Only this "alien" was all too real. This alien was a premature baby, weighing no more than a pound and a half, on life support. The commercial was for the March of Dimes, and the message the spot conveyed was, "This is what happens when you drink and do drugs during your pregnancy."
I was overcome with tears, which quickly turned to sobbing. I had delivered my son 16 weeks prematurely just a few days earlier -- he weighed only one pound, three ounces. He was still in intensive care and I had just been sent home from the hospital without my baby. I connected with that PSA, but at the same time I was extremely offended. That is what had happened to my baby, and I had not done drugs or drunk alcohol during my pregnancy.
Back in the day, they couldn't show married couples sleeping in the same bed on TV. Now it's fashionable for celebs to have babies on camera. First Kourtney Kardashian, now Simmons. Who's next?
Watch the video after the jump.
FOX is going to air a two-hour special on August 19 titled Everybody Loves Octomom. Well, no. It's actually called Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage. I don't know what could be "incredible" about the footage, unless it's footage of the actual birth of her kids, but I do know it's a show I have no intention of watching (not even in an "ironic" way).
The baby boom has taken over Hollywood -- and no matter how busy they get, these stars are always willing to make time for family. As the new school years rolls around, check out photos of celebs spending quality time with their kids.
Oh, and Keri Russell just had a baby boy, but she doesn't have a smokin' hot wife.
Independent Lens doesn't shy away from featuring documentaries on difficult subjects, but out of all the ones I've seen so far, this one was the most heart-wrenching. Motherland Afghanistan follows an Afghan American doctor who returns to Afghanistan to work in a hospital to provide medical care and expertise for pregnant women who live in a land where infant mortality rates are high and medical supplies are always in short supply. Dr. Qudrat Mojadidi role at Afghanistan's largest hospital is not only to help patients, but to train the doctors and staff with the help of funding from the U.S. government.
Motherland Afghanistan focuses on a crisis in Afghanistan largely ignored here in the states, but it's worth seeing not only because it's educational, but because it shows there are still people willing to try and make things better despite the odds, and to help those in need not only through medical treatment, but through education as well.
Motherland Afghanistan, filmed and directed by Dr. Mojadidi's daughter Sedika, will air on select PBS stations tonight at 10 p.m.
As a change of pace, I asked TV know-it-all Paul Goebel to write a rebuttal to today's review. Goebel is an actor and comedian who appeared as the "TV Geek" on the short-lived Comedy Central quiz show Beat the Geeks and has appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ally McBeal, Will and Grace and other shows. He currently hosts a show at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles, and does a weekly podcast with his pal Jim Bruce called "The Paul Goebel Show." If you like TV, you should check it out. His response is after my review.
Ever since Linda Lavin helmed the CBS Schoolbreak Special "Flour Babies" in 1990, the idea of students being assigned fake babies has been spoofed numerous times. The winner for best spoof goes to the Strangers with Candy episode "A Burden's Burden" in which Jerri and her classmates are assigned actually babies. There's also the South Park episode "Follow That Egg" that manages to tackle both gay marriage and child custody battles when the kids are given eggs and told to treat them like real babies.
A few weeks ago, National Geographic aired a two-hour special titled In the Womb: Animals that showed the development of dogs, elephants and dolphins while in utero through ultra sound imagery, CGI and visual effects. The special focused on, among other things, how these animals develop skills for survival while still inside their mothers.
On January 14 at 8pm, National Geographic will return to the womb with In the Womb: Multiples. The special will use 4d imagery to and CGI effects to show how twins and other muliple birth siblings develop bonds while in utero, and how those bonds continue after they're born.
On Sunday December 10, the National Geographic Channel will premiere In the Womb: Animals, a two-hour special that uses ultrasound imagery along with computer imagery and visual effects to show how different species such as elephants, dogs and dolphins develop while in utero. Call me a sucker for nature programs, because damn it, I live for these kind of specials. You'll see how a dolphin learns to swim while still in the womb, and get a glimpse of the wonders of evolution when the elephant fetus develops ducts like a fish, and the dolphin fetus develops "legs" of sorts.
Okay, now I'm starting to sound like a commercial for the program, but what can I say, this science stuff fascinates me. Just look at that picture on the right of an elephant developing in the womb and tell me it doesn't blow your mind*. Okay, I'll stop with the awe now, but if you're as into this stuff as I am, you should check out some video previews here.
*It's actually a CGI, but it's still pretty damn cool.
Ongoing research at Cornell University has revealed a possible link between autism and children under the age of three who watch television. The study found that when cable became more prominent in households in the '80s, autism rates also increased. The study has not found anything specific in television viewing that may trigger autism in young children, only that there is a strong correlation between the two. Some have pointed out it may not be television, but indoor air pollution that may be the root of the problem.
While experts study this and try to come to a consensus, I think laypersons should see this as a reminder that too much television exposure at a young age is not a good thing. As Slate's Gregg Easterbrook points out in his article, humans evolved responding to three-dimensional stimuli, and repeated exposure to two-dimensional images, whether it turns out to be directly linked to autism or not, is still not a good thing in the early stages of development.
(S01E02) This is an early review courtesy of Adult Swim Fix. The televised version will air Sunday late night on Adult Swim.
This initial season of Moral Orel has been shown entirely out of order due to issues with standards and practices, though it hasn't really affected the series all that much since every episode works as a stand-alone anyway. In this particular episode, Orel figures out a way that he can masturbate and not spur God's wrath, and I can only imagine what they had to cut out to make this acceptable for television.
The episode begins at Orel's school, probably the only public school where "Jesus" could be an answer on a science test. Orel decides to use the bathroom not to go "number one" or "number two," but to go "number three." He only learned about "number three" recently, and like most adolescent boys, he can't get enough of it. The janitor catches him in the act and sends him to the principal, who explains to Orel that masturbation is actually worse than murder, and spouts off this fractured logic: "Oral, there are some things that are burned so deep into a person's subconscious that you forget just why they're there. You only know that they've scarred you in such a horrible and personal way that they must be right."
Launching today on DirecTV is BabyFirst TV, with all-infant programming all the time. Programming will include stuff from Brainy Baby and First Impressions DVDs, as well as a storytime. No other information is available and the network's website wasn't working as of midnight Wednesday.
Television for toddlers is a hot button issue with a lot of parents, parenting experts, and those who just like to weigh in on such things. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against babies watching any kind of television (did anyone tell this to the folks at Baby Einstein?). However, studies show that an estimated 68% of children under 2 watch at least one video a day and... this shocked me... 26% of kids under 2 have a television in their bedroom. Wha?
The New York Times has an interesting piece on the phenomenon of celebrities bestowing weird and unique names upon their children. My stance for the longest time was that giving your child names like "Pilot Inspektor" (Jason Lee's kid) or "Moxie CrimeFighter" (that's magician Penn Jillette's little girl) was essentially like turning your child into a walking billboard to advertise your own fertile imagination. However, I've had to lighten up on that stance recently, since this has become the new rule for baby naming these days, including my own family. Besides, I can't help but admit that "Moxie CrimeFighter" is a pretty awesome name.
Also, perhaps it's jealousy. My name is Adam, which I like just fine, but it lacks that certain je ne sais quoi. That's why I've teamed up with NASA scientists to devise a method of coming up with a suitable "Hollywood" name for yourself or your children, if you have any. Here's what to do: