Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: MINI FORCE

My kid’s day care was supposed to have a Father’s Day party today, but I’m kind of pissed at my kid’s day care right now– more on that later, maybe– and so instead I picked him up early and we’ve been having a Daddy/Kenny day at home.  Which means lots of toys (there are Transformers everywhere) and lots of binging terrible Korean animated shows on Netflix.  This is probably the fastest any show has gone from “I’ve never heard of this” to “I must do a CCPR post on this immediately,” by the way.

Meet the Mini Force:

They’re little talking animals.  The pink one is a girl, which I’m sure you’ll all find tremendously surprising.  The red one is a bird, although he doesn’t seem to fly.  Other than the red one, I have no idea what kind of animals they are.  Maybe they’re all cats, other than the bird?  The blue one might be a skunk?  I have no damn clue.  Anyway, they talk.  And they live with a girl named Susie, who in animated kids’ show fashion appears to have no parents or adult influences.  Susie knows they talk and can talk back to them.  They look just like Octonauts.

Here’s how every show goes: each episode starts with a bunch of woodland animals being inconvenienced in some way, most of the time by a purple Shredder-looking dude named Pascal or some robot he’s created.  Sometimes Shredder’s boss is around; he’s dressed like some sort of Spandex-wearing supervillain and I don’t know his name.

The degree of the inconvenience varies.  Sometimes it’s special pop that makes the animals fall asleep.  Sometimes it’s a snake monster that turns them to stone.  The stakes tend to vary.

At any rate, after the animals are inconvenienced, we cut to the four Mini Force dudes at home with Susie.  They have some sort of interpersonal problem that will not be resolved and are then summoned via some sort of blinky device that one of them carries.  Where to?  Not clear at all; they run away and then are suddenly inside some sort of giant complex.  I’m not sure if Susie knows about this part of their lives; she probably wonders where they go all the time.  They meet with a hologram of a cat.  I don’t know what the cat’s name is– they just call him Commander– but he has a mustache and wears sunglasses and a Kangol.  I don’t get it.

If Pascal isn’t the villain, then the robot causing all the trouble will have -mon at the end of its name.  Every time.

Then they become Power Rangers.  I’m not kidding:

Like, the theme music even refers to them as the “Super Rangers Mini Force,” although there’s no credits for Saban anywhere and I’m pretty sure this is just a knockoff and not an official thing.  But anyway.  The very next scene after the transformation, they’ve teleported to wherever the bad guy is– no time for exposition here!– and then there’s a fight. The fights are those Power Rangers-style fights where there’s always time for lots of talking in between people shooting at one another and your weapons have to be summoned by saying very long phrases out loud.

They lose the fight, and one of them is generally incapacitated somehow.  There is a lot of grunting.  Seriously, the dialogue in this show is maybe 60% grunts.  It’s amazing.

After they lose, they summon their “Force Cars.”  Why they didn’t just drive to the fucking fight in the Force Cars isn’t clear.  I assume everyone just sits around while the Force Cars drive out to wherever they are.  The Force Cars are, no shit, Transformers:

Somewhere in here, the villain gets super large, also Power Rangers style.  And not all the time, but sometimes, the Force Cars have to– wait for it– join together to make a single, much larger Force Car.  At which point the show becomes Voltron.  And then they win, and the show ends abruptly, most of the time with no indication of whether the inconvenienced animals at the beginning of the show were ever made better or not.  Maybe they’re still asleep or made from stone or whatever; who knows?

It is impressive to have ripped off that many well-known properties so blatantly and still not have been sued into nonexistence.

REBLOG: Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence

I’m not in the mood to write today, and this is more important than anything I’d have to say anyway.

The Belle Jar


I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.

I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.

The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.

One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…

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In which I am content

unnamedI admit it: I’m feeling slightly guilty right now about the fact that I’m not going to work again this week.  The note from my doctor specifically said that I was not to return to school before November 2nd, and the main reason was that we wanted to check on the new medication.  Well, so far, the new medication’s been fine, although I can come up with at least one example in the last couple of weeks where I was fine one day and emphatically Not Fine for several days after that.  Point is, I’m following orders.

I’d be off today anyway, though, because for the first time we have a fall break, and today is the last day of that fall break.  As it turns out, the preschoolers at Hogwarts (have I mentioned this?  From now on, my kid’s school is Hogwarts) had a field trip today, and they went to a farm in southern Michigan– here, specifically.  They put out a general call for chaperones last week and since I didn’t really have anything else I needed to be doing today (again, I’d have been off of work anyway) I decided to tag along.  And… well, it was a hell of a lot of fun, actually.  There’s perfect October weather outside.  We went on a hayride and explored the farm and picked and ate apples and grapes right off the tree (or vine, as the case happened to be) and the boy got a pumpkin to bring home with him.  There are now four pumpkins in the house; I probably ought to get thinking about what I’m going to do when I carve mine, because I wanna do something fun and creative and having an idea of some sort would probably help with that goal.

Speaking of perfect October weather, I was lucky enough last night to get a gorgeous one-day-before-full moon and a completely cloudless sky, so I hauled out the telescope.  I need to get an attachment to make taking pictures easier, but I did manage this one:


Searching for Malumba is out tomorrow!  I’ve officially hit my goal for pre-orders, but if you want to make me even happier, it’s available in print and digitally here.  Expect more about that tonight.  🙂

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Anything But That edition


Let’s see.

If we were having coffee, I’d…


I actually just got back from brunch with one of my oldest friends and her husband.  They’re in town about once a year, when they come in for a home Notre Dame game, and we tend to meet up for breakfast just north of campus.  What did we talk about?  The last three weeks, mostly, and doctors, and my job.  Shared some parenting stories; their daughter is a year and a half or so older than my son, and they have a 2 1/2 year old son too.

Problem is, I’m kinda tired of talking about the first 2/3 of those topics, because they’ve been consuming my life lately.  I made it through breakfast without mentioning a certain book I have coming out, too, and I feel like that’s a victory.  So it’s the parenting stuff.

Ooh!  I never mentioned this: we had our first parent-teacher conference as parents this week, which was kind of fun.  I’ve been on the other side of the table more times than I can count as an educator, but I’ve never before been the parent in that scenario.  The fun thing was figuring out that the teachers were a little gun-shy, almost as if after several years of working together at my son’s rather ridiculously expensive private school they were used to parents not really wanting to listen to criticism of their special snowflakes.

I love my son rather a lot, and he is a lot of things, but he is emphatically not a special snowflake, and he’s also not perfect.  My kid’s four.  He’s gonna screw up and do dumb stuff at four.  Their job is to let me know about it and my job is to fix it, not argue with them.  This is definitely one place where me being on the other side of the table is going to help.  He’d had some sort of stupid little personality conflict with another kid in his classroom this week, which required a bit of investigation on my wife’s and my part and a few clarifications from the other kid too.  I don’t know how the other parents reacted to it, but the teachers seemed to think we were gonna dig in our heels on the whole thing.


Once I get past that, though, I’m not sure how much I’ve got left.  I’m looking forward to spending this week and next working on some short stories before I get back to the Skylights sequel in November.  I’m hoping to have the first draft of that done by the end of the year, but you all know how slow I write.  Not super likely.

Anyway.  How’re you?  Read any good books lately?

REBLOG: Five Rules For The Jackholes Trying To Ruin Halloween

As someone who lives in one of those neighborhoods that kids get brought to… yes, this.

Drifting Through


Can we not suck the fun out of Halloween?

Can we have one day? One day where it’s just about having fun and there are no guidelines or parameters or judgement or rules?

I’ve been hearing plenty of grumbling on both mainstream and social media. Things that annoy people about Halloween. “Rules” for trick or treating.

There’s been an abundance of people who seem to have a stick up their candy bowl.

They have been lamenting the kids who trample their grass, don’t ask politely for candy. The ones who take the candy and don’t say thank you. People who wonder at the wisdom of giving candy when more kids are overweight. Remember the lady who handed out fat shaming letters to trick or treaters? And there are people who think it’s their job to determine how old is too old for trick or treating.

As a public service and…

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