Judge Dave Packard assures us that the "Other Yucky Things" have nothing to do with Michael Jackson. (The singer, not the one who bears the title of Chief Justice.)
The science behind all the fun!
Many moons ago, I used to swipe my old man's magazine on a regular basis and retreat to my bedroom. I couldn't help myself, as those beautiful images on the cover called out to me. I'd flip through each issue, eyes agog at the stuff within and yet not understanding any of it. It was years later that I finally got around to reading the articles that went with those pictures. Suddenly, the pictures within were illuminated with new meaning and understanding. I could actually learn from this magazine!
Somewhat pathetically, the magazine was not Playboy, Penthouse, or any other magazine usually kept behind the retail counter and away from the prying eyes of hormone-ravaged teens. The magazine of which I speak is Popular Mechanics. I was always drawn to those covers splashed with depictions of futuristic technology in land, sea, and air. Inside the magazine, I learned of the scientific principles driving these great designs. Every issue was both entertaining and educational.
This unique brand of informing in an entertaining fashion was fused with the natural curiosity that kids have of learning how things work to create the award-winning Popular Mechanics for Kids television series. Hosted by a quartet of affable youngsters (including a pre-24 Elisha Cuthbert!), each episode delves into a variety of topics related to a central theme. Information is delivered at a rapid pace, but computer graphics and traditional animation often supplement the footage to aid in illustrating the science behind the segments.
This particular title, Popular Mechanics for Kids: Slither & Slime and Other Yucky Things, deals with things that wrinkle most people's noses in disgust.
The four episodes on this disc are as follows:
• "Underground" (1997)
• "Garbage" (1997)
• "Creepy Crawlers" (1999)
• "Slimy and Slithery" (1999)
Overall, I was very impressed with this disc. The title of the series might suggest it's for the kiddies, but adults are sure to learn at least a few fascinating tidbits (I certainly didn't know that hot dogs take years to fully decompose due to the amount of preservatives they contain!) I also appreciated that a real-world application was given for some of the segments (for example, scientists are studying the wood frog's ability to freeze and thaw back to life in an effort to learn how human organs can be safely frozen without dying before implantation).
The video is presented in the original full frame aspect ratio and is appropriate for this type of programming. Overall, the video quality is excellent, although some segments do feature older video footage that, understandably, isn't as sharp. The audio is a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo offering which, again, is appropriate for this material.
Educational, entertaining, and often deliciously disgusting, Popular Mechanics for Kids: Slither & Slime and Other Yucky Things lives up to its title. The "Creepy Crawlers" and "Slimy and Slithery" episodes more than make up for the lackluster "Underground" episode. If you can find a better resource to explain to little Junior what happened to his sister's Strawberry Shortcake after he flushed her down the john, I'd love to know about it. Not guilty! Court adjourned.
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