Saturday, March 31, 2012

Campbell's Souper Man

I don't know if any soup company has tried this before, but Campbell's could create a mascot for an ad campaign for the kids' soup market: Souper Man! He would be a superhero (dressed in the company colors, and with "Campbell's" written across his chest) who makes everything into soup. So whatever kind of food kids really love, he could make it into soup for them, and they would love it. (They could introduce new kinds of soup for kids this way, or a new line of cans of homemade-style casseroles of kids'  family favorites like beans & franks, tuna noodle casserole, cheesy hamburger, macaroni & cheese, turkey tetrazzini, etc.) Plus, when kids are sick, or when they're feeling weak from being extremely hungry or exhausted, Souper Man could bring them some Campbell's soup and it would make them all well and strong again; and then Souper Man could tell them about what good food soup is for their health (and yummy!), and for growing up strong, and that it made him strong like he is, etc. And if he doesn't look too much like Superman, I think it would be permissible to do it without even having to worry about licensing Superman (or at least it should be defensible).

Now that I'm thinking about this, it strikes me that Souper Man's powers of making things into soup might work in another way too. Let's say there's a kid eating a chicken dinner, and the kid's parents want him/her to eat his/her vegetables, but the kid won't do it. Well, Souper Man could show up and make the whole dinner (of chicken, rice, vegetables, potatoes, etc.) into soup, and the kid then loves the soup and ends up eating the veggies. So it could end up being a message to parents about how to get their kids to eat a balanced diet, since soup contains so many different food groups in one serving. And this could be a series of ads that makes a whole meal into a soup that then has the kids want to eat the healthy stuff they wouldn't be willing to eat before, with soups like Chunky chicken rice with vegetables, split pea with ham (which also has carrots and potatoes), bean and ham, chicken mushroom chowder, chicken corn chowder, etc. And this shows Souper Man's powers to also include the ability to get kids to eat their vegetables willingly, which is a super power indeed!

Scotts Turf Builder Starving Lawn Ad

It looks like Scotts has personified their brand with a Scotsman named Scott who nags people to buy Scotts lawn care products. He stands there wearing a tartan-ish shirt, and badgers his neighbors in a Scottish accent to feed their lawns. (But then he gets mad if they buy a different brand of lawn food, and he sneaks back at night to pour gasoline all over their lawns to kill the grass so he can show up the next morning and say: "Oh no! It looks like you didn't use Scotts brand lawn feast, er, Turf Builder!") Maybe they should have Scott play golf on his lawn while wearing a kilt too, and drink Scotch whiskey just to further call attention to his Scottishness. But I have an even better idea!

If Scotts is trying to get a mascot character for their company to make us remember their brand name when we want to buy lawn care stuff, then how about using the character of Mr. Scott from Star Trek (wearing his red shirt uniform from the TV series and the new movie version of Star Trek)? He could spaz out like Scotty from Star Trek does about the engines of the Starship Enterprise, but do it about someone's lawn instead. So he could run over to someone's browning lawn, kneel down on it, and in a panicked, Scottish-accented voice, say stuff to the homeowner like: "Look at this lawn! She can't take much more of this captain!" Or perhaps he could talk to the lawn about its (female) owner: "I'm giving it all I've got! She just won't respond! I don't know how much more of this she can take, but I'm doing the best I can captain!" And then he would fall onto the brown lawn, hugging the ground and crying, which makes the woman say: "So you're saying I should do something for my lawn?" Then the announcer could say Mr. Scott used his brilliant engineering mind to engineer the world's best lawn care products, or something. And they could say their products use "space-age technology" to make your grass grow at warp speed!

Also, since a lot of homeowner associations require fresh green lawns or else fine and/or have members arrested and imprisoned, Mr. Scott could help the homeowner, his "captain" (maybe even played by William Shatner), defeat the threatening homeowner association, personified by some Romulans or Klingons or something. So the Romulans are trying to conquer the captain's house and throw him out of the neighborhood by using his brown lawn against him (or else they're trying to kill his lawn to use this as an excuse to expel him from the community), so he calls on Scotty to solve the problem, and with much chewing of the scenery, he uses Scotts Turf Builder to wake up the lawn and get it back to full health, thus foiling the Romulan plot and making the neighborhood safe again for the Federation.

(Oh, and since so much special effects stuff is shot on "green screen", the Star Trek characters could want to get the lawn so nice and green so they can sit on it and act out scenes from Star Trek, and have the ship and stuff all matted in around them. And maybe they could show how they tried it with an unhealthy lawn with brown patches, and it didn't work, and they just ended up looking like grown-up nerds making fools of themselves; but once they got the lawn all bright green with Scotts Turf Builder, they go out onto the lawn, and then it switches to photo-realistic backgrounds with CGI characters for them to fight and stuff. And then all the nerds in the neighborhood congregate on the sidewalk to watch the "new episodes" of their neighborhood Star Trek! And just for even more fun, it could turn out that all the actors from all the Star Trek movies and TV shows live on the same street, and they always come over in character, wearing the make-up and costumes, etc., so it looks like all the Star Trek episodes and movies are just made on the Captain's lawn.)

Anyway, it would be silly and fun, and I'll bet Star Trek fans would love it! But it would cost a lot more to license the character of Mr. Scott than it does to use a generic Scottish guy and call him "Scott", because the latter is free. (<Actually, it's Scot free!) (Maybe this Star Trek "Scotty" lawn care ad would make a good SNL-type sketch.)

Here is the ad I'm talking about:

Shark Fin Soup Avenger

I was thinking about the issue of shark fin soup, and how I've heard shark hunters cut the fins off of sharks and throw them back into the water. And then I was reminded of that movie Soul Surfer, where some surfer girl gets her arm bitten off by a shark, but she overcomes it to go back to surfing. And that made me think that perhaps these two ideas could be combined for an uplifting animated feature for the marine biologist audience demographic! So here's my idea for this movie, The Shark Fin Soup Avenger:

A shark (probably a tiger shark, I guess) gets caught by shark fin soup mercenaries, and they cut off its dorsal fin and throw the shark back (or else the shark escapes by writhing back into the water before they can do anything else to it). So after this, the shark has no self-esteem left, as it finds no-one in the ocean is afraid of it anymore without that scary dorsal fin (a shark's trademark intimidating feature). All the other sharks tease and bully this poor shark for not having a dorsal fin, which is a real source of pride for sharks (like a Klingon's forehead). So the shark decides life isn't worth living if nobody is scared of it, so it decides to go get itself killed by people to end it all. So the shark swims over to where there are people, but nobody even notices the shark without its dorsal fin sticking up out of the water. That's when the shark has a "eureka" moment: without the dorsal fin, it can now sneak up on people and they wouldn't know what hit them! (And the shark can get revenge and overcome adversity at the same time! A heartwarming story of redemption!) So the shark embarks on seek-and-destroy missions against people on beaches, eating them all, and gets away clean each time. Then the shark becomes a hero to all the other sharks and sea creatures, and is given the nom de guerre of "The Shark Fin Soup Avenger" (while humans refer to it as "The Ninja Shark" due to its ability to strike stealthily and without warning)! And everyone under the sea lives happily ever after, with all the oceangoing people eaten by the shark, and the rest of humanity forbidden to do anything about it due to the new shark fin soup ban. And conservationists the world over cheer! (The End.)

See? Now isn't that an inspirational story? It will be like A Dolphin Tale, only without dolphins or their tails (because the shark has eaten them all too). And it will be extremely popular with environmentalists, I'll bet! (Plus, there will be enough gore to please any hardcore horror fan or misanthrope!) I hope Disney will make it tomorrow!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse Slogan

Hey, most all of us know about the Mayan Apocalypse, right? It's this year! But for those who don't, maybe we should let them know with some catchy slogan on a bumper sticker or something. So I propose the following slogan: "Mayan Apocalypse 2012: Kill 'Em All and Let Kukulkan Sort 'Em Out!"

(I actually screwed this up like a Ray Harryhausen mythical movie and used the Aztec name of Quetzalcoatl when I first posted it {!}. Sorry, Mayans! {I did fix it, though.} And I mention Harryhausen because, while I absolutely love those movies, there were always problems with inaccuracies; like for example, calling Heracles "Hercules" in ancient Greece, when that's the later, Roman name for him. And in citing Quetzalcoatl in reference to the Mayan apocalypse, I made the same mistake. Oops!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Many Millions of Uninsured?

As we keep hearing, especially from supporters of President Obama's healthcare law, there are millions of people without health insurance. But the number of millions keeps going up and up and up, especially when pundits get involved. I'm not saying this because I support or oppose the law, it's just a fact that the number of people without health insurance keeps getting increased ever and ever larger, according to proponents of the healthcare bill. It would be nice to have an accurate count, but I suppose an accurate number wouldn't be as propaganda-y.

When President Obama pushed for healthcare reform, it was to provide health coverage for the 30 million Americans who didn't have it. Then, earlier this week (and in recent months), pundits arguing in favor of this new healthcare law, or "Obamacare", as it's sometimes called, said there were 40 million Americans without healthcare. Then, yesterday on the news, someone said it was for the "over 50 million Americans" without health insurance. And this evening on NPR, someone used the positive number of 55 million Americans who are without healthcare. So over the past three years, the number of uninsured has swelled from 30 million to 55 million, all since the president's healthcare reform bill has passed? So rather than making me feel this law is more necessary than ever with their ever increasingly exaggerated numbers, it seems like since the new law passed, 25 million more Americans are without healthcare, which would mean that the new healthcare law is doing the exact opposite of what it was intended to do: it is creating more uninsured people (unless they're just lying, and they wouldn't do that, would they?).

Look, we all already know the "Affordable Care Act" has drastically increased most people's health insurance rates since its passage: mine have gone up a lot, and I haven't been able to see my actual doctor since then, either: they're so overloaded now that I only see trainees. Also there are a lot of new charges and red tape lately, and it's definitely due to the new law. This is the opposite of what I had hoped for! I support some of what this law was intended to do, but we were lied to a lot about what its effects would be, how much it would cost (the CBO now says it will cost almost double their original estimate, and at a time when we're already dangerously in debt and way over-leveraged as a nation), etc., and they're lying about the number of uninsured to brainwash us to keep it. Have they no shame? Honestly! This bill is seriously flawed, and we really should have it done right. It was written by corrupt politicians who know nothing about healthcare. They should have had it written by healthcare professionals appointed by a bi-partisan panel, and both parties should have worked together. But most of all, they should have been honest with us about its effects. Those lies have made me lose faith in this law, and now the over-exaggerated numbers of uninsured just make the bill's supporters look like desperate liars and propagandists. (I'm sorry, but it's true.)

I support parts of the law's intended goals: people with pre-existing conditions need to be covered more than anyone, and the fact that they've been excluded is not only a crime, it's also a sin. (Having a serious illness is hard enough without all the added stress of not being able to afford medical care.) But there are problems with the way this bill was put together, and it's not a very good solution, as well as being incredibly divisive. I really think they need to go back to the old drawing board, and work together to find a solution. And exaggerating the number of uninsured people does nothing to fix this bill's problems, or to convince its critics: it simply adds more dishonesty and corruption to the mix, and that's both reprehensible and counter-productive. Doesn't the truth matter to anyone anymore? I guess not to those with an agenda. And remember: whenever anyone uses deceit to try to get you to support something, it's always because you wouldn't support it if they told you the truth.

BTW: Here is some further recommended reading on the subject which comes from CNN:

Frizz Ease Secret Weapon

Oh my God: They're weaponizing hair-care products! (But don't tell: it's a secret!)

So, apparently people with frizzy hair hate people without frizzy hair so much that there are now products they can use to attack their follicular foes? Isn't this what this product is: the so-called "Secret Weapon"? I'll bet it's some type of plastic explosives made to look like hair gel, isn't it? Or is it instead some sort of grenade that's shaped like a tube of hair product? Maybe they simply turn the cap 90 degrees and throw it at their hated hair-havers, and: Kaboom! That'll frizz their hair! (After it blows their head off!)

Now of course I'm joking, and this is just some hair-care product with a violently militaristic-sounding name. But I wonder what it's like for someone who tries to bring this stuff on the plane with them? Would TSA look at the name: "Secret Weapon" and detain them for terrorism? After all, they're trying to bring a secret weapon on the plane (!). I mean, I know you could argue that nobody would actually write "secret weapon" on a secret weapon, but perhaps by doing that, it would use reverse-psychology to make security pay no attention to it. (So that's their dastardly plan! I knew it!)

Well, I say we can take no chances with this type of hawkish hair-care product! Better safe than sorry, that's what I say! Oh, but then again, I suppose that at higher altitudes, people's hair might just frizz up to such an extent that the captain wouldn't be able to see out the windshield, and that frizzy hair would get all tangled up in the wiring of the plane, and they'd lose control of the aircraft. (Hey: it could happen!) So I guess they'd better let them bring it on, just in case. But then what if it is a weapon after all? Oh my God, those follicular fascists! Those style stormtroopers! They really are trying to kill us all! (I knew it!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anorexic Mittens

We hear a lot of outcry against body image stuff like models and dolls that are too thin, and what effect this has on young girls. But what about what it does to cats? I just saw the Disney animated movie Bolt, and one of the main characters, a cat named Mittens, looks dangerously thin! What message does this send to our nation's cats? Some people might say that since it's an animated film, the cat is just drawn like that, and no animals were starved or brainwashed to get such a look; and that's a fine retort for humans, but what about for cats? Cats don't know that stuff! They just know they feel fat after seeing Bolt. So cats all over the country will be binging and purging, and we're all just going to think it's hairballs! They don't know it's just a movie! So they will starve themselves to try to attain this dangerously unrealistic body image, and they'll get sick! But they won't want to eat for fear of gaining weight! And all because of this movie! (And I notice it's only the female character that's unrealistically skinny! And it's also only the cat! So it's sexist and, um, catist {?}.) And with those new Bratz Catz dolls coming out, won't this doubly effect them?

Here's a picture of Mittens from Bolt (Now tell me that cat isn't emaciated!):

Bratz Catz Ad

One of the joys of babysitting for my sister's daughter is that I get to see lots of advertising aimed at kids. I guess I could watch kids' channels by myself, but for some reason I never seem to want to. But wow, there's a whole new batch of toys for kids now I've never seen before. One was for some little cutesy plastic dolls (Squinkies) that live in what looks like a teapot or a coffeepot; I wonder what happens when someone wants to make coffee or tea and pours boiling water in their home (!). (I suppose that's natural selection in action.) And speaking of evolution, there is a new doll collection from Bratz where I suppose some secret genetic laboratory is splicing bratty, hyper-sexualized tween girls with cats for some reason. (Maybe it's a new bio-weapon?)

So these new dolls are like the regular Bratz dolls, which are basically like Barbie Dolls for Kim Kardashian fans or something, only now they also have like furry tails and stuff, and I guess they cough up hairballs from time to time. These must have been genetically engineered by scientists who were tired of having to wait all day to use the bathroom (because their daughters were always in there forever), so they spliced the DNA of a normal, superficial, hyper-entitled American tween girl with a cat, so the new girls would just use a litterbox and lick themselves clean like a cat, thus finally allowing their parents to use the bathroom again. (Yea, science! Now if they can only find a way to give them telepathy so parents can save money on cell-phone and texting bills.)

But the ad says they're Bratz by day and cats by night. Um, what does that mean, exactly? During the day they're insufferable snobs and brats, but at night they're foraging through trash cans and chasing rats through alleys and stuff? Are they killing birds and mice and leaving them on their welcome mats for their mothers to find? And do they all wrestle around and scratch each other all night like cats do? I'm just curious, because my sister has three cats, and they just seem to sleep all day, and then fight and hunt for things at night. Maybe it's more glamorous if you're a cat or something, but it doesn't seem to fit the fashionista image all that well. But I guess at least they didn't cross-breed them with dogs: yet. (Although, with dog shows and people dressing their little dogs up in silly clothes and stuff, perhaps it would be more appropriate to splice the Bratz DNA with show toy dogs.)

Here's this silly ad, over-produced and nauseatingly super-slick (like a vapid music video):

SunSetter Awning Jealous Neighbor Ad

I saw an ad for SunSetter amnings again last night (they're only on late at night on cable stations, I think). They've been running the same two ads for years now, and this one I saw last night made me think of the other ad. In this other spot, some lady is staring angrily through her blinds out at her neighbors, and she's mad at them for enjoying their patio. Apparently, she only likes to see other people miserable. But unfortunately, her husband misunderstands her and just gets the awning brochure. No wonder so many marriages end in divorce: people don't understand each other! But she doesn't really want an awning, she just wants to ruin her neighbors' enjoyment of their awning!

This woman's husband could save a lot of money (and his marriage, too) if he were more alert to his wife's needs. She doesn't need to be happy herself: she simply needs to prevent others around her from being happy. (There are actually people who are really like this, unfortunately!) And these ads for the SunSetter awnings make it absolutely clear why the awnings make life so enjoyable: they keep the sun off of your patio so it stays cool in clear weather, and it keeps your patio dry in rainy weather. So right there is the exact instruction manual for how this woman's husband can ruin their neighbors' patio experience, and finally make his wife happy and contented.

So what he needs to do is this: simply set up a sprinkler in their yard which sprays water horizontally into their neighbors' patio for rainy days (so they'll get wet from another direction), and set up a mirror on their home so that the sun will reflect off of the mirror and directly onto their neighbors' patio (so they'll get cooked in the sweltering sun despite having shade from the awning). If he does these things, his neighbors will no longer be able to enjoy their patio, and his wife will finally be happy. And if they bring the mirror and the sprinkler into the garage every night, their neighbors can never steal or break them, and they'll always be able to ruin their neighbors' patio fun. (Maybe some business that depends on people staying indoors, like video games, or a business that requires people to want to leave their homes, like a restaurant, could make ads showing how to ruin peoples' patio fun.)

Here's the jealous neighbor ad for the awning:

Monday, March 26, 2012

American Lung Association Red Carriage Ad

The American Lung Association is trying to guilt trip and browbeat us all with blatant emotional manipulation in this almost shameless commercial. I think they want us all to nag Congress not to weaken the Clean Air Act, or something. But from what I can tell, Congress doesn’t bequeath a vermin’s hindquarters what the American people think or say, so why heap the guilt trip onto TV viewers? (I’m not trying to repeal the Clean Air Act! Why blame me?) And with such a shameless display of social propaganda to boot, it feels almost exploitative. But that’s not even the problem I have with this ad, either. Because while this commercial is trying so hard to emotionally manipulate us all, they’re using imagery that suggests many other things, and it’s kind of a problem. What am I talking about? Let’s take a look:

This spot shows a red baby carriage, but there’s no baby to be seen anywhere. In fact, from the way they present this scenario, it looks rather like they’re trying to trick us into thinking there’s a sick, struggling baby, when in fact it’s just a Dictaphone with baby noises playing on it, sitting in the carriage. And this carriage looks like a red version of the one from that famous movie poster for Rosemary’s Baby, but it looks even more evil because it’s red, rather than black. So this makes me think there’s that cannibalistic monster baby from It’s Alive! in this baby carriage (!). And these struggling baby sound effects are just intended to lure us over to the baby carriage, where the monstrous infant will devour us! And that’s why the baby carriage is red: to hide all the blood! (Aaaaa! Help!) And when I see this horror movie baby carriage, and it’s placed in Washington, D.C., it makes it seem like Washington, D.C. is more evil even than the hellscape from the Rosemary’s Baby poster. (It certainly seems just as corrupt sometimes.) And that reminds me of the movie The Omen, where Satan’s brat is trying to take over the government. Is this what the American Lung Association wanted me to be thinking about? I wouldn’t have thought so, but…

So, rather than making me feel like I must come to the aid of helpless children with respiratory ailments, this ad looks more to me like the American Lung Association is in league with some Satanic cannibal monster baby to take over our government, like in a combination of It’s Alive!, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen. So, this is how the Antichrist will take over the world, through emotional manipulation and propaganda, huh? I thought so! But I never would have suspected the American Lung Association would be behind this evil plot; after all, they’ve got a cross as their logo! Shouldn’t it at least be an upside-down cross, in that case? (Just to be sporting.)

Here’s the apocryphal, apocalyptic ad:

And here’s the Rosemary’s Baby poster:

The Bastard

When I was in elementary school, there was some made-for-TV mini-series called The Bastard, which was based upon some best-selling historical novel about Colonial America and the Revolutionary War. The promo ads for this show always made me laugh, because they didn’t really show us much of what it was about, except to explain that it’s based on that novel, and then it ended with the eponymous character, in full Colonial-era costume, looking at the camera and saying: “I, am a bastard!” Well, that promo kept bouncing around in my head, especially since back in the 1970s, the word “bastard” was still considered a really naughty word on television, but because it was being used in its literal sense, and because it was actually the title of this novel, they were being allowed to use it (I guess). But this scenario of the guy saying: “I, am a bastard!” suggested such silly possibilities to me, I never forgot it.

So I used to joke about this promo ad with the following take-off: This guy, the titular bastard of the mini-series, says to some others in a room with him (rather than at the camera), just like in the actual promo: “I, am a bastard!” But this time, he gets responses from other characters. So he says: “I, am a bastard!” And some other guy says: “Yeah, tell me about it, you son of a bitch!” And that bastard guy says: “No, I mean, I am a bastard!” And someone else says: “I know you are, you asshole!” And the bastard says (becoming frustrated): “No! I mean, I am, a bastard!” And someone else says: “Yeah, you are, you piece of sh*t!” And the bastard says (more and more frustrated): “No! I mean, I am…” And then the announcer says: “The Bastard: Monday night at 9 on NBC!”

Here’s the IMDB page about the TV mini-series (I never got to see this, but what a great cast! William Shatner is Paul Revere!):

And here’s the Wikipedia page for the novel The Bastard:

And here’s a promo for this TV mini-series I never saw (I can’t find the one I’m making fun of: sorry.):

Shark Stuff

We’ve all been hearing lots and lots about how shark fin soup is a danger to humanity because it’s so mean to sharks, and sharks will become extinct, etc., right? So that’s why there are new laws prohibiting shark fin soup, even though it’s the only way for us to get revenge for all those victims in the Jaws movies and rip-offs. But then just recently, some fish guy biologist said that due to global warming, now sharks are gettin’ it on (that is to say, reproducing) at an alarming rate. So, um, which is it? We’re all going to die because they’re aren’t enough sharks left, or we’re all going to die because there are too many sharks? I’m used to the threat of extinction from global warming alarmists and conservationists, but can’t they please make up their minds?

Look, we can’t all die horribly from no more sharks and all get gobbled up by sharks at the same time! So what’s the real threat, here? It seems to me that if warmer ocean temperatures are making sharks reproduce too much, then shark fin soup would be a great way to deal with the overpopulation issue. I know it’s all mean and everything, but since when are sharks so nice? They’re always murdering everyone in movies, and that’s after they said they would just swim across in the background (!). So they’re liars, too! So we need to make up our minds here: either there are too many sharks so we’re all going to die, or there aren’t enough sharks so we’re all going to die. Which is it, please?

Seriously, if sharks are going to start coming through our faucets and biting our heads off, I think we should know. And if they’re going to overpopulate to where they will swim up from our toilets and bite our bums off, we should know that too. And there’s a solution to that: it’s called “shark fin soup”! Also, if we’ll all die because there are no sharks, I guess we should know that too. But it seems to me that if there are no more sharks to eat all the fish, that’s more fish for me. I’ve heard the argument that they “thin the herd”, etc., and as such remove the bad apple fish, but all these fish taste the same to me after the wasabi and ginger and soy sauce anyway, even to the point that I can’t taste the bad apples, so why should I care about that? I just have a hard time believing that not enough sharks will kill us all, especially after seeing Jaws. I know it might put a dent in Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but they can always make CGI sharks, right? If it’s good enough for the movies, then it’s good enough for TV! (That’s what I always say!)

Plus, less sharks means more food for dolphins and killer whales, so if you love sharks, then you must hate whales and dolphins, you monster. Save the whales, man! You’ll never get laid with hippie chicks by saying save the sharks. (Until now, I guess.) If only we could make the case that the sharks are the hunters of the sea, and by that measure, they are just like Republicans, then maybe the environmentalists would let us kill them all off. But as it is, I believe they think all that red blood sharks release into the water represents Communism. And that’s why they must be protected! (What ever happened to “Better Dead Than Red!”? And with sharks attacking you, you’d be dead AND red! And that’s the worst of both worlds!)

Here are some stories to peruse, before we’re all eaten by sharks, or else all die because there aren’t any more sharks:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hinode Marathon-Running Rice Ad

Hinode shows its rice running through the finish line of a marathon in this commercial demonstrating the healthiness of their rice. But if their rice is this physically fit, then won’t it be able to jump out of the package and run away? And if each individual grain of rice tries to escape, and has this much stamina, how could we possibly catch it all to eat it? Oh, well; maybe this is what they mean when they say it’s so healthy for us: because we’ll get in really good shape chasing all the rice around our kitchens trying to cook and eat it.

This ad campaign, while actually quite fun, is a bit odd in that the “rice” they show running and such looks a lot more like pistachio nuts than rice. And with it moving around like it is, it makes me think more of bugs than of rice. There’s a certain kind of small brown bugs that used to get into our food cabinets in Massachusetts when I was a little kid, and they looked just like the grains of animated rice from these ads. I don’t know if anyone else notices this, or feels this way, but if so, then this would be extremely detrimental to the message this ad campaign is trying to send. Also, the rice puppets look a lot like peanuts as well (de-shelled, de-skinned peanuts, that is), and since some people are deathly allergic to peanuts, that might work against the message of this ad for some people on a subliminal level. So while I think the ads are really fun and cute, I believe they would work a whole lot better if the rice puppets looked more like actual grains of rice than they do.

Here’s the race-running rice representation:

Dow Silent Train Ad

Dow claims to have developed technology that makes inner city trains less noisy in this ridiculously silly ad. But it looks like this silencing technology is pretty simple, and hardly something to brag about, if you ask me. That’s because this commercial shows people riding on the outside of the train (!). So this is their new train-quieting technological breakthrough? Um, I think we all know that if you completely cover the exterior of a train with people, it will dampen the sound (as long as they’re not all screaming with terror! They’re not in this ad, but that’s because they’re all actors being told not to scream or they won’t get paid. But in real life, this scenario might not be as quiet as demonstrated here.). And maybe they’re putting people all over the train tracks too, so when the train runs over them, it will just be the muffled screams and squishy sound effects we’ll hear, rather than the heavy, loud banging of the train’s wheels actually pounding the rails.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be willing to put up with the noisier trains if it meant I got to ride on the inside of the train (!!). It may be quieter for the train to be covered with people all over it, but isn’t it less safe, not only for the passengers, but also for the driver and everyone else in the path of the train? If the driver can’t see through all the people covering the train’s windshield, then how are they supposed to not drive into stuff all the time? And if this isn’t the kind of thing Dow wants me to think of, then why are they showing such a scenario? It just seems like a bad idea to me.

But hey, I think I might understand why they’re doing this. Perhaps people who live next to the train tracks are so angry and impatient with the infuriating banging of the trains, they want someone to have to pay with their life over the noise. And if that’s the case, then they will see this ad and figure that finally someone will pay the ultimate price for their annoyance at the noisy trains. Could that be it? Because if that’s not what they’re trying to communicate, then I’d say this commercial is a resounding failure. Because I’m not thinking about noise, but rather, the safety of the people riding on the outside of the train (!). And then I think about how if Dow is doing this with train commuters, they must be endangering the lives of countless others in all kinds of other ways I don’t know about. And that makes me think of Dow as being ridiculously reckless and depraved. So this entire scenario makes me think about all kinds of negative things relating to Dow, and completely distracts me from the message they’re paying so much money to communicate with this commercial. And we really shouldn’t be distracted from the message they’re trying to send by other elements in the spot.

Oh, and another thing about this commercial that’s a resounding dud in my opinion: When this train passes people and buildings and such, all the people hanging on for dear life on the exterior of the train make shushing sounds with their fingers over their mouths. This is, I guess, to indicate that the train is quiet. But it looks instead like they’re asking people not to scream at their plight, or not to call the cops to stop the train and arrest them for the reckless endangerment they’re all engaged in. Because if someone called 911 about this, they’d all get hauled off to jail, and nobody would even get where they were going. So they would have risked their lives for nothing! (Plus, this is what trains in third-world countries look like, with passengers hanging on all over them and riding on the roof, and they wreck quite often with many lives lost: Is this type of economic and technological leap backwards that Dow wants us to imagine they’re involved in? Because that's what this looks like.)

(Question to me: Okay then, wise guy, how would you have done it?) There are two possibilities that immediately come to mind for how this ad could have worked a lot better to communicate the quieter train issue, or at least I think so. The first is that rather than covering the train with passengers, they could have covered the train with something like a quilted tea cozy, but with little holes for the windows for the passengers (and especially for the conductor) to see out of. Each train car would have its own tea cozy covering it, muffling the sound a lot, and they could show the train passing by close to people who don’t even turn to notice it.

The second possibility for me is even simpler: have a big volume knob (like from a stereo system) on the outside of the train’s first car. The ad would show the train pass by a station very noisily, causing all the waiting commuters to cover their ears with their hands. Then the picture would cut to a shot moving with the train as it speeds down the rail line: We’d see the volume knob on the first car of the train, and the announcer would tell us that Dow has developed new technology to help quiet noisy trains; then we would see the volume knob turned down from all the way up to all the way down. Then the train speeds through another station, and all the passengers waiting on the platform hold their hands up to their ears in anticipation of the noise, but when the train passes by, they are pleasantly surprised that it makes almost no noise, and they all smile and lower their hands from their ears. Then, at the end, there is a tag line that says: “Turning train noise down”, and the letters “DOW” in the word “down” are written as the Dow logo.

Either of those scenarios would have communicated the message of silencing train noise effectively and efficiently, and without making everything look ridiculously dangerous and illegal, and distracting from the message. Oh, and they could have shot either of my scenarios for less money than the one that’s on TV now, I’ll bet, because they wouldn’t have had to hire so many actors to cover the train, and it would have been a lot easier to computer animate, composite, and render out the spots too.

Here’s the sound-silencing spot:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Miranda Warning (Starring Miranda Cosgrove)

In this made-for-TV movie: The Miranda Warning, Miranda Cosgrove stars as Miranda, a psychic girl who can see impending deadly disasters, and she runs around trying to warn people about what’s going to happen; but because she’s Miranda Cosgrove, nobody pays any attention to her warnings, and they instead just ask for her autograph, and say stuff like: “Oh my God; aren’t you that girl from iCarly? My daughter loves that show! Wait ‘till I tell her I actually met you!” (etc.) And then they walk or drive off straight into their impending disaster that costs them their life. (Or else it turns out that because Miranda Cosgrove is a celebrity, people get distracted when they see her, and that's how the deadly accidents occur; so by people rubbernecking or doing a double-take from seeing her out and about in public, she ends up actually causing all the accidents simply by trying to prevent them!) Oh, the irony! It would be a perfect social commentary about how being such a celebrity-obsessed culture makes us ignore the important, substantive things in life. Plus, it shows how being selfish autograph-hounds will kill us all horribly in the end, or something. Oh, and it also demonstrates how we naturally assume actors never have anything interesting or genuine to say when they’re not playing a role written by someone else, or else that we all expect actors always to be acting in something, so we all assume it’s part of some movie or TV show whenever they say anything (and because as a made-for-TV movie, this is both a movie and a TV show, they’re right!). [<P.S.: This is just a joke. It's not a real movie.]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Etchy Sketchy Heart

In my last post, I offered a suggestion to help Mittens (Mitt Romney, that is) out of his etchy, sketchy Etch A Sketch problem. So, now, in the interest of fairness, I thought I would suggest something for the Obama campaign to use this issue to their advantage.

So here’s what I would do for the Obama campaign: Remember back a couple of decades ago, when Hannah Montana’s Dad (that’s Billy Ray Cyrus, for older people) had a song called “Achy Breaky Heart”? (I don’t know the song, but I remember the phenomenon and hearing about the line dancing craze, etc., from back then. Apparently it was a huge hit.) So what I would suggest is this: Record a cover version of “Achy Breaky Heart”, and sing instead: “Etchy Sketchy Heart”. Then they could say Mitt Romney has an “etchy sketchy heart”, because he doesn’t really believe in anything, and he can change his positions simply by shaking and resetting his etchy sketchy heart. Then, to illustrate this, they could superimpose Mitt Romney’s head on top of some famous Elvis Presley footage from the 1950s where he’s doing that shaky dancing he does. And they could show Mitt Romney saying he has one position, then show the Elvis dance with Mitt Romney’s head on it, and then show footage of Mitt Romney taking the exact opposite position on the same issue. And to drive it all home, show all of this footage framed inside of the red frame of an Etch A Sketch toy.

See what I mean? They could really go to town with this idea, if Mitt Romney ends up being the Republican nominee! And the beauty of this scenario is that there is so much footage of Mitt Romney taking the exact opposite sides on so many positions, they’d almost never run out of options! And by framing everything in a red Etch A Sketch frame, and using the Elvis dance with Mitt Romney’s head on it to illustrate how he “shakes out” his Etch A Sketch heart, it would be very memorable, and it could be a whole ad campaign! And of course I say “Etchy Sketchy Heart” because people generally refer to beliefs and feelings and values as being “from the heart”, rather than from the head. But I’ll bet it would be a very popular ad campaign if they did it, and I’ll bet it would really stick out in people’s memories.

Here’s the Wikipedia page for “Achy Breaky Heart”:

Romney Etch A Sketch Turnaround

A couple of days ago, in a news interview, a Romney campaign aide said that after the primary, Romney would “hit a reset button” for the general election, and wipe away the primary issues like an Etch A Sketch. Well, both sides of the aisle have jumped all over this metaphor to bash Mitt Romney as someone who will say anything to get elected, and once in office, all these positions and promises would be wiped clean away. Wow, what a bummer, huh? How can the Romney campaign fight back against this charge, and this symbol?

Well, if I were running his campaign, I would note that since this gaffe occurred, sales of the Etch A Sketch toy have spiked through the roof (with an over 3,000% increase in sales on alone). And then I would say: “See? Even Mitt Romney’s campaign gaffes are helping the economy! So just wait until he’s president! Then he’ll fix the economy for everyone, for real!”

Now, I’m not a Mitt Romney supporter, particularly, but this is how I would have handled this issue from a PR standpoint. I wonder if Romney’s campaign people will be quick enough to say it, though. I guess we’ll see!

Here’s the sketchy story:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Attack the Block!

I was bored recently, so I checked through my copious selection of movie channels to see if there was anything decent on (there almost never is). So I saw something listed called Attack the Block, and it said it was a monster movie, and it got a very high rating from the guide. Um, a monster movie with a high rating? That almost never happens. So I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m glad I did!

Attack the Block is great! It’s one of the best monster movies I’ve seen in years. I have a quibble here and there with it, but it’s really just about the fake alien monster someone wears on their back towards the end of the movie. But this movie works on so many levels, it’s almost amazing! It’s a great social commentary movie. It’s a great crime drama. It’s a great coming-of-age story. It’s a great monster movie. It’s a great alien invasion movie. It’s a great siege movie. In fact, it’s so good, I’m surprised to find it wasn’t a theatrical hit (!). The story is fun, the characters are great, the effects are almost all completely realistic and believable. Oh, and it’s acted so well, you almost feel like you’re there yourself with the characters in this situation, even if you’re watching it on a small TV set (!). I haven’t felt like that for a while!

I don’t want to give away too much here, but the monsters are wonderfully realized, even if they’re not exactly genius-level extraterrestrials. This is the best movie monster for a while! They’re these furry beasts that are like a combination gorilla-bear-werewolf, they act like werewolves, and their fur is so dark black, there’s nothing but a silhouette of them even in the light. (Fans of Robot Monster will get a taste of how it could have been done right!) It’s wonderfully scary and ferocious to do it like that. And their sharp teeth glow in the dark (!). I was expecting to think it was lame, but I was very pleasantly surprised!

I hope all these actors go on to great things after this: they deserve it! Oh, and one of the most effective things about this movie is that it depicts the alien monsters and the police as being just as scary (and all in black)! Most of the characters are from a street gang, and they’re all afraid of the cops. So they’d rather fight the alien menace alone, rather than call the police for backup, because they know the police would just blame and arrest them for everything, especially since they’re in a local gang that engages in criminal activity. (Talk about realistic social commentary!)

But I really hope this movie becomes an underground hit! Everyone involved deserves a lot of credit, and the whole thing is loads of fun! And on that budget, it becomes clear that you don’t need big studio backing to make a great horror movie. So why can’t it be done very often?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Viagra Boiling Over Muscle Car Ad

Okay, this is just a little bit irresponsible to show an ad like this on television. Um, that’s because there’s a guy driving a muscle car down a desert highway, and his car starts boiling over, so he pulls into a service station and gets a nice cold bottle of water and pours it into his radiator. You might not really want to do that in real life. If you did what this commercial shows happening, not being able to get a boner would be the least of your problems! And then they say: “This is the age of knowing how to get things done.” (!!) I mean, really!

Okay, so here’s the problem(s), for those of you not already ahead of me here: If you pull your overheated car that’s actively boiling over into a service station, pop the hood, and remove the radiator cap, you’d get a radiator-full of boiling liquid spraying all over you, and you’d probably spend the next month in a hospital burn unit; and you’d be so unsightly afterwards, you might not ever have sex again anyway. But let’s say you could take off the radiator cap while your car is boiling over and not get third-degree burns all over your hands, face and torso (I guess you could wait for a while, which this guy doesn’t seem to do): even if you could do that, or you waited for the engine to cool off enough to be able to remove the radiator cap without spraying yourself with scalding antifreeze, you would most certainly not want to pour refrigerated cold water into a hot radiator! That would most likely warp and crack your radiator and hoses, and then you’d have to hire a tow truck or walk back through the desert. (Duh!)

Now, I see this spot on TV, but I can’t find it online. Maybe that’s because every gearhead would be linking to it and ridiculing its content ad infinitum, but I’m sorry I can’t show everyone exactly what I’m talking about here. But it’s running on TV, so hopefully you already know what I mean. But seriously, this ad should have a disclaimer that says: “Warning: Do not try this yourself! This is not really how to get this done!” And that should definitely have more importance even than the disclaimers about Viagra! And I’m not sure I even need to say this, but if their ads are recommending such dangerous courses of action as this scenario indicates, can they really be trusted about the medical stuff? Because the overheated car is pretty simple compared with the medical stuff, or at least I think so.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

John Carter: A $200 Million Loss?

Oops! Apparently Disney has missed the mark somewhat with their John Carter movie. I think I know the problem: first, it’s called “John Carter”, and second, it’s based upon a series of novels from a century ago (!). So you’ve got two different reasons not to care already: boring character name; never heard of it. It’s a shame, but I believe this could have been avoided. How? A marketing strategy, of course!

Okay, I think I know what they were thinking here: “Hey, man: Star Wars was unknown when it was new too, so this will catch on! Just wait until they see it!” The difference is, Star Wars used never-before-seen special effects, and John Carter uses the same CGI motion capture stuff everyone has been doing for years at this point. Plus, Star Wars really had this whole Joseph Campbell mythological archetype stuff going on in a way we hadn’t really seen done before on an epic scale like that. But without that novelty of special effects wizardry, maybe most people wouldn’t have cared. But we’ve been seeing alien worlds and motion capture a lot by this point. Plus, the whole idea just seemed like old hat and ridiculously unrealistic, and with a really generic moniker to boot. But I still think it might have worked if…

If you’re a company like Disney, you have all sorts of avenues open to you to build brand identity. You could do a comic book series. You could have an animated TV series. You could release illustrated novellas. And then you could build up interest in John Carter like that (or else figure out nobody’s interested before you spent $350 Million!). See what I mean? If you got the kids interested through TV programming, you could do that whole Pokemon strategy (if people liked it). And if it didn’t catch on, then maybe you could just pack it in and forget the whole thing. But you see what I mean, right? Kids drag parents to movies, and then if it’s good, then everyone tells their friends. But if the kids don’t care about the movie, then they never drag anyone to go see it. See?

Now with something like Flash Gordon, most people know what that is. But John Carter? You really have to build your brand identity first before you can make a hit out of such an unfamiliar subject, and spending so much money on it is really questionable. Maybe this was Edgar Rice Borroughs’s revenge on movie studios of the future: nobody wanted anything of his but Tarzan, so he used such a boringly generic name for the main character to prove he could succeed, but that anyone who tried to adapt it would fail. And finally: revenge for people only liking Tarzan!

Disney also lost a pile of money on another motion-capture Mars-themed movie just last May: Mars Needs Moms. That’s two big losses in one year. But if there’s one company that can weather the storm without too much worry, it’s Disney. I’m not worried about them. (They’re one of the most intelligent and successful companies on Earth! And no, they didn’t offer me a job just now to get me to say that!) I just hope they learned their lesson. (That lesson being: don’t spend a king’s ransom on something you’re not sure of! And if you do, invest it where you’re sure it will pay off: at Pixar!)

Here’s the story on John Carter:

And here’s the story on Mars Needs Moms:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maggot Wrangler

No, not a new co-branding of jeans, but the job title. Yes, here in Hollywood, if there’s a living organism you need to use in a movie, there’s an accompanying person who makes sure it does its job: a (whatever kind of creature) wrangler. And that means that, yes, if you need writhing maggots in your horror movie, you’re going to need a maggot wrangler. (Unless you’re a non-union production, I guess. Then you can go catch your own, I suppose. So long as you don’t mind being infested with flies forever after, that is.)

I guess my favorite part of this whole idea is the job title of “Maggot Wrangler”. But I guess it’s also fun to know that for people making ghost movies and slasher fare and such, there’s someone out there somewhere in Hollywood who makes it their business to have the most squishy, squirmy, creepy, stomach-churning maggots available at your beck and call, 24-hours a day, whenever you may need them for some disgusting effects shot. And they can’t wait to get that call so they can come deliver the highest-quality maggot infestation imaginable for your gross-out horror show! They take great pride in that job of “Maggot Wrangler”: it’s what they do! And somehow, that makes anyone and everyone else’s job seem positively glamorous by comparison.

And while I’m making fun of the job title: “Maggot Wrangler”, I’ve seen the CGI attempts, and the rice being moved around Jell-O by some control mechanism, and it’s got nothing on the real thing! Yes, if you want to disgust your audience, and make them look twice into that tub of popcorn to be sure it’s not squirming, you need real, vomit-inducing maggots! And to get them, you’re going to need a maggot wrangler. I kid you not! That’s just the way it is in Tinseltown!

Now, I joke a lot on here, and I’m sarcastic much of the time. I hope you can generally tell when I’m joking or being silly or snide, but here I’m being totally serious. At this very moment, there are a number of people in the greater Los Angeles area who make it their business to have buckets of the most choice squirmy maggots for anyone who might need them. Do you want a delicious banquet to become a rotten squirm-fest due to a haunting? Would you like to show the handiwork of a serial killer found just a couple of weeks late? Are you hoping to have your zombies disgust as well as shock and scare by dripping maggots out of their eye sockets? Well, there’s only one person to call: the maggot wrangler. Maybe they also raise other gross stuff for other occasions, like rats and snakes and cockroaches, etc.; but if you want some maggots in your union movie, you’re going to need a maggot wrangler. And who knows, maybe they even sell jeans for maggots called “Maggot Wranglers” (for when they have to look sexy, I guess).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

…And I’m a Mormon (Ads)

In watching some stuff on YouTube recently, I ran across some of those Mormon propaganda ads I had heard of on the news and seen on TV before. I know about this campaign to try to trick us into thinking they’re normal people, but they never seem quite right to me. And you know what I mean, don’t you? They’re always nice and honest and clean-cut and stuff: like some weirdo. It’s positively indecent to be so proper! They can ride bikes and skateboard all they want to, but they still seem like some cult to me when they’re all so ingratiating all the time! It’s like the neighbors always say about horrible serial killers: “Oh, but he seemed like such a nice boy!” We’re onto you nice people! We know something’s up behind your kind smiles and accepting eyes!

Look, Mormons, if you really want people to think you’re normal Americans, and not just a bunch of brainwashed cult members, you’ve got to act normal in your ads. Seriously: show some tween boys slashing tires and ripping side-view mirrors off parked cars, and then they could turn to the camera and say: “…And I’m a Mormon!” And show some vicious killer burying bodies in his back yard, pat the dirt down on the freshly-dug graves, and turn to the camera and say: “…And I’m a Mormon!” And then show some guy at some shyster investment house swindle some trusting couple out of their life savings, and then he could turn to the camera and say: “…And I’m a Mormon!” Then we’ll believe you’re normal Americans! You see, it’s not creepy that you’re Mormons; it’s creepy that you’re not just a bunch of greedy lecherous thugs like the rest of us, you weirdos!

Okay, so that last part is a joke: all Americans aren’t personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins; but if you watch as much news as I do, it certainly seems so sometimes, as that’s all we ever hear about: greedy, lying politicians getting away with all kinds of malfeasance because they hold the reins of power, stock traders stealing people’s life savings and getting away with it because they donate to the right politicians, serial killers having hit movies made about them, rapists becoming tabloid headliners, famous people being caught in torrid affairs, etc. It’s all that makes the news, which makes it seem like they’re the ones we value most, doesn’t it? And so many movies and books are about people like that, it just drives it all home, right? These are our archetypal celebrities!

But Americans being normal or avaricious monsters notwithstanding, if you have to make a series of commercials to try to convince people in America that you’re normal, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot right there. First of all, you don’t generally need to advertise the truth (unless you’re selling something nobody’s ever heard of), so it must be a lie. Second of all, most commercials try to trick us in some way, so we’re already suspicious of anyone that makes one. And if it’s something that’s trying to say: “We’re normal!”, it’s already clear that you’re not. If you were normal, you wouldn’t be making an ad saying you are: normal people don’t do that: they just are normal. So by virtue of making an ad campaign claiming to be normal, everyday Americans, Mormons are sending the message that they’re such weirdos, they have to run ads to try to trick us into thinking they’re normal. But the ones (Mormons, that is) I have known seem normal enough, so maybe they should stop with the ads and just be normal people. I mean, I’m glad some ad people are getting hired and all, but if you have to hire an ad agency to prove you’re normal, you’re not normal. So how about just working on being normal instead? These ads are just comedy fodder, so you might want to rethink your approach.

But hey, if Mormons want to be popular, then how about playing it up what a weirdo cult you are? Then you’d get mega-famous, and everyone would love you even if they hated you! And isn’t that the best kind of American acceptance: fame and anti-hero status? So play up the oddness, and you’ll attract way more people. Seriously, people will come check you out just to see if you really are weird, and when you’re not, they’ll all spread the word about how disappointingly normal you really are! It’s a better plan than running ads that say you are normal: that makes it seem fishy! And hey, if you ran ads attacking your religion from some SuperPAC allied with some group most Americans hate, we’ll all come to your defense! (Until we find out you did it. So just don’t get caught!)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pink Slime School Lunch Song

Parents are biting back against plans by the government to put “pink slime” into school lunches. Apparently they have a “beef” with this idea, which they are calling “bullsh*t”! (Sorry about those bovine jokes, I couldn’t help it.) But if the government wants people to accept pink slime into their children’s school lunches when new policies confiscate bag lunches for not being healthy enough, they’re going to need more than an excuse, and more than a reason, too! (Unless they want to look like jerks!)

What the government needs is a song to make people want to eat pink slime! And what better place to go than that great theme song for the movie Green Slime? Just change some of the lyrics, and it will be perfect! How about this?:

Hope you don’t know we’re tryin’ to feed kids,
With something slimy, it ain’t beef, it’s…
You’ll toss your cookies when you find,
What’s in kids’ lunch will blow your mind,
Pink Slime!

What can it be, what is the reason?
This stuff tastes bad even with seasonin’,
It’s something slimy on your plate,
Will you believe me that it’s great?
Pink Slime!
Pink Slime!

Here’s the theme song to the movie Green Slime I’m talking about:

And here’s the whole song:

This has to be one of the all-time great movie theme songs, by the way! Green Slime is great, even if pink slime isn’t!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Angel of Death

I have seen many movies and TV shows where the Angel of Death appears. (A scene in Clash of the Titans of Charon depicted in Angel of Death-like attire reminded me of this.) My favorite representations of it are probably from the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday, and from the silly but gory horror comedy Dellamorte Dellamore (a wonderful title unbelievably butchered into “Cemetery Man” in America). Most people my age will remember the Angel of Death best in the personage of The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come from the musical Scrooge, or from that title of the Slayer song that’s about someone else entirely, but kids these days have cartoons about it. But the Grim Reaper is apparently alive and well in cultures the world over.

I seriously doubt there is such a thing as the Angel of Death, but I certainly hope there is. It would sure make things a lot more entertaining, wouldn’t it? I love the idea that he’s a money-grubbing entity, requiring coins for the journey to the afterlife in some cultures. What does he buy with the money? Are there restaurants and video rental places and grocery stores in the next dimension? How about investment scams? Is being the Grim Reaper just another job, like writing traffic tickets or something in the next life? And if so, then how come they accept mortal money? These are but a few of the questions I’ve got for this entity, if I ever meet it in the, um, bones & robes?

But the one thing I know for sure, I really hope the Angel of Death, if one exists at all, is really a spooky skeleton in a black cowl & robe. I would be so disappointed if it ended up being the characters from Dead Like Me! How boring can you get? And then, just to rub it in, they’d probably say: “All the answers to your questions could have been found in Season 1 of Dead Like Me: If only you had watched it! But we can’t tell you now: that would be cheating!” And if they said that, we’d soon find out if that quote is true: “And with strange aeons even death may die”, because I’d most certainly throttle it for saying that!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2013 Lexus GS “Resistance – Safety” Ad

This commercial for the Lexus GS shows a bunch of outdated technology being pulled into a black hole of the past, or something. But because the Lexus is a car, it can drive away from the force pulling at it. (Good thing it’s on a surface! In space, it might just get sucked in like everything else!) But I’m a little bit surprised by the set-up of this commercial, because they say it’s for the 2013 Lexus GS, but it’s way back with way older technology, and it has to in fact avoid other older technology in order not to wreck into it on its escape path. Does this car use so much old technology that we don’t know about that it finds itself in this spot in the defunct technology scrapheap, or aren’t these things arranged in chronological, or technological, order? It kinda seems to me like it would be more effective at communicating its message of being so futuristic if it weren’t so far back in this hierarchy that it had to avoid old technology like 1960s satellites, Superman-era phone booths, tape-run computer modules, and such in its escape trajectory. But maybe that’s just me.

But hey, cars are way older than all of those things, right? So maybe for all its new technology, being a car still puts it way back in the technological evolution rankings, and as such, they’re just being honest about it. But it does make it seem like it must have drum brakes and a carburetor and stuff like that when it’s put behind an old-style phone booth. But you know, it is still running on the same fuel source (gasoline) as cars have been doing for over a century at this point, so when you consider that, it really is kind of a dinosaur, isn’t it? (And it runs on dinosaurs, too!) But I might not have remembered that if it wasn’t shown to be so far behind so many outdated technologies in this scenario. Oh, well: at least it handles well enough not to hit any of them. (But if you do hit one, remember: “it isn’t real performance unless it’s wielded with precision”, which means it’s your fault for not wielding it with enough precision.)

Here’s the safely speeding spot:

Lexus IS Playground Ad

This spot shows a Lexus being driven in reverse through a multi-level public garage. It’s cute, but it makes a bit of a mistake, in my opinion. What’s that? Well, it’s their slogan: “It isn’t real performance unless it’s wielded with precision.” That gives the game away, I’m afraid. You see, it’s the stunt driver who is making this car do such wonderful things, it’s not that the car is so great. And a great stunt driver can do the same thing with any car! Remember that James Bond movie where Roger Moore drove a Citro├źn 2cv and made fools out of a bunch of Peugeots? Well, I used to drive the same kind of car (a 2cv), and it can do amazing things too, if you know what you’re doing. It’s not nearly as good as the Lexus, I’m sure, but like their slogan implies, it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if the car is better if you aren’t a good driver. And that’s the problem with this slogan: it does nothing to sell the car, but rather, it basically says that if you’re not a great driver, then this car’s abilities are wasted on you. So then buy something else, and preferably from a car company that won’t belittle you like this slogan does.

Here’s the condescending car commercial (Actually, that’s not really fair: it’s the slogan that’s condescending, not this commercial. This ad is pretty good, and there’s an even better one that’s more recent that uses this same idea of driving in reverse through a public garage as an obstacle course.):

And here’s the ad I just said was even better at using the same idea (And they don’t repeat that same slogan either, which makes it better, in my opinion. Because with that slogan about it not being real performance unless it’s wielded with precision, it makes you think it’s the driver that’s responsible for the amazing handling; but without that slogan, it makes it seem like it’s the car. See what I mean? And they’re trying to sell a car, not a driver.):

Encyclopedia Quitannica

Quitters! The Encyclopedia Britannica announced it will stop printing book versions of their encyclopedia, preferring instead to shift to an Internet-only version. But is this really fair? How will little kids reach the table without an Encyclopedia Britannica to sit on, now that there are no more phone books? Plus, doesn’t everyone use Wikipedia online instead anyway? And what will we do when some sawfish accidentally cuts through a main Internet cable, or some piece of space junk smashes out our satellite network? Will we have to read old versions and research newspapers manually at the library like they used to do in the Paleolithic era? Will we even remember how to do it anymore? Plus, won’t this mean that no more annoying door-to-door salesmen will bother us during dinner anymore to buy the encyclopedia sets? Why, we’ll have to talk to our families again! (Oh, the humanity!) Or I guess we could just play Angry Birds or something on our otherwise-useless smartphones, even if we lost our Internet connections.

Here’s the story from the Huff & Puff Post:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Red Meat Research Red Light

I just ran across another stupid hippie “study” that lyingly claims that eating even a little teensy bit of red meat will kill you immediately, and if you want to live, you have to eat only bean sprouts and algae. (I’m paraphrasing.) But I seem to remember (actually, I do remember it, because I eat red meat! They want you to stop eating red meat and bacon because it will ruin your memory to stop, and then they can trick you into doing anything they want!) that just a few years ago, the oldest living New Yorker credited a diet of bacon and Thunderbird wine for their longevity (!). It’s true, by the way! (Maybe.) And this (semi-) truth sticks in the craw of this study, which doesn’t prove a damn thing! I heard pigs and cows are behind this study anyway! The cows weren’t convincing enough people with their “Eat Mor Chikn” ad campaign, especially with those silly misspellings, so they threw their lot in with hippie vegetarians to create some bullcrap “study” to trick us into not eating meat anymore. But nobody has thought about how eating only vegetables will lead to the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (Okay, tomatoes are technically fruit, but you know what I mean! They know they’ll end up in salads anyway, so they’ll strike back with a vengeance, even though they’re not technically vegetables! And all the other fruit will join them!)

Yes, follow this path to vegetable-matter murder, and it will be The Day of the Triffids all over again! (Do you remember what happened to Janette Scott? Well, you’re next if you fall for this!!!) Mark my words! Those plants will get revenge, and the pigs and cows won’t lift a cloven hoof to save you! (That’s because the devil also has a cloven hoof! Did you ever think of that?) After all, this is their revenge against us for eating all their relatives! Do you really think cows and pigs will differentiate between vegans and carnivores? Wake up, America! We won’t truly be safe until we’ve eaten all the animals and plants! They’re out to get us! Let’s get them before they get us! (And besides, how else are we going to be allowed to eat Soylent Green? They won’t let us have that delicacy until everything else is gone, so start chowing down on every piece of animal and vegetable matter you can sink your teeth into, or else Soylent Green with remain just a movie! And wouldn’t it be nice to say Hollywood predicted the future correctly about something? Some people want to live in the Star Wars universe, but probably lots of others would prefer the world of Soylent Green, because only there will we get to be cannibals without getting in trouble for it.)

Okay, so I admit my argument is somewhat flawed, but this part is true! The thing about the oldest living New Yorker recommending bacon and cheap wine was 100% true! Here’s the proof (okay, well, maybe it’s not exactly true, but someone said it once, so that’s got to count for something, right?):

And here’s this silly study pigs and cows want to trick you into believing!:

What’s New for Newt?

Well, Newt didn’t win down South like he had hoped, coming in third in Alabama and Mississippi, and so more and more news people are asking if he’ll drop out of the race. But what would he do instead? He can’t campaign for Romney after sniping at him so personally, can he? But I think I know what he might be good for: a life-sized Pillsbury dough boy! He could help sell crescent rolls in commercials!

Oh, but then again, he might not be very good at doing that, even if he looks the part. He’d probably forget who he was working for and accidentally say crescents will indoctrinate our children into Islam with their buttery goodness, and how come we can’t have crucifix rolls instead since America is a center-right country built on Christian values, and why is Pillsbury trying to corrupt our nation’s youth, etc.? And that might not sell them as much as having the regular dough boy propagandize for them. Um, I mean, advertising for them. (Even I forgot I wasn’t talking about politics for a second, so imagine what Newt might do!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Scent is the Sense Most Tied to Memory?

There’s a previous ad campaign that says that. (I don’t remember what for, though: probably because I couldn’t smell it through the TV set.) I’m not sure where they’re getting that idea, but for me, another sense is way more tied to memory: music. (And yes, I know that music may not be a “sense” per se, but as part of hearing, and as such a big part of our lives, I think it qualifies, don’t you?) Seriously though, remember that scene from Ratatouille where that snobby food critic takes a bite of the ratatouille, and the camera zooms into his eye’s pupil, and we’re treated to a scene from his childhood where he skinned his knee, and his mother made him ratatouille to make him feel better? Well, that’s what music does for me (and I’ll bet for almost everyone else, too!): it takes me right back to where I first and/or last heard it. And for me, there’s no better memory cue than music I’ve heard before, especially when it’s been awhile since I’ve last heard it. And maybe this would be a good way to advertise an MP3 player in the future. Or at least, I think so.

Acura Seinfeld Super Bowl Ad

Um, I think we’ve all seen this one by now, right? Jerry Seinfeld wants to be the first guy to get the new Acura super car, but he’s behind some other guy in line, so he tries to bribe the guy into giving him the first one, only to lose at the last second to Jay Leno. Well, it’s kinda clever and stuff, and I like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno a lot, but seriously: who cares who gets the first super-expensive ultra-sports-car none of us can afford? I couldn’t care less, honestly. They’re both ridiculously wealthy, and I’m sure they both have way more awesome cars (especially Jay Leno, which is why the end works so well) than they can ever drive, so who gives a sh*t? (Pardon my French.)

Lately, we’ve been bombarded with the 1% against the 99% idea from most of the news media (even though Barack Obama is part of the 1% himself!), and while I agree with some of the issues, and I’m mad about the rich bankers and CEOs grabbing all they can and bailing out on a “golden parachute”, just like the next guy is mad about it, this commercial simply fuels this whole issue for me. Most of the CEOs grabbing huge bonuses now are from Obama’s “green energy” companies, but that’s okay, so long as they give him campaign cash, apparently. I’m so disgusted with this ridiculous double-standard, I’m ready to throw up! And then there’s this ad, where I’m asked to care about which famous fat-cat TV star gets the first super car? I mean no disrespect to either of these guys, but I couldn’t care less who gets the first one. And you shouldn’t care less, either! In fact, this whole scenario has such a “let them eat cake” feel to it, I’m not sure how this helps Acura at all in the current financial climate. (Do you want your face rubbed in luxuries you cannot afford at the moment?)

Aren’t celebrities pampered enough as it is? Most people could never afford this car from Acura anyway, so why does this scenario even matter? I guess because it’s okay to like certain rich people, but not others. But aren’t we all just watching someone else’s success story vicariously when we see this commercial? And as such, it’s like rooting for the investment bankers over everyone else, as far as I’m concerned, with this present economy. Sorry, but that’s how I feel about it; and as clever as it may be, it still rubs in the 1% getting way more than everyone else, and that’s no way to sell a car to the 99%, in my opinion. (Unless there really is a double-standard, and everyone is okay with it. Is there, and are you?)

But hey: Maybe Acura doesn’t care! If you’re not brainwashed by the celebrity appeal, and the mindless rooting for your favorite, so what?: You probably can’t afford their cars anyway, so up yours as far as they’re concerned! It’s a cute ad for before the world financial crash, but it’s just crass for these days, and that’s a fact! But hey, the one consolation I have is knowing that the first buyer(s) of something like this car are paying for the privilege of beta-testing the new technology, and as such, they’re going to have to have their new car towed and fixed over and over again for their troubles, and pay for it every time: Yay, poetic justice!

(I mean, hey: I like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and I don’t mean to be so hard on this spot, but seriously: who cares who gets the first Acura super car? Do you care? You shouldn’t! You’ll never see it or get to ride in it, so seriously: who cares? Would you cheer for Donald Trump to win the first one? He’s a popular TV star too! And this is a commercial, not a comedy sketch, and as such, it rubs me the wrong way, asking us as it does to root for which over-privileged star gets everything they want first. How about donating that money to local school districts? {Don’t they already own enough cars?} I would care a lot more if they did that. But it’s a car ad, so we get this. But again, who else is in the market for this car? I’m not: are you?)

Here’s the calculatingly covetous commercial:

(BTW: It strikes me, in proof-reading this, that perhaps it doesn't come across as much as a joke as I intended. But it's supposed to be. I've been drowned in news propaganda about the 1%'ers, the double-standard for "green energy" executive looting, etc., and then when I saw this again, I just couldn't resist looking at this ad through the filter of this type of outrage. Sorry if it sounds too serious. I'm too tired to rewrite it now, and it's already posted, so...)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jayne Mansfield Park (And Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon)

There’s a movie called Mansfield Park, based upon the novel by Jane Austen, where some woman moves into some huge estate at the behest of her mother, and she’s belittled, bullied, etc., and treated like a piece of meat when she’d like to be appreciated for her mind. Well, after seeing some of it, and recognizing it’s based on a novel by someone whose first name is “Jane”, it made me think it would be fun to skewer it with a feminist twist by calling it Jayne Mansfield Park, where Jayne Mansfield is sent to live in the same place and circumstances, but because she’s Jayne Mansfield, she simply wraps all the men around her little finger, and they all agree to leave all their money and property to her in the hopes she will marry them, and when she dumps them all one by one, they commit suicide and she inherits everything, including the estate and all the money. And thereupon she becomes a very successful writer respected by all throughout the world, finally respected for her mind, after getting revenge against anyone who wouldn’t. And wouldn’t that be the perfect ending to any Jane Austen novel? Sure, Jane may not approve of how Jayne got there, but wouldn’t it be the perfect revenge against the male establishment for holding back women of substance for so many novels? And the great irony would be that she used the belittling of sexual attraction against the men to defeat them all. It may not be feminist theory, exactly, but it would make a good satire.

And guess what else: The lead actress in this movie version from 1999 is starring in a new movie called Jayne Mansfield’s Car (!). So there’s another connection to Jayne Mansfield! And guess what else? The star of Jayne Mansfield’s Car is none other than Kevin Bacon! So this is just another case of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”! I didn’t know you could reach Jane Austen from him in so few steps, but there you are: you can.

Here’s the proof about the Kevin Bacon connection to Jane Austen (Frances O’Connor, who was the lead actress of Mansfield Park, based upon the novel by Jane Austen, is also in Jayne Mansfield’s Car, with Kevin Bacon, which connects Jayne Mansfield, Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, the lead actress of Mansfield Park, and Kevin Bacon. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.):

Ford Throttle Problems

There’s a story about a federal probe (<Hey, a “Probe”: also a Ford model!) into allegations of sticking accelerators in some Ford sedans. They really ought to replay the old Bugatti strategy of saying: “I make my cars to go, not to stop!” Then they’d surely get away without having to fix anything, right? (Apparently Bugatti did! And Henry Ford might have too, back in the old days.)

Here’s a web page that gives the account of the Bugatti brakes quote:

And here’s the Ford accelerator story from the Washington Post:

Ask Your Doctor About LSD!

I had an old joke print ad idea from years ago, where in a full-page ad, it said in plain black block letters on a white background: “Ask Your Doctor About”, and then it said “LSD” in crazy Grateful Dead-style lettering over a ridiculous neon rainbow of psychedelic patterns. But now there is a story suggesting LSD may have a desirable effect in mitigating alcoholism. So then, now my joke ad could become a real print ad someday! I can hardly believe it!

Here’s the psychedelic story, man: