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March 30, 2000 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-30

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12B -The Michigan Daily -Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, March 30, 2000




The Michigan Daily - Weeken
Berg's Wonderland' sees sanity through t

By Toyin Akinmusuru
Weekend Etc., Editor
The number of people shopping
online has increased dramatically in the
past two years, at a rate that could
account to 25 percent of all consumer
purchases by 2003, according to
Forrester Research.
Most people view shopping in stores
and shopping online as separate realms

of consumer behavior. Some compa-
nies, like Borders and Charles Schwab,
have been working on integrating their
regualar businesses and Websites in an
effort to make online and offline shop-
ping as seamless and possible. A
promising technology might allow these
two spheres to merge in a whole new
Yesterday, PlanetRx.com started

offering ScanCart shopping, a system
that allows their users to quickly reorder
items before their home supplies run
out. The systems is dependent on a
handheld scanner the user purchases,
that reads the UPC symbols of the need-
ed health or beauty products. At a price
of S159, the scanner is currently too
expensivehassle for most regular online
shoppers. As production increases, the

price is likely to drop, making the sys-
tem economically viable for the majori-
ty of shoppers.
A different tack on the same idea is
heing used by FastFrog.com, an Atlanta-
based Website. At participating malls,
shoppers can check out handheld scan-
ners to use while shopping. Shoppers
can then scan in the UPC symbols of
desired items for later upload to
FastFrog.com. On the Website, they cane
compile lists of their wants - which
can then be sent as wishlists via email
for their friends and family to purchase
online - purchases on which FastFrog
earns a commisson. FastFrog officials
expect that the scanners to take the place
of a registry for shoppers using the ser-
The implementations bring in to mind
another possible way of using such a
scanner. It could be soon possible to go
Meijer and scan in all the products you
want into a personal scanner. At home,
uploading the codes to a system like that
on Priceline.com, one could get lower
prices online and still pick up the prod-
uct in the regular store.
Both FastFrog.com and PlanetRx.com
use scanners from the same company,
Symbol Technologies. Other companies

Courtesy of Symool Tec-noogies
The FastFrog scanner allows shoppers
to select products for their online
are working on similar products, some
for than just commerce. Xenote Inc., a
similar company, is developing a key-
chain size device that will allow users to
bookmark people and places, in addition
to items.
Barring major technological prob-
lems in the deploying of these devices,
you might soon be just as likely to see
someone shopping with a scanner as
with a credit card.

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Writer
ABC's new hour-long drama
"Wonderland" is not "ER" br "Chicago
Hope." It is like no other hospital drama
that has been televised before. This is
"ER" on acid. "Wonderland" takes hold
of your mind, plays with it a little, then
returns it completely mystified.
Let's start from the beginning. When
asked to describe what a chief of foren-
sic psychiatry (the psychiatric study of
criminology) at Rivervue Psychiatric
Hospital does, Dr. Robert Banger (Ted
Levine) explains, "We secretly call it the
Barbarians' Gate. When the pressures of
modern society become too great for a
person. When one's chemical dynamic
becomes such that they are unbalanced
... they cease painting in the lines, they
come to us." The doctors at Rivervue ark
the gatekeepers that guard the "normal"
world from the mentally ill. But we soon
come to learn that these doctors can't
protect themselves from their patients or
the world at large.
The premiere episode begins with a
glimpse into a group therapy session.
The scene is basically a metaphor for the
entire premise of the show. One simple
question or action can lead to unexpect-
ed events, including all hell breaking
loose. But where's the doctor? The doc-
tor just sits there, powerless to do any-
thing, as his group begins to fall apart all
around him. "Wonderland's" doctors are
not about the power to control life and
death, but the power to learn that you
cannot control everything.
Underscored by the percussion of
"The Little Drummer Boy,"
"Wonderland" cuts to the morning rou-
tines of the Rivervue doctors. Dr. Banger
explores the minds of his two young sons
as he makes them Mickey Mouse pan-
cakes while worrying that he will per-
manently lose custody of them to his ex-
wife. We meet Dr. Abe Matthews (Billy
Burke), a commitment-phobic womaniz-
er who will flirt with anything mobile.
He takes the audience along on one of
his therapy sessions, where he describes
sex as a "brain hijacking" and fears any-
thing commitment-related including the

Dr. Lila Garrity
(Michelle Forbes
of "Homicide"),
head of the
E m e r g e n c y
Program (the
CPEP, in other
words, takes
walk-ins and
emergency psych
patients). These
four doctors are
on their way to
another appropri-

"double-team answering machine mes-
sage." Next, we're introduced to Dr. Neil
Harrison (Martin Donovan), another
forensic specialist, and his pregnant wife

Grade: 3+
Tonight at 10 p.m.

the lack of anything like it before. Peter
Berg, who played a doctor himself in
"Chicago Hope" and was the brains
behind the film "Very Bad Things," cre-
ated "Wonderland." He and the writers
spent months at a New York hospital
researching and working with psychia-
trists and ER physicians. The storylines
are inspired by real-life experiences of
the staff and patients. But what really
grips the viewer is the way
"Wonderland" is shot - almost as if it t
were a serial documentary. Each week
we learn more about the inner workings
of the doctors than their patients, which
makes the show more appealing.
"Wonderland" also gives us a glimpse
into the world of the "Shadow People;' Ted Levine, most famous fi
those who are thrown into the mental help them. These doctor
health system with no regard, save from impossible job, trying
some who make it their life's work to selves sane, let alone

ately crazy day.
For starters, Wendell Rickle shoots
five people in the middle of Times
Square because the gods told him to. (He
has a little trouble distinguishing himself
from Odysseus, or for that matter,
Odysseus from Zeus.) Along with his
victims, Wendell is admitted to Rivervue
in the midst of a media frenzy. There is
no doubt that Wendell is guilty, but is he
insane? Unfortunately, that question is
not asked right away because it turns out
four days earlier, Dr. Garrity had dis-
missed Wendell as completely coherent
and turned him loose from the hospital.
Trying to make up for her error, Dr.
Garrity ends up involved in an ER acci-
dent that leaves her baby in critical con-
dition and the medical review board
waiting to press her on her diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Dr. Matthews tries to
evaluate a suicide patient. In order to
make him understand the severity of his
problem, Dr. Matthews tell the patient
about the "science" the CPEP ward
employs. This science explains the vary-
ing degrees of suicide attempts, their
outcomes and the resulting basis for
treatment of suicide patients. Eventually,
the man begins to understand his depres-
sion, but not before he helps teach this
commitment-shy doctor the joys of mar-
What makes this show exceptional is


final issue of the year will be on sale
April 3rd - April 7th in Angell Hall
for only one dollar!
Don't worry, we'll
be back next year!


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