Last night we watched the pilot ep of the new Bionic Woman. A review I read (Tom Shales?) reminded me of what was missing – and by “missing” I mean “not there,” I certainly don’t mean “lacking.”

In the original series, Jaime Sommers had a bionic dog named Max.

I searched my archives because I was pretty sure I posted about bionic dogs a couple of years ago. I found the post, “In the future we will all have…robot dogs,” but notice I forgot (repressed?) Max.

70’s television writers always seemed to pull the robotic dog out of the Big Bag of Hackneyed Plot Devices when their show started to go to ground, didn’t they? I’d try to answer the question of which came first, a show’s implosion or the addition of a robotic dog, but it seems a rather “chicken or the egg” proposition. Plus, much like the last time, I’ve gotten distracted thinking about zombie dogs and already lost interest in the subject.

I love Nathan Fillion lots and lots, so it was making me sad that basically the chances of getting me to his new movie, slither, fell somewhere on the chart between slim and none. I love flying almost as much as I love snakes, so the idea of a movie about a planeful of snakes…and directed by the man who wrote Scooby Doo 2*? Well, that just wasn’t happening for me.

Out of the blue it dawned on me today: I thought the snake movie starred Samuel L. Jackson. So I hit google and, well, let’s just say, duh.

Slither isn’t about snakes on a plane. Snakes on a Plane is about snakes on a plane.

*To be fair, although he wrote Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo 2, I think we should cut James Gunn some slack because he also wrote and directed Sgt. Kabukiman Public Service Announcement.

He also had a role in the project, as “Insane Masturbator.”

Seriously. Check the link. I’m not making that up. How great is that? I’d completely forgotten about Sgt. Kabukiman.

While I was at the Troma Films site I noticed that they’re having a contest where you can win a role as a zombie chicken in their new opus, Poultrygeist.  That’s a role I was born to play.  The movie appears to already by in post-production so they probably don’t need anymore cast members, but a potential-zombie-chicken-girl can dream, can’t she?

Anyone who doubts the popularity of the Berenstain Bears amongst the toddler-crowd hasnt been hanging with the toddler crowd. Wildy, rock-star popular, those bears are. Right up there with Dr. Seuss and Curious George in the category of books I spend the most time de-drooling and recovering and reshelving.

Childrens librarianship is just like academic librarianship – the only difference being the specific titles one has to clean the saliva and peanut-butter encrusted fingerprints from. Additionally, toddlers wear diapers and don’t pee in the library. Academic and law school librarians only wish their patrons wouldn’t pee in the stacks. But I digress.

I always liked the Berenstain Bears, but even more so after learning of Charles Krauthammer’s dislike of them:

(link dead or missing)I hate the Berenstain Bears, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer fumed in 1989. The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.

In 1996, Mr. Berenstain told The Post: ve gotten unkind letters complaining that we are emasculating the men in the family. The absolute truth is that Papa Bear is based on me.â

One of the Berenstains’ early editors complained that the bear family’s clothing, language and general mores were several decades out of date: s just not that way in the real world.

But that’s the way it is in Bear Country, the Berenstains replied.

I’m just genetically predisposed to like almost anything that man dislikes. I can’t help it.

Today’s Post, in a column that is, oddly enough, titled appreciation, levels quite a lot of criticism at the Bears, especially in it’s conclusion:

The larger questions about the popularity of the Berenstain Bears are more troubling: Is this what we really want from children’s books in the first place, a world filled with scares and neuroses and problems to be toughed out and solved? And if it is, aren’t the Berenstain Bears simply teaching to the test, providing a lesson to be spit back, rather than one lived and understood and embraced?

Where is the warmth, the spirit of discovery and imagination in Bear Country? Stan Berenstain taught a million lessons to children, but subtlety and plain old joy weren’t among them.

Now, even when you account for the repetition factor, which I’ll return to in a moment, it’s probably rare for any child to be raised on a strict diet of Bears books. Sure, Bear Country is a kind of freaky place, but all children’s book environments are a bit off-kilter, the enduring ones, anyway. So kids get variety, and I doubt very much that many of them are scarred from the lessons they learn from the Berenstains.

Kids love repetition. I doubt there’s anyone on the planet who doesn’t know that. But even when a kid is hooked on a specific story, you put multiple kids in the story area at the same time and they run the mommys, daddys or nannys ragged – insisting on hearing as many different stories as possible, often read as fast as possible.

It’s like watching toddler speed-dating.

Now this is news: I was watching hurricane coverage and just saw this in the crawl at CNN: Muppets Dr Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker defeated Dr Strangelove, Dana Scully of “X Files” fame and Star Trek’s Mr Spock to be voted Britain’s favorite screen scientists on Monday.

That’s when Husband threatened to make me turn off the TV.

So I turned to the Internet to learn more. The poll was sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Cult TV site at

I liked this bit from the Reuters story:

“They are accessible, humorous and occasionally blow each other up,” said Roland Jackson, of the British Association for the Advancement of Science

Husband has been reading the brilliant Jeffrey Steingarten’s It Must Have Been Something I Ate.

Steingarten has a labrador retriever named Sky King. When I learned this, I told Husband that I’ve always wanted a German Shepherd just so I could name him (or her) Sky King.

After more discussion, Husband explained to me that the original Sky King was a cowboy who flew an airplane. He was not a dog.

Lassie: dog.
Rin Tin Tin: dog.
Sky King: cowboy.

I have no idea why I always thought Sky King was a dog. Really, when you think about it, the name makes no sense whatsoever for a dog, since dogs don’t actually fly. Not without assistance, anyway.

Husband gently suggested that maybe it was common to mix up the concepts of, say, Rin Tin Tin and Sky King, sort of like how people in the 70s, having only heard their music, confused Diana Ross and Donna Summer. It was a nice try, but I doubt very much that anyone else had trouble distinguishing a cowboy action hero who flew a plane with…a dog.

I’d blame the drugs I’m on, but to be honest I’ve thought Sky King was a dog my entire life – or at least as far back as I can remember, so that excuse holds no water.

Speaking of drugs, I’m rather nauseated today so I’m going back to bed. Reviews of the many, many delightful documentaries I’ve been watching when I feel up to it.

In the mean time, um, keep watching the skies….