Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Slim Step toward Honesty in Advertising

Remember back in the 80s, when it was "Give us a Week, We'll Take off the Weight?" Remember all those commercials where women (no men, ever) would talk about how darned EXCITED they were to be replacing meal after meal with Serve Very Cold So You Can't Taste It cans of Carnation Instant Breakfast disguised as some great diet breakthrough? Remember how they tried so hard to convince us that you could get a "full feeling" that "lasted for hours" by drinking 12 ounces of chocolate milk?

Well, it's a new century, and let's give the people at Slim-Fast a little credit. They've finally admitted that no, those cans of Basically Nothing are no more filling than a cup of Yogurt, and yes, your ears will be ringing with hunger roughly 30 minutes after consuming one. So instead of being angry at being lied to all these years, we're supposed to just say "thank you" and buy this NEW product- Slim Fast Candy Bars, designed to keep us Slightly Less Famished For Real Food for up to four more hours!

Super. An hour after guzzling your overpriced can of sand and milk, you can "enjoy" a rice cake laced with enough sweetener to trick your brain into thinking you are eating something resembling a food product- almost.

Since all of this really does nothing except constantly remind the user that he or she is ON A DIET and therefore REALLY HUNGRY ALL THE TIME, may I make a small suggestion? Forget the Magic Pill diet "food" crap and spend that money on whole grains, skim milk, and veggies instead. Whole grains have this really cool way of making you feel full BECAUSE YOU ARE FULL. They don't leave you desperate for something further to eat ten minutes later. Carrots and Celery do the same thing. And here's a bonus, which you probably don't care about- these things are REAL FOOD which is GOOD FOR YOU, and it's stuff you can eat for the rest of your life, not just until you've dropped the weight.

Just something to think about before you walk out of the grocery store with your cart filled with Slim-Fast Fake Food Products- Slim-Fast shakes, bars, cereal, etc. etc. ETC. But heck, it's your money. And your sanity.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm a total void, but that's ok because my Ancestors were awesome!

There's absolutely nothing significant about me, or my life. In fact, my life is so incredibly devoid of meaning, I spend roughly a third of it clicking "refresh" hoping that something will show up in my Gmail and obsessively checking my Facebook page for Notifications.

Then one day, I heard about this website called I heard that it involves a lot of typing and clicking, and that's right up my alley. So I went to the site and started typing in the names of my mother and my father and my grandparents. And just when I was getting kind of bored, I found a leaf! Wow, a LEAF!!

Naturally, I clicked on it. And there it was- my grandfather's uncle's old library card!! You can bet I printed that up fast! Then I kept going- and more leafs popped up! I started clicking, and I found all kinds of fascinating crap- did you know that one of my second cousins twice removed was a good friend of Dwight Eisenhower's barber's best friend? Or how about this- MY Great-Grandfather once lived within fifty miles of Wendell Willkie's tailor's mother!

Nobody ever told me any of this! It may be because it's inane, trivial, seriously-who-could-possibly-give-a-flying-damn bullshit. Or it may be because my family likes to hide things from me. I've often suspected that I'm adopted.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah- about 16 hours in, I hit a snag. No leaves! So I typed in alternate spellings, imaginary addresses, and finally started to just pull names out of old movies. When I typed in "Atticus Finch," I got more leafs! Thank God, because I was THIS CLOSE to actually getting up off my butt and doing something!

Well, I ended up learning so very much about my family that I never knew or even imagined I could ever possibly care about- like, one of my ancestors wore this really funny hat. And I had another relative who took a train to California once. WEIRDNESS!!

And all it took was, a hefty subscription fee, and four straight days in front of the computer obsessively clicking and printing away. Sure my back hurts pretty much all the time now, and living on cheetos and diet coke for 72 hours isn't for everybody, and everyone I know runs screaming from me whenever I approach with my cardboard box of Really Cool Information I Found, but it was sooooo worth it.

Because now I know I'm Somebody. Or at least, someone in my family once was Somebody. Maybe I didn't defend Tom Robinson from a trumped-up rape charge, but I'll always be remembered as the person in my family who cared enough to use up his personal days gathering up all this awesome data. I bet that gets me my own Leaf someday!!

Remember, you don't have to know what you are looking for. You just have to start looking. Why? Well, to tell you the truth, I haven't the slightest idea.

Oh right, I forgot- because you're online anyway. And no one wants to chat with you on Facebook.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ok, tell me that this little pile of nothing is a "successful" ad

Two worthless dicks who can't be bothered to keep their suburban land monster on the highway or streets instead drive the damn thing into the middle of the desert, dress themselves as Indiana Jones wannabees, and spend a day trampling over wildlife in the desert. Lovely.

And the hi-LARIOUS punchline comes when these jerks can't find where they parked their Subaru Outback, no matter how many times they shatter the peace and quiet of the desert by pushing the "lock" button on the key remote (I'm sure that all hikers in the area appreciate the little reminder of suburbia, assholes. But just in case, don't forget to crank down the windows and blast your favorite "music" as you exit nature and make your way over to the Golden Corral for a few hours of "comfort food" after your day of stepping on lizards and poaching cacti.)

Of course, the showroom-shiny SUV (yeah, it looks like it's been sitting in the middle of the Mohave for hours. Of course it does) is sitting right behind that rock. Of course, the two glue-sniffers can't find it because...well, because they are really, really stupid. They've got this $30,000 SUV, but I've got an $80 wrist GPS- guess which one of us going to find our car?

I have two suggestions for Subaru- first, stop being so cheap with your ads. I'm sure these two "actors" earned next to nothing, but really, Paul Hogan is probably still available for not much more. Second, please give us the Conclusion to this "funny" slice of life- I'm thinking bleached bones, being picked at by vultures.

But that's the same suggestion I gave to the music industry when I was harassed with the video for Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much." They didn't listen, either. So I'll just finish up by pointing out to Subaru that every single comment on this video posted on YouTube refers not to the car being advertised, but to the stupid song in the background. Well done, Subaru- you've created a demand. For a stupid song.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So much to hate, so little time to post. Thanks for Nothing, Sprint!

Good lord, what is going on in this commercial?

We've got what might laughingly be referred to as a "family" sitting around the table in a disturbingly bright, unnaturally clean suburban mansion-- I guess they are eating dinner, except this lifeless, pale group of zombies is clearly so drained of life that all they can do is mumble questions softly in between texting away on their stupid phones.

This is a seriously sad advertisement for Sprint's Now Network, apparently set sometime in the very near future, in which people can only communicate through Facebook posts and Tweets even when they are sitting two freaking feet away from each other. This would be downright heartbreaking, except....why would anyone want to communicate with these people AT ALL?

Husband: "you just posted on your Facebook page that your parents are moving in with us?" (The parents would be elderly people sitting at the table....either they are drunk, or this is what long-term exposure to these life-sucking dickweeds does to you...)

Wifey gives the usual "Oh don't worry, it didn't cost me anything to post that" bs which is standard for these hateful, smoking piles of excrement which pass for "commercials."

And now it gets REALLY creepy-- bloodless, Has Obviously Never Seen The Sun And Has Zero Interest In Doing So Daughter gets a tweet from mom announcing that Grandma and Grampa's corpses will be occupying daughter's room. Mommy, with all the warmth and understanding of Joan Crawford- or maybe Elly Patterson- offers to help her put together a tweet which expresses her feelings on the subject. What the HELL is going on with Mom here? Why is she acting like she's got a gun in her ribs, or is one broken dish away from painting the house with the blood of her relatives? Why do I suddenly suspect that this family does not want to know dinner's Secret Ingredient? Why do I worry that this woman has gone running for the shelter of her Mother's Little Helper just one time too many?

Sprint- why do you insist on showing as your primary customers such THOROUGHLY DISTURBED PEOPLE who are clearly SOCIOPATHS who desperately NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP? Are you telling us that only amoral sub-humans would want to use your service, or that using your service turns people into amoral sub-humans? Because based on your commercials, I can't see any Option C.

Look, guys, you've won: Based on my daily observations of life in this Year of Our Lord 2011, a large segment of the population can't find it's way out of the driveway without consulting a cell phone. I see far more texting and cellphone yakking than I do face to face conversations. See that white flag? That means we give- Society was a nice experiment while it lasted, but it's over now. We are a nation of the Walking Dead, and our number one goal is to avoid eye contact while reducing all communications to typed characters on a screen.

So why can't you be good winners, at least, and stop subjecting us to this hateful trash?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Starting of a Brand New Debt

"Blueprint." "Split." "Chase what matters."

"We've figured out that cute buzzwords and catchphrases have the awesome ability to cloud the mind, dull the senses, and convince you that there's something radically different about this particular credit card."

"Oh, and graphics that make you think that this credit card is as fun to use as your I-Phone."

I'll admit, I don't get what Chase is trying to sell here at ALL. As near as I can tell, this is what we are being told- if you buy a cup of coffee with your Chase Sapphire Card, you may choose to pay that debt off right away "to avoid interest." (Yes, because the last thing you want to be stuck with is 9% interest on a $1.70 cup of Joe from your favorite pretentious coffee stop.) But for BIG purchases- say, a piece of rock you plan to use to seal the deal with your girlfriend- you can choose to pay monthly.

Um, ok: How is this any different from EVERY OTHER CREDIT CARD OUT THERE? Back when I used to carry a balance, I DISTINCTLY remember having the option to pay it off all at once, or monthly. I could also calculate how many months it would take to pay off the balance, and I've never even HAD a Chase Sapphire Card with Split and Blueprint and bouncing graphics! How did I manage THAT?

I also love the "available only to Chase customers" line: In other words, the "benefits" of this card (and I still can't figure out what they are) are available only to card holders. Good to know, Chase.

Since I can't for the life of me figure out how pushing imaginary buttons on a credit card makes life any easier- or debt any more manageable- maybe I should just finish up by suggesting that this guy's love interest might want to rethink the idea of marrying a guy who uses a credit card to buy a freaking cup of coffee. Because the only really GOOD way to manage debt is to STAY OUT OF IT. And one simple step in the process is to pay cash for stuff like cups of coffee. It's amazing how low the interest rate is on purchases you make with cash; these morons should give it a try.

Meanwhile, one more time! "Split!" "Blueprint!" "Chase what Matters!" Ahh, gotta love the world of advertising. All about the buzz words, all the time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

More fun from the Golden Feed Bin

For the second time in only eight days, I'm compelled to post on the disgusting, uniquely American phenomenon that is Golden Corral and it's Celebration of Gluttony Ad campaign.

I'm going to be especially mean-spirited with this one, because, come on: That woman does not need to be sitting down to a dinner of bacon-wrapped sirloin, ok? Hey lady, see that husband you are trying really hard to make a widower? See those little kids you apparently don't care to see graduate from High School? Heck, see that expanding waistline of your own? Notice how you can't even see the freaking scale anymore, let alone keep track of your expanding girth? Ever hear of the freaking Body Mass Index?

What's next? "Who's got chicken- dipped in beer batter- fried in butter and onions- wrapped in bacon and sausage links- served with all the hush puppies I can eat- for about ten dollars? 'Cause we're HUNGRY!"

Oh, and that "punchline"- what the hell?

Whale...errr, wife: "Ten Bucks??"

Husband: "That's hot!"

Talk about not even trying. I can only hope that the camera cut away before it could register the reaction of those two poor kids- embarrassed cringing, wincing, and glances around the "restaurant," praying that none of their friends see them sitting at the same table with these "witty" pigs who at least twice found each other attractive enough to engage in sexual intercourse.

(I'd also like to point out here another annoying theme in Golden Corral commercials- the insistence of the ad men in portraying a "typical family" as having a son who looks like he'll be a carbon copy of Dad, and a daughter who looks like she'll grow up to be the spitting image of Mom. I really hate that.)

Hey, maybe that's what Golden Corral's real purpose is: to create a nation of flabby, ugly thirty-somethings with so much heart damage that breeding has become out of the question. Either that or a race of human-cow hybrids with four chins and no taste buds. Take your pick. I just wish these people would get a sitter instead of passing on their self-destructive habits to the next generation.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Saving your way into the poorhouse

There are so many of these Chase Sapphire commercials, and they are all so forehead-slapping stupid, that my guess is that I will be snarking on several of them over the coming weeks. I would just hate to leave any of them out.

In this logic-twisting episode, a guy is "plagued" by his stalker/brother's confusion over the "benefit" of using a Chase Sapphire Debit Card. Seems the stalker/loser has decided to become a poster boy for the saying "a little information in the hands of an idiot is a very, very dangerous thing" and because he gets cash back on every purchase, is determined to purchase everything, including things for the object of his...err, sibling rivalry?

Yeah, this makes lots of sense. I get a couple of pennies back every time I buy something with my card? Get out of the way, I'm going to use my card to buy stuff I don't even need or want! Because it's all about getting those pennies! Not only that, but I'll feel convinced that I've pulled off some kind of coup if I can buy stuff for YOU with MY card, because haha I've nailed down those pennies for ME, sucker!

Do I really have to explain how incredibly dumb this is (especially the final scene, where the guy who has just had his gasoline purchased for him acts as if he's been bested, AGAIN?) The guy with the lightning draw with his Chase Sapphire Debit Card can follow me around anytime, ok? I'll even play along, acting irritated if not downright infuriated at his ability to beat me to the punch and pay for my purchases before I can get my own card out. Darn it, I've been cheated out of my pennies again! Here's a fist wave for ya, buddy!

(And oh, by the way, I sure HOPE you don't show up at my next stop- I'm on my way to Penny's to buy a new suit. You'd BETTER not pull this over there. I'm WARNING you!)

Seriously- why can't MY brothers be this stupid? Maybe in real life they are too busy buying hundreds of dollars worth of junk over at Best Buy in order to nail down those $10 gift cards? Maybe because they aren't the products of inbreeding (seriously, what's with the 'Dueling Banjos' bit?)

Ugh, the Stupid. It burns. Especially when it comes in the form of a glowing blue card, wielded by a clueless idiot.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ok, here's the plan- Get married! Outlive your husband! Inherit! Get married again! Lather, Rinse, Repeat!!

This "long version" of a truly bizarre Raymond James investment commercial isn't so much insulting as it is disturbing. I can take the joke highlighted in the "short version"- a "fastidious librarian" was so careful with her money, and so wise in her choice of investment strategies (thanks to Raymond James) that when she retired and failed to die at an appropriate age (whatever that is) everything worked out fine.

The short version has her simply enjoying her retired life, engaging in all kinds of fun activities as the whole world is open to her, thanks to her never-ending portfolio income. It didn't matter that she made squat as a librarian- the meagre investments she made have blossomed into a fortune (again, thanks to the wizards at Raymond James.)

In the long version, we see the real reason why life continues to be good for the fastidious librarian. The key to her financial security is not Raymond James- it's her willingness to get married again (and again?) and her ability to find wealthy guys who want to marry her. Um, how does Raymond James manage to take credit for this?

And I'm not even going to get into the Honeymoon scene. Let's just say that's an image I wish I could wash from my brain. And that I hate you, Raymond James.

So what's my real beef with this ad? Not the differences between the short version and the long version, really. It's the conceit involved- Raymond James is actually trying to convince us that if you make $30,000 per year as a librarian but save your money carefully and invest with Raymond James, you can retire at 65 and spend the next 60-plus years gallivanting around the world having nothing but fun. Give me a freaking break, ok? Especially since what they MEAN over at Raymond James is that if you make $30,000 per year as a librarian, marry very well, and are willing to marry well AGAIN after you retire, you'll get by just fine. But wouldn't that be the case WITHOUT Raymond James?

This almost makes me appreciate the eTrade Babies. Well ok, no it doesn't. But I don't know any other way to end this post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Useful Idiots are back- and this time, they've got "evidence!"

I was very skeptical about the process of drilling for Natural Gas; I thought, is it really safe? Didn't I hear something about the dangers of the process called "Fracking," or Fracturing of rock to stimulate the development of Natural Gas "wells?"

And didn't I just recently see an excellent documentary on HBO called "Gasland," which gives us interviews with people whose ground water has been permanently poisoned by natural gas drilling. Something about yellow water, brown water, water they are warned by medical professionals not to drink, water that kills kids and wildlife and turns once-fertile land into toxic waste sites- but heck, who needs water? I mean, America's insatiable energy "needs" must take precedent, right?

Still, I was very concerned- until this commercial. It's not just that this intelligent-looking woman is calmly explaining to us how Natural Gas is the answer to all those energy "needs." It's that she's quoting the New York Times, and she's doing it in that incredibly self-righteous "look, this is The Truth" tone that simply cannot be argued with.

Now, what exactly is she saying here? "The New York Times, And I Quote, (try to be a little more pretentious, lady) tell us that a technique for drilling natural gas is spreading around the world." Um, and? What does this even mean? Here are some other things that originated in the United States and spread around the world: Sugar as a staple in the everyday diet. Texting. The Spanish Flu. How exactly does "spreading around the world" translate into "It's a good thing, see?"

Oh, but it's The New York Times. The Gray Old Lady of the print media, the Bible of honest, hard-hitting and above all ACCURATE journalism. If it's in The Times, it must be so, right? I mean, when I was skeptical about Yellow Cake Uranium (even after the President told me about it- call me cynical) the Times came to my rescue and erased all my doubts. And when I allowed myself to wonder whether Saddam Hussein really did have WMDs, it was the brilliant, Just-the-Truth reporting of the New York Times which set me straight.

So if The Times tells me that Natural Gas drilling is safe and clean (though I'll give the ad men credit- this is never actually argued in the ad- it's just strongly implied that we ought to be doing it, right now, in every corner of ever state,) it Must Be So, right? I mean, the New York Times is the ultimate voice of authority in a cloudy, uncertain world, isn't it?

I think all commercials should include testimonials from The New York Times- preferably written by Judith Miller. I mean, who could argue with The Times?

Monday, February 14, 2011

eTrade- Not even trying anymore

The pathetic thing is, companies tend to save their BEST ads for the Super Bowl.

This commercial, which debuted during the Big Game, is a big, stupid pile of half-assed non-effort that doesn't even reach the usual levels of intelligence we've come to expect from our friends at Etrade. We have the baby again, with the same creepy blank eyes and deadpan boring-as-hell-get-to-the-funny summary of what Etrade does for it's customers. But the level of contempt the ad men have for their product, and especially for their viewers, reaches new heights here. The baby is constantly interrupted by- get this- a SNEEZING CAT!!

(Hi guys- John was suddenly taken ill, and he asked me to finish this blog post for him. I'm sure I know what he was gonna say, so I'll just pick up where he left off:

Oh, someone help me out here! My ribs are splitting!! I mean, I haven't been this out-of-control ROTFLMAO since the last Larry the Cable Guy monologue!! And just when I think I might be able to breathe and grab myself a tissue to wipe off the tears that have been streaming down my face....are you ready? The baby says....oh God, I can barely type this I'm shaking so hard with laughter...."I TOLD you to get a Flu Shot!!"

I don't know what happened at YOUR Super Bowl party, but this was the highlight of mine. Beer and chips got spat out. Backs got slapped. The punchline was repeated over and over again. The whole room got quiet whenever Fox took a break from that boring game between those two teams- who were they, again?- because we all hoped we'd see that OMIGOD SO FUNNY commercial again.

I think these commercials are just the best. I mean, come on- nobody really wants to hear about stocks, and trading is what you do with your fantasy football team. There are a lot of places where you can go make money or whatever that deal is all about. But when you need your fix of talking babies and sneezing cats (OMIGOD as soon as I finish this I'm watching it again!) Etrade is the only game in town!

I sure hope there's a farting monkey in the next Etrade commercial. And know what would be AWESOME? If Larry the Cable guy made an appearance. He could say something like "Get'er done!" That would Rock!)

--John Jamele's teen-aged intern

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1000 Ways to Destroy your Kindle

Where's the disclaimer? or Don't try this at home, or anywhere else!

I own a Kindle- this version, in fact. I love it. I take it everywhere I think I will have a chance to do some reading. It was a birthday present last August, which makes it even better because I didn't have to pay for it. However, I assume full responsibility for the way I treat my Kindle, and understand that if anything happens to it, I will have to replace it myself.

So whenever I see this commercial, I simultaneously cringe and shake my head at the utter stupidity that's on my screen. Kindles are very light, and anyone who has ever picked one up doesn't need to be told that they are quite fragile. They consist of glass and hard plastic "protecting" very sensitive, fragile electronics. So what the hell are these idiots doing with their Kindles? They are using them in very close proximity to water and sand. On gym machines and crowded subways, where one slip or bump is going to cause it to fall to the ground, where it could be stepped on and instantly destroyed. One guy gives a Kindle as a gift and doesn't even keep it in the damn box it came in- here it is, honey, as if you couldn't see what it was through the superfluous red ribbon, I've even turned it on already for you, let's check first to see if my addle-brained cluelessness didn't result in a scratched screen. And don't get me started on the guy who slips his Kindle into his back pocket- hey, great idea, buddy. Just don't forget it's there, or the first time you sit down you'll be very glad that they now sell for "only" $139.

Here's what I don't get- Amazon sells covers for Kindles. Lots of them, in different colors. They are a little pricey, but I can't imagine taking my Kindle out of the house without one. Even with a cover, I wouldn't bring it to the beach or near a pool- not until they make a waterproof cover for my version. Maybe not even then.

Is Amazon actually being so craven as to encourage people to abuse their Kindles, so that they will have to replace them faster? I'm willing to concede that three dry Cheerios won't damage the Kindle. But I can't IMAGINE letting a dog lick it. Or carrying it in a bike basket like that. Or putting it at risk of being sat on.

If Amazon isn't encouraging people to use their Kindles in a reckless manner, I just don't understand how they can responsibly misrepresent the device's portability like this. Yes, you can use your Kindle without a cover. Yes, you can carry it around with you everywhere you go, again without a cover. But please, DON'T. Unless you want to go through the hassle of buying another one, and probably sooner rather than later.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Where Does Breakfast Come From? from DBL DRAGON on Vimeo.

Someone, please, get this kid some parents.

A little girl too young and naive to be aware that her lower-middle class trailer trash clueless parents are doing her zero favors by getting her addicted to grease-and-salt laden "food" from the local Mickey D's asks her idiot father "where does breakfast come from?"

Dad, probably annoyed that the woman who was a Nice Girlfriend But Dammit I Told You I Wasn't Ready to Start a Family forbids him from using his cellphone while driving passes the question back to mom. And now it gets really, really stupid.

Because apparently mom has no clue where food comes from (charitably referring to what they sell at McDonald's as "food.") So she pulls some convoluted pile of BS straight out of her ass to explain what any High School graduate really ought to be able to describe in understandable terms to any kid willing to listen- some crap about Food Wizards with Magic Wands who chant spells and make gestures and Presto! There's the Magical Food, right there!

(By the way, the fact that this little kid doesn't already think that "Breakfast comes from the Refrigerator" or "Breakfast comes from the Store" gives us a pretty good idea of how often she eats at McDonalds. My guess is that she thinks milk comes from 7-11, where it lives next to dad's smokes, and money comes from CashStop.)

Having failed to make this a teachable moment by talking about farmers and cows and trucks and trains and all the hard work that goes into getting food out of the ground, and instead spinning a low-quality fairy tale which the kid will someday repeat on the playground and get mocked for, mom is confronted with another question- "where did I come from?" which mom Hil-ARIOUSLY bounces back to dad. (Don't we all hope that dad responds with a 100 percent accurate, medical description of the procedure? I mean, shouldn't at least one of these alleged "parents" refuse to play the "let's keep the kid dumber than we are, for as long as possible" game?)

Seriously, who is this ad supposed to appeal to? People too young to be carting around children? People too stupid to know that McDonalds food is fatty junk that should be kept a safe distance from youngsters (and adults, for that matter?) People who think that kids should never, ever be given an opportunity to learn anything outside of the sterile confines of a classroom?

Well, I guess that population is pretty big, so McDonalds is safe. If I were sitting at the next table, I'd have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, though. Just to be safe, I'll keep taking my coffee (the only thing McDonalds makes which is worth consuming) to go.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When the Endless Pasta Bowl just won't cut it

"We're in the mood for really fatty, greasy garbage. Who's got it?"

"Ok, now who's got that really fatty, greasy garbage in big steam troughs so we can keep going up and filling our plates over and over again, until our internal organs beg for mercy and our taste buds have committed suicide?"

"Ok, now who's got that really fatty, greasy garbage in big steam troughs for about ten bucks- pretty much cementing the notion that this is really cheap, fatty garbage and the remaining restaurant is a Denny's clone- and if you don't want ribs, you've got plenty of meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, spaghetti and all the rest of my fiber-free, artery-hating favorites?"

"Golden Corral? Yep...that's what I thought. Ok, roll me up to the booth, bring me a pitcher of iced tea and don't even THINK about bringing me the bill for at least three hours."


(And oh, just an aside to the Child Abusing Dad in this commercial: You don't need to be hitting any All You Can Eat rib places, buddy. Do your heart a favor and limit your Endless Grazing to salad bars for a while at least, ok? I mean, make an effort to teach SOMETHING of value to those kids of yours before you drop dead from the inevitable massive coronary.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

UPS- It's not Logistics, just Pathetic

I ran through a few of these UPS ads to try to find just the right one to fit my current situation. Kind of fun to watch this company claim that it can get your package to it's destination Early Morning, no problem....or to China, no problem, "pretty standard stuff."

Delivering your package early in the morning is pretty standard stuff. So is delivering to China. However...

I ordered a purple Nick Markakis Orioles T-shirt from Football Fanatics ten days ago, in plenty of time to arrive at my parents house in Vermont for my niece's birthday party, which was this past Saturday. Except that the one-pound package was not delivered on the first attempt, on Friday, because of "Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS Control" (that's what it says on the website.)

Nor was it delivered on Monday ("Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS Control.") Nor was it delivered yesterday ("Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS Control.") Scheduled date for the next Failed But Don't Blame Us Delivery: Wednesday, February 9.

Now, the weather isn't that great in Vermont these days. Lots of snow, and my parents live on a dirt road. But these 80-year olds have been up and down that road and into the main town nearby every day since Friday- two 80-year olds driving a little Honda Accord up and down that dirt road, almost right past the UPS store. Know who else has been going up and down that dirt road into town every day since Friday (except Sunday?) The US Postal Service. Know who else? The drivers of the local school buses.

So here's an Emergency Condition Beyond UPS Control which seems to be effecting UPS exclusively. While everyone else and their little brown dog has no problem getting up and down the hill to my parents' house, UPS and their big brown truck can't seem to quite manage it. What do you call that- Logistics? How about Incompetence?

But it sure is heart-warming to know that while UPS may not be able to maneuver it's way up a dirt road in rural Vermont, it can get your package to China no problem. And it can deliver it Early Morning, if you like- as long as there are no Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS Control- like a dirt road, and snow, which don't seem to present obstacles for anyone EXCEPT UPS.

Later today, when my parents are getting their mail right on time and UPS is busy preparing another Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS Control message for me to check out when I hit "track package," I'll be reminded that some people actually think that the US Government can't do anything right, and that services like mail delivery should be privatized. Yeah, that's a great idea- if you only want to get your mail when it's 65 degrees and sunny out.

That's Logistics? No, that's crap.

What can Brown do for you? A lot, I suppose, as long as conditions are perfect. When they aren't? Hmm...not so much.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Aggressive Answer to an Unasked Question

Get a load of these self-satisfied commercial stereotypes- here's the middle-aged man oddly proud of the fact that he swims "a mile a day, every day." Here's the rugged bicyclist (more about him later) who is apparently unaware that we have no idea how long he's been "exercising" (snigger, condescend- I'm sorry, but the bike does most of the work) and that he's "not halfway" yet. Here's the Proud Mommy who needs to keep her digestive tract in good shape because Daughter "keeps us on our toes." And here's another woman doing yoga (good lord, if I had a dime for every commercial featuring women doing yoga- is it really that popular?) who says she needs to take a prescription drug to stay "in balance."

Apparently sick of the standard "my doctor told me to" explanation, each of these dicks then stare belligerently at the camera and snarl "Because it works." Hey, back off, people. You want to pop yet ANOTHER pill instead of just MANAGING YOUR FREAKING DIET, that's your decision. Nobody's telling you not to.

I am, however, a little mystified as to what this pill is actually supposed to do for you that getting enough whole grains, fruit, veggies and water can't. I strongly suspect that the answer is "nothing"- so the woman doing yoga wasn't stopped from doing yoga before this latest abomination from our friends at Big Pharma hit the market; she was just annoyed at being "forced" to cut out the crap and eat decent, healthy foods. And if you ask her what was so damned horrible about eating a sensible, digestion-friendly diet, and why she's taking a pill instead, she'll skip over the first part of the question and simply answer "because it works." When the better answer is "Because I can."

Ok, back to that guy with the mountain bike- is it just me, or do bikers in commercials always seem to spend at least as much time CARRYING the damn thing as riding it? What is that- is it supposed to make them look more rugged and athletic? Well, I'll admit that the way I see most people use their bikes, carrying it around IS much better exercise than riding it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Smoke, Still Insufferable

(Full Disclosure: I was married to a smoker for four years. She said she'd quit while we dated, and while we were engaged, then never made much of an effort at it once we were married- basically, it was my responsibility to just get over it. I had a headache pretty much every other day for four years. If she hadn't been the most stunningly beautiful woman I'd ever met, I probably would never have started dating her. And oh, our divorce had nothing to do with her smoking.)

Now that that's been taken care of...

I'm not especially annoyed by the all-too-common practice of having five people tell us what one could tell us just as well- even when they finish each other's sentences and even interrupt each other. I don't care about the ostentatious blowing of smoke rings. I'm even willing to shrug off the entirely gratuitous "it's a free country- isn't it?" we get near the end (Yes, it's a free country. What's your point? Still pissed that people woke up one day and decided they didn't think they should be required to "share" your pathetic addiction just because they wanted to eat at a nice restaurant, have a drink at a bar, or do work in an office?)

No, what really pisses me off about this ad is the truly retro "Smoking Is Still The Coolest Thing You Can Do" message which is cleverly shoved down our throats throughout. One guy looks like a cross between a secret agent and a mob boss (maybe he's Rico from that awful Copa Cobana song.) A super-glamorous woman looks like she's ready for an extremely expensive night on the town- just her, her equally glamorous friends, and her e-cigarettes. The point in clear: Smoking still makes you look Far Better than Average, the kind of person People Want to be Like. And now you can do it in public places again (I worry about anyone complaining about having water vapor blown into their faces- I seriously think that any of these people would lose it, right then and there.)

Also- is it just me, or do all these people look like refugees from late-night phone sex ads?

Better late than never, I guess

I'm not sure what it is about the produce section that makes this woman suddenly stop and ask herself "did I take the pill this morning?" I really HOPE it's not that green bean she's holding in her hand, because...well, that would just be wrong.

At any rate, it's really annoying that she can't remember if she took her pill, because apparently if she had, she'd be squeezing in behind the Sale on Watermelons to do it with the next passerby (seriously, why DOES this thought pop into her skull?)

Ok, I'll move on. We don't know why she was reminded of her birth control medication while shopping for veggies, but we do know how that thought gathers strength- her unattended little monsters have just taken out some of those watermelons, the adorable little tikes. The helpless "what am I gonna do, they are my spawn after all" look on this woman's face suggests that she thinks about Life Before These Things more often than she officially lets on in the course of the commercial.

So she gets home with her sack of groceries (celery sticking out of the top-check) and opens the door just in time to see more of her unattended Oopses destroying part of her lovely suburban home. And here it gets really confusing- at one point in this ad, she tells us that "two are enough, for now." But she had two kids at the grocery store- and when she walks into her house, there are two more. Are they the same kids? If so, how did they manage to get into the house and wreck the place before she got in? Why didn't they at least hold the freaking door for her? And if they are different kids, did she just forget about them when she told us that "two are enough, for now?" (Not that I could blame her...)

And now we get to meet Dad, who is every bit as attentive to these Life-Ruining little energy vampires as Mom is. Dad is busy doing what dads do in the suburbs- sitting on a lawn chair, reading the newspaper, and gradually consuming about four pounds of M&Ms. Ah, the American Dream. Except that the bitter reminders of his fertility are swiping his snacks. Well, at least they aren't demanding his notice- that's something.

Here's the message that hangs heavily over this entire commercial, and all the others for the same medication- the Idea of having kids is nice, but god damn they will drive you into an early grave, so here's a weird piece of plastic for you to jam into yourself, ladies, if you can manage to make the idea of having sex pleasant again by separating the concept from those noisy little creatures who are always underfoot.

How many of those creatures does this woman have again? The odd thing is that she seems to be underestimating that number. Wishful thinking, I guess.

Friday, February 4, 2011

And while we're at it, I'm getting kind of sick of tying my own shoes!

I actually kind of enjoy these low-budget medical equipment commercials which more or less beg elderly Americans to use their Medicare part D money (it's just sitting there, after all, dammit!) to buy home escalators, electronic pill dispensers, urinary catheters and scooters. They are all pretty much the same- "look, you need this device we make. Just call us- we'll do all the paperwork, we'll get the thing shipped right to your door, you won't be able to remember how you lived without it- just authorize us, grampa!"

In this one, Michael Steele and his mom are delighted to tell us how, thanks to this new digital blood sugar meter, people with diabetes no longer have to prick their fingers to draw blood. Watching this ad, it's kind of hard to believe that not all that long ago, people had no way of testing their blood sugar at home at all, and at-home testing was a major breakthrough providing a huge convenience. But just as cell phones which just allow you to have a conversation with anyone in the world from anywhere in the world are now seen as clunky antiques unless they also provide streaming video, instant score updates and step-by-step directions from the living room to the toilet, the old meters just don't cut it anymore. After all, you have to draw almost an entire gram of blood! OUCH!

Anyway, once we know what the product is- a big shiny screen featuring a font type which can be seen from space (but just in case, it yells your blood glucose level into the next county, you spoiled old fart) the ad degenerates into Call this Number and we'll have it in your Mailbox Tomorrow territory, etc. etc. etc. I don't know if it's worth buying, but I guess that doesn't really matter- the important thing is that our seniors have been reminded once again that there are people out there eager to cater to their every "need," and they are only a phone call away. Whether they want to rid themselves of the hassle of pricking their fingers, walking up stairs, or getting out of a bathtub, someone is out there, waiting to serve. Almost makes me look forward to getting old-but not quite.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Start your day with a nice ear bleeding

Maybe it's just that it's too damn early in the morning when this ad plays, and I'm just not in the mood to hear Jennifer Hudson screeching like a banshee at high volume about how she used to be fat and she's not anymore.

Maybe I'm just sick of mega-millionaire celebrities crowing about how they lost tons of weight eating plastic food conveniently delivered to their door. I mean, I kind of already knew that if you could afford to buy prepared meals AND hire a personal trainer AND a Life coach, it's not all that hard to lose weight. Didn't really need a commercial which makes my freaking ears bleed to confirm it, thanks anyway, Ms Hudson. Seems like only yesterday that Oprah Winfrey stepped from behind a curtain to show off her new skinny body- whatever happened to that body, anyway?

Maybe I'm tired of the "I lost weight fast" message always trumping the "I lost weight safely and sensibly" message. How does eating specially-manufactured crud from Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig teach you how to manage your diet once the budget-busting deal is expired? What have you learned about your body by eating prepared meals? Absolutely nothing.

Maybe I'm just bored with the Silver Bullet Theory of Dieting. This commercial isn't any better or worse than the Right Size Smoothie BS I hear on XM radio roughly 400 times a day- "feed your body right" by guzzling strawberry-flavored milkshakes? Suurreee.

Maybe after losing 25 lbs in three months by replacing two meals a day with Grape Nuts, Cheerios, fruit, yogurt, etc, cutting out all sweets and snacks, and walking an average of 50 miles a week and going to the gym at least four times a week, I am just very intolerant toward "spend money and lose weight" ads.

Or maybe, there's just no good time of day to be assaulted by this self-congratulatory "I took an expensive short cut, check out my awesomeness" bs. Congratulations, Ms Hudson. Not wishing you any ill-will, but I am looking forward to seeing what you look like a year from now.