First Monday: Watch, listen & read

ON DVD

November 6: Sicko

$29.95, director Michael Moore; from Genius Products and The Weinstein Co. 80 minutes of extras. PG-13; USA TODAY: ***1/2

Nearly 50 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 18,000 die each year because they are uninsured, says Moore in Sicko.

Don't be smug if you have health insurance. The point of Sicko is to show it could all fall apart for you, too — there's the mother whose feverish toddler was not admitted to a hospital because she belonged to an HMO (her daughter died shortly after being sent to a Kaiser Permanente facility).

•Quote:"The fact that we are going broke to pay for our health care does not mean we're getting the best health care." — Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law School professor of law and author

November 20: Ice Road Truckers

Season one, first aired on the History Channel, $34.95, from A&E Home Video

Tells the story of six truckers who work two months a year delivering supplies and equipment to Canada's diamond mines near the Arctic Circle. They set out from Yellowknife, Northern Territories, on a 350-mile road that is frozen for about eight weeks before melting back into lake water.

Conditions are extremely dangerous and brutal — the ice can crack, whiteouts make driving impossible, there are days and nights of isolation, temperatures can dip to minus 60 degrees.

Payoff: big money for a short period of work. Top guys get about $35,000 to $40,000 (they get paid about $2,000 a load).

Nickname for the job: Dash for the cash.

ON TELEVISION

Iconoclasts

Airs on Sundance, Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The third season of Iconoclasts follows the usual format — two smart innovators from different fields get together for free-wheeling conversations.

•Nov. 8:Iconoclasts: Mike Myers + Deepak Chopra.

•Nov. 15:Iconoclasts: Howard Schultz + Norman Lear.

•Nov. 22:Iconoclasts: Wynton Marsalis + John Besh

•Nov. 29:Iconoclasts: Madeleine Albright + Ashley Judd

The Office

Thursdays: NBC, 9-9:30 p.m. ET (Note: no show Thanksgiving, Nov. 22)

•Nov. 15:The Deposition — Jan (Melora Hardin), who is fired from her supervisor's job at Dunder Mifflin, sues the company for wrongful termination. Michael (Steve Carell) is called as a witness.

9 to 5 No Longer

Airs on PBS, starting this month; check local listings (9to5nolonger.tv), Persephone Productions.

Ever hear of FWA? That's short for flexible work arrangement.

As benefits dwindle — less health insurance, fewer defined pension plans — flex time is the new perk. Some of the companies profiled in this documentary are Ernst & Young, Sun Microsystems, Deloitte & Touche.

"In this era of cutting back benefits, this is one that doesn't cost much," says Bonnie Erbé, who narrates 9 to 5 No Longer.

• Flex time is disproportionately available to upper-income workers, professionals.

• As flex time becomes more widespread, co-workers are less envious and less hostile to those taking advantage of it.

• Flex time started as a women's issue to take care of children, but more men are taking advantage of it.

BOOKS

Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee

By Alex Frankel (Collins, $24.95).

Firsthand account of short stints at UPS, the Gap, Starbucks, Apple Store, Enterprise Rent-A-Car as well as interview experiences at Home Depot, Whole Foods and Container Store.

C-SPAN2's Book TV

•Nov. 10, 2:15-2:45 p.m. ET. Live call-in from the Miami Book Festival to Mark Penn, co-author of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes.

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