Kids shows drive you crazy

May 8, 2009

The average child under 4 will watch 63 hours of TV a week (I made this number up).  My son doesn’t watch quite that much, but he certainly consumes his fair amount of television.  His two favorite channels are Playhouse Disney and Treehouse.  Both of these stations feature shows that, while very child-friendly, are mind numbingly tedious.  Over the course of my three years, I’ve been subjected to 738 hours of children’s programming (I also made this number up) and when you’re forced to watch that much bad TV your mind tends to find ways to keep itself occupied.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of things that make no sense to me in these shows.  I appreciate they’re not meant to hold up against nerd-like scrutiny, but these have really got me thinking.

Thomas and Friends
1. If Thomas is sentient, what does his driver do?  Is this some kind of meta-comment on runaway technology and how we’re all just hopelessly strung along, unable to control our own destinies?  By the same token,  is the driver blamed when one of the trains causes confusion and delay? (note to non-Thomas fans – this happens in every episode).   This is not the first time this show has confused me.

I get union wages!

I get union wages!

Pixar’s Cars
2.  How did anything get built in the “Cars” world?  Cars have no oposable thumbs.  Yet they have buildings, roads, cameras, maintenance crews.  Something fundamentally doesn’t add up.  I assume that there is a subplot that was left on the cutting room floor about a secret underground human slavery ring.

Fuck you, Abe Lincon

Fuck you, Abe Lincoln

Mighty Machines
3.  This show is ostensibly about machines.  Mighty Machines.  They’re working for you, doing Mighty things, they’re (clap clap) Mighty Machines.  In light of that, what is the criteria for becoming a mighty machine?  Because from some of the episodes I’ve seen, it’s literally any piece of machinery.  Doesn’t matter what.  There was an episode on pop dispensers.  What makes that a mighty machine?  Honestly, if you’re just going to show something you run across in your day to day life, just call the show “mechanical stuff”.

Yeah, I'm a Mighty Machine.  What of it?

Yeah, I’m a Mighty Machine. What of it?

Imagination Movers
4. This is a show about the Wiggles, except they’re from New Orleans, their music is better and they apparently run their own business.  They’re in the problem solving game, according to the canon of the show.  But do you really think singing at me is going to solve my problem, Imagination Movers?  What if I have a heroin problem?  Can Dave pull some Buprenex out of his hat?  Let’s see you dance your way out of that!!!

We can solve any problem except actual problems

We can solve any problem except actual problems

Four Square
5. I appreciate almost no one has seen this awful show.  It’s difficult to explain, so here’s the clip.

Are those hippity-hippity-hippity-hop guys on 4-square supposed to be the vanguard of an invading alien army?  If not, why is it “Captain” Hoppette?  In what military organization does she designate her rank from?  I’m assuming she outranks the other three and that’s why she gets to tell them what to do.  I think when you watch them, you’re supposed to pretend like you’re an alien overlord and she’s making a brief, if exceptionally confusing status report on her ongoing earth investigation.

“Hoppette.  Please report on the status of the Earth Military”

“Touch your nose.  Hup!”

“… You’re… very very fired”

Dora the Goddamn Explorer
6. WHY DO DORA’S PARENTS THINK THIS LIFESTYLE IS SAFE FOR A 9 YEAR OLD????  Also, her head is shaped like a football.

Not featured: Difficult questions from child services

Not featured: Difficult questions from child services

7. Okay, this is kind of a newer show.  It’s about trains (note – 70% of the shows are about vehicles.  Kids love vehicles except when they have to go drive in your car).  In the Chugginton world they all talk, and when they’re teasing, they refer to each other as “scaredy-chuggers”.  But “chuggers” is basically the name of the society.  They’re all chuggers.  So that’s like me calling you a “scaredy-human”.  Which, FYI, I’m going to start doing all the time now.

Google sometimes throws up odd images.

Google sometimes throws up odd images during searches.

My Friends Tigger and Pooh
8.  This is a reboot of the Pooh mythology.  What J.J. Abrams did for Star Trek, this show did for Winnie the Pooh.  Astute fans will notice that they no longer feature Christopher Robin and Owl.  What I struggle to understand is what did Christopher Robin and Owl do such that they’re not included in the cast?  What market segment determined that those two characters are unlikeable and that a cute girl named Darby will have better penetration with 4 year olds?

Sorry Christopher.  Your ambiguous sexuality leaves us all uncomfortable

Sorry Christopher. Your ambiguous sexuality leaves us all uncomfortable

Elmo’s World
9.  I actually kind of thought that Grover was Elmo’s dad and that Elmo just had horrible roseola.

Man.  Star Wars rules

Man. Star Wars rules

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New details about Cheney torture plot

May 4, 2009

From Cnn:

New information has unsurfaced which could further incriminate the Bush administration in the ongoing torture investigations.  Following his promise to bring transparency and accountability to the White House, President Obama has released more classified memos which go into greater detail around Dick Cheney’s secret torture agenda and the lengths the US government went to with programs designed to secure US boarders.  Specifically, reporters have now learned about something dubbed the “Weapon X” initiative – a highly secret government training program which was executed in the early days following the 9/11 attacks. 

The Weapon X program was apparently designed to create a breed of “super soldiers” in the war against terrorism, although the specifics of how this would be accomplished was never made clear in the memo.  Indeed, even if one super solider was successfully created and killed a terrorist every single hour for one full year,  that would only eliminate 25% of the problem. 


Well, this all seems in order

Well, this all seems in order

Lt. William Stryker, the mastermind behind the controversial initiative, spoke at a brief press conference today:
“On the question of so-called torture, we don’t do torture.  We never have. It’s not something that this administration subscribes to.  Again, we proceeded very cautiously.  We checked. We had the Justice Department issue the requisite opinions in order to know where the bright lines were that you could not cross.  And they were very clear.  Injecting 200 pounds of superheated liquid metal of unknown origin into an already mentally unstable superhuman with the sole purpose of turning him into a indestructible killing machine is not torture.

The professionals involved in that program were very, very cautious, very careful — wouldn’t do anything without making certain it was authorized and that it was legal.  And any suggestion to the contrary is just wrong.  Did it produce the desired results?  I think it did.  And although we cannot pinpoint with any certainty the exact whereabouts of Weapon X and it’s a given that were he ever to have access to any of us, he would kill us all without remorse or pity, I still believe we made the right choice.

I think, for example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was the number three man in al Qaeda, the man who planned the attacks of 9/11, provided us with a wealth of information.  There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source.  Granted, the majority of that information came from a telepath who can turn her skin into diamond, so really, that’s not one for Weapon X.  But we got what we wanted, hah?  So, it’s been a remarkably successful effort. I think the results speak for themselves. 

And I think those who allege that we’ve been involved in torture, or that somehow we violated the Constitution or laws with the Weapon X program, simply don’t know what they’re talking about.  Also, the experiments were done in Canada with a Canadian, so honestly.  Who cares?  It’s about time they got some skin in the game”

Canadian officials did not specifically comment on the program which went on right under their noses, however they did remark that it happened somewhere in the Rockies in Northern Vancouver and pointed out they have no clue what kind of shit goes on up there. 

The public remains divided on this issue with 60% supporting light to medium torture if it’s done by Kiefer Sutherland or someone who looks like Kiefer Sutherland.  45% also believe it’s fully justified if “there’s no time, damnit!” or “that’s my daughter!  Don’t tell me about protocol!”

On the question of performing painful medical experiments of suspect morality on a minority group with a .005% success rate, and no clearly articulated goals beyond “stopping all evil” 87% of Republicans are in full support.

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