Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DirecTV's Loathsome "Get our service or ELSE" series continues....

Don't become obsessed with your television (or any other piece of technology, for that matter,) and you won't experience sudden fits of irrational anger if that technology happens to misfire on occasion.

If you don't experience sudden fits of irrational anger, you might develop a relationship with that person you happen to share a house with. The one you said you loved, once, before you discovered your television (or I Phone, or I Pad, etc.)

If you develop a relationship with that person you happen to share a house with, you might learn to communicate with that person. Face to face. Without texting.

If you learn to communicate with that person, she might not mistake momentary acts of frustration as signs of having "anger issues." Because, you see, she actually knows who you are beyond Guy Who Used To Love Me But Now Just Stares At His Stupid Technology.

Message: If you want to keep your relationship intact, turn off the freaking TV, power down the stupid phone, and spend some time with the actual human being who makes up the other half of said relationship.

On the other hand, if you ignore all this advice and just upgrade your cable package, you are far more likely to lose contact with the outside world, see friends drift away and out of your life, stop caring about stuff like grooming, and seek solace from your bitter world of "connectivity" and instant-gratification media by making your home a refuge for stray cats.

I'm not sure this was the intended message, but it's sure what I got out of it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I really have nothing to add beyond what the girls keep saying, Geico.

1. When their parents, the police, your family, and your employers find out that you've been paying popular middle school girls to follow you around, the storm that comes crashing down on your head will make you wonder why you ever complained about the cost of your car insurance.

2. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense if this guy was trying to lose weight, not save money? After all, by the time the "popular girls" pop up with their sneering condemnation of his eating habits, the food has been paid for. Is he going to try to return it for a refund? I mean, I know this ad is supposed to be about saving money, but don't these girls need to work on their timing? Like hitting "ewww," "seriously," "that is so gross" BEFORE he orders?

3. How does this guy know who the "popular girls" at the middle school are? Do I really want to know?

4. If this guy's sense of self-worth is dependent on the approval of three middle school girls, well, again, let's just say that he's got bigger problems than his car insurance bill.

5. Just the whole concept- this is an ADULT who thought it was a good idea to HIRE MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS to FOLLOW HIM AROUND and shame him out of buying junk food. In real life, my response is "what the hell were you thinking?" Because it's a commercial, my response is "what the hell was Geico thinking?"

Geico? Ewww. Are you serious? This is so gross.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Multitasking for Morons, the Verizon way

It's clear that the cell phone market is now completely saturated, and everyone who wants one of these "necessities" already has at least two. I can't think of any other explanation for the latest trend in commercials produced by Verizon, Apple, etc--- which is to show how it easy it is to do two incredibly stupid, pointless things at the same time, thanks to the miracle of modern technology.

In this theme's introductory stages (a few months ago,) these companies were satisfied to show us how we could surf the web and talk at the same time to be a better wage slave, 24/7. Or listen to music and text. Or watch movies and get directions. Because putting down something and picking up something else for even a few moments is so forty-seven seconds ago. Whatever we "need," we need it NOW, and by NOW, we mean so fourteen seconds ago.

Realizing in the back of their pea-sized minds that there really aren't that many reasons why anyone would have to multitask often enough to justify the expense of one of these phones, Verizon has decided to go with the "Ok We Admit, This Is Just A Stupid Toy That In Real Life Would Only Appeal To Gullible Morons With Fistfuls of Money and No Common Sense" concept. Why do you need the level of "connectivity" offered? Well, what if you are in the final seconds of an online auction for the last Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox on the planet at the exact moment you are also wrestling a crocodile? Aren't you going to be glad you have this phone if THAT happens?

Last summer I snarked on Toshiba for it's "back up your data or risk unleashing a zombie nightmare" ad. I would like to apologize to Toshiba- at least it's commercial didn't involve the abuse of a poor dumb animal making an absolute fool of itself for the benefit of the tv audience. The crocodile doesn't come off that well, either.

Come to think of it, I can come up with one other explanation for commercials like this. Maybe Verizon, Apple, and all the other companies that produce these garbage ads just know their audience really well. They know that it's no longer about convincing people that they need a phone. That sale has been made. Now it's about giving them a reason- ANY reason- to dump that phone and buy a new one. My guess is that anyone who could be swayed by commercials like this one was probably halfway out the door, wallet in hand, before the "funny punchline" even made it's appearance.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"If you follow this by criticizing my towel-folding skills, I am really going to lose it, honey!"

Here's another Just for Fun blast from the past I happened to run across while watching an old episode of Mystery Science Theater and trying to write up some history notes (hey, I've been working diligently for almost twenty minutes, I can take a break!)

This commercial for Dawn Dish Washing Liquid dates from the early 1990s and features two of our favorite characters from the world of advertising. We've got clueless dad, who doesn't know what he's doing because he doesn't do it the way Mommy does, and So Precocious We Hope She Doesn't Ever Ever Change cutesy wittle girl, who has been watching Mommy practice her Craft (cleaning up after Daddy and the Little Blessing) so carefully, she has mastered the Steps to Perfectly Clean Dishes. Anyone want to bet this little girl is NOT a full partner at some prominent law firm nowadays?

Because twenty years ago men in tv ads were allowed to show a small modicum of brain power and common sense (or at least, ability to mentally embed slogans like "Dawn takes Grease out of your Way",) Daddy knows that missing a glass isn't the horrible disaster Daughter seems to think it is. He dips it into the greasy hot water (I don't know, I still wouldn't do this) and demonstrates to his little girl that every once in a while, dad can still get it right. (After all, it's not the 21st century yet.)

Naturally however the commercial must end with daughter letting daddy know that 1) Mommy never says "ewwwwww" (isn't daughter old enough to understand that Daddy is not Mommy? I wish he'd respond with "Yeah, well DADDY never says 'I'm leaving you with the kid tonight so I can meet my boyfriend for drinks, either!" ) and 2) he put the glass back in the "wrong" place (jeeeesshhh, really? What's wrong with where he put it? What kind of police state is Mommy running here?)

The Hi-LARIOUS punchline is "Gee, I thought your mother was tough." Come on, dad. This girl is old enough for the truth. Please reply with something like "this is why you hear all that shouting downstairs every night. And why you don't have brothers or sisters. And why mommy wasn't home for dinner again. Because Mommy is as anal as you are, and Daddy's reached his breaking point."

Anyway, I hope you like this little nugget from the archives. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that Stupidity on Television wasn't invented three years ago. And just because the ability to snark on commercials to a world wide audience wasn't available to poor slobs like me in 1991 doesn't mean they should get a pass, does it?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not any Lorax I know, I HOP

Over the past decade or so, I've watched precious childhood memories fall to the monsters of mass marketing and Hollywood's refusal to come up with their own damn ideas. A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey, no less.) Horton Hears a Who. The Cat in the Hat (with Mike Myers. Please.)

So I've come to accept that nothing is sacred. the back of my mind, I was really hoping that the Powers That Ruin Everything would keep their grubby hands off of my favorite Dr. Seuss character of all time, the wonderful, socially responsible Lorax. But until I actually see the film, I'll give the studio the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't rape and pillage the original message all THAT much.

However, my willingness to give Hollywood a pass- for now- does NOT extend to IHOP. Someone explain to me how Dr. Seuss's defender of the environment could ever endorse a chain of restaurants which peddles huge portions of steaming animal fats drenched in butter and swimming in their own yummy greases. To a nation suffering from an epidemic in childhood obesity. While half the world is starving to death.

Somehow I never pictured the Lorax as a fan of flabby bacon, sausage links, and other products churned out by industrial "farms." Always just assumed he'd be a vegetarian- if not a vegan- and a friend to pigs, cows and all other Animals With Mothers. He sure seemed to like the bears, fish and swans in the original cartoon, which I have included here for your convenience (and perhaps to help rekindle a bit of your childhood, if you happen to be around my age.)

Or should I say "liked"- because the updated version of our favorite Tree Hugger seems more interested in eating his fellow creatures than speaking for them. The Lorax in this commercial isn't rejecting the wasteful materialism of a soulless society infected by greed and avarice. He's stuffing it down his throat and washing it down with coffee and juice. With a smile on his face. This is NOT an improvement.

Oh, but the kids DO get a packet of free seeds with every 3000 calories of sugary, buttery, meaty sludge they manage to assault their bodies with, courtesy of mom and dad's pocketbook and lack of common sense. (I understand that if your kid suffers an actual heart attack during his visit, he gets a free Lorax coloring book when he gets out of the hospital.) I suppose that little bone tossed to mortified Gen X'ers like me is supposed to shut us up. Sorry- not good enough, IHOP.

I guess speaking for IHOP pays a lot better than speaking for the trees, eh Mr. Lorax?

Domino's salutes one of its worker drones- and tells us what it really thinks of Middle America

Here's an awesome combination of self-congratulation, condescension, and unintended humor all wrapped up in a nice doughy package for us.

The CEO of Domino's pizza opens by telling us that "great ideas don't usually happen outside of Domino's headquarters." Well, of course not. I mean, Domino's HQ is where the brains are kept, after all. The minions who work in the thousands of local pizza franchises scattered all over North America? They pound the dough, decorate it, cook it and send it out to the tasteless masses. They are barely expected to chew and tie their shoes at the same time. Great ideas? don't be silly.

But then he tells us what I guess is supposed to be an inspiring story- some previously unnamed, unloved and uncelebrated worker drone came up with what only Americans could call a great idea- to take leftover pizza dough, bake it, sprinkle garlic and Parmesan cheese on it, and package it as "bread bites." No, I'm not kidding. I'm guessing that the only thing that kept this genius from calling his creation "Munchkins" was U.S. copyright law.*

One of the sad starch peddlers at the Dominos run by Mr. Einstein tells us that her boss "should be CEO of Domino's." Because he figured out a way to sell the leftover pizza dough. And she thinks this is all it takes to be the CEO at Domino's. Come on, lady, don't you think they have to do a LITTLE more to earn those golden parachutes, massive salaries and stock options? Like make personal appearances in stupid commercials?

The actual, non-creative CEO shows us his human side by giggling and replying "no"- he's not going to be giving up cushy job to the Galileo who came up with Bread Bites. (BTW, Domino's won't be putting Da Vinci's name on the patent or share the profits that come from his re-invention of the wheel, either. The Sage of Findlay, Ohio will have to accept this commercial as the only royalty he's going to get for his hard "work.") Awww, see what a Real Guy he is? Having several vacation homes and a private jet, and making more money during the filming of this commercial than a hundred Domino's drivers will make in a year doesn't make him any less One of Us. Here's a guy we'd all like to have a beer with- if we could get past the armed guards of his gated compound to extend the invitation.

So thank you, Mr. Domino's Manager whose name has already been forgotten by this CEO and the boys on the board, who are too busy trying to work up a cross-marketing strategy with Pixar's next animated feature. Thank you for boldly attempting to sell round chunks of toasted bread under a cute name- and succeeding at it. I bet it gets this CEO another boat, or maybe a down payment on that castle in Scotland he's had his eye on. Warms the heart, doesn't it?

And that lickspittle toady who thinks you ought to be CEO? Fifteen minutes are up, lady. Get back to work- speaking of which, you'll be pulling a double shift next weekend, tell your family.

*When I was a little kid, "Munchkins" were called Doughnut Holes, and they were handed out for free at the local Dunkin Donuts if you happened to be there at the right time. Now I bet they are trying to figure out a way to charge us for the coffee cup lids.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Never mind Lipozene. You'd drop ten pounds just by getting rid of that weird smile, lady

I love the way this ad seems to start as a commercial for liposuction- several seconds are spent explaining that liposuction is an extremely effective way to get rid of "stubborn belly fat." Yes, and the guillotine is an extremely effective way to get rid of stubborn headaches. Considering that it's another over-the-counter miracle drug advertisement instead, seems like just another episode in non sequitur theater to me.

Anyway, the way-too-enthusiastic spokesperson "explains" how this "amazing" product does what all other phony "diet aids" have been claiming to do since the 1960s- allow you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, in whatever quantity you want, if you just add this little pill to your daily routine. You see, this pill which I Guess Simulates The Effects of Liposuction Without Expensive Surgery Wow What A Savings magically breaks down Pure Body Fat and melts it away. It's so gosh-darned effective that she needs to remind us that it's only for people who are "serious" about losing a lot of weight- please don't call if you are only kidding, or only a few pounds overweight, or aren't really interested in being slim and sexy like the magazines and tv tell you you have to be if you ever want to have any friends.

In an interesting twist, the spokeschoad here hints that this pill is actually kind of expensive- but that it's expense is an unmistakeable sign of quality. "It's WORTH it." It MUST work, because after all, it's more costly than the Green Tea or Hydroxycut it's sitting next to on the shelf.

In another version of this ad, a woman shrieks into the camera "you need this because you CAN'T do it on your own, you just CAN'T. You CAN'T!!!" The thing you "can't" do on your own is exercise and eat sensibly, I guess. Or maybe it's just "be happy in your own skin."

By the way, the narrator and the graphics tell us that 78% of the weight loss caused by the ingestion of these pills is "pure body fat." Just one quick question- what was the other 22%? Muscle? Bone? Common sense? What?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Whenever this pig screams, part of my soul dies

First, it's clear that Geico simply can't get it's act together when it comes to choosing an annoying spokes-something. Ultra-sensitive cavemen. Gecko with an Australian accent. Eyes pasted on a stack of bills. And now a pig which does nothing- absolutely NOTHING- but scream "weeeeeeeee??"

You know, Geico, it's bad enough that we are becoming a nation of under-educated, under-skilled, slack-jawed, media-consuming, knuckle-dragging mouth breathers who believe everything Fox News tells us. You don't have to join in the search for the lowest common denominator, we were getting there just fine without your help.

I'd like to think that this pig crap is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The problem is, that barrel has been scraped so many times, it's easy to see the floor underneath it. Considering the generally positive comments posted by the YouTube glue-sniffers in reaction to this latest Adventure of Maxwell The Wonder Something, we aren't there yet. It's going to get worse.

Second- all this to save us a few bucks on our Auto insurance (or not, since Geico has never, EVER offered me a competitive rate- I want my fifteen minutes back btw?) Who would trust this company with something as important as car insurance, anyway? I mean, what the heck am I missing here?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't already have a headache? Aleve's latest will give you one!

No, Aleve, I am still not convinced that the woman in this ad is popping pills. Please, make the slurping and gulping just a little bit louder, ok?

I mean, jeesh, whose brilliant idea was it to provide us with such graphic sound effects. Slurp, gulp, slurp, gulp-- WE GET IT.

Not surprising that the person who recommends the Just Two Pills a Day Aleve would be someone who has regular contact with this woman. I can just hear the conversation- "a group of us got together and decided that if we have to spend just one more day listening to you slurp and gulp your way to temporary pain relief, we would have to kill you. So please, try this, you disgusting twat."

I imagine this woman takes her daily dose of two Aleves (hey, let's not schedule a doctor's appointment to find out if there's something seriously wrong here- naw, just keep taking over the counter painkillers until your liver explodes) in the privacy of her own home, with her morning coffee (can you really take pills with coffee without gagging? I'm not going to try.) I also imagine that this means her husband and kids don't need an alarm clock. The sound of mom making a disgusting ass of herself in the kitchen would wake the freaking dead.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just start making out with your phone, already. You know you want to.

This....this is just...sad.

Here we have a lonely, pathetic jackass with a lot of questions and no humans willing to be seen with him to ask for information. So he must spend his days bleating these questions into his best friend. Since this is the year 2012, it's not surprising that his Best Friend is his I Phone.

"How do I play 'London Calling?'" (Quick tip: Just...don't.) "Show me a G chord. Tell these two girls that our band is playing in the garage (where else?) tonight. Wipe my nose and change my diaper." (Ok, I made up those last two, but would it come as any shock if those were actually his next lines?)

"I need a guitar." Hmmm...let's review what we've learned about this kid so far: He does not have a guitar. He does not know how to play a guitar. He is incapable of actually calling people to arrange meetings. He knows two girls willing to meet him in his garage, and he already has a band. Maybe the continuity got left on the cutting room floor. No, I Phone, this is NOT a request for the director's cut.

This advertisement isn't funny or informative, and it doesn't show us how the I Phone could make our lives worth living. What it DOES demonstrate is how the I Phone can spare us from ever talking to another carbon-based life form, ever again, by adopting a virtual voice that asks "how high" whenever we bleat "jump" and never, ever questions our bizarre helplessness when faced with any task, no matter how commonplace and mundane.

And it concludes with this stupid, helpless kid pathetically requesting that his phone refer to its owner as "Rock God." Because those girls sure aren't about to. Wouldn't it be great if the phone bleated back "sorry, but even I have limits, Loser?"

Considering that phones are being marketed as best (only?) friends and personal assistants these days, I think we all know what the logical next step in the owner-phone relationship is, don't we? No, I don't want to picture it in advance, either.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sadly, Kindle continues to pimp it's dumbed-down version

Here's a better answer to the question "but what if you want to watch tv or download videos?:"

"I am not a drooling, pretty picture and television-addicted moron who needs to have 24/7 access to video. I don't need to be constantly distracted by pretty moving pictures and sound and cartoons and games. You see, I grew up reading, and I like to read, because it improves my vocabulary, stimulates my imagination, and broadens my horizons by giving me windows into new worlds and thoughts."

"So...if I want to watch tv or download videos? I guess I'll be doing that when I'm indoors, using the television in my living room or, on rare occasions, my laptop. Because unlike you, I actually know what the word 'need' means, and realize that it's not interchangeable with the word 'want.' I don't need to watch television or play little games on a screen while I'm in between cooling myself off in the pool. Because there is a time and a place for everything, a concept you seem to have lost track of."

"And my kids? They have old-fashioned Kindles too, and they love them, because I'm raising my kids with the same love of reading that has so enriched MY life. Just because they are one-third my age doesn't mean that they need to be distracted with the electronic equivalent of Jell-O. They LOVE to read, for the same reason I do. Oh, and they don't feel the 'need' to watch television or play brain-dead games any more than I do."

"Now, could you move your pathetic butt to where it isn't blocking the sun?"

(BTW: "Three Kindles- that's gotta be expensive?" Considering that it looks like this woman brought her kids to some tropical resort so that they could have a more glamorous place to stare at their little screens, this seems like a rather silly question. And what kind of weird idiots ARE these people anyway? I know I never want to meet kids who would prefer staring at an electronic box to jumping in and out of a pool or running along miles of beautiful sand. This family is seriously damaged.)

IAMS wants us to think that animals are jerks, just like humans!

Can I take a few minutes to let you know how much I hate the "brilliant, cute" idea of giving animals human voices and attitudes? And I see it all the fricking time- animals attracted to cars, cell phones- you name it, ad agencies insist on pretending that the smaller mammals among us share our sick obsession with gadgets. And don't even get me started on the "male animals are attracted to female humans" bit- ugh.

These particular ads for IAMS pet foods seem designed to make us hate our pets. See, they aren't grateful and loving and sweet and humble- they are egotistical, pompous a-holes who are as wrapped up in themselves as we are.

Ever wish you knew what your pet was thinking? Well, IAMS wants you to know- your pet is thinking how wonderful it is, and how lucky you are to have the privilege of being in the same vicinity with it. Personally, if I could "hear" my pet talk like this, I think I'd feel a lot differently about it. And not better.

When is IAMS and other ad agencies going to give up on the idea that the "lower" animals are just like us, which means that they are arrogant, materialistic, and self-centered dicks? It's not funny or cute, and it never has been.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Come and get me,!

Here's another "service" I wish I had come up with. As near as I can tell, it promises to seek out negative reviews on the internet and surgically remove them, leaving nothing but praise, rainbows, puppies and unicorns behind. Well, why not? Anyone who expects anything approaching accuracy on the web probably deserves what he gets.

This "service" removes "malicious reviews" like "I had a bad experience" and "slander" like "he's arrogant." Wow, I hope nobody tries to comment on the quality of this doctor's waiting room magazines- he'd probably find himself up on charges.

It's not mentioned explicitly, but I imagine that must promise to be constantly at war with sites like Angie's List, which are clearing houses for nitpicking, peevish, "the monkey I hired didn't jump quite high enough," potentially career-gutting reviews. (I can imagine the woman who's "favorite plumber" agreed to walk her Pekinese around the block until "her business has been taken care of" is quick to post nasty screeds against the electrician who refused to do that pile of dirty dishes on his own time.) Or that company which claims to provide instant background checks ( on everyone you've ever met.

What is never explained is how this "service" goes about weeding out the truly malicious, FALSE posts and leaving the perfectly accurate- but negative- comments intact. Do we really think that the good people at respond to "malicious" posts by tracking down and interviewing the poster, then fact-checking with the subject of the post, to determine it's accuracy? Hardly. In fact, it's strongly implied that sees it's job as removing any mention of the customer that doesn't praise his ability to walk on water.

So "" is probably not the most accurate name for this "service," which seems dedicated to nothing short of removing anything that is not a glowing review from the internet. (Maybe "" would be better?) And now that I've typed this, I'll sit back and see how successful the company is in removing this bad review from the web.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You can get blood from an Apple. Steve Jobs was great at it.

At the factories which produce these things in China, teen-aged girls work thirty-hour shifts. Several end their shifts early, however, by dying of exhaustion.

Some of the girls have lost the use of their hands through repetitive motion injuries and stress.

The windows on the third floor and above are wrapped in chicken wire to prevent the "employees" ("slaves" would be a more appropriate term) from committing suicide while at work (and costing their employers precious time and money finding replacements.)

The workers are paid pennies per hour (none of those nasty, job-destroying Unions.) Many are severely underweight, and have no access to regular medical care. Or education. Or decent shelter. Or hope.

All so we can act like helpless, technology-addled morons with our shiny toys, which of course MUST be updated every few months- as the little starving girls on the other side of the planet (out of sight, out of mind) put the newest version together with their own thin little fingers. (A caller to CSPAN's Washington Journal this morning told the audience that China was a "good friend" of the United States which "does us much more good than harm," because "when we buy an iPad, 90% of that money comes back here and only ten percent stays there." Warms the heart.)

Slavery hasn't been abolished. It's been exported. Like I just said- Out of Sight, Out of Mind. It's more important that I get directions to that trendy noodle place I just heard about, complete with pop-up reviews, while I watch the latest episode of Dexter on my I Phone than the company that provides this "necessity" treats it's slaves--err, "employees" like human beings. It's not like my $300 is making that suffering possible. Hey, I can't change the world. I'm only one person.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to head to the news stand and read the latest "Steve Jobs Was God" retrospective.

And when I say my prayers tonight, I'll send an extra blessing to the Job Creators, the Most Productive, who prove again and again that Capitalism is the source of all that is Good and Decent in the world. I think there's an App for that.

Unfunny Role Reversal by Vonage

The first time I saw this ad, I had the oddest feeling that something wasn't quite right with it. I didn't know why, but it left me feeling confused and a bit disoriented.*

So I watched it again to try to find what it was about this commercial which seemed off-kilter. It's not the appearance of the "dad" here- he looks appropriately scruffy, as if he just rolled out of bed a few moments ago and it's not one of the two days a week he shaves or combs his hair. It's not the "mom"- she's appropriately flat in her manner and speaks in the monotone usually reserved for harried women with two kids (one which has to be pampered, fed, and constantly catered to, and the other which wears diapers.)

At around the third viewing, I finally got it- in THIS ad, it's the GUY who seems genuinely taken with his offspring (even using that grating old "blessing" cliche.) He isn't distracted by the Big Game on the Big Screen, and he isn't juggling the kid and a phone conversation at the same time. He isn't bitching about the economic burden the "blessing" is putting on Mom and Dad. And he doesn't look as though the kid is in constant danger of being dropped or otherwise injured by Thoughtless, "What is this thing I'm carrying" doofus dad.

Now of course, dad is STILL the nitwit here- he seemed to miss the part where Mom pronounced judgement on the Phone-Cable "bundle" and instead quickly assumes that she's talking in dismissive, cruel, bloodless tones about their child. "My bundle? Isn't it OUR bundle?" Still, he seems to care and be genuinely concerned that Mom wants to "dump" the baby. In pretty much every other commercial featuring a Mom, a Dad, and a Baby, the guy would be blathering about expensive "bundles" while the woman wrapped her protective arms around the "blessing" and protested. But just the image of a loving dad is a step in the right direction, seems to me.

Now, if these two nitwits would stop referring to their baby as "the bundle," as if it's just another piece of freaking furniture, we'd really be getting somewhere.

*of course, the cause of my disorientation might be the simple fact that the baby's blanket, the towel on the mommy's shoulder, and the room's curtains all seem to be cut from the same cloth. Maybe the reason Dad doesn't put Baby down is because if he does, he may never be able to find him again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"No, it's a death trap. Sign here, moron."

Ok, I get it- fifteen years ago, this jerk was a tow-headed dope who wanted a bike, but only if it was "fast." The guy at the bike shop told him "hey, it's ten speed," which may or may not have convinced him that the answer was "yes." Hard to say, considering that fifteen years ago there were plenty of 18-speed bikes out there. Maybe if the guy in the final scene looked closer to fifty than thirty, this part of the ad might have made a little more sense.

Then, ten years ago, a slightly older version of this twat we have absolutely no reason to care about wanted to buy a scooter (I guess he wasn't being beaten up regularly at school already.) He asks "is it fast?" This is a bit confusing- why would anyone interested in speed want to buy a scooter? Why not just buy a motorcycle? He also looks a little old to be taken in by a lightning bolt sticker- but then, this guy doesn't strike me as the sharpest tool in the shed...

The punchline is that now he's looking at a crappy German import and, knowing that a Jetta is about as close to the opposite of a sporty, fast vehicle one can get without going right over the edge and purchasing a SmartCar, he asks "is it safe?" Oh wait, it's not because his wallet won't let him buy a fast car- it's because he's managed to find someone to breed with, which now means he's Mature and Responsible, Yadda Yadda Yadda You Know The Rest Because God Knows You've Seen It A Million Times Already.

This doesn't make the question any more intelligent. How is the car salesman supposed to respond to "Is it safe?"

"Oh, you want a SAFE car? You are in the wrong place- these cars explode if you look at them wrong." Or how about

"Yeah, I get it. You got a girl to have sex with you, and now you have a kid. And you brought that kid in here in one of those stupid harness things. And now you are desperate to convince me that you are an awesome dad because you put safety first when choosing an automobile, PLUS you carry the thing around in one of those stupid harness things. You're a dad. I GET IT." Or maybe

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your question. I was too busy sniggering at that stupid harness thing." Or just

"What's with that angry look on your kid's face? I mean, did you go and tell him you are his dad, or something?"

Ahh, if only Dorian Gray had heard about this stuff....

The thought that there are people out there who will happily (read:desperately) shell out good, hard-earned money for this stuff doesn't dampen my thorough enjoyment of this commercial.

I really do love ads like this; commercials for products which are so obviously snake oil. Work at Home Millionaire, the Joy of House-Flipping, Beat the Stock Market, Pay off your Credit Cards at pennies on the Dollar, Beat the IRS at their Own Game- it's all good.

What makes commercials for exercise machines, acne products, weight-loss drugs and "Restoring Youth" creams especially delightful is the testimony of doctors which is always included; in this one, a guy we have never heard of (and will never hear of again) assures us that he would never "risk his reputation" endorsing this product if he wasn't sure he worked. Wow, that carries so much clout with me. I mean, check out that official-looking white jacket. He MUST be a doctor.

Not to mention that it makes SO MUCH SENSE that a company which has basically discovered the Fountain of Youth would announce the discovery on a commercial running during "The Secrets of the Knights Templar" on the Planet Green channel on a Sunday afternoon, rather than hold a press conference and turn the formula over to the Food and Drug Administration for evaluation. After all, what could they get out of approval of the FDA? Just access to every pharmacy in the United States, coverage from every major network and newspaper, and potentially billions in sales. Who needs that when you've got some doctor to give a five-second blurb promising to "stand behind" it's product?

Now, I myself have not aged in years. But I don't use this cream- I've taken the old-fashioned (though rather expensive) route of hiring a painter to capture my likeness on canvas, and then transferring my soul to the finished product. (It's not like I was using it anyway.) Sure, it's not a strategy endorsed by any doctors I know of. But it also doesn't involve rubbing stem cells on my face. I mean, that just sounds gross.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Our future heart transplant patients*

Children represent the future. Or at least, they represent the future of the pharmaceutical and avoidable illness and surgery industries. Just as long as we keep raising them to enjoy the pleasures of plastic "fruit" snacks, oil-infused potato and corn, soda, and fatty semi-dairy products like Kraft Cheese Slices.

Not to mention that all of these soon-to-be-obese, asthmatic, suffering from back pain children are contributing to America's wonderful landfills by pushing mom and dad to buy these individually wrapped squares of orange poison. The greatness of a nation is measured in the waistlines of it's youth and in the height of it's slowly-corroding garbage dumps, you know.

Yes, children are our future. And children who are taught at a very early age to find pleasure in eating crud like this mean a very fat, sick, unhealthy future indeed. A future filled with expensive medications if they are fortunate, even more expensive surgeries if they aren't. Surrounded by refuse which won't decay until great-grandchildren are enjoying their own generation's form of fun, tasty death.

*When I wrote up this post yesterday afternoon, it's original title was "I believe that children are our future." Events later in the evening convinced me that I ought to tweak it a bit or suffer the wrath of Whitney Houston fans. That being said, I'm sure not looking forward to a week or so of "let's remember why we switched the channel whenever one of her songs came on" salutes from XM Radio. However, if they drown out the hideous ads for Ozzy Osbourne's new show, all is forgiven.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stupid, sexist soft porn from the Green Mountain State

Apparently there are only two types of women on this planet- the type that wants the Guy in their life to show his affection through the purchase of ancient chunks of pretty rock, and the type that wants that affection shown through the purchase of gigantic plush toys.

I'm not going to get into a whole discussion here about which type of woman is less mature than the other. Personally, I don't find being thrilled over a shiny pebble any more "adult" than flipping out over a fluffy package of mostly air. I'm not going to spend a lot of time here making the obvious comparison of this advertisement to commercials for Enzyte or K-Y Jelly, except to note that there isn't a trace of class or subtlety in any of them.

Instead, I'll just make two quick remarks about this repulsive, Not at All Romantic little crumb of a commercial. First, tell me that this enormous bear thing doesn't become a major hassle to own once the "thrill" of receiving it on Valentine's Day fades out. Where does one keep something like that? I wish the girl had responded by asking "Am I supposed to move to a two-bedroom apartment now so I have room for this?" I can see it's owner quickly ordering one of those vacuum storage bags things and using it to reduce her bear to the size of a waffle, and then slipping it into the closet next to the SodaStream Mr. Thoughtful picked up for her last year.

Second- do the Males who give these things just have a problem with showing affection? Because it seems to me that giving the woman you love one of these monstrosities is a passive declaration that "I really don't like hugging you, and I'm sick of your constant demands for physical contact, so here, hug on this instead?" Why would any normal guy want to provide a "fun" alternative for his Significant Other to shower hugs and kisses on? (By the end of the ad, that woman sure seems taken with her bear, doesn't she? And where's the guy? Back with his buddies in front of the big screen, playing Worlds of Warcraft, mission accomplished?)

Friday, February 10, 2012

You think DEPRESSION hurts? Try Cymbalta!

First- Sadness? Loss of Interest? Anxiety? These are the symptoms of Depression? Jeesh, who ISN'T depressed?

Second- I have seen a lot of commercials for anti-Depressant medications, but this is the first one I've ever seen which lists "yellowing of eyes" as a possible side effect. Suicidal thoughts? Check. Insomnia? Check. Bleeding out like a stuck pig? Check. But yellowing of eyes? Sorry, that's the deal breaker for me. My eyes are my meal ticket!

They are also the windows to my soul. I can't have those windows anything but rich brown- so I guess I'll have to stay depressed. I don't even have to ask my doctor of Cymbalta is Right for Me. Ulcers, severe stomach cramps, deafness, vomiting, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, sudden irrational fear of sock puppets- I can learn to adjust to pretty much anything. But leave my eyes alone, Cymbalta!

By the way, I see that Cymbalta isn't recommended for Children under 18. What do children over 18 look like? Let me guess- they spend most of their time texting, downloading the newest version of Angry Birds and playing Call of Duty in their basements, right?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zales shows us how to deal with a restraining order

"Must not come within one hundred yards, huh? Well, that's NOT going to prevent me from proposing marriage in an amazingly stupid, childish, cloyingly insulting way!"

"First, I know where you live because after all I've been following you home for months now. And I know the building across the alley from yours almost as well- God Knows I've used the fire escape enough times to get to the roof and find exactly the right angle to keep an eye on you as you sleep (I love you so much, I can't bear the thought of anything ever happening to you!")

"And when I climbed on to your ledge to attach one end of this string, I wasn't technically in violation of the judge's instructions, because you weren't home at the time (where were you? You might as well tell me, I'm going to find out!)"

"And when you FINALLY wake up (not that I minded staring at you as you slept for hours and hours- not the first time you've made me wait, but this time I'm not ducking behind the chimney when you look out your window) you'll see me on the roof. This time, you won't scream and reach for the phone in that adorable way you usually do, because now I'm ready to meet your price. Here's a big rock for you, plus evidence that there's plenty of money where that came from, since I am clearly not at all concerned that the string might break and the ring might fall into the street and be lost."

"No, I'm quite certain that the moment you see this ring, I will no longer be the stalker you fear and pretend not to love. Once you put it on, you'll recognize me as the man of your dreams. And you'll tear up that piece of paper you foolishly got the authorities to write up when you didn't understand that I am your destiny, and this was Meant To Be."

Thank you again, Zales, for showing us the true meaning of Love. Sick.

(BTW: Anyone else think that this whole ring-on-a-string bit is just a little too similar to the idea of baiting a hook? Anyone else more than a little put off with the continued use of the "women are for sale, and can be purchased with the right rock" message that permeates every. Single. Ad. for jewelry? Or is it just me?)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chevron's partnership with the Church of Small Business

Wow, it's just great to see two disparate entities, with so little in common, come together for the benefit of us all, isn't it?

First we have something called "Small Businesses," which I guess includes carpenters, plumbers, and everyone else who provides a service in exchange for cash. Hmmm, I'm a teacher, and I provide education for a fee- am I a small business? On the other hand, I give away food to starving or slightly hungry kids for no return- does that make me a Communist?

Then we have one of the largest corporations on the planet, Chevron. Chevron makes it's money by raping as much of the globe as possible, in as many ways as possible, while greasing the wheels by bribing governments into handing over even more territory while turning a blind eye to it's non Chevron-related inhabitants. Tear down that forest? Go ahead, we weren't using it. Pollute that water? The natives will find some more somewhere (hey, it rains sometimes after all.) There's money to be made, and there's no such thing as "enough."

Like chocolate and peanut butter, small businesses and Chevron are natural allies. According to this commercial, small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy- no, strike that, of SOCIETY. Wait, I'll go even further- according to these ads, small businesses are the only things keeping us from returning to the Dark Ages. They stand bravely before the Gates of Hell, protecting us from the twin demons of Socialism and Communism. How sacred are Small Businesses? They are the altar at which both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama worship.

And what is the nature of this partnership? Chevron pumps billions of dollars into small, local businesses. Ok, now I have to admit that I'm lost. I have no idea what this means. Does Chevron loan money to "entrepreneurs" (sometimes called "risk-takers" but always to be referred to as "The Most Successful"- consider them the High Priests of the New Religion?) Or does the behemoth just hire so many worker drones that it's paychecks keep entire communities afloat?

Either way, the message in ads like this is very clear: Maybe you don't like Chevron's imperialistic shredding of the environment in pursuit of ever larger profits. Maybe you don't care for the fact that Chevron pays virtually nothing in taxes, and in fact receives subsidies from the US Government despite the fact that it's one of the most profitable corporations which has ever existed. Maybe you aren't thrilled that all of this damage is being done, and all this taxpayer money is being spent, to keep young Americans in dangerous parts of the world and to keep Chevron's CEOs in private jets and beach houses large enough to be seen from space. Maybe you are wondering why it's the year 2012 and we are still talking as if Oil is the fuel of the future. But the bottom line is this: Chevron and Small Businesses are the stars and stripes of the American flag, and if you don't spend every waking moment of your life thanking your boss for "giving" you a job and graciously allowing you to live another day, you are an ungrateful, selfish jerk who probably worships at the altar of the Unrepentant Terrorist Bill Ayers and Simply Doesn't Understand How The Economy Works.

Which makes you a heretic. Or a Progressive. Same thing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thanks, Nexus and Google "Hangouts." I can retire in peace now

I don't care if the Geico Gekko kicks a field goal for the Bears when he gets around to visiting Chicago.

I don't care if the Aflac Duck assembles an entire entourage of talking, singing and break-dancing animals to explain for the 4000th time why we all "need" supplemental health insurance.

I don't care if the next Bud Light campaign shows hot bartenders smashing bottles over the heads of guys who dare order something other than a Bud Light, or if Miller Lite ramps up it's "Man Card" series to include guys taunting their "unmanly" friends into suicidal behavior.

I don't care if Nissan uses CGI to show it's truck towing aircraft carriers into Pearl Harbor, or if the Golden Corral introduces a Carmel Canal or a Cheese Sea to go along with it's Chocolate Wonderfall. I don't care if all Cici's commercials from now on just cut to the chase and show big-bellied hicks shoving greasy junk down their gullets with no narration at all.

I don't care if cell phone companies come right out and say what they've been implying for years: that if you don't update your phone at least every three months, you are a backward loser who doesn't deserve to have any friends.

And I don't care if every other commercial on television features the same angry woman muttering vague threats against The Guv'mnt for daring to even consider raising taxes on soda, making it nearly impossible to feed her family in These Trying Times.

None of that really matters anymore, because it will never, ever get worse than this. There is simply no way that any commercial could be even one-tenth as annoying, as obnoxious, as downright STUPID that this one is. I mean, I see no socially redeeming value here at all- MAYBE if it had ended with everyone in it being so distracted by their phones that they all fell into the same trench filled with starving man-eating sharks, they might have salvaged SOMETHING. But no.

So I can quit now, knowing that ad agencies have finally reached the bottom. Right?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Samsung's Depressing two minutes of hate

I'm sorry, but watching a group of greasy twenty-somethings high-five each other as they "create cool things" with their phones and wax poetic about how "productive" they are - keeping a straight face the whole time- just left me feeling sad and more than a little sick.

These grunge-wannabees blather on and on- and ON- about how their amazing Samsung phones allow them to steal art (at no time is the suggestion made that the artist was sought out, asked permission to use his creation, and offered a cut of future profits) and then manipulate that art (which probably has some solemn, important message to the artist, we'll never know for sure) to become a trademarked character in yet another brain-sucking, time-wasting video game. There's a lot of talk about the "creative process," which apparently involves nothing more than selecting which virtual crayon to use to apply shading to the Now Belongs to Us artwork. Some of the talk is done around what looks to be a conference table- which makes it all very businesslike and serious, I guess. Doesn't work for me- because after all, these choads all look like they need clues and baths more than they need to be patronized as "creative geniuses."

Anyway, the punchline for this lukewarm bowl of swill is that the gang of college graduates with Nowhere Else to Go and thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off has managed to add Downloadable Game # 345,098 to the App Store, all because 1) they own these cool phones, and 2) legitimately creative people out there are providing free, easily poachable art. And that this deserves a round of ridiculous self-congratulation.

Hey, who says America doesn't produce anything of value anymore? Let the rest of the world build cars, bullet trains and solar panels- this country will ALWAYS be the world's leader in developing new phones (not building them, however- that's a job better suited for Chinese pre-teens.) And the next generation of smug, self-important, phone-addicted slackers with greasy hair and no visible reason for being? We've got that market cornered, too. USA! USA!

I think we all know who really made poo poo here, Clorox

Oh yeah, I want a whole house full of these things.

Actually, no; I don't want anything even resembling small children wandering around my house, ever. Certainly not if they are going to be running at me at the age of six to yell proudly, at the top of their lungs, about the wonderful thing they just did in the toilet.

And this kid, who apparently supplements his diet of Kraft Mac'n Cheese and Hamburger Helper with liberal doses of lead paint chips, could not even manage to do that Wonderful Thing where he was supposed to, confusing the sink (or the wastebasket, I don't know, and I'm not going to keep watching this thing until I figure it out) with the loo.

Mom being Mom, the woman in this ad doesn't do what I would do- scream, throw my hands up into the air, and run for the phone book to see if there are any orphanages or workhouses still operating in my vicinity- but instead reaches for the Clorox for probably the 40th time today. (Notice how women in these ads seem to spend 90 percent of their lives reaching for sponges, bleach or paper towels? Nice to see them putting that MRS degree to good use, isn't it?) It's all in a day's work- many days, especially if you are going to let all your kids reach first grade before they are potty-trained, lady.

She does this, by the way, after she checks the toilet- because I guess it would have been the highlight of her day to see her kid's "poo poo" in there. Yeah, your life is really a whirlwind of fulfillment, isn't it? I guess it will be a very sad day for you when your kid learns how to flush- but at this rate, that won't be till High School anyway.

Anyway, all this makes my Decision to Die Alone (made with the assistance of many, many other people) look rather good. And for that I am grateful, Clorox. The only kids I'll ever have are the kind that hand in essays, laugh appreciatively at my bad jokes, and have an insatiable appetite for the chocolate they think grows spontaneously in my classroom locker. Fine with me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Verizon thinks that men are perpetually eight years old

So I guess the joke here is that the Desperately In Need of Friends loser, confronted with the choice of purchasing R2D2 or one of these SuperAwesome Make Your Life Worth Living Because You Can Watch Movies On It phones, picks the phone.

I guess the joke here is NOT supposed to be that this Dateless Doofus is so freaking sad, his whole life revolves around George Lucas's most successful cash cow. I mean, he can't even buy the damned phone and quietly download "The Phantom Menace" in the privacy of his own mom's basement- he has to be shown that he can do it first, right here and right now, in front of a salesman who must be simultaneously repulsed by this guy's lack of taste and attracted by his lack of economic common sense.

Seeing that yes, he CAN carry "The Phantom Menace" and all of it's amazingly bland, boring, manipulative, in-your-face "action" with him wherever he goes. To his couch. To his son's baseball games on his court-appointed weekends. To first and only dates set up by It's Just Lunch. Yay, he doesn't have to stop being a witless, mouth-breathing child when he leaves the house! Isn't technology wonderful?

Meanwhile, this commercial would actually be enjoyable if, when Fat Moron leaves cuddling his new Best Friend, the salesman gets a high-five from his coworkers in the store, followed by a well-deserved round of sniggering balanced by rather sad, resigned head shakes as they watch the soulless idiot walk back to his car.

Or, if the customer is dumb enough to show people how he can watch "The Phantom Menace" on his new phone, a few of his male acquaintances demand that he surrender his Man Card. Because no way this isn't the most Unmanly thing he's done recently. I mean- he interrupted the salesman to let him know that R2D2 is from Naboo. That ALONE justifies his immediate expulsion from the club.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Undesirables," DirectTV? Really?

This is what happens when twelve sixty year-old Tea Partiers get together to write a commercial, I guess. They end up with an ad which basically tells you to make sure your cable system is reliable, because if it ever goes out or fails to hold the interest of family members, a tragic series of events will follow which which ends with you holding an "undesirable" grandson.

And why is the grandson "undesirable?" Because you don't approve of his wardrobe. Why is he wearing "undesirable" clothing? Because your daughter married "one of them"- you know, the kind of guy you only thought she would marry in your nightmares. You see, if the cable had been up to par, your daughter would have grown up to be a good little zombie, dated only parent-approved men, and married Billy from Sunday School. Today she'd be doing dishes in her own kitchen, right across the street, while this baby stared at the Baptist-approved video on the tv and husband Billy did the accounts for the Big, Respectable Corporation Downtown.

We all know that if the people who wrote this stupid, sad junk had just a LITTLE more gumption, they would have shown us what they REALLY mean by "Undesirable" and depicted this girl marrying a (gasp) black or Hispanic guy. I guess they figured that DirectTV, while willing to push the envelope, wasn't willing to set the damn thing on fire.

But really- "Undesirable?" Why Undesirable? Is the husband abusive or a drug addict? He married your daughter, buddy- he didn't knock her up and skip town. Do they love each other? Do they love their child? And the implication that the KID is also an "undesirable"- well, "contemptible" doesn't quite fit here, but this is a family blog.