Dear Miss Manners:
For two weeks, I've invited a couple into my home each evening from 8 to 11. Let's call them Paula and Tim.
Paula seems very nice. She's always smiling and acts really interested, even when the subject turns to things I know she learned about only recently.
Tim, on the other hand, though he always dresses well, doesn't appear to be very comfortable during his visits. He's stiff, he looks as if he's reading from a script and he can't relate to Paula.
I don't want to be impolite, Miss Manners, but Tim's visits are getting pretty painful for all of us. What should I do?
# R.F., Baltimore
Ah, dear correspondent, I can sympathize with your dilemma. A real drag, right, man? Tim might turn out to be a more engaging presence at another, less formal gathering. I suggest inviting him back on Saturday afternoons this summer. Maybe have him come over during a baseball game. Don't abandon Paula, though. She can keep dropping by for breakfast.
Ice, ice, baby: How much does CBS love to show women's figure skating? Last night, we saw the skater who was in 19th place going into the finals. Other than Americans or fallen favorites, in what other sports have we seen somebody in 19th place?
When that No. 19 skater, Hungary's Krisztina Czako, 13, performed to the music of Pink Floyd, analyst Scott Hamilton noted that, though the music was kind of modern for skating, it still probably was older than Czako.
Me and my shadow: It wasn't easy, but CBS managed to make Katarina Witt look ugly. In a short piece in which she spoke of her skating career, weird lighting put her face half in darkness, as if she were confessing to some heinous crime.
Some kind of wonderful: CBS' choice of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" to open last night's show and set up the women's figure skating would have seemed more appropriate to me had I not already known about the falls of the top contenders.
Looking ahead: This afternoon's program on CBS (1-6) features live coverage of the U.S. hockey team's attempt to win a bronze medal against Czechoslovakia. . . . Also this afternoon, watch people go fast and wait for them to fall in the short-track speed skating and speed skiing. In the latter, skiers rocket down a severe slope and try to be the fastest through a speed trap. Earlier this week, one competitor fell and was measured by the radar gun to be skidding at more than 100 mph. . . .
A highlight of tonight's CBS show (7-11) should be the figure skating exhibition, with the top performers from all disciplines. 00 There are no restrictions on the skaters, including no blue-nose judges around to make sure no one has too much fun by doing a flip or something. . . . CBS also is saving Alberto Tomba's attempt to win a second gold medal in the slalom for tonight. Which makes sense, I suppose. After all, a party animal such as Tomba should be around on Saturday night.
The ratings game: As the coaches like to say, it wasn't pretty, but it was a win. CBS' Thursday night lineup wasn't its strongest, but the network still won the night, its 12th prime-time victory through 13 nights of the Olympics. CBS had a 15.4 rating and 24 share Thursday night, beating NBC's 14.3/22, ABC's 12.0/19 and Fox's 12.0/18. (And before I type these next two sentences, let me just say that, over the course of the Winter Games, I've grown quite fond of them. I hope you've enjoyed reading them everyday just as much as I've enjoyed writing them.) A rating measures the percentage of all television households watching a program. A share measures the percentage among homes where television is in use.
CBS' 12 prime-time wins are a Winter Olympics record, the network says. C-B-S, C-B-S, C-B-S.