Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Generic Advertising At Its Best

I challenge anyone to argue with anything this guy says. It's all so bland, so obvious, so "no duh what on Earth is your point?" repetitive and cloying (right down to the dull Empty Room with Escalator background) that for a moment, it left me wondering "who in the world would be inspired to go anywhere based on this ad?"

Then it hit me- despite what we are told at the end of the commercial with the "Possibility City" tag line, it's entirely conceivable that the pitchman has no idea what municipality he's supposed to be talking about. It's easy to imagine this ad being used to encourage tourism and business investment in ANY city ANYWHERE in the United States. This commercial has NOTHING to do with Louisville, Kentucky- it's just a standard, Fill-in-the-name-of-customer-here advertisement available to any local Chamber of Commerce looking for a cheap little spot to run during baseball games or between other commercials.

Not that this ad even succeeds in encouraging investment or tourism. I mean, if you hear a single line which suggests that I should open my wallet and spend some money in Louisville Kentucky OR ANYWHERE ELSE, please point it out to me. All I hear in this ad is that cities are iffy, Hit or Miss propositions. They can be great. Or they can suck. They can provide inspire. Or Depress. They can provide a wonderful education. Or they can beat you over the head and deprive you of aforementioned wallet. And on and on.

Anyway, to the point: I will be in Possibility City for the next nine days, grading Advanced Placement essays with 1200 history teachers from all over the Not As Full of Possibilities as Louisville United States. So my next blog update won't appear until June 9. I will, however, be checking my email and responding to comments while I'm away. Later!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is there Life After Hockey?

"Dream come true?" "Happiest day of his life?" REALLY?

Spending a day with the Stanley Cup "and all his friends" is going to do this? REALLY?

Um, how, exactly? I mean, I get that this kid is a "big hockey fan"- but actually, let's start right there. Who the hell is a "hockey fan?" Surely they mean that he's a fan of a professional hockey TEAM, right? I mean, the kid doesn't really just follow professional hockey without rooting for a particular team, does he? Because that's actually pretty stupid (not quite as stupid as his 70s-style shorts, but pretty close.)

And mom telling us that this is a "hockey family-we're crazy." Thanks for telling us what is already obvious, Weird Mom. Just wondering- what do you guys do during the offseason (otherwise known as the month of August?)

Let's be real for a moment. For exactly how long will it be really be Super Awesome Amazing to have this big, ugly trophy sitting around? I give it thirty minutes, tops, before the kids get sick of looking at it and touching it and having their pictures taken with it and want to move on to do something else.

Now, maybe if this kid's team had actually WON the cup,* and paid him a visit, and gave him a tour of the locker room and a behind the scenes look at the rink, etc. this might be an enjoyable, even extremely memorable experience. But- just having the trophy for a day? Is it just me, or does this seem like a lot of hype for not a whole lot of payoff?

I love when companies to do this- they make a colossal big deal out of very little, and are aided and abetted by the Discovery (no pun intended) of some weird loser who, with the help of his ultra-indulgent parents, has managed to devote his Just Getting Started But Not Much to Celebrate Life to some narrow niche activity which has turned him into an obsessive little creep with sadly limited interests. Truthfully, I don't think that this kid needs to spend a day with the Stanley Cup. I think he'd be better off getting out of his room every once in a while and trying out different activities. It would be nice to think that one day this kid wakes up and, like Frances with her bread and jam, suddenly realizes that variety isn't a bad thing, and that even your Very Favoriteist Thing Ever can become a real bore when you let it become the center of your existence.

Seriously- What am I missing here?

*Go Bruins

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Some On The Spot Research would have been helpful here

This is hysterical.

Cicis, my favorite punching bag of a restaurant, had the "great idea" to scatter pennies around the sidewalk in front of their feed bins. The fat, sweaty slobs who frequent places like this would snatch up the pennies, hoping to find one that was labeled "Free Buffet." The Fat, Sugar and Carbs-addled loser who found the "lucky" penny would then jump up and down (sorry for the mental image) with delight at the prospect of saving the four dollars he usually had to cough up to gorge on pizza and cinnamon buns.

Just two problems: First, as previously implied, Cicis is practically free anyway. It's not like this is Ruth's Chris handing out free dinners. Getting excited about a free buffet at Cici's is kind of like rushing off to Sears upon learning that they are having a sale on tube socks. It's four dollars, people.

Second, the whole campaign presupposes that the prospective customers still retain the ability to see the sidewalk, bend over, and return to an upright position. Ever check out the crowd at Cicis, Golden Corral, Denny's, or any of the other All You Can Cram Into Your Cake Hole troughs? All I can say is, I hope Cicis had paramedics standing by for the people who couldn't quite make it back up- or at least a number of comfortable chairs and oxygen tanks for those who needed a recovery period after ten seconds of jumping around, chins jiggling, after "winning" another chance to add some artery plaque.

Thanks again, Cicis. You make this blog so easy to maintain sometimes. Almost makes the damage you are doing to our nation's health worth it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Look At Me"- Might as well replace In God We Trust on the money

This commercial does a very good job summing up what I loathe the most about our current obsession with "sharing" every little thing we say or do (I won't say "think," because I don't think there's a whole lot of "thinking" going on.) Unlimited Talk and Text is a GOOD thing, you see, because it allows us to desperately scream LOOK AT ME to a world increasingly disconnected from human contact- because we are all too busy trying to get noticed to realize that we have created little electronic islands around ourselves.

So while we walk down the street, sit on park benches or on the metro, or do anything else that used to at least create the possibility of bumping into an old friend or making a new one, we are encouraged to burrow deeper and deeper into our own little cocoons of isolation by keeping our eyes fixed on to the little glowing screen. As the airwaves become more and more congested with pointless garbage, we find it necessary to shout louder- where once we talked, now we text, because it's harder to ignore a text. Where once we texted, we now upload videos, because maybe a short of me doing or saying something really stupid will get me some attention before I am drowned out by the Next Really Stupid Thing.

This country is like a guy who finds himself on a crowded beach, surrounded by people with loud radios, each one playing his own tune. Rather than asking his fellow sunbathers to turn down the volume, he pulls out his own radio and cranks it up, providing his own contribution to the increasingly oppressive wall of noise. And cell phone companies just keep responding with the "solution:" Louder Radios.

And telling us this is a Good Thing. And using the closing song to The Yellow Submarine to do it.

I wish people who bought in to this technology would be honest for a moment and ask themselves: what happens if you get your wish, and people stop what they are doing and actually pay attention to you? Once you've hooked us with the video of your stupid face mugging for the camera, or taking a pratfall, now what? Do you really have anything to say? Or did you just want to be acknowledged for a moment, and it's ok for us to just move on now?

Have you always been this sad?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's a little fracking amongst friends?

Ugh, this slimy, smarmy dick makes my blood pressure rise every time his nasty mug graces my tv screen- which is every morning, and several times every morning. There he is again, with that fixed know-it-all "this is so obvious, and so EASY" little smirk, explaining to us stupid non-vampires that "new technology" makes it possible to "unlock" a "hundred years" worth of natural gas from subterranean rocks. This "breakthrough" means a hundred years of OPEN signs, and lots and lots of patriotic bunting (and, we can presume, picnics featuring fried chicken, hot dogs and apple pie, fireworks, and White Presidents. You know, like G-d intended.)

All we have to do is ignore those flea-bitten, unpatriotic hippies who bitch and moan about flammable water coming out of the kitchen faucet, as the released gas makes DDT look like a benign chemical by comparison. Thankfully for this money-grubbing corporate whore, Rachel Carson has been dead for fifty years and the Bought and Paid For Media has no great interest in reviving the environmental movement. So it's Drill Baby Drill with a different kind of poison being extracted from the ground- it's not black, it's not slick, it's conveniently invisible- but it's effects sure as hell aren't.

But hey, life is all about trade-offs, isn't it? You want low-cost energy? Then let the oil companies tear the hell out of every National Park from the Green Mountains to Muir Woods. Stop bitching about oil spills which do no real harm unless you are a shrimper, a fisherman, or a living organism which depends on the sea for life. And when pompous, preachy little pricks with confident smiles tell you that we can make America energy independent, how dare you even ask about the environmental cost? I mean, come on- you want potable water? You can buy it by the case at your local Shoppers Food Warehouse.

After all, don't you WANT America to be a land of red, white and blue bunting and OPEN signs? Isn't that WORTH a little drinking water?

Priorities, people!

Monday, May 23, 2011

In the end, we'll all be working here

First, let me express how impressed I am at the ability of this advertisement to capture the truly agonizing, painful, hopeless experience of having to work for the bloodless corporate giant that is Wal-Mart.

Confronted by a customer who has found a lower price on the cheap, Made in China item she's interested in purchasing because she hasn't received a raise in salary in eleven years and has long since given up hope of ever buying Quality again, we get roughly 200 Wal Mart drones bleating "Match It!" Each of these zombies seems to be enjoying their moment of delusion, as they pretend that they have some say in the policy they are promoting, or how it is enforced. Of course, in real life, none of these sad little worker ants has any authority whatsoever, and in fact are more likely to be chastised later by a manager who happened to see them on a security camera saying something other than "can I get that for you?," "you'll be wanting the extended warranty with that," or simply "Welcome to Wal-Mart" during business hours.

The "associate" who has been confronted with the lower price gives a mock "thank you" to her fellow Grateful to be Making Minimum Wage God I Once Had Such Aspirations How Did It Come To This apron wearers as she confirms that yes, Wal Mart's policy is to never, ever let any small business offer a lower price- after all, the principle goal of this environment-raping, community-pillaging, middle class-gutting behemoth is to push all such companies completely out of existence, leaving a world in which prices don't HAVE to be matched, because the only source of ALL consumables is your local Mall In A Box.

Enjoy the low prices for cheap crap while it lasts, America. Don't forget to stop by on the way home to grab a coffee at that new Starbucks which just opened at the site of the old hardware/furniture/grocery store you helped drive out of business because it couldn't match Wal-Mart. What a nation of selfish, penny-wise and pound-foolish idiots we are.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Here We Go, Again

Before I start trashing this nasty little bit of cross-promotion (light beer and cell phones in the same ad- wow, that's like winning the lottery. If the grand prize were a pile of elephant dung, that is) let me point out that there's a perfectly reasonable answer to the first idiot's "hey, we're out of Bud Lite" comment. That answer is "yeah? So? Drink something else" or "who's stopping you from going on a beer run?"

Instead, we get the Not At All Clever sight of the party's host (I guess) downloading some App which allows him to pour out an endless supply of light beer, causing his guests to burst into a massive orgasm of beer-consuming bliss (again, I guess- as in all beer commercials, we never actually see anyone drink this stuff.)

In no time at all, everyone at this rooftop extravaganza is dancing around and hooting with delight at the virtual waterfalls of beer (including a preposterous pyramid of excess normally reserved for champagne.) The lucky owner of the App is especially popular, as a beer-enamored blonde has latched on to him, attracted by his ability to conjure up watery yet still calorie-dense liquid. And then we get the punchline, as a Not Alpha Male guest stares discontentedly at his own cell phone and wishes he had one capable of downloading such a cool App.

So this ad is for Bud Lite- even if we didn't see any cans or bottles, we know this because of the trademarked "Here We Go," which can't be replaced as Bud's tagline soon enough for this blogger. But it's also for phones which have access to the App Store- after all, wouldn't it have been just as easy to have this guy take a photo of a bottle of beer, make it his wallpaper, and then magically pour it out for his friends? Instead, we get the worst of both worlds- annoying, loud, beer-swilling doofuses enabled in their asshattery by a super cool cell phone App. All that's left is for someone to get punched in the stomach as a Volkswagen filled with idiots eating Subway sandwiches drives by.

It's only a matter of time.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Here are a few signs that maybe, just MAYBE, you've got an internet addiction problem:

5. You are watching an episode of a tv show on Hulu which you've already watched twice and is available On Demand from your cable company.

4. You've done a search to determine exactly how many 7-11s are within reasonable driving distance from your house.

3. You've looked at your parking lot on GoogleEarth for the fourth time this week.

2. You've "refreshed" your FaceBook page ten times in the last ten minutes, hoping for a Notification to pop up.

And the number one sign that you MAY have an internet addiction problem: You find yourself asking "gee, I wonder if anyone is attempting to stalk me on the internet?"

"Who is looking for me?" Ok, there are two possible answers, neither of which is very attractive. You either find out that someone from your past that you really don't care to see ever again is trying to find you and is still too stupid to just use Facebook or Google. Or, you get the perhaps even more depressing news that the reason why you don't have more "friends" is NOT because the swarm of eager would-be acquaintances can't find you. It's because they don't exist.

So, my advice to this lady- get up and exit your weirdly glowing, eerily clean little study. Go spend some time with real people, if you happen to know any. Live in the Here and Now- not some fantasy world where you are enormously sought-after, if only all those people who long to renew connections knew how to use Google or Facebook.

Because seriously, if you think it's good news that people from your past are "looking for you," that's just really sad. If you insist on staying online, I suggest that it would be healthier for you to check the status of your parking lot on Google Earth again, or make sure a new 7-11 hasn't opened a bit closer to your house.

Or just stay a really sad, lonely, deluded weirdo. Either way. It's your life, if we can really call it that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Nastiness from Kraft

An adorable girl is sitting at a vast dinner table, with her back to a wall seemingly made completely out of glass, holding her frighteningly large head in her hand, complaining about the quality of the dinner her Valium-addled mommy has provided her with THIS time.

Judging from her stick arms, it's easy to believe that this girl is being absolutely sincere in her complaint that mommy pretty much never serves Kraft Mac 'n Cheese at this dinner table. After all, if the little girl were able to live her fantasy and shove "Kraft mac 'n cheese down my pie hole," I suspect that she'd be a lot--umm, more filled out, to put it delicately. Instead, she's "forced" to "push her food around to make it look like she's eating it," because that food is so very NOT orange pasta, cheese and salt product.

Judging from mom's reaction to the food-pushing, uncommunicative, bizarrely sitting-on-the-same-side-of-the-table-as-mommy daughter's lack of appetite, Conversation is not a regular part of the dinner experience. Mommy sees no issue with Daughter's staring blankly with a look of mild despair on her face; the food on her plate has been re-arranged, which means she must be enjoying it, so here's some more food for her to push around.

Taken as a whole, this nasty little slice of life is pretty typical of the offerings from Kraft Mac 'n Cheese these days, with a slight difference. Instead of the usual nasty little brat being indulged with forkful after forkful of the featured junk, this time we've got at least one sensible, responsible person showing a bit of concern over teaching proper, healthy eating habits to their offspring. Naturally that person is the clueless bad guy, standing in the way of Daughter's calorie-rich, nutrient-poor fantasy dinner.

Like cell phone commercials which seem to celebrate social detachment and outright rudeness, the message of this ad- that attempting to actually COOK food for your kids is a stupid waste of time which will only lead them to mock you- just makes me wonder why the makers of these spots hate society so much. Are they still trying to get over that childhood which seemed dominated by spinach and beet greens, and which featured way too few trips to the McDonald's Drive Thru window?

If so, can I suggest therapy? Or a final, cathartic confrontation with Mom and Dad? Is it too much to ask you guys to keep the scars of your upbringing out of your commercials, and stop trying to convince us Kids Know Best when it comes to proper nutrition?

And seriously, what IS it with this kid's head, anyway? Is that an allergic reaction to whatever mom put on her plate, or what?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Biggest Losers

I really don't want to trash Weight Watchers here- I understand a lot of people struggle with their weight, and if you can make money convincing people that you have the answer to their problems, well, good for you.

No, I don't want to trash Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig, or any of those other Weight Loss organizations which have probably helped thousands of people who simply cannot lose the excess pounds without the (largely imaginary) assistance of a giant corporation.

Still, I don't get how an obsession with "points" which extends to choosing light beer over dark (better tip: stop drinking beer) and grilling (better tip: cut out meat- it's better for you, the environment, and the animals) really teaches anyone to embrace a healthy lifestyle (as opposed to simply dumping a lot of weight momentarily.)

I also don't get why losing weight is still being treated like rocket science by so many people. Well, ok, actually I do: because treating weight loss as if it's some kind of mystery which can only be solved through an expensive, complicated program keeps a lot of people confused, bewildered, and willing to part with their hard-earned cash in search of the magic bullet.

I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one online. But there's nothing mysterious about what we need to do to stop being the most disgustingly obese nation on the planet. We need to stop eating so much damn meat- it's unnecessary, it's fatty, and it's cruel. We need to eat more green plants and fruit. We need to eat a LOT more whole grains and a LOT less bread. We need to stop consuming dairy products as if we're afraid that we'll hurt the feelings of the cows we have imprisoned on corporate "farms" (it would be more accurate to call them concentration camps for bovines.) We need to drink a LOT more water. And we need to stop Gaming and Texting and Tweeting and just plain SITTING and start MOVING AROUND MORE.

Sorry if this sounded preachy, but watching these idiots on tv crow about their "success" at emptying their pockets into the vast bank accounts over at Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc. etc. ETC. is really irritating, because all those companies do is sell a product which is free to people with a little common sense.

Oh, and here's a message to the guy who is so proud that he's no longer a sweaty, greasy slob: Maybe you look better than your friends. But I look better than you. No, I didnt' lose 160 pounds. But that's because I never had to.

And I didn't give Weight Watchers a dime.

Eat that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

People Suck. Technology Rocks. Message Received and Understood.

Moral of pretty much every advertisement featuring I-Pads, Smart Phones, Laptops and Blackberries: People are boring, and will suck the life right out of you with their insistence on attempting to make conversation unless you are armed with an electronic device strong enough to ward them off.

Now, of course, pretty much everyone has a cell phone these days which provides some level of protection from this annoying but thankfully dying societal expectation that when someone attempts to start a conversation with you, you are at least polite about it, even if you don't want to--oh, I don't know- take the opportunity to perhaps make a friend, or at least show some interest in the lives of the other sapiens who share the planet with you. Now you can stare at the little screen as you update your Facebook page, download videos (if you have surround sound, you get to share that video with everyone in the room, you choad) and otherwise pretend to be by yourself.

But HBO Now takes your determination to build a cocoon around yourself to a new level. Now you can whip out your I-Pad and watch violent movies, sex-driven series, and expletive-dominated comedy shows while sitting in your doctor's office, on the train, in the park, or anywhere else you were once in danger of coming into contact with (ewww) other people.

And it's a very good thing. Because later this evening, when the woman with the I Pad is asked by her significant other (assuming they concede the necessity of a conversation now and then) "how did the day go?", she can grunt something about being able to watch her favorite HBO programming while waiting for her appointment, not about this nice, though rather shy and socially awkward, woman she met and ended up reaching out to. Maybe she'll even express relief that she had HBO Go because OMIGOD THIS OTHER WOMAN THERE WAS SO BORING AND SHE KEPT TRYING TO TALK TO ME.

So thank you, HBO and Apple, for making that wall just a little bit higher, and that cocoon a little bit stronger. Now please, just once, show someone using ear buds while using one of your society-dissolving products. Consider it an early Christmas present.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Death of Shame

I really thought I had seen it all when, twenty years ago, I saw Desert Storm Commemorative Plates being hawked on late night tv. Then, about ten years later, I again thought the bottom had been reached with the "layered in 24 carat gold" coin featuring the majestic image of the lost Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, "majestically rising from the surface of the coin with the press of the thumb."

Repulsive, but with a silver lining- it couldn't get any worse, right?


Here's "the New England Mint" with it's contribution to our current orgy of fist-pumping, back-slapping and hooting, brought on by the extra-legal execution of a foreign national by a hit team which took place in a sovereign nation-- a sovereign nation which was allegedly our ally, at that. The narrator is apparently reading off the latest version of the hit (I wonder how many times the script had to be changed before the New England Mint decided to go ahead with this one, figuring that anyone who would buy this crap couldn't care less anyway.) There's the usual flag-waving jingoistic "we killed the suspect, so Justice Has Been Done because Might makes Right when it's being yielded by the USA or it's allies" pablum leading up to the Awesome Opportunity to own a piece of tin "layered" in gold (snigger-seriously, what kind of idiot thinks that there's more than a grain of gold on this thing? Oh yeah- the kind of idiot who would want to own garbage like this.)

Anyway, if you aren't sold on the idea of adding this "piece of history" to your growing pile of dust-collecting trinkets, there are these cool extras designed to draw you in-- check out the "Wanted" poster, created especially for this commercial, in mint condition (because- were you listening?- it was printed up JUST for this commercial.) And if you are STILL hesitating, here's the standard Certificate of Authenticity. This never fails to crack me up- what is being "authenticated" here? That the coin you receive is actually the coin being advertised? Wow, awesome. Because the only thing more worthless than this stupid Not Even Heavy Enough to Be a Decent Paperweight late-night tv offering is an "unauthentic" knock off, I guess.

I'm sure the New England mint has a built-in customer base for this stuff, and have a good idea of exactly how many they'll be selling. These guys aren't stupid- I bet they never end up with a warehouse of plates, posters, Civil War chess sets or coins.

I would throw one little caveat into the mix, however. This coin features the face of the current president of the United States on one side. I'm not absolutely positive, but I suspect that the people in the market for this junk are not big fans of his. I wonder if Obama's face on one side might depress sales a bit. If I were working for the New England Mint, I think I'd offer a cheap frame to go with it, and remind my potential customers that they get to choose which side to display.

I don't know why, but I suspect that in homes featuring this coin, the Majestic Image of the Seal Team Six logo, not that of the President, is prominently displayed- right next to the Stormin' Norman commemorative plates and the War on Terror deck of cards made out of cheap tin- layered in gold, of course.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Game of "Life," Modern Version

A lot of people I know have Netflix accounts. I have no objection to the concept- after all, premium cable is still pretty expensive, and Video Rental Stores are becoming a relic of the past. I can see not wanting to stick your credit card into one of those Red Box deals outside of the local Seven-Eleven, too. Nope, I have no problem with Netflix.

But this- this is just wrong. In our first featured advertisement, Glassy-eyed mushrooms disguised as people whine about "never being able to afford all the games" they want, who are now so damn fulfilled because of something called GameFly.com, which allows one to rent all the video games one can waste one's life playing for one low monthly fee. Lovely. Because really, who could ever get enough quality time with their freaking television sets- and that couch isn't going to sit on itself!

And I love the "I just saved seventy bucks!" line--hmm, interesting economics there, buddy. You waste a certain amount of money on a pointless, life-sucking toy, and you congratulate yourself because you COULD have wasted a LOT more. I'll remember that logic the next time I have only ONE flat tire. As it's being changed, I'll happily calculate what I'm going to do with the money I "saved" because the other three weren't damaged.

The second ad is, if possible, even worse. Now the "adults" have joined in on endorsing this disgusting, brain-numbing waste of time, waxing poetic about how awesome it is that now all their children can play all the games they want and stop bothering them to be taken to the park, or to play catch in the back yard, or for pretty much anything except another helping of Stove Top Stuffing (come on- you just KNOW these people eat Stove Top Stuffing. And Wonder Bread.) GameFly is "perfect for our family..."-- well, yeah, because you aren't really a family, just a group of genetically connected, upright (when necessary) mammals who happen to live in the same house and really wish GameFly had been invented years ago.

Yep, GameFly should keep the kiddies distracted, giving mom and dad time to update their Facebook pages and surf for porn on the suddenly-available family computer. Sounds like "real family" fun to me.

Well, we've come a long way since Parker Brothers' "Family Board Game Night," haven't we? I sure feel dumb- a few weeks ago, I spent a good deal of my spring break playing Gin rummy with my mom. She's got a Netflix account, but not GameFly- which makes her less lame than I am, but still way below these people, who are having such an awesome time (and saving money!) staring at the Idiot Box as life goes on around them (somewhere.)

It's a sad world, and it's getting sadder. For only a small monthly fee.

Finally, the perfect pants for those long evenings at the Golden Corrall

It's the end of the world as we know it.

I mean, seriously. If this isn't one of the signs of the Apocalypse, it's at LEAST another strong indication that we here in the good old US of A are really losing it. This is actually a commercial for--- Sweatpants that are disguised as tight jeans. I guess it's marketed toward that growing (no pun intended) population of Americans who don't want to exercise or eat right, but are sick of trying to squeeze their rolls of flab into flattering jeans or wearing a Mu Mu to family night at Cicis.

With "Pajama Jeans," you get to look like you can slide your Not at all Svelte body into "designer" jeans which show off the Curves you wish you had. Because come on- if you've got the kind of body that looks good in tight jeans, you aren't going to be dissuaded by those horrible sharp buttons or the two hours it takes to get them buttoned (I had no idea that wearing jeans was so darned uncomfortable, if not downright dangerous! Where's the Attorney General on this?)

Oh wait- maybe it's got nothing to do with your Body By Cake, but instead by the "fact" that "you can spend up to EIGHTY DOLLARS for jeans..." Well, I suppose this is true. If you want preposterously overpriced designer jeans, you may spend $80 or more per pair. But if you just want a pair of nice looking jeans like EVERYONE ELSE WEARS, you are going to spend maybe thirty or forty bucks. And you know what you'll get? DENIM. That means material which is NOT made out of the same flimsy crap your PAJAMAS are made out of because you JUST USE THEM FOR SLEEPING IN.

I mean, let's think about this, ok? How long would you expect your PJs to last if you wore them while biking, jogging, or doing all those things which, come to think of it, you probably aren't doing anyway if you are desperate enough to stoop to Pajama Jeans.

I guess I have to re-evaluate this snark. Pajama Jeans are probably absolutely perfect for the lifestyle of people who would buy crap like this. They are probably just awesome for sliding into booths with your tray of meat loaf and mac 'n cheese. They probably feel just great as you take in All You Can Eat Pancakes with Cheesecake Filling at IHOP. And FINALLY- a pair of pants that don't make you feel constricted as you waddle up to the Pizza Buffet and prepare to "line jump" the woman building a salad in front of you to get the last three pounds of cinnamon buns.

Earth to fat, delusional losers: If you want to wear "skinny jeans," change your diet and lifestyle so you can look good in them. Buying Pajama Jeans is like wearing vertical stripes or installing circus mirrors in your house so you can trick yourself into thinking that you look better than you actually do. And that's just sad.

Because you know what? Your heart and cholesterol count aren't going to buy it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nothing Fresh about this commercial

There's a whole series of these Subway "Get Your Own" commercials, which essentially celebrate the three great hallmarks of modern advertising:

1. Men and Women really never have relationships that are not cruel, manipulative, shallow, or just plain hurtful. In pretty much every advertisement featuring interactions between males and females, someone is going to get cheated, harassed, made fun of, ignored, taunted, kicked to the gutter, Un-Friended, abused. And it's supposed to be funny. And to the glue-sniffing children who populate the YouTube comment boards, it always is.

2. The product being sold looks absolutely amazing. The cars are always showroom-shiny, the milkshakes are always overflowing, and the sandwiches are stuffed with enough meat and cheese to feed Somalia for a week. I don't eat garbage like this so I don't really know for sure, but I'd be willing to put down money that this "melt" thing isn't REALLY two feet long and doesn't REALLY weigh 12 pounds, like it does in this commercial.

3. Sharing is, quite simply, Un-American and Just Plain Wrong. From Twix Bars ("Two for Me, None for You") to Doritos ("Get your Own Bag") to this current "Get Your Own" nastiness, the advertisers would like you to remind you that you do Capitalism no favors by sharing your plenty with those around you. The woman in this commercial doesn't ask for a piece of the guy's Mega-Sandwich. She wants the whole. Damn. Thing. Why? See Point #2- this sandwich looks big enough to chop into sections and serve to the whole damn office. She's really going to absorb a week's supply of carbs all by herself?

Ugh, whatever, Subway. Even if your overstuffed packages of meat product and white bread gave me an appetite, the mean-spirited message would take it away. All that being said, the girl in this ad probably did the guy a favor by manipulating him out of his sandwich. He doesn't look like he's in need of excess calories to me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Modern Case of Spring Fever

First, let me assure you that this is an actual commercial for an actual product. It's not snark, it's not an old SNL skit, it's REAL.

As near as I can tell, someone bought a warehouse full of old vinyl siding and came up with the truly ingenious idea of selling it as "Furniture Fixer"- basically an artificial "floor" which can be slipped under couch cushions to keep them from sagging.

Of course, this product isn't just a cushion stabilizer. It's a "miracle" product which will save you "hundreds" of dollars in furniture replacement- the replacement you thought was necessary because you stood there like a pillar of salt while your bratty, thoughtless, misbehaving spawn jumped all over your favorite sofa (And green dollar signs floated through the air in your oddly black-and-white world. Surreal.)

(Seriously, isn't it obvious that this couple has bigger problems than Coil Integrity? I love the frustrated "what can we do?" gestures, though. How about CONTROLLING YOUR KIDS, PEOPLE!!??)

What happens when your cushions sag? Well, it turns out that it isn't cushion elves have sabotaged your furniture. Nor does it mean that Coily the Spring Sprite is off teaching some old guy a lesson about making wishes without thinking them through first ( I included that classic little Short for those of you who don't remember the 1950s or teach about it in their history classes.) No, it means that years of wear and tear has depressed those coils and now it's "Impossible to get up!" (Oh no, Grampa is doomed to spend the rest of his life on the couch!)

And just in case you aren't sold on the idea that interlocking siding panels are the solution to your sagging cushions, we get the usual avalanche of "extras" available for "no additional cost- just separate shipping and handling." The "couch pouch" attaches to your Good as New furniture so that you never have to look for your tv remote, tv guide, magazines, pens, pencils, paper- oh heck, so you never have to get off your ass ever, ever again. You can also get a set of "Furniture Movers" so that if you ever do get up again, you can- well, move your furniture. And now that you're REALLY hooked, ask about the "Furniture Lifter," which will come in handy when you realize your broken couch is still broken and it's time to haul it to the curb.

Just don't forget to take out that vinyl siding first. You'd hate to risk having the garbage men find it under the cushions, and realize what a dope you are with your money.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's a Long Way down to Nothing At All

Once upon a time, there was this actor named Ronald Wilson Reagan. Despite his limited ability, this guy managed to use a certain vague aura of masculinity to win roles in a significant number of films, some of them (Santa Fe Trail, Knute Rockne: All American, etc.) were not especially horrible. Most of them, however, were pretty bad.

This actor named Ronald Wilson Reagan responded to a decline in his career by ratting out his friends to Joe McCarthy, making a speech for the American Medical Association warning that Medicare would turn us into Communists and urging voters to put Barry Goldwater in the White House. Then he ran for, and won, the office of Governor of California, which he used primarily to bash "liberals" while raising taxes and for running for President- an office he finally won in 1980. And the rest is history- really sad, best-forgotten history.

Well, at around the same time Ronald Wilson Reagan was riding off into the sunset, there was this other actor, named Fred Dalton Thompson. Despite his limited ability, this guy managed to parlay a certain vague aura of masculinity to win roles in a rather small number of films, almost none of which were notable in any way (unless "Necessary Roughness" could be considered "notable.") He also did quite a bit of television before being elected to the United States Senate in a special election in 1993. In his nearly eight years in the Senate, Thompson focused on foreign policy and intelligence. He declined to seek a second full term in 2000 and returned to acting.

Well, that's pretty much where the comparison between Ronald Reagan and Fred Thompson comes to an end. It's not that Thompson didn't try his best- he was a late entry into the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes but flamed out quickly and dropped out after the first few primaries.

And now look of what has become of Fred Dalton Thompson- on late night tv, pitching Reverse Mortgages, whatever the hell they are. Well, good for you, Mr. Thompson. No, it's not the Presidency, and you don't have your hand on the nuclear button. Heck, you never even got the chance to Not Get Osama Bin Laden, like the drug-addled cowboy you once hoped to replace. But at least you're picking up a few bucks here and there, and as you yourself say in this ad, that's kind of important these days.

And at least this isn't "Necessary Roughness II." Because...well, jeesh. That was one horrible movie.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Future of Communication, For Better or For Worse

In 2008, Lynn Johnston finished the thirty-year run of her stunningly overrated, preachy, pompous celebration of the Whitest Family in Canada, the "For Better or For Worse" comic strip. The strip concluded with daughter Liz Patterson marrying her on-again, off-again high school sweetheart, Anthony Caine, who by that time was a divorced father of one and well-known to the strip's fan base as the most sunken-chested, morose, family-destroying stalker to ever be portrayed as a "good guy" in any medium.

The "relationship" between Liz and Anthony was notable primarily for it's total lack of meaningful communication. The two characters never actually spoke what they were thinking, but instead each played a passive game of Wait For Fate which might have gone on forever if their creator had not been determined to make them The Perfect Couple. Even their Engagement consists of nothing more than the two soulless idiots sitting on opposite ends of a couch, Liz muttering something about how since they get along, and they are already dating, and there's nobody else, well, they are kinda sorta engaged, right? (Anthony's breathtakingly romantic response: "I guess so.")

Too bad the story didn't take us beyond their hideous lavender-and-teal-wrapped wedding, because had the strip continued, this commercial would make a good example of what Liz and Anthony Caine, Mr and Mrs Meant to Be Like it or Not, could expect out of "marital bliss."

The couple in this ad is so disturbingly distant, so emotionally detached, and so utterly incapable of communicating that they now must resort to "expressing" themselves by scrolling through their cable service's On Demand menu. The guy seems genuinely interested in playing Kiss and Make Up, displaying romantic garbage titles and video of "our wedding." The girl is having nothing of it, at one point even changing her Facebook status to "single" (seriously, if that's an indication of how truly horrible their fight was, is it really going to be fixed by choosing the right tear-jerker to snuggle with? Is this guy really so diminished by his relationship with this woman that he's going to forget she announced to the world that their marriage was over because of a FIGHT?)

At any rate, the choice of the "right" video ultimately ends this disgusting display of passive- aggressiveness and gets this obviously well-matched couple back together again, and they have "SmartTalk" by Samsung to "thank" for it. No apologies necessary- no apologies, no heart to hearts, no soul searching, no compromises. Nope. Whatever the problem was, it was solved through the magic of the Big Glowing Screen. Thank goodness, because there's nothing in the world worse than actually communicating with the one you "love," is there?

Very fortune for us, too. Because on television, it's kind of hard to read the thought bubbles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not the word I would use to describe you

There are two things that have always bugged me about commercials like this one (and this commercial is very, very familiar.)

First, the exaggerated response of the "actor" at center stage. No matter how tiny the victory being handed to this guy is, he must respond by acting like a deranged lunatic, or a small child. I mean, he won a freaking taco from Taco Bell. We are told that means he saved- wait for it- EIGHTY-NINE CENTS. No one in their right mind would jump up and down, scream, and physically assault people over this. How would this guy respond if he had just won a million dollars? Hard to imagine he could whip up MORE enthusiasm.

Second, the seriously depressing, nonchalant response of the woman who mysteriously knows what the fuss is, even though she's not standing anywhere near the idiot. "He thinks he won a taco"- ok, wait a minute. The fact that she knows this is what he's screaming about, and doesn't think he won- well, a million dollars- must mean that she's used to this kind of behavior from the dick. So why does she still find herself hanging around with him (the fact that she's asked what the fuss is strongly implies that they are together- WHY?)?? Also, what's the deal with the other people around this guy- instead of wondering if he's suffering from a heroin withdrawal, they seem to find his antics either A) just slightly beyond normal, or B) somewhat amusing. Why doesn't a single person here grab this guy and tell him to get himself a fricking clue and stop acting like a braying jackass?

I'll just wrap this up with a side note- this looks like a party, taking place at a rather upscale club. If that's what it is, why are they serving Taco Bell tacos, complete with game stickers attached? And there's a whole tray of tacos there- why would this guy be excited about winning something that seems to be available in unlimited supply, right there in front of him, anyway? What the hell?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I can't believe a mere asteroid was powerful enough to wipe these things out

"It slices! It dices! Look at that tomato!
You can even cut a tin can with it, but you wouldn't want to!"

--Weird Al Yankovic, "Mr Popeil"

Here's another ad for a little piece of garbage I really wish I had the guts, know-how and lack of conscience to have invented and marketed myself. Oh, and I guess I should include in my list of inadequacies a little something called chutzpah- I mean, what could be more important to someone willing to slap a fancy name, a list of glowing attributes and an incredibly inflated price to a rope made out of rubber?

First, the fancy name- "Raptor Strap." Seriously, that's just awesome. Not only does the name "Raptor Strap" just scream strength and dependability (what is stronger and more dependable than an extinct dinosaur?) but the claim implied is also one hundred percent non-confirmable (is this product REALLY as strong as a Raptor? Well, if you disagree, go find me a Raptor, and let's compare. Oh, they haven't existed on the planet for a hundred million years? Well, that's YOUR problem, isn't it, buddy?)

Second, the logo- also awesome. That's one angry, confident-looking dinosaur there, holding a Raptor Strap as if he's ready to take on the largely unsecured, unfastened world on his own. Wouldn't you like to be as boldly ready to bind stuff to other stuff as this guy is? Well, there's only one product that can make that happen. And it's only available from this TV offer.

Third, check out all these awesome things you can do with your Not a Bungee Cord- you can secure things to posts! You can throw them over cars without permanently blinding your friends with iron hooks (Bungee Cords kill and injure THOUSANDS every year, you know! A Raptor told me so!) You can use them to walk your dog (did you know that every year, THOUSANDS of dogs chew through ordinary leashes, dash across streets, and get eaten by Raptors?)

Third, the price. Not much, as long as you are willing to forget that THIS IS A PIECE OF RUBBER WITH HOLES IN IT. And that's always the trick in these commercials- no matter how obviously stupid the product is, that stupidity can be disguised by a low price and AWESOME SPECIAL EXTRAS INCLUDED AT NO EXTRA COST JUST PAY SEPARATE SHIPPING AND HANDLING!! Because in our gullible little world, crap may not be worth the price tag it carries, but multiply that crap several times, and add some different crap, and suddenly it's a Must Have Once In a Lifetime Order Right Now Opportunity that Must Not Be Missed At Any Cost.

After all, remember that time your best friend was blinded by the lethal iron hook of a bungee cord?