www.whyville.net May 30, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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

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

Thursday, May 30

"Balloons" (History Channel, 7-8 pm E/P) This is a documentary about the technology of balloon flight. Pilots and engineers have been pushing huge inflated gas bags around the world through turbulent weather fronts or up into the stratosphere with ever increasing success -- and loss of life. Find out why they used balloons for science research from those who lived to talk about it.

"Soylent Green" (Turner Classic Movies, 8-10pm ET, 5-7pm PT) This is a thought-provoking movie version of Harry Harrison's science fiction classic "Make Room! Make Room!" In the year 2022, the greenhouse effect has raised temperatures to near unbearable levels; cities are grotesquely overcrowded and lack access to fresh food. The rich live in heavy-security buildings and can afford $150 dishes of real strawberries, but the hungry poor live on corporately-produced soy and lentil products called Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow. But Soylent Green, a new, super-nutritious food, isn't made of beans or plankton as folks have been told. A New York detective uncovers the cold truth about the source of this product. Charlton Heston stars. Available on video.

Friday, May 31

"Be Your Own Hero: Call To Duty" (Lifetime Channel, 7-8pm E/P) This documentary about women in various branches of the U.S. Military -- including the first females to graduate from West Point, a military couple stationed in different locations who have two young children, a woman shipping out to a foreign location without her husband and a woman working in homeland security. (See listing of related program about women pilots, Sunday, June 2nd, below.)

"Haunt of the Hippo" (National Geographic Channel, 8-9pm E/P) Here's a documentary about hippos, close up and personal with these 3,000 pound herbivores. (Vegetarians, you'll see how to get big and bad just by eating weeds!) Filmed in the Mzima Springs area of Kenya where hippos live among crocodiles and terrapins.

Saturday, June 1

"The 2002 ALMA Awards" (ABC, 8-10pm E/P) This awards broadcast honors outstanding achievement and enhancement of Latino images in entertainment and the arts. Sponsored by the National Council of La Raza, it provides 2 hours of rich cultural diversity and, let's be honest, fabulous fun.

Sunday, June 2

"Elizabeth: The Reluctant Monarch" (A&E Network, 7-8pm E/P) This documentary, airing on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebration (50 years) of Elizabeth II's reign, provides lesson that service to one's country -- even at the top-most tier -- requires hard work. Via archival footage, stills and interviews with the Queen's friends and associates you'll get behind the public fa??ade to examine the tumultuous events of her reign.

"Fly Girls" (PBS, 9-10pm E/P -- check local times for variations) I've mentioned this program before, but didn't want to let this reprise broadcast pass unmentioned. It's an inspiring documentary about women, some just out of their teens, who became pilots during a time when folks thought flying was just for males. Then, when WWII broke out, and America suddenly needed fliers for the military, these pioneering women were sought out and asked to join the war effort. (Among their duties was to be test pilots for aircraft that men were afraid to fly.)

Monday, June 3

"Cyberchase: Problem Solving in Shangri-La" (PBS, 5-5:30pm ET, 2:30pm PT -- but check with your local PBS outlet because times vary in each town) In this smart, funny animated program makes an interesting point about using mathematical calculations to get out of a kidnap situation in space: Make a plan, take time to review and revise it before plunging ahead and be careful not to let anger or frustration overtake your desire to achieve your goal. There's a cool website that goes with the Cyberchase series at www.pbskids.org.

Tuesday, June 4

"Eureka!: The 20th Century's Top 15 Inventors" (A&E Network, 8-9pm E/P) OK, this may sound like quiz show stuff, but it's really about the quirky science and technology pioneers who invented things like airplanes, plastic, polio vaccine, the contraceptive pill, the internet. In this documentary you'll get to know some of the personalities who, whether you like or not, changed our everyday life. (Watch especially the part about Philo T. Farnsworth, who drew up the basic patent for TV when he was 17. There's a good new book about this, "The Boy Genius and the Mogul" by Daniel Stashower.)

"A Different Way To Heal" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This documentary in the "Scientific American Frontiers" series takes a serious look at "alternative" of "complimentary" medical science -- acupuncture, herbalism, chiropractic and therapeutic touch.

"The Manhattan Project" (History Channel, 10-11pm E/P) This is a documentary about the grand-daddy of all Big Science experiments -- the 36 month effort to get from paper and pencil theory to a workable atomic bomb. You will be amazed to lean how young the people were who did this 60 ears ago -- and how painfully aware they were of the controversy about their work (perhaps comparable to the human cloning issue these days).

Wednesday, June 5

"D-Day: Beneath the Waves" (Discovery Channel 9-10pm E/P) Despite how easy and effective the technology in movies like "Star Wars" or "Men In Black" seems to be, not all devices are successful when first deployed, and some are never successful. In this documentary about a '"secret weapon" developed during WWII you will learn details, via underwater photography, about a fleet of American Sherman DD tanks -- designed to storm ashore ahead of the of the Allied infantry invasion of Europe in 1944 -- now lying at the bottom of the sea off the coast of Normandy. They didn't float or fire a shot after launching in the English Channel.

"Secret Subs: Cuban Missile Crisis" (Discovery Channel, 10-11pm E/P) As the world this month worries about a new standoff between rival nations armed with nuclear technology (Pakistan and India this time around) it is instructive to look at how Russia and America averted a nuclear exchange in 1962. Back then, Russia secretly sent 4 subs to Cuba with orders to fire nuclear weapons if America discovered and attacked them. In this documentary you'll hear from veterans of both sides of that potentially end-of-the world situation.

Thursday, June 6

"Ben Shahn: Passion For Justice" (PBS, 10-11pm E/P -- check your local station because times and dates may vary) This is a hard-hitting documentary about the life and work of Ben Shahn, who, for a period of 40 years was the preeminent painter-as-social critic in America. A political radical who constantly studied and followed classical artistic traditions, particularly the Italian religious muralist of the 14th and 15th century, he demonstrated that it's possible to combing being (1) a fine artist (2) an innovative artist (3) a popular and financially successful artist and (4) an uncompromising campaigner for civil rights.


Thursday, May 30
    Soylent Green Friday, May 31
    Be Your Own Hero: Call to Duty
    Haunt of the Hippo

Saturday, June 1
    The 2002 ALMA Awards

Sunday, June 2
    Elizabeth: The Reluctant Monarch
    Fly Girls

Monday, June 3
    Cyberchase: Problem-Solving in Shangri-La

Tuesday, June 4
    Eureka!: The 20th Century's Top 15 Inventors
    A Different Way To Heal
    The Manhattan Project

Wednesday, June 5
    D-Day: Beneath the Waves
    Secret Subs: Cuban Missile Crisis

Thursday, June 6
    Ben Shahn: Passion For Justice


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