Wednesday, July 24, 2024

John Denver's signature song deserves a better makeover than this one


...but I'm not a songwriter, so....

Once was heaven
West Virginia
Miners, Farms and Veterans 
Voted for Dukakis

Western Virginia
wouldn't break away
formed its own community
demanded its own say

Somethin' happened
In the passing of the years
place got mean and stupid
forgot its soul and history, left with just its tears

No country road
to take me home
starvation wages
always need a loan
West Virginia
Racist Propaganda
can't go home
no country road

'headin down to Braxton
search for the old farm
now it's just a strip mall
place has lost it's charm

tried to go home
paved highway
couldn't find
where I used to stay
West Virginia
sliced up mountains
toxic waste dumps
brown and slimy rivers

Life feels old here
what happened to the trees?
Chopped up for the lumber mills
buried by the sleaze

No country road
to take me home
land of potholes
makes me groan
West Virginia
no future agenda
no country road
to take me home

Once was heaven
West Virginia
cruisin'  77
MAGA everywhere
Once we were proud of
our love of Liberty
vote like Mississippi
look like New Jersey

Can't go home
no country road
pavement and dollar stores
lines at E-Z Loan
Stuck in the past
Head up it's a$$
can't go home
no country road

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Anyone understand the woman in this Rinvoq Ad?


Better yet, anyone understand why the people who are with her at the beach are with her at the beach?  She comes off as a weirdly competitive woman who more than anything else needs treatment for her Main Character Syndrome. 

I mean, look at her- she's psyching herself up for what turns out to be a casual pick-up game of volleyball on the beach.  In the first few seconds, I thought it was going to be revealed that this game was being broadcast on ESPN or something, but no- that intense look in her face, followed up by the equally intense look she gives to her teammates in the huddle just before the game starts (the group of friends on the other side of the net must be thinking "what the hell...oh, it's that insane woman again, the one who thinks something's at stake here.  I hate when she shows up, she sucks all the fun out of this,) and her WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS expression at the end- good lord, woman, what is your issue?

And then we see her dominating the conversation around the beach fire we always see in commercials featuring beaches regardless of the fact that the vast majority of beaches in the United States don't allow open fires (so this is a private beach?  How relatable,) probably explaining to her "friends" how she won the game with that move to earn Point 18 and how they really need more practice.  We see her friends laughing but because we're supposed to be distracted by the pretty music and pretty faces we can't hear what they're laughing at, but we can guess they are patronizing her until she decides she needs her Recovery Rest and leaves so they can spend the rest of the night chuckling about the super-competitive freak who simply refuses to have fun at the beach.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Gain Laundry Detergent Ads are Sexist Trash*

Clearly the men who make these ads think that women just sit at home all day in the enormous houses provided by their husbands, getting high on the scent of their freshly-laundered clothing.  This woman is taking a break from using the Swiffer and prancing around to the sweet smells of the Glade air fresheners to enjoy the fruits of her REAL craft- doing the laundry.  Thank goodness for that MRS degree, eh ladies?

*I only see these ads in July and August, because they only run on weekdays and only on channels that feature the local news, my Mom's Soaps, and the Andy Griffith Show.  I don't miss the misogyny at all.

Friday, July 19, 2024

FanDuel in Court: Self-Made Victims all around.


A former employee of the Jacksonville Jaguars is currently serving a 6.5-year sentence in a federal prison for embezzling $22 million from the team to bet through FanDuel (he also bought a number of luxury items, including a golf club once owned by Tiger Woods- about $5 million in luxury items, in fact.)  The Jaguars announced the other day that they are filing a lawsuit against the employee for $66 million in Florida, a state which allows plaintiffs to recover up to three times the lost amount in damages.  The Jaguars are also "in talks" to recover their money from FanDuel.*

The employee claimed during his trial that he was "damaged" by his gambling addiction, which is a pretty obvious defense considering that the Supreme Court ruled several generations ago that addiction itself cannot be criminalized.  I don't know if the defense worked in any way- it certainly didn't convince the jury to give him a pass on his actual criminal activity (the stealing of the money) but maybe it resulted in a lighter sentence.  I'll leave that for someone else to research.

Here's the point:  Every Major League Sport in the United States uses the availability of gambling apps like FanDuel, SportsKings etc. to sell their product, and every gambling service sells its product as "good, clean, innocent fun."  But we've known of the existence of gambling addiction forever.  We've known that gambling ruins lives, breaks up families, and lands people in crippling debt or even prison FOR EVER.  Prominent novelists were writing about gambling as a destructive force two freaking centuries ago (I've always argued that the real villain of the Charles Dickens classic The Old Curiosity Shop was not the evil dwarf Daniel Quilp, but Little Nell's asinine grandfather and his obsession with making his fortune at the card table that ultimately kills her.)  But today we have the biggest stars of Hollywood and (much worse) the biggest names in SPORTS selling what is basically Dignified Crack during every commercial break of every sporting event. 

Embezzlers should be in jail.  I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for a guy who steals money to gamble and buy luxury items.  But the Jaguars- and every other sports team that partners up with gambling- needs to understand their role in feeding this monster.  They aren't innocent either. 

*which presents an interesting problem.  If the Jaguars can recover money stolen and then lost through FanDuel, why can't a spouse recover money stolen from a joint bank account for the same purpose? Where does FanDuel's responsibility for checking the source of the money being risked start and end?  And while we're at it, how did a company which preaches "gamble responsibly" in tiny letters at the bottom of the screen accept MILLIONS in losing bets from the same person?  Isn't this like a bartender whispering "drink responsibly" while filling the glass of the local drunk for the 2000th time?

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

That Kellogg's "Cereal for Dinner" ad


Evil Cartoon Character from the 1960s pops into the living room to indoctrinate the next generation of Americans to be even fatter and more sedentary and depressed than their parents:

"Ok everyone, when I say DINNER, you yell SUGAR!"





Lonely voice from the living room from an animated chicken who for some reason is begging to be eaten:  "Protein?"

Adult who allegedly is responsible for the care of her offspring:  "You can take the night off, protein."

Who benefits?  Kellogg's bottom line.  Mom and dad, because cleanup is easy.  Big Pharma, which will make serious bank on an even bigger (no pun intended) population of Type 2 Diabetes sufferers who (bonus) will also probably have fatty liver disease and need replacement knee surgery even earlier than their parents did.  Who suffers?  The kids, who will be ravenously hungry an hour after they eat that empty, sweet bowl of soggy carbs and will grow up with terrible, debilitating eating habits.  Society, which will carry the massively inflated (again, no pun intended) cost of their treatment for illnesses that used to be exclusive to the elderly (maybe there won't be as many elderly so it will balance out?  Or we'll just redefine what it means to be "elderly?")  

It's bad enough that this sad trash is sold as breakfast ("as part of a nutritious breakfast;" in fact, it's more of an add-on to a nutritious breakfast, if served with a couple of eggs and a piece of whole-wheat toast.)  If it becomes a regular feature at dinner, it's very likely that families will be consuming empty, sugary nonsense TWICE A DAY.  And what will that third meal be?  Depends on what the family is in the mood for- Taco Bell, Wendy's McDonald's, Pizza Hut....why do houses even HAVE kitchens anymore?  All you really need is a fridge (for the milk,) a microwave (for the leftovers) and a coffee maker (for obvious reasons.)  This nonsense makes Taco Bell's "Fourth Meal" campaign look downright innocent.  

Sick, sick, sick.  In far more ways that one.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Danica Patrick hosts an Endurance test


1.  Well, why shouldn't Danica Patrick make as much money as she can while she can?  It's not like she's making money winning races, after all.

2.  Covered Car Repairs are Covered.  Yeah, no kidding.  And what are "covered car repairs?"  Well, you'll find out when you need to use that "insurance" you think you are paying for with those "low" premiums offered "for a limited time" while our economy is "struggling."  Speaking of which-

3.  After twenty years of listening to the radio ads, I'm convinced that if the unemployment rate was 3 percent, hourly wage for High School graduates was approaching $15 per hour and the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 40,000, Endurance would STILL be telling us that they were offering discounted car repair insurance "due to the downturn in the economy."  Oh, wait a minute....

Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Evil Genius of LinkedIn Ads (Part I)

(Because this definitely qualifies as it's own series....)

In an era of US History in which it has never been more difficult to find qualified applicants to fill ANY job, be it office manager, gas station convenience store attendant or Starbucks barista, LinkedIn pounds the audience with ads featuring hopeful, starry-eyed, out-of-work millennials trying to find ways to stand out from the crowd as they pursue their dreams of an entry-level salary at a mindless, fill-in-the-blank drone corporation.  All of their commercials feature the same people wearing very nice, expensive-looking clothing, getting themselves ready for their interviews in very large, upscale apartments or houses, and heading off hoping to be picked out from all of the hundreds or even thousands of like-minded, equally qualified go-getters who want nothing more than to put 150 percent effort in to achieving success for The Corporation.

This is a bizarre fantasy that pretends that we are still living in the pre-COVID world and not the one which gave us free money in the form of stimulus payments (whether we needed them or not) and birthed a new era of pro-Union and life-is-more-than-work-I-will-not-be-a-sucker-like-my-parents attitudes and, above all, an understanding that Your Dream Is Not My Dream If You Want Me To Work PAY ME that has shuffled the deck for the first time since the French Revolution.  But I'll expand on that in a future chapter.  For now, I'll just reiterate that as much as businesses would like to deny it, the unemployment rate is almost zero and there are no hungry masses yearning to be your wage serfs knocking each other over for an interview in your office, Sorry Not Sorry (as the cool kids say.)