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.
Cutting a fine figure: Yes, CBS dragged it out to the end, but what did you expect? The women's figure skating, what most people were waiting for, was allowed to take over the latter part of last night's telecast.
Except for commercials, CBS just let the contenders take over the screen. Analyst Scott Hamilton was sharp, praising and cheering, but also not overlooking anyone's faults. Give Hamilton a silver medal. (If he's back for Lillehammer, Hamilton is a cinch for gold.)
CBS could have overdosed on Brenda Kerrigan, mother of bronze medalist Nancy Kerrigan. Sure, we saw mother Kerrigan, who is legally blind, watching her daughter by pressing close to a television. And we saw a few tears from mom during the medals ceremony. But it was a small dose -- and thus more emotional.
Ice, ice, baby: How much does CBS love to show ladies' 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?
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 deep, dark secret.
Some kind of wonderful: CBS' choice of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" to open last night's show and set up the ladies' 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.
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.