www.whyville.net Sep 12, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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There's some pretty in-your-face stuff on TV this week. Lots of "attitude" on view -- with intriguing consequences for the characters involved. I think you should discuss with your parents -- prior to viewing -- whether they might like to sit next to you during some of these shows. I suspect that some parents will be happy with what they see. I mean, they may be as interested as you are in this stuff.

Watch the shows and tell me what you and your parents think. Email me, the new MediaWiz of Whyville!

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

Thursday, September 12

"Lathe Of Heaven" (A&E Network, 9-11pm E/P) This movie, rated TV-PG, is based on Ursula K. LeGuin's classic science fiction novel about a man whose dreams come true -- I mean, what he dreams about subsequently happens in the real world. His doctor tries to manipulate these dream patterns for selfish ends. Cast includes James Caan, Lukas Haas and Lisa Bonet. Available on DVD.

Friday, September 13

"Speaking In Strings" (Sundance Channel, 6-7:30pm E/P) This documentary about classical music's "bad girl of the violin", tempestuous soloist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is directed by her friend-since childhood, Paola di Florio (no shrinking flower herself -- she garnered an Oscar nomination for this movie). The result is a portrait of a brilliant, egocentric and emotionally troubled prodigy with a passion for music -- and she is also a rabid baseball fan. (I have watched her perform in person. She's so ferocious that one fears for the physical safety of her violin, and wonders if she herself will burst into flame because she is so intense. But I think that if you see this documentary you will discover an artist and person you may remember for the rest of your life.) Film rated TV-PG

Saturday, September 14

"Need for Speed" (National Geographic Channel 8-9pm ET, 5-6pm PT) The first story in this science news magazine in "The Human Edge" series takes a look at some of the fastest road vehicles on the planet, including cars such as the Hennessey Venom 800, which exceeds the takeoff speeds of many jet aircraft. Then, perhaps inspired by the reference to venom in that story, the producers report on some venomous creatures inflict pain, disabling injury and even death, but their poisons are now being researched as a new generation of wonder drugs.

Sunday, September 15

"The DuPont Dynasty" (History Channel, 8-7pm E/P) This is a technology documentary about a dynasty of immigrant French chemists. Their company, which began by selling gunpowder for the Americans to use against the British in 1776, had as it's advertising slogan for many years "Better Things For Better Living Through Chemistry". It is said they are now the wealthiest family in America.

"Almost A Woman" (PBS, 8-10pm E/P) This movie was scripted by Esmeralda Santiago from her prizewinning memoir. As a thirteen year old she arrived in New York from Puerto Rico with her mother and six siblings. As the oldest child, she had to shoulder the responsibility of learning English as her mother's interpreter and guide through the challenges of their new life in America. She overcame her anxiety about appearance and dating -- and her poverty -- and because a junior high counselor recognized her intellectual potential, she gained admission to Manhattan's prestigious High School Of Performing Arts ( plus subsequently also a Harvard degree). Her books have become classics in the literature of emotional and cultural awakening: "When I Was Puerto Rican", "Almost A Woman" and "America's Dream"

Monday, September 16

"Sci-Trek: Our Earliest Ancestors" (Discovery Channel, 10-11pm E/P) This is a documentary about Dr. Meave Leakey's 1999 discovery of an ancient fossil in Kenya called 'flat-faced man' which rocked the world of anthropology. Her theory is that this possible human ancestor, unlike any seen before, suggests that far from our being descended from a line of apes, there were probably many two-legged ape-like creatures that emerged in the last seven million years, any one of which could have been our ancestor.

Tuesday, September 17

"Microsoft Targets DOS" (History Channel, 9-10pm E/P) This is a documentary in a series called "Big Deals". When IBM decided to build a personal computer (they were initially against doing one so small that ordinary people could own one!) they turned to a small, 30-person software company in Seattle called Microsoft to provide an operating system. That was DOS, which 24 year-old Bill Gates had just recently acquired from an a teenier company called Seattle Computer. Gates became the richest man on earth, but Bill Brock, the person who actually owned DOS, lost his shirt. There's a moral here somewhere, I think. But in any case, you should know that these things happen in the world of tech (Editor's Note: ...and elsewhere!).

Wednesday, September 18

"Endgame: Ethics And Values In America" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This multimedia special on controversial moral issues combined thought-provoking drama, audience participation, audience discussion, live web interaction and polling to probe American's attitudes towards lying -- explored in its many shades of grey. Because of the frankness of the opinions which will inevitably pop-up during the program, the producers have rated their show PG-13, which I take to mean that they want parents to be present while their kids watch. Website is www.pbs.org/endgame.

"Queen Of Sheba: Behind The Myth" (Discovery Channel 9-10pm E/P) This documentary follows the work of archaeologists as they piece together newly discovered evidence in the remote desert of Yemen to recreate the dramatic life of one of the most powerful woman of the Biblical era -- consort of King Solomon and founder of the great Ethiopian dynasty that would harbor the Ark Of The Covenant.

"Courageous Steps" (ABC 10-11pm E/P) This medical documentary looks at Christopher ("Superman") Reeve's life since the accident that left him paralyzed, highlighting his personal quest to walk again before his 50th birthday.

Thursday, September 19

"The Stock Exchange" (History Channel, 7-8pm E/P) This documentary explains the origins of the New York Stock Exchange, the "market" that you're always hearing about as it goes "up" or "down" -- maybe determining your future. Now the epicenter of the U.S. economy, which also pushes other nation's "markets" up and down, it started as an open air meeting place near a wooden wall (running along Wall Street) across Manhattan Island intended to keep Native Americans from expelling the place's European colonists. It's become a computer-driven wonder where $90 million changes hands every minute.


Thursday, September 12
    Lathe Of Heaven

Friday, September 13
    Speaking In Strings

Saturday, September 14
    Need for Speed

Sunday, September 15
    The DuPont Dynasty
    Almost A Woman

Monday, September 16
    Sci-Trek: Our Earliest Ancestors

Tuesday, September 17
    Microsoft Targets DOS

Wednesday, September 18
    Endgame: Ethics And Values In America
    Queen Of Sheba: Behind The Myth
    Courageous Steps

Thursday, September 19
    The Stock Exchange


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