Part of Chicago froze in the 1930s. I’ve been thinking of my old home city of Chicago a lot lately, and of my new home in Berlin. The thread that ties them together seems to be that they’re both stuck in time. In the same time. They have one foot in this chaotic contemporary period, but the other is still in the 1920s and early ’30s, each summed up as a Bob Fosse experience (Chicago and Cabaret).

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry. 320 pages. Viking Adult. $25.95.

And why not? It was a glamorous age for both. Berlin had its cabarets, Otto Dix, sex, and liquor. Chicago had its speakeasies, gangsters, and gunner girls. With what followed — rubble for one, crime and poverty for the other… More…

As you’ve probably heard by now, NBC recently announced it was canceling Law & Order after 20 seasons on the air. So yes, they’re canceling all the drama, all the crimes, and all the intense courtroom action. But moreover, they’re also canceling this:

The Law & Order “doink doink,”“bamp bamp,” or “chung chung,” depending on who’s talking about it. Like salivating dogs, as soon as we hear that noise we expect some serious crime investigation and, if we’re lucky in the re-runs, a good dose of Jerry Orbach.

The “doink doink” is arguably one of the most recognizable sound effects in modern media, punctuating each episode of the crime drama multiple times. A 2007 Saturday Night Live sketch about Law & Order allowed no scene to start unless the sound effect was played, and its use is also the fastest way to brand a Law & Order parody, such… More…

Rumor has it we’ve tired of trash. That people who watch soap operas — women between 18 and 49, married, at all levels of income — have become more sophisticated and are therefore less interested in melodramatic plot lines that revolve around tawdry love affairs and characters who disappear and reappear with little explanation. The soap opera is dying, some say, because court, talk, and game shows are cheaper to make; you can also syndicate and rerun these shows, which makes them even more profitable. The soap opera is dying because the influx of Spanish-speakers in America prefer Spanish-language telenovelas. So it makes sense that CBS has canceled Guiding Light, 72 years into its run; the last episode airs in September. And the bell surely tolls for others — All My Children, As the World Turns, General Hospital. The day of the soap is done.

Guiding Light first aired as… More…