www.whyville.net Jan 10, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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What's On!

Times Writer

Watch the shows and let me know what you think!
Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

Friday, January 11
    Senior Year

Saturday, January 12
    Journal of the Unknown: Secrets of Astrology

Sunday, January 13
    CBS Sunday Morning
    Son of the Morning Star
    Harley Davidson: Birth of the V-Rod

Monday, January 14
    Mark Twain: A Film by Ken Burns

Tuesday, January 15
    The Good War And Those Who Refused To Fight It

Wednesday, January 16
    Junkyard Wars: Mobile Crane

Thursday, January 17
    Inside the World's Mightiest Bank

Friday, January 11

"FEMA" (Discovery Channel, 8-9pm E/P) This documentary is not about disasters, even though that's what most people think of when the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) is mentioned. It's about the emergency response teams, veterans of dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes, quake, floods and fires. From all across the country the corps of Disaster Assistance Employees, who act as reservists for FEMA, are ready a moment's notice to head to the disaster site for the days, weeks or months needed to aid victims' rebuilding of lives and property.

"Senior Year" (PBS, 10-11pm E/P) First, let me say that this new documentary series about student life in America is TV rated "TV-14SL" which means there are topics discussed on camera, and language used in those scenes, which parents of younger Whyvillians might have objections to. I suggest that, prior to viewing the TV show, the family log on to www.pbs.org/senioryear. Check out the whole idea of whether you want to watch 13 episodes (and maybe interact via e-mail) with 15 different high school kids going through their last year of high school in a neighborhood where there is no ethnic majority, only dozens of different ethnic and cultural groups. While filming at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, award-winning documentarian David Zeigler, himself a graduate of that school, also gave each of his subjects a camera to create a video diary.

Saturday, January 12

"Journal Of The Unknown: Secrets Of Astrology" (The Learning Channel, 10-11pm E/P) Let's be fearless for a minute. Well, maybe 60 or so. Watching this is liable to get us thinking about whether the alignment of the stars, or the time of day we were born, can reveal our futures. Every day millions of people, even First Families, have done this sort of thing -- using milleniums-old techniques -- to predict the stock market, elections, romantic life, peace and war. Watch and learn how often this has worked.

Sunday, January 13

"CBS Sunday Morning" (CBS, 9-10:30 a.m.E/P) The opening story in this always-excellent magazine show is a report by CBS News Medical corrspondent's investigation about claims that a cure has been found for the common cold. The second story is a critical look at a forthcoming broadcast (Monday January 14 -- see below) of the new Ken Burns documentary about Mark Twain. There will also be the first part of a documentary look at deafness. Rochester, NY is the deaf capital of America -- where the employees of Starbucks know sign language, there's a deaf bowling alley and a deaf "beat" in the local newspaper. The report continues, exploring the deaf subculture and a look into how American Sign Language became the deaf language of choice.

"Son Of The Morning Star" (Hallmark Channel, 2-6pm E/P) This is both parts of a dramatic miniseries, about the famous general of "Custer's Last Stand". He's the man whose very name is a synonym for professional arrogance and miscalculation. Read about him at this Amazon.com offer where there's a whole chapter posted from the Evan S. Connell book that this program's based on.

"Harley Davidson: Birth Of The V-Rod" (Discovery Channel, 8-9pm E/P) In a few months this motorcycle company will begin selling a radically re-engineered machine. This documentary shows how it emerged from a drawing on a napkin, through prototyping to an unveiling for a group of very happy dealers. If you're lucky and can get through engineering school you have this kind of work to look forward to.

Monday, January 14

"Mark Twain: A Film By Ken Burns" (PBS airs Part I from 8-10pm E/P today and Part II from 8-10pm E/P tomorrow, Tuesday) Those of you who took me up on my recent suggestion about viewing a short documentary about Twain and a reading of his memoir, "Roughing It" will probably be ready to agree with something Ken Burns, the famous maker of this broader, deeper documentary about Twain's life has said: "Of all the historical figures I've ever gotten to know, I think that Mark Twain is the only person we could bring back today, and within 15 minutes he would be... he would 'get it'". There's lots of cool stuff about Twain at www.pbs.org/marktwain, including some of his zingers like, "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to."

Tuesday, January 15

"The Good War And Those Who Refused To Fight It" (PBS, 10-11pm E/P) This documentary may spark some controversy at this time of strong national unity and patriotism. It's about men who refused to fight during WWII because of a personal conviction, religious or political, that war is wrong. Some did prison time (6,000 did) or alternative forms of national service during the war (12,000 did) as medical guinea pigs, fire jumpers, attendants in mental institutions, etc. Their actions paved the way for subsequent generations of non-violent activism that brought changes to American society. For details log on to www.pbs.org/thegoodwar.

Wednesday, January 16

"Junkyard Wars: Mobile Crane" (The Learning Channel, 9-10pm E/P) I can't stay away from this stuff. Have you been able to? This time these scientists of scrap (my home-made description for the competing engineers) solve the problem of using a pile of junk, and a knowledge of applied physics, to lift and move another pile of junk from one place to another . Background: One team normally specializes in Jaguar cars, the other specializes in wheelchairs.

Thursday January 17

"Inside The World's Mightiest Bank" (Discovery Channel, 10-11pm E/P) This is a documentary about the Federal Reserve (the "Fed" you hear about in the media almost every day) which has the problem of riding herd on an unprecedented global demand for dollars. So, in addition to regulating American banks and deciding what gets charged as interest on loaned money, the Fed lately has had to begun to worry about counterfeiting of our newly redesigned and now easier-to- fake currency. Further, there are related problems with the emerging paperless electronic kind of money -- never a dull moment in the big time banking biz.



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