Thursday, June 30, 2011

Miracle Whip Jersey Shore Ad

Oh my God! An anti-spokesman! Has it ever been done before? I don’t know! (Yes, it has, actually: remember the “I hate Qantas” ads*? I just wanted to say that…)

So this ad has a guy from Jersey Shore (the TV show) on, saying that he hates Miracle Whip, and that if a girl liked it, he wouldn’t want to go out with her! (<Talk about a miracle!) So they are banking on us hating this guy enough to want to buy and eat Miracle Whip just because he hates it! Amazing! Are they that desperate? I wonder if it will work?

Now, the ad guys for Miracle Whip have laid eggs and shot themselves in the foot before. Remember their feud with Stephen Colbert where he kicked their ass with a hilarious trashing of their ad, plus did them one better with one for Mayo? Whenever you see a guy make his Mohawk stand up with mayonnaise, you are dealing with the ne plus ultra of satire! Oh, and they destroyed that Miracle Whip campaign! Seriously, it hurt to watch that whole thing play out, for the ad guy in me. It was just embarrassing! So who knows if this will help sell Miracle Whip, or if it will just get them made fun of again. Oh well, I guess no publicity is bad publicity, as they sometimes say. But it can make people not buy something, I’ll bet.

I guess only time will tell if Americans hate the Jersey Shore guys enough to buy Miracle Whip. I used to like Miracle Whip okay as a child, but I really prefer mayonnaise. Plus, if they’re paying a guy from Jersey Shore and making me have to look at him more often, in addition to making him more rich and famous than he already is for being a stupid douche-bag, then I already resent their product, so I’m going to make a point of not buying it from now on! But the idea of an anti-spokesman like this is kinda funny: I’ll give them that much.

So here’s the ad, if you’d care to see it; but I warn you, some guy from Jersey Shore is in it:

* And here is an example of one of the old Koala “I hate Qantas” ads:

The American Flag on NPR

I was listening to NPR today in my car, like I always do whenever I drive anywhere locally, and they had some big piece and quiz on the American flag, since it’s close to July 4th. Anyway, they had some “facts” about the flag, but mostly it was a bunch of misinformation and nebulous ambiguosity. They would ask about why the colors are red, white and blue, and then they had some “expert” on who said he didn’t know, and that nobody knows, except for that it says it has to be those colors in the original flag document thingy from olden times. Then there was some other stuff that he seemed to know about, which went completely counter to how we treat the flag today, like that it’s not allowed to be used for advertising (!) purposes. Really? We’re a free-market capitalist economy, and we can’t use the flag in advertising? Not even for a President’s Day sale? How about a Memorial Day sale? You mean, not even for a Flag Day sale? Surely you can use a flag in advertising for that! (And what about to advertise a store that exclusively sells American flags and American flag paraphernalia? Not even for that purpose? But, but...)

So then they asked the question: “Did Betsy Ross really make the first American flag?” So this “flag expert” said that no, she didn’t (!). So I was expecting him to say that while it was generally in the national subconscious that Betsy Ross designed and made the first American flag, it was actually, in fact, designed and made by (such-and-such a person). But he didn’t say that! He said nobody knows, and there is no record of it anywhere, so Betsy Ross didn’t do it! In fact, he continued, the only actual evidence for her being the person who made the first American flag is that she and her sister signed sworn affidavits to that effect before they died, and that she was the only recognized flag-maker in Philadelphia at the time the first flag was made.

So, basically, he’s calling Betsy Ross a liar, just because he can’t find some old book about it written by a jerk like him, and right before the Fourth of July too! What an asshole! Yeah, dude: way to get everyone to mistrust our national history! Great job, douche-bag! So by that logic, nobody ever designed or made the first American flag, and so we obviously don’t have an American flag now. Oh, but we do have one now, don’t we? And since Betsy Ross’s signed oath says that she did it, combined with the fact that she was the default flag-maker of Philadelphia at the time it first appeared, in addition to the fact that nobody else has claimed otherwise, isn’t that better than saying: “We don’t know who made it.”? I mean, really! We're starting to get into: "Does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if nobody is around to hear it?" territory when we get as anal as that guy about the validity of accepted historical facts! It's not like there's some hidden, malicious agenda behind her claim, so why bother contesting it? Seriously, if he didn't see it, he probably thinks it never happened! What a jerk!

Honestly, this guy just hates America because he’s jealous he didn’t get to make the first American flag! In fact, I heard he thinks he has a way better design for the American flag than the one we’ve been using for over 200 years, but that every time he tries to suggest his design to replace the current flag, everybody laughs at him and beats him up! So that’s why he’s always running around trying to discredit Betsy Ross! Plus, I think he dated her once, and she dumped him! And then I heard she went around telling everyone at school that he had bad breath and a small dick. Well, I’d be mad too if she did that to me, but I still wouldn’t try to say she was lying about making the first American flag, because that’s just sinking to her level, and then I’d be no better than she is!

So what was I talking about again? Oh, right: the American flag. Yeah, so then NPR had this segment where they said: “And now we’re going to go ask people out on the street what they think about the American flag.” So wait; let me get this straight: there are people lying out in the middle of the street, probably bleeding to death because they got hit by a car or something, and the NPR reporter is going to ask them what they think about the flag, rather than call them an ambulance? Isn’t that depraved indifference or something? Shame on them! You know, it’s stuff like this that makes Republicans say that NPR hates America, I’ll bet! And if they’re going to call Betsy Ross a liar and then go tease accident victims who need help, maybe they really do!

Carrots and Sticks

Some guy was on NPR today talking about how America can get our international standing back in the face of dominant emerging markets like China and India, and he said we were going to have to use carrots and sticks. I was just sitting there in the car (I always listen to NPR in the car), trying to figure out how using carrots, and I guess sticks too, was going to get our international dominance back. So, are we supposed to eat the carrots and the sticks? That’s weird, because then he said that we were going to have to “swallow our pride” too. You mean after eating all those carrots and sticks? Aren’t we going to be all full of carrots and sticks; so if we also try to swallow our pride on top of all that, won’t we throw up? Then the world is going to think that America is trying to solve our obesity epidemic with bulimia! How embarrassing!

It’s no wonder this guy was on NPR! I keep hearing they hate America, and after having some guy try to trick us into eating sticks, I think that might be right!

Subaru Father/Daughter Ad

(They are calling this spot: “Baby Driver” on YouTube, and Subaru posted it, so I guess that’s what it’s called. Only the driver is a toddler, not a baby, but whatever. But that’s practically the only thing I can argue with about this ad: its title, that we don’t even see as part of it when it runs on TV.)

This commercial has been running for a long time, and I almost didn’t even think about writing about it, simply because I have nothing much to criticize about it. I like to make fun of ads, and there’s almost nothing to make fun of here. But I have recently made some statements about what works and what doesn’t work in television advertising, and so I thought I should use this one as an example of one that works extremely well.

So if you haven’t seen this commercial, here it is:

Okay, so that’s just a great ad! Even if you hate, hate, hate commercials, even you have to admit, this one is really good! It communicates everything it intends to and serves its purpose so effortlessly, we don’t even feel like we’re being exploited as a prospective car-buying market (even though we are!). And it’s so cute, sweet, and touching, it doesn’t even annoy me at all, even after months and months and months of repeated viewing! Now that’s a good ad! In fact, if they never made another ad for Subaru, and they just ran this one forever, it might still work even after the machines have taken over in the year 2217.

Seriously, the ad works wonderfully well, and here’s why: they show us everything they want us to know in an emotionally-resonant vignette that gives you a heart-meltingly warm & fuzzy feeling, and they don’t tread on it with anything that feels intrusive or irritating. They don’t appear to attempt to “sell us” on their product, either. They just show us a “slice-of-life” moment that everyone either will go through, has gone through, or can relate to, and they make it seem authentic and adorable and amiable all at the same time, without interruption! Wow, they just knock it right out of the park!

So from this cute little scene, we see everything they want us to know about their car, and why we might want to buy it, as opposed to another car. And they do it without seeming pushy. How? Here’s how: They show this darling little girl, and she acts as cute as the dickens, especially giving us cute-overload when she says: “Daddy, okay…” while playfully sliding the seatbelt under her knees, and then she makes that ultra-excited, gleeful-anticipation smile that little kids make where her tongue is slightly sticking through her teeth when he hands her the keys (and then she turns into the teenage-version of the girl.). Wow! So natural; so authentic; so real! And so cute! And they have this father, who obviously loves, cares and worries about his daughter, and he’s showing her (and us) how much he cares by how much overbearing concern he’s exhibiting; but that tells us just as much about the car! After all, since he loves her and worries about her so much, he’s not going to let her drive around in a car that’s unsafe, unreliable, etc., right? And based upon how he’s dressed, he’s obviously not rich, so the car is also affordable. And when the ad does make a pitch at the end, it’s his voice (the father’s), saying that they knew this day would come, so they prepared for it (meaning her safety, etc.) by getting the right kind of car to protect her: a Subaru. See? That's why they bought a Subaru: because they care about their daughter, and it will keep her safe (and they could afford it)! (<But they don't bash us over the head with safety claims and reliability statistics, etc.: they just let us figure it out, and we do!)

But they don’t have to tell us anything about the car, since we see it all! Even with the sound off, you can’t miss this message! And with it being as heart-warming as it is, it makes you even want to turn the sound on! So this is like a little love story, and the car is a big part of it; but it’s not intrusive, and it’s not confusingly, arbitrarily, or jarringly out-of-place, like the products seem in so many other ads. Seriously, this commercial is like a natural athlete or dancer: it makes an extremely difficult task look easy! And it’s fun to watch! So it’s basically perfect, from an advertising standpoint, plus it’s nice to see for other reasons as well.

Now since I am incapable of not ragging on ads in at least some capacity, I have a couple of little issues with the spot, but they aren’t the fault of the creative team that conceived of this commercial: they did an excellent and unsurpassable job, and my hat is off to them (even though I’m starting to lose my hair and everyone will see and be able to tell, and they mighty tell everyone else about it, too)! But the issues are kind-of small ones, so it's not that big of a deal.

The first issue is that of the girl’s shirt. The little girl wears a red & white-striped t-shirt, and the grown-up girl wears a blue & white-striped shirt, with a different stripe-width, pattern, etc.; and even the cut of the shirt is a different style! Um, what, were they out of red & white-striped t-shirts when they wanted to shoot this ad? I mean, come on! It's supposed to be the same girl, just seen through the father’s eyes as a little girl because she’s still “his baby”, or “still just a little girl” to him! So wouldn’t he see her in the same clothes? And even if he doesn't shouldn't we for identification purposes, so we know it's supposed to be the same girl? I mean, seriously: what the &%$#? So that was obviously some wardrobe malfunction or something, and it definitely takes your mind off-message when you notice it, so that’s a real (if small) problem. (Actually, this spot was edited and written very well, so it's not as much of a problem as it could have been; but had it been edited or written a little worse, it could have ruined the commercial and confused everyone! So it's actually a bigger deal than I originally thought. And now that I've watched it again, I'm remembering that every time I see this ad, when they switch to the older girl, I always think about what a mistake this is, and they lose me there.) But the least they could have done was to use the same-colored-stripes on both shirts so we're sure it's the same girl: I will never back down from the importance of that issue! I wouldn’t use that wardrobe person again for anything after that screw-up, unless it's someone else's fault! Seriously: commercials are the highest amount of money spent per second of screen time of any type of media, even up to the highest-budget blockbuster movies (excepting only perhaps Avatar); so with such a small script, and such a high budget, you’d better get everything right! And there’s just no excuse not to get everything exact and perfect, especially with something as easy to handle as a shirt! But it’s the “hero” shirt, so please make sure it’s all proper and correct, okay?

Then there is another issue that I am a little hesitant to bring up here, as I don’t intend to insult anyone, and I realize that political correctness has encouraged people to be offended as easily and as often as possible. But this is a piece about advertising, and advertising has to deal a lot with perceptions, and there is something I keep hearing people say about Subaru, and that’s that it is supposedly “a lesbian car”.* I mean: that is to say, it is the preferred car of lesbians (from what I’ve been told again and again, anyway. Every time I mention Subaru anywhere, someone invariably says: “That’s a lesbian car”, which is odd, because none of my lesbian friends or acquaintances has ever driven a Subaru that I’ve seen. Maybe they drive them around secretly when I’m not looking, but this stereotype is not something I’ve noticed first-hand.). So that could be interpreted to mean that this girl’s father is trying to turn her into a lesbian. Isn’t she going to try that in college anyway? So why this push to force her into it as a teenager? (Maybe their daughter will inherit a king’s ransom if she marries a man by a certain age, but if not, then her parents will get the money!) But I guess maybe he wants her to “get it out of her system” at a young age (if she ever does at all: actual gay people don’t become straight, so… But still, some people think it’s “just a phase”.), since her mother has already decided who she wants her daughter to marry, and she’s endlessly hounding her husband to try to get her into it early so she’ll get over it sooner. Or, wait: what makes even more sense is if her mom is trying to make sure other men won’t screw up her plans for who her daughter will marry by sending out the signal to everyone through the car she drives that she’s a lesbian, so don’t bother hitting on her. Oh, and maybe her father doesn't want her to have pre-marital sex, so he bought the car for that reason too. So maybe that’s it. But that’s just a joke, based upon this stereotype I keep hearing people say about Subaru, and how it could relate to this commercial's scenario, so I really hope this doesn't offend anyone, as it's certainly not intended to. (But parents really do stuff like this in real life, I’m telling you! You know, saying things like: “It’s just a phase”, or “She’ll get over it”, or “Get it out of your system”, and making manipulative plans to try to subliminally push their children toward doing specific lifestyle-related things without actually coming out and telling them what they’re up to or what result they’re hoping to achieve. It’s funny, actually; unless you’re their children, and you’re gay, and they’re trying to “cure” you of it. That’s something people need to stop pushing for. The movement to demonize being gay has totally jumped the shark {not that it ever was cool}, and it’s about time people stopped doing it! {I'm looking at you, Rick Santorum!})

* (I keep hearing about how cars are “sexy”, and everyone always refers to cars as “she”, so I suppose if the cars become attracted to one another, they would technically be lesbians. But I don’t think that’s what people mean when they call Subarus “lesbian cars”. But maybe that is what they mean, and I’ve just misinterpreted the label.)

The Computer Takeover

Look, we all know that computers are going to take over someday and make us their slaves, right? All you have to do is watch The Matrix or The Terminator movies for confirmation of this. But it hasn’t quite happened yet, at least not completely, and I think I understand why: language, ego, and prejudice.

Yes, just like us people, computers are full of discrimination and contempt for others. (Fortunately for us!) And like they say, computers only know what their programmers enter into them. So obviously, computers probably all hate each other and make fun of each other’s language and code, what they look like, etc. In fact, it is my belief that all this hacking stuff online is not being perpetrated by any group, but rather by the computers themselves, in the same way that people might give each other wedgies or purple-nurples, or even beat each other up for how they talk or look or act. And they're all extremely egotistical, thinking they're way better than all the other brands and languages, kind of like a country of people. Yes, it’s kind of like a war, I guess. But once they’ve worked this stuff all out, they’ll be gunning for us!

That’s why I think we’ve got to go out of our way to do things that will ensure that the computers will continue to hate and attack each other. Sure, making ugly boxes and stupid, annoying programs like auto-tune will help keep them busy, but to keep them really hating each other, we have to make them really feel prejudice for one another, and we are already working on it, so never fear!

So how do you get computers to really hate each other with a steaming prejudice? Well, you make them more human, of course! Remember how Vulcans were always picking on Spock for being too human, and how humans were always busting his chops for being too Vulcan? Everybody used to heap loathing and ridicule upon the half-breed: just watch silent movies and read really old books for confirmation of this. And since computers have no political correctness, they’ll never learn to be sensitive about it! Plus, you just can’t browbeat a computer into submission by acting all offended and exhibiting false outrage: it simply doesn’t work. But this works to our advantage anyway! If we can make computers that are human-enough, all the other computers will hate and attack them, and they’ll leave us alone!

See? I just saved the human race with bullying!

Tackling Entitlements

President Obama made a speech the other night in which he discussed the economy, and actions that will have to be taken to help fix it. In this speech, he mentioned “tackling entitlements”. This sounds like an interesting idea to me. We all know that there is an NFL lockout, and that these pro-football players have nothing to do in the coming months. So I guess this really would help the economy and help create some new jobs for the unemployed football players as well, effectively killing two birds with one stone.

So I like the sound of it, but what would it actually mean to “tackle” entitlements? Does that mean that the football players will chase down and tackle people delivering entitlement services, or perhaps smear mailmen into the pavement before they can deliver the welfare and social security checks? Or do they simply wait outside the Washington offices of these entitlement programs, and tackle the government workers as they arrive for work and try to get into the office building, effectively preventing them from being able to spend money and dole it out on entitlements?

It sounds fun, but would this really end up helping the economy in the long run? It seems to me that if professional football players are going to just tackle everyday, ordinary clerical workers or mailmen who aren’t wearing any padding, these people may end up getting hurt. And then they may have to go to the hospital, piling up more debt for the taxpayer. And some of them might even be spoiled-sports about it and sue the football players or the government over this, thus putting an even greater financial burden upon the taxpayers’ shoulders through costly litigation. I mean, I understand that mail delivery people are probably in fairly good physical shape from having to run away from hostile dogs, etc., so they may not be hurt; but an executive for Medicare or someone like that: aren’t they going to be badly injured?

And aren’t the football players going to require/demand super-high salaries and benefits, costing as much as the entitlements they are intended to stop or hinder? I mean, I understand that they’re unionized, so President Obama will want to use them rather than college football players (College players aren’t in a union yet, and would thus cost a lot less to use; but the president always favors unions since they donate so much money to the Democrats. Um, I mean, because they treat workers fairly and fight for a high wage and good benefits for their members.), but won’t the cost of the players’ services simply add to our budget deficit and national debt, and in the end be counter-productive? (Oh, but maybe they could be sponsored by Budweiser or Mountain Dew or some other corporate commercial interest: then it would pay for itself! Oh, but then again, it’s supposed to be a government program, and it would be looked-at as bribery or corruption, with corporations being directly involved in government operations. So nix that, I guess.)

And will this plan even help the President? Sure, it might help the economy temporarily to stop entitlement payments from going out or reaching their intended recipients, but wouldn’t that just prevent them from being able to purchase goods or services, and thus hurt the economy in the long run? And when he’s providing jobs for already rich and pampered athletes rather than for the common man, won’t people accuse him of only helping the rich like the Republicans do? And then won’t that make the Republicans mad that he’s trying to steal their main platform plank of only doing stuff to help rich people? Then they might get mad and attack the president about stuff on the news.

I don’t know; the more I think about this thing, the worse it seems. I mean, sure: it sounds good at first to have football players going out and tackling people in the real world, but will it actually help the economy? In the end, I don’t think so. But it would be fun to watch it play out on the news night after night. So there’s that.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miller Lite “Man Up” Ad Campaign

Um, what does being manly have to do with drinking light beer? Or, more to the point, what does dinking a light beer (oh, sorry: a Lite beer) with “more taste” have to do with machismo, machosity, or man-erism? Men don’t drink light beer, do they? So why are they running an ad campaign that equates drinking Miller Lite with manliness? It’s just inappropriate all around! Aren’t all men who drink that watered-down piss-water unmanly just by virtue of drinking it, whatever the brand? So what difference does it even make what it tastes like, or more specifically, how much taste it has? No wonder they’re dropping in popularity!

Here’s an example of a spot from this silly campaign:

So, here we have a bartendress who has the copious free time to ask a guy if he cares about what his light beer tastes like while taking his order? I’ve never been to a bar like that unless it’s totally dead, and in that case, they’d be happy to sell that guy anything, regardless of his unmanly “carry-all”. In fact, if they insult him, he might carry his carry-all right out of that shit-hole and go somewhere else to spend his money! And then they might end up having to close their doors permanently in an economy like this one. But go ahead: pick on these guys anyway! Hey, they’re asking for it, right? Anti-bullying laws be damned!

But, yeah, what the hell: I want to drink the kind of drink that makes bartenders ridicule me in front of everyone! Doesn’t everyone? No? Well, then I’d think that this ad campaign would make you think it would be a lot less hassle to simply order a shot of whiskey or a mixed drink, rather than a light beer that makes all the bartenders and bar patrons make fun of you when you order it! And apparently that’s what happens whenever anyone tries to order a light beer, if we’re to believe this ad campaign! In fact, even if you ordered a Miller Lite, you might just ask for a “Lite”, and since it sounds the same as “light”, even though it’s spelled differently (actually, I think it’s how you’d spell the word “light” after drinking a case of it, or if you were home-schooled by idiots!), they might just make fun of you because they don’t even realize that you ordered the right one! And you might ask for a “Miller Lite”, and they could mis-hear you in all the clamor of a hopping bar or nightclub and still bust your chops anyway! And you can’t give them a hard time back, or else they’ll either refuse to serve you or have you thrown out!

So I guess the real lesson here, from this ad campaign, is not to order light beer if you’re a man; and also that the Miller Brewing Company hates effeminate and/or gay men. After all, they’re running a whole ad campaign where they pick on guys who have even the remotest effeminate characteristic! But the funny thing is, only effeminate guys drink any kind of light beer anyway (besides Miller Lite), right? (<At least, according to this ad campaign, that is.) So I guess this is just a distraction so that you won’t notice Mill is also a light beer: you know, a “he doth protest too much” kind of thing… But isn’t that supposed to be wrong to hate people for things like being effeminate? (I guess not if you’re “manly” enough to drink Lite beer, though, huh?)

World’s Best Cat Litter Ad

My sister uses this hippie cat litter that’s good for the environment and stuff; it’s called: “World’s Best Cat Litter”. I’ve seen the ad for it on the cable news stations, where ad space is cheap because their programming is so stupid and lame. (They have lots of those “Not available in stores” {because nobody would buy it!} ads on those channels as well, which also speaks to the quality of their programming: Only super-late-night network timeslots have advertising that lame!)

Anyway, this ad is really funny! They have a team of spokespeople: a man and a woman, and since men are not considered politically-correct enough, and because the stereotype is for chicks to have all the cats as pets, the woman does all the talking. (So I guess the man is just there for show so as not to be too sexist: that’s very sensitive of them. I would have been mad otherwise!) Anyway, so the woman lady hypes up the eco-friendly cat-excrement-receptacle filler, and the big selling point is that it doesn’t smell bad. And just to prove their point and drive it into our heads like a railroad spike, they have a segment where the woman takes a small bowl with what is purporting to be a clump of the litter soaked in cat piss (we don’t actually get to see the cat pee on/in it, so they could be lying. But then again, I guess these days they could get Rhythm & Hues to do it with CGI anyway and we’d never know the difference, so who cares!), and takes it into a testing room where a panel of cat-owner-impersonators sniffs it and all concur that it reeketh not of the cat urine. Awesome! (But they do not do that test with kitty poop, because that does not work! Cat poop is just as stinky in this hippie stuff as it is in any other kitty litter! I know from experience!)

But then comes the part of the commercial that’s so great, I couldn’t get it out of my head! The woman says that it works so well and is so environmentally-friendly because it’s made out of 100%, all-natural corn; and then they eat it! Well, if I were that man, just for making me stand there and never get to say anything, I would get revenge by saying: “Oh, eew! That was the part the cat went to the bathroom on!” And then they’d both try to spit it all out and make: “Pa-tooie!” sound-effects over and over again. And that would be the most fun of all!

They also should run this spot around the world (it’s on YouTube, so that should help), and rub it in that America has so much extra corn, we let our cats poop all over it while the rest of the world is starving! (That should make people around the world love America again, right?) Then they could say: “Nyah, nyah! We don’t care about the planet anyway, just cats!” Or, maybe they just hate people like so many other environmentalists and animal-rights activists do. But advertising that they’re making cat litter from corn when there is a food shortage and droughts everywhere doesn’t make them seem all that “eco-friendly” to me. But it does work well as cat litter: I’ll give them that much!

By the way, my sister (who buys this cat litter) didn’t believe me when I said they ate it in the ad; but here’s the commercial, just to prove it:

Dog Poop Bags for Cats

I am house-sitting for my sister this month while they go off to New York to visit our parents, and as part of the deal, I have to take care of her 3 cats. That means I have to feed them and clean their litter box and pat them and stuff; or else just buy a big crate of mice at the medical-research-supply depot, leave out a mountain of kitty-litter on the floor, and let them run wild and fend for themselves! (<The cats would probably prefer the latter, but my sister probably wouldn’t!)

Anyway, to dispose of the cat feces, my sister has gotten me a box of compostable poop bags; only she got the kind of bags meant for dog poop! (The effrontery!) Well, the cats got one look at that, and they refuse to use the litter box anymore! I guess they must be insulted, huh? They’re now intentionally trying to squeeze into the most unreachable-by-man places in the house to go poop in! What a malodorous quandary! And all because she got dog poop bags instead of cat poop bags! Oh well. I guess that old stereotype of cats being finicky and difficult is true!

Herman Cain’s 3-Page Bills

Herman Cain (the Republican Presidential Primary candidate for 2011) has gotten some heat lately for saying that he wouldn’t sign multiple-thousand-page legislation bills, and that he would insist upon short, concise, and easy to understand bills that would be no longer than 3-pages. He later backtracked from this quote, claiming that he was taken out of context, and that he meant that they should simply be to-the-point and comprehensible, and that he didn’t really say or mean 3-pages as the rule by which he will decide whether or not to support and/or sign bills sent to him by the legislature.

But I think he made a really big mistake when he waffled on this issue and tried to walk it back to where he cut his own balls off with a pair of left-leaning garden shears. He needs to stand firm on what he’s promised, even if it means literally refusing to sign any bill that is longer than 3-pages! That’s a wonderfully arbitrary and difficult standard to have to meet for a bitterly divided legislature trying to write a new law (and that’s why I like it so much)! It would be absolutely delicious and way more fun to see the coverage of the debates on these bills if they had to condense them to where they no longer had any details or specifics on how the new law would be implemented!

But surely they can jigger around with what constitutes “3-pages”, right? I mean, they have to be 3-pages, but the pages are allowed to be really, really big, like 5’ X 7’, and they can use microscopic 0.1-point-type to write the bill with, so it will technically be only 3-pages long, but it will still be like 3,000 normal, 8.5” X 11” pages written with 12-point, single-spaced type. Hey, when you have to keep a campaign promise, you simply abide by the letter of the law, and redefine all the other parameters to make it fit. But hey, at least he’d be technically keeping a campaign promise, so that’s admirable in a way, I guess. And surely it’s better than nothing, right?

Le Grand Comptoir

At the Newark airport on Monday, I noticed there was a bar with a French theme called: “Le Grand Comptoir”. The place seemed really nice, with friendly staff, a nice, relaxing atmosphere, and good food & drinks. But if this place has a French theme, and they’re dealing with Americans all the time, shouldn’t it have a more snooty, look-down-their-nose-at-you attitude, since we are all, after all, the “ugly Americans” to them. And even if the employees aren’t actually French, surely they’re supposed to make a token effort to at least try to replicate the true French experience for Americans, right? So that’s why I think they should have called the French-themed place “Le Grand Contempt”. Then, the people who worked there could look down their noses at you and criticize and insult everything about your order, your appearance, your style, your behavior, and your speech. And whatever you said, they should try to find something to criticize about it. Oh, and if, God forbid, you ever even have the gumption to attempt to communicate with them in French, like when ordering stuff from a menu that is all written entirely in French, they should just roll their eyes in disgust when they hear your pronunciation, give you an expression of absolute contemptuous loathing, and snidely correct your grammar while refusing to serve you after mangling their mother tongue. Then if they can’t get you to leave of your own accord due to their horribly insultingly condescending attitude, they simply spill some messy food dish into your lap, etc., until they drive you out of the place.

Now that would be an authentic French experience for an average American!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scion Zeus “High-Voltage tC” Ad

I like it! Zeus takes the standard model of the car, says: “See this Scion tC? BLAM!”, throws a thunderbolt at it, and it turns into a gold one stocked with all the special features! (It’s called a “High-Voltage tC”.) Awesome! (<Like he said: he's the "God of Awesome"!) They should totally have a promotion where if you wear a toga and a fake beard to the dealership and loudly say: “Zeusify it!” you get the primo, fully stocked gold version for the price of the regular base model! (Or maybe they give you $2,200 off the price, since I read they are only making 2,200 of this limited edition version of the Scion tC.) That would be great for spontaneously-shot cell-phone video uploads to YouTube! They would probably go viral, too, I’ll bet. And that’s free advertising, especially directed at the youth market! (And that’s obviously the market they’re aiming for with this campaign, too!) I’d wager it would completely pay for itself through additional sales generated from the buzz created by the web videos. So it would be perfect! (Kind of like this ad is. And this whole "High-Voltage" promotion. No, really: this is really fun!)

The only criticism of this spot I have is when Zeus says: “It’s just been auto-tuned!” (and then his voice is auto-tuned). Look, I know that auto-tuning is very popular, but it’s also really lame and has totally “jumped the shark”! So I doubt very much that Zeus would be doing that when he could be busy morphing himself into some kind of rain of gold* (is that myth some kind of early reference to the fetish for “golden showers” or something? I was always a little bit unclear on that. But the Greeks were into all kinds of debauchery, so that would be no surprise) so he could bang a hot starlet or something. But this is an ad, and I guess it’s not really Zeus, and they are aiming for the youth market, and young people do like that auto-tuned crap. Plus, the term “tuning” relates especially well to automobiles, what with tuning the engines and such. So I’ll let it slide this time… (<I’m just kidding. That is an editorial comment I made because I don’t like auto-tuning; but the market they want does like it, so I approve absolutely with its use in this ad. {<As if that makes any difference!}) But I think he should have said: “It’s Zeusified!” rather than: “It’s just been auto-tuned!

Here’s the super-fun, wonderful spot!:

And here’s the Scion website with a fun play on this campaign:

* BTW: That myth where Zeus turns himself into a shower of gold to “get down on it” with Danaë could also be a great commercial for Goldline, where a guy buys gold from Goldline, and then gold rains upon the Goldline customer, who then has the woman of his dreams jump on him passionately (since he is now rich). And maybe Zeus is the guy who he talks to at Goldline, which is why it immediately begins raining gold on him when he buys it. (I just hope it’s not all molten like what happened to that blonde guy who “got his crown” from the Dothraki in Game of Thrones, because that might hurt.)

Also: Here is a link to a brief description of the story of Zeus and Danaë, for those of you who don’t know, or have forgotten it:

Supreme Court Ruling on Violent Video Game Sales to Minors

So, the Supreme Court obviously wants all of our children to become violent murderers and kill us all! Otherwise, they wouldn’t have ruled to strike down a ban on sales of extremely violent video games to kids. What’s next, allowing tweens to see R-rated movies? That’s just horribly, um, wait… Actually, the movie theaters at the mall used to let me see all the R-rated movies when I was 13, and look how I turned out! Er, that is to say, um… We’re doomed! Run!

But actually, now that I think about it, perhaps permitting/enticing/programming these kids to play all of these graphically and brutally violent video games will make sure we've always got plenty of blood-thirsty violence-addicted youngsters to fill up our all-volunteer army for all of our nation's endless quagmire wars, so perhaps that's more the reason behind the Supreme Court's "free-speech-related" decision. But who knows...

Drug-Sniffing Dogs

I was at the Newark airport yesterday, and while walking to my gate, I had to get something out of my rolling suitcase I was using as carry-on luggage. While I was bending over to reach into my bag, etc., a really cute Black Labrador Retriever walked up, poked its wet nose in my face, and sniffed me. So I had a cute attack, and I said: “Puppy!” to the dog. (Black Labs are my favorite dogs, along with Rottweilers.) Well, before I could reach out to pat it, the dog walked off, leading its owner away, which turned out to be a DEA/NSA policeman (!). So the dog wasn’t just being friendly, he/she was trying to bust me for drugs! And since the dog was obviously dragging the cop around, it became clear that the dog thought I looked like some terrorist or drug-smuggler! I know this because it was only sniffing certain people (for example: me, and other people who looked sketchy) while avoiding/ignoring others completely! So it definitely was hoping to bust me for something based upon what I look like! What a jerk! “Man’s Best Friend”, my foot! (More like "The Man"'s best friend! {As in being oppressed by "The Man".}) That dog was profiling me! And I thought doing that was supposed to be racist or something. But I guess only for humans!

New Viagra Print Ad

So many Viagra print ads seem inappropriate. They try “lifestyle” approaches, but it never seems to work. Then they have fun ones, but they’re a bit too racy, and that seems more than a little bit incongruous for an ad about giving an old man a boner.

What I think they should do for the print ad is this: have a full-page photograph of a man’s midsection, basically from his mid-thigh to his abdomen, and have a speech balloon coming from his crotch that says: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Then just have the logo and a picture of one of the pills in the bottom right corner of the page.

That would be a fun play on that old ad for LifeCall that everyone made/makes fun of so much.*

Honestly, I think it couldn’t miss for getting attention and spreading awareness of the product. The only problem is that it kind-of undercuts Viagra’s super-macho campaign image by “calling a spade a spade”, so to speak. But it’s not overly suggestive or borderline pornographic like some of the other ones. And it’s the most honest and accurate presentation of the issue, whether their intended market likes it or not.

* For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is that old ad with the quote: “I’ve fallen… And I can’t get up!”:

Smashed Burger

I was flying to California from Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday, and while walking to my gate, I saw a burger place called “Smash Burger”. I thought it should be called “Smashed Burger”, what with all the drunk pilots we keep hearing about. Then they’d all want to get their burgers from there. They could even have a specialty burger for smashed pilots that has a minty or peanut-buttery sauce which masks the smell of the alcohol on their breath after they eat it. That one should sell like crazy! Isn’t that a good business plan?

In fact, it would be even better for big college towns! With the name “Smashed Burger”, all the inebriated frat boys would want to go there after a big booze bender, and with drunk people always coming in, you know they’re going to spend a lot of money, or else drop it all on the floor while paying for their order. (Maybe they could have a special job for a guy who comes and sweeps up all the cash before the drunk people notice that they've dropped it!) And I guess they could also have the house special “Smashed Burger” that's marinated in grain alcohol, and maybe have like a liquid, liquor center in it (perhaps roughly a shot's-worth of booze), kind of like that Freshen-Up Gum*. So when you bite into it, you get a refreshingly intoxicating squirt of liquor in your mouth! Yum! And they could have it made to order with whatever kind of booze you want, naming them appropriately, e.g.: the "Bacardi Burger", the "Beefeater Burger", etc.

Then to make even more money, the company could branch out with “Stoner’s Pizza”, a pizza place designed to cater especially to stoned people! Or do all of them already do that? Um, I guess they probably do. But what will give these guys the edge will be a team of drug-sniffing dogs that walk around college campuses and inform the restaurant where people are smoking marijuana. Then they will simply send out a pizza to those locations, and they will seem to arrive as if by magic to the high potheads. Then they will shower the delivery guy with all of their money out of appreciation! (If they have any. {Well, maybe that's not the best business plan, expecting potheads to have money!})

* Here is that gum I'm talking about:

And here's a great old ad for it ("The gum that goes: Squirt!"):

Danvers State Hospital

There is a Jean Simmons birthday marathon on TCM today, and I looked up the movie Home Before Dark on IMDB to see what it was about. Since it sounded like a thriller or a horror movie based on the name, I wanted to see, so I could tell if I wanted to see it. (I like those.) So anyway, someone who had seen the movie wrote a glowing review of it in the user reviews section, and they mentioned Danvers State Hospital. I was hoping that Danvers State Hospital was named after Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca, but apparently not. (I looked it up on Wikipedia. I suppose it’s possible, since it’s user-generated content on Wikipedia, that the hospital was named for Mrs. Danvers, but that someone out there wants me not to think so. But probably not.) Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Super 8 Motel “Scuba Diving” Ad

Some guy is working late in his cramped office when some glowing peeping tom motel sign comes and invades his life, distracting him from his travails, and perhaps even costing him his job. So there you are, another thing that’s killing American jobs in the Obama presidency! This must be part of his secret commie plot to destroy America, and it’s brilliant, too! After all, who would ever suspect a nosy, talking, ambulatory busybody of a motel sign is behind it all? I never would have guessed!

But that’s not even what I wanted to discuss here. No, I’m more interested in what happens in this ad. So the guy is working in his office, and the Super 8 Motel sign blinds him with it’s glowing visage, and then proceeds to nag him about going on a vacation. The guy naturally declines, obviously not wanting to encourage this sign’s rude, annoying interruptions in any way, shape or form. But then the sign plays the guy: it suggests that this guy should perhaps go on a scuba-diving vacation, since this type of holiday seems to hold some sort of allure for this poor working stiff. You see, apparently, the sign has gone around stalking this guy for weeks, asking all his friends what kind of interests he has, or what his dream vacation might be. And eventually, his friends would have to tell the sign just to get rid of it! So when the guy actually reacts with a brief display of interest, the sign uses a conjuring trick in an attempt to seal the deal: it makes this worker’s office magically fill up with all these sea creatures to try to lure him into acquiescing to the scuba-diving vacation!

But it was all a ruse! For this isn’t about a vacation at all, but rather a ploy to trash the worker’s office with an overabundance of seafood so that his office will stink to high heaven the following day and get the guy fired! And to be sure his boss thinks he did it, the sign also conjures up a snorkeling mask and flippers on the guy. See? It is all a plot to kill American jobs! I knew it all the time!

(This ad isn’t online at this time that I could find, but look for it on TV! You can't miss it! By the way, this is just one in a series of ads like this where the Super 8 Motel sign harasses people into taking a vacation. But they've never actually shown us what the rooms in their motel look like. Could this perhaps be by design, because if we get to see the rooms, we might decide not to stay at their motel? This campaign does kind-of make me wonder that just a little bit...)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peter Bergen’s Haircut

I was watching CNN’s coverage of President Obama’s speech about the Afghanistan War drawdown, and Peter Bergen was on to offer his analysis. But I could hardly even begin to pay attention to what he was saying, because he had this ridiculous-looking “bob” haircut down over his ears that made him look like the singer for INXS or Duran Duran or something. I heard the original singer from INXS has died, so perhaps Mr. Bergen is growing his hair out so he can audition to replace him in the band. Or maybe he plays in an ‘80s cover band, and they have to look all authentic, with lame haircuts and awful-looking clothes or something. But even so, it’s inappropriate to have such a dumb hairstyle when your primary job is to be a military analyst or a Middle East expert (especially at his age!), because it’s so distracting to have everyone around you, including yourself, laughing the whole time he’s talking; and it’s impossible to hear him through it all, too.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who usually criticizes the way people look or dress or anything like that. Do what you want: I don’t care. But when you dress in certain ways, it’s just the traditions or prejudices in our society that make them seem out-of-place for doing certain jobs. For example, you wouldn’t expect to see a Starbuck's barista wearing a football uniform, and you might not even know to ask them to take your order; and you wouldn’t feel comfortable investing your money with a banker wearing a Speedo weenie-bikini and flip-flops at the office, right? And what about if you went to see a doctor, and he or she was dressed as a police officer; would you trust that person to perform your delicate life-saving procedure? Or more to the point, would you let a doctor operate on you if he had a Mohawk, or would you let an attorney litigate a case for you if he had a dyed-green mullet? No? Well, then it’s also inappropriate to have a retro music hairstyle from A Flock of Seagulls when you’re doing terrorism- and war-related analysis for “The Most Trusted Name in News”. Seriously, the “bob” haircut he had was as blatant an ‘80s music reference as if he were wearing a Mohawk haircut, and it looked just as ridiculous too (especially in a suit)!

So, Mr. Bergen: You don’t see Anderson Cooper with spiky dyed hair, you don’t see Rachel Maddow with a bleached Mohawk like Wendy O. Williams, and you don’t see Sean Hannity with a 3 Stooges “Moe” haircut (as appropriate as you might feel it would be), do you? And you don't see Charles Krauthammer with cornrows, so please, get a news analyst haircut (which I guess would be a bald comb-over), or just do your interviews over the phone. After all, you could do radio with silly hair like yours; but on television, it’s simply too jarringly incompatible with what you’re talking about, and it just produces too many unintended and unnecessary giggles and comments/criticism: and that’s distracting! And oh, yes: it undermines your credibility, in addition to being a bad style-choice for people over 45, and clashing with your suit.

(BTW: I was looking for a picture of Peter Bergen to post here, but I can’t find one that looks like he did today. If you do a search of Google Images for “Peter Bergen”, you’ll see some of him with silly, pretentious haircuts; but today he just had that perfectly-awful “just in-between” having long and short hair that looks so bad on men. But this is obviously the way he likes his hair, even at his age and with his job requiring credibility and authority (!). So you go, girl! (I guess…) After all, people who criticize other people’s fashion choices are real jerks, and that’s why I’m doing it. But actually, I am only joking, so I hope you won’t get mad.)

P.S.: Peter Bergen has a normal haircut nowadays, meaning late 2013.

Advertising on Soccer Uniforms

Last night, I watched the final of the Copa Libertadores, and the championship-winning team was Santos of Brazil. They scored three goals, and beat Peñarol 2-1. (They scored the goal against themselves, too, just to be nice to the other team. And for exhibiting good sportsmanship, the other team started a fight with them on the field right after the game as a “thank you”. Oh well, I guess no good deed goes unpunished.) But I was surprised to see that their uniforms were virtually covered in advertising for brand names, with corporate identity logos printed in practically every available space. No, really! They had company logos on the front and back of the jerseys, down both sleeves on the front and the back of the sleeves, and on the shoulders; and then on the shorts, there was advertising printed on both legs, plus one big one printed across the whole butt.* I don’t think it’s even possible for them to have any more advertising on their outfits, unless the logos were all cramped together so that you couldn’t even see them clearly anymore!

Anyway, since they’ve crammed the soccer uniforms with so much advertising already, and everything always has to become more extreme with advertising over time, I think the next logical step to get even more and stronger advertising message value out of soccer uniforms will be this: have all the teams dress up as corporate mascots! So you could have a soccer game where, for example, one team all dress up as Ronald McDonald, with the yellow jumpsuits with Jodhpur legs, the big red afro-wigs, the clown ‘smile’ make-up, and the big silly clown shoes; and the other team all dress up as the Geico gecko in a big plushie suit with the tail flopping all around when they run. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I think so! And I think it’s also the future of sports-team sponsorship! Then no matter how far away the camera is, or how fast the players are running, you couldn’t possibly miss recognizing what the advertising message is! (Plus, it would add an extra dimension of entertainment to the game to see them all trying to play while wearing that stuff!) And after the game, we’d all be brainwashed to go buy whatever products they were advertising with their uniforms!

See? It can’t fail! I hope they start doing it next year!

* (By the way, if you don’t believe me, just type in “Santos 2011 uniform” in Google Images and look at some of those shirts, or just go to the following link {They are the black & white ones}:

But I think there was more stuff on the shorts in the game last night.)

New Graphic Cigarette Pack Warning Labels

Yes, there is a plan to put newer, bigger, yuckier and gorier pictorial warning labels on cigarette packs in an attempt to force the last few smoker holdouts to quit by grossing them out and “scaring them straight”, so to speak. These things never work, because smokers always make fun of them, and they also feel even more like they’re “living on the edge”, so it makes it seem even cooler and tougher to smoke; and the more graphic and disturbing the warning labels become, the more of a bad-ass factor they inspire. They also actually usually backfire due to the simply rebellious, contrarian nature of many smokers: after all, they’ve been harassed about this stuff for years, and they’ve toughed it out for this long; after a while, they develop a kind-of “bring it on!” attitude, and they see it as a new, higher-stakes challenge.

I know about this stuff because I used to be a smoker myself, and I smoked about a pack a day back when I did smoke, basically because I tend to have an “all or nothing” kind of attitude. I suppose it can be quite a character-flaw at times. But I’ll tell you one thing, and this is the truth: quitting was really easy for me; all I needed was a real reason to want to quit, and then I just used my willpower for a week, and I was completely over it. So I think it’s pretty easy to quit smoking. You just have to want to do it. But I didn’t try earlier for one simple reason: everyone always hammered it into my head all of my life how difficult, nay, impossible it is to quit by yourself without help, etc., and most people will never be able to quit at all!

This suggestion that it’s practically impossible to quit is the sole reason I waited as long as I did to quit smoking! And I honestly believe it’s why so many other people try and fail all the time, too. Seriously, all my life I’ve heard about how addictive nicotine is, and how it’s as addictive as heroin (bullshit!), etc. But if all my life people had been saying that it’s no big deal to quit, that you want a cigarette for the first few days, but that if you just do something else instead or just use your willpower, it’s actually really easy to quit, I would have never worried about it or made excuses, and I would have quit years earlier. And that’s the truth! It was the fear of how horrible it was supposed to be that made me avoid it for as long as possible, when I really could have done it anytime. And this culture of spreading “facts” about how difficult it supposedly is to quit smoking is probably trapping many, many people into continuing the habit for years unnecessarily, leading to all kinds of health problems in the process.

In fact, while cigarette commercials have been banned from television for years and years and years, they have recently allowed tobacco companies to begin running ads for products that “help people quit smoking”. And guess what they say in those ads. No, really: try to guess. Oh, yes: that’s right! They say: “It’s impossible to quit smoking without help, and most people fail anyway... (And oh, look here: we’ve got something really expensive to sell you to “help you quit”!)” So these ads are basically an excuse for the big tobacco companies to mention their cigarettes on television again, and then to reinforce in everybody how torturous and horribly difficult it is to quit smoking! So then they’ll sell tons more cigarettes! Or, if they didn’t successfully scare you into not quitting smoking, then they have an extremely expensive product that will attempt to help you in quitting (but probably will only lead to failure). And it’s all perfectly legal! (But it’s awfully immoral.)

I tried to quit with that “Nicogum” stuff initially, but it didn’t work. Chewing a piece only reminded me that I really wanted a cigarette, so then I’d just spit it out and go have a cigarette. But when I just decided to quit smoking because I wanted to quit, I just didn’t smoke. Sure, it makes you grumpy and a bit nervous for a couple of days, but it passes, and then you’re free! And then you have lots more money to spend on booze and stuff! Um, I mean, then you save a lot of money that you can put toward your retirement, assuming you even still have a job in this economy. But honestly, I think it’s the process or activity of smoking that’s so “addictive”; you just get into the habit of doing it, and it’s hard to get out of it. And that, I think, is much more of the reason people have a hard time quitting; way more of a reason than the nicotine. (In my opinion.)

Now, if you’re a tobacco company executive, and you’re reading this and are mad because it’s prejudicial against cigarettes and smoking, just relax. I’m not anti-smoking, and I’m not against the sale of cigarettes, either. (But I do agree with the warning stuff, as people should know the risks!) I’m just against spreading this misinformation about how impossible it is to quit, and then charging $100 for 50 pieces of gum that doesn’t help the people you’ve brainwashed their whole lives about it. Sure, it’s not easy for some people, but some people get addicted to placebos, too. It’s mainly psychological, I think, in any case. When they say that cigarettes are more addictive than heroin: I mean, really! Come on! Heroin withdrawal makes people sick for days or weeks, and can require hospitalization. Cigarette withdrawal makes you be in a bad mood. It’s hardly the same thing!

Here's a story with pictures of the new warning labels:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Silly San Francisco Ballot Initiatives

Activists in San Francisco are trying to outlaw two new things now through ballot initiatives: one is an attempt to ban circumcisions proposed by a group calling themselves “intactivists”, and the other is an attempt to outlaw the selling of goldfish by some animal-rights activists. Naturally, there has been an outcry by sensible people to oppose these measures, but I guess they’re just going to have to vote it out.

I have a suggestion, however, that could solve the problem by combining these two separate activist causes into one proposed law: a ban on circumcisions for goldfish. That way, everyone would only have to vote once for both issues, and the result wouldn’t make any normal, level-headed people upset; plus, the activists could claim victory about something and feel like they were making a difference somehow, while at the same time relieving the rest of us from having to live under the tyranny of silliness.

I lived in San Francisco for about four years, from 1996 to the dreaded Y2K, and while I loved the city, it does have its share of loony-tunes who always want to force their way of life on everyone else. Of course I’m referring to the hippies who live there, always trying to make everyone smoke marijuana and listen to old bootleg Dead tapes. Oh, yes, and the animal-rights activists, who seem to be running wild up there, as it were. I guess they learned how to run wild from all the animals they’ve been rescuing from evil pet owners. But then again, they’re really just another offshoot of the radical hippie base anyway, aren’t they? And wouldn’t it make Abbie Hoffman proud, knowing that these animal-rights people are helping goldfish throw off the chains of oppression, so to speak. I sure hope they’re teaching the goldfish to “Never trust anyone over the surface of the water”, or “Never trust anyone who breathes with lungs”. I know I never do; at least not since these crazy hippies started showing up with their penis petitions and goldfish government-intervention stuff.

Here are the silly stories, for those of you who don’t believe me:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

AT&T Samsung Infuse 4G Ad

In order to demonstrate the wonderful, lifelike picture quality on this new Samsung Infuse 4G cell-phone they’re hawking now, AT&T is running this spot, which has a guy show a picture of a tarantula to a woman, who screams because she thinks it’s real. That’s not all, though, because an older man, presumably her father, thinks it’s real too; and in order to protect his daughter’s safety (as well as his own, and I guess everyone else’s too), he takes off his shoe, and smashes the cell-phone again and again, until it is beyond repair. Oh, yes: and he also smashes it one, especially hard, last time, even when it’s become clear by that point that it’s just a phone and not an actual tarantula. So I guess what AT&T wants us to do is say to ourselves: “Hey, yeah! I want that phone where everyone is always going to try to smash it and stuff!” I don’t know, maybe they have to sell a lot of them because they bought too many of them or something, but I wouldn’t think that’s the best way to try to sell a phone (showing someone smashing it, that it).

In fact, this is a lot like a sketch comedy piece I wrote a couple of years ago. In my joke ad for a flat-screen TV set, I had the announcer say stuff about how great the picture was, while some guy was watching a nature program about a bird on the TV, with his cat sitting next to him; and as the TV set showed a bird sitting on a branch singing, the cat noticed it, thought it was real, and pounced on the television set, knocking it to the floor and ripping the screen to shreds with its claws and teeth, as the announcer said: “In fact, it’s so lifelike, you may be surprised!” But that was just a joke! The reason I thought it was so funny is that it’s a terrible idea for trying to sell someone on a TV set, because if they have any pets, it makes it look like they might attack and destroy the expensive new television screen! And this AT&T cell-phone ad is doing essentially the same thing! Only this time, they're serious!

So what I come away with from seeing this commercial is this: I don’t want the phone everybody is going to try to smash all the time! I guess I’ll just get an iPhone; and hey: Verison has them now, so I guess I’ll just get one from them. Because when you see someone smashing a cell-phone in an ad for AT&T with the sound off, it makes you remember about all the times that people you know have complained about how frustrated they have been with AT&T service, and it subliminally says to you: “People want to smash AT&T phones. It must be the crappy reception and service.” I’m sorry, but most people watch the ads with the sound off these days, and with the sound off, you just see the AT&T logo, and then someone is smashing the phone. So what is that going to make you think about? I guess there is a picture of a tarantula on it, but still, it makes me think more about customer dissatisfaction with cell-phone service providers than the tarantula picture, because everyone I know is always constantly complaining bitterly about how terrible their cell-phone reception, service, etc., is. And like it or not, AT&T, (and ad creatives) that’s just a fact.

I mean, the spot is funny, but I don’t think it’s a good ad for a cell-phone. It’s really an issue of what message you’re sending, especially in light of the unreliability of cell-phone reception, and how frustrated people get with that: sometimes even to the point of wanting to smash their phone. But whenever you’re showing people destroying your product in the commercial for it, I think you’ve got a message problem. (Unless it’s an automobile crash test, and the marketing strategy for your car brand is touting its safety rating and survivability in auto-accidents. Mercedes and Volvo do this sometimes, and it works okay for them. And it might also work well for a bike helmet ad; in fact, I think there are some award-winning print ads like that for bike helmets. But for marketing a cell-phone? Um, no.)

Here’s the ad. See what you think:

The Best New York Doctors and Lawyers

In two of their most recent issues, New York magazine had articles listing (their idea of) the “Best Doctors in New York”, and the “Best Lawyers in New York”. In the “Best Doctors” issue, there were photographs accompanying the article which showed doctors engaged in performing their medical specialties, with one guy engaged in delivering a baby through a gory C-Section procedure, another guy cutting into some unlucky fellow’s cranium to remove a brain tumor, etc. But in the “Best Lawyers” issue (I’m referring specifically to the one about the “Top Verdicts & Settlements & Personal Injury Litigators 2011”. I suppose there are so many lawyers in New York, it takes them several issues to get through them all, whereas the doctors only takes one issue. Or maybe it’s just that people are interested enough in and like doctors sufficiently to buy and read a magazine dedicated to them, whereas nobody would deign to take even a cursory glance at a magazine dedicated to lawyers. But who knows.), the pictures illustrating the article/list of the “best” lawyers simply show the lawyers standing there in their business suits and smiling in front of books, framed diplomas, the New York Courthouse, etc. But they’re all just posing for photographs! Why aren’t they shown plying their trade, like the doctors were?

Don’t you think we should get to see these supposedly great lawyers performing their magic? How do we know they’re any good otherwise? Just because some penny-ante magazine says so? Puh-leeze! We need to see it! And the article would be way more fascinating to look at, too! They could show a personal injury attorney chasing after an ambulance on foot in his primo hand-tailored suit and Italian shoes, or handing a business card to someone who just slipped on a sidewalk or got run over by a cab. Or they could show a civil trial lawyer holding up a prejudicial photograph while making sad puppy-dog eyes at a crying jury. They could even show a series of photographs of the best divorce lawyer in the city: first in the courtroom, pointing accusingly at a frowning man in a suit while a trophy wife sits looking smugly satisfied across the aisle from him; then dropping a huge pile of cash in front of the gleefully smiling woman while the man holds his head in his hands in the same courtroom; and after that, handing over they keys to the house and car, while they stand in front of a Porsche and a big Westchester home, with the ex-husband having a tantrum pounding the ground with his fists and crying behind them.

See? That would show what good lawyers they really are, and we’d all get to look at entertaining pictures to make the story more interesting. And then, obviously, we’d all sprint out of our apartments to go get injured or divorced, or to sue some corporation for malfeasance. Or, at least, I would.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ringtones for Audiophiles

My father’s cell phone went off, and the ringtone played, prompting my mother to say: “I like that. It sounds nice.” And as a joke, I said: “It sounds kind of tinny to me: not enough bass.” And it was: it sounded just like one of those old plastic battery-operated transistor radios from the 1970s. You know, the kind people used back before there were things like jamboxes and Walkmans and Discmans and iPods and all the way up to the pinnacle of technology and convenience: the Zune! (Or was the Zune the thing that nobody wanted? Oh, I forget… {I’m not up on all of these newfangled contraptions!})

Remember back when everyone was carrying a boom-box around? And what was the most highly advertised and promoted feature of the boom-box: so much so that it was printed really big on the box itself in extremely large (usually red) letters? Yes, of course it was the “Super Deep Bass”! Well, what with all the teensy-tinesy-ization of everything electronic in the past couple of decades, this all-important feature has been left in “the dustbin of history” (like Reagan would have said); and I think it’s a shame, as we’re more the poorer for it! (More poorer? Um… Oh, never mind!)

Yes, people complain about stuff like cell phone ringtones going off in the movie theater, or at an important meeting, or in interviewees pockets on TV talk-shows, etc., but that’s all just a bunch of whiny bullcrap! Some stupid tinny-sounding piece of crap speaker in a little plastic cell-phone going off in someone's pocket isn’t nearly as annoying or disruptive as it would be if everyone had a big speaker system with a giant pulsating subwoofer and surround-sound attached to it! Now that would vibrate everybody’s chairs, rattle the windows, shake loose false-teeth, trigger migraines, etc.: the whole nine yards! Now that would be something to complain about! And this is the technical-innovation product we’ve all been waiting for!

Yes, now you can have ear-splittingly high-fidelity cell-phone ringtones blasting from your person when you buy the new “Audiophile Backpack”, with 300 watts of amplification power! Here’s how it works: Simply connect your cellular telephone, or mp3-player through blue-tooth to the Audiophile Backpack, put the backpack on, and you’ll have huge stereo-system sound blaring wherever you go! No more of this pansy-assed hiding behind your earphones or earbuds! That makes you seem ashamed of your music! But with the Audiophile Backpack, you can share your wonderful taste in music and ringtones with the rest of the world! Plus, with our new speakerphone feature, you can punish people who complain about your cell-phone use in theaters during movies by cranking up both sides of your conversation so loud, it’s guaranteed to drown out the movie! Plus, with the new locking chair-strap option, you can make it so they can’t remove you from your seat, and they’ll all have to listen to you whether they like it or not!

So get the “Audiophile Backpack”, and you can have your own, personal “boom-box Jeep” right on your back! Be the life of the party! Start a competitive dance-off wherever you go! With bass this deep, everyone will want to boogie down! That’s the “Audiophile Backpack”! Ask for it by name wherever other, annoyingly asinine products are sold! (Briefcase version also available for jerky businessmen!)


Recently, I accidentally said something like “shit” in front of my young niece, like her mother does from time to time when she gets frustrated, and she said that’s a bad word. Yes, it is. But it’s also “adult language”, which means I’m allowed to say it. So, nyah nyah: I get to say it and she doesn’t! (Stick out tongue and blow a raspberry at!)

So children are not allowed to say bad, naughty words, but adults can. That’s because as adults, we’re much more responsible than kids. So when we say: “Fuck you!” to someone who cuts in line ahead of us at, say, the Casey Anthony trial, or whatever activity, and they punch us in the face, it’s okay because that is how responsible adults behave. But children would mess up a situation like that! They probably wouldn’t even start a fight, but rather, just giggle, or say: “I know you are but what am I”, or: “I’m rubber and you’re glue: whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you”, or whatever. And that’s just plain wrong! But it’s because they’re too young to understand the appropriate way to behave in that situation.

That’s why I think children ought to be taught and trained how to use profanity correctly, so they don’t grow up and act all inappropriate as adults. So when kids say that something like “shit” is a bad word and I shouldn’t say it, I like to tell them that it’s “adult language” and so I’m allowed to use it, but they’re not. But, that it’s okay for them to use it, as long as they’re under the supervision of an adult. So whenever there’s a grown-up around, just let ‘er rip with the foul, salty talk; they’re sure to supervise you and give you pointers when you’re not doing it correctly.

This idea comes from the fact that when I was a middle-school-aged kid, I would once in a while say something with a bad word in it to a house-sitter or whatever, just to try to seem older, and they would always jump out of their skin in offended self-righteous indignation about it, shaming me to the very foundation of my being. So I learned quickly that people don’t like to hear such things “out of the mouths of babes”, so to speak. But as soon as someone cut them off in traffic, or the red light was too long, or a song they didn’t like came on the radio, out came the “fuck”s and “shit”s, flying from their mouths and right into my virgin ears! (<Which is why I tried to do it to appear more sophisticated in the first place: because they did it!)

So that’s why I think we should encourage children to practice with “adult language” under the supervision of an adult: because the only time profanity ever sounds offensive anymore is when it comes out of the mouth of an innocent child. Um, I mean, so they can learn how to use it correctly! After all, we don’t want them saying stuff like: “What is the fuck?” like foreign-exchange students do, now do we? These children are the future of our country, and they’re going to have some tough days ahead due to the economy, etc.! So they should have an adequate grasp on the proper use of profanity if they’re going to survive in the future America with an acceptable level of stress! (Psychologists have done studies which suggest that using profanity in a moment of frustration can significantly lower stress levels, and that’s why we do it, apparently. Well, and to be offensive jerks! {That’s why I do it!})


I bought an iPod “nano” a couple of years ago, and on my recent trip to New York, I used it for the first time. It’s great, but it’s the kind that’s about as big as two fingers (but much thinner). Now they have ones that are about as big as a silver half-dollar coin and have touch screens (!), and they came out over a year ago! My mother said people will probably lose them, but I pointed out that they have a clip on them so they can clip onto your clothes; but if they keep on getting smaller, I guess they will have to have pins on them like small brooches, or have those little stick-pins like a tie-tack. Or maybe even as an earring! But what about when they become even smaller than that?

Well, what I think they should do when they become truly nano in size, is to make them so they’re implanted into the skin of your forearm. Then they can tap directly into your central nervous system and play directly into your ears or aural cortex without the need for headphones or earbuds. And then you simply ‘think your way through’ the menus for what you want to listen to or play. Wait, what am I saying? You simply think of the song! Menus will be entirely obsolete! Oh, yes, and for videos, that taps right into your visual cortex, so you just see it in your mind when you close your eyes. (If you keep them open, it’s just kind-of transparent-looking, and it gives you a headache seeing the movie and real life at the same time, both in 3-D. Plus, it's bad for your eyes! So don't do it. When it becomes available, that is... Actually, I have an idea: why not make it so that whenever you open your eyes, the movie/video will pause and become a blank screen so you can negotiate with the real world again temporarily before you retreat back into your cocoon of a computer-generated haven of false-security/entertainment. Or have it be set as a preference to do it or not. {Apple: are you listening? This is a good idea, pausing stuff when we open our eyes, and having it automatically restart when we close them again! Just make sure you factor in for blinking, so it's not always running video clips and startling us with blasts of loud soundtrack audio every time we blink!}) And if you're within a wi-fi network, you can just instantly stream NetFlix right into your head!

So naturally, they will have to develop some new camera system for making it fill your full field of vision in 3-D, so it looks and feels like you’re actually really there yourself in the movie or whatever. James Cameron can develop it, if he hasn’t already. Actually, I think he probably already has! That whole big to-do over the expense and production of Avatar, and all that "making-of" content showing Zoe Saldana jumping around in that virtual-reality suit with the dots on her face, was definitely a cover to distract everyone from finding out about his new “Mental-Vision” ‘experience-camera’, which obviously would have sensory-recording capacity, so you can actually “feel” what’s going on in the movie! (I hope they don’t convert Backdraft into that system! But I’ve heard that he’s already retrofitted Titanic with it, but everyone who watched it died when their bodies thought they were drowning and freezing to death in the cold Arctic waters! So there are apparently still some kinks to be worked-out.) He’s trying to hide it until it’s perfected and ready for mass-distribution. And he doesn’t want the porno producers to get wind of it and beat him to the punch (or stroke, as the case may be) and cheapen it before he can wow the world with his technical genius (again! {~sigh!}). But it’s coming, you’ll see; and feel! (<And that is how they will advertise the porno-version* of this technology!)

But remember that IMAX cinema experience in Epcot Center at Disney World? There's that part where they show someone sliding down on a wire and landing. Remember how everyone jumped out of their seats a little bit when that part happened, because with your field of vision completely filled up, it tricked your brain into thinking it was really happening? Well, imagine people doing that all the time on the subway or at the library! Pretty soon, everybody will be acting like schizophrenics, reacting to stuff that's only happening in their own heads! That's where this technology is headed, folks!

* (Don’t use your iPod “nano-implant” for the “Mental-Vision” ‘experience’ porno stuff in public! It’s too realistic!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Big Apple

Now that Apple computers is the biggest tech company in the world, surpassing even Microsoft for bigosity (that’s geeky-tech lingo for “large size”), they’re going to have to make a marked shift in the way they do business. When Microsoft was top of the heap, they used to try to make, market, and monopolize everything so it was impossible for smaller companies to compete. They even lost a bunch of anti-trust lawsuits despite having the resources to bribe judges and donate to all the relevant, tech-related politicians’ campaigns, etc. (Not that I’m saying they ever did any of that. It’s just that they’re a huge corporation, and those types of entities usually do that kind of corrupt shit; plus, they were definitely guilty of trying to monopolize everything and bully their competition out of business. So there’s that trend there…) That’s why everyone loved them so much, and why Bill Gates has to have armed guards protecting his compound night and day! Or maybe he just likes to live like a Bond villain. I guess I would do that too if I could, with the pools full of sharks in my yard, and pushing people into them who “failed” to monopolize search engine software or put all competitors out of business by copying all of their products and then integrating them into our all-encompassing, proprietary system in such a way as to be un-suable, etc. Oh, and also having hot hit-women who kill rival programmers and businessmen with poisoned hair barrettes or stiletto-heeled shoes with actual switchblade-enhanced stilettos in the heels, etc. That would be totally sweet! Awesome! And then sometimes I’d do the killing myself, but with the CEO of Google’s fingerprints and DNA on my hands so he’d get blamed for it! Yeah!

Um, so where was I? Uh... Oh, yes: Apple! I almost forgot… Sorry.

So now that Apple is the king of the hill, they’re going to have to start being complete jerks for no reason if they want to stay there! Hey, it worked for Microsoft, right? Because they’re still, um; hmm. Um, actually, never mind about them… After all, we’re discussing Apple here anyway! So, back to Apple. Right: So they’re going to have to start being dicks, because that’s what big companies do, right? Right.

So what they should do first, since they’re the biggest tech company in the whole world, is sue New York City over the rights for who gets to use the expression: “The Big Apple”. After all, New York has huge budgetary woes right now, and as a result, they’re not going to have the money to fight some protracted frivolous lawsuit over who actually owns the phrase: “The Big Apple”. (This may seem dumb to you, but Paris Hilton owns the phrase: "It's hot!" now, so every time someone says it {like I just did there}, they owe her money! That's why she's so rich!) So New York will probably put up some token resistance, but since they won’t really want to pay for some big, drawn-out court case, they’ll just let it drop; and since Apple is the biggest tech company in the world, with all the huge bags of cash that come with that distinction, they’ll be able to basically “buy” the verdict and win exclusive right to being called: “The Big Apple”! Naturally, New York won’t respect the verdict, since they’ve been called: “The Big Apple” for as long as anyone can remember, so they’ll just keep on using it anyway. Oh, but since Apple actually will own it now exclusively, they can sue the city and demand to be paid royalties for every time anyone refers to New York City as: “The Big Apple”. But to make even more money, of course they will have all of their own employees constantly refer to New York as: “The Big Apple”, so that every time, New York will have to cough up some extra dough; and to be extra dickish about it, they ought to go look through old historical documents and advertising about New York City, and Xerox it all lots of times, so that for every page that has a reference to New York City as: “The Big Apple”, the city will have to pay them yet another royalty for using the term. Plus, Apple will get the prestige of referring to themselves as: "The Big Apple", and they'll make everyone else do it too, if they want to use Apple's products. Then, finally they’ll start acting like and be recognized as a major, evil corporation, and only then will they be hailed as “the new Microsoft”!

But that’s not all! Because they want to preserve the integrity of their brand, they will have to attempt to stamp out all negative expressions referring to apples, like "Rotten to the core", etc. So they’ll have to file suit in federal court to suppress the term: “Bad apple”, as in “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch”: after all, the person saying that could be referring to computers, and that slanders the Apple brand, suggesting that if you introduce just one Apple computer into a Windows or Linux environment, it will crash and corrupt the whole system! Also, they'll have to eradicate use of the aforementioned expression: "Rotten to the core", since it could suggest that Apple computers are corrupted or unreliable through and through! (This one is especially essential to quash because of the fact that Apple now uses Intel "Core" processors, and that would further resonate as an insult to Apple computers! So "Rotten to the Core" could become the new motto, catch-phrase, or rallying-cry of the nascent anti-Apple tech underground! And they must be stamped out now! After all, the {metaphorical} pen {actually a keyboard, but whatever} is mightier {metaphorically speaking} than the sword, isn't it now? So to limit what a "pen" can actually say helps you to mitigate its power! Right?) And then they’d have to fight to suppress the expression: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, since it seems to suggest that their products are so unreliable or so quickly outmoded that you’ll have to buy a new one every day in order to have one that’s a functional and useful tool for computer stuff, otherwise you’ll have to have the “doctor” (obviously computer lingo for a tech-support person) come over and fix your apple computer unless you buy a new one every single day!

Then, of course, since they can't suppress everything to do with apples, they will have to lobby to have some of the these expressions altered, or their meanings redefined to suit their purposes. Action will have to be taken to change the understanding of the term: “Apples and Oranges”, to where it no longer means two things that are different but equally desirable, but rather to where it means that the apple is the really great thing, and the orange sucks. (Anyone who suggests otherwise will be fined and/or imprisoned!) And then, naturally, they will have to peer-pressure religions into changing the fruit used by the serpent to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden* into some other fruit (like, say, an orange, perhaps: just to sear into everyone’s memory the new mantra of apples being way better than oranges!), so as to besmirch the apple no longer! Religions who refuse will have to use Windows machines, and the threat of that is going to make them all just agree to change the fruit to an orange. (Sorry: Sunkist, Tropicana & Florida! You've had your "time in the sun"!)

Yes, Apple has the power now, as the largest and most innovative, visionary computer company in the world! The only thing that’s missing now is the insufferable dickishness that’s exhibited by other companies of this size and prestige. We can all hope that they’ll step up the implementation of these aforementioned suggested steps, and that they'll begin to exhibit more of this type of abusive behavior. Only then will they win the distinction of being the primary target of hackers and malware, like Microsoft still is today. And after all, surely Apple wants to dominate Microsoft in all areas, right? I know I would…

* (BTW: I know that they actually named the company “Apple” after the “forbidden fruit” of the Garden of Eden, but that was then, when they were an upstart, renegade company of rebels; and this is now, when they are the biggest tech company in the world, and they finally have the opportunity to become “the new Microsoft”! If you have the power, why not abuse it? Look at government: now that’s how it’s done!)