Monday, April 26, 2010

"Get a Garage!"

One of the most unintentionally hilarious moments of the putrid Star Wars prequels which littered the landscape throughout the turn of the century featured what I guess was supposed to be a "touching" scene between Natalie Portman and everyone's favorite overexposed adorable "droid," R2D2. If I remember correctly, the rolling trash compactor performed some pre-programmed function adequately, earning a preposterous gushing "thank you" from Portman's character- something along the lines of "we commend this R2 unit...." I can only guess that later scenes featuring Padme decorating a microwave and bestowing the Iron Cross on a toaster were cut due to time constraints. Anyway, watching a human expressing gratitude to a compilation of wires and light bulbs was funny for all the wrong reasons, and one of the few genuinely entertaining moments in the ill-advised second trilogy.

Which brings us to this commercial for Subaru. A solemn-looking guy pulls into the junkyard in a brand-new white Subaru, parking next to what clearly used to be an identical model which has been in a very bad accident. "A Subaru saved my life" our hero muses, as he looks over the mangled car, removes a journal of some sort, and then, apparently on a whim, twists the gear shift knob and takes it with him.

"I won't forget that" he concludes as he drives off with his memento. (Please note that as he's walking back toward his new car, he's putting the gear shift knob in his pocket. But then we see it sitting on the front seat next to the journal. Continuity Much, Subaru?)

Considering that he went out and bought an exact copy of the Car that Saved His Life, I'm willing to take this guy at his word- he Won't Forget That, Ever. I can see this idiot getting into bar fights with people who dare to casually insult Japanese cars. Or ask him why he's wearing a gear shift knob on a chain around his neck.

I was involved in a bad accident in my old Honda Civic DX some years back. It, too, was totaled. I suppose that one reason I wasn't badly hurt was because the car was engineered to protect the driver in the event of a crash. When I went to the junkyard to retrieve a few belongings from the trunk, it didn't even occur to me to pry off a piece of my soon-to-be-crushed car as a reminder of the day a drunken asshole slammed into me while I was waiting at a stop sign. I guess I'm just not that sentimental- in retrospect, I should have written a eulogy and taken a hubcap, at least.

What's this guy really going to do with that knob, anyway?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is the Cure worse than the Disease?

I admit, this was a tough one. But last year, I managed to find some pretty decent snark in Lance Armstrong's "Stand Up for Cancer" commercials, so poking fun at KFC's "Pink Buckets for Breast Cancer" should be doable, shouldn't it?

I think it's very nice that for every bucked of grilled or original recipe chicken (FRIED, which has been a dirty word over at KFC for quite some time now, but damn it, I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken and I'm over forty so I KNOW what "KFC" stands for) the fast-food corporation which merged with Taco Bell a few years back will donate a whole fifty cents to the fight against Breast Cancer. I really do. After all, how much does a bucket of this stuff cost nowadays? $15? Heck, that means KFC is willing to donate a whopping 3% of the price of each bucket. Pretty darned impressive.

But if you really want to contribute to the cause, is purchasing (and, presumably, helping your Dear Beloved Mother consume) a bucket of greasy, artery-clogging chicken the best way to go about it? Ok, I'm willing to concede that this stuff probably doesn't actually CAUSE breast cancer, either in laboratory rats or Mommies. It's not like Ben and Jerry's joining the fight against diabetes or M&M Mars donating a nickle for every candy bar purchased to defeat gingivitis. But still....

"This is for you, Mom. I'm determined that you won't die of breast cancer. So chow down on this pile of sludge, and then we'll go out for Blizzards at Dairy Queen. Maybe tomorrow we can get you one of those Double Down sandwiches."

Or- you could skip the Heart Attack in a Pail and just cut a check. Just a thought. Because really- if Mom keels over from a stroke instead of Breast Cancer, what exactly got accomplished here?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Continuing, Oddly Pointless Odyssey of Ellen Page

There is so much wrong with this commercial for Cisco featuring the apparently Aimlessly Wandering Ellen Page, I think I'll just be lazy and just list my observations:

1. Ms Page- star of such middle-school-age appropriate films as Hard Candy and Juno, is invited to be "this year's special guest" at Lunenberg Academy, a castle in the middle of nowhere which just SCREAMS Rich, Privileged, White Kids Only. Um, why? None of the kids seem to know who she is or care why she's there, because....

2. The only response to the oddly frozen, non-actress "teacher" (I mean, seriously- check out her total lack of emotional range during the three brief moments we can see her face) announcing that Ellen Page is here is a student announcing "We're Going on a Field Trip to China!!" Wow, Ms Page must feel really important right now- the kid might as well have yelled "who gives a shit? We're about to do something FUN!"

3. Miss Page, visibly startled, reveals that she had no set plan for the students of Aryan Academy by responding weakly "Gee....when I was a kid....we just went to" followed by a clip of Not Ellen Page being frightened by a cow, which leads to....

4. An appreciative laugh from her audience. Now, unless these kids could actually see inside Ms Page's head, this can only mean that they are laughing at the fact that their guest had to settle for a field trip to "the farm." Again- Indulged little brats.

5. "No seriously, where are you going?" Ms Page asks--- followed by the revelation that the "field trip to China" is just a video hookup with a classroom of imprisoned, oppressed, "behave or your parents will spend the next two years in a Re-Education Center" children of Inner Party Members provided to Upper Crust Prep by Cisco. Warms the heart.

So, what is the message here? That Ellen Page has so few projects lined up that she's decided to kill time to revisit all of her old childhood haunts, only to be shown again and again how much the Old Stomping Grounds have been changed by the technological wizardry of Cisco? That this year's Special Guest was recognized as so insignificant and unworthy of attention that a video "field trip to China" was arranged on the same day? That only schools which charge $40,000 per year tuitions can afford Cisco technology? Help me out here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another "Crisis" narrowly averted, thanks to Verizon

These "Moment of Truth" ads are already getting old. I've had more than enough of watching people being "rescued" from minor annoyances masquerading as major life crises by their stupid phones. And I wonder how much longer Verizon is going to subject us to commercials which all have the same message- "you should never, ever experience anything that varies from your carefully-planned life script, and you never will, IF you have a Verizon phone."

Look at this latest example: Mom has supplied pirate plates, pirate hats, pirate tablecloths, pirate cake, pirate fucking EVERYTHING for her overindulged little bundle of joy at his birthday party. Oh, but look, there's a hair out of place- a COWBOY has shown up, instead of a pirate!! Oh noes, what to do, what to do?

Well, what else? This is, after all, the "moment of truth." Mommy whips out her phone and presumably contacts the agency she contracted to entertain at her Social Event of the Season to get this "problem" worked out, NOW. And faster than you can say "let's KGB it!" the actor in the cowboy suit has been replaced by an actor in a pirate suit. "Crisis" avoided!

Seriously, ick. Ok, mom, so your pampered little spawn wanted a pirate theme. Assuming you hired a pirate actor, the agency ought to provide a pirate actor. So when a cowboy shows up, why isn't the answer to just phone the fucking agency and explain the error? Is it conceivable that this woman, upon realizing that an error was made, reacted by contacting another agency and paying premium prices for a last-minute appearance by a guy with a hook and an eyepatch? Because her Little One must have Everything? I mean, wouldn't a NORMAL human being explain the mistake to the cowboy actor, and let HIM contact the agency and fix the issue? This mom doesn't even wait for him to reach the crowd of kids, who might actually WELCOME a break from the monotonous pirate crap if it means a chance to ride on a horse.

And as if all this is not disgusting enough, check out our "hero" at the end of the commercial- she's wiping sweat off her brow, as if she just avoided a major disaster. Jesus Christ, it's a birthday party.

"Moment of Truth?" Really?

It isn't hard for me to imagine this woman reacting to raindrops by attempting to find a "Bring back the Sun" service on Bing. Because dammit, if you have Verizon, you should never ever EVER get less than 100% of what you want.

And so Verizon continues it's crusade to turn us into a nation of whiny, spoiled little brats who have no idea how to handle even the smallest amount of inconvenience or disappointment. In another era, "the pirate birthday party which featured a cowboy" might be a funny story passed down among family members for years. Thank God those days are over, replaced by "the pirate birthday party saved by Mommy and her ever-present Verizon phone."

I don't know- just doesn't seem to have the same staying power to me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Take advantage of our offer. We dare you, wussy."

"Who's idea was this?" sneers the unseen narrator, as the camera slooooowwwwly zooms in on some new Dodge Gas-guzzling Behemoth. Sure, you can drive it for sixty days before you decide you want to keep it. But- sixty days? Who needs sixty days? Gays? Girly-men? Momma's boys? "Who is that indecisive?" concludes the thoroughly nasty disembodied voice.

"The sixty days even though you won't need it" ad campaign, I must admit, is a pretty bold move by Dodge. I mean, I expect my intelligence to be insulted by pretty much every commercial. But here's Dodge essentially telling me that the only way I would take advantage of their newest offer is if I have some kind of character flaw. Sure, you can bring it back- but if you do, expect to be sneered at and to have your manhood questioned.

Other companies ought to try this- coupons could come with little disclaimers letting you know that coupons are really stupid, and you'll look idiotic if you try to use one. New cars could come with two years of free oil changes- and a notation that only LOSERS change their oil that often- and you aren't a LOSER, are you?

Hey Dodge: I am not interested in buying one of your oversized crudmobiles. I don't want to drive one for one day, ten days or sixty days. I decided before the end of your commercial that I want nothing to do with you or your craptacular, smarmy, manipulative company.

Decisive enough for you?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yeah, I'm putting my money on THIS guy

Scruffy twentysomething go-getter arrives by taxi in front of office building for "the biggest meeting since you've opened your design firm." I don't know what a "design firm" is, nor do I care. I'd rather focus on the evidence of this guy's inevitable failure as a businessperson.

He arrived, but his presentation didn't- because this moron left it sitting on the seat in the taxi he just exited. Notice please that this guy isn't juggling five things at once- hell, he doesn't even have a briefcase, yet he managed to leave behind the one thing he was supposed to bring to the freaking presentation- THE PRESENTATION. My guess is that he was too distracted updating his twitter account to remember it.

"Now, which network will you trust to email it, get it printed, and have it waiting upstairs?" Why, Verizon's 3G Network, of course. Except-- this guy is demonstrating his savvy business sense and level of responsibility by sending his presentation via email to the prospective customer's printer, using their resources and basically announcing "I'm so obviously the right person to do work for your business, I couldn't even manage to bring my own fricking copy of this Very Important Presentation across town to the meeting." And what if the copier is down? What if the Very Important Presentation jams it during copying? What if the copier is in use- you know, maybe, by the people who actually work there?

Great first impression, buddy. Show up without the presentation. Inform your prospective clients that Said Presentation (in COLOR, yet) is waiting in THEIR copying machine- all ONE COPY of it. Sheepishly explain that you brought a copy, but left it in the taxi. Conclude by urging prospective clients to hire YOUR "design firm" to handle important work for their company- because hey, if you're playing the latest movie trailer on your Blackberry and you forget the work you've done for them on the bus, subway, park bench or taxi, no problem! You can get it right back!

And if he loses his phone? Don't be absurd- as if this guy would ever put down his phone!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Life is so Simple when you are as dumb as a bag of rocks

I don't know why America's Natural Gas companies are spending so much money trying to convince us that we should follow our nation's Lowest Common Denominator in deciding which way to go in achieving Energy Independence. If you watch MSNBC, CNN, etc. you have probably been rendered numb by the apparently endless parade of "I don't know anything about this, but here's my opinion" choads willing to stand in front of bright blue backgrounds and offer pearls of ignorance concerning this very important topic. You've certainly noticed by now that all of these Average Americans have several things in common:

1. They each give the same requisite, passing, grudging reference to solar and wind power before casually explaining why it's stupid and won't work

2. They each tell us in an offhandedly matter-of-fact manner that the United States has practically ENDLESS supplies of oil, and gee, why aren't we getting at it? (Because it's under those stupid National Parks and Wildlife refuges, or within frisbee distance of popular beaches, but we aren't told this)

3. They are very easily persuaded by the "argument" for Natural Gas, even while admitting that they don't know what it is or how it would work

4. They all agree that this means "problem solved, ("Eureka") yay, glad we didn't have to give that more than ten seconds of thought or visit more than one website to get the "answer."

It was hard to choose which video to embed for this post. I finally decided to pick this one, because it does vary slightly from the usual message. This woman comes right out and admits that she truly doesn't have the slightest clue about the subject she's been asked to comment on- "Giga What? I mean, it sounds like a lot!"- and that America's Natural Gas providers convinced her that they have all the answers in roughly the time it takes for an average person (not her) to tie her shoes. I mean, seriously, this woman makes Victoria Jackson look like a candidate for Mensa.

And she's perfectly happy with that, because she's achieved her "Giga Eureka." I'm sure she's really proud of that line. Or she will be, once she finds out what "giga" means. Next- looking up the word "Eureka." As soon as Glenn Beck goes to commercial. Because seriously- "I was just reading...? Not buying it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finally, a Commercial which features Dad as a Role Model!

Here's an interesting twist to the "infantile people can't, and shouldn't, be able to do one damned thing without consulting their phones first" theme, which is not exclusive to Verizon Wireless and the 3G Network.

A family of intentionally vague ethnicity arrives at the entrance to The Magic Kingdom, ready for a day of long lines, crowds, noise, bad food and the occasional roller coaster ride. "It's the moment of truth" the narrator tells us, as Mommy pulls out her phone, her red map of the United States of Freckles pops up, and the kids lean forward to see whatever the hell it is Mommy has to do on her phone THIS TIME.

"Moment of truth?" I had to watch this commercial for a few times before I figured out what the intended message was- this woman is actually trying to use her phone to find out which rides have the shortest lines, so the family can plan their journey through the maze of pasty old parents, surly texting teenagers, and whiny adolescents with maximum efficiency. That the lines aren't getting shorter- and no one is getting any younger- as they stand there waiting for Mommy to pronounce that Verizon has once again Shown the Way doesn't seem to occur to any of them, except....

"Where's dad?" one of the kid asks. Dad? Who is dad? Oh, that guy who came with us and purchased our Unlimited Talking Plans, is that who you are talking about? Yeah, where IS dad?

There he is- he's given a silent "Fuck This" to what is probably Episode #16,758 in the Adventures of Helpless Mom and Her All-Knowing Phone and has ditched his family to jump on a ride.

Let's set aside the fact that this means Dad has gone through the entrance without them, and that if he's carrying the money, they ain't getting in. Let's instead focus on the way Verizon has just snarked all over it's own concept-- We are told that Mommy NEEDS to use her phone to find the rides with the shortest lines ( I think that most sane people choose rides based on what looks like the most fun, not which have the shortest lines, which is why you don't see a lot of people on the Teacups or Ferris Wheel) but then we are shown that Dad has managed to score a ride WITHOUT waiting for Verizon to Tell Him What To Do.

In fact, Dad has broken free of Verizon AND his dimwitted, phone-dependent wife and children, and is ahead of them in the Having Fun department. Because he IGNORED the fact that Verizon's 3G Network could have provided him with a map of rides the family could have spent the day staring at instead. Imagine that!

The kids might appreciate this, but I suspect that Mommy will be very disapproving, and will be reporting her non-conformist husband to The Network at the end of the day. I mean, where does he get off finding rides by just looking around? He will be assimilated, dammit!

But until then- Dad, I salute you. The only way you could have played this better is if you had taken the phone out of Mommy's hand and chucked it into the nearest deep fryer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Laura and Randy Story, OR "Aiming Low-Making it Work for You"

Time for another nugget of hardened bile from our friends at EHarmony. I've seen a few pretty snarkable commercials for this "service" lately; I think I'll take them one at a time and get multiple posts out of them. Thanks in advance, EHarmony.

Let's start by meeting Laura. "By the time I met Randy, I knew what I wanted" this fortysomething, pasty, not very interesting looking woman tells the camera. Yes, I'm sure that's true- by the time you hit your forties, you had long since decided that what you wanted was to NOT DIE ALONE.

So you were willing to settle for Randy, a fat, fortysomething doofus who likes to play the accordion. More about that later. Let's hear from Randy now:

"Everyone is complex- we oversimplify ourselves, and we oversimplify each other a lot." On second thought, let's not hear from Randy. Because I have no idea what he just said. People are complex-- so we oversimplify? And that's a good thing or a bad thing? Are people just too complicated without a computer dating service to match them? What?

Well, ok- one more comment from Randy before we wrap this up: "I put that on my EHarmony thing, that I play the Accordion."

Laura: "Did you?"

Randy: "No." (laughs.)

I can only think of two ways to interpret this: Either this guy didn't tell EHarmony that he plays the accordion, leaving Laura to find out the horrible truth on her own, or Randy is referring to the present, and is still using EHarmony to find his soul mate. Sorry, Laura. You're ok for now, but Randy's still playing the electronic field. He thinks he can do better. I'm not so sure.

I'll wrap up by getting back to Laura's original comment- "...By the time I met Randy, I knew what I was looking for." You know, I find it really hard to believe that you couldn't find an overweight, average-looking, lonely geek who lies about his musical instrument preference without paying an online dating service to do it for you. I also find it really hard to believe that Randy is what you described as your dream match when you filled out your profile. But hey, I'm happy for you if you are happy for yourself, and wish you all the best.

Until Randy is "matched" with someone who doesn't know about his accordion, of course.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can "Punch Dub Days" PLEASE be over now?

Enough already. I mean it. Enough of watching drooling passive-aggressive mouth-breathers looking for excuses to punch people in the arm. Enough of these same passive-aggressive morons thinking that there's something clever about buying in to the latest corporate ad campaign (you know it's the same crowd of people who, when Punch Dub Days are finally concluded, will go right back to singing "Five Dollar Foot Longs" for the Subway cameras and "Freeeeesssssshhhh" for the good people at Maxwell House.

Which "Punch Dub Days" commercial finally drove me over the edge (no pun intended?) This one for the Volkswagen Tiguan, which features a shiny black VW roaring through an urban center at roughly 80 mph, leaving clouds of dust and people punching each other in it's wake. People punching each other HARD- a woman slamming her fist into her friend's shoulder gets an "ouch!" before the requisite "Where?", for example. The damn car is moving so freaking fast, that the "punchline" (sorry) is that while one person announces "black one!" and hits his friend in the shoulder, the other person can only respond "where?"- because the car is long gone.

One person in this commercial is piling boxes onto a truck, and is almost knocked off balance by his asshole "friend" who feels compelled to punch him in the arm and announce "black one!" The box-carrier is not in the least bit annoyed, of course. He just wants to know "where?"

Meanwhile, the black VW Tiguan continues to blast it's way through what are almost certainly 25-mph zones when the roads are not closed and a Professional Driver is not at the wheel. Don't try to cross the street in this town- or a sharp punch to the shoulder and "black one!" might be the last thing you feel and hear before becoming a wet spot in this car's grille.

Here's the big problem, Volkswagen: When "Slug Bug" was a cute, inoffensive driving game back in the 70s, it worked because Volkswagens didn't look like every other freaking car on the road. Volkswagen Bugs were different. The were unique. They had their own look- they were the anti-car, the car that gave the middle finger to the idea of cars as status symbols. Driving a Volkswagen was a way of announcing to the world "I'm not buying in. I want to get from Point A to Point B, and I don't give a shit about showing well for the neighbors while I do it." My first two cars were Volkswagen Bugs. I froze in the winter, melted in the summer, and hoped I wouldn't get into an accident, because they didn't have seatbelts. But I never had any problem finding my car in a crowded parking lot, because my car didn't look like all the others.

There's nothing unique about the 21st century version of Volkswagens. They don't look markedly different from Hondas, Toyotas, or Hyundais. Creating a car that looked like All The Other Cars on the Road was your decision, not ours.

So stop trying to recapture the past, ok?

And please, take my word for it- except for the people you paid to be mentally deficient stooges in your commercials, nobody wants to play "Punch Dub." It's really not fun to be punched in the arm by an idiot when one of your SameMobiles drives by, and getting punched doesn't inspire people to buy one. Go figure.

And please- go out and find a new ad campaign. Now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Perfectly Honest, Perfectly Deceptive Ad

I have to admit, I'm actually impressed by these guys.

"Does you car have less than 175,000 miles on it? Does it have a Warranty that is about to expire, or no warranty at all? If so, you need to call American Car Warranties."

"Once you join American Car Warranties, you won't pay one penny for any covered repair, ever again!"

Did you catch it? Let's reverse the tape and replay it, something most people can't do when they hear this commercial on their car radios:

"Once you join American Car Warranties, you won't pay one penny for any covered repair, ever again!"

Well, ok. And you won't pay for anything in the store that is free. And you'll get ten percent off every item that is listed "Ten Percent Off." And you won't pay a DIME more than the advertised price, plus taxes, tags and fees. "You won't pay one penny for any covered repair?" Really? And what about repairs that aren't covered? "Um....well......I would refer the plaintiff to the original ad....."

This is pretty funny, in a sad sort of way. The slick wordplay no doubt gets the suckers on the phone, where they are treated to even faster talk and cleverly omitted details designed to extract money from their wallets. But I'm reminded that in this age of economic uncertainty, more and more people are holding on to their old cars with expired warranties, worried about the cost of repairs- and here comes these shysters and their glowing half-promises to provide a BS warranty, using subtle language to disguise the fact that for the most part, they are selling NOTHING.

"You'll never pay for another covered repair, ever again." Perfectly honest, and perfectly deceptive at the same time. Well played, American Car Warranties.

Monday, April 5, 2010

NCR(?)- Once Again, the snark writes itself sometimes

I'm listening to my XM Radio when an announcer suddenly declares in a solemn, calm manner "Please pay attention. This is a Public Announcement."

Ah, the Emergency Broadcasting System, perhaps? Nope...

"The Government and Banks have seized hundreds of houses and cars in foreclosure proceedings. This property is now available for purchase by the public at extremely low prices."

"The Government and Banks are very motivated to sell this property." And here comes the hilariously sleazy kicker: "People whose last names begin with the letters A through M may start calling for information now. Callers whose last names begin with the letters N through Z may start calling at 9 AM tomorrow."

Seriously, can you believe this crap? And in case you didn't get it the first time---

"Again, this is a Public Announcement." Yes, like all commercials are. Messages for the public. Probably why it's being broadcast over the air.

I'm really certain that if your name starts with N and you call today, you'll be told to hang up and call again tomorrow. Sure, you will. And I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there whose last names start with the letter A who feel like they've won the lottery, getting the jump on their neighbors with the opportunity to snatch up property seized by "the government and banks."

Again, the stunning lack of honesty exhibited by the ad men for some commercials is just astounding. I guess that in these days, the only rule is "make the sale." Integrity? Accuracy? That's for the suckers and the saps. Say whatever you have to say to get the dopes on the phone, be it "Obama has signed the Credit Card Reform have the consumer right to cancel 90% of your debts" or "the Government and the Banks want you to buy a house for next to nothing."

BTW, I'm not sure if this particular band of crooks and liars work for NCR, CNR....(they'd be right at home with the RNC)....because I was driving and unlike most of the people I see on the roads today, I don't feel comfortable attempting to do three things at once while 0perating an automobile, so I didn't jot it down. Whatever the initials are, they are used by several different corporations, which means I have to give the maggots who made this some points for deviousness, I suppose. Still....

I just hope these guys got a good price for their souls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Internet Speedway called- they want their schtick back

Last year, in one of my first posts, I complained about Internet Speedway's "stream of consciousness" radio ads- ones which featured a DJ type responding to fading music by telling his audience "back to the show in a minute, folks, but-- have you heard about this new program where you can make BIG MONEY from home just by going on the internet and selling things people need anyway?" This would follow about 30 seconds of "I'm just talkin' here" banter and the rustling of paper as the "host" searches for he helpful toll-free number, "just in case" anyone in his audience is interested in checking out this "cool deal." Whatever.

Well, now one of the many Gold Pushers (the New York Mint) on the radio has basically tweaked the Internet Speedway script so it may used to peddle everyone's favorite Armageddon Currency. A rather pleasant-sounding woman asks her audience "hey, have you heard about this?" She then gives the standard "During the Depression Everyone Wanted Gold as Security Against Bad Times....finally in the 1930s the Government took these coins out of circulation....but now a stack of these gleaming, uncirculated gold coins has been found..." (I love how this part gets adjusted from time to time-- the coins are found in an old Confederate warship, an Indiana farmhouse, a basement, an attic, Europe...and now they've just been "found.)

The pleasant-sounding woman pretends to put down the script for a moment and think out loud- "can you imagine that? Holding history in your hand?" Groan. "Well, for this free historical information...(double groan. What exactly is historical information? And I promise you, "free" does not mean "for no charge" in the world of the New York Mint (not affiliated with the US Mint- but if you confuse the two, that's your problem.)

When is this crap going to stop? I'm not even going to comment on the ridiculous notion that buying gold coins "as a hedge against inflation" is a good investment. I'll stick to the patent dishonesty of the script- the pleasant-sounding woman did NOT suddenly come across some "interesting" information she just "wanted to share" with her audience. What I hate is when commercials pretend that they are not commercials. Why would anyone trust a company that feels the need to be deceptive in the delivery of it's sales pitch?

Heck, why would anyone trust a company that would use the template from Internet Speedway?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All Hail Bank of America

If you've seen Bank of America's new "we are here for you" commercials, you know that this massive, money-glutted credit company/investment bank/ blood-sucking whore of a corporation thinks it deserves credit for pretty much keeping the US Economy from falling into the abyss these days.

"Homeowners: When you are ready to refinance..."" the narrator announces, showing one prospective small business owner (they are the backbone of America, you know) after another shaking hands with smiling, well-dressed Bank of America toadies, celebrating the fact that they've just sealed a pact with the devil ----errr, I mean, taken out a loan from Bank of America.

"We've got money to lend!" is the message. Yeah, no kidding. In the spring of 2009, Bank of America fell ass-backwards into Money to Lend, in the form of a $20 billion bailout check from the US Government courtesy of the TARP program. That doesn't mean BOA has $20 billion to lend though- first it had to hand off $700 million in bonus checks to the vultures over at newly-acquired Merrill Lynch. Then it had to pay a $33 million fine for failing to disclose the specifics of these bonus payments to their benefactors (you and me, if you live in the United States of Corporate America.)

Bank of America is the real hero of our age, swooping in to save us from another Great Depression by being willing to loan us our own money, at significant interest, of course. Makes you feel warm all over, doesn't it? You'll excuse me, BOA, if I don't sponsor you for the Congressional Medal of Freedom in the near future. I don't know- there's just something about a guy picking my pocket and then offering to loan me the money he took that doesn't quite sit right. I'm sure it's just me.

Full Disclosure-- I took out a Bank of America debt consolidation loan in 2002, to help pay for my Congressional campaign and reduce credit card debt. BOA wanted me to pay it off in $221 per month installments for-- well, roughly forever. I paid it off at the rate of $600 per month, much to the displeasure of BOA pencil-pushers, who never tired of sending me "convenience checks" and "helpful reminders" that I could "skip a payment" whenever I wished and that I really didn't "need" to send more than the minimum. No problem- that was just doing business. But you'd think they'd have learned just a LITTLE humility after they had to ask ME for a loan.

Yeah, right.