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TUESDAY

Say the word “chuckwagon” and most folks picture the goofiest dog-food commercials ever made. But when 76-year-old Iris Glass hears the term, she thinks of her son and son-in-law, both lost to the craziest contest in the whole Calgary Stampede. Maybe it’s just country fatalism talking—all those critters in litters, can’t keep track of ’em all—but even after burying her boys she finds herself able to say, “[T]he good times have outdid the bad ones.” National Geographic’s documentary Rodeo Racers profiles the cornpone Ben-Hurs who go hell-for-leather at the annual chuckwagon races. The narrator calls the sport “chariot racing, but with a Western twist.” It’s really just horseshit NASCAR, perhaps the least dignified way a boy can buy the farm. Terminal Velocity, another National Geographic half-hour about the quest for speed, is more sensible, more inspiring, and nowhere near as funny: When skydiver Ken Franklin jumps out of a plane to clock his pet peregrine falcon, he has every intention of making it home alive. The films screen at noon at the National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. Free. (202) 857-7700. (Glenn Dixon)