Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just when you thought cell phone owners couldn't be more obnoxious

We're in the breakroom, and one employee who really ought to get his ass back to work announces to his coworkers "you really got to check out this new Avatar trailer!"

He then proceeds to project the trailer from his phone on to the break room wall. So now everyone in the break room can share this guy's pathetic, juvenile obsessions with A) his phone, B) Avatar, or C) All of the Above.

Whether they like it or not.

"There's no such thing as a Projector Phone" one of the retarded coworkers tells the guy who has just demonstrated the use of his projector phone. I have no response to this, except to say that the ensuing dialogue, which can be boiled down to "yes there is, no there isn't, yes there is" is worthy of any twenty-seconds-yet-still-way-too-long McDonald's ad in terms of intelligence level.

The absolute horror represented by this new phone is, I'll admit, well demonstrated by the commercial. Remember a few years ago, when if someone asked you "did you see that cool new trailer?" you could say "no" and that would be the end of it? Remember last year, when if someone asked you "did you see that cool new Wii commercial?" you could say "no," and if the idiot then offered to bring it up for you on his phone, you could say "pass," leaving other idiots to gather around and watch the commercial on his little glowing screen? Well, those days are gone- now if you say "no thank you" to anything anyone wants to show you on his phone, you'll have to see it anyway, because seconds later it will be projected onto the nearest wall, complete with LOUD music and dialogue.

Get ready to be forced to watch and listen to commercials, music videos, trailers, and entire television shows and movies projected on to the walls of buses, train cars, hallways-- hell, it's only a matter of time before you find yourself sitting in a theatre trying to watch a movie, and seeing another one being projected on the floor of the center aisle by some bored and brain-dead asshole who long ago decided to follow the lead of the tv commercials and simply stop being at all concerned about the needs and desires of the other carbon-based life forms on the planet.

The makers of the LG Projector Phone have had quite enough of us "I don't need a constant barrage of 'information' and entertainment, and instant gratification isn't all it's cracked up to be" non-conformists. We will be assimilated. We don't care to view the latest trailer? Tough shit- there it is, shining on the wall five feet away. Try to look away- you are only going to encounter a competing commercial, being projected by someone else.

"You've got to check out this new Avatar trailer." Yes, I do. Because saying "no" is simply not an option any more. And to think that, just a few years ago, I thought that those horrible chirping Nextel Direct phones were the pinnacle of asshattery.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'd Celebrate the Appearence of a Napkin right about now

I'm way past getting pissed at the inevitable movie-fast food marketing tie-ins; I usually don't even notice them anymore, mainly because I don't eat fast food. But here's something that's always irritated me about commercials which try to convince us that eating a particular hamburger is just another way to enjoy the latest big-budget flick: it's the use of the word "Celebration" in reference to both experiences.

"Celebrate the film Avatar by eating a Big Mac..." Huh? I'm not a stockholder of the film company that produced this flick, which is apparently going to clear a billion dollars at the Box Office by this time next Thursday. I'm not the Producer or Director, and what is being put on film is not my vision, carried from studio to studio for twenty years before the funding could finally be put together. I didn't even spend three years reading whatever geeky Sci-fi magazines were used to build up interest in the film. So what am I "Celebrating?" Can't I just go see the damn movie without "Celebrating" it?

Here's another thing- two guys sitting in a movie theater, staring at the screen. One of them says "Since when can Mountains float?" and seconds later gasps in amazement at the action on the screen. Um, since they started making movies, dumbass. I wonder if this guy asked aloud "since when can people hover in mid-air?" while viewing The Matrix.

Here's a woman telling her friends "I've been waiting for this for a long time!" Is she talking about the movie, or a Big Mac? Who knows? Who cares? Here's a guy opening the cardboard container and gazing at his Big Mac on a bus. Ever used a municipal bus system that permitted eating on board? Me neither. What's this got to do with Avatar? Absolutely NOTHING.

But here's the worst part- we jump from a shot of a guy digging his fingernails into his seat while watching the film to another guy digging his fingernails into a Big Mac-- and then we get a lovely close-up of the latter taking a big bite out of his sandwich, leaving a glob of Special Sauce on the side of his mouth- just lovely.

This kind of crap really turns me off from going to movies at all (this, and seeing clueless asshats four rows down get bored with the film and flip open their cell phones halfway through.) I don't celebrate the opportunity to drop ten bucks to see a movie. Seeing movies doesn't make me want to stuff greasy, artery-hardening junk into my mouth. And watching people equate movies with junk food doesn't inspire me to partake of either.

(BTW, what is in these Big Macs anyway, which creates hallucinations that scenes from Avatar are taking place all around the consumer? In one commercial, a guy actually thinks he's being chased by a monster from the film after taking a bite of his sandwich. Again- there's no logical connection between the film and the food- no matter how many times I see these commercials, I am not going to hallucinate that I'm in the film if I ever eat a Big Mac.)

Please, MacDonalds, stop trying to glom on to the latest Hollywood hit- I can't imagine anything that has less to do with a Big Mac than Avatar. Stop trying to convince me that the release oa any particular film is something to be "celebrated." And stop showing people behaving like clueless airheads whose lives revolve around movies and junk food.

And please, hand that disgusting idiot in the final shot a napkin. Yuck.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

7-11 Needs to be Introduced to the Concept of Target Marketing

I'm listening to a Christmas story narrated by a wonderful actor with a wonderful voice, the late Edward Arnold, on XM Classics Channel 164. It's kind of a holiday tradition- I sit at the kitchen table and prepare review sheets and midterm exams while my mom bakes, and we both enjoy the old radio shows provided to us by XM/Sirius. Today, however, we are in for an unpleasant surprise:

It's a commercial break, but instead of the usual "Easy Credit" and "Work from Home" and "Pay off your debt in 15 minutes" schemes, we get an absolutely horrible, nerve-grating, two-minute rap about how incredible 7-11 is. As near as I can tell, the "story" of the rap "song" is how the "singer" wins over this hot new girl in town by taking her down to the local 7-11 and buying her coffee. That might be totally inaccurate, however, since I was more interested in turning the volume down than paying attention to the actual "lyrics."

I do know that the "song" ended with the "singer" uttering the words "I'll take my coffee with a serving of HER." Clever, no? Well, no. But it's downright brilliant compared to the geniuses who sold this pile of obnoxious drivel to XM/Sirius and agreed to have it run on a channel marketed almost exclusively to people over the age of 65. Good call, 7-11-- I'm sure that if one of your stores was operating within a reasonable distance from my parents' house (we have our own version of 7-11 up here, called Cumberland Farms) this commercial would have sent them rushing to buy coffee, slurpees and heat-lamp hot dogs. I'm sure that it's because they don't want to be reminded of their lack of a 7-11 franchise they'll be rushing to the radio to hit the mute button whenever this steaming pile of excrement comes on. And not because their ears are bleeding.

Seriously, what were you guys at 7-11 thinking? Commercials featuring rap on Classic Radio? Do you think that the makers of Depends Undergarments buy commercial time on Radio Disney? Just brilliant.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kay Jewelers: Your Place for Creepy

A woman is standing by a huge window, staring out at the hurricane battering the favorite forest getaway of her husband and herself.

In response to a clash of lightning and thunder, this woman jumps into the arms of her husband. "I'm right here" he assures her.

Then he pulls out a little box and hands it to her- "and I always will be."

Sorry, but this totally creeps me out. First, this woman acts like a little girl, frightened of thunder and lightning at the age of roughly thirty. Second, what's with the two-days growth of beard on the husband's face? Did I miss the memo that ordered every American male to limit shaving to not more than twice a week? Seriously- when was the last time you saw a clean-shaven guy under the age of fifty in a commercial?

But I digress...

Third- the guy puts her into some kind of arm-lock that simply doesn't go well with his "..and I always will be." I get the sense that if she ever tries to leave, she's going to find herself living at the bottom of a well, putting the lotion in the bucket.

Was this your intention, Kay Jewelers? Every kiss begins with Kay, and ends with Obsession? It's not hard to see this lovely getaway weekend ending with a lot of "If I can't have you, no one can" screaming and an ocean of blood. I guess maybe that's because I'm not as much in the Holiday mood as the good people at Kay are. This is almost as bad as the "Love, Symbolized by a Knot" message in another ad. Yes, nothing more romantic than the message "we are bound together forever."

Unless you add "Or Else."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

War Is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength

"It's never been easier to save money, using your Bank of America Debit Card" we are told.

And here's a guy buying a cup of coffee at a Not-Starbucks, swiping his BOA Debit Card. "Every time you buy something with your card, we round up to the nearest dollar and automatically deposit the difference into your savings account."

Yep- so the more you spend with your Bank of America Debit Card, the more money you'll have. And while we are at it- the more fuel you add to the fire, the colder you'll get. The more you eat, the hungrier you'll get. And so on.

I keep waiting for the Queen of Hearts to show up, or even better, the Mad Hatter. Maybe Bank of America is planning a tie-in with Alice in Wonderland, coming to theatres in 2010. This Spend your way to Savings campaign would make a great topic for a conversation between Alice and the Hatter, wouldn't it?

Hatter: "The tea costs a shilling per cup."
Alice: "I haven't any money."
Hatter: "Why then, you must spend some. When you spend money, then you'll have money."
Alice: "How absurd! How can I spend what I don't have?"
Hatter: "Excuse me, I wasn't listening. My watch has stopped-there is too much butter in the works, and we must put the Dormouse into the pot."

Thanks for the free trip through the Looking-Glass, Bank of America. Now how about taking some of that bailout money we gave you and using it to lower your interest rates?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Audi One-Ups Cadillac's Sibling Rivalry Ad- Why Stop with the Immediate Family?

A guy stands on the lawn of his house, situated in some upscale suburban enclave where terms "Unemployment" and "Belt-Tightening" are clearly never mentioned aloud. As he looks around, he sees that all his neighbors are busy lugging their Christmas lights out of attics and two-car garages.

"Going to put some lights up?" he's asked by a male neighbor who is doing a pretty good imitation of Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, festooned as he is with what looks to be about five miles of electrical cord and colorful lights. "Gets pretty competitive."

Yep- gets pretty competitive. So if there's anyone in this neighborhood who is worried about getting laid off in the coming weeks or months, or has watched his 401(k) tank and dreams of retirement fade, or has seen his health insurance premiums double because his kid has been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, he'd better just suck it up and drive the family Suburban to the nearest Home Depot to stock up on plastic things that plug into walls. Because it's all about showing well for the neighbors around here, buddy.

(Oh, and God Fucking Forbid Guy on Lawn just might be-- gasp!--JEWISH!)

Guy on Lawn gives this a few seconds of thought, then allows himself a slight grin.

That night- everyone in the neighborhood is standing around staring at everyone else's ostentatious light display when the garage doors open at Guy Formerly on Lawn's house. Two 2010-model black Audis emerge, headlights blazing and engines purring. Sure enough, the entire fricking neighborhood gravitates to the driveway of Guy on Lawn, to stare lovingly at his $100,000 car collection.

Come on- how sick is this? It's bad enough that putting up Christmas lights- once an innocent celebration of the season- is being portrayed as some kind of contest, an opportunity to show up your neighbors (which one takes the season more seriously? Well, which one has the largest plastic reindeer and is burning up the most Wattage? Which one is making the meter spin fastest?) Now Audi ramps up the Hate quotient by suggesting that all your neighbors really want to see is who is most willing to spit in the face of the recession by spending them most on flashy cars. Just flip on those lights, and they'll gather like moths around a candle, because it's not about the celebration of a Holy Day, it's not even about enjoying pretty blinking lights and plastic santas. It's about Stuff. Lots and lots of Stuff. Expensive, Showy Stuff.

Well, Merry Fucking Christmas, Audi. Your attitude sucks. Your philosophy sucks. Your insensitivity toward the real suffering and anxiety millions of Americans are feeling about the future this holiday season sucks. And this commercial really, really sucks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hubby is the Easily-Manipulated Dunce of the Family, Take 5,679

Wife hands her husband a list- "Oh, not the MALL!" he growns.

Wife offers a deal- "Ok, I'll do the shopping, you do the shipping."

Husband: "Shipping is a pain!" He grabs the shopping list and skips off to the car to hit the mall, thinking he's taken the easy task and plenty happy about it.

US Postal Worker comes up the walk with a package and reveals that while he's prohibited by federal law to open packages, he's perfectly free and willing to eavesdrop on private conversations: "You know, shipping is easy with the US Postal Service. We have boxes with one flat fee- if it fits, its ships."

"I know" smiles wife.

Groan. Of course you know. Just like you know that you married a dumbass you can con into doing the hard part of every chore imaginable. Because the guy you married

A) Doesn't watch television, so he has never seen any of these "If it fits, it ships" commercials.

B) Actually believes that shipping is such a "hassle" that he'd rather drive to the Mall, circle for twenty minutes looking for a parking space, go from store to store getting the items on the list, standing in one line after another with said items, cart everything back to the car (once he's found it) and haul it back to the old homestead- where it will need to be unloaded, of course- than address a bunch of boxes and carry them to the Post Office. Because shipping is a "hassle."

C) Is so predictable that it takes absolutely zero effort to manipulate him into doing what you want him to do,

D) won't remember until he's halfway to the Mall that if he had chosen "shipping," he would have had the afternoon off and to himself, since he can hardly do any shipping until you come back with the goodies.

The bottom line isn't the US Postal Service's convenient flat rates. It's the US Postal Service's willingness to use a flat, stale, cliche'd theme to sell it's services. Wife is the Smart One in the Family, Husband is the dumbass who can be tricked into doing pretty much anything in no time- been there, done that, bought the damn t-shirt already. Merry Christmas to you too, US Postal Service.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh Hell, Just Stay Where you are and I'll come get you, you helpless moron!

New I-Phone Commercial:

"Let's say you are on your phone, and your friend asks 'What time's the movie?'"

"You can tell him" (we see the owner of the phone- well, his hand, anyway- check the movie times on the I-Phone. Because there's an App for that. Of course.)

"Then let's say your friend asks "Where's the theatre?"

"You can show him" (I-Phone owner's hand presses a few buttons and sends a map to the theatre to his retarded, desperately needy friend.)

"Then let's say your friend asks "Want to go for Sushi afterwards?"

At this point, one wonders why the owner of this phone would want to spend any time at all with this pathetic child. But I guess he does- because he moves his finger around his lover--errr, phone-- until he can bring up a photo of a Sushi place. "Sure" he replies.

Sigh. Where to start? First- why didn't these "friends" figure out what time the movie was when they first planned to go? Oh, right- because doing that would have eliminated an excuse to use their fucking phones later on. Second- if the unseen friend's phone can receive a map from the I-Phone, why couldn't he have used it to find the damn theatre himself? Third- why does the owner of the I-Phone have to check out a photo of the Sushi place before deciding whether he wants to go out for Sushi after the film or not? Oh, right- because just like his friend, he can't move a god damned muscle without consulting his real best friend- the one with the back-lit panel and cool Apps.

Do we think that these two guys simply stayed at home, staring like frightened children out at the big bad scary world, before Apple started marketing phones that could provide the kind of information that used to be carefully hidden away on movie posters and in newspapers? Once these two guys meet at the theatre, how will they justify continuing to consult their phones instead of talking to eachother? Will the owner of the I-Phone be able to refrain from attempting to find a photo of the concession stand during the trailers? Is there any doubt that he'll be consulting the official site of one of the films advertised before the film he's actually there to see starts? Will these two idiots sit in different parts of the theatre so they can justify texting eachother (to confirm the Sushi date, etc.) before it's over?

So many questions. So little hope.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Let's Not Meet Again

Every Christmas, I take Amtrak from Washington DC to Vermont for the Holidays- it costs a fortune to fly up there, and the weather is too iffy for driving. I enjoy Amtrak for the most part, especially now that it's possible to plug in a laptop and watch films or play games to kill the time.

Unfortunately, not everyone on the train is capable of passing the time quietly. More and more often, I find myself distracted by people who are determined to use their travel to update pretty much everyone on the planet about what is going on with every fricking detail of their "lives"- and not by texting either. But by phoning. And phoning. And phoning.

Last year on the way up I sat across and several seats down from a middle-aged woman who called four different people over the span of two hours and regaled each with the story of how This Guy at Work keeps Stabbing her in the Back with the Boss. She used almost exactly the same words in each conversation, including the phrase "that's the society we live in, I guess." She also told everyone she called about the difficulties she was having with her digestive tract infection, and how she warned her family ahead of time that she wasn't going to be eating the Christmas Dinner they had planned, but was instead restricting herself to strawberries and yogurt.

By the time she was on the fourth telling, I was at the breaking point (so was the poor woman in the seat next to her, who was fidgeting and holding her head in her hands in bored despair.) I finally yelled across to her "We've HEARD this story already, it wasn't interesting the FIRST THREE TIMES!" The Middle-Aged yakker turned around sharply and barked "I don't give a shit!" (But within a few moments, she'd put her phone away, and it didn't come out again until she departed the train in Connecticut.) I got more than a few silent "thank yous" from the other people in the car.

Why am I telling this story? Because I think I know who this woman's name is now. Her name is Jen, and she's being celebrated in this most recent Comcast Commercial. We see a very animated woman with a cell phone glued to her skull blathering on and on about pretty much anything that pops into her otherwise empty head, while the narrator tells us "Here's Jen. She can take an hour to tell a five-minute story. But that's ok, because she has Unlimited Talk and Text from Comcast..."

Jen continues to yak about half a dozen unrelated subjects before pausing to say "Wait, where was I going with that?" Narrator: "It doesn't matter where you were going with that, Jen..."

No, it doesn't matter where you were going with that, Jen. I can only hope that you aren't going up North with that next week, or if you are, you aren't taking Amtrak. Because I had more of my fair share of your witless, clueless, selfish gabfest last Holiday Season. I don't want an update on your work situation, that guy who stabs you in the back, or your digestive tract issues which require your Strawberries and Yogurt diet. I don't give a flying damn about any of that, and my guess is, neither do my fellow passengers. Just because you CAN talk nonstop, doesn't mean it's always appropriate to do so.

Just the society we live in, I guess.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Best Buy's Pathetic Singing Ad, Part I

Frantic, frazzled-looking woman sees a group of blue-clad Best Buy employees standing in rows on the sidewalk outside the store. "Great, Experts!" she exclaims. "What do I get my Husband?"

(Ok, let's stop a moment. First of all, anyone who sees a blue Best Buy Shirt and thinks "experts" is seriously detached from reality. More like "Great, Underpaid, Undereducated Proles!" or, this time of year, "Great, Seasonal Employees who signed up to earn a few extra dollars and will be handed their pink slips on or around January Second!" Also- "What do I get my Husband? Seriously? You know so little about that guy you married that you need the advice of total strangers whose job it is to pimp for a big box store concerning the right gift for him? But I digress...)

Best Buy employees chant "Flat Screen TV, Flat Screen TV.." to the tune of "Jingle Bells." "He'll stare at it frozenly..."

(Let's stop again. "Flat Screen TV" I suppose is the Fill In The Blank Present for the Male in your House. Wonder why this idiot woman couldn't think that up herself, its so obvious! And what woman doesn't want to buy her man a gift that he will "stare at frozenly?" I mean, it's just so perfect!)

Best Buy employees conclude "He's gonna have a Cow!" And- God help us- one of them actually utters, "Moo." The guy hand-picked by the Ad Agency to say "moo" I hope is super-proud of his moment on TV. I also hope that his family, friends and neighbors assault him relentlessly with it. Because I'm not very nice, I guess.

"He's gonna have a Cow?" I'm old enough to remember when Bart Simpson used to say "Don't have a Cow, Man" all the time- he dropped his original catchphrase sometime in the early-90s. It means "Don't Get Upset." So the Experts are telling this woman that if she gets her husband a Flat Screen TV, he'll be upset? Total Fail, Best Buy. Next time, double check the script to make sure the "hip" language your actors use is both contemporary and accurate.

Better yet, stop trying to make money off of the sad "Christmas is the most agonizingly stressful, budget-rendering, pain in the ass time of the year, just tell me what to buy so I can get this misery over with" theme. It's depressing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


These British Petroleum "Just regular folks talking about America's Energy needs" ads REALLY piss me off. We've got witless morons who seem to be actually trying to share some level of knowledge about energy, where it comes from, and how they are just so gosh-darn positive that America has it and just needs to exploit the living shit out of it, and everything will be just hunky dorky, at least for the next hundred years or so.

Easily Bought-off Everyday Joes tell us "We've got lots of energy needs, and lots of energy. We've got wind, we've got solar...."

Ok, now that the prissy solar and wind fairies have been thrown their bone, lets get down to brass tacks- "we've got Natural Gas, we've got a LOAD of Oil, and we've got it RIGHT HERE."

"We've got to get at it, we've got to use it."

"We've got the know-how, we've got the drive, we've got the technology..."

And in case you've forgotten in the last few seconds, we've got NATURAL GAS and OIL. Lots and lots of it. Just waiting to be sucked out of the ground with a straw and converted to fuel. That stuff about wind and solar? One worthless BP whore tells us that's all fine and all, but "sometimes it's not breezy, and sometimes, it's cloudy." Yeah, wind and solar are all well and good, but when it comes time to get your Land Behemouth to the mall, remember what it's really thirsty for- good old fossil fuels. Unlike the sun and the wind, it's always available- all we have to do is get at it. Sure, that means knocking down a few trees, but after all, this is all about "preserving America's lifestyle."

Natural Gas, we are told, is "twice as clean as coal." Gee, that's good to know. And how many more times cleaner than coal is wind and solar energy. Oh wait, I forgot- those are "unreliable" because "sometimes it's not breezy, and sometimes, it's cloudy." Guess that explains why the comparison is never made in any of these commercials.

I'd think the worst person in these ads is that jackass Should Not Have Been Allowed To Breed Mommy who gushes to her infant daughter "we've got a hundred years of natural gas in this country! Can you count to one hundred? One....two.....this may take a while!" Except that the guy who REALLY infuriates me is the Matter-of-Fact, This Is So Simple Just Drill the Shit out of the Planet Why Didn't We Think of This Before putrid jackass who simply shrugs his shoulders at us and says "Eureka, Baby!" as a light bulb appears above his empty skull. "Eureka, Baby?"

Can we get back to the eight-year olds rolling their eyes at us and telling us to check out for "information," already?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

So you can cuss out your Agent from pretty much Anywhere, huh?

1. Owen Wilson's brother is standing on a gigantic map of the United States, looking bored out of his mind (hey, we feel your pain, man) as he tosses postcards all over the map to "illustrate all the places covered by AT&T."

Here's the problem (well, I mean, here's the MAIN problem- there are plenty of problems in this commercial, including the stupid, "why the hell do I have an agent if crap gigs like this are all he can get me?" look which is apparently part of Wilson's "charm") with this stupid ad: Check out the addresses Owen Wilson's Brother is bleating: "New York, New York...Atlanta, Georgia....Madison, Wisconsin....Phoenix, Arizona.....Miami, Florida.....Seattle, Washington....Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....Tulsa, Oklahoma....."

Jesus, am I REALLY supposed to be impressed by the fact that AT&T offers service to the country's major population centers? Is there something about this awesome coverage that makes AT&T unique in any way? My bet is that Verizon offers coverage to Lincoln, Nebraska AND Indianapolis, Indiana, JUST LIKE AT&T DOES. So what's with this bragging?

Oh, but Verizon doesn't have Owen Wilson's brother chucking post cards around a huge map. I guess that has to count for something.

2. Owen Wilson's brother is yakking about how, with AT&T, you can surf the web while you continue to talk (this is called "multitasking," apparently. I prefer the term "retreating farther into your electronic womb.") "You can do this with Verizon, but you need two phones." Owen Wilson's brother then proceeds to hand a phone to a hapless choad who is trying to explain something to some idiot but somehow can't get that done unless he's online too.

A decade or so ago, a cell phone was a luxury that was kind of a nice convenience, but hardly anything you "needed." Now we've got commercials with people who seem incapable of crossing the street unless they can download a fucking map first. Until a few years ago, you couldn't access the internet on your phone. Now that you can, you MUST be able to do it ALL THE TIME, even when you are having a conversation with someone. I guess that's just "Progress."

(By the way, yes, I know the actor in these commercials is Luke Wilson. But let's be real. He's Owen Wilson's brother. Period. )

Nothing a Snow Cone and a trip to the Zoo won't smooth over

A guy and his clearly retarded girlfriend are sitting in an outdoor cafe, drinking Miller Lites. The girl has the prerequisite headache-inducing perkyness, the guy has the prerequisite two days of stubble on his face.

Perky girl immediately lets us know that this couple has long since run out of things to talk about: "Let's say me and your dog were hanging off a cliff, and you could only save one of us, who would it be?" The tone of her voice reminds of those little notes we used to pass each other in middle school- "Do You Like Me Check Yes or No?"

Guy: "Ummmm... YOU!"

Girl giggles. Not satisfied, she continues: "Me or your Mom?"

Guy: "Sorry, Mom!"

Girl (not satisfied with the fact that being this guy's sexual partner has elevated her in his eyes to a level somewhere above a dog and his mom) continues "Your Miller Lite?" Apparently, this person is so empty-headed that she can't think of anything else that might be important to her boyfriend- she's already mentioned his mom, and the dog that is sitting right there, what else is there? Well, he's drinking a Miller Lite- I'll compare my worth to THAT! (If the guy had replied "you, of course," would she then have asked "Me, or your shoes?" I suspect that if she had asked "me, or your Blackberry?" she would have gotten the same response she gets now, which is:


Girl throws silent fit by getting up and stomping off.

It would take several more paragraphs to analyze exactly how totally lacking in effort, creativity or logic this rank pile of steaming dreck is. What happened to make this girl so pathetically insecure that she has to create morbid scenarios involving people and things important to her boyfriend falling off cliffs? Did her last boyfriend let her plunge into the rocky surf below as he lunged for his bottle of Smirnoffs? Or did he just dump her when he realized that she had nothing to add to any conversation beyond hints that she needed to know that she was, by FAR, the most important thing in his life?

Why doesn't the guy just LIE and say "what, are you kidding? I can always get another Miller Lite. It would take me almost a whole week to find another woman of your quality out there."

I wouldn't know personally, because unlike the guy in this commercial, I don't date 13-year olds.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Few Quick Questions for Bret Favre

1. Are you at least the quarterback for both teams in your Red-blooded, All-American pickup games?

2. With all your millions, couldn't you have found a better place to bring your suck-ups and hangers-on ---err, I mean "friends"-- to play your pickup game than a muddy swamp? I mean, I'd think there'd be plenty of parks, schools etc. more than happy to provide you with a field...

3. Are Levis jeans part of the Official Uniform when you play these Just For Fun Because We Are Men and This is What Men Do games?

4. Is there some rule that when you play these games, no one on the defense may come within ten feet of you while you are setting up your passes? I mean, seriously- I know you are moving in slow motion here, but still, I never see any defender come even close to rushing you.

5. Does the Minnesota Vikings Head Office know that it's star quarterback is risking injury playing pickup games on muddy pasture land? I can't believe that your contract doesn't forbid this kind of activity.

Finally- do the suck-ups you pay to play football with you ever complain about the lack of running plays? I mean, how much fun is this for anyone but you? And how much DOES it cost to surround yourself with fortysomething never-wasses willing to get filthy catching passes from television's favorite Quarterback Not Named Manning?

PS- did you ever decide on a big-screen tv?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The True Spirit of Christmas

Isn't it nice to know that even in a time of 10% unemployment, two wars overseas, and general malaise and anxiety, some families still know what's really important during the holidays?

Take this commercial, for example: We see four good-looking, obviously successful siblings leaving their six digit-salary jobs and heading off to what I suppose is supposed to be the Old Homestead, a palatial mountain retreat located at the end of a winding, well-maintained road. They are driving identical 2010-model silver Cadillacs, and they've timed their exit from the big city so perfectly that they can create their own Caravan of Success as they toss glances which can only be interpreted as "Look what I've got" at each other. The commercial is accented by jump cuts to these materialistic, shallow jackanapes sitting around a table toasting eachother's bank accounts (using only the finest wine, chilled just right, I'm sure.)

Just in case we don't get the Kick-To-The-Face subtlety of the commercial's message, the narrator tells us "there's nothing like a little sibling rivalry." Ah, ok. Before you head off over hill and dale to go to grandmother's house for the holidays, you'd better make sure you show well to your parents, brothers and sisters. Because nothing says "Christmas" like a little game of "let's compare bank accounts, stock options and retirement plans" with those people you grew up with.

To make a bad commercial even worse, this mess ends with the four silver Cadillacs fanned out in the driveway of Mommy and Daddy's ranch home, the better to impress passer-bys and neighbors, I guess. I notice that in pretty much all car commercials, the cars end up parked in the most ostentatious way possible, but in this instance, the final camera shot leads me to ask three questions:

First, how long did it take to maneuver those cars into that fan shape? Why would anyone do this in real life? You pull up to a house, you get out. You don't turn the car around and back it up so that it's pointed at the road.

Second, the cars are parked so close to the door, how does anyone get in or out of the house without taking a tour of the trunk of one of them?

Third, does Cadillac really think that Christmas is all about one-upping your brothers and sisters by advertising your wealth in the most obvious way possible? I strongly suspect that if Mommy and Daddy had a four-car garage, the siblings in this film would refuse to use it- if the Cadillac is in the garage, how can they point it out to Mommy and Daddy, or stare lovingly at it from the living room window?

Can you imagine being the member of this family who owns a Prius or even (gasp) a 2009 Cadillac? Get ready for the condescending smirks and snickers from your Betters, Mr Runt of the Litter. God, I hate Cadillac.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ask your Daughter--errrr, Doctor- about Plavix

Daughter with waaaaayy too much time on her hands- and too much control over her dad- is staring at a laptop screen conveniently (?) located on the kitchen table when she commands her father's attention- "Dad? Your PAD could lead to heart attack and stroke!"

Dad agrees to pay attention, by placing his head as close to his daughters as possible to watch the animation provided by "Look," daughter continues, "blood platelets can be blocked in your arteries, increasing the likelihood of heart attack and stroke...Ask you doctor about Plavix?"

Father whispers something inaudible to her- "yes, I'll ask my doctor about Plavix" seems the most likely response, because she smiles, but considering the fact that the commercial has another thirty seconds to run, I think he probably replied, "Doctor, what about Plavix?"

Seriously, this commercial goes on and on AND ON, as the daughter takes the role usually reserved for the unseen narrator, bleating the entire text of any Plavix brochure, right down to the "Plavix is not for everyone" throwaway disclaimer line. Daughter and Dad are riveted to the cartoons featuring blocked arteries and glowing entire human bodies.

Two quick questions: First, this guy knows he has PAD, but doesn't know about Plavix- if his doctor actually diagnosed him and didn't prescribe some expensive medication, I find that very, very strange. More likely this guy has been diagnosed only by Doctor Daughter, who is apparently determined to scare her dad into believing that his aching right leg is a sign of a much more serious disease that is likely to kill him at any moment.

Second- why doesn't this commercial end when the dad agrees to see the doctor, as he clearly is when he smiles and nods, and the daughter smiles and nods back? I can only imagine that it's because the makers of Plavix don't want you to actually ASK your doctor about their medication- they want you to be so terrified that little walls are being built in your arteries that you will DEMAND the drug, RIGHT NOW.

There was a great Tom Toles cartoon a few years ago in The Washington Post which featured a man sitting in front of a television set, watching a pharmecutical commercial. The TV says "Ask your doctor if this medication is right for you." The man watching TV responds "Is this medication right for me?" Pharmecutical commercials and websites aren't interested in keeping you informed about your "options." They are designed to send you running in terror to your doctor, armed with the "information" you "need" to convince him to prescribe this or that expensive, probably unnecessary drug (as if doctors really need convincing anyway.) Drugs are being sold like cars, fast food, and cell phones- "these are things that you NEED, right NOW, so go get them!" Because doctors are still being used as middlemen because of our annoying prescription drug laws, prospective users must be given the weapons needed to get the doctors to sign off.

Your leg aches? Maybe it's because you don't exercise. Maybe it's because you sleep on it. Maybe it's because the train doors slammed on it the other day. Better not take any chances- go get an expensive prescription for Plavix. Big Pharma, and your daughter, will thank you.