Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Trojan Horse

I just finished watching one of those spectacle-filled 1950s Cinemascope epics called Helen of Troy. It was great, if not quite accurate all the time. But whatever; it really was fun and peopled by a literal “cast of thousands”! The recent American Hollywood movie Troy was mostly done by CGI. This one had a real guy in a real costume carrying a real spear and sword in every panoramic army crowd scene. It’s funny I’d never heard of it before.

So this whole experience of watching the Trojan Horse in action reminded me about the scholarly debate surrounding the Trojan Horse. Apparently, from what I understood from my college classes, most historians, classicists, etc., think that the Trojan Horse is a myth: a literary device created for some didactic purpose. Not me! I think the Trojan Horse was real, and that it really happened the way it says it did in The Odyssey and The Aeneid.

So, why would I believe that the Trojan Horse was an actual historical tactic and event? It’s really simple, which is why all these professorial types don’t think of it. They’re so busy steeped in nit-pickety stuff that the big picture almost always eludes them. (That’s why peer-reviews of papers and studies are so important!) I think you only have to ask this: “Who is telling this story?” It’s the Greeks’ tale, right? (Yes, it’s more detailed in Virgil’s tale, but it’s also mentioned in Homer! And Virgil wasn’t for another thousand years, so let’s deal with Homer, shall we?) This isn't the Trojans’ excuse for why they lost the war, it's the Greeks’ explanation of how they won! It may be a myth, but it’s told as a historical account of a war won by Greece, told to Greeks by a Greek. So, why would it be un-Greek to tell the tale of the Trojan Horse? Think about it, and think about what it says in The Iliad and The Odyssey.

The Iliad says that the Greeks sailed all the way to Troy and had to live there for ten years, winning only the occasional battle or challenge combat. (Or was that Virgil? I’m sorry, but I don’t remember as well as I used to. I’ve read them all, but it’s been a while, so I’m not sure I remember them as well as I should. Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of movies about it, so I’m sure that’s better than any book could tell it, right? In any case, the one thing I’ve learned from Stephen Colbert is to never let the facts get in the way of a good argument!) They were basically defeated, so they resorted to what at the time could only have been thought of as a dishonorable trick: the Trojan Horse. As far as we know historically, nothing like this had ever happened before in warfare.* So ask yourself this: if you were getting your butts kicked and were sitting around spinning your wheels for ten years, and then you had to play a dirty trick to win, would you celebrate it in your mythological retelling of the story? I wouldn’t! (And look at the way Homer mentions it in passing in The Odyssey, like he’s got a knife to his throat not to say too much about it!) I’d make all the guys seem like super-macho wall-smashing conquerors to inspire all the contemporary warriors to want to be like them, not make it look like they had to fall back on a scam. (And look at how other countries tell their own tales; even when they lose wars, they’re almost never anything like this!)

Truly, the Trojan Horse was a great trick to win an unwinnable stalemate war for the Greeks. But honestly, I think they wouldn’t have told it like that unless they had to. It just makes them look like losers, and then sore losers, right? They played a trick on the Trojans, and then they just killed everyone in their sleep. Is that the message you’d want to send about your country’s history? I doubt it! That’s why I think it’s true.

The only explanation I can think of for why, if the Trojan Horse was not historically true, the Greeks ever would have allowed it to be told as a historical account of their nation’s behavior in wartime is this: Homer was blind. Maybe they felt bad about beating him up since he was disabled, so they let him get away with singing anything he wanted about them, no matter how bad it made them look. Probably Odysseus tripped him in the street by accident one day, and so Homer made him look like the most incompetent sailor and navigator of all time as a form of payback. And after that, plus how wimpy they’d look beating up a blind man, perhaps the Greeks simply agreed to let him sing whatever he wanted. I guess we’ll never know. But still, the Trojan Horse seems more likely to be true history to me, when I really think about it.

* I’m assuming that “we” haven’t read that much military history. Hell, they could have made it all up anyway, and we’d never know the difference, right? That’s what I say!

The Marathon

I think there is a failed conspiracy behind the establishment of the marathon race. As we all know (or ought to know), the marathon is an endurance race of 26 miles, 385 yards, and commemorates the run of a messenger sent to tell the Athenians: “Nike!” (victory) after the victorious result of the Battle of Marathon. After delivering the result, the messenger died from exhaustion.

So, what’s the conspiracy? I believe that this race was designed by out-of-shape people with the hope of tricking athletic-types into running a race that would inevitably kill them in the end. This would get revenge for the out-of-shape people for all the wedgies and purple nurples they’d endured from jocks all of their lives, and it would do so through the use of intelligence, by designing an athletic competition intended to both peer-pressure everyone into finishing or else be a loser, insuring misery all around, and intended to bring death to those fit enough to finish. But in their hasty thirsting for revenge, they forgot one thing: there are a lot more joggers out there today than there used to be in Ancient Greece. And since everyone has already gotten so accustomed to the marathon race, it’s too late to try to change it now.

Yes, unfortunately for the race planners, they’ve done nothing but continue the tradition of jock dominance, and once someone wins a marathon, the rules say they get to give whoever they want unlimited wedgies. Oh well, it’s too bad for the race planners. After all, after successfully completing a marathon race, who else but the planners and organizers would the athletes choose to give wedgies to? But don’t blame me; I don’t make the rules!

KnowHow2Go Ad

There’s this silly ad that’s been running seemingly forever on Universal Sports. I usually keep the mute button on, so I often miss what an ad’s about. This one was particularly hard to understand, since it doesn’t make any sense, unless you read between the lines (or God forbid, keep the sound on!).

So this ad starts with what looks like an octagon-shaped professional wrestling cage match stage, and it’s full of spotlights and dry ice smoke. So there’s that idea. Then, they have all these crazy-looking Cirque du Soleil-types in historical-y makeup and costumes, but really looking more like pro-wrestlers, and they try to act all dangerous and intimidating like pro-wrestlers. Okay, so there’s the idea that they’re all scary and stuff, and as it goes on, it seems like it couldn’t possibly be anything but an ad for a Cirque du Soleil-themed pro-wrestling league. But then, just when you think you’ll see the cities and dates, and how awesome, awesome, AWESOME it will be, they show the cage open up and a few tweens walk into it through the dry ice fog. And guess what happens? All the huge, muscular, historically-dressed bad-ass wrestlers act all scared of the kids! Unbelievable!

So, what does this ad say to you? Well, for me, there is only one interpretation possible for what we’ve just seen. What’s that, you may ask? Well, apparently these traveling meatheads have been paying attention to what’s been happening to anyone who tries to discipline American children lately. Obviously, they don’t want to have to go to prison in a foreign land dressed like that, so they’re afraid to do anything that might get them into trouble! Really, why else would a bunch of freaky muscle-heads be scared of a few little brats? What else could it mean?

The actual intent of the ad is far more prosaic, however. It’s I guess some sort of ad to encourage kids to take some college-level courses early so that when they get to college, they can spend more of their time drinking and engaging in pre-marital sex and stuff. As if they need any encouragement in that department.

Here’s the ad (watch it without sound and see if you agree!):

NFL Lockout

So some judge just reinstated the NFL lockout. I’m not sure how I feel about this whole thing, but not for the reasons that you might think. After all, there are other sports to choose from, you know. But how am I supposed to respect the toughness of all of these super-macho football players when a simple judge’s order can keep them out of somewhere? Couldn’t they just tackle him and twist his head off, and then threaten to do it to anyone else who tries to enforce the lockout? And I mean, really! They’re not dominant enough to smash through the doors of the stadiums and practice facilities and play football just to prove that nobody could stop them? What’s the point of watching a game for the toughness when all the players simply lay down on the job just because some penny-ante judge or old geezer team owner said they had to? Come on, guys! Show us you’re such bad-asses by forcing them to do things your way by force of sheer muscle! Otherwise, it starts to look as fake as pro wrestling.

Mercedes Skidding Ad

Mercedes is being extremely disingenuous (or lyin’-ass, in American) in one of their more recent television ads. They show their cars driving really fast, recklessly, skidding all over the place, etc. Then they have the nerve to say this: “It’s the most fun you can legally have!” Um, I feel I must point out that all of the driving we’ve just been watching is not legal anywhere in the United States, at least not where you can take your Mercedes. So basically, this ad is a big lie. You really might as well advertise cocaine this way; it’s still not legal, no matter what you say or show.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding Ceremony

Okay, I have just seen some of the replay of the royal wedding. I have only a few things to say about it.

The first is this: I hope they really love each other, because when a ring is as hard to get on as Kate’s wedding ring was, it’s never coming off!! I hope she doesn’t gain any weight either, otherwise she may lose the circulation to her ring finger!

And here’s the second thing: Boy, I’ll bet Prince William’s red jacket bleeds like crazy in the wash! I wonder if it has a label sewn into it that says: “Wash with like colors”, or do they just wait for some underling to get it wrong so they can yell: “Off with her head!”?

Oh, yes, and there’s this: I thought it was so cute and fun to see Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh sing “God Save the Queen” about the woman he was standing right next to: his wife. (He didn’t even look over at her or nudge her or point at her either! Perhaps that would be frowned upon.) I guess he has to do it or his home life would be awful. Still, it’s wonderful to see. After all, they could have both just stood there giggling like schoolchildren. Wouldn’t you? But I have to wonder, does he ever sing it to her in private for fun, or whenever she gets too bossy just to try to get her goat? I would. (Maybe even the Sex Pistols’ version.)

The Royal Wedding Spectacular!

Okay, I have to admit, I didn’t watch the Royal Wedding. It was on at 4:30 am where I live, and I’m not staying up that late for a wedding unless I’m marrying a beautiful princess. I had to rely on the news to clue me into what the most important things were, and I must say, they didn’t disappoint!

CNN showed a picture of Princess Diana in a pink dress, and then they showed Kate Middleton in a pink dress too. They weren’t the same color pink, and the dresses were nothing alike, really, but did that stop CNN from making their point? Of course not! Yes, you see, the fact that Kate has worn a pink dress before proves that she’s been angling to become Diana’s successor all along! What more proof could you ask for? Apparently, it’s all CNN needs for a “news” story. No wonder nobody watches them anymore.

So, for the cynical viewer (like me), seeing this kind of stupidly tenuous stuff being used for a “news” story makes one wonder about the veracity of all their other reports. At least, I hope so.

Oh, sorry, did I almost leave out the wedding part? Maybe that’s because I’m not all that interested. But I do understand that for some people, particularly women who subscribe to wedding and bridal dress magazines, this must be like the Super Bowl, the World Series, March Madness, the World Cup, and the Olympics all rolled into one. Well, for you royal wedding fans out there, I’m happy to report that you’ve all seen it already, so I don’t need to tell you about it.

The one thing I will say is, I found it kind of funny that Kate’s sister Pippa carried the bride’s train. I suppose this was Kate’s way of saying: “Ha, ha! I got to marry the “handsome” prince, and now you’re going to have to follow me around for the rest of your life picking up after me!” And by making her actually pick up and carry her train, I think that’s how she gets taught that she can’t “ride on the coattails” of her famous princess sister. That’ll teach her!

Tree Trimming

Where I live, periodically the trees here and there are pruned in a most, um, decisive way. I’m not sure why they do it like this, but they trim off all the leaves, as well as all of the branches that were growing the leaves. This leaves what looks like a large, gnarled log. And when they do a whole street full of trees, like, say, on Rodeo drive, if just looks like some tree disease has killed them all. It takes a couple of years for these trees to bounce back, but they always do, somehow.

I have to wonder how this extreme tree surgery happens. They seem to almost always be the same type of tree too, so it must be some sort of vendetta: like some tree-trimming business owner’s wife was killed by a falling whatever-kind-of-tree-it-is, and he’s spending the rest of his life getting revenge. I can see him now, raving an angry ramble to himself: “Yeah, you thought you’d beaten me, didn’t you, when you took away the woman I loved! But it only made me stronger, and left me more time to get my revenge on you! Ha ha ha ha!!” Either that, or some city manager somewhere keeps thinking: “Man, I’m tired of all these fuckin’ leaves blocking my view of the tree stumps all the time.” And so he tells the tree trimmers: “Yeah, just get rid of all the green stuff, and whatever else it might grow on. I just want a dry, dead stump when you’re finished. Now don’t disappoint me!”

They always seem to do these violent tree mutilations when it’s the height of spring, and all the other trees around all the surrounding areas are in full bloom, sort of like a Monet painting, or a Klimt landscape. So then you’ve got what looks like a dead tree next to all the lush, green ones. This must be pretty embarrassing for whatever kind of tree this is. All the other types of trees are left alone to grow all the leaves they like, and I’m sure they grow extra ones too, just to rub it in that they can. This must be like the tree version of talking to a girl in gym class, and then some bully sneaks up and pulls your shorts down, making everyone laugh at you. You just know all the other trees are laughing at them, too. Perhaps this is the reason these trees always drip that sticky sap on our cars, ruining our windshield wipers and paint jobs. They obviously do it on purpose, and now I think I know why.


There are these types of investments you can make called “SPDRs”, that are referred to as “Spiders” in the ads. Not only that, but they make little animated cartoon spiders that crawl all over the place and weave webs and stuff. Is this the best idea to attract customers? Perhaps another name is possible? Like, say, um, any other name?

Okay, here’s the problem with spiders: most people think they’re gross and scary. Also, it’s what they do that makes them a singularly unfortunate mascot for a financial product. So, what do spiders do that make them a bad mascot for an investment service? Well, spiders lure you, then trap you in a web from which you cannot extricate yourself. Then they wrap you up and slurp all of your life and juices from you.

So, when I see a financial product called a “Spider”, I can’t help but think that I’m being lured into a trap, where the spider will then wrap my investment up in red tape where I can’t get to it, and then suck all the money out of the investment, leaving my finances as an empty, dry husk. That’s what comes to mind. Is that what they were hoping I’d think of, because if so, then they totally nailed it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Piece of Cake!

I know there’s a lot of silly, crazy mania about the royal wedding, but this really “takes the cake”! Or, something about cake, anyway. On a news program this morning, they raced through coverage of the death and destruction from the twisters down south so that they could get to the important stuff: the royal wedding. And what was so important to do a “yeah, yeah, sure, sure…” type of report on the disasters in our own country? If you answered some beaming guy displaying his 30-year-old piece of wedding cake, give yourself a star sticker!

Yes! I’m not even joking when I say that they sped through the actual news to get to this guy who was proudly showing a correspondent a rotten old slice of wedding cake saved from Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding 30 years ago. I kept hoping he’d open the box and all these maggots would flop out, or that it would be empty and then a scared mouse would run up his arm or something as he said: “That’s funny… It used to be here…” Oh, well. I guess you can’t have everything.

Proud Sponsor of Moms?

A Proctor & Gamble ad I saw last night claimed that they’re the “proud sponsor of moms”. Are they really? So does that mean that they’re footing the bill for all moms, like a TV show sponsor is responsible for financing the expenses of the TV show they’re sponsoring? If that’s supposed to be the case, I have to say that they seem pretty negligent to me.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying that it’s their responsibility to financially support every mother and child in the United States: they are! Or don’t they understand the idea of sponsorship? So basically, from their statement, they get to take credit for every mom in the country, but they’re not required to put in any investment toward that advertising relationship. That doesn’t seem fair to me. All moms should sue for denied back wages from when they’ve been exploited all this time by Procter & Gamble for advertising purposes!

Hey, it would be one thing if there were other companies saying they were co-sponsors or whatever. But even then, P&G would be disingenuous for suggesting that they were the ‘one and only’ sponsor of moms, right? They never said they’re co-sponsor or part sponsor. They said that they’re the sponsor of moms. And not only that, but they’re the proud sponsor of moms! Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to be proud if I were them. After they said that, every time a kid goes hungry or a mom gets evicted, it’s their fault for shirking their responsibility. Maybe from now on, every time anything ever goes wrong for a mom for any reason, the news should cover it as another example of the failed promise of P&G sponsorship. After all the free advertising they’ve been getting from all the moms everywhere, it seems fair to me.

What About The Apprentice?

If Donald Trump is really going to run for president, can he still do his big, popular television show called Celebrity Apprentice? I think he can have his cake and eat it too, and here’s how:

He can spend all of his time running for president, except for when he does the TV show, which he will only have to do once: He simply shows up for the first episode, sits at the big table with all of the contestants and says: “You’re all fired; and I’m keeping all the prize money!” Then he can donate it to his election campaign. It’s easy, see?

Movie Ratings, Internet Style

I suppose that everyone simply takes it for granted nowadays that any new movie they try to look up on IMDB is going to have a 9.0+ rating, since they all hire web consultants and promo people to give them high ratings and gin up recognition and high volume in all the major search engines. I guess we have The Blair Witch Project to thank for that. But here’s the thing: these crappy recent movies with their over-hyped ratings intended to generate interest and business are going up against real movies in the IMDB rankings. Now is this really fair? If you try to look up what the highest-rated ghost movies or films noirs are, you’d be lucky if you didn’t find half of the ones on the list among these cheesy promo wannabes. So here’s what I propose: every time there’s a new big ranking of whatever genre, IMDB should let everyone know ahead of time, so people who love old movies like The Maltese Falcon, or The Case of the Howling Dog, etc., can have a chance to act like they are part of that phony interest-driving promotions machine that all the new product gets. And I think we can all agree that if they were made after 2000, then they should automatically get like 2 or 3 points knocked off of the rating to make up for the promo & marketing hype. Then, at least, it might have a chance of being fair… And accurate.

Royal Wedding Controversy

There has been some recent controversy about certain recipients of royal wedding invitations, including officials from Syria and Bahrain. The complaints seem to be based upon the fact that these regimes have been oppressing their people or something. This seems like an odd thing to be upset about to me. This is the wedding of royals from England, yes? That’s the same England that colonized half of the world and kept them in line with an iron fist and stuff, right? And then they invite some guys who are doing a really wimpy version of what England used to do, but somehow it seems inappropriate to some people to invite them because, um, why? Hey, I’m not saying that England still acts this way, but for people to think it’s somehow out of character to invite such people to a celebration of England’s ruling past, when that past is so full of the same type of stuff; well, you see the inconsistency, don’t you? So let them all come to wedding and just consider yourself lucky that they’re not still putting rabble like you complainers on the rack in England anymore! If you really want something to complain about, then go back to Syria with the guy from there…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Katie Holmes, Star

The publishers of Star magazine settled a lawsuit filed by Katie Holmes just because they insinuated that she was a drug addict. I can’t believe it! This is such a silly over-reaction by the actress, right? I mean, it’s obvious that there’s probably a drug addict named “Katie Holmes” somewhere, right? So that’s who the article was really about, I’m sure; and they just accidentally substituted the actress’s photo in for the one they meant to use, because they’re so used to using pictures of celebrities. What else could have happened? After all, I trust a newspaper with such a stellar reputation as Star. Don’t you?

Here’s the story:

Toro Recall

No, this isn’t the all-bovine version of Total Recall. Today it was announced that Toro would recall snowblowers and lawnmowers because of a fire risk. That’s weird, because I thought it was designed intentionally as a failsafe device to get the job done. You see, if your snowblower or lawnmower breaks down, at least it would start a fire, which could then finish the job of melting the snow or burning off all that unwanted grass. Wasn’t that the idea? I thought it was a brilliant design! But I guess some panty-waist had to go and ruin it just because it could burn down someone’s house or start a wildfire or whatever. Do you want to melt snow/get rid of grass or not? I mean, seriously: make up your mind! If you don’t care about getting the job done, then why bother doing it at all?

Here’s the story about the recall, for those of you who don’t actually want the job done:

SETI Shutdown

See? As soon as I post a piece about aliens possessing Alec Baldwin’s body, an article appears in the news lamenting the shutdown of SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life). This has got to be a conspiracy! They knew we were about to discover their dastardly plot to control the world through possessing actors, so they obviously possessed politicians and bankers who then plotted to destroy the economy, thus drying up funds for SETI, and allowing them to remain undetected. What else is possible in light of recent developments? I’m telling you, more Alec Baldwin ads coupled with the shutting down of SETI proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the aliens are colonizing us right now!

Another piece of proof? How about this: the “History” Channel has been airing the Ancient Aliens series more than ever lately, which proves that it’s an attempt to misdirect our attention by suggesting that aliens were only here long ago. Obviously they’re here now! They’ve taken over programming duties for the “History” Channel! What other proof do you need? I hope you all bought one of those underground shelter thingies that Glenn Beck was hawking earlier. You may need it now!

Here’s the article that proves aliens are invading but don’t want us to be able to find out about it:

Capital One Alec Baldwin Ad

Alec Baldwin is currently starring in an ad for Capital One about a card with bonus points or whatever for people who fly a lot. Yadda, yadda. Whatever. Anyway, he’s basically there teasing and bullying people who don’t have the “right” credit card, while he’s busy lording it over everyone else. Nice. But I’m surprised he didn’t call everyone without the card a "rude, thoughtless little pig." That’s what we know him best for, right?

But I think we all remember him from another recent ad: the one for Hulu, where he’s an alien trying to squishify all of our brains with TV shows. The funny thing is that his behavior is so similar in the Capital One ad, it starts to make me seriously wonder if that tentacley alien didn’t just possess his body and prostitute it out for the highest-paying ads. Hey, you never know.

Here’s the Hulu ad:

And here’s the Capital One ad:

Korean Air Ad

First these guys tried to lure us with sexy-looking flight attendants who flirted with us through the TV screen, like air travel with them was some kind of “gentlemen’s club” or something. But now, they’ve really gone too far! This recent campaign shows a couple sitting on the wings while the plane is in flight! Really? They make you sit on the outside of the plane? I’m sorry, but I don’t care how sexy your stewardesses are, I still want to sit inside the plane. Is that too much to ask?

But wait a minute, perhaps what they’re really doing here is something else entirely! What if, for the rest of us, what they’re really trying to tell us is that they’re going to make all of the hot young people with model-looks sit on the wings of the airplane, while the rest of us less-hot people get to sit in seats on the inside. For people who got picked on in high school, or for people who are tired of the skinny models in fashion magazines, perhaps this is the airline for you! Then you could just look out the window and watch them suffer for however long the flight is. Wouldn’t that be nice, for a change?

Here’s the ad (they try to sneak it in there that you have to fly on the outside, but I caught it!):

Skin Mistakes

A news headline I just saw says the following: “Mistakes you are making with your skin”. Yes, I’m afraid it’s a little-known fact, but you’re supposed to wear your skin on the inside. For those who are doing it wrong, you simply flay yourself and then eat it. If it hurts, just pour alcohol all over yourself. You’ll be fine in the morning.

Here’s the article (but don’t listen to them! I told you the truth!):

Mitten Romney

So I guess I have to conclude that Mitt Romney is the obvious front-runner for the Republican presidential hopefuls this time around. He’s getting all the big interviews and laurels thrown to him (figuratively) from the conservatives and those on Fox News. Oh, sorry; was I just redundant there? Anyway, I guess it’s either him or Donald Trump. You all know how I feel about this: I want a blustery braggart in office so that all the people around the world who hate America will finally be exonerated. Then they’ll bitch about us and stuff, and we can finally nuke them. (I’m kidding; Let’s nuke them first.)

Anyway, all I really need to know about Mitt Romney, I found out from my niece. Yes, it was during the last Republican presidential primary race, and I was watching the news over at my sister’s house. Well, my niece came in the room, so naturally I wanted to get her take on all of this. I told her who the candidates were, and she told me unequivocally that she was for: “Mitten Romney: because he’s a mitten.” (She was 5 years old.) In any case, I have since learned that this is as good as any way of deciding (if not better) on a candidate as anything else. I liked Obama last time. Now I don’t like him so much. So Mitten Romney is starting to look a lot better right about now, even though I don’t like him either. But he’s a mitten, and that’s enough for me.

But this initiated a real curiosity in me as to his name. Sure, I know it’s his middle name, but he goes by it, so there you are. Now, I figure it this way: my niece was right, he is a mitten, at least in a sense. His dad was the governor of Michigan, and Michigan is shaped like a mitten, so I figure he was named with that in mind. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Hey, patriotism can extend to shapes, right? So his dad was really patriotic about Michigan. Don’t hold it against him. That was a long time ago, so it’s a little more understandable. But despite the fact that Mitt Romney’s dad wasn’t the governor of Michigan until about 20 years after Mitt was born, I think that he’s still named after the state’s shape. His father must have named his son “Mitt” to remind himself that his goal in life was to become the governor of Michigan. Then again, it could also be true that he’s named after an oven Mitt. Maybe his dad would have burned himself on a stove, but he got in the way. We just can’t be sure.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jim Jones

There’s a New York rapper called Jim Jones, and I’m afraid he’s not quite living up to expectations. No, I know it may disappoint many people, but rather than genocide with Kool Aid, this guy has simply been arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license. Well, I say this: Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. Perhaps someday he’ll live up to his name, but from now on, just to keep us from remembering his shame, perhaps he should either carpool or take the subway. I’m only trying to help…

Here’s the shockingly underwhelming article:

The Easter Bunny & Muslim Garb

I saw a debate today about whether or not President Obama should have made an official White House Easter announcement. The news channel was complaining that he should have, and that he’s ruining Christianity for everyone by not doing it. (See if you can guess which channel this was on.) I myself personally missed Easter this year, because I’m always waiting around for the president to tell me when all the religious holidays are. So thanks for nothing, Mr. Obama! By the time I find the eggs, now they’re all going to be rotten!

Anyway, Juan Williams was one half of this debate panel, and he said something about how this anger with the president for not doing an official White House Easter announcement was really some kind of code for the president being a Muslim. That’s what drives this kind of thing, he said, but the president is not a Muslim. I was really hoping, though, that Juan Williams would say something more like: “Hey, President Obama is not a Muslim! If he was, I’d know, because then he’d make me nervous when I see him on an airplane!”

(For those of you who don’t know, Juan Williams is the guy who got fired from NPR for saying that seeing people dressed in Muslim garb* on an airplane makes him nervous. I found that to be kind of funny at the time, because when I see someone dressed in Muslim garb at an airport or on an airplane, that’s how I can be pretty sure that they’re not a terrorist. You see, I don’t think there has ever been an airline-related act of terrorism carried out by someone wearing Muslim garb. It just draws too much attention to itself, I guess. But hey, maybe it will be the hot new trend in coming years. But I doubt it. You see, once the rest of us see Juan Williams getting nervous, we know to keep our eyes on the people in Muslim garb, and so they lose the element of surprise.)

* It strikes me that after that whole controversy, some snarky terrorist sympathizer could start up a new clothing line called “Muslim Garb Brand ® Clothing & Accessories”, and then funnel all of their profits to Al Qaida. They could design the hottest new terrorist fashions, like a double-grenade-padded-bra, belts made of plastique, 3-piece suits with bomb vests, etc. Their ad campaign could say: “Muslim Garb Brand Clothing: Makes the Infidel Fear You!” Or perhaps: “Muslim Garb: Terrorize the Infidel with Fashion!” Okay, maybe not. But how about this?: “Muslim Garb Explodes the Infidel Brian with a Look that’s To Die For!” Does that work? How about calling them: “The Fiercest Fashions that are Totally on Fire!”? No? Okay, then you come up with something better!

Vague Movie Title

That’s correct, I’m referring to the upcoming film: The Fast and the Furious 5. I’m a little confused, because I’m not sure if this movie is about a bunch of fast people chasing Grandmaster Flash’s backup band “The Furious Five”, or if it’s just the 5th movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise of films. I’d watch the former, but the latter sounds like I’ve seen it before already.

Old Head & Shoulders Ad Campaign

Recently I remember hearing someone talking about how advertising these days is mostly about making people feel insecure about something, and then offering them a product to fix it. (I actually think ads these days are more like a sketch comedy piece that’s completely unrelated to the product they’re selling, and then they tack the product on at the end.) I don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that the earliest example of this may be the dandruff ads that offered the opinion that an itchy scalp proved that you had dandruff, and that if you ever even think about scratching your head, that everyone will reject and humiliate you.

This is funny, because prior to this, scratching one’s head used to be an old movie shorthand to suggest that someone was thinking hard about something. If it’s also true that dandruff makes your scalp itchy, perhaps the two things are connected. Could it be possible? Let’s think about this (and scratch our heads): What if great intelligence radiated through your head when you thought hard about something? Perhaps when you’re really smart, the brain’s brilliance literally radiates through your skull, through your scalp, and then bursts off your head in the form of dandruff. So then maybe dandruff isn’t such a bad thing after all, since it would indicate genius. And so scratching your head wouldn’t be bad, so much as a leading indicator of intelligence, right? So maybe the guys who thought up the ad were just mad that everyone with an itchy scalp was smarter than them.

Here’s the most recent version of the ad (But this goes way back!):

Prison for Parents

I like that they are putting parents in prison for their children’s truancy. Nothing shapes up kids who have no respect for their parents better than to put their parents in prison and let the kids run around doing whatever they want without any kind of parental oversight. That’ll learn ‘em! Even better would be to train kids who hate their parents to associate their bad behavior with their parents’ incarceration, so that they learn to act out to punish their parents, and then the state enforces the punishment of the parents. But that surely could never happen. Our government is so wonderfully competent, and they never would judge a parent or take a little kid’s word over that of a number of adults and then put the adults in jail even when they’re doing nothing wrong and are trying their best to raise their kids right. Oh, wait… Sorry, yes they would; they do. Never mind.

I still like this idea, though. You know why? Because once these delinquent kids have to go without their parents for long enough, they’ll soon have kids of their own. And then their parents will get out of prison and can bribe their grandchildren into doing things that get their parents put in jail. So long as they keep the same policy, the parents will always be able to get revenge on their kids eventually. And so the cycle continues, and the corrections industry flourishes, creating jobs all over. Oh, yes, and there will be lots of new social worker jobs and stuff as well. Perhaps this is the kind of job-creation engine we need right now. Boom economy, here we come!

This is based upon the following article:

Is it a Hate Crime?

There was some video on the news yesterday where a couple of young ladies are shown being not very nice to another lady in a fast-food restaurant. It’s definitely violent, but is it a hate crime? I suppose that depends on intent, but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. This is just the context of how the following issue came up.

What happened is, some talk show host made the point that this was a hate crime, and then somebody else said they weren’t sure, and then he said: “Well, if you’re killing someone, that’s a hateful act.” Everyone seemed to agree with that assessment, but let’s just hold our horses here. What if it’s a mercy killing? Is that a hateful act? What if you’re killing someone with kindness? Is that a hateful act? What if you “love someone to death”? Is that hateful? And what about “death by chocolate”? See the problem here? I think that you can be nice even when you’re killing someone (like when you’re, say, I don’t know, maybe, “killing me softly with his song”), so it’s not always a hate crime, especially when dessert is involved somehow. I hope we’re all clear on this, because I don’t want dessert restaurant artisans being indicted on hate crime charges. I like chocolate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bell + Howell Pest Repeller Ad

This Bell + Howell Pest Repeller thing is advertised as being animal-friendly by not using any dangerous elements. It just uses sonic waves and stuff to repel animals. But is this really humane? Think about it. How is this different from playing the Barney theme over and over at detainees? That was called torture then, but doing it to animals is fine, huh? You might say that using high-frequency sound waves is not as bad as repeatedly playing the theme from Barney and Friends, but how do you know that this Bell + Howell device doesn’t immobilize the animals when we’re not looking and then play the Barney theme over and over at them out of the range of human hearing? Can you prove they’re not doing it? I still say throwing shoes and chasing them away with a broom is way more humane than this electronic torture device. And it’s way more fun, too. Unless you like to torture animals. Weirdo.

Dog & Pony Show

I keep hearing all of these contentious political spectacles flaring up lately referred to as “dog and pony shows”. I think this is cruelty to animals. What have dogs and ponies ever done to anyone to be so smeared and insulted as to be compared to politicians? Dogs are loyal, and they’re known as “man’s best friend”. Does that sound like a politician to you? And what about ponies? I’ve heard that some ponies actually bite kids sometimes, but for all I know those brats could have been asking for it. Even if they’re biting everyone’s children all day long, I still think it’s uncalled-for to use them as a metaphor for politicians. So stop this verbal animal abuse!

The Red and the Blue

It’s almost that time of year again! What time of year, you ask? It’s panderin’ time! This is the time where our presidential hopefuls start trotting out in their sexy swimwear and hope to lure us with their wares. And what does this usually mean? Well the most important thing about election campaigns is that we get to see maps with states and districts all colored either blue or red (or purple, if they’re confused or non-committal).

Yes, that’s right! It’s the time of year where we get to start choosing what colors our states are going to be when they get put up on the big election maps on the news! This is even better than decorating a Christmas tree, because the “War on Christmas” makes it impossible to enjoy that anymore. Even in your own home or with your whole family gathering around in festive holiday garb, you’ll still know somewhere in the back of your mind that some lawsuit somewhere will have Michelle Malkin grimacing and spitting venom about this on TV somewhere, being egged on mercilessly by some Sean Hannity type. And then they’ll have some atheist guy arguing the separation of church and state with someone who says she hopes he enjoys spending eternity in hell, etc. It used to be fun, but now it’s just becoming predictable and boring. And doesn’t that ruin it for everyone? So I say: “Let’s all gather around the lovely election map and sing songs of good cheer and corruption and voter fraud and stuff!” (Sorry, this is a relatively new holiday, so we haven’t quite worked the kinks out of what exactly to include in the songs yet. But we’ll figure it out, don’t worry.)

Right. So we all know what this all means: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. But does this seem right to all of you? Something just doesn’t feel quite right here to me. Are they trying to use reverse psychology or something? And do they have some sort of ‘gentleman’s agreement’ about this here? I mean, come on; think about it: Aren’t Democrats to the left of center? And what do you get when you go to the extreme left? It’s communism, right? And what color is associated with communism? It’s red, isn’t it? (As in: “Better dead than red!”) Sure it is! So, wouldn’t it make much more sense for the Democrats to be the red color?

And what about the Republicans? Aren’t they all rich and well-connected and stuff? And what term usually denotes such a thing? It’s “blue-blood”, right? And aren’t they usually depicted and understood to be less caring, less emotional, and less in touch with their feelings? And what’s that thought to be? Cold (or cool: but not Fonzie cool; temperature cool), right? And what color is known to be associated with cold/cool? It’s blue, right? (As in blue is a cool color vs. a warm color.) So, doesn’t it seem more appropriate to have the Republicans represented with the color blue? Hey, I’m not saying they have to do it, but wouldn’t it just feel more accurate if they switched colors? Or are they trying to make us forget the stereotypes with a color-coded switcheroo? I’m just curious.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Premier Package Contest

(Reader warning: Don’t read this if you’re easily offended. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Anybody who has all or most of the pay-cable “premier” movie channels knows that there’s a competition going on between HBO and Showtime over their original series programming. Anyone who has watched them knows what I’m talking about. That’s right, I mean the doggy-style rape-off competition. First, Showtime graced us with the lovely sight of someone getting raped by Anne Boleyn’s brother in The Tudors. Then, just when you thought you had finally erased that image from your mind, last week on The Borgias, in the episode “Lucrezia’s Wedding”, they lovingly displayed yet another violent wedding-night doggy-style rape sequence. Thanks, guys. A fade to black would do quite well enough for me, thank you. I get the point. (I know that you want us to understand that this was a brutal time, and that this is what some women really went through, but it really reminds me more of a stand-up comedian’s set-up, “Ready your brain-mouth for my mind-penis!”*, when I think about what you’re trying to do to us viewers.)

HBO must have heard about this latest example, though, and not to be outdone, they had in the first installment of their original series, Game of Thrones, a veritable series of such episodes. First they had a wedding sequence where we’re treated to a dance number I could only accurately describe as a topless doggy-style wedding rapey-dance, where a number of women are serially violated by numerous, um, gentlemen, which then is followed by a scene of the doggy-style raping of the newlywed bride by her hunky meat-head husband. Nice. So, if my cliché-o-meter is operating properly, this will mean that she’ll bond with him later, and then he’ll get revenge for her, or something like that. Am I on track so far? (I haven’t read the books, but I’ve seen a lot of bad movies.)

But sorry, HBO, for all the offensive rapeyness of Game of Thrones, you don’t do it as offensively explicitly as Showtime, lovingly documenting every ounce of humiliation and detail of carnality, misery and exploitation. You guys are just amateurs compared to Showtime! Just give it up and admit that your rape scenes are just second-rate copies of something that’s way more objectionable.

This all reminds me of a comedy sketch from the show The Kids in the Hall, where David Foley’s character loves watching ass-rape scenes like the one in Deliverance over and over again, and when someone tries to insinuate that he likes butt-sex, he just says that it’s “incidental” to the scene, and he only likes it because it’s “breathing life into great writing.” This whole rape-exhibition game on these “premium” channels strikes me the same way. I guess I have to ask: is this the dramatic equivalent of rap and heavy metal videos? Perhaps after being conditioned by this stuff for so long, most of us simply lose focus if there aren’t enough ass-rape scenes to keep us occupied. Is that it?

Anyway: So HBO, if you guys want to win the pay-cable rape-off competition, you’re going to have to seriously ramp it up a bit. Now don’t get me wrong here: I don’t want you to do it. (I don’t like seeing this stuff at all!) But it’s pretty clear that somebody does, or else you wouldn’t be doing it. And you want to win, right?

* Yes! That’s right! It’s the brilliant comic Eugene Merman who said that!

Cable Movie Channel Packages

I have a bunch of the movie channels because my cable company has a deal where if you get most of them, it costs about the same as getting HBO separately. I guess that’s what you call “value added”. Whoever designed that deal probably figured out that if you give people all of those 24-hour movie channels (the ones without ads), it’s going to make them want to watch TV all the time, and eventually they may not be earning as much money as before, so you’d better lower the overall price or they’ll end up having to cancel their cable service altogether, and then you’ll get nothing. See? That’s smart-ish. If you want to be sure that they’ll be able to pay the bill, include a DVR in the package. That way they can still go to work without feeling like they’re going to miss something good on TV, but they’ll definitely want to get all the good premium channels since now they’ve got a DVR to make use of.

It’s funny, but now that there are other ways to watch television and movie content, the cable TV ads are trying to make you feel like you should stay glued to your TV set or you’ll miss all the great stuff. That’s probably not the best long-term business plan, for the reason I laid out earlier. If you have a DVR, it’s really the most convenient way of watching whatever you want. Streaming stuff like Hulu has very annoying ads and the picture looks terrible, not to mention the fact that you need high-speed internet to use it reliably. DVDs take up a lot of space, and now that NetFlix has driven all the Mom & Pop video-rental stores out of business like a big evil video Starbucks, they have made the decision to stop purchasing new DVDs, or replacing damaged or missing discs from their rental library. Streaming is all the rage now, but not everyone’s internet connection is fast enough to reliably stream movies, plus for it to work on a Mac, you have to have an Intel processor. Some streamed movies really look awful too, which is inexcusable when you find out that a very select few look as good as a Blu Ray disc (!).

The big new thing is On Demand. They beat it into the ground as the greatest thing in the world at my cable provider, and it doesn’t even work; it automatically tunes your channel to it when you turn on your TV, and if you don’t punch in another channel number, it will hang for twenty minutes before finally presenting a menu that doesn’t function. Awesome! But if it does work, and it’s free (I’m guessing that it sucks like mine if you’re trying the free stuff, but it will work if you pay more for it. Color me cynical.), I’ll bet it will be as good as a DVR, as long as the content doesn’t go away before you get around to seeing it. But I suppose they will always use it as a way to try to squeeze more and ever more money out of everyone, especially those who work long days. No wonder they don’t include a DVR free-of-charge: then you might just be able to see what you want on it and not need anything further. And isn’t that why studios tried to outlaw the VHS video tape recorder to begin with, years ago?

Red Riding Hood

First, I have to say that I have not seen this movie. But I saw a movie review for it that said that it was cool when they got to the part about: “Grandma, what big eyes you’ve got, etc.” (You’d think with Amanda Seyfried, the wolf could say: “Big eyes? Compared to who? You? I don’t think so!”) This got me wondering, was the grandmother the werewolf? She’s got a cabin out in the woods (in the fairy tale), right? What if, in this movie, her family had decided to put her in an old-folks home (which is the cabin in the woods), and that to get revenge for being cast off and ignored, she sells her soul to the devil for the ability to become a werewolf. Then she can punish everyone for the plight of edler-abuse victims and lonely, neglected grandparents. It would be totally zeitgeisty, what with the debate over slashing Medicare budgets to control the debt, the Obamacare “death panels” accusations, and our ever-increasing life-expectancies, etc. Right? Hey, I’d see that movie! Maybe it could be sponsored by the AARP.

Heineken Casino Ad

Heineken currently has an ad running on television with a bunch of guys in tuxedos saying hello to each other in a couple of playful ways. The main guy pretends to have a gun fight with some fat dude, who pretends to fall over dead before relieving us all that he’s okay after all, and he goes and hugs the guy. Then the main guy gets into some Kung Fu display with an Asian guy (once more playing into two stereotypes: that all Asians know Kung Fu, and that white people can’t dance {Hey, Fred Astaire was white, right? I know that was kind of a long time ago, but can’t he count?}), they battle over a Heineken bottle, and then they shake hands or whatever. What I’m wondering is this: is this mock fighting stuff Heineken’s lighthearted play on the fact that drinking alcoholic beverages often makes people violent and abusive? What they could do is cut to later on in the night, after they’ve all had like 15 beers, and they could all put each other in the hospital trying to say good-bye in the same way they said hello. (Oh, and song in the ad is being sung by a cockney blonde who sounds like she's holding her nose while she sings; so I guess these guys must have forgotten to wear deodorant or something.)

Just For Men Beard Dye Ads

An ad that’s been running on television for Just For Men Beard Dye has made my eyes roll for a long time, and I’ve just got to speak up now. This is taking the same tack as the stupid old beer commercials that act like if you drink the beer, you’ll get tons of chicks and get laid all the time. Sure, Axe Body Spray does the same thing, but at least it’s on a grand, epic scale, and it’s entertaining (and it’s obviously ridiculous). But this Just For Men Beard Dye ad is just insulting.

The ad shows some guy with a gray goatee try to be nice to his hot young Hooters-waitress neighbor while he’s cutting his grass, and she gives him the brush with an eye-roll chaser. Then these old guys in a Just For Men van that looks like a pervert’s ice cream truck tell him to use Just For Men Beard Dye. I think they’re all former sports stars or something, since they use sports metaphors throughout the spot. Anyway, he stains his goatee with the stuff, and all of a sudden, the girl next door has the whole staff from Hooters doing his yard work in skimpy outfits while he sits around on his ass in a folding beach chair sipping iced tea or whatever it is.

Okay, so this is dumb, and insulting. If this guy is a rich, famous athlete, he’d get all the girls anyway (if they knew who he was); if he was some other guy of the same age, just some average guy (no matter how handsome), the girls would assume he was a creep and reject him anyway, so why bother with the beard dye? I mean, let’s get real here.

But this isn’t as bad as another ad for the same product that was running a year or so ago. This ad was really ridiculous! It shows some guy taking a date back home, but she rejects him for a kiss on her doorstep because he’s got salt & pepper stubble. So the guys in the Just For Men pervert stalker van show up and peer-pressure him into staining his beard with Just For Men Beard Dye. Then the next shot shows him at his date’s doorstep again, but this time, because he has tricked her into thinking his beard isn’t salt & pepper (She must have a really short memory, this one.) anymore, she drags him into her house with a super-frisky look on her face. And of course the stalker guys in the van high-five each other, celebrating the fact that now they can film whatever happens through the window on a video camera and put it on the internet. (After all, why else would guys drive around a suburban area in a van helping strangers get laid? Think about it.)

So here’s my problem with this ad: This woman is so vapid and superficial that his personality doesn’t matter at all. Even the same guy she rejected before is fine now that he’s stained his razor stubble. Ridiculous! I don’t think there are actually many women out there that are that obsessed with stubble color vs. personality or (more importantly) wealth, but let's assume for the moment that there are. And let’s forget the fact that this woman already knows that this guy had gray beard stubble from the last time she went out with him. For all intents and purposes, this is a new date, or a second date (or whatever), with the same guy with the same fake-colored beard stubble, okay? Okay. So here’s my problem now: If she drags him into her apartment for sex, isn’t she going to notice that his chest hairs, underarm hairs, pubic hairs, etc., all have gray in them? So what happens when she unzips his pants, and tufts of gray pubes come popping out? Does she feel that same sense of revulsion as before and throw him out? Does she get mad about being tricked with the beard dye into thinking he’s going to have the same hair color all over? Or is she going to say, “Oh, what the hell. You’re already here, so it’s too late to kick you out now. I might as well sleep with you.”? She might do the latter, but then isn’t she going to tell everyone about it and start a bunch of gossip? Or maybe you’re supposed to dye all of your body hair with the beard dye.

It just seems like they could try to make some extra coin by selling you Just For Men Chest Hair Dye, and Just For Men Pubic Hair Dye, etc. They could just keep showing new ads where the same guy gets closer and closer to having sex with her, but she discovers a new patch of gray hair somewhere and kicks him out again. Then, naturally the perv guys are waiting outside in the van, and they trick him into buying a new Just For Men hair dye product that’s specific for use on some other type of hair (whatever she kicked him out for this time). See? They could make an unlimited amount of money from gullible guys this way! (The stockholders demand it!) But the ads would still be silly and unrealistic.

I think a more convincing way to do an ad like this would be for an investment house to show the guy, after making a pile of money with them, getting dragged into his date’s house for sex. That would at least be believable, since he's obviously successful and wealthy. But how could she tell? Maybe he carries around his stock statements on his laptop or smart-phone. (You can tell I’m new to this stuff.) Yeah, come to think of it, this could be a great ad to twist into use for Scott Trade or E-Trade, right? The guy’s checking his holdings all night, and his date notices, and so she knows he’s successful. Then they could have him have a gray goatee and still get laid (thus invalidating the need for Just For Men Beard Dye)! Hey, it might work! And this might help explain how the E-Trade baby got that way. See?: He takes after his dad!

Movie Accents

Okay, I have to admit I’ve been thinking about writing about this lately, but it took a passing quote from some internet movie review show to make me actually do it. So I’m lazy, what do you want? But there’s this review of Red Riding Hood, by What the Flick?!, where one of the reviewers complains about how most of the characters have American accents in a medieval European setting. (Another America-basher! {I’m kidding, I hope you realize.}) So, why would it be possible for there to be a bunch of American-accented characters in a European-themed movie? Well, it comes to an issue I realized long ago, when the world was young. Most Americans don’t speak any foreign languages. Why should we? We’ve got nukes, plus a population of citizens who keep espousing that we’re the “greatest country in the world” without ever having visited any other places. So, how do you represent characters you’re supposed to identify with? Well, use American accents. And how do you denote any kind of foreigner or villain? Well, obviously, they’d have British accents (See: The Borgias).

Think about it: British accents represent the enemy to all good Americans, whether we realize it or not; it’s built into our DNA, as a sort of genetic memory. Who first oppressed our countrymen enough to fight a war for independence? That’s right: the British. Who dragged us into fighting two world wars for them? That’s right: the British! And where were the guys from who used espionage to steal the secrets of the atomic bombs and give them to the Soviets, ramping up the Cold War to epic proportions? That’s right, they were, of course, from England. That’s why President Obama sent back the Winston Churchill bust, right?* Anyway, my point is, deep in our subconscious, we’ve all got the knowledge that Brits are evil, right? And then there’s the fact that nobody here speaks any other languages. So what foreign-sounding accent can we all understand, but still recognize as foreign? Yes! It’s just the British accent! So that’s what movies use as a sort of de facto accent to tell us that someone is not from America, or that they’re evil, usually. Check your movies and see if I’m right on this. (English movies don’t count. They cheat by having heroes with British accents!)

BTW, here’s the review I was talking about:

* Okay, no it’s not. That’s some old family feud.

The Conspirator

I’ve seen a lot of promotion, clips and star interviews for the current movie release The Conspirator lately, but it’s still not performing well at the box office. I think I may know why this is.

In the ad I saw on TV for this movie, the voice-over guy says: “150 years after the end of the Civil War…” (something about how finally the story can be told, blah, blah.) My memory isn’t what it used to be, and I can’t find the ad online (weird, that.), so I’m sorry if I only remembered the part I quoted, but it’s the important part here. See, here’s the thing: 150 years after the end of the Civil War isn’t for another four years! So, naturally when people hear that, they think: “Oh, so this movie isn’t coming out until 2015. So I guess I’ll go see Hop or Rio (or whatever) this weekend.” Do you see the problem here? If your ad makes people think your movie isn’t due to be released until 2015, they’re not going to plan to see it until then. So that probably explains why it’s just #11 at the box office on its opening weekend.

I have to point out something else about this movie that has definitely hobbled it: Yahoo! movies has it listed in the current box office performance list at #11, but when you click on it, it gives you a description of the 1949 Elizabeth Taylor movie The Conspirator instead of this movie.* Huh. Maybe this is some huge (Yahoo! employee) Elizabeth Taylor fan’s homage to her, but it’s just hurting the new movie when it’s confusing potential viewers/movie patrons. What’s even funnier about this is that a movie review of The Conspirator by What the Flick?! (Did you catch that sly, subtle double-entendre there in the name of the review show? Clever!) shows clips from the movie with the ‘Yahoo! movies’ watermark stamped in the bottom right corner! So they know the movie, manage the clips to reviewers, and then they intentionally misdirect people when they look for it in Yahoo! movies? Or could it be simple incompetence? (Somehow, I doubt it.)

What’s funniest about this whole Yahoo! movies kerfuffle (yet another commonly-used word MS Word doesn’t know) is that Yahoo! is a well-known left-leaning website, and as such, it’s weird to see it blocking informational access to a movie that the very reviewers using the film clips stamped with the ‘Yahoo! movies’ watermark call a metaphoric indictment of the whole “War on Terror”/Guantánamo Bay situation. So, wouldn’t they agree with a condemnation of that? But I guess when you really think about it, President Obama is in charge now, so that might reflect badly on him, since the whole Guantánamo Bay policy hasn’t changed a bit, and since Yahoo! obviously supports him, they might want to prevent anyone from making a connection that might tarnish his image. Either that, or they’re all huge Elizabeth Taylor fans. Whichever you think is most likely.

* This is, completely honestly, the page that came up when I clicked on the weekend box office performance listing for The Conspirator from Yahoo! movies (#11 on the list!) on April 23, 2011, the first weekend for the theater run for the 2011 film The Conspirator (no kidding!){No fair fixing it!}:

And here is the movie review from What the Flick?! that has the clips with the ‘Yahoo! movies’ watermark on them.

Believe it or not, this did not even occur to me until I started typing this sentence. I was writing the sentence about Elizabeth Taylor when this reminded me of all of the “left-leaning media bias” stuff I keep hearing about (there definitely is some, by the way, on some channels), and wouldn’t it be funny if this could be twisted into an argument for this obvious web-link oversight being part of some liberal-bias conspiracy? But when you actually think about it, maybe it’s not so far-fetched after all. I don’t know. But watch the movie review (but turn down the volume, there is some static here and there), and then consider how this would reflect on the current president if everyone felt the same propaganda pounding at them from the movie as these reviewers did. Who might that effect at the ballot box? (Remember, Bush & Cheney aren’t running anymore.)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Essentials: An American in Paris

I just saw Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin on TCM talking about next week’s “essential” movie: An American in Paris. That was the one from like two months ago. Oh, well. I guess there can only be so many essentials. Anyway, at the end of their discussion, Alec Baldwin says: “It’s Gene Kelly’s wonderful looks and athleticism that makes it great.” That’s funny, because I always thought it was Nina Foch’s man-eater cougardom that made it great. Ah, well, I suppose there's no accounting for taste.

What I’m really waiting for is the long-awaited sequel to An American in Paris, where he runs off with his French cherie, gets dumped and bad-mouthed by his art patron so that nobody will ever take his painting seriously again, gets dumped by Leslie Caron for being a failure, and becomes a homeless alcoholic who uses his athleticism to get away from the cops when they try to arrest him, or to get away from the chateau-owners whenever he gets caught squatting. I don’t know why they haven’t made it yet. With the state of the economy and the housing market, and the anti-authoritarian reaction it engenders, it could be the “feel-good” movie of the Year!

Tooth Whitening

A recent article online has put a bright, sparking, ultra-white spotlight on the potential dangers of tooth-whiteners. Many people complain of intense pain, extreme temperature-sensitivity, and damage to their tooth enamel as a result of tooth-whitening. I always knew that these tooth-whiteners used bleach to make your teeth “dynamite white, dynamite fresh”. Oh, sorry, actually I guess that’s something else that gets your teeth all dynamitey*. I was just confused because dynamite would also damage your teeth. Anyway, it’s easy to get your teeth super white without risking intense pain and damage to your tooth enamel!

So, how do you get gleaming, blindingly white teeth without using bleach? It’s simple: use Liquid Paper! All you have to do is brush it on and let it dry, and it leaves your teeth their ultra whitiest. It’s just that easy! Some nit-pickers have pointed out that you’d have a matte smile then, so then I guess for those of you superficial enough to notice such things, you could paint a layer of clear nail polish on top of the Liquid Paper. That might work, right? Um, I mean, that works great!**

Some people ask me: “Hey, man, like, how can you paint Liquid Paper on your teeth, man? It’s bad for you!” Well, that’s easy: I don’t. I’m not even recommending it. Hell, what do I care about getting extra-white teeth? I’m not a tooth-white-supremacist like all of you! (You’re getting what you deserve for your tooth-color bigotry.) All I’m saying is if you want to avoid dissolving your tooth enamel, and you must make your teeth absolutely, completely, positively the ultimate in gleaming white, then use Liquid Paper. Hey, it’s got to be safer, right?**

Here’s just one article about it, and if it doesn’t make you stop and think before you bleach your teeth, perhaps you should have your head examined. (And your teeth.):

* Here’s the ad for the stuff that gets your teeth “dynamite white, dynamite fresh!”:

** Safety not established. Don’t blame me if you do it and it kills you.

Ribbon Cutting

I saw an ad on TV just now that showed a ribbon-cutting ceremony as a part of the narrative. That reminds me that there are probably more and more of these types of ceremonies happening with the increase of media available to showcase them, and that to make them more dramatic, the participants are having huge, functional scissors made for the occasions. This ad shows that, so it must be true everywhere. Now, this may be a good thing for dramatic effect, but what about the potential for abuse? Say some government official is mad at the guy in charge of whatever project they’re opening because it took too long or was too costly to complete. Well, that makes the politician look bad. So he could fake a seizure or stroke or something and use those huge scissors to cut off the guy’s hands “by accident” while he’s holding the ribbon, right? And since politicians are mostly old, they could get away with it. All they’d need would be a corrupt doctor, and remember how President Obama said that there are tons of doctors amputating people’s feet and removing everyone’s tonsils for no reason other than just to get the extra money? Well, now that he’s ruined that payday for them, aren’t they all going to start colluding in plots like this? It’s obviously true! I’ll bet it’s happening everywhere and they’re just covering it up because it makes the stimulus plan look bad when industry leaders always get their hands cut off every time they open a new factory or whatever. The president said the stimulus plan would create lots of jobs and fix lots of infrastructure with “shovel-ready” projects. Then he came out recently and said: “There’s no such thing as a shovel-ready project.” Well, that looks like an obvious attempt at a smoke-screen to me. How are we supposed to believe that they spent around a trillion dollars and we got nothing tangible out of it? No, I say that’s definitely a cover-up! We’ve got thousands of new factories, railroads, rebuilt bridges, highways, etc., but we don’t know about it because the government is trying to cover up the fact that every one of those dedication ceremonies ended in the mutilation of some industry leader's hands. If we knew that, we might question the efficacy of his stimulus plan, and his healthcare plan too. And that’s way more important than a bunch of rich jerks' hands. Oh, right; and I almost forgot: the attackers who cut off all the hands are obviously government officials, and that’s another reason why the government would cover it up: they take care of their own, man!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wild Weather

(The Unconditioned Response Earth Day 2011 Spectacular!)

For the past few years, people like Al Gore have gone on about how global warming is the cause of the crazy, turbulent weather we’ve been seeing lately. I think I have an alternate solution, however. I saw a report on cable news where an anchor lady said: “another example of Mother Nature rearing her ugly head”. Did you catch that? She was insulting Mother Nature! No wonder she’s mad! Remember how mad she got when she was fooled into thinking Chiffon margarine was butter?* Well, that’s nothing compared to what this is going to do! (It’s the same kind of reaction, though.)

And the news woman said it’s just “another example” of this, so obviously she and others have been saying Mother Nature has an ugly head lots and lots. Well, that’s going to get her angry, if you ask me, and how do you think she’s going to respond? Naturally (she is Mother Nature, after all), she’s going to attack us with lots of bad weather. I say let’s fire those news people who call her ugly first. It’s got to be easier than trying to stop global warming, right? And if it doesn’t work, we can always hire them back later and try something else. Hey, it couldn’t hurt, right?

* Want to see that Mother Nature margarine ad? (Who knows, maybe she never got her royalty checks for the ad, and that’s why she’s mad. “It’s not nice to stiff Mother Nature!”) It’s at:

What were they thinking?

Hee hee! It’s just so funny to judge other people for their looks while we bully others for doing the same thing! Right? I mean, look:

Yes, this is a regular feature if you’re dumb enough to interface through Yahoo! anymore. They like to make fun of celebrities when they think they dress funny. How is this different from bullying kids at school? Everyone knows that celebrities are notoriously thin-skinned, so it’s definitely mean. And I have to ask: is this fueled by jealousy, perhaps? It seems like this is a way for nerds and geeks to get back at the celebrities they wish they were by trying to diss them for what they wear, when we all know that it looks better than we all look most of the time, regardless of what we wear (including our “Sunday best”!).

Do you know what the worst thing I can say about anything that these jerks rag on all the time is? It’s that it looks like something somebody might have to wear in a crappy movie! And who are we talking about here? They’re all famous actors & actresses (especially actresses!) right? They have to wear that kind of crap in movies all the time, probably even to the extent that they think it looks normal to be wearing it all the time out in the real world. Well, guess what? If it looks so bad, why are you chasing her around with a camera anyway? She looks great, and you know it! So fuck off, you jealous losers! You’re just mad that you were too much of wimps to pick on people in high school without getting beaten up!

(I know this may seem like a hypocritical thing to espouse after trashing Kid Rock in my last post. But I was just roasting Kid Rock, and I fully expect him to beat me up, too, if he ever reads it. I’m not that hard to find, and I’m not hiding behind a big corporation like Yahoo!. {It’s weird to type a ! and . together and know it’s right, somehow.} So as long as he doesn’t mind these nerds snapping pictures and ripping him for looking bad in what he wears while punching me in the face, he can get his revenge. As long as he first digs two graves… {See my earlier post on “Revenge” if you don’t get that reference.})

The Rock Guy?

“Why I regret Kid Rock’s stage name.” That should be the title of this blog post. Why? Because it’s the only thing about him that’s catchy enough to make him relevant or recognizable. He’s only successful because he came up with a catchy moniker. Without it, I would never have even heard of him. I mean, think about it. Years ago, he had one good song (just one), that used part of the rap from the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”. (<And he didn’t even write the lyrics!) But does he even do music anymore? I just see him at Comedy Central Roasts and stuff, hanging around with a lot of other has-been “celebrities”. What else has he got going for him? It all stems from that name! Now he’s not happy with it anymore. I read an article today (I will leave a link to it below) with the headline: “Why Kid Rock regrets his stage name.” Well, besides a Paris Hilton-esque fame, it’s all he’s got of value. But he still doesn’t like it! So how about this, Kid Rock: why not call yourself “Trailer Trasher”? That’s memorable too, and it definitely suits you well. Do you like that better? If not, how about: “Rap Neck”? You can use either one, but I want you to tell everyone that you didn’t come up with that, either.

Okay, I have to admit I’m just mad that they cancelled the Comedy Central Roast of Kid Rock. So this is intended to make up for the oversight. Consider yourself roasted, Kid Rock! I’m just kidding. And please don’t beat me up again. Want an updated moniker? How about the “Rock Man”? “The Rock Guy”? How about “Rock Lobster”? I was just thinking that your red neck might remind people of a… Oh, sorry!

Want to read about how Kid Rock no longer appreciates his one good idea? (Hey, if I could get away with being called “The Kid” for anything besides my immaturity, I’d do it! Oh, and for the record, I've always thought that 'Kid Rock' is probably the best stage name anyone has ever come up with. Hey, it's better than 'Rob Zombie'. And I love Rob Zombie! I remember when he was just Rob Cummings in a NYC bar band! But maybe that's why the name 'Rob Zombie' doesn't work for me: I knew him before he started using it.):

New CSI Show: CSI Crime-Scene Clean-Up Vampires!

CSI used to be all the rage, didn’t it? The first CSI show was a phenomenal hit, so they branched it out into a couple of spin-off shows, which were all extremely successful. In fact, they were all some of the top-rated shows on TV. But then all the other networks smelled success and decided to rip it off with shows like Criminal Minds. Even their own network decided to pack its lineup, day after day, with CSI clones like NCIS, and all of its spin-offs, in addition to yet other CSI spin-offs. Now the brand is in need of a little excitement to put it back up on top again. You know, some new blood.

So what better way to get some “new blood” into your show than to tap into the hyper-popular vampire genre before everyone gets bored with that, too. That’s right, I’m talking about the new soon-to-be hit series: CSI: Crime-scene Clean-up Vampires!

After the CSI crew finishes investigating the crime scenes, they all take off, and as the darkness falls and the moon rises, the crime-scene clean-up vampires take over! These are good-guy/gal vampires, with super-sculpted abs and sucked-in cheeks (oh, and low-rise pants, of course! No self-respecting vampire would be without those!), wearing the hottest, most fashionable styles, working within the law to make the world a better place. They still need to drink blood, though, so they decided to volunteer for the crime-scene clean-up unit, where they get to lick up all the blood of murder and accident victims from streets, floors, carpets, couch pillows, etc. All night long, they lick it up until there’s not a trace of blood left. So basically the highlight of every show is super-hot vampires licking up blood from stuff and rolling around in orgasmic ecstasy, while the hottest, hippest new music plays on the soundtrack; it will be a lot like a music video, actually (most of you won’t even notice the difference).

But that’s not all! Just like the forced subplots about alcoholism, drugs, and gambling addiction from the original CSI shows, CSI: Crime-scene Clean-up Vampires will have obvious soap-opera plot devices like a vampire who wants to drink fresh blood from a live human and does it secretly (getting them all suspected of being the culprit), a vampire who gets hepatitis or something from licking up the wrong blood, etc. Oh, and who says a vampire can’t have a gambling problem too? Perhaps in this show, they can really drive home the dangers of gambling and how it renders your judgment suspect by having a gambling-addict vampire get so obsessed with a poker game in a casino that he plays until after sunrise, and then he goes outside in the sun and dies. That’ll learn ‘em!

That’s CSI: Crime-scene Clean-up Vampires! Coming soon to a timeslot near you! (Check your local listings.)


Yes, today a jury rejected Mattel’s bid to destroy the Bratz doll line. Good thing it’s only cost MGA Entertainment $150 Million to fight this stupid corporate-bullying frivolous lawsuit. Okay, so let’s say that Mattel owned every thought this guy came up with while under the employ of Mattel; they’re still dicks for doing this silly lawsuit that has just bled both companies white. Don’t they have any faith in their ability to create a new doll line of their own? I know it’s asking a lot, but I’d think a company with a whole huge creative department could come up with an original idea of their own once in a while. Or perhaps their employment contracts are so draconian that everyone creative who works there is too scared of being ripped-off or rejected to even try to think of anything new anymore. There is a word for this kind of victory: pyrrhic. Whoever wins this at the end, it damages both brands irreparably. And it’s not over yet! This is just the appellate court ruling! Mattel could still appeal to a higher court and try to outspend their opponent to a favorable verdict. After all, they have the deeper pockets, so they could drag this out forever. Might makes right, right? Right. Fuck creativity: that’s for losers.

I’m probably going to be disappointed, but does this mean that there will be a new movie: Bratz 2? I’m going to be really mad if I can’t see that soon!

The story is at:

Judas Priest!

(No, not the band. Sorry.)

I just saw a pretty ridiculous debate about Lady Gaga’s song “Judas” on a TV news program. First of all, the woman who was all mad at Lady Gaga about how “disgusting” this song is didn’t even call her “Lady Gag”. Sorry, but it’s hard to take her seriously after that. Anyway, the silly debate was all about how nasty and insensitive it was of Lady Gaga to release her song, “Judas”, around Good Friday & Easter. After defining the issue and the target, they played a verse of the song, and showed the lyrics up on the screen as it played. What this made clear to me is that this song isn’t about bashing Jesus and celebrating Judas, like they said, but rather, using Jesus and Judas as metaphors for the “nice guy” and “bad boy” types of guys, respectively. So the song is really about her asking herself: “Why am I attracted to the bad boys when they’re such jerks, while I’m repulsed by the nice guys when they’re actually really nice?”* This seems to be a pretty universal issue for young ladies. I have personally had the honor of being dumped for being too nice and also had someone hang onto me when it was clear I was a jerk all in the same month in high school, so I know a little bit about this. I have to admit, I did it as an experiment, so it really works (with a sample size of 2. That’s enough to prove it scientifically, right?). I still don’t understand it, though.

Anyway, rather than notice what the song was actually addressing, one party in this debate just wanted to harp on how offensive it is to make a song called “Judas” and release it around Easter. This argument went all over the place, from asking why Lady Gaga doesn’t try to offend Muslims (referring to the Danish cartoon thing where people were threatened or killed over it), to wondering why we tolerate having it done to Christians. The other half of this grudge-match was trying to make the point that we have freedom of speech here in America, that using Easter to release a song called “Judas” is just a way to get publicity and generate sales in a free-market economy, and that to try to prohibit that sort of thing is tantamount to censorship. (She wins the argument, by the way, if you’re keeping track.) Nobody bothered to mention that Christians are supposed to forgive people, and that perhaps once in a while God with throw a test your way to see if you really live by what you espouse. That kind of crap can ruin a nice heated debate.

The fact is that there are going to be things in this world that offend you. You don’t have to pay attention to them. You can just dismiss it. One comment I heard about this song issue was how could Lady Gaga do such a horrible thing when she was raised in this (Catholic) religion? Well, despite the fact that she totally misread the message of the song, from the part of it they played before the debate, let’s just say for the sake of argument that she was attacking the church intentionally with the song. How dare she express an opinion about a religion she grew up in and knows so much about? Especially if she sees bigotry and corruption in the Catholic faith (I see it too), all the more reason to have to keep quiet and cover it up, right? This is the sort of mentality that led to the whole pedophile scandal and cover-up lasting for so many decades (or, who knows, centuries?).

If you’re not allowed to use your freedom of expression to try to right the wrongs you see, then what’s it good for? Well, righteous indignation for one. Ratings is another, I guess. Oh, and it’s also good for trying to shut down someone else’s free expression. If you’re not trying to do that, then you’re really wasting it. That’s what I say.

* (They only played one verse of the song, so that’s all I’ve got to go by. If this song actually spends the rest of its running time bashing Jesus and Christianity, sorry to have mislead you. I can’t speak to that, since I didn’t hear anything like that. But you’d think that if the song really did do that, they might want to cue up that part so we can see a reason for complaint. And even if it did do the most heinous, offensive indictment imaginable, they’re just giving it free advertising and publicity by showing it and arguing about it. It seems silly to me, but hey, they’re exercising their free speech too. And isn’t it nice we have that right?)