It’s Too Much

Filed under:Politics — posted by Anwyn on August 27, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

Fred, my dear, when a gentleman flirts this long without making a move, eventually a lady is forced to conclude, however tearfully, that he has no serious intentions at all. Maybe if you’d kept quiet except for position statements, and not projected any dates at all as to when you’d announce. Alas. I don’t mean to say that I’ve given up, but please step out soon …

Update: Dean Esmay is relatively convincing that the reason he’s not announcing is because of the people at Law and Order who would lose out on revenue and livelihood if they have to pull his episodes. Maybe so, and I love a good-guy explanation as much as the next girl, but if that’s the case, what’s all this pussy-footing around, “maybe” September and maybe October? NBC knows when these episodes will air and there’s no reason that I can see why Fred shouldn’t know it, too. He should simply avoid speaking about when he will announce, and if asked, say “When we’re ready.”

Right? I’m not the savviest Jenny on the block regarding political maneuvering, but if that’s the explanation they should be handling it better, I think.

H/t for the Esmay to Xrlq, who wonders if Schwarzenegger had a similar explanation when he entered the California race. My question: did Ahnold do all this public procrastinating of projected dates first?

Fall TV 2007

Filed under:It's My Life,Television — posted by Anwyn @ 4:13 pm

I caught two minutes of Desperate Housewives last night. I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch it despite Nathan Fillion’s presence. One thing’s for sure, I’ll just have to catch up via episode recaps, because I can’t slog through enough of it to find out what happened the last two seasons and I don’t want to be completely lost.

More bad news from Yes, I’m So Behind the Rest of You world: I’m not into the first season of Heroes. At all. I’m scared for the little boy, scared for the cheerleader with the scary dad, irritated by the guy running for Congress and his brother (yes, your brother puts his Congress run ahead of everything–does that give you the right to wander about his campaign headquarters blabbing about flying at the top of your voice? No). So far the only ones I really like are the cop who can hear thoughts and the addict artist. More slogging ahead before I jettison it, though …

And now, the question on everybody’s minds, what new shows will Anwyn add this fall? Wait no longer. You can always tell what a Baggins would say on any question before you ask him, and similarly you can always tell which shows Anwyn will watch if you know enough about which actors she likes–which is easily told based on which shows I loved in the past. So this fall’s new dramas are:

Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff that previewed last spring. If it doesn’t do better than the rather turgid, Ally McBeal-esque-without-Ally McBeal pilot, it won’t last long for me.

Dirty Sexy Money, starring Peter Krause of Sports Night Six Feet Under fame. I know him from Sports Night, though, because I don’t get HBO and haven’t watched Six Feet Under. If it doesn’t do better than its title, it won’t last long for me.

Big Shots, starring Joshua Malina of Sports Night The West Wing fame. This I’m a little more hopeful for, although I have my doubts about a writer who names a character “Karl Mixworthy.” And I always hated Christopher Titus every time I saw a commercial for, well, Titus.

The Bionic Woman. This one’s mostly out of sheer geek curiosity rather than any particular attachment to the cast, although I love Mark Sheppard and know that Katee Sackhoff will be at least guesting. Could be a knockover. Could be a dud.

Too many shows, is what it really amounts to, but at least with the cancellation of Veronica Mars, What About Brian (shut up), Standoff, and Studio 60, it’s no more than I attempted to watch last year.

I’m Going to Have a Heart Attack and Die from “Not-Surprise”

Filed under:Mothering,Television — posted by Anwyn @ 10:36 am

The shoddy science behind the study that said Baby Einstein was bad for the baby. Study, quoted from Time:

These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. “The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew,” says Christakis. “These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos.”

Strongest detrimental effect certainly implies that the effect was negative across the board, with the strongest negative in babies eight to sixteen months old. But no! From Junk Science:

Baby DVDs and videos weren’t associated with reduced vocabulary development among the study’s 17- to 24-month-olds. For the older toddlers, watching baby DVDs and videos correlated with a similar positive effect on vocabulary development as story-telling and music-listening.

Did the alleged adverse effect of baby DVDs and videos disappear with age or was it entirely bogus to start with?

The researchers admitted in their study’s fine print that they didn’t directly test whether baby DVDs and videos had an actual positive or negative effect on vocabulary acquisition. They also quietly acknowledged that the study’s correlative nature “precluded” drawing causal inferences and that their results could have been affected by biased and incomplete data.

While they remembered or were compelled by the Journal of Pediatrics’ editors to note these “major limitations” in their write-up, Drs. Zimmerman and Christakis seemed to suffer mental lapses when it came to statements they made in media interviews.

And why let a few facts including the researchers’ history of alarming parents about children watching TV, DVD and videos (more than 10 publications since 2004) get in the way of their scare?

I didn’t blog it when the study was making the news a few weeks ago because this mommy simply didn’t care and suspicioned there might be more to the story than the study said–The Bean watched Baby Einstein videos for an hour a day from the time he was six months old, and at three and a half, he could read (yes, read independently books he’d never seen before, not just recite books he knew by heart (yes, he is amazing! Thank you!), although of course he did that too).

Basically, the study called some parents up and asked them how often their children watched these videos. And then, as “the fine print” says, according to the Junk Science article, “didn’t directly test whether baby DVDs and videos had an actual positive or negative effect on vocabulary acquisition.”

A test that didn’t test what it said it tested. Who knew? Moms knew. Moms know that no matter what studies say, the problem comes if you use TV or whatever to replace a significant amount of interaction with your baby instead of in addition to it. And a study like this simply takes the most alarmist route in insisting that must be the case in any household where babies watch videos. How insulting that is to your average parent, who bends over backwards to work with the baby for the baby’s optimal development.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace