www.whyville.net Jan 9, 2004 Weekly Issue

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These listings cover television programs up to Friday, January 16, 2004.

Greetings, TV viewers!

The discussion topic for Media hour in the Greek Theatre on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Whyville Time will be "Should soft drink sales be banned in schools?" Check out the media suggestion for Saturday, January 10th, below for ammunition to use in what is sure to be a lively debate.

For the Media Hour, watch the show(s)-of-the-week, jot down some ideas, then talk about them with me and other citizens (including other City Workers, if they're available) at the Greek Theater, over in City Hall. You'll find that the Theater makes discussions pretty easy, since City Workers are able to direct people's movement and behavior, when we need to, and it keeps everyone's chat bubbles from overlapping too much. We meet for MediaHour on Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Whyville Time (that's the same as Eastern Daylight Time).

Friday, January 9

'The Roots Of Racing" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m. E/P) Here's a documentary that combines geography (information about Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina and Alabama) with auto racing lore. Racing is a way of life in many rural areas of the south. While every driver dreams of living the success of Richard Petty, these local racers have no expectation of making a profession out of racing -- they're following a tradition. The program takes viewers into the small towns and counties where dirt racetracks exist, to meet some of the owner-drivers and the family and friends around them.

Saturday, January 10

"Ban Soft Drink Sales in Schools?" (web-site of the American Academy of Pediatrics http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/113/1/152) No TV documentaries has presented such a hard-charging case against soda-drinking as does this website. It highlights an article from this month's edition of the official journal for childrens' doctors (pediatricians). You will get excited whether you agree with it or not. It says that soft drinks should be eliminated from schools to affect the nation's obesity epidemic. Pediatricians, it argues, should work with their local schools to ensure that children get healthful alternatives. Some schools already limit contracts with vendors of soft drinks and fast foods, though the soft drink industry has fought efforts to require them. Also, some schools rely on funds from vending machines to pay for student activities. About 15 percent of U.S. kids aged 6 to 19 are seriously overweight. That's nearly 9 million youths and triple the number in a similar assessment from 1980. Soft drink consumers at all ages have a higher daily calorie intake than non-consumers, the academy's report says. Fifty-six percent to 85 percent of school-age children consume at least one soft drink daily, most often sugared rather than diet sodas.

Sunday, January 11

"CBS 60 Minutes" (CBS, 7-8 pm E/P) There are 3 stories about the possible future of money and business in this newsmagazine -- some are radical. You choose which is which. (1) American companies are increasingly farming out work, especially jobs done over the phone, such as help and information services, to far-flung places like India. (2) The Greysone Bakery is a business that not only employs the disenfranchised, but also puts its profits into social services to help them even more. (3) In his first interview since leaving his cabinet position, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reveals new information about key economic and foreign policy discussions within the Bush administration. O'Neill is the main source for an upcoming book about the Bush White House, "The Price of Loyalty."

"The Beauty Of Snakes" (Animal Planet Channel, 7-8 p.m. E/P) I like the provocative title of this documentary -- it gets around the ick factor and right into a celebration of how beautiful and spectacular snakes can be, from the majestic King Cobra to the tiny thread snake, the desert horned viper to the banded sea-krait.

Monday, January 12

"Reconstruction: The Second Civil War" (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m. E/P) Check out this eye-opening documentary miniseries about a U.S. military occupation and nation-building effort in a defeated country. No, it's not about U.S efforts in Iraq, or what happened years ago in Japan or Germany. Rather, it's about the Confederate States of American. It took 12 years of military occupation of the South after the U.S. Civil War before a semblance of democracy was established there. In comparison, he U.S. had to keep troops in Germany for 7 years before a democratic government could be established. This was because in the chaos following the Civil War, a revolution took shape in the South. Former slaves moved to take control of their lives, setting up their own communities, churches, and schools. Southern whites, deeply threatened, resisted -- often violently. To control the violence and safeguard black rights, Congress passed Radical Reconstruction, imposing military rule on the South and giving black men (but not women) the vote. The accompanying website is very informative: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/. (Part 2 airs tomorrow, January 13.)

Tuesday, January 13

"Made In America" (Travel Channel, 9-9:30 p.m. E/P) Look into how baseball bats roll off the line at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Oscar Mayer Weiners are made in this unusual documentary. But I like the part where it watches board gamers at the 1999 National Monopoly Championship.

Wednesday, January 14

"Ancient Evidence: David and Goliath" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m. E/P) Follow along on a real-life archeological and historical detective story about the ultimate hero (at least in my opinion), a man who was both a prolific poet and a tough warrior. Recent archeological evidence supports the existence of David and that he may also have been born a nobleman.

Thursday, January 15

"Modern Marvels: Remote Control" (History Channel, 8-7 p.m. E/P) You may think you know everything about remote controlled vehicles, robots and such. But here's a documentary with info you've probably not yet encountered. The remote control revolution began in 1898, when inventor Nikola Tesla successfully controlled a 6-foot-long iron-hulled model boat using radio waves. Now, of course you can press a button and you can soar in the sky, command a virtual pet, adjust the thermostat in your house while riding in a car, and, of course, change the channel on your TV.

Friday, January 16

"Between The Lines: Inside The White House" (A&E Channel 10-11 p.m. E/P) This initial episode in a 4-part series featuring celebrities reading letters written by historical figures explores the events, motivation, and often the humor behind letters written from and to the White House. Martin Sheen reads letters by John Kennedy, Hillary Clinton reads letters from Eleanor Roosevelt, Candice Bergen reads as Betty Ford, Priscilla Presley is "The King", and Jimmy Carter entertains with a favorite letter addressed to him as President. On January 23, the series presents some of the most provocative letters ever composed. "Secrets and Lines" includes some letters written in the face of death -- containing new clues about a tragic historical event. On January 30, "Personal and Confidential" is about letters that reveal the souls of the people who wrote them. On February 13, in "The Power of the Pen," letters show they can ignite a heart, dash a dream or even speak from the grave. Some of the people reading these letters for viewers are John Goodman, Sarah Kozer, Morgan Fairchild, Mario Lopez, Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter, Donny Osmond and Denise Simpson.


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