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Short Takes

Chi-Town's NPR had an Eight Forty-Eight story about the Chinese-language center here in Chicago, and public school students who take Chinese as part of their regular curriculum. Wish they'd had that when I was in school... y'know, so those Chinese phrases didn't throw me so badly while watching fireflyfans.

Had a laugh at the Oxygen cable network on their promo for tonight's showing of the seminal (ahem!) entry in the Cruisian oeuvre, Risky Business; a male voiceover intones, "Tom Cruise. A couch. See how it all began--!"

Preview RISKY BUSINESS at www.videodetective.com

Congrats to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! (which I went to a few weeks ago) live audience anniversary! Tonight's "Not My Job" celeb quiz guest is none other than Forrest Gump/Robert Langdon himself, Tom Hanks! Yes, of course tonight's taping is all sold out!

Wait Wait Live Show Celebrates First Birthday

Peter Sagal used to spend Thursday nights at home, watching reruns of Law & Order. But a year ago, he had an epiphany. He turned off the TV and ran down to the Chase Auditorium. No one was there, so the next week he made sure to bring the whole Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! crew, along with 500 audience members. Since that fateful day, these live tapings have become a weekly tradition—and tonight, we're celebrating their one-year anniversary! Peter and Carl Kasell will be joined for the occasion by regular panelists Roy Blount, Jr., Paula Poundstone, and Adam Felber. Plus, superstar Tom Hanks will be on the phone to play “Not My Job” and, of course, to plug his new movie Turner & Hooch 2 The Da Vinci Code. Tickets for tonight's taping are sold-out, but the shows will go on...so buy your tickets now!

What's funny is how I've been to two tapings of the show now, neither of which featured Paula Poundstone on the panel, but it's Paula that I actually saw over on Michigan Avenue last year, obviously on her way to a taping.

Speaking of Law & Order, my sister was saying that with the way it stands now on the cable channels, you're never more than two hours away from a rerun of some incarnation of the series--to which I responded, "Like an AA meeting! It's true!" I've already made all the bad jokes about how there should just be a Law & Order channel--and if you think it's ridiculous for a single show and/or its respective spin-offs to run continuously all day and make up an entire channel, you must not have looked at the daily schedule for the TNT and USA (and increasingly, BRAVO) cable channels lately--! Plus, you're aware that these reruns are some of the highest-rated shows on cable, period, right? My newest spin on the whole thing is that there should be a fan convention. Now even my mother, who catches at least 18 of the 24 hours a day of L&O broadcasting out there thinks that idea is ridiculous. But come on, it's the only long-running TV show that doesn't have a noted official fan gathering. I know that length is not a factor--Firefly lasted only a season--but it's so obvious there are so many fans of so many ages, races, cultures, creeds. Why can't it be celebrated like Star Trek and Xena/Hercules and the Whedonverse (hel-lo Creation Entertainment)? I even thought of a few events, like a Jerry Orbach Lookalike/Talkalike Contest! Or do a Be Jack McCoy's New ADA, a kind of fake reality show audition kinda thing. There could be appearances from former cast members (well, those who survive; R.I.P. Orbach!). If you hold it in New York and have an open invitation to anyone who's ever appeared on it, just about every bloody actor in the city will show up! And then the fans would be just about everybody else! I know celebs would be tempted to come--as fans! Chris Meloni told a story on The View earlier this week about being at the All-Star Game and spotting Michael Jordan in the stands and trying to be real cool 'bout the whole thing--but then Jordan was the one who came over to him, acting like the gushing fan. "Juanita! What's my favorite show?!" "Law and Order: SVU." "Yeah!" See, people just don't have any imagination anymore--!