Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let me see if I've got this right, Taco Bell

Taco Bell introduced some Dorito/Taco Hybrid thing in "just a few cities," cruelly denying it to classless, tasteless trailer trash who think this junk is worth eating.

Matt and his friends were so obsessed with shoveling this crap into their cake holes that they drove 900 miles in a 1970 Plymouth wagon to find a Taco Bell "restaurant" participating in this limited time offer. In keeping with the whole Retro mood of the advertisement, Matt and his friends didn't find the store using a talking GPS App on their Smart Phones- nope, they struggled with an old fashioned gas station map. Aww, these kids are such throwbacks, aren't they?

Let's hope that driving an ancient car and using laughably outdated navigation technology also allowed them to experience equally antiquated gas prices. I'm trying to imagine how much it would cost to haul this boat 900 miles at four bucks a gallon.

Or how many days it would take. Or why these loathsome slacker idiots have so much free time on their hands that they can devote a week to traveling halfway across the country to pick up a bag of greasy meat packaged in over-sized snack chips.

Coming next: Matt and his friends drive a 1969 Volkswagen Bus to Saskatchewan for half a dozen McRib sandwiches and St Patrick's Day milkshakes. Because they aren't available any closer to the suburb he and his fellow knobs currently occupy. Personally, I'd prefer that they undertake the journey in a Corvair. Step on the gas, kids- it's safe at any speed!

Friday, March 30, 2012

We've all encountered this woman, and mentally brained her with her own pocketbook

I recognize the woman in this ad.

That's not saying much, of course. I'm sure we all recognize her. In fact, anyone who has ever been to a grocery store recognizes this woman. We've all been behind her in line.

She's the Woman Who Isn't Quite Done Shopping But Is At The Cashier Anyway. She's decided to try to save some time by beginning the checkout process while an accomplice finds that One or Two or Six Last Few Things which will eventually join the rest of her pile on the conveyor belt. And if that person doesn't show up when the other stuff has been scanned and bagged? No problem- she'll just wait, glancing back and forth, standing on her toes for effect, shrugging at the cashier with an "I'm sure he'll be here any second now" look on her stupid face.

Here, the woman we all recognize has made the especially brilliant decision to use an eight-year old girl as her partner in crime. Daughter has helpfully been told to get some Yoplait. She's not given any specifics- just "one of each." Gee, that's nice- I'm sure Mommy expected this kid to handle every fricking cup of yogurt in the damned store looking for different flavors, leaving a delightful mess behind for the next customer (or a store employee*) to clean up. Mommy doesn't send Daughter with a basket, either- so Daughter has been told to come back with an armful of individual yogurt cups, each of a different flavor, and don't worry about dropping a few on the way (that's what aforementioned store employee is for, after all.)

I guess the "joke" here is that Mommy has no idea how many flavors Yoplait offers. As it turns out, we've moved beyond Strawberry, Strawberry-Banana, and Vanilla, and despite the fact that Mommy is a fan of Yoplait, she didn't even notice. I guess she figured Daughter would come back with three cups of yogurt and that would be that.

Mommy also figured that the people standing behind her would have absolutely no problem with her stunningly selfish, "my time is so much more important than your time" attitude. Maybe that's because Mommy is the only f--ing person in the whole f---ing universe, and TS for any of us who made the silly decision to finish shopping before getting on the f--ing line.

We all know this is going to end with Mommy either writing a check (and balancing her checkbook right there, while standing in front of the cashier) or picking change out of her purse- after remembering that oh yes, she has a coupon for Yoplait, somewhere in there.....

*I spent three years working in the dairy department of a Wegmans in Upstate New York. I know what kind of damage jackasses like this can do to stacks of yogurt without even trying- though I'm sure that when I was working, they were always trying. I hope those people are all dead now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For the other 19 hours, I suggest Espresso and Red Bull

I guess it was inevitable that in a country drowning in high-fructose corn syrup, white flour and red meat-- a country that no longer believes in regular exercise that does not include shooting digital terrorists on a flat screen tv-- we'd see commercials encouraging us to swig two-ounce bottles of caffeine whenever we "hit the wall" during the work day.

"When do you take Five Hour Energy?" When I don't feel like staying in shape. When I eat crap which weighs me down and makes me tired. When I spike my blood sugar with candy, or the other stimulants- like that premium cup of coffee which has the same amount of caffeine that Five Hour Energy has- wears off.

When I want a quick fix to mask the fact that my diet is shot to hell, I'm being forced to work too damned hard, and I need to mask the symptoms of my body begging me to take it easy because The Boss can replace me in fifteen minutes flat if I try to sit down for a few moments from time to time.

What an awesome, Brave New World we live in. Don't worry about getting enough vitamins and fluids to keep yourself functioning properly. Don't worry about getting enough sleep. Just chug one of these little beauties whenever you need to push yourself just a little bit harder. I'm sure your body will thank you later.

And if it behaves as if you've done it some harm, I'm sure there's another two-gulp cure sitting on the same shelf down at 7-11, a store which used to specialize in heat lamp dogs and weak coffee but is now, apparently, set to be viewed as the pharmacy of the 21st century. Because it's all about Productivity and the Quick Fix, all the time. Down that little bottle of Whatever It Is. And get back to work.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Is this a commercial FOR or AGAINST DirectTV?

You're sitting at home, wasting your life looking for something good on television. Because you just have cable, there's basically never anything on worth watching, ever. And then it gets worse- your Nothing On Anyway cable goes out.

In despair, you pull your sorry ass off the couch and head down to the local watering hole. Somehow, having a few drinks in the company of fellow human beings instead of sitting all by yourself at home equates to being "up for anything." So now you transport your suddenly adventurous self off to a Turkish Bath (this is the most "adventurous" thing that the elderly Baptists who make commercials for DirectTV could think of.)

So far, I can't see any reason why you should be regretting your failure to get DirectTV. But I have faith. I'm sure it's coming.

At the Turkish Bath, you run into Charlie Sheen. And the next thing you know, you are such close buds that you find yourself back at Sheen's pad, re-enacting scenes from Platoon. Is this where you are supposed to wish you had DirectTV, because if your choice of television were better, you could have avoided all this and stayed at home?

Being Charlie Sheen's new best friend, I'm sure, totally sucks for you. Besides re-enacting scenes from his old movies, it probably involves meeting Sheen's glamorous friends, including a lot of hot girls. Well, you sure don't want that, do you? Better get DirectTV, and fast.

Message of this ad: If you don't have DirectTV, you might have to go outside. If you go outside, you might start having a life.

Don't start having a life.

Get DirectTV.

What am I missing here?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

If it's Just for Men, what is that Baby doing there????

A scene re-enacted in every ad agency, all over the country: A group of idea-deficient writers huddle at a conference table to discuss the latest project, to produce a commercial which will fill 31 seconds of air time and convince Americans to buy whatever is being offered.

The first item brainstormed by the brilliant ad team: "Ok, how do we get a baby into this spot?"

Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Is it impossible to make a commercial which does not attempt to use babies or toddlers to sell products these days? It used to be that if you saw a baby in an advertisement, you knew immediately that the product must know....somehow related to babies. Diapers. Body powder. Car seats. Creamed carrots in jars. Umm....

I guess that's about it. Babies don't need anything else, right?

Nowadays, we have babies selling us stock management services, Italian cars, insurance for those cars, and chemicals to remove gray from men's hair. And this one makes even less sense than most. Every other Just for Men commercial features the guy getting the girl (or the job) because he's successfully hidden the fact that he's ewww old by tinting his gray hair. Babies don't need to get the girl or the job- and they don't have gray hair to tint- so what the hell is this commercial all about? Ah, of course- it's all about digitally imposing a baby's head on an adult's body and making it do "funny" things that, with any luck, will distract you from noticing how nonsensical this all is.

It actually would be pretty funny- even clever- if I thought for a moment that this commercial was a piece of clever snark directed at the other companies which exploit parents eager to exploit their offspring by putting them into stupid situations for the benefit of eTrade, Fiat, Geico, etc. But I don't believe that. This looks more like piling on- "look, as long as babies don't have to actually relate to the product being offered, we can use them too, so here you are- a baby with a beard taking a hot woman out on the town, driving a sportscar. Now look, we can make him dance too! Sure it's creepy and weird and makes no sense, but who cares! It's a baby! Buy this!"

(BTW, is the concept of a hot woman attracted to a baby sporting a beard really any weirder than the concept of a hot woman attracted to Jim Belushi, Rob Schneider, or any of the Doofus Idiot Fat Guys Married To Beautiful, Smart Women sitcoms which pollute prime time television? Just a thought.)

Let's return to our opening scene. The first idea brainstormed is "Ok, how can we get a baby into this spot?" I want one of three things to happen next:

A) The head of the ad agency, listening in, responds "we can't. This is a product targeted toward men with graying hair. It's clear to me that you have no ideas, but just want to poach off of a current, intensely stupid, trend. You are fired."

B) The other ad men respond "you want to use a baby in this ad? Jeeesh, that is SO forty-two seconds ago! Let's think up something new, people!"

C) A comet crashes into the room, killing everyone in it. And somehow killing the guy who came up with the baby "idea" twice. The rest of the advertising world takes this as a sign, and swears off putting babies in non-baby related commercials forever.

The next day, the word is out on the street: "it's back to chimpanzees, people!"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've got your "Italian" right here, Fiat

Yes, I'm one quarter Italian. But I was offended by this stupid eTrade Baby ripoff long before the kid pulls a modern version of "It's a Spicy Meata Ball" for no particular reason in the final scene.

First off, what's this "it was girls night out" crap? You know, nobody thinks to wonder why a WOMAN is hanging out with a child. But despite the fact that last time I checked it was the year 2012, the sight of a man with a baby still draws curious looks and a demand for an explanation. What the hell?

"Girls night out?" How nice. Mommy is taking a break from HER job- raising the kid I guess she had ALL BY HERSELF, so Daddy is "pitching in" by giving mom a "break" and making this huge sacrifice (chuckle, snort, boy he looks stupid, he must think he's a girl or something) by- get this- actually spending time with his own child! Mom's going to owe him for this, big time!

Second, this is some seriously reckless driving, considering the fact that there's a freaking BABY in the back seat. "We're going to miss the whole thing" is the "explanation" we are given for the fact that the driver is acting as if he's trying to qualify for the Indy 500. We hear the engine roar. We see this little piece of tin on wheels weave in and out of traffic. Well, why not- it's been clear that this isn't the driver's kid, after all.

Third- what's with the face on that old guy? Who looks at a baby like that? Even if he's ticked because he's been cut off by a Fiat being driven by a reckless doofus, shouldn't he be saving that angry glance for one of the ADULTS?

Oh wait, I get it- the old guy is puzzled to see a baby in the back seat of a car driven by two men. Probably thinks the kid must have been kidnapped or something. I mean, come on- a baby in the company of two men, and no women? What is that all about? That's like seeing a fish riding a bicycle, isn't it?

And finally, the LOL So Funny Never Gets Old Baby Acting Like an Adult moment, which is more like Baby Acting Like an Italian Stereotype Which I Thought Had Been Shown the Exit back in the 1970s. This gets eaten up by the knuckle-dragging glue-sniffers over at YouTube, but I don't see how it's the slightest bit funny. Let alone effective in getting me interested in owning a Fiat.

Thanks anyway, but I don't need to "get my Italian on" by purchasing a car from a company which thinks that equal parts sexism and bigotry are good ingredients in a commercial. I have to admit, though, that I can't imagine buying one of these ugly things under any circumstances, so you haven't really lost anything, Fiat. Except perhaps a modicum of self-respect. And a possible future lawsuit to eTrade.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chevy runs deep- to reveal this family's emotional scars

Imagine being this guy's son. Dad's "Chevy was his baby, he loved it..." sure, people talk like that about their cars (or at least they did, when cars might have been worth treasuring.) But calling a car your "baby" that you "love"- that's just a figure of speech. Of course, a guy with a wife and family doesn't really "love" his car. He loves his wife, his children, and the life they have together.


Well, maybe not. This particular dad's love for his Chevy was so deep, so all-consuming, that when his kids became adults, they launched a five-year search for the very car he once had to part with (we aren't told why. Or maybe we are, and I just wasn't paying attention. I'm not paid to do this, you know.)

And when Never Quite Good Enough To Take The Place of a Fucking Car children finally locate Dad's God Damn Chevy Which Was Always More Important Than Our Baseball Games and deliver it to the aging patriarch, well...Dad's reaction is everything they could have hoped for. The guy actually breaks down. He's crying. He's holding his heart, like his fondest wish has been fulfilled. Deborah saying "I love you too" and "yes, I'll marry you?" That was ok. Birth of first child? Meh. Grandchildren? Whatever.

But present dad with his old Chevy- and the old guy crumbles into a teary, visibly moved and shaken bowl of jello. THIS is what occupied his every free moment until that horrible moment of parting, so many years back. And THIS is what is going to be filling what had once been a huge cavity in his heart from now on. Dad takes a few moments to tell his kids how much he's missed the Love of his Life, before heading off for a drive.

The sad, pathetic efforts of his children to earn a modicum of Dad's love has reached a new level here. In another scenario, they bitterly hunt down that Piece of Shit Chevy Dad Would Never Let Us Come Near Let Alone Drive, buy it, and have it crushed into a cube, earning a pat on the head from the family therapist. In another scenario, these kids would trace their lack of self-esteem and their inability to hold a relationship together to their emotionally absent dad and his Freaking Precious Why Don't You Just Marry It Already You Know You Love It More than You Ever Loved Mom car, and finally have it out with the stunted old idiot at the Christmas table when they simply can't deal with another telling of the How My Life Fell Apart The Day I Had To Sell That Car saga dad pulls out of his ass every holiday. Either one would make a better commercial than this weird pile of crud.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Meet John

Hey, check out John. John dresses like a slob and doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands when the camera is trained on him. John moves in weird, jerky motions which suggest he has some kind of muscular disorder which has probably turned off- or frightened- several First Dates, which despite showing promise always seem to turn out to be Last Dates.

After years of fruitless, frustrating One-Nighters (and those are the SUCCESSFUL dates,) John's got a pretty good idea of what he is looking for in a girl- someone who will tolerate whatever it is he does that prevents him from establishing relationships with the women he meets in the normal, Non Online-dating world. Because the route people who aren't sad, isolated losers take- meeting through mutual friends, by joining clubs etc.--- for some reason, this just isn't working for John. What John really needs is another pathetic, desperate, Out of Ideas But Not Money dope who has also been rejected by the population of Normals. John would probably look pretty good- or at least passable- to someone who is one step away from writing guys in prison.

Speaking of desperate- hey, here's Jennifer. Jennifer is going to help John "go deeper."

No, I'm not going there. I know kids who read this blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Speaking of Zombies, look what else is back from the dead!

One of my very first posts on this blog- in January, 2009- pointed an accusatory finger at the scam artists of Tronix Country, who preyed on people with credit so poor that they couldn't even get Aaron's to rent them a laptop with a 500% markup. All you needed was a job and an active checking account, and this wonderful philanthropic "you deserve a second chance" company would set you up with that laptop- AND a printer, AND a flat screen tv, AND a digital camera "with your paid order." In other words, you got all that cool extra stuff if and when you finished getting soaked on the $600 laptop you'd ultimately pay $2000 for, in "easy" installments of $29.99 a week.

Well, I thought Tronix Country had gone the way of Blue Hippo (same deal, currently out of business, under investigation by various Attorneys General,) but it turns out I was very wrong. This commercial appeared during Wolfgang Mac's Chiller Drive in Theater (which I only watch on those RARE occasions when I don't have a date Saturday night, so no snide remarks please.) The message has been tweaked slightly- now you are told to pay for the flat screen tv, and the LAPTOP is the "free gift." But other than this slight adjustment, it's the same old scam.

I love the way the guy tells us that he "didn't know what he was missing" before he got his awesome high-definition tv from Tronix Country. Well, I imagine you are still missing a lot of stuff, buddy. Like anything resembling decent credit. Or a bank willing to give you a loan for anything larger than a Big Gulp. Or a clue when it comes to finances. But you enjoy your life-enhancing flat screen tv- at least, until the cable company shuts you down for non-payment of your monthly bill.

Except, this jackass is probably a regular customer at CashStop too, handing over his car title for a few hundred bucks to "tide him over" (pay the cable bill, plus the rental on the X box Aaron's DID agree to let him walk out the door with.) Yeah, this guy really needs a flat screen tv. Much more than he needed that $120 per month. Because the landlady's kind of a bitch anyway, right? Not to mention that Ramen noodles are still really cheap and veggies are way overrated.

I can tell you this much- I don't want to hear any whining from the people "victimized" by these bloodsucking predators. There's been more than enough information out there telling anyone willing to pay attention exposing these frauds as lying, manipulative slimeballs interested in nothing other than getting access to the bank accounts of people just struggling to get by. At some point, you just have to let fools say goodbye to their money in the way they see fit, and serve as an object lesson to the next generation of suckers. The only thing I have to say to the pigeons who call the convenient toll-free number and happily read off their checking account numbers to the operator over at Tronix Country is: Serves You Right, Morons.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I thought that every day was HogFest at Cici's?

Gee, I wonder what insurance that pig is carrying?

And now, I'm wondering if Cici's has insurance against trademark infringement.

And NOW, I'm wondering how Cici's pulls off pretending that there's something "special" and "different" going on at their "restaurant" this month just because they are adding a pizza with ham to their usual menu of cardboard-based pies slathered with pepperoni, chicken, mushrooms and grade-B mozzarella gathering bacteria under heat lamps. Oh, and let's never forget the limp, browning lettuce, lukewarm macaroni (excuse me, "pasta") and all the Pillsbury-quality cinnamon buns you can shovel into your cake hole, all for a low low price which screams "TASTELESS, FATTY CRUD" to anyone with half a brain but sounds like a "BARGAIN" to the flabby trailer trash who find places like this inviting.

"Hey look honey, them people at Cici's got that pig from the Geico commercials you like so much to tell us they gots a ham pizza this month. Gather up the kids and break the cookie jar, we's a goin' out tonight!"

I just hope that the good people at Cici's spread the "special" pizza around a bit- there's nothing uglier than a mob of sweaty, triple-chinned hicks attempting to Line Jump before the last damp slice is snatched up. Because I'm sure that they hate answering the "when's the next ham pizza comin' out" question even more than they hate reminding every other customer that no, damn it, it's Golden Corral that has that cool chocolate waterfall thingee.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Well, at least AT&T's Walking Dead don't look like they'd be interested in acquiring our BRAINS

Hey look, with AT&T's 4G service, being a technology-obsessed zombie isn't just for the office or the tailgate party anymore!

Now you can stare at your stupid phones/televisions/best friends as you walk your dog, or pretend to be spending quality time with your spouse. Now you can use that "vital" connectivity to keep watching the game while getting some fresh air. Now you can completely humiliate your kid by getting him to say "hi" to those two cute girls he hasn't quite gathered up the courage to talk to yet. Ah, the wonders and blessings of modern technology.

(Oh, and and a little more about that particularly obnoxious three seconds of this ad: The kid says "mom....put me down." Of course, Mom isn't actually carrying him, just a phone which happens to have video capability (why anyone would want this, I have NO idea.) But the kid says "put ME down." As if that's actually his soul in that phone. Depressingly believable.)

Anyway, this is just another of what appears to be an endless parade of Phone Addicts One-Upping Each Other With Their Superior Security Blankets advertisements AT&T seems determined to shovel at us until we are all assimilated into the Borg and would never, ever think of going anywhere or doing anything that did not also involve staring at our hand-held idiot boxes. Fortunately for those of us who are more inspired to bang our heads against walls than to actually buy one of these Slightly Cheaper than Heroin society killers, the saturation point seems close at hand. I know that when I take my daily walks and try to count the number of people who are either blathering away into their phones or staring mindlessly at the little glowing screens, I have to give up after about five minutes (too depressing.) More than once I've been the only person on the train platform who isn't yapping, texting or playing some brain-sucking game. Everyone is so much more "connected" than I am already, at least we'll be moving on to 5G now, right? At which point, 4G will become so lame and So Fourteen Seconds ago, right?

Sooner or later, one of these sad choads is going to look up and notice that I haven't bought in. That person will point at me, open his mouth, and release some weird screech to alert the others to my apostasy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Non-Partisan Stupidity from Carbonite

What can Ed Schultz and Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow and Glenn Beck, Thom Hartmann and Sean Hannity all agree on? I mean, besides the "need" to invest at least part of our investment portfolios in gold, "the only asset isn't somebody else's liability?"

Well, this is actually a pretty easy answer: It's that we must all back up our files using Carbonite. Because our whole lives are on our laptops.

In case you didn't buy the idea that your bookmarks, recipes, and--well, actually, for 99.9 percent of us, that's just about it- were absolutely irreplaceable, here's an utterly obnoxious, sadly topical commercial from Carbonite. A beautiful young woman is preparing for The Most Important Day of Her Life when a wizened old woman, representing the Specter of Death, tells her that she's "about to lose everything." In another room, the anxious groom obsesses with his receding hairline and is told by a male version of the vulture freaking out his bride that he, too, is "about to lose everything."

It all sounds very creepy, very ominous, especially with the eerie background music (which the YouTube losers have instantly fallen in love with and OMIGOD MUST IDENTIFY AND POSSESS RIGHT NOW LOL.) Oddly, despite the dire warnings of impending disaster, Bride and Groom go on with the ceremony, only to have it interrupted by a slovenly, stupid dick who bursts into the church roaring "you're going to lose your files!"

Oh, horrors. The new couple, having silly, non-file related stuff like Weddings and Planning for a Life Together on their minds, have totally forgotten the importance of backing up their Suddenly More Important Than Anything Ever stored information "off-site" (perhaps In The Cloud? Have I mentioned lately how much I hate this century?)

Thankfully, we aren't shown their reaction- I have this sick feeling that they would have broken off the nuptials to call Carbonite and get signed up at the Low Low Rate of $55 per year. Because you can get married any time. Do you realize how hard it is to get bookmarks back?

"You're going to lose Everything." "Everything" just isn't as all-encompassing as it used to be, is it? Except that crap like this seems perfectly acceptable to "liberal" and "conservative" yakkers alike, it's kind of hard to see the point.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I guess it's a good thing I don't work for "Five Star"

First, let me say that I feel really bad making fun of John Walsh, but....sir? You've made quite a career out of channeling your rage for the better part of a quarter-century now. Television shows, commercial opportunities...maybe it's time for you to pocket your cash and seek some therapy? I know it doesn't pay as well as peddling fear and paranoia, but...

Well, I just thought I would throw that in.

On to this "service" you are selling us today. I'm pretty sure that I'm not the type of person you'd hire to be one of your operators. I don't think I have the proper bedside manner. This is how I see it unfolding:

Lost Kid: "I can't find my mom."

Me: "What, were you busy playing with your stupid phone instead of paying attention when she told you to keep up with her? BTW, why don't you have a phone? Don't you watch commercials? Why are you such a loser?"

Lost Kid: "I don't know where she is."

Me: "Oh, and I do? Jeeeeshhh...I was just about to go on my break. Look, if she wants to find YOU, she will. My guess is, she isn't trying. I'm sure it was fun to have a mom for a while. Why don't you move on now?" Click.

Alleged Grown-Up who Fears Being in a Strange Neighborhood: "Can you stay with me until I get to my car?"

Me: "Is that a joke? What, are there scary non-white people around? What the hell is the matter with you? Why are you wasting my time- don't you know I've got some stupid lost kid on the other line?"

AGUWFBIASN: "But I can't find my car..."

Me: "Gee, guess you don't have an 'App' for that, huh? See, this is called 'trained helplessness.' You've got this 'service,' and it's turned you into a quivering, scared idiot the moment you face a situation which is at all unfamiliar. I'm going to hang up on you now and leave you to find your car on your own. Trust me, you'll thank me later."

Old Guy: "I don't feel well."

Me: "Well, welcome the real world, dope. You sound like you are around eighty, and you are off hiking by yourself, and you don't feel well? Hey, I'm in my forties, do you think I feel well? Who am I supposed to call and bitch at?"

Old Guy: "I may be suffering a heart attack."

Me: "Oh, here comes the Guilt Trip. You 'may' be having a heart attack, so now the burden is on ME to do something about it? WHY are you out by yourself anyway? Don't you have any kids or grand kids you could be sharing this outdoor experience with?"

Old Guy: "I'm not sure I want to call 9/11..."

Me: "No, of course not. It's just their JOB to deal with calls like you. You don't want to be a burden to the emergency squad. You don't want to be a burden to your family. You just want to be a burden to a total freaking stranger on the phone. BTW, are you aware that I've got a stupid lost kid and a scared alleged grown-up hanging on the line? Could you just make a decision, Mr. Great Outdoors Oh No I Don't Need A Companion To Hike With? Do you need help or not?"

I wonder how we ever got to 2012, considering that this type of technology has only been with us for the past few years. It's looking less and less likely that we are going to see 2112, however. At least, not in our current form; the way we are going, by then we'll all be walking around with chips embedded into our skulls which allow us to consult a disembodied voice every few seconds about that Scary Little Twinge in our necks or that Unfamiliar Person at the bus stop. Thank God, I'll be dead by then.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What, Kraft? What?

"I've been skimming Mac'n Cheese for 75 years" says the old man at the table who I guess is best known as Grampa, or Dad.

So you've been a gross, disgusting pig for 75 years? Good to know. Even more good to know- someone can actually live to be an old man despite the fact that he's spent his whole life eating this fatty garbage.

Then comes the "funny" punchline: Son says "but I'm only forty-five years old."

Old Man: "I have another family."

Awkward Pause. Old Man: "What?" (as in "What? I'm an old man. No act of betrayal or cruelty to you or your mom matters now, because I'm an old man.") Son: "What?" (As in "Are you saying you've been living a lie for decades? What do you mean, you have another family? Why are you saying this to me, now, in front of your grandson?")

Cut to trademarked cartoon music which wraps of all of these ads. Because this is FUNNY, right?

This is funny in some universe I've never visited. In a sane world, it's disgusting, cruel, intensely stupid, mean-spirited rubbish. After years of watching commercials get dumber and less interested in maintaining even the slightest level of decency, I'm still stunned at the utter tastelessness exhibited here.

Come on, people- where is the humor in a situation which can only end in tears, anger and (if I were this old man's son) a kick in the pants followed by this creep being deposited on the sidewalk with an order to never, ever try to contact THIS grandson again.

I've often joked that it seems that little or no thought goes into writing scripts for commercials these days. I can't joke about that anymore, because the only possible defense of this horrible lump of a very, very bad idea is that no thought went into it. I want the guy who wrote it to come before a bank of cameras and give me a sad story about how he has been having trouble at home and was given the job of writing this commercial on a ten minute deadline while worried about one of his kids, who is in intensive care with lupus. In such a contingency I might find it in my heart to forgive him for creating this travesty, which can only lead to children all over the country turning to their parents and asking "what does he mean, 'Another Family?'"

The company that isn't satisfied with mass-marketing yellow sludge as food, but must poison the airwaves with sad, ugly junk like this weird advertisement? Kraft will have to find forgiveness somewhere else. Sorry.

"I have another family." Ick. There's the door, Grampa. Get on the phone with your Other Family, which is now your Only Family. I'll be busy trying to clean up this mess with my son.

And if you come near my house again, I'll have you arrested, you two-legged rodent, and I don't give a flying crap HOW old you are or HOW long you've been "skimming the Mac 'n Cheese," whatever the hell that REALLY means.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

You've come a long way, Baby. Or have you?

Carol had better get her coffee-making act together, or next time this cup of hot, undrinkable mud is going right in her face. Followed by a fist.

Ah, the good old days- when a man could berate his wife about the quality of her coffee (or anything else, for that matter,) sneering at her total lack of cooking skills while throwing said coffee into her flower garden or comparing it unfavorably to the stuff he can get at the mess hall Back at the Base. When a wife would stand slightly behind her husband, hands crossed behind her back, in hopeful expectation that THIS time, she managed to get it right, for ONCE. When a man felt perfectly comfortable inflicting a psychological death by a thousand cuts with constant little reminders that I Could Have Made Anyone Mrs. John Smith You Know, You'd Better Get Your Act Together If You Don't Want To Get Hurt, If It Weren't For Me You'd Be an Old Maid And Don't You Forget It.

When the Little Missus would respond to nasty "you can't do ANYTHING right, can you?" remarks by the Man of the House by rushing off to the grocery store to consult with another man for tips on how to save her rocky marriage, and track down one Wise in the Ways of Coffee conveniently unpacking the stuff (and even more conveniently being the possessor of a PhD in All Things Coffee- oh wait, I forgot- in the 1950s, men were experts in EVERYTHING that didn't involve cooking, cleaning or changing diapers.)

"No, Carol you silly dim bulb, this is NEW Folger's Crystals!" Not only is Carol incapable of making coffee superior to INSTANT, but she can't manage to process the "new" part of the label without extra prodding from Wise, Helpful Old Male. Later Carol will need to be taught the concept of a "mountain" through hand signals. Carol isn't the brightest bulb on the tree, a fact reinforced by her "look what I learned today, honey" repeat of the International Symbol for "mountain" when she gets home and finally makes Hubby a decent cup of coffee. Hubby thinks this is adorable, and who wouldn't?

Guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses, after all.

Thank goodness those days are over, don't you agree? We'd never see ads like this now. Women in commercials today are too busy serving up beer while wearing super-tight tank tops and cut-off jeans. They are strong, independent types who live to obsess over diapers, laundry soap, minivans, and their Relationship Status on Facebook. They don't live in anguish over hubby's reaction to their coffee- way too busy dishing up Hamburger Helper and reaching for the Bounty towels for that. They wouldn't be caught dead wringing their hands over their inability to add hot water to ground beans- not when there's weight to be lost through a diet of Progresso Soup and Multigrain Cheerios.

Sexist pig husbands? No woman would tolerate such a thing today- unless, of course, he went to Jared. Chocolate Diamonds are awfully pretty, after all.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Suzie's in the 1%, thanks to Verizon

Deleted Scenes:

Suzie's Lemonade becomes a division of Beatrice Foods, sparing Suzie the need to hire her own lobbyists to push for Lemon and Sugar Subsidies.

Suzie throws a fit when her accountants tell her that "the effective tax rate was way off." Because she's In the Know, she goes with BDO.

Suzie discovers that she can save another $40 million by dumping sugar as an ingredient in her lemonade and substituting High Fructose Corn Syrup instead. Not to mention the addicts this creates, which also helps the bottom line for her investments in Big Pharma.

Suzie ruthlessly crushes repeated attempts by her employees to create a Union. Payoff: No one who works for Suzie makes more than $8 per hour, unpaid overtime is mandatory, and they can forget about health benefits.

Suzie starts her own adorable SuperPac and proceeds to hedge her bets by raising money in equal amounts for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Barack Obama. Why not Newt Gingrich? Hey, she didn't get where she is today without having some math skills.

Suzie takes advantage of massive government tax incentives to fire her entire staff and move the whole operation to the Marianas Islands. Thanks to our corporate-owned Congress, she may continue to advertise her Lemonade as "Made in the USA."

Suzie lands a regular guest spot on the Fox Business Network to bleat how important it is that government both "stay out of the way" and also "encourage the most productive." Sean Hannity makes her a regular on his program.

Suzie runs for the US Senate from California, spending $80 million of her own money, each penny painstakingly raised through years of sacrifice. Not Suzie's sacrifice, mind you.

That stupid, frozen, "I Love Money" smile of hers becomes a favorite Halloween Mask and dartboard decoration. And everyone involved in this commercial, including Suzie, end up being buried in massive mausoleums jammed to the seams with money. Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

State Farm: Useful even if Hank defies your expectations, and lives

I've actually had this commercial stashed in my bookmarks list for quite some time now, trying to figure out just the right angle to use on it. Sometimes ads are just so mean-spirited, so willing to tickle that crass side of society which thinks that anything hurtful or cruel is "funny," they defy snark. But I want to get this one done before it leaves the airwaves (any time would be fine, really) so I will just settle for telling my audience exactly what I think of this thirty seconds of nastiness from State Farm.

We open with blurry, wobbly "home movies" and still photographs featuring "Hank" and his family, as his widow(?) waxes poetic about how much he cared about his family. How much did Hank care? Why, enough to make sure that she and the kids could stay in the house he provided for them in life, once he went to his reward (and by the time this ad is over, we can certainly appreciate the idea that dying was the best reward that Hank could have hoped for.)

The narrator tells us that if she could tell Hank anything, it would be "thank you." Aww, that's both sweet and sad at the same time. We all have people no longer in our lives that we wish we could thank. Once they are gone, they are gone, and we are left with the regret that inevitably comes from lost opportunities. We know exactly what this woman is saying. Show appreciation while the person who means so much to you is there to accept it. Message received.

Except, no. See, here's the hilarious punchline- Hank is STILL ALIVE! He's RIGHT THERE! He's walking through the living room, and he's overheard his wife's dreamy fantasy that he's dead, and he replies "you're welcome" (better do it now, Hank- God Knows this woman is never going to say it outright, to you. She's saving it for the eulogy.)

Suddenly Not-Widow mutters "Hey, Hank" with an undeniable, disgusted "oh damn I forgot, you are still taking up space here, thanks for interrupting my daily Hank is Dead daydream."

"Now do me a favor and just walk away, so I can go back to wishing I had had the opportunity to say thank you. Because I clearly have no intention of ever doing that. I am, however, looking forward to the day when I can finally regret not thanking you because it really is too late."

Of course, there are morons out there who think that this is funny- one YouTube dope thinks it should have been a Super Bowl ad. (Well, it's certainly tasteless, so it does qualify.) But remember that others think the E-trade babies and Bud Lite "NFL experience" ads are funny, too. There's no displeasing some people.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Eddie Murphy, reduced to picking up scripts dumped in the trash by Jim Carrey?

You know the film is really going to suck when the leaden "moral" is handed to you like a rotting plate of cabbage during the freaking TRAILER.

You also know the film is going to be a stunning waste of your time and money when it's easy to substitute the poor schlub playing the main character with Jim Carrey. (Seriously, tell me that this film doesn't have "written for Carrey but he was too busy negotiating Ace Ventura III to return our calls" written all over it.)

And you know for SURE that this film is from the Tweak this line, tear out a few pages here, adjust Scene II and substitute black actors for white ones dustbin of Overused Ideas when it involves some magical spell dropping the Sledgehammer of Change Your Ways Or Else on a guy better known for comedy than Straight To Hallmark Video "message" films. I mean, tell me how this plate of Been There Done That is any different from Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Liar Liar, The Tooth Fairy, etc. etc. ETC. Principle Male Character is a total ass. Principle Male Character gets visit from Supernatural Being who for some reason, never fully explained, is taking time off from dealing with world hunger, disease, and poverty to Teach Principle Male Character A Valuable Lesson. Lesson Ultimately Learned, making the World a Better Place for Approximately Six People. Well, thank goodness.

It sure doesn't help my mood that this warmed-over dreck "stars" Eddie Murphy. It was only a few years ago that Murphy was up for a Best Actor Award for his role in Dreamgirls. Apparently Murphy has decided that awards are all well and good, but he's still in this for the money, after all. Carrey I think got the same idea after The Truman Show and The Majestic- that it's fun to be taken seriously for a while, but slapstick garbage is where the big bucks are- so it was on to The Grinch and the aforementioned Liar Liar. Aim low and keep the dough rolling in, I guess. But it won't be any of MY money, I can promise you that. Because movies cost upwards of $10 nowadays, and one has to be choosy concerning which cheesy, manipulative garbage one throws that kind of money, and a perfectly good Saturday night, at. This cliche-fest doesn't make the cut, sorry.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

E-trade's continued pursuit of the lowest common denominator

I blame the apparently very large population of utter morons out there who think that the idea of babies being manipulated into endorsing products through trick camera work and dubbed voices is "funny" for this ad, which looks almost exactly like each and every one of the other 247 E-trade ads produced over the past three years.

As I've mentioned in a previous post discussing this vile series, what makes the E-trade baby bit so truly noxious is that it is obviously not geared toward people who are seriously interested in making heavy investments in preparation for a comfortable future. Because people like that have functioning brain cells, and are therefore not really susceptible to this kind of Hammer to the Face stupidity. (While we are at it, they probably aren't all that impressed with the Walk Around With Styrofoam Numbers Under Your Arm to Show Everyone How Rich You Plan To Be When You Retire bit presented by ING, either.) No, the people who think this crud is at all funny are far more likely to invest THEIR money in lottery tickets than in stocks. They don't download the E-trade App, they stand in line down at the 7-11 trading cash for scratch-off tickets. For these dopes, the E-trade commercials are for entertainment purposes only.

And what makes THIS particular commercial especially repulsive? Well, it's the second one that I've seen which isn't satisfied with exploiting innocent, clueless little kids for the benefit of an online trading service, but instead insists on portraying those kids as having the brains and sex drives of adults. Last year, we were treated to a whiny, jealous female baby referring to another as a "Milkaholic" (someone out there thought that was funny. I don't want to meet you. You are really sad.) Now, we've got a male baby visiting the hospital nursery to "speed date." (The same people who liked "Milkaholic" think this idea is funny, too. Unless they've developed a shred of taste, or maturity, since then. Don't know, don't care.)

Because I have an active, functioning, ADULT brain, I don't think that the idea of babies "speed dating" is funny. I don't think that any of these babies has one damn thing to tell me about how to invest my money. What I DO think is that the real-life parents of these kids should be thrown into a dungeon and left there until they agree to stop trying to use their offspring as meal tickets. And that E-trade find another angle. Because this one is about as fresh as "so 29 seconds ago," the Geico Gekko, and the AFLAC duck. And about as funny, too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I vote that all these knobs shut their cake holes and stop being whores for Big Oil and Gas

From the Will Sell Our Souls for a quick buck and a chance to be on television department...

Here are half a dozen or so mindless sheep bleating the lines fed to them by the richest, grubbiest, greediest corporations in the history of the planet. "I vote for Energy Independence." Oh, do you now? So you are in favor of Nationalizing the Oil and Natural Gas industries in the United States? "I vote to exploit OUR oil and natural gas..." Ours? Well, I guess that answers my question, doesn't it? You really think that the oil and natural gas under our feet here in the United States belongs to us as a nation, and if "we" just drill for it, it will belong to "us," and it will make "us" independent of foreign sources of energy, huh?

Well, that sounds fine with me. After all, if we are going to run the risk of spills and the destruction of the aquifer through hydraulic frakking, that stuff SHOULD belong to us. Ok, I'm sold!

Wait, you DIDN'T mean that? What you really meant was that private industries should be allowed to Drill Here, Drill There, Drill Everywhere and then take all those resources and throw them on to the world market, where "we" get to bid on it along with everyone else on the planet? Well, if that's the case, in what way are these resources "ours?" What is this "we" you sawdust-for-brains choads keep referring to? Chevron and Exxon?

And do you think running "I vote" ads during CNN's coverage of Super Tuesday is at all clever? Trust me, it's not. More like cloying and stupid and manipulative, to go along with stunningly dishonest. How does one go about "voting" for more drilling, anyway? By voting for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich? If that's what you are saying, why don't you JUST SAY IT, and spare us the "This Gas is Our Gas, This Gas is Your Gas" treacle?

Oh, that's right- it's because you guys couldn't be honest with your customers if we held a freaking gun to your head. Which, come to think of it, would be a pretty darned good start. But failing that, I'd settle for all these ignorant, easily-manipulated jackasses to stuff their "our," "we," and "us" language where the sun don't shine.

And I apologize, Oil Gas and Coal industries, for mentioning the fact that the sun shines. I know you couldn't give a damn, and won't until you figure out how to put a meter on the thing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

33 seconds of absolutely nothing, courtesy of Subaru

Apparently this commercial debuted during the Super Bowl. I'm not surprised- for all the incredibly stupid hype, the annual exercise in excess has been a dumping ground for the most god-awful junk advertisers can throw at us for quite some time now.

I suppose that there is a population of knuckle-dragging, easily manipulated mouth-breathers out there who thought that the sight of dogs driving Subarus, sunning themselves on the beach, jumping into Subarus, and driving Subarus again was OMIGOD THE MOST FUNNIEST THING EVER EPIC LOL. Personally, the only thing I saw that was even remotely amusing was the "Do Not Attempt" disclaimer. Maybe my screen was too small and it read "do not attempt, dogs can't really drive cars." I don't know, and frankly, I don't care- except to say that if Subaru DID feel it necessary to warn the sawdust-for-brains bottom-feeders who laughed at this little nub of an ad, I honesty can't say I can blame them. Wouldn't shock me at all to hear of an epidemic of car crashes caused when glue-sniffing "grown-ups" tried to make their own YouTube videos featuring Rex and Paddles driving the family automobile. In fact, I'll be shocked if I DON'T hear any such stories.

As for me, every time I see dogs manipulated into acting like people for the benefit of some massive, soulless corporation, all I can think is two things: First, at least one actor who really needs a paycheck didn't get one. Second, the animals used in this ad has no idea that they are being exploited so that some fat, money-worshiping jackass can line his pocket. Neither thought gives me any pleasure. Nor does the ever-present sense that a lot of people found this all really adorable and awesome- a lot of children in adult bodies, that is.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I miss "Tastes Like Love," myself

Well, I guess if McDonalds can show us blonde white girls working as cashiers, and Red Lobster can show us beautiful young women gushing about what a joy it is to tell people about Tonight's Special, and CashStop can pretend that twentysomething white men wearing suit jackets and ties make up the bulk of their customer base, I guess we can get used to the site of yuppie-types working in the fields.

Of course, it only works if the fantasy of young white people doing agricultural labor is combined with the fantasy that what they are harvesting is-- Ginger Ale. Because you simply are not going to find handsome white people working their butts off to bring in any actual crop. Not in any country which does not also feature Unicorn shops on every other corner. Bubbly soda? Much more believable.*

Coming next: DINK archetypes "harvest" their local Fresh Fields shop for brie, organic coffee, and that wonderful bottled water that they had in Aspen last Christmas which makes Avian taste like it comes out of a rusty tap. On their way out, they congratulate each other for being fortunate enough to avoid the crowds at Trader Joe's or (shudder) Giant Food.

On a not-really-related topic: thanks anyway, Canada, for offering us the opportunity to build a 1500-mile pipeline over OUR aquifer from North Dakota to Houston to be refined (Houston conveniently being a port city, go figure) and sent out to be sold on the world market. I guess you'll be following up on your "threat" to build the pipeline across your own country's most productive farmland to Vancouver- where it will be sent out and sold in the world market. I guess that's what you'll do- but I'm not putting any money on it. Not with an election on the horizon and President Never Met a Progressive Principle He Wasn't Willing to Throw under the Bus in the White House already. You are much more likely to just wait out our momentary lapse into common sense. Good plan- it never lasts very long.

*Also believable, as well as 100 percent predictable: the parade of "What is that song I want that song I need that song SONG PLEASE" losers flooding the YouTube comments section under this commercial. What the hell IS it with you people? You all have MP3 players with 99% more capacity than you need, and you're desperately trying to justify the expense, or what?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This got played so much more than 42 seconds ago

It's not a particularly old ad campaign, but it's already got me beating my head against my desk.

This is the third version of the same crap I've seen in the past month couple of months- several zombies siting around staring at their freaking phones, muttering about how amazingly fast their download times are. Implied, but certainly not shown, is the idea that this makes the lives of the people who own these phones somehow worth living.

I don't see it. All I get out of these commercials is that information comes in so quickly, it allows you to move on to the next exceptionally unimportant information, and the next, and the next, without ever having to look up. In this particular episode, we see two slouching office "workers" who apparently landed jobs which PAY them to stare at their phones. Naturally they can't be bothered to look up while they bleat in a monotone about how they are so on top of things they clearly don't give a damn about because they got the information being presented several seconds before the person doing the presenting. The one guy who actually uses his mouth to pass on information (what a Luddite!) is properly slapped down by these two slacker morons, whose cell phone addiction would be funny if it wasn't so damned sad.

Can someone explain to me two things? First, who would hire these buckets of chum to do ANYTHING? They are sitting in an office. Office implies Work. Are they actually doing work? Hell no. They are gazing at their phones. Other than the fact that they are wearing ties and uncomfortable shoes, how is this any different from what these wastes of skin do at home? Oh right, they are getting paid.

Second, what is it about this commercial that would make anyone want to buy one of these phones? Do we REALLY all aspire to be immobile turnips with eyes, fingers and an electronic box which makes up the center of our universe? Who would want to be like any of the people in any of these stupid ads???

I'm not inspired to see 4G (whatever the hell that is) as some social good because of these commercials. The only thing I'm inspired to do is to is hit the mute button and post another blog telling people how much I loathe this crap. Was that really your goal, AT&T?

Friday, March 2, 2012

And while we're at it, same goes for Chris Berman

I get that if I want to watch the NFL on FOX, I have to put up with this Obvious Victim of Too Many Hits every once in a while. I do try to limit my exposure to Mr. Evidence that Helmets Were Not Very Effective Protection Devices Back in the 1970s by skipping the pregame show and turning the television on at 1:06 on Sunday afternoons. But I've learned to accept that if I'm going to watch football, I'm going to be treated to the occasional outburst of squeaky, giggly, I've Lost So Many Brain Cells That Everything Tickles My Funny Bone rants from this stupid, blithering, generally Clueless About Everything Except the Fact That He's Making a Jackass Out of Himself dunce.

But when the Superbowl is over, I want this guy off the airwaves at LEAST until preseason games in August. I mean, this clown is basically unwatchable when you know there's some kind of payoff following his witless blather. When it's just another commercial for plastic food aimed at wealthy people who don't get that whole grains, fruits, vegetables and exercise are all you need to maintain a healthy body weight? PASS!

Hey, Terry- playtime is August to February, ok? Nobody gives a flying damn about you or your life when you aren't discussing the upcoming football game. (Why anyone would be interested in you or your life while you ARE discussing the upcoming football game, I can't explain. Then again, I can't remember the last time I heard you talking about anything remotely connected to football. But maybe that's because I don't understand Bradshawese- or have just trained myself to tune out your "funny" ravings.) I don't care how you used to be a fat moron and now, after only a few months of living off of processed food product delivered right to your door, you are now a somewhat less fat moron. Then again, I don't care that you were an All Star Quarterback several decades ago. All I know is what you are now- a foaming-at-the-mouth attention junkie who enjoys yukking it up with your fellow millionaire grinning marionettes in a studio for 25 minutes before each game. Talking about almost anything except football.

So please, stay off my television until around Labor Day, ok? Hey, it will give you more time with your mirror. And to contemplate a well-deserved retirement. Just a thought.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How could the History Channel pass on this one?

Back in the 1960s, there was a stupid but inoffensive little nub of a television program called The Beverly Hillbillies. As near as I can remember, it took every stereotype suburban America had of rural folk and managed to beat each and every one to death over nine seasons- first in black and white, then in glorious color.

As if this weren't enough, The Beverly Hillbillies spawned a series of spin-offs. Green Acres. Petticoat Junction. Along with Mayberry RFD and Hee Haw, they all combined to make prime time television a sea of barnyard animals, fake "countrified" accents and possum gravy jokes.

It all came to an end with the "Rural Purge" of 1971, in which the Powers that Be decided that almost a decade was enough for mocking anyone not living in New York City or a Levittown clone and cancelled every show featuring a person wearing a checkered red shirt or jeans held up by a piece of clothesline. It might have been the last thing they did right, not that they deserve any level of praise- after all, the same geniuses went on to bigger and better things like Three's Company, Bosom Buddies and The Ropers. Maybe they should have stayed on the farm.

All this being said, today we have shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Ice Road Truckers, and Axe Men- none of which have an ounce of entertainment value, all of which are featured on what is laughingly referred to as the "History Channel." Which makes me wonder- why isn't this show where it belongs, tucked in neatly between Swamp People and Mudcats?

Was Tom Arnold too pricey?