited medical theory that autism was caused by a mother's failure to bond with her child. The film documents the struggles of so-called 'refrigerator mothers' (i.e. cold towards their kids), many of whom challenges the theory and are continuing to care for and advocate for their autistic children today -- a moving portrayal of courage and conviction in the face of scientific errors and unfounded accusations. It's probably a good thing that very young children will be asleep by the time this show airs, because it's not "Brady Bunch" stuff. Details available online at http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2002/refrigeratormothers/index.html.

Wednesday, July 17

"Projectiles: Boomerangs To Ballistics" (The Learning Channel, 10-11pm) This documentary surely requires me to urge you not to try these things at home. I mean that, even though you'll see perfectly respectable experts demonstrating the science of projectiles by catapulting pumpkins, I don't want parents e-mailing me with complaints that you took up doing it in your room!! (Better stick to dealing with projectiles virtually, here on Whyville.) The program explains old and new technology, from boomerangs and baseballs, to archery and cannons. Also included is a gravity-defying Aerobe, a kind of boomerang that holds the world's record for "farthest thrown object". And finally you'll learn the science behind the ultimate projectiles -- spacecraft. You might want to compare what you learn here to Whyville's very own WASA.

Thursday, July 18

"Baboon Tales" (Discovery Channel, 7-8pm E/P) You'll never call anyone a 'stupid baboon' again after seeing this documentary. Set in Kenya, it follows a troop of these creatures, revealing their intense social skills as they raise ten new babies while facing a terrible drought. Their success depends on personality, rank, luck and the help they provide one another.


Thursday, July 11
    John Le Carre: The Secret Centre

Friday, July 12
    Spy Kids

Saturday, July 13
    America Eats

Sunday, July 14
    A Walk In Your Shoes: Rap/Country Episode

Monday, July 15
    Bill Graham: Impresario

Tuesday, July 16
    Science Times
    Refrigerator Mothers

Wednesday, July 17
    Projectiles: Boomerangs To Ballistics

Thursday, July 18
    Baboon Tales


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