A match made in heaven, no, a laboratory: Robots and Us shows the facts and science fiction of robots.
A match made in heaven, no, a laboratory: Robots and Us shows the facts and science fiction of robots.

This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Thursday, November 3

We'd like to think that if we were stuck in a cabin in the woods during a snowstorm with no electricity, no phone, no radio, no outside contact at all, that an innate hunter-gatherer instinct would kick in and we could chop wood, start a fire with twigs and rocks and just know which berries were edible and which were poison. Chances are all our Girl Scouts training would fail us, and we'd end up rocking and mumbling in a corner or crying in a fetal position on the floor. Panic would ensue. That's what happens in Eric Bogosian's Humpty Dumpty--named so because in the play the delicate eggshell of modern technology and civilization cracks and breaks. As four self-obsessed, technology-dependent New York yupsters find themselves without the security blanket of irony worship and high culture, they begin to unravel--a strong statement and poignant situation after, first, September 11 and now Hurricane Katrina. Second Thought Theatre presents Humpty Dumpty Thursdays through Sundays from November 3 through November 20 at the Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road. Tickets are $15. Call the box office at 972-450-6232.

Friday, November 4


Humpty Dumpty

Getting through the holidays is hard enough, but now Howard Stern is leaving regular radio for satellite radio and being replaced by David Lee "Just a Gigolo" Roth. Devastated by Stern's departure? Yeah, neither are we. While we support his right to say offensive, thickheaded, button-pushing, FCC-freaking out things, we can't stand his show. But if you can, then perhaps you've wondered what it would be like if his motley crew of colorful characters locked Stern up and tried to out-funny one another. Here's the closest you'll get: the Killers of Comedy Show. Craig Gass, Richard Christy, Sal the Stockbroker, Reverend Bob Levy and Gary the Retard all perform at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday at Hyena's Arlington, 2525 E. Arkansas Lane, and 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday at Hyena's Fort Worth, 605 Houston St. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show. Call 817-226-5233 for Arlington or 817-877-5233 for Fort Worth.

Saturday, November 5

If you think the answers to your life's problems could be spouted by a conservative, Jewish, gay-bashing psychiatrist with her own radio talk show, then, oh boy, do we have a night of "theater" for you. Yes, your favorite radio shrink (next to Frasier Crane, of course) not only dishes out tough love on the radio, but also in her new one-woman show, Dr. Laura: In My Never to Be Humble Opinion. Act one features Dr. Laura starring as Dr. Laura talking about Dr. Laura. In the second half, she answers questions from the audience and gives advice just like on her show. Her Web site claims that "Dr. Laura's ability to 'wow' her audience will keep this show running for many years to come." Odd then that such a sure hit is only booked for one night. The show is 8 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St. Tickets are $26.50 to $71.50, plus Ticketmaster service charges. Call 214-373-8000 for show admission and valet parking reservations.

Sunday, November 6

We love the stereotype-breakers: the unicorn figurine-collecting mechanics and the Harley-riding, not-afraid-to-break-a-nail beauty pageant contestants. Despite that, we just couldn't imagine intelligent, cultured, sophisticated NASCAR fans. They're urban legends, like alligators living in the sewers after being flushed down toilets and good drivers on North Central Expressway. But, like Mulder and Scully, we know they're out there. So we're heading to the Texas Motor Speedway's Dickies 500 week armed with IQ tests and culture quizzes. The race week includes a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying race at 7 p.m. Thursday, qualifying races Friday for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at 3:10 p.m. and NASCAR Busch Series at 5 p.m., the Silverado 350K NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at 8 p.m. Friday, the O'Reilly Challenge NASCAR Busch Series at 1 p.m. Saturday and the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at 2:55 p.m. Sunday, followed by legends racing at 5:45 p.m. in the infield. Texas Motor Speedway is on Interstate 35 West at Highway 114 between Denton and Fort Worth. Visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

Monday, November 7

There are robots living in your house. Sure, they're not cool ones like The Jetsons' wisecracking housekeeper Rosie or the life-saving, computer-hacking, metal-but-cuddly R2D2. But they do heat your food, wash your clothes and record your favorite TV shows all season long. Yes, everyday appliances count as robots--as long as they're devices that can perform complicated and repetitive tasks. Meet more robots--some cooler than a toaster, some barely less primitive than Tinker Toys--during Robots and Us. Certain that robots are only a software or hardware upgrade away from taking over the world like in movies? Think again. According to Don Pohlman, project leader for this exhibit, which was developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota, "Even animals like cockroaches and ants are far more capable than the robots we know how to build today." See? Ants and cockroaches haven't taken over the world! Assuage your fears of robot domination in the exhibit's Robot Arena where you can move robots through mazes and the Leg Lab where you can learn how anatomical attributes affect walking. Then build your own basic robot--and plot your own earth takeover. The exhibit runs through January 4 at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1501 Montgomery St. Admission is $6 to $7. Call 1-888-255-9300.

Tuesday, November 8

Surviving a safari is never easy, but we have a few vital tips for adventurous travelers. First, be sure to pack your most versatile and dangerous weapon: the credit card. See, money talks, and sometimes it can sweet-talk you out of a rough spot. It's also helpful in winning a silent or live auction. Second, the proper attire is a necessity. Black tie is required, so tuxes for men, and ladies, we suggest a loose, flowy, comfortable dress made of a breathable material--gotta have room for a Thanksgiving Day-like tummy stretch after all those samples of haute cuisine. All right, so our advice won't help for an African safari with lions, hippos and giraffes. But it is fitting for Embark on a Culinary Safari, a fund-raiser for the March of Dimes, care of the Signature Chefs of Dallas. Taste samples of cuisine by 20 of Dallas' celebrity chefs, then bid on prize packages that include having food prepared by the chefs. The event also features a cocktail reception and live entertainment. Tickets are $300 for the Culinary Safari, which takes place starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd. Call 972-669-3643.

Wednesday, November 9

Successful lawyer whose successful novels have been made into successful movies for screens big and small. You gotta hate Scott Turow. Not only did he write Presumed Innocent (starring Harrison Ford), The Burden of Proof (starring Hector Elizondo) and Reversible Errors (starring William H. Macy and Tom Selleck), but he also penned One L about his experiences at law school, a death penalty discussion called Ultimate Punishment and articles for publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Did we mention he's handsome, rich and well-dressed? Love to hate him (or dream of being him) when he appears at the Writers Studio at the Karcher Auditorium and Storey Hall on the campus of Southern Methodist University at Hillcrest Avenue and Daniel Avenue. Call the Writer's Garret at 214-828-1715 for $28 to $34 tickets.


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