Sunday, October 30, 2011
I've long sung the praises of the Kindle over at Amazon.com and on this blog site. I think it's an amazing invention, and it's reinvigorated a love of reading for an entire generation. My father got one in the spring of 2010, and by the end of that year I had one, as did both of my brothers and a niece. I have never heard anyone who owns a Kindle say anything remotely negative about it. To date I have downloaded more than 150 books, and receive The Nation on my Kindle every week.
This summer, I read a heartwarming article concerning the impact of e-books on middle school students. The gist of the article was how the e-book phenomenon was igniting a real love of reading in kids aged 11-14; these kids were excited about reading because they could download books themselves and carry their libraries around with them. It was so gratifying to read about kids in love with a device which actually helped them develop and expand their vocabularies, not to mention their imaginations.
However, the article ended on a bit of a sour note- it included a mention of coming "innovations" in e-book technology, including the inclusion of media, including streaming video. Suddenly a red flag came up, and I thought "Uh oh, here we go again....a useful piece of technology is about to go the way of the radio and the television and the telephone and pretty much every other invention which seems so promising and beneficial at first, and become dumbed down and more of a toy than a learning tool...."
A few months later, my worst fears have come to pass. Introducing the Kindle Fire, which yes, still offers downloadable e-books. But look, now it's in color. And now there's video to look at- because why should Kindles be just for people who like to read? In fact, it's hard to see how this new device is distinguishable from the I Pad or the hand-held television or a modern cell phone. Don't like to read? Well, no problem- watch shows and movies! Look at pretty pictures! The New Kindle- Because Kindles aren't just for the literate anymore!
Clearly, the owners of the Kindle brand were sick of being locked out of the massive dullard market which catered to Americans who simply will not be convinced that reading can be fun, and will only buy electronics that cater to their mouth-breathing, cotton-candy-for-brains need to have stimulation poured into their eyes and ears, no individual effort required. I guess I should have seen this coming when my students, after asking to look at my Kindle, kept attempting to turn pages by rubbing the screen, and then responded with contempt at the news that no, there are these buttons on the side you have to use. What? I can't do anything by just touching the screen? I have to push a BUTTON? Ugh, when is this thing going to get into the 21st century?
Well, now the Kindle IS in the 21st century. I suspect that in a few months, when I see people with Kindles at the gym and riding the subway, they'll be WATCHING, not reading. And kids who wanted a Kindle so that they could download books will now sneer at the old models and demand one with color graphics, a touchable screen, and video streaming capability. Oh, and it lets you download books, too? Um, that's nice. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to playing "Angry Birds."
We ALWAYS do this. The Film Industry once relied on charm and grace and good scripts to sell movies- now it just culls the archives of Marvel Comics or produces sequels, the ruder and more crass the better. Television was once bland and inoffensive at worst- today you are better off letting your kids play in traffic than be exposed to what passes as "entertainment" during what was once called the "family hour." E-books were once a way to access....well, books. Now they are just another example of electronic popcorn, with no nutritional value. Or will be, very soon.
Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. At least by this time next year, I won't have kids bugging me to look at my lame, no-graphics, no-color Kindle. I can't find it in my heart to thank you, though, Kindle. Because your product really didn't need improvement- and this is NOT an improvement.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Can someone PLEASE just kill these two fat losers? I mean, really- they are actually challenging each other's "manliness," using their willingness to construct their "lives" around playing a stupid, utterly pointless video game as the measuring stick.
Fat Slob No. 1 is in Wal Mart's parking lot at the moment that this new, brain-numbing, Pretend To Be Somehow Connected To Actual Soldiers offering by the soulless cretins who somehow managed to pick up the baton dropped by the last generation of game developers, who gave us silly, fun nonsense like Donkey Kong and Frogger. Fat Slob # 1 is convinced that because he picked up Battlefield 3 as soon as it was available (does anyone admit to doing this in real life?) he is more of a Man than Fat Slob # 2.
Ah, but wait one moment- Fat Slob # 2 has driven his mobile home, furnished with several large HD TVs, to the Wal Mart, saving himself that painful ride that most of us have to take back to our residences before we can play with our brand new toys. Fat Slob # 2 calls the mobile home his "Man Cave." Fat Slob # 1 and Fat Slob # 2 now engage in a dick-measuring contest, except that it's all about video games. Considering the importance these "men" place in video games, not to mention the double chins and expanding waistlines that no doubt come with the "Gamer" lifestyle, I'm not especially surprised that their view of what a "Man" is has nothing to do with Women.
(As a quick aside, let's update what "manliness" means in tv commercials these days: To be a man, one must a) treat women like crap, b) wear wrinkled shirts that are never tucked in, c) shave no more often than every fourth day, d) drink Miller Lite, and e) buy the latest "Look Mom I'm a Soldier" video game the moment it becomes available at Wal Mart. Glad I could help.)
Anyway, back to these disgusting, fat, loathsome wastes of skin. I am really looking forward to the day when the games that make up the center of their existence are available through quick downloads, so they never have to leave their "man caves" and blight the lives of us non-"Gamers" with their pasty, sweaty, Refuse to Shower Until I've Reached Level Four presence in the real world. And you know what? I bet they are, too.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Hey, we all like white kids, right? I mean, we all like white kids when they do adorable things like look up at the sky and daydream, and stack books so that they can reach other books, and become sunny-faced, innocently flirtatious teenagers who walk through fields in slow motion and graduate from High School wearing purple gowns and lay in circles in those fields we were just talking about, right?
Well, all that shit takes energy, you know. And the only energy that is really available, and isn't just an Al Gore yeah right pipe dream funded by George Soros and the other billionaire Commiecrats, is Oil. So shut up about spills and the rape of the environment and air pollution and and global warming (do I have to refer to Al Gore again?) Unless you hate fresh-faced white kids, education, and everything that makes Alaska---err, AMERICA-- the Officially Sanctioned Greatest Country That Ever Was.
But just in case you ARE one of those America-Hating What Do You Want Us To Live In Caves Global Warming Loons, don't despair- we are spending billions of dollars improving our Natural Gas technology as well. Because Natural Gas is the Cleanest Practical Energy available, if only the Government and the Tree Huggers would stop their whining about fracking and flammable water coming out of faucets, the Progress-Hating Nanny State babies.
Oh, and both industries create jobs. Don't you like jobs? Don't you want children provided for? Don't you want America to have a future? Then shut your hole and back off. If you MUST say something, how about a "thank you?" I mean, this stuff doesn't come out of the ground by itself, you know.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
One of my fondest memories as a boy was sleeping over at a friend's house on Saturday nights. We'd pitch a tent in the back yard and run an extension cord out to it, so we could plug in a tiny black and white portable television and watch Saturday Night Live.
I remember very few of the skits. What I do remember, very fondly, was hoping with each passing minute that the night would not end without a "Mr. Bill" sketch. Crowded into that tent, huddled around that television, watching through the static, occasionally having to adjust the vertical hold or the rabbit ears, hoping our favorite tribute to Claymation would end the evening on just the right note.
We never tired of seeing Mr Bill get pummeled by Mr. Hand and Sluggo in all sorts of imaginative ways (of course, Spot had to get his first.) I don't know why it was funny. Maybe it was the simplicity of it. But I remember laughing so hard every time.
So, I'll save my anger for the ad agencies who think nothing of stealing classic rock songs in order to peddle their crap. This isn't stealing- this is reminding us of something that people of my age group really found precious, once upon a time. Oh, and I kind of like the product, too.
Ok, enough of the positivity. Next time, I'm back to spewing venom, I promise.
(Where IS Spot in this ad?)
Monday, October 24, 2011
It's bad enough that the narrator boasts that KFC's latest monstrosity just may be "the world's best tasting full meal." I mean, come on- this is a bowl of mashed potatoes, fried chicken, gravy, and corn. It's Shepherd's Pie, if being served Shepherd's Pie were akin to assault with a deadly weapon.
But now, the geniuses at Kentucky FRIED Chicken have found a way to take a disgusting pile of Heart Attack even more revolting. Diabetes in a bowl now comes with BACON!! Yay, because who doesn't like bacon? That's like not liking double chins, sweating while tying your shoes, or dying before your kids graduate High School!
I'd ask "what's next," but after all, these are the guys who gave us the Double Down Sandwich. It's pretty safe to imagine that the geniuses who peddle cardboard cups of fried batter as "Popcorn Chicken" are exploring ways to add fried eggs and caramel sauce to the "Cheesy Bacon Bowl" (ugh, just typing that gives me chest pains.) Maybe we can fit some pasta in there? A wedge of Texas Toast? A slice of cheesecake (hey, more cheese! Everybody likes that!?) Hell, why not replace the plastic bowl with one made of double-stuff Oreos and dip the whole damned thing in the deep fryer before serving?
I've been to the Kentucky Visitor's Center in Louisville. I've had my picture taken next to the giant statue of Colonel Sanders holding a bucket of what looks to be about 30 lbs of fried chicken parts. I've read the "Colonel's" inspiring bio explained with black and white framed photos along the wall of the center. I know this guy was an entrepreneur who devoted his life to making money by pitching incredibly unhealthy, oil-and-butter-slathered "food." But I think even he must have had limits- when the Colonel was still with us, KFC sandwiches came with bread and if you wanted bacon, you went to a burger joint. And my bet is that if you wanted to kill yourself, he would have directed you to the nearest gun shop, and not offered to sell you the tools of your own destruction.
Hey KFC, know who else is "famous?" Assassins. But I guess you figured that out already, didn't you?
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Another "classic" ad-- courtesy of my taped-off-television Mystery Science Theater video collection...
Ok, as near as I can figure it, this commercial is about a woman who travels to Italy and makes eye contact with a male local, who turns out to be a chef at the restaurant she later goes to with people she just met or is traveling with but didn't happen to be with at the time she made eye contact with the cute guy who turned out to be a chef.
The local guy hasn't been able to get her out of her mind (maybe it's the blond hair, rather rare in Italy? Because she doesn't strike me as all that hot.) When he sees that Fate has brought her to his place of work, he insists on picking out the bag of bland, white flour-based pasta himself, expertly dropping it into a vat of boiling water, and serving it to her. Because this woman's plans in traveling halfway around the world certainly included an evening at a fancy restaurant eating crap she could have picked up at the corner grocery store back in Jersey. I'm sure she'll be hitting Starbucks on the way back to the hotel, because Italy doesn't do it's own coffee either, right?
And because this is a commercial, she's super-impressed by the plate of boiled pasta this dope has decided she wants to eat. I'm sure they end up together, happily ever after, secure in the knowledge that no matter where they decide to raise their kids (the United States or Italy,) Barilla Pasta will be easily obtainable. I'm very happy for them, really I am.
Barilla pasta is "the choice of Italy." Yeah, so is Silvio Berlusconi. Point, please?
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Somehow, I don't buy the Smart Car as the answer to our obsession with BIG BIG BIG (did the first ten seconds of this commercial give anyone else a headache?) vehicles. I'm very glad that the Age of the Humvee seems to have passed (it will not be missed,) though I am a bit concerned about how car companies will react if the price of gasoline continues to tumble, but I don't think that means we are all going to seek forgiveness by decking ourselves out in sackcloth and ashes and driving around in sardine cans with wheels.
I guess the "BIG BIG BIG" promotion strategy beat out "the price and gasoline mileage of an Accord, combined with the functionality and looks of a Go-Cart" sales pitch? Kind of surprising, since the Smart Car comes with so many cool features you just can't find on other, normal and not really stupid-looking vehicles: The Smart Locking Gas Cap, for instance, or the Smart Rear Window Wiper. Oh, and don't forget the Smart Sound System. What? You say you can get all these things for your Not a Four Wheeled Skate Board automobile? Maybe- but they won't be Smart.
I really want to apologize to the people who poured maybe two or three weeks of their lives into designing this pretentious Slightly Safer Than A Moped on the Jersey Turnpike cars. But a guy who lives up the street from me actually owns one of these things, and whenever I walk past his house and see it in his driveway, I expect a six year old kid to jump in it and start pedaling. Seriously, I wouldn't bet on it surviving a collision with a Big Wheel- and I think I'd look less stupid heading off to Giant Food in a Green Machine than zipping along in one of these things.
As long as I'm piling on- this has also got to be just about the ugliest motor vehicle I have ever seen. It's not ugly in the way a Humvee is ugly- it doesn't scream "I hate the world and the environment and I like to pretend I'm in Iraq without having to actually fight, and by the way I am too rich to care about the price of gasoline." I can deal with the stunning level of smug self-satisfaction that must go in to the decision to buy one of these things. But jeesh, just look at this eyesore. It makes the freaking Nissan Cube look like an Audi 8. The New Beetle is a work of art compared to this bizarre little toy (and it gets about the same gas mileage, too.)
So no, I'm not in favor of going BIG BIG BIG. But this is an overreaction. Just because I don't want to drive an armored jeep or a minivan (btw, do minivans come with Finding Nemo pre-installed in the DVD player? Because every time I find myself behind one, that's what's playing) doesn't mean I'm willing to putter around in a freaking fiberglass egg. I also don't want to be checking the driveway during windstorms to make sure my car hasn't joined the garbage cans in the street or is being carried off in some kid's backpack.
You did succeed in one respect, Smart Car- your commercials are every bit as insufferable and annoying as the ads for REAL automobiles.
Friday, October 21, 2011
These commercials for Verizon and "4G" phones are such a riot, portraying the purchase of these stupid devices as tantamount to obtaining some kind of Holy Grail of excitement in the form of "connectivity." Because really, what could be more exciting than being able to update your Facebook page or listen to Chris Berman on the go?
Clueless No Life Dweeb #1 compares the anticipation of getting a cell phone to the coming of an amazing electrical storm, climaxing in the splitting of a tree by a bolt of lightning. The storm has come and gone, but it's gift to this weirdo has been left behind in the form of the shattered tree. No, this kid will not be carving a bat out of it's remains. He'll instead be "blessed" by a little glowing box which will give him more excuses to stay in his room and avoid contact with annoying carbon-based life forms.
Clueless, insufferable Dweeb #2 is doing his best Forrest Gump impersonation, running like mad down a 3-mile long driveway (it's actually only thirty feet, but it FEELS like 3 miles to a kid whose idea of a triathlon is texting, downloading and talking at the same time.) He looks into his mailbox, and YAY! The online purchase that will finally make his wretched existence bearable has arrived! And because Verizon is determined to convince us that these aren't just phones, the kid must then bring the box to his Special Secret Place in the barn ( I don't want to know what that Secret Special Place was used for before today, thanks anyway) before opening it. And of course, opening the box must be accompanied by a freaking laser show, no doubt signifying that, as in the case of Dweeb #1, something Very Significant has just happened in the life of this kid. Everything. Is going to get better. Starting. Right. Now.
I've said it once and, as regular readers of this blog know, I've said it a thousand times: All commercials carry exactly the same message: Your life sucks. However, there is a way you can make it suck less. And that's by purchasing this product. This product will make your sucky life bearable; strike that, this product will make your sucky life NOT SUCK ANYMORE. Your sucky life will suddenly become AWESOME if you buy this. And since you are only ONE PURCHASE AWAY from redeeming your sorry-ass existence, you'd have to be a complete and utter loser NOT to make that purchase. So what's it going to be? A life not worthy of living, because you are too damned cheap to buy just this ONE MORE THING? Or a life of lightning-bolt and storm-cloud awesomeness, all waiting for you once you open up that box?
If your choice is the latter, welcome to the wonderful world of ringtones and movies on 2-inch screens and turn-by-turn directions and all those other nifty things you thought were kind of nice but now realize are Absolutely Essential. If it's the former, well, enjoy watching life go by without you, Loser Who Will Never Be Loved By Anyone. And don't say we didn't warn you. On your death bed, you can ponder how you didn't make that One Purchase. You'll be doing it alone.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Aww, how adorable. Remember how kids used to have lemonade stands, and they'd mix up the stuff and try to get people to stop and buy some at maybe five cents a glass, and since even forty years ago a nickle didn't buy much of anything at all it was really more all in fun and about engaging in a project which took advantage of those summer days that seemed to never end?
Well, fuck that, it's 2011, and according to Verizon it's never too early for our kids to be molded into money-obsessed, grasping, penny-pinching corporate zombies. And it's never been easier to use technology to
A. Keep track of inventory
B. Keep track of the wage slaves---err, "staff."
C. Keep track of every penny of "profit" that trickles into your "small business," including the money that comes in via credit cards (credit cards used to buy lemonade? Awesome message you're sending there, Verizon. I swear, in another year we'll see people establishing credit as fetuses.)
And isn't the result oh so adorable? Grim-faced automatons barking orders into cell phones, sending important-looking graphics to the worker drones, sitting behind massive desks to advertise their status as America's Most Productive. These kids are one step away from financing a Tea Party rally.
Anyway- I don't have kids, so maybe I'm out of line here, but do we really want to see children taking life (and money which, believe it or not, is really not the same thing) so seriously? Does every activity have to be about organizing and graphing and scheduling and shipping and "succeeding" (by raking in the dough, of course?) Is there any room for innocent fun anymore? My guess is that the answer is "no"- that play and imagination and pointless, silly fun went the way of the dodo as soon as we decided to sell our souls for Connectivity.
Still- I wish companies like Verizon could just leave the kids alone.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I know what to expect when I read the comments under the commercials before I embed them into this blog. No matter how asinine, disgusting, or downright stupid the commercial is, there are always glue-sniffing little boys there, posting about how ROTFLMAO hilarious they thought it was, or how EPIC that guy's facial expression was OMIGD, and don't forget the ever-present "Do U know this song wat is this song i want this SONG!"
But the comments for this horrible, mean-spirited, cruel ad are downright depressing. What are we looking at here? A woman is cruising along in her SUV (I hate SUVs but jeesh, not enough to wish what's about to happen on ANYONE who cares to drive them.) She thinks the way is clear, so she attempts to change lanes and BANG!! Collision which causes her to swerve sideways before coming to a screeching halt.
She screams in slow motion while the guy playing the part of "Blind Spot" laughs because he's "done his job." I'm pretty sure we are supposed to be laughing along with him, because gosh there's nothing funnier than the panicked, frightened face of a middle-aged woman experiencing a car accident now, is there?
Or maybe there is- maybe the sight of the same woman, now traumatized, trying to catch her breath, with a vacant, horrified look on her face. Unless you've got a mother, sister or wife, OMIGOD what an EPIC moment in the annals of commercial humor!
At least two of the posters here thought that this evil mess was so funny, they lost control of their bowels. Another was watching with his mom and dad, and they all burst out laughing (great job raising that kid, mom and dad.) NO ONE on the first page of comments thought this commercial was anything but rib-splitting good fun.
Good Lord, really? It's a commercial about a WOMAN being involved in a CAR ACCIDENT and being understandably FRIGHTENED INTO TEMPORARY PARALYSIS BY IT. That this event- which is NEVER funny under ANY circumstances- tickles so many YouTube Dickwads says nothing good about the little children who can't stop wetting themselves over scenes involving car accidents, talking babies, or cruel, beer-addled boyfriends.
Hey, posters? If you don't mind, we are trying to have a society here. You could help by keeping your sad comments to yourself. Every consider reading a book? Who knows, you might find it fun. And you won't go nuts wondering what that OMIGOD EPIC song is.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Quick note, and I hope it doesn't come too late- I couldn't find the 40-second tv version of this ad, so please, if you want to watch the embedded video at all, feel free to stop after forty seconds. Or before. Just because I've decided to take on the burden of wading through this crap doesn't mean you have to.
Ok, on to the commercial, which should look really familiar. There's this new video game, and it's being released by Wal Mart at "12:01 AM" on some day in the near future, so of course you have to be there in the parking lot by 4 PM the previous day to get a good place in line with the other pasty, sweaty, haven't-had-a-date-since-the Clinton-Administration "gamers." Now, if you happen to be driving past Wal Mart around midnight and see you see a herd of what looks like two-legged bison all holding glowing things in their hands, you shouldn't assume that they are on hand to buy this new Batman game. That would be really unfair. They may be online to buy the new I Phone (not the one that came out last week, the one that's coming out next week.) They may be there to buy the Newest Game System Which Renders All Other Game Systems Obsolete until December. Or, they may have no idea why they are standing in line- they just saw the line while driving home from their latest failed attempt to engage in an evening of drinks and conversation with a female life form, and decided that whatever was being sold, they needed to have it.
Wow, I've come all this way, and I haven't even commented on the commercial yet. Ok, here we go: Arrested-development exhibits A and B challenge each other's Gamer Cred ("I'm so more Batman than you." Yes, of course you are. Have another Slim Jim, PATHETIC LITTLE BOY.) The very act of purchasing this latest time-and-money vampire has inspired one of these jerkoffs to dress up in a Batman costume, climb the roof of a neighbor's house, and attempt to zip line into his "friend's" house. Hey, at least he's out of his room!
And please, will someone explain to me how these two witless, game-addled drones managed to land jobs which allow them to live in the freaking suburbs? You can't tell me that these guys do anything more complicated than provide tech support for Verizon (Ok, maybe Best Buy's Geek Squad, but that's IT.) Don't tell me that these disgusting overgrown children bring down salaries which allow them to pay the mortgages on what look like pretty substantial homes in nice neighborhoods.
Oh wait, I forgot- these guys clearly still live with their parents. They hold down part-time jobs at Radio Shack while taking two classes per semester at the Community College Across from Dunkin Donuts. And can't pay a penny in rent because their entire salaries go to Big Gulps, Slim Jims, I Phones and Whatever Wal Mart Is Selling Starting At 12:01 AM. What was I thinking?
Sunday, October 16, 2011
If you guessed "redeeming social value," you'd be right, but that's not what I'm looking for. Hey, it's my third post of the day, so I'm not going for "deep" here.
And it's not "a good reason to buy one of these phones," either, though you'd be right with that guess, too. Watching downloaded movies on a three-inch screen justifies a vanity purchase like this stupid little toy? Really? No. And if you don't "need" to have the option of watching television or movies every fucking second of every fucking day, I don't see what makes either of these phones superior to my FREE flip phone. (If you DO feel that you need access to electronic entertainment all the time, no matter where you are, please seek professional help and stop helping these companies wreck society, ok?)
It's not the price, because if you are in the market for one of these things, you don't care about the price. You just see the commercial, haul your sorry ass to the store, open up your wallet and tell the undereducated twenty-something at the register "yes, I'm back for my ninth upgrade this year. Just take whatever you need out of this leather thing."
No- what I'm looking for- but never really expecting to see- is nothing more complicated than a SET OF FRICKING HEADPHONES. Seriously, what the HELL is the matter with you, people? Go ahead and indulge in your obsession with your idiotic toys. Watch television and movies until your eyes fall out of their sockets for all I care. But with the last surviving part of your brain that is not dedicated to instant gratification and social withdrawal, try to remember that you are in a PUBLIC PLACE surrounded by people who DON'T SHARE YOUR SAD ADDICTION TO ELECTRONIC STIMULATION. Watch your wonderful movies with the exploding cars and everything going smashy-smashy. Feel free to be so engrossed that you step in front of buses and trains (I mean it, I hate all of you that much.) But for God's Sake, give me SOME sign that you are aware that there are OTHER PEOPLE ON THE PLANET and they would like to get from Point A to Point B without being assaulted with whatever you are trying to use to stop the awful echoes of nothingness bouncing around inside your skull, losers.
Come on, Cell phone companies. I know you hate us. But would it be so hard to show these people using ear buds? If it would help, I'd remind you that they don't really work very well.
Ok, I don't want to be too critical of this ad because it's got a good, important message, and I don't need to be flamed by people accusing me of being pro-cancer or something.
I'll just point out that this little girl with the mom who is "kinda weird" has already appeared in Kraft Mac'n Cheese ads ("you BAKE it...in the OVEN...") and "MacSurance Covers you for lost Mac'n Cheese...,") which means that the woman in this ad is probably not her mom, but another actress. Know what that does to the message, GE? Makes it considerably less appealing and believable.
If you want to sell us on your efforts to fight cancer, how about going out and finding an actual cancer survivor and her actual daughter (I bet you anything they are out there) and spare yourself the trip to Central Casting to find the Cute Little Girl with Commercial Experience. Because maybe I'm alone here, but recognizing this kid totally detracted from the message. All I could think of was this Precious Little Moppet pining over the loss of "Cheesasaurus Rex- I LOVED that guy!" and pushing "MacSurance" against Loss Due To Disgusting Parents With Bad Manners. Not fighting cancer.
So while I don't wish this kid any specific ill will, and I frankly don't care if she goes on to have a decent career in Hollywood, I think her usefulness as a Cute Kid Talking About Her Mom expired the moment she signed with Kraft. Better luck next time, GE.
Ugh, where to start? Two filthy-rich white people buy a freaking palace suitable for entertaining their equally filthy-rich, equally white friends. They had no IDEA that those paintings in the attic were authentic Vermeers, nor do they really care- they just "both love the color yellow." The message we are supposed to get is "some people don't understand the value of beautiful works of art." This is supposed to segue into something truly nasty. But we'll get to that in a minute.
Clueless disgusting filthy-rich dickwads not only did not know that those paintings they fell ass-backwards into are valuable, they don't even know who Vermeer was ("funny name.") So they are uneducated as well as clueless. No problem- I guess it doesn't take all that much intelligence to have parents who believed in protecting their "generational wealth" (that post is coming, stay tuned) or got you a cushy job as a hedge funds manager. See how easy it is to be disgustingly rich, Occupiers? You don't even need two brain cells to rub together!
Anyway, this is all supposed to come together when the airheads who live in the palace don't even recognize that the Look How Incredibly Well-Off WE Are Castle on Wheels (starting price just under $80,000) parked on the street outside is ITSELF a work of art. At this point, did we expect any different from these philistines? After all, if they don't know who Vermeer is, and don't know Art when they see it, naturally they think this symbol of Conspicuous Consumption God I Hope They Use It To Transport You To The Guillotine automobile is just a "car" (starting price four years of college at a state university)." I mean, for all their Money and Appropriate Pigmentation and awesome art collection they really are just slobs- and that's the punchline.
We can imagine that on the drive home, the two guests clucked endlessly about how strange it was that Bob and Susan didn't seem to appreciate the awesomeness of our car (starting price the cost of feeding Nairobi through 2014,) and what a waste of time it was to have it detailed and waxed to a high gloss during dinner. I'd be thinking of where I could find some cheap Starving Artist paintings- in yellow- to trade for those Vermeers. Because I'm not interested in becoming disgustingly rich, but I wouldn't mind being a LITTLE better off.
Friday, October 14, 2011
If the condition that Pradaxa treats is so damned serious, why is it "commonly" reduced to the term "A-Fib?" Jesus Christ, is it a disease or a shortstop prospect for the New York Yankees? I know that if my doctor told me I had this condition that required the use of the word "bleeding" half a dozen times to explain it properly, I wouldn't want him to shorten it to "A-Fib." I mean, I'm glad you are so freaking hip, American Medical Association- but this IS my life you are talking about.
What's next? "Mrs Smith, your son was just admitted into the emergency room, he has a broken leg, or what we call B-Leg." Or how about "your husband has suffered a brain aneurysm, or BISM." Because if you are going to be sick or hurt, that shouldn't prevent us from being Hip, should it?
Second, doesn't Pradaxa sound like more of a trap than a benefit? Don't stop taking Pradaxa without your doctor's permission, as stopping may cause internal bleeding. Taking Pradaxa, by the way, may cause internal bleeding. So if you take this drug, you risk bleeding to death internally. And if you stop, you run the same risk. Ain't it great to grow old in the 21st century?
Finally, I like how the makers of this drug seem to realize that the side effects of their Miracle Drug are too scary to be explained by just one doctor- no, we need an entire phalanx of Caring Professionals to explain to us in soothing terms why this drug is really beneficial despite all this scary stuff that can happen to you if you take it. Don't believe the female doctor? Here's a male doctor telling you the same thing. Oh, and here's a fat old guy who can barely walk, but take our word for it, he's MUCH HAPPIER because he's taking Pradaxa. Or at least, he will be, until it kills him.
The FDA is doing a great job, isn't it? Every time I see one of these drug ads, with it's one or two lines of benefits followed by four paragraphs of warnings, all I can think is how ridiculous it is that we live under a system which allows drugs to be rushed to market and peddled by paid spokesmen and actual doctors alike as long as the ads come with long lists of disclaimers. So the moment one branch of Big Pharma manages to produce a drug which SEEMS to have SOME effect on dealing with a disease (and we are talking everything from dementia to heartburn) it's on the shelf at your local pharmacy, and never mind that it may cause all kinds of bad things to happen to sad, desperate, and above all Trusting people who are only trying to do what their doctors told them too (more and more often, because they told the doctor they saw this ad and were convinced to badger him for this drug.)
Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for these drug companies to be told to keep working on these new products until the risk of these truly horrific side effects was at least greatly decreased? Oh, but that slows down the money machine, doesn't it? Can't have that. So I guess all we can do is quietly suggest that maybe doctors go back to acting like doctors and not drug peddling middle men for the Pharmaceutical industry. And stop treating us like children by trying to give serious diseases "cool" names.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Guess what, morons? You don't look stupid getting the words to "Rocket Man" wrong. Don't be ashamed because there's a line in the song you've spent your whole life mishearing.
You should be too busy being ashamed that you are even attempting to sing Elton John's Major Tom ripoff. Or any Elton John song at all. I will, however, give you credit and a tip of the hat for not subjecting us to some mangled version of the worst song ever written which is not called MacArthur Park or "sung" by Paper Lace, Sir Elton's treacly "tribute" to Princess Diana. God what an ear-bleeder.
The Hate is strong with this one.
It's as if the good people at Klondike suddenly noticed that in Commercial Land, Males who really can't bear to be with their wives/girlfriends are a time-honored tradition that they somehow managed to overlook in thirty years of advertising. Eliminating all subtlety, the ad agency hired by Klondike, given it's marching orders to catch up with the rest of the world, threw together this horrid thirty seconds of Stupid.
Ugly, fat, unshaven slob Hubby absolutely, positively cannot BEAR to listen to anything the woman he once apparently wanted to spend the rest of his life with has to say. To him, the voice of the woman who's first "I Love You" resulted in a rapid heartbeat now makes fingernails across a chalkboard sound like the most beautiful music ever created. Listening to her prattle on for more than FIVE SECONDS is pure agony for this guy, who judging from his waistline and posture clearly married only to have someone to wash his clothes, incubate his babies, and refill his beer glass so he won't risk missing a play during Monday Night Football. What, she wants to TALK too? Ugh, I think you just found the thorn in the rose of your "relationship," buddy! It speaks!
This is another one of those commercials that steps beyond the realm of Inoffensively Dumb and reaches Cruel, Mean-spirited, and just plain Sad. It's bad enough that the jerkwad who wrote this nasty pile of dung is probably married with kids and has no idea how awful it is. It's worse to think that Klondike believes it's just following the crowd by portraying men as such insufferably self-absorbed, distant, cold-hearted dicks. "Hey look, America- we get the whole Men Are Insensitive Assholes bit, too! So buy our product!" Ugh.
Oh, and Klondike? Making that product look like a kitchen sponge drenched in chocolate syrup? Not the best idea, either.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Never mind the "just accept it, banking monkey" patronizing BS that flows through this God-Awful commercial. It's every bit as bad as Southwest's "Our Crappy Airline is So Much Different than the others, THEY cheat you out of every penny" ads.
In fact, never mind ANY ad for Banking, Airlines, Insurance, Cars or Beer which suggest that somehow their identical service or product is measurably "better" than all the others. Because it's all a crock. There's about as much light between Ally Bank and Bank of America as there is between the Democrats and the Republicans- not enough to illuminate a grain of rice. So Ally, Southwest Air, State Farm, Miller Lite- cut the crap, ok?
Instead of dealing with that entirely predictable, utterly dishonest theme, let's just stick with something simple- who among us has not been behind this guy at the ATM machine? Of course, it's usually something like the stupid knothead having not the slightest idea how to use the freaking machine, or not realizing that you can't WITHDRAW the money if you don't actually HAVE the money. This time, Our All Too Familiar Jerkwad is content to stand there holding up the entire line because he can't decide whether to pay a freaking three dollar fee to get his money. I mean, I know I've seen this guy more than once in my life. In fact, I see him everywhere- at the ATM machine, he can't figure out the Amazingly Complicated Buttons. At the theater, he suddenly can't remember which film he wanted to see, or that he needed to take his money out to pay for the ticket. At Giant Food, he insists on using the Do It Yourself aisle but can't find the barcode on the items he wants to purchase to save his life, and of course is buying nothing but fresh produce so he has to God Help Us Both find the proper code on the screen and (horrors) weigh his freaking bunch of parsley TODAY IF IT WOULD BE CONVENIENT. He's the Guy With No Clue But All The Time In The World, and if you know what you are doing and/or are in a hurry, that's just tough.
Thanks for giving this guy a job, Ally. I'll congratulate him the next time he's in line in front of me.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
While stopped at an intersection in Barre, Vermont in July 2003, I was rather violently rear-ended by a drunk who hit me so hard that my car jumped about five feet, nearly hitting the police officer directing traffic.
I got out of my car and laid down on the sidewalk until the ambulance could arrive. At the hospital, another police officer informed me that the guy who hit me was driving under a suspended license and had no insurance (and was drunk at eight o'clock in the morning to boot.) Oh well- thank goodness I was covered with State Farm!!
Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm quickly cut me a check for the value of my totaled Honda. So far, so good. Then I had to go through three months of physical therapy- three sessions a week, scheduled around my class schedule- to get my back straightened out. No problem- I was covered for damage caused by Uninsured Motorists through State Farm!
All I had to do was hire an attorney and badger State Farm to cover my therapy costs. For two and a half years. Finally, we settled. And a year after the settlement, I got a very nice letter from State Farm explaining how that multi-billion dollar company was unable to get any money from the drunken loser who slammed into me almost four years previous- and therefore, they Much Regretted That They Would Be Unable To Refund My $500 Collision Deductible. Such Good Neighbors!
Now, of course, if my house had been attacked by a giant robot with one eye which shot laser beams, and if Said Robot had smashed my car with a giant iron claw, and if Aforementioned Robot of the First Part had then lifted me up in my chair and dropped me on to my car, injuring my back, I'm positive I would have been covered and all expenses would have been paid for, No Questions Asked. It was the unusual circumstances of my particular accident ( I mean, how often do people get hit by uninsured drunk drivers? I bet my case was the first!) which created the conflict between me, the Allegedly Insured, and State Farm.
Full disclosure- I'm still with State Farm, because they DID ultimately give me a pretty decent settlement and they STILL give me the best rates of any company out there (I do check from time to time- hey Geico, you are out of the ballpark by about $400 per year. Just thought I'd let you know.) But when I see commercials like this, they just remind me of how you managed to drag out paying for my therapy (it's not like I went to some BS clinic in Sweden to immerse myself in volcanic mud- it was in downtown Silver Spring for Chrissakes...) for several years instead of just being a Good Neighbor and cutting me a freaking check (you know, like I do for you guys every three months, plus annually for my renter's insurance.) I don't know, it just makes me wonder how you'd REALLY react if I was ever attacked by a robot. Why do I think I'd be really out of luck, despite the confident look on this victim's face?
Or maybe I should contact my local agent and just ask about robot insurance. Because didn't SNL tell us a long time ago that the Iron Ones would eventually be coming for all of us?
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Apparently there's this "trilogy" of video games called "Gears of War," and this is the final "chapter," and based on some of the posts on YouTube, some "adults" are really, really bummed out about that. I mean, I assume that the posters who have been devotees of the "series" are adults, because these games are rated M for Violence, including Blood and Gore.
"M" stands for "Mature." Because I guess you have to be a Mature Adult to enjoy sitting on your fat and expanding ass playing this crap. And to be sad that the "fun" is coming to an end (as if there aren't already a dozen or more games that are just clones of this one- hey "gamers," it's not like there aren't going to be plenty of opportunities out there for you to pretend to be big strong soldiers blasting away at aliens from the comfort of your couches.)
If this is what it means to be Mature, I think I'd rather be Childish. There's more fresh air and sunshine in it, and it doesn't require electronics or waiting in line at Wal Mart.
"If you think that hiring ugly people to stare into the camera with a smug, 'I'm richer and therefore better than you' look is a good way to convince people to use our investment service, Join Us."
"If you think that your money should be the most important thing in the life of a total stranger who is receiving a tiny commission to invest it, to the point of being able to call that person at 3 AM to get an update on how that block of Consolidated Hay stock is doing, Join Us."
"If you are so fucking obsessed with your tiny, In Constant Danger Of Vanishing No Matter What You Think You Overbearingly Self-Important Corporate Fascist Money-Worshippers portfolio that your entire self worth is wrapped up in that imaginary number you keep in your head which represents the fantasy dollar amount that would finally make you happy, Join Us."
"And if every other cult has turned you away, Join Us."
Seriously, I think a day of tree-hugging and communal organic farming would be so much better for my soul than what these miserable, sad, Mammon- adoring, grasping cretins are into. Hey dickweeds- it's MONEY. Even The Beatles, who eventually all become Billionaires, knew it Can't Buy You Love which is, after all, All You Need.
But please, continue wasting your "lives" worrying about your little pile of gold- sure worked for Silas Marner. Leave your pamphlets at the door- I'll give them a polite going-over, but I should let you know right now that I'm really not interested in converting to your faith. Because like most organized religions, it seems to turn it's true believers into judgmental, demanding, holier-than-thou assholes.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wow, and I thought the Dirt Which Dreams Of Being Picked Up By a Broom commercials were stupid!
As near as I can figure, to understand this commercial we are supposed to embrace the notion that muffins bake themselves---daughter muffin reminds daddy muffin that she's told him in the past to use PAM cooking spray to avoid being stuck to the pan. Um...huh? So this is just the latest version of daddy muffin? How often does daddy muffin get to re-bake himself? Is reincarnation common among baked goods? Was I supposed to do some reading before viewing this commercial?
The "joke" is that daughter muffin has a date coming (I'm honestly sorry we don't get to see the "stud muffin") and she's mortified that her dad left some of himself in the sticky pan (come on, this is just weird.) Oh, and he calls her "cupcake," which is supposed to be very cute but also freaks out daughter muffin. Apparently cupcakes are persona non grata in the world of talking baked products. Maybe I WAS supposed to do some reading in advance....
Anyway, this commercial isn't really offensive, nor is it any more stupid than the roughly 100 million other ads featuring edible items acting like human beings. And it's certainly far less forehead-slapping dumb than the eTrade babies discussing their portfolios as they wave their I Phones around or any ad featuring monkeys, which are automatically bad because they feature monkeys. I think the only reason I even posted on it was because I'm still trying to get the bad taste of that God-Awful Geico commercial out of my mouth. This helped, a little.
It would be way too easy to comment on how disgusting and utterly loathsome the idea of eating the family's goldfish in order save money on sushi is- too easy, and too obvious. And besides, it was never the thought of these human-shaped rodents consuming fish which had spent their lives swimming around in their own waste that made me dive for the remote whenever this ad came on my television. So let's take a look at a few easy-to-overlook subplots in GEICO's latest "don't save money by acting like a mental patient" advertisement:
First, the woman in this ad tells the audience "we really like ordering sushi, but it was getting very expensive." What an odd choice of words- she and her husband like "ordering" sushi? Not eating it? Well, it seems that she doesn't care much for sushi herself, as she's prepared two pieces of this Incomprehensibly Popular dish and is serving it to her husband as if she's a waitress at a freaking restaurant. It couldn't be more obvious that he's expected to eat both of these fish- so Wifey doesn't like sushi? Or is it that she realizes how repulsive eating fish that have been living in a tiny bowl of tepid tap water is, and wants no part of it, and hey if it kills Husband, who could deserve it more? I prefer that thought to the "there's only enough fish for one person so naturally Hubby gets served, Wifey will have to do without" message.
Second, Daughter comes into the room holding the empty bowl, asking her parents if they've seen the family's fish. This is really odd- does daughter expect to find the fish, safe and sound, in another location, so that they can be returned to the bowl? Does she think that her parents won't understand who she is referring to unless she can show them the bowl- or will they deny that they are missing unless they see the empty fish bowl for themselves? And why is what she is doing with that bowl and her nonsense "have you seen them" question less weird than Daddy's "have you looked everywhere?"
At the end of the commercial, when daughter says "whatever" and walks away, does she realize what has happened to her beloved pets? Is she off to hide the cat and dog before mom and dad look for other ways to "save money?" I guess we are supposed to be so amused at the oh so very funny sight of Daddy eating the goldfish we just don't care.
The GEICO ads featuring the woman who taught her pets to sing 80s songs reaches the level of inoffensive/cute that I think the Insurance Company Which Has Never Ever Ever Offered Me A Better Deal Than My Current Policy was reaching for. This is isn't offensive/cute; it's offensive/stupid/gross. However, I'll salute GEICO if in their next "saving money" ad, they have their own company cut costs by serving up a certain lizard spokescreature at the annual barbecue.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Hey jerkwad- instead of gulping down pills right and left to stop that chronic heartburn, maybe you should consider
A) Seeing a doctor- I mean, this is not normal, not even for a fat slob who spends way too much time contemplating his next feeding, and/or
B) Listening to your body which, it seems to me, is really trying to tell you something here. As in, your food choices are really obnoxious to your digestive system, and it would really like you to stop assaulting it with hot, spicy garbage.
I'd like to think that Option A would lead to something very closely related to Option B, but knowing how Big Pharma captured the medical profession quite some time ago, it seems more likely to lead to a prescription for a powerful antacid. I mean, given the choice between making adjustments in your diet or taking a pill and keeping the tacos coming, which would most Americans go for?
This guy has found a "solution"- instead of gulping down TUMS every time someone mentions food (and judging from this guy's waistline and double chin, mentioning food and consuming food are very closely related activities very dear to his ever-enlarging heart) he's going to take ONE pill which takes the place of those cheap antacids. Wow, thank goodness- now instead of telling your body to shut up when it tries to warn you that you are doing it damage, you can nip that annoying little problem in the bud before it rears it's ugly, uncomfortable head. Kind of like how taking morphine is a good way to kill the pain caused by slamming your head against a brick wall, but if you could just pump novocaine into your face beforehand, that would be even better. Sure, smashing your skull into a brick wall may cause permanent damage, but isn't it a lot more important that you don't feel the pain while the damage is being inflicted?
Maybe this ends with the guy suffering a massive coronary. But no worries- if he survives, there's always that aspirin regimen deal. And this guy is already an expert on taking pills.
"Stop the Madness," indeed.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Well, I guess that this was inevitable in a society which is willing to wait in line for 20 minutes for coffee, pay big money for bottled water, and can't find it's way across the street without consulting a downloaded, personalized map from the APP store.
And what exactly was inevitable? That we'd be "treated" to commercials for a credit card which charges anywhere from 9.9% to 14.9% interest in which people crow about getting 1% of their purchase amounts back in cash. Cash which can be sent to you by check or (and this is the best part) applied to your card balance.
Seriously, where is the Red Queen in all this? Have we all lost our freaking minds here? Or are we just so wedded to credit that we are willing to swallow pretty much any insane, illogical nonsense fed to us by the wonderful banks that allow us to live beyond our means?
"I love this card"- please, help me out here. You "love this card" because.....if you buy something that costs a thousand dollars, the issuing bank adds at least $100 over the course of a year in interest....but gives you $10 "cash back?" In other words, you "love this card" because YOU ARE A FREAKING LUNATIC WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HOW CREDIT WORKS?
Why is it that every commercial for every credit card looks like a scene from "Idiocracy" that didn't make the final cut? Oh wait, I remember now- it's because every actor in every commercial for every credit card depicts a person who is so utterly, impossibly clueless, that it's hard to believe they managed to get themselves to the store in one piece.
Oh wait. I forgot about those downloadable maps.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
As long as your company has absolutely ZERO respect for the intelligence of the viewing public, why stop with faked videos of your truck saving a jet from crashing or pushing a dune buggy up a mountain of sand?
Why not show this truck boosting the space shuttle into orbit? How about pulling the Statue of Liberty into Central Park? No wait, here's a good one- why not show it driving West so fast that it causes the planet to stop rotating on it's axis, propelling us back in time and saving Lois Lane from being buried alive in an earthquake?
Oh wait, I know- because you realize that there is a certain population of TRULY STUPID, PATHETICALLY EASY TO FOOL MORONS who will actually BELIEVE that these scenes are NOT faked. I mean, take a look at some of the YouTube comments- you have people asking "is this real?" Sigh- yes, glue-sniffers. That stunt with the crippled jet really happened. You just didn't hear about it because it wasn't featured on TMZ, and none of the people you follow on Twitter mentioned it, and the news is for old losers.
So Nissan doesn't mind taking advantage of the current generation of idiots who know about photoshop and other tricks yet are still willing to take a lot of what they see at face value. And who are so used to being lied to that they don't take offense at "Punch Dub Days," "Hyundai Uncensored," Sham Wows or BS feats of strength exhibited by Japanese Trucks.
Hey, there's an idea for you, Nissan: Instead of giving us the finger with these commercials, why not just rename your truck the Nissan BS? It's concise and to the point- and besides, with society the way it is, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with friends who would think it's the LOL ROTFLMAO Best Name for a Truck EVER!
Better yet, show your truck doing something it can do in REAL LIFE. You know, like haul old furniture to the dump or look stupid sitting in the driveway of a suburban split-level. Hey, at least that would be more honest than this crap.
I don't know, it seems to me that this Chevy Volt owner is awfully darned defensive about his choice of automobile. I can think of several better responses he could have given to this kid, his equally loathsome, dickweed dad, and the moron who runs the station until his boss checks the security tape and realizes he's chasing away customers with his stunning lack of business sense.
"Just here to rub our nose in the fact that you don't have to buy gas, make you feel better?"
Response: look sheepish and reply "um, actually it costs about $1.50 a day..in electricity..." while inexplicably offended dickweed dad and chip off the old block son look on, unconvinced.
Better Response: "Yes, I've pulled into this gas station, which also obviously sells groceries, to impress and humiliate two total strangers. And you've played along perfectly, asking me about my car instead of minding your own f---ing business. Thank you- I feel MUCH better. Of course, you did that for me without even opening your mouths- I mean, what's with that shirt, and you could sure stand to lose a few pounds, fatso."
"He's just here to use the bathroom."
Good quick response: "And you have a problem with that....why, exactly? And why is it so difficult for two people who just bought Big Gulps to understand why anyone would be using this facility without buying gasoline? Did YOU buy gasoline? Never mind- I can't imagine why I'd care. After all, I don't even know you."
"No gas, no bathroom" (from the loser attendant.)
Response: "Ok, then...I'll...buy gas...."
Better Response: "Your boss clearly didn't teach you the economics of the retail gasoline industry, did he, moron? You see, gas stations actually make virtually nothing from gas sales. Their profit margins come from customers who buy groceries, or through auto repair services. Gas stations that depend on gas to make money are practically extinct. Didn't know this, did you, you brainless, clueless, rude fur ball?"
Then I'd leave. I sure as hell wouldn't buy gas from any station employee who treated me like this, basically joining two other customers in ganging up on me because....I have an electric car? Notice that the Volt owner doesn't even SAY he wants to use the bathroom- the station attendant just jumps in because...well, because he doesn't care about selling him chips, candy, soda or anything else offered in the f--ing store, I guess.
Instead, this guy is going to buy some gas- so he can use the bathroom, I guess. Or maybe he's afraid of being beaten up by the drooling idiots who can't accept the whole Electric Car concept as something more than a slap at their own vehicle choice. Frankly, I don't understand why the Volt guy feels the need to explain ANYTHING to these Offended For Absolutely No Reason jackasses- it's not like there isn't another Gas And Groceries stop 200 yards down the freaking road. Maybe even one that WANTS customers and doesn't verbally spit on them if they don't want to buy any zero sum game gasoline. Stupid.