Sunday, January 29, 2012

Because when it comes to women, Progresso believes Less is More

Most of the ads I comment on don't actually make me angry. I point them out because I find them stupid, boring, cloying, dimwitted, or insulting.

This commercial makes me angry, because I don't find it to be any of those things. Instead, I think it's manipulative, disgusting, retrograde, and so blatantly sexist that it leaves me wondering if we've made any progress (no pun intended) at all in the past several decades.

It's been fifty years since we first started to use Barbie dolls to brainwash little girls into believing that to be attractive, they had to be six feet tall, with wasp-thin hips and enormous breasts. Disney Studios has been an active, eager contributor to the damage, bringing us Ariel, Belle, Pocahantas, Snow White, etc.- none of whom seem in possession of internal organs. And of course NutraSystem rakes in billions by explaining to perfectly healthy women that they aren't really "attractive" unless they are devoid of body fat of any kind.

And don't get me started on the stick figures wrapped in strings which regularly grace the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit" Edition (like anyone would actually swim in those things. Come on.)

"THEY FIT"! yells the woman into her tin can phone. The guy on the other end doesn't get it- after all, guys don't worry about their weight, and why should they- I've seen enough sitcoms to know that beautiful women are just naturally attracted to fat guys. Guys NEVER think about stuff like the BMI index, let alone trying to conform to some artificial standard of beauty- because for men, there simply isn't one. That's girl stuff.

"Um, is there a woman I can talk to?" Because only another woman, who has been taught all of her life that only by becoming smaller can she be at all desirable, and therefore of Value, could understand her new-found joy.

This is really sick, Progresso. Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. This "there's less of me, so I'm better" crap has been jammed into American women long enough. How about promoting health, which has nothing to do with promoting thinness? How about NOT contributing to poor self-esteem, Bulimia, depression, and other damage caused by the relentless "Fat=Ugly" message? How about recognizing that there are more important things than your quarterly earnings report?

How about being part of the solution, instead of being just another part of the problem?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wait till she notices that yogurt comes in flavors other than "Plain!"

Prego gives us a really disturbing window into this woman's "life" during this sixteen-second ad, doesn't it? I mean, she seems to experience some kind of epiphany when she realizes that there was this other sugar-and-salt laden tomato sauce out there which is slightly less repulsive than Ragu. It causes her to wonder "what other bad choices have I made in my life?"

At this point, Prego could have made this an attention-grabbing, nasty ad more worthy of snark than this one. They could have had this woman flash back to her marriage to that Not Nearly Good Enough Just Like Mom Warned Me jackass who is currently back home, asleep on the sofa, waiting for yet another crummy pasta dinner. They could have shown her imagining her sticky-fingered, screaming spawn and remembering how she picked out the Brand X condoms to save a couple of bucks. There were a lot of possibilities available.

Instead, they give us-- well, to be honest, I'm not at all sure what they give us here. She seems to be having an epileptic fit while wearing a cheerleader's outfit in her bedroom. What does this mean? I have no idea. Maybe it's the bad sound quality. But I doubt it.

So what I DO get out of this ad is this: There's not a whole lot going on in this woman's life. She's in her thirties, and a chance meeting with the Prego vendor has caused a major shift in her life satisfaction quotient. Realizing that Prego tastes slightly better than Ragu convinces her to rethink all of the wrong turns down blind alleys she's made in her life, starting with a decision which had something to do with cheer leading.

If this is a one-shot deal with Prego, I really don't get it. If it turns out to be the first of a series of "Oh the things I could have done, but clouds (and willingness to blindly settle for inferior tomato-based products) got in my way" I DO get it- but I still don't want it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Hey Geico? When even the YouTube crowd doesn't like your ads, it's time to rethink your whole campaign

You've got a real problem, GEICO.

I'm sure you've noticed by now- the pea-brained, arrested development types who regularly post over at YouTube love everything on television, especially commercials. And I mean LOVE. They think that every commercial is LOL So Funny and they lose control over their bowels at the sight of talking babies, sarcastic children, and car accidents- and if you throw a monkey into the mix, well, they are totally hooked.

Oh, and no matter what the background music is, you can be sure that a dozen or more of these knuckle-dragging, witless glue-sniffers will beg each other for information on who the artist is, what it's called, where it can be downloaded, etc.

So when the Stunningly Easy To Please crowd thinks your commercial is stupid, you really need to pay attention. I mean, these guys think the Bud Lite Press Conferences are masterpieces of comedy- but they don't like the squealing pig bit. Tells me something.

By the way, I'm sure that the children of YouTube won't bring this up, but- how exactly does a pig hold pinwheels like that without opposing thumbs? And how does the pig in this ad manage to defy the laws of physics, catching up to the guy on the zip line, then running parallel to him, then speeding up and passing him?

Ok, I get that I'm probably overthinking this. But that's nothing you'll ever be able to accuse the vapid, drooling morons over at YouTube of doing. And they don't like this ad.

That's a very, very bad sign, Geico. I guess it's back to the Gecko and his Oh So Interesting journey around the United States (gee, I hope he visits all fifty, I really do.) Good luck with that.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Spill? What Spill?"

Here's more evidence of the accuracy of the theory that if you give people enough money, you can get them to say and do whatever you want.

On April 20, 2010 an explosion on an oil rig owned by British Petroleum killed eleven men and inaugurated the worst man-made environmental disaster in history. By the time the gushing undersea oil well had been successfully capped three months later, hundreds of millions of barrels of oil had been released into the ocean, doing severe and lasting damage to the Gulf's delicate ecosystem and paralyzing the sea-based economy of five US States. We all got to learn new terms like "oil plumes," so I guess it was educational, anyway.

To "disperse" the massive oil slick, tons of chemicals were poured into the ocean. The effect of all these chemicals was to push the slick to depths at which it could not be easily detected from the surface. Where it could no further harm, based on what I believe is Isaac Newton's Third Principle Governing Royal Corporate F-Ups: "Out of Sight, Out of Mind."

And now the real nastiness arrives, far oilier and less palatable than even the spill itself. Prompted by infusions of cash from British Petroleum, small business owners and the Gulf Coast tourism industry line up to sell their souls, grinning like marionettes as they extol the virtues of a vacation down South. Visit our many restaurants, featuring Now Practically Dispersant and Oil Free seafood! Check out our hundreds of miles of Now Virtually Clear of Softball-sized oil globules beaches- and if you take a dip on our Looks Blue Which Means It's Clean Gulf Waters, that sticky feeling is suntan lotion residue, honest!

Yes, all these industries are now partners with the company whose failure to invest in automatic shutoff valves and something more substantial than Grade D cement killed eleven men- husbands, fathers, brothers, sons- and drove any number of fishermen out of business. Now it's all smiles and hugs and "Come visit us, we're awesome again!" public service announcements financed by British Petroleum. All is forgiven, apparently.

I'm sorry, but this is kind of like the American government working in partnership with the Japanese to produce "Visit Beautiful Hiroshima!" commercials in 1947. British Petroleum can pay off the corporate voices of the Gulf (turns out that it's surprisingly easy) but that doesn't change the fact that BP's carelessness, callousness and penny-pinching attitude (thoroughly corporate and Capitalist in the truest sense of those words) wrecked havoc on the environment which may take a century to repair. All sacrificed in the sacred pursuit of the almighty buck.

Just like the dignity of the people in these ads.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unfortunately, the Acting and Story are still very much One-Dimensional

I just saw a trailer for another 3D film due out soon- "Wrath of the Titans." One of the characters says "this is the end of the world."

Well, I'm pretty sure that if the end of the world really was coming, the re-issue of "The Phantom Menace," George Lucas's middle finger to the millions of fans of the original Star Wars series, would be one of the indicators of impending doom.

Yes, soon we will be able to experience all of the horrendous non-acting, all of the chase scenes, and the demystifying of the light saber (watch it get used to melt a door! Yay!) in fabulous 3D!

Thought you loved the stunningly wooden performances of Natalie Portman, Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor the first time you sat through this mess? Just wait until they are muttering their hysterically bland lines right in front of you. Remember that kid who played "Annie" who mentioned Pod Racing roughly twenty times in his first ten minutes of screen time (George Lucas, master of the art of foreshadowing)? Remember how you wished you could just reach out and punch him in the nose? Well, now you can!

And oh, that Pod Race. Remember how you compared it to your last visit to the dentist- and found yourself reminiscing fondly about having your teeth scraped? Well, just wait until you see the flagrant Ben-Hur ripoff coming right at you! Won't that be awesome!?

And don't forget the kingdom of the giant drooling frogs, or the seemingly endless scenes featuring morose, apparently valium-impaired Jedi Knights, including Samuel L Jackson looking as if he'd rather be anywhere else (we can so relate!) sitting in circles wondering what to do next!

And don't tell me that you aren't champing at the bit to see the amazing climax, when Annie accidentally pushes a series of buttons, makes a few more awesome quips, and manages to blow up The Ship That Controls Everything ( a scene which takes place in at least four of the six films; Gilligan's Island was less predictable) without even really trying!

And just think- there can hardly be any doubt that next summer we will be treated to a 3D version of "The Clone Wars." And that in 2014 we are going to get another helping of "Revenge of the Sith." I mean, if you thought Hayden Christensen was the worst actor of all time, wait till you see him in 3D!

If you haven't been convinced yet to pray that the Mayans are right, and that maybe the world will come to a crashing end before this rewarmed garbage is served up at a theater near you, I have three more words for your consideration: Jar Jar Binks.

In 3D.

I apologize in advance for any nightmares this post may have caused.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A point of personal privilege, re: Joe Paterno

First, let me say this: I did not watch this tribute video. My gag reflex is way too strong for that. I just thought that it was a good example of how twisted our values have become that hours after this wretched waste of a life died, there were SEVERAL of these video tributes available on YouTube.

Now, to the point of this post. Considering that for the better part of the last decade, Joe Paterno's contributions to Penn State Games consisted of sitting in a booth (the University President' box) behind darkened privacy glass while someone else did the job he was being paid to do and took credit for, it's not at all surprising to me that this guy died on the morning before the AFC and NFC title games, and before each network ran out its litany of current events (read: politics, politics and more politics) Sunday morning talk shows. His ability to insert himself into the spotlight was not, in the end, hampered by his illness, clearly.

Because he died when he did, I get to hear the hosts of CNN, Fox News Sunday, ABC's This Week, etc. etc. give their little speeches about what an iconic figure Paterno was- "he was known as 'JoePa' (only in the last few years, when dumbing down the names of people connected to sports became a fad) and was like a father to his players....he leaves a void which cannot be filled...." and similar treacle. And when the NFL championship games start, I can be sure that the broadcasters will fall all over themselves telling their audiences what a Giant of a Man this guy was, how he was One of the Kind (jesus, let's hope so) and how it's such a Tragedy that his name will always be connected to the term Child Molestation. Yes, that's the real tragedy- not the damage done to the kids, but the damage done to "JoePa's" reputation. Groan.

I'll be very clear about my opinion on this. Does the fact that Paterno did not take swift action to stop the molestation of children by his assistance erase a brilliant, title-winning, sixty years of scandal-free coaching?

You God Damned right it does.

Paterno saw a vicious crime of violence being committed against a child by a member of his staff. With his own eyes. His response was to mention it to a superior. And then drop it. And keep the man he SAW committing these acts of violence on his staff. And, apparently, never mention it again.

I don't care how many games this guy won. I don't care how many titles he won. I don't care how many young men he inspired to give their best on the field for six decades. And I don't care that Penn State will certainly, once it seems "safe," erect a freaking statue dedicated to this evil old man. An Evil Old Man is what he was, and as he ought to be remembered.

And I don't want to hear any more crap about what an icon this nasty, self-absorbed creep was. I only wish he had been twenty years younger and thirty years healthier, so he could have suffered the legal consequences that ought to come crashing down on ANYONE (yes, even Living Saints like "JoePa") who sees a child being assaulted- and looks the other way. So I guess I'll be watching at least part of today's games with the mute button on.

Ok, I'm done. Thanks for your indulgence. Back to commercials in the future, I promise.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tyson: Childhood Obesity, served up with a smile

"The Bottomless Pit." "The Vacuum."

We've run out of ideas, so the nickname of the last kid is simply "Meat." Um, whatever, Tyson.

Point is, here's another example of a parent who looks perfectly capable, budget-wise, of providing healthy snacks for her teenaged kid and his starving friends after school. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but that looks like your typical suburban palace with included massive kitchen to me. The place looks Cleaning-Lady or Stay At Home Mom-spotless, too. So money is not a problem with this family.

But instead of providing big bowls of fruit, raisins, granola, popcorn, or any number of healthy (but often pricey) snack choices, this "adult" goes for the fatty, salty, calorie-laden, nutrition-deficient alternative. When I was growing up, it was something called Pizza Rolls. If it was the AM, it was Pop Tarts. Neither ever made an appearance at my house, but I saw them when I went to visit friends. I've eaten both, too, and understand their appeal to kids. Now it's Tyson Frozen Bird Parts Dipped in Batter. Yum.

I don't have any kids, so maybe I'm totally off-base here, but it seems to me that unless you are really tight with a buck, there's no way you should see crap like this as an acceptable "snack" choice to tide kids over till dinner (which will consist, no doubt, of Hamburger Helper or Kraft Mac'n Cheese. I mean, if you'll serve this for a snack, all bets are off, right? And clearly, neither mom nor dad is all that interested in providing anything approaching "nutrition" here.) Fresh fruit costs more than this junk, but at least you can feel legitimately good about your kids- and your neighbor's kids- eating it. The mom in this ad seems to have no problem with her kid and his friends popping greasy fried chicken parts- she seems to think she's done them a favor. Kind of sick, really.

Can someone tell me why anyone would go through the hassle of having children, only to serve them garbage like this? Is there a certain level of hostility involved- "you bastards robbed me of my figure, now I am going to rob you of yours?" Or is it more subtle- "look, I like you guys ok, but you aren't really worth a major investment when it comes to food. So eat this- it's cheap?"

Oh, and- "Spicy Sweet and Sour Chunks." No mention of chicken or any other animal. Well, at least you can't accuse Tyson of false advertising here. I do think it might be less cruel for the "parents" in these ads to just tell their kids "dinner's ready in an hour, there are children starving in China you know" than to hand them a bowl of this garbage. There are worse things than hunger between meals. This is one of them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

We've come a long way since "Look for the Union Label." Unfortunately, in the wrong direction.

When I first viewed this commercial, I actually thought it was a put-on. Maybe a Saturday Night Live skit, or an Onion Parody.

By the time it was (mercifully) over, I had come to the realization that the people who put together this awful, sleazy, manipulative, and downright Un-American plate of steaming tripe are one hundred percent serious in their "Unions are Evil" message.

It seems that we are supposed to believe that Unions are the reason why even working people are suffering these days. You see, workers are forced to join these associations (probably through intimidation- harassing phone calls, cold shoulders from fellow employees, a brick through the window, etc.) which suck money out of their already-meagre paycheck. To what end? Why, to make Hot Shot Corrupt Union Bosses richer, of course. Isn't that just like a Union-interfering with the God-endorsed right of workers to negotiate their own wages and working hours and safety standards on a level playing field with their employers. Insisting on decent wages, health care coverage, non-draconian hours, sick days, paternity leave, fire escapes and all of those luxuries which have made it Impossible For The Most Productive to Create Jobs In This Country. Damn them.

If only these vicious Unions, and their pot-bellied, cigar-chomping, suspender-wearing bosses (did I miss any cliches? Oh yes, limousine-riding! Sorry!) would just get out of the way, the Successful Amongst Us would be free to wipe unemployment off the map. They'd go right back to providing those awesome 60 hour work weeks in factories spewing lovely black ooze into the air and turning our rivers a gorgeous shade of gray. And believe you me, they can't WAIT to hand our children all the work they want, too!

Oh, and did I mention we'd save money as well? Because no more unions doesn't just mean no more sexual harassment laws, no more job security, no more worker's comp and no more weekends with the family. It also means no more Union Dues, which means no more fat, corrupt Union Bosses! Yay!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Equal Opportunity Racism from the Golden Corral?


Take your pick:

1. White people are pretentious blabbermouths who love to hang out with black couples, especially when they can double date at very expensive restaurants famous for their "very limited $20 entree menus." White people appreciate Quality over Quantity, or at least don't mind paying premium prices for atmosphere. White WOMEN especially like to obsess over the food at these very expensive restaurants by praising them in annoying chirpy voices that would probably convince ME to jump from a moving automobile rather than tolerate it. Oh, those wacky white people! OR,

2. Black people are cheap gluttons who will always value Quantity over Quality. To black people, the idea of spending $20 on an entree which must then be (gasp) shared with your date is unbearable; SO unbearable, in fact, that it's worth risking major injury by hurling oneself out of a moving vehicle in order to avoid it. Black people prefer eating the kind of cheap junk they serve up at America's favorite feed bin, The Golden Corral. Maybe it's that glorious chocolate fountain- excuse me, "Wonderfall." Or maybe we should just take the guy's word for it- "I'm not paying $20 for an entree." Classy.

I have to say that, as a white person, I was much more offended at the sight of the black couple freeing themselves from the horrors of a double date at a fancy restaurant where, sorry, you are NOT allowed unlimited access to mountains of fatty crap kept warm by steam troughs than I was at the depiction of white people as spendthrifts. Apparently The Golden Corral thinks that black people are so tight with a buck- and so bereft of taste- that they'd rather spend an evening stuffing themselves with meatloaf, Grade B steak and Rice Crispy treats soaked in Hershey syrup than have a decent meal in a restaurant that doesn't advertise itself with huge glowing sign and isn't populated by double-chinned yokels wearing Nikes, pajama jeans and Packers jerseys.

In my experience, tasteless hicks who like to jam heart-damaging crud down their cake holes come in all colors. I thought that The Golden Corral agreed- but after this ad, I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's missing in these commercials?

Sometimes I think that the people hired to write Viagra commercials are all frustrated poets or painters. They always present us with this "clever" imagery that is supposed to make us nod and think "yep, that's a super awesome way of presenting erectile disfunction in a commercial which can be broadcast during football games." Overheated cars. Trucks stuck in the mud, rendering the vehicles impotent (get it? GET IT?) Spinning tires, going nowhere. (GET IT?)

They also appeal to your average couch-potato slob who likes to take breaks from imagining himself to be a lightning-fast wide receiver to imagining himself to be the kind of rugged outdoorsman who spends his weekends hauling thoroughbreds or cruising along in a sailboat or doing any number of those rugged outdoorsy things which don't include guzzling beer or using the dust buster to vacuum chips off your stomach at halftime.

What I don't get is that none of these Viagra ads ever include men interacting with women. So they are sexually excited because- they are driving trucks? Because they are in sports cars? Because they are doing something involving dirt, other guys, and horses? What?

Hey guys- maybe the reason you are having-- umm, disfunctions-- is because you constantly find yourselves doing things that aren't at all erotic. Maybe you just might consider spending more time around actual females? Think that might help?

Also, notice how the strongly implied message in all of these ads is that the men featured in them can have sex at the drop of the hat, any time they want- as long as it's physically possible for them? There's always the trucker pulling up to the lonely, dark farmhouse with the super-confident look on his face. "When the time is right" seems to mean "when you get home, because the time is always right for the little lady." Very nice.

Anyway, I don't post on a lot of these commercials because I find them so terribly distasteful. I don't get how there could be a single male left in this country who isn't aware of Viagra and needs to be prompted to Ask His Doctor about it. These are kind of like ads for McDonalds or toilet paper- yes, we know it's out there. We know how to get it if we need it. Now please, stay off our televisions, ok? This is not stuff we want to think about while watching football, or any other time for that matter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Maybe this guy IS an authority on what is Not Funny

On some planet I will never occupy, Larry the Cable Guy is funny. "Get 'er done" is an absolutely drop-dead hysterical catch-phrase that leaves one rolling on the floor, laughing one's ass off. Anything involving sleeveless shirts, three-day beards, feed caps, chewing tobacco, pickup trucks, American flag patches and the Golden Corral is already hilarious- adding jokes about toilets, white bread, ugly wives and beer is just the icing on an already amazingly delicious cake.

And on that planet I'll never even visit, the kings of Blue Collar Comedy can sell us anything. Just by appearing on the screen and doing their schtick, which invariably involves waddling around with 60 lbs or so of extra flab spilling over their belts, spewing each line with an exaggerated southern-hick accent, and being as Caucasian as humanly possible. You'd THINK that the only things these people could effectively pitch is beer, KFC, and trucks, but you'd be wrong. On this planet, where babies can sell online trading services, fat men in dirty t-shirts can sell us anything. Including heartburn medication.

Ok, maybe this actually does make a little sense. I mean, this guy comes right out and tells us that he's a dumb ass who doesn't know a thing about medicine, but he's "got a degree" in stuffing fatty, spicy junk down his cake hole. And when he's overindulged, why, Prilosec is what he turns to. Sure beats the alternative, which is not overindulging. This IS America, after all. Still....

I'm not at all sorry I don't live in this planet. Maybe I'm a snob, but I don't think I would ever feel like I belonged there. See, I only laugh at funny things, and I only buy from spokespeople who look like they might know what they are talking about. Maybe Jeff Gordon can sell me an oil filter, but I don't care what brand of soda or ice cream treat he likes. I don't care about ANYBODY ELSE'S taste in beer, and I wouldn't buy a Light beer if you threatened to permanently revoke my Man card. And while I can believe that this jerk gets heartburn on a regular basis, I'm not taking medical advice from someone who looks like he ought to be slopping the pigs or loading grain bags onto a pickup truck down at the feed store.

And I wouldn't watch five minutes of Larry the Cable Guy if you held a gun to my head. But then again, I'm just an alien here, right?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

For the first and, I'm sure, only time: Go Giants

I'm a New Englander. That means I'm a Red Sox and Patriots fan. And that means I grew up with a lot of heartache and anxiety when it came to professional sports. I'm old enough to remember Superbowl Shuffle and the Bears' mauling of my team, and I can recall wandering around Washington DC in a daze for hours after the Buckner Play. I know what it's like to live and die with a sports club.

Of course, I also remember The Drive and the Giants ruining the Patriots bid for a perfect season in 2007. (I was married to a Buffalo Bills fan for a few years and watched as the Giants broke her heart in the '91 Superbowl, too.) So I really hate the Giants.

That being said, it takes a lot for me to root for the New York Giants- it's not like rooting for the Mets or Yankees, but pretty damned close. Yet, State Farm has made this possible. Because after watching this commercial for roughly the ninth time in the last forty minutes, I really, REALLY hate Aaron Rodgers. I mean, this junk is so damned stupid, so "we know all you football fans are slack-jawed yokels, so nibble on this, mouth-breathing monkeys" insulting, how could anyone possibly root for it's star?

It seems like only yesterday when Peyton Manning was featured in pretty much every other commercial on Sunday afternoons. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but-- man, those were the good old days. Get better soon, Peyton, so your ads can at least in part drown out what is apparently going to be an entire series featuring Aaron Rodgers and an expanding group of witless clowns waving at their midsections and calling it some kind of "dance."

Meanwhile-- this hurts a lot, will be a whole lot less painful if Eli Manning and the Giants stuff Rodgers and the Packers into the frozen turf and out of the sports headlines for another year this afternoon. Sorry, cheeseheads: I actually love your publicly-owned team. I think you are wonderfully dedicated fans, like the people I would sit next to in the cheap seats of Rich Stadium while the snow swirled around and the Bills marched toward another inevitable Super Bowl collapse (I lived in Buffalo from 1991 to 1995- the Bills went to, and lost, the Big Game each year I was there except the last.) But this- this is beyond ugly. It's beyond stupid. And I just can't root for it to continue.

Go Giants. For one week. I don't care who you play in the NFC Title Game, I won't be rooting for you then. But for today, I'm a Giants fan. Don't blame me, blame State Farm. Only they could have made this possible.

Ford Fiesta provides one of my favorite lines ever

I really couldn't pay attention to anything that happened after the line was uttered. The choreographed nonsense that followed- people jumping off of buildings, dancing, spreading banners...seriously, whatever, who cares. I could even completely ignore the utter nonsense of it all- the idea that an entire city could go into rapture over a Ford Fiesta. (I mean, please. A Ford Fiesta.)

None of the final 55 seconds of stupid which followed The Line really mattered at all. This thing could have turned into a commercial for Viagra, with entire buildings crashing down, trees springing up out nowhere, and the entire universe being reordered because two people found that "the moment was right" at the same time, thanks to the magic of the purple pill. It could have turned into yet another offensively dumb cell phone ad, with fire hydrants exploding while some disconnected loser muttered "yo, I'm on my way" into the microphone of his Best Friend.

No, nothing else mattered once the female in this ad uttered the truly immortal line "do you have the keys?" I mean, if you ever find yourself lucky enough to own a car with keyless starting, how do you manage to get someone to say that to you before you push that button? What, did she think the guy was going to hot wire the car? Are they stealing it?

"Do you have the keys?" Classic, Ford. Thanks so much for making my day. You could have dumped the rest of this ad and saved a lot of money. Because this commercial is really over after that line.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another unintentionally hilarious cell phone commercial

Wow, a piece of technology so advanced that it "knows" what it's owner wants to do at any given time of day, and "adjusts" to meet that owner's "needs."

Seriously, how complicated could this be, really? Like it's really difficult to "remember" the doings of your average stunningly predictable cell phone addict. "Wow, my phone KNEW I wanted to post a tweet, just because I post tweets roughly every twenty minutes or so. And it KNEW I was going to ask for GPS directions to the Gulp 'n Blow I hit for Cheetos every afternoon, even though I know where the damn store is by heart, because I have to justify having this service available to me..."

Oh, but owning one of these time-sucking, brain cell-murdering little toys makes one feel like James Bond, doesn't it? "You don't want this technology falling into the wrong hands." And the "right hands?" Geeky, soulless, friendless losers who need directions to the living room downloaded to them and who think that they are just ONE technology upgrade from actually having a life, of course.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fortunately, the Emergency Room is always open, too

Just in case you thought that Cici's, KFC, and The Golden Corral had the market cornered on destroying our health: the "four" in this ad is for Denny's "famous" Fried Cheese Melt which, believe it or not, consists of deep-fried mozzarella sticks swimming in melted cheese and served between slices of butter-infused toasted bread.

No kidding. Almost 900 calories of greasy, artery-clogging, valve-damaging dairy product served up at a price which just screams "come in often, and don't forget to get the hot cakes and bacon on the side!"

So, who would actually eat any of this junk? Well, I think the answer is pretty obvious. This is Food for the Drunk and Starving. Your favorite watering hole is closed for the night, there's nobody waiting at home in your dark, chilly apartment, and the last time you checked, the only thing in your refrigerator was bottle of flat coke and half a jar of mustard. Sure, you could hit 7-11 for a heat lamp dog and a bag of chips, but that's more of a study break thing. It's Saturday night after all- or maybe it's Sunday morning. No matter. There's Denny's, with the big orange sign all warm and glowing and inviting, where nobody's going to criticize your food choices and the coffee is going to just keep coming, and you can eat at a booth instead of your car like they make you do at 7-11.

The combination of alcohol, hunger, and the desire to stave off loneliness for another hour or so finds you ordering fried cheese sandwiches, flapjacks layered with cheesecake, and buttery hash browns- and actually enjoying it. Or at least that's what you tell yourself- when you aren't trying to convince your conscience that you are going to be rising at dawn the next day (or later that same day, who knows?) and walk 25 miles to make up for the massive calorie overload you are subjecting your body to. (This is all hypothetical, I'm not speaking from experience or anything.)

I'd also like to add that anyone who fits the description of the person described above is NOT a loser- probably more like a sweet, smart, good-looking but terribly under-appreciated guy who has been experiencing a run of bad luck, which could happen to anybody. The people who eat this stuff when entirely in their right minds, like in the middle of the morning or after church- TOTAL losers. Man, I pity THOSE idiots.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

She'll be sneaking back in for a $5 walnut brownie as soon as she can ditch her friend at the office

Ok, look- one of the reasons I avoid pretentious coffee shops is because whenever I find myself in one, I'm behind idiots like these. They want incredibly complicated coffee drinks involving shots of this and dollops of that, and don't even try to explain to me how they ever developed a taste for any of it (I can only imagine that back in the dark ages--the 1980s-- when most people were still brewing coffee at home instead of visiting one of the 900 Starbucks within walking distance, these weirdos were experimenting with whipped cream and espresso shots and spices at 5 AM every morning.)

The woman who picks out the Yoplait is worse than any of the people I've bumped into in real life, however, because she adds an unjustified level of smugness to her asshattery. "You know what, I'll just have one of these" she titters, leaving her friend to consume her 400 calories- 400 hot, delicious calories- over the next very satisfying ten minutes or so. Which is about nine minutes longer than her disgustingly bony, idiot companion will be "enjoying" her crummy little cup of yogurt.

Hey, stupid skinny woman- here's why Yoplait has hardly any calories: it has hardly any mass. It has virtually no taste. It certainly won't give you anything resembling a feeling of fullness. (Full disclosure: I actually eat a lot of yogurt, but it's always topped with whole grain cereal. I like the calcium, but don't care for milk. See how fascinating I am?) Oh, and it's nothing resembling a decent substitute for a high-calorie drink, I don't care WHAT this Even Dumber Than Usual ad is trying to tell me.

Oh, and here's another little tip, Miss Pretension, just in case you aren't picking out that yogurt just to show up your friend: If you are going to eat yogurt, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to choose a coffee shop as the place to buy it. Ever check out the price of a bottle of water or a bagel at a Starbucks?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Proof Positive that all Sitcom Creators are Males

Wow, who says that there's nothing fresh and different on television anymore?

I mean, take a look at this new sitcom "starring" Rob Schneider- you know, that guy who was on SNL several decades ago, perfecting a character who worked in an office dropping catch-phrases right and left ("makin' copies! Copyreeno! The Copylator!" etc. etc.) Somehow Schneider managed to parlay this "talent" into a bit role in Unnecessary Roughness. How good was Unnecessary Roughness? Well, it "starred" Scott Bakula, Hector Elizondo, Sinbad, and Kathy Ireland. 'Nuff said?

This delightfully Outside-The-Box Fun For The Whole Family gift from TV land features Schneider recently married to- get this- a MEXICAN. Oh, and not just any Mexican- a really hot Mexican. Now there's a delightfully quirky new concept- a very average looking, rather dithering and often clueless guy married to a smart, beautiful woman. We've never seen that before. I mean, except for when Bob Newhart was paired with Suzanne Pleshette. Or Courtney Thorne-Smith appeared as Jim Belushi's wife. Or when we were treated to Michael Gross married to Meridith Baxter Birney. But that's it.

Oh wait, there's also the Leah Remini-Kevin James pairing. And Megyn Price matched with Donal Logue. And Jamie Gertz mysteriously ending up with Mark Addy.

Come to think of it, this isn't fresh at all. In fact, it's the most overused cliche in the history of situation comedies. But there is a bit of a twist here- because Schneider's hot wife is a Mexican, there's endless opportunity for "funny" misunderstandings, racial slurs, hurt feelings- you name it. Get the popcorn and settle down on the couch with your family, this should be a lot of fun.

Or maybe it will just be redundant, played, Been There Done That Fill In the Blank Junk from whatever computer spits out the "ideas" for crap like this. Junk with all the freshness of last year's yogurt or that chunk of bagel you found under the passenger seat this morning. With all the flavor and excitement of a box of instant potatoes. Junk that leaves anyone with two brain cells to rub together and an ounce of taste asking "haven't I already seen this show- many, many times? Hasn't this show been on for as long as television has been in existence? Why would I watch this?"

I can think of only two reasons why ANYBODY would tune into this rehashed, rewarmed, hackneyed cow pie of dumb. First, if you are a single guy who likes to watch gorgeous women not only tolerate, but actually adore, incredibly average looking dumbass males. Second....well, come to think of it, there is no second reason. Because I can't bring myself to imagine that there are actually Rob Schneider fans out there. Not after Unnecessary Roughness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Hey, I had a bagel with seeds in it last week! What do you want from me?"

Ugh, I don't know what's more obnoxious here- the fact that this is Yet Another Episode of the longest-running show on television, My Husband Is A Clueless Jackass Who Would Be Dead If He Hadn't Married Me, or that it's also Yet Another This Thing Has Some Fiber Therefore It's Good For You commercial which feeds on the myth that there's a magic bullet to good health. Let's call it a tie.

Doofus Moron Hubby whines like an eight-year old at the very suggestion that maybe he should eat something that has more fiber than a bowl of chocolate pudding. He grimaces at the broccoli and asks his Mom--errr, wife-- if he should just "eat the bag." (My suggestion: Yes. Eat the bag. But please, soak it in gasoline first. Come on, I dare you.)

Long-suffering but What The Hell He Makes Six Digits And The Clock Was Ticking Mom---errr, Wife, fascinated with the ingredient panel of the box of sugar-infused dirt in her hand, is perfectly willing for the Doofus Moron She Shares The House With to believe that she's a hypocrite because she's eating aforementioned sugar-infused dirt.

And here's where the ad really jumps the shark. Designated Male Moron thinks that this stick of nuts and granola held together by honey, drenched in chocolate syrup and sprinkled with chocolate chips, is a candy bar. Never mind that it doesn't look like any candy bar I've ever seen. And he seems to continue to think it's a candy bar after taking a bite. Never mind that if this thing is a candy bar, it's the most god-awful tasting candy bar imaginable.

Ok, I'll give the guy a little credit here- if your choice when trying to classify this thing is to either call it a candy bar or an intelligent part of a high-fiber diet, I have to go with candy bar. It's chocolate and sugar- LOTS of sugar. It has slightly more fiber than a Milky Way. As part of a plan to put more fiber in your diet, well...let's just say there are many, many more effective ways to accomplish that than chowing down on these calorie-dense sweets.

Sorry, lady, but you lose this one. I think that makes the score You 11,000, Him 1. I wouldn't call this a sign of an impending comeback. Just a tiny glimmer of hope.

Please let this turn into "Deliverance II- This Time, You Root for the Hillbillies"

Sometimes I think that I could very easily create a spin-off blog which deals exclusively with these "Man Up" (or "Man Card")-themed beer commercials, they are so damned insulting. They are also all exactly the same- only the scenery and the actors change. The story in each are identical- three guys drink Miller Lite, one guy does not, Outsider gets trashed by his Miller Lite-worshiping friends, who have so completely wrapped their "manliness" in their choice of Lite Beer (I will NEVER be able to get my head wrapped around that one) that they proceed to humiliate, belittle and intimidate the "friend" who refuses to go along.

In this particular ad, The Guys are off hiking or camping or rock-climbing or something. I've never gone rock-climbing, but I've done a lot of hiking and camping, and it's never even occurred to me to bring beer along. Any kind of beer. In any kind of container.

Come to think of it, it's never occurred to me that a weekend of hiking, rock climbing and camping with three scruffy jackasses with a fixation on Lite Beer and being Manly would be anything approaching fun. If the guy with the rolling backpack is willing to put up with this kind of shit, just imagine what his home life is like.

Somehow this all ends with The Guys sitting way too close to each other around a campfire, still giggling about the rolling backpack, which mysteriously goes flying down the side of a mountain. Right in front of them. I don't know how this happened- is there a fifth Guy up there who, upon seeing the rolling backpack filled with offending beer, decided to destroy it? Did it's owner leave it on the top of the mountain? Did the bag just decide it could not deal with the humiliation of being owned by someone who would hang around with assholes like this and commit suicide? Whatever, it's All So Hilarious to the jerkwad friends. And to the cheering section over at YouTube, which was nice enough to stop shoveling Chicken McNuggets into it's face long enough to post missives on how much it loves this ad.

Can someone explain to me why anyone would take cues on "Manliness" from these choads? Since when did "Manliness" depend on being a rude, watered-down-beer-swilling prick? Oh yeah- since beer commercials first started to appear on television. Sorry I forgot- I guess that will cost me a point on my "Man Card." WTF-ever, Miller Lite.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kay Jewelers (and Tide) would like to have a word with you, young woman!

We've identified a subject for assimilation.

Who do you think you are? A GUY? Buying ropes and boots and climbing rocks instead of changing diapers and bundling the Miracles into the minivan for soccer/swim/dance class? Heading off for a vacation with your boyfriend instead of rolling a cart around the local supermart looking for the Pedisure and the Indian guy offering free samples of twigs held together by honey? Drooling over climbing equipment instead of chocolate diamonds?

You, lady, are the reason the birth rate has been dropping in this country since the 1960s. You and women like you, who insist on pretending that there's more out there than the house in the suburbs and the next meal and the next Miracle. For shame.

On the other hand, you aren't a hopeless case. You've got the "use your credit card constantly in order to build up 'Rewards Points' and then use those points on something wasteful and stupid" thing down cold (remember those "you can donate your points to charity" ads that came out a while back? I can- just barely- because I don't see them anymore. Didn't test well, I guess.)

But enough is enough. When you are finished posing on the top of your rock (how much did the guy in the helicopter with the attached camera cost?) get yourself to Jerad or Kay and tell that man of yours that the game is up, it's time to fork out for another kind of rock- the kind that sits on your finger and announces to the world that you've earned your MRS degree. And get to work on those Miracles. We're counting on you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Speaking of Tools....

This commercial falls into the category of "A little knowledge in the hands of a drooling moron is a dangerous thing." Someone over at Crappy Ads R Us got a hold of a Biology 101 textbook and found some stuff about Homo Sapiens being separated from the "lower animals" (kind of hard to call them that, when they aren't the ones spending half their days texting LOL to each other) by "the tools we use." A very weak (maybe forty watt) light bulb when off in this guy's head, and ten minutes later he he had a very lame idea for a very lame commercial for a very unnecessary Minivan.

You see, "we got to the top of the food chain" by "using the right tool." It must be true, because it's bleated at us in a deadpan, matter-of-fact, professorial tone. The "right tool" may be a bungee cord, or it might be a flatbed truck. But if you don't use the right tool, expect to get "why don't you go back to walking on your knuckles" looks from the guy in the Dodge Caravan who thinks he understands that chapter in his kid's biology book.

By the way, we got to the top of the food chain because we knew what kind of tool to use? I suppose- we learned to use noise to make ourselves more threatening to bigger, stronger animals. We learned to sharpen sticks and shape rocks into knives, and we learned that hunting in packs was more efficient than hunting as individuals (but wild cats and dogs figured this out long before we did.) How did all this evolution lead us to the point where we are driving around in Minivans sneering at people who don't have access to our "tools?"

Can I tell you how much I hate ads which feature Big Strong Guys placidly explaining to us that There's One Way To Do Things, And This Is It, And If You Do It Any Other Way You Are A Loser Who Is Embarrassing Me? Who appointed this guy (or Dennis Leary, for that matter) as arbiter of Which Tools Are Proper For Which Truck?

I don't know which guy is supposed to be in charge of telling me what to do if I want to be a Real Man using the Right Tools for The Job, whatever the hell that means. I can tell you one thing, though- whoever he is, no matter how out of shape he is, no matter how unshaven he is or how serious he sounds as he narrates his thoughts, he isn't driving a candy-apple Dodge Caravan. Because that can't ever be the proper tool for any job. Chew on that, you mouthy, preachy, judgmental dick.

Makes sense to me, Volkswagen

Because after all, if

Bored losers plus a backyard barbecue=providing "the NFL experience" to a guest which results in that guest suffering hi-LARIOUS spinal injuries,

Bored losers in an office building plus several cases of Smirnoff's = a spontaneous piling of furniture into an empty rooftop swimming pool and (hey, what do you know?) many awesome opportunities for more spinal injuries, and

Bored idiots plus cell phones with instant YouTube access = endless opportunities for blatant invasions of privacy, then NATURALLY

Two intensely gay men plus one Volkswagen Jetta can only equal "Let's go to Vegas!" Oh, and "let's kidnap the guy from the dealership while we're at it!" I mean, what could be more obvious?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Now you know where that spare key to your house went to

Why isn't this mother and daughter couple even the slightest bit freaked out at the sudden appearance of a "counselor" in their kitchen? A counselor calling "time out" and wearing an official-looking badge, yet! Wouldn't a more natural response be a piercing scream followed by "What the hell are you doing here?" and "Jamie, call the police!??"

And why are these women at all surprised that their detergent didn't get the dishes spotlessly clean? I mean, it's called "Other Tablets." Doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it? What's the matter, was the store out of "Bargain Brand" or "Brand X" detergent?

Why does it not bother me one bit that the Kitchen Counselor has managed to set up a flat screen tv and a DVD explaining how Cascade outperforms Other Tablets in national...umm, taste tests? Clearly she's been scoping out this house and these people for quite some time, hiding behind furniture, just waiting for her opportunity to strike.

And why am I not at all surprised that no men make an appearance in this ad? I mean, it takes place entirely in a kitchen. Unless there's beer in the fridge and a game on the big screen, there's simply no reason for any man to ever enter a kitchen for any reason. Dishes? That there's women's work. I know. I watch TV.

I guess that explains by rather "bleh, whatever" reaction to this ad. I just can't relate to it. Greasy dishes? I can't remember the last time I even USED a dish, let alone one labeled "meat." Do they mean bowls? But bowls are for cereal- how does cereal make bowls greasy? So very confused.

Meanwhile, what is that awful smell coming out of the room with the electronic box used to keep beer cold? Whatever it is, Cascade won't help. You see, I don't have a dishwasher- she left me YEARS ago. ;>(

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unneccesary Dumbness; ten yards and loss of credibility

Southwest LOVES to pretend that every other major carrier treats it's customers unfairly by charging unnecessary bag fees. And I'm certainly not interested in defending the practice of charging $25 or more per checked bag, though the reaction some of these idiots have is far more annoying than the fee- I sure as hell would not appreciate being stuck behind some asshole who decided that he was going to hold up the whole line because he thought that he if he threw a big enough hissy-fit he might get the underpaid, overworked baggage monkey to waive the charge. Hey, don't want to pay the baggage fee, buddy? Then get your fucking elbow off the counter, get your ass out of line, and go find another airline, ok?

Meanwhile, however, I'd love bring a handful of these yellow flags to the airport the next time I fly and start throwing them at Southwest employees when

1. I arrive three hours before my flight, yet am handed a boarding pass which makes me wait until every business class passenger, elderly person, and fat woman with two red-headed screaming brats waddle on to the plane first, NEVER MIND that they'll still be standing in the aisle mysteriously unable to find their seats ten minutes after I've been allowed to board....

2. I dutifully check my suitcase, only to experience a delay when the scumbags with their massive carry-ons act surprised when they attempt to board and are told "sorry, that won't fit, we'll put a yellow tag on it and you can pick it up on the tarmac when we land." So....the "punishment" for not following the rules is valet service for your bags? I have to wait twenty minutes at the carousel for my bag to be manhandled off the plane and on to a truck, and finally deposited inside the airport, but the jackasses who ignored the "if your bag does not fit in this bin..." signs scoot off with their luggage in record time?

3. I ask for a Diet Coke and am given A) an eight-ounce can manufactured by El Cheapo Industries exclusively for Southwest or B) a four-ounce cup, half of which is filled with ice, to wash down my bag of nine peanuts,

4. Every flight I take up the East Coast or to Louisville, Kentucky is on a tiny tin coffin with wings. A seat in Fenway Park- or your average SmartCar- has more legroom.

5. When I fly to Vermont, I have to fly to New Hampshire, because Southwest won't acquire a hub closer to my parent's home in Barre than Manchester? Sure it's a cheap flight, and quick- about 90 minutes- but then it's a two and a half hour drive to my boyhood home.

(BTW, I love the Southwest Airlines commercials which show the "refs" trying to pull over another airline's plane for some "violation" concerning bag fees- in real life, TSA would mow them down with sniper fire in about twelve seconds, at a loss to absolutely nobody. I can't believe I put my life in the hands of this airline on a regular basis.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quick Quiz: What's missing in this picture?

1. "Having triplets is SUCH a blessing!" I'm sure. It used to be three sets of diapers to be changed several times a day (did you train them to "go" different times, so that this particular part of the "blessing" could be spread out?) "Not financially" groans Practical Dad (who of course has no idea how to fold laundry- he folds a shirt, and instantly hands it to his wife, who folds it again.) Had no idea how expensive sex could be, did you, Dad?

2. These guys have triplets- but it's the middle of the day (check out the sunshine streaming through the windows) and they are both home. Is it the weekend? If so, where are these triplets, anyway? Closet? At the park with the babysitter/dad's girlfriend?

3. Do these guys just let the laundry pile up and do it once a week, or what? I mean, there's three entire baskets of clothes there. That's several hours of washing, drying and folding (or what they nowadays call their "couples time.") Who does laundry all at once like this? If the dad works outside the house (that's certainly the vibe I get from Mom's "they're a blessing" and dad's "yeah I really love working sixty hours a week to keep these things in style" remarks) I'm sure he appreciates Mom's willingness to let the smelly mountains of cloth pile up until he could chip in.

4. Check out the folded laundry. Ugh, these are examples of the kind of dullards who think it's "cute" to dress triplets in matching costumes. Because after all, they aren't individual people- they're "the triplets," who probably wouldn't even have separate names if it wasn't for some stupid law.

(And JUST IN CASE we didn't hear that this Blessing Came In A Package of Three, there's three baskets with identical clothing in each one. Such a blessing!)

I guess I should be grateful that Mommy doesn't end the ad by snarking on Dad's folding ability. I do wonder what we are supposed to get out of this commercial- that triplets are a blessing (why? You wanted three kids, and through the miracle of fertility drugs you got that over with in one fell swoop?) That triplets generate a lot of laundry, which should be done all at once on a weekend when Dad's home to help (because why would the triplets want to be with Dad while he's out of work?) That Tide makes the blessing of having clothes-soiling offspring who happened to be born on the same day slightly more tolerable? What?

Where ARE these alleged Triplets??

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Please disregard Nissan's "Do Not Attempt" disclaimer

This Commercial Sucks opens the New Year with a plaintive message to all you stupid, drunken, Cici's-haunting, Light beer-swilling, Man Card-holding, Real NFL Experience-providing, Forever App-downloading, Forever GPS-consulting and video streaming and gaming, shaving-once-a-week clueless morons who represent American Males in the eyes of our wonderful ad agencies:

Please DO attempt to push dune buggies up mountains of sand. I promise, it will end with hooting applause from every idiot lucky enough to witness your innate awesomeness.

Please DO save passenger jets from fatal crashes by catching the nose wheels in in your flatbed. I promise, you will be rewarded with cheers and chants of "USA! USA!", and NOT sniper fire from airport security and a year as a guest of the US Army in Cuba.

And please, PLEASE feel free to drive your new truck down the side of a snow-covered mountain. After all, that's why Nissan built it-- for those times when the dune buggy can handle the slope on it's own, and the plane can land without any assistance from you, Mr. Macho Hero in Waiting. And don't forget to do the barrel roll- that will assure you the "we're not worthy" chants and bows from the knuckle-dragging troglodytes watching from the base. Just check out this guy's "Look what I did" gesture at the conclusion of this rank little crumb of an ad. That could be you, if you just avoid reading. And how hard is that, really?

I look forward to your exploits in 2012, Mr. Blue Collar Superhero whose Japanese Truck makes the Batmobile look like a SmartCar. I've got my Bud Lite ready to toast your next adventure. But could you do me a small favor? If you could take out a few oblivious I-Phone users on the way down next time, it would be deeply appreciated.

Maker's Mark: What it is

I totally agree with the premise of this commercial: Purchasing Maker's Mark Bourbon is not about showing off. I would take it a step further however and suggest that it's not about appreciating that the corn squeezings are "made in super slow motion," because after all, the only thing we see being made in super slow motion is the wax seal.

No, what Maker's Mark whiskey is all about is getting seriously cranked in a very short period of time. It's about doing your best to forget the year that has just gone by- your ill-fated experimentation with Facebook, that person you thought you'd never see again who dropped back into your life, played soccer with your brain, expertly removed your heart and ate it right in front of you, then dropped right back out (probably for another decade or so, thanks for nothing btw.) It's about being able to forget who you are and where you are going (or not going) for a few hours, when it's Saturday night and you've got nowhere to be and nobody's going to be shaking you awake tomorrow, or caring if you wake up face down on the bedroom floor, half-strangled in the bedsheets because you spent the night fitfully tossing back and forth, drenched with sweat, with your stomach in knots, being haunted by the ghost of The One That Got Away.

It's about being able to take an exit from the Pain That Is The Highway of Life (feel free to use that, it's not trademarked like this whiskey) and pause at the Rest Stop of Forgetfulness (you won't be wanting that one) before the relentless demands of Time force you to return to the Jersey Turnpike of Reality (I never said I was a poet, dammit.)

It's certainly not about being classy, or having a good time with friends, or the slow-motion application of a wax seal. In the end, it's really not about anything at all except maybe dulling the ache for just a little while. And when you wake up with another kind of ache, you realize that you've just added to your credit line in the Bank of Hurt, and the only saving grace is that you are one day closer to the cure.

Oh, and that you aren't a Russian farmer, and have to go through all this with vodka.