Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is there a

The parents of this girl should count their blessings.  They handed her a credit card which was apparently in her name only, so when she went on a massive spending binge, they didn't have a clue.  No warning calls from the credit card company, no "suspicious activity" alerts.  Clearly they didn't bother to have the "now this is just for emergencies, we are putting a lot of trust in you because you are an adult now" speech.  And apparently Daughter got the only bill.  Otherwise, I don't get why the people who provided this girl with a credit card would have to go to FreeCreditReport.Com in order to find out what was happening with that card.  Seems to me they could have just called the bank anytime to check the balance. 

Anyway, it seems that the parents were almost astoundingly naive about their Little Girl, not to mention foolishly careless with their own credit, and the only price they'll have to pay is in the form of money.

So why should they count their blessings?  Well, check out this girl- she's actually quite cute.  So she's willing to throw money around, wear skimpy outfits, and have wild parties in her dorm room.  Mom and dad?  Breathe a sigh of relief that all she's handed you is debt, and not the news that she'll be dropping out at the end of the semester to deliver up your first grandchild.  Or that she's in her first series of shots to control her STD.   Because even without the free spending, I can see this girl being very popular on campus.

Having dodged that bullet, I'd take a moment to issue a quiet prayer.  Then I'd haul this Not Ready To Be On Her Own party girl back home and tell her she'll be commuting to the local college if she wants to continue her adventures in Higher Education.  If not, she can get a job and start paying Mom and Dad back for her month of excess.  Because relief only lasts so long, and this girl clearly has a lot of growing up left to do.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

And it really conceals that freshly-dug grave, too!

Garden in a Box?

It's official.  The world is coming to an end.  And in my humble opinion, not a moment too soon.

No doubt from the people who brought you microwaveable pizza rolls, the Buttoneer and that thing that scrambles the egg while it's still inside it's shell.  Or maybe the guys who have sold us millions of Chia pets over the years.  In fact, isn't this Roll and Grow thing just a Chia Pet for your lawn?

"Don't have any actual interest in being outside and getting dirty engaging in a healthy hobby on the weekends?  Don't see the value of pride in a job well done?  Don't have Clue One what kind of plants you might like to use to express your own personality, making your house stand out in the neighborhood?  Only really interested in showing well for your neighbors?* Well, introducing Roll and Grow!!

"Now you can say 'FU' to all that thinking, planning, and accomplishing something BS- it was always overrated anyway.  Just roll this mother out on your lawn, water it liberally, and watch the damn thing grow without any further input on your part (apparently the lady shown here watering her seed-embedded green carpet ordered the deluxe version, because the damned thing explodes into growth AS SHE'S WATERING IT OMGOD IT MUST BE SOME KIND OF MUTATION!!)"

Oh, and because it's "like cloth" ("like" in this case meaning the same as "is") you can cut it to fit around corners, etc.  Well, that's kind of a pain- when are they going to come out with a version pre-fitted to my lawn?  Tomorrow? Awesome.

I didn't watch this whole commercial, but I think it's safe to assume that there all kinds of nifty extras you can add to your order if you call RIGHT NOW- extras that are ABSOLUTELY FREE (just pay exorbitant Shipping and Handling fees.)  So someone tell me- what are they?  An extra ten yards of Not Garden?  Maybe one of those hanging banana trees?  Actual Chia Pets?

I've actually read a few reviews of this and similar products- apparently the plant growth is spotty, leaving ugly blank spots around the almost-as-ugly Flowers You Didn't Bother To Plant, You Lazy Twat.  Seems like a reasonable payoff- do something half-assed, get a half-assed result.  What's the problem?

Here's the problem- I've got a Mom and Dad who are in their early-eighties who spend an average of six hours a day doing yard work around their country home.  And I don't mean spreading out a carpet of seeds and watering it.  I mean real work- planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing (using home-made compost, yet.)  And not just flowers- they have a huge vegetable garden which requires the placement and maintenance of bean poles and a chicken-wire fence to keep out the hungry critters, more weeding, more watering, etc.  I won't even mention the work involved in bringing in the harvest as it ripens.  All I do is mow their lawns (I'm sure there's a robo-mower out there for me.  I don't want it) and THAT'S a chore.

The end result is that they have beautifully landscaped lawns with gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens, and at the end of the day they can stroll around it with pride (if they aren't too exhausted) because THEY DID IT THEMSELVES.

Roll out a carpet, water it, and get someone else's idea of what a flower garden looks like?  Then what?  Go inside, whip yourself up a batch of instant potatoes and a frozen pizza for the kids while you fight over the DirectTV remote?  Hey, maybe you can get someone to do two of those things for you.  Life is sooooo hard, after all.

*Strongly Recommended:  Install your Roll and Grow system at night.  Not because it's healthier for the seeds, but seriously- do you really want your neighbors to see you doing this?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Talking Bag of Rocks, brought to us by AT&T

I'm consistently amazed at AT&T's ability to find the most unlikeable people to "star" in their commercials for Talk and Data Plans Which Let You Blather On and On and On Forever About Nothing.  Then again, what could possibly be likeable about anyone who would take advantage of an "offer" like this?

This woman has landed a bit part in a bit movie- "customer number four" or something like that- so she's decided to drive everyone around her insane by yapping away about it to anyone who will listen and, probably, to a great many people who won't.  So she's polluting the air as she walks down the street with her "check out how awesome I am" cluelessness.  She's driven away the other gym patrons with her utter asshattery.  She's at the laundromat, letting everyone within earshot of her horrible, grating voice know that she's a swollen-headed blabbermouth who has no idea how idiotic she looks.  She fails to give us what we want and just drop the damned phone into the bathtub and destroy it (wouldn't that be bliss?)  And then she's in bed, indulging in her "I'm a real actress so I get to be all pretentious about this are you still there?" nonsense.   And we get to witness it all. 

Thanks, AT&T, for hiring pretty much every mentally disturbed motor mouth in the world to appear in your awful ads.  They don't make us want to buy your product, but they do provide us with the comfort of knowing they are all in the same place, at least- and that place is far away from where I am.  Just one thing- you haven't found them all yet.  There are plenty of subjects to appear in future commercials, right down the street from me, on the subway, in the stores, etc.  Shall I give them your number- that is, if I can get them to put down their phones long enough to pay attention?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pos T Vac made me go there. I'm sorry.

I didn't want to write this post.  But then again, when was the last time I got what I wanted?

I never wanted to see two such loathsome people on my television screen, but there they are- a disgusting fifty-something old man perfectly willing to blather innuendo concerning his sad inability to "perform" (look, I didn't create this commercial, I'm just commenting on it) and his thirty-something wife who apparently decided that the sports car, the suburban palace and the boatload of money was a decent payoff in exchange for providing sexual favors to a guy old enough to be her dad.   Yep, there they are- chirping on and on without the slightest hint of irony or shame about how delighted they are at...

....finding a device that....

I'm sorry.  I'm not being paid enough to go on (I'm not being paid for this at all, in fact.)  I don't care about these people.  I don't care about their sex life- in fact, at this moment, I don't care about anyone's sex life.  The very thought of sex makes me angry, because it's existence is at least partially responsible for the fact that THESE PEOPLE engage in it.

Using a device that....

Again, I'm sorry- I just can't continue.  Roughly fifteen seconds in, I had to stop watching this thing.  Which means I never got to learn exactly what a "Pos T Vac" is.  Which is just fine with me- it's bad enough that I ever got to hear that term.  It's bad enough that it forces me to try to imagine what on earth a "Vacuum system" looks like or why it makes this woman so happy or how this old guy uses it

Oh God, why did you inflict me with the power of sight and hearing?  Because right now, those things are just curses.  If I had been born blind and deaf, I would never have had to learn that there's such a thing as a Pos T Vac and a "Vacuum system," and I would never have had the image of these two disgusting freaks waxing up their Chevy  (the sexual imagery...again, I'm sorry...) while they congratulate "the younger generation" (considering that these people are obviously from different generations, I wonder who they are talking about) for being able to "perform" without using.....a "vacuum system".....

Ok,, I'm done.  And again, I'm very sorry I felt I had to include this post.  Please don't hold it against me.  I feel bad enough already.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

USA Tax Shield is really pulling at the heart strings with this one

Words cannot express my relief at learning that Sandra, Victor and their 2.5 children* were able to use USA Tax Shield to reduce their tax liability to a "reasonable" amount.  I mean, who wouldn't feel for these poor, put-upon citizens?

First of all, look how lovely and white they are.  Check out the suburban palace, with the manicured lawn, 500-year old oak trees and winding walkway, leading to their massive black SUV.  Surely we couldn't find a couple more deserving of tax relief in all the world!

Second, whatever got Sandra and Victor into tax difficulties, I'm sure it wasn't their fault.  I'm sure they MEANT to pay their taxes on time and in full, but gosh darn it, need I remind you that McMansions, gardeners and SUVs don't grow on trees?  Plus those Aspen holidays- they aren't free either, you know.

Yes, I'm sure we can all relate to Sandra and Victor.  All they were trying to do was live way beyond their means, in a house too large for their budgets, driving a car which screamed "LOOK HOW RICH WE ARE" as they drove through their perfect little white picket-fence world, when the mean old Government came hounding them with wage garnishments and levies (someday, I hope to be as patriotic and successful as Sandra and Victor.  Right now, I'm so far beneath them, I'm not even sure what "wage garnishments" and "levies" even mean.  I thought garnish was something you find on a salad, and levies were those things that don't protect poor people from drowning if they are built by the Army Corps of Engineers.)

I wish that this commercial had ended with an 800 number which we could use to call in and contribute to Sandra and Victor.  They need our help.  I can't bear the thought of Sandra having to fire her Guatemalan cleaning lady, or Victor having to skip his regular tee time with the boys on Sundays, just because that mean old government wants another example of The Most Productive to pay their taxes.  Damn that Obama and his Socialist Minions, wrecking the lives of honest, hard-working people like Sandra and Victor!  Oh the humanity!!

Oh, but I forgot- thanks to USA Tax Shield, Sandra and Victor don't need our help.  They got to wiggle out of their tax obligations for pennies on the dollar and "maintain their lifestyle" (man, I wanted to kill someone when I heard that line.)  It's a Happy Ending fit for a fairy tale- that is, if fairy tales generally ended with wealthy people coasting while the middle class and poor got handed the bill.  And with me throwing large, heavy objects at my tv.

*I know we only see one little girl, grinning like an idiot because she's blissfully unaware that Mom and Dad are clueless, characterless tax cheats who will no doubt take this lesson and use it to run up massive credit card debt in service of "maintaining their lifestyle."  But we all know she's got a brother named Bobby or Hunter or Cody, and that there's a little bundle of something along the way.  These people breed like rabbits.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Calling Dave Ramsey!!

I think I know what everyone's favorite Prosperity Gospel Advocate would say to this guy's problem.

Mr. Free Credit Report thought that he was marrying his dream girl, but didn't realize that he was also marrying her massive credit card debt.  So instead of setting up in a nice little suburban castle, he's living in her mom and dad's basement.  While they dig their way out from under her little "Sorry I Forgot To Mention This During Those Two Years We Were Dating Hon" secret.

He's taking this really, really well, taking comfort in his guitar and his ability to make up a song about the Thoughtless, Deceitful Jerk Who Conned Him Into Marriage as she does laundry.   Well, that's kind of sweet, actually- he's not letting a little thing like LYING get in the way of marital bliss.  On the other hand, I get a rather negative vibe from the bride, as if it's the guy's fault that she ran up all these bills and didn't tell him about it. (Wouldn't surprise me at all, really.  Isn't it always the guy's fault?)

All of this could have been avoided if only he had done the sensible thing and called and asked for the scoop on his Intended.  Except- is that the way it works?  Can a fiancee actually call and ask for privileged information?  How does one go about proving that one is about to become legally attached to another person, and therefore ought to get access to sensitive financial data like this?  I seriously doubt that the credit report companies would give this guy the time of day before the actual legal ceremony, and maybe not even then, either.

I feel kind of bad for saying this too, but-- hey buddy, unless this girl is pregnant, it seems to me that you've got grounds for an annulment, no problem.  This isn't the 18th century, after all.  Take it from me, "For Better or For Worse" doesn't mean what it used to, and "'Till Death Do Us Part" is just a cutesy phrase they still use on Soap Opera Weddings (they mean a lot in that context too, don't they?)   This woman LIED to you in order to get your name on her debt.  You think that's the only problem she has, and everything will be fine once you've spent two years delivering pizzas on the weekends in addition to your full-time job in order to pay down that debt?  If that's the case, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.  My guess is that the moment the books are squared, she'll show you the door, sucker.

No, I'm not going to recommend Financial Peace University to my friend with the guitar.  After all, he's not the one with the money issues, unless he wants to be.  I think he'd be a lot better off just getting in touch with an attorney.  Because hey, stupid- if your dream girl would lie about something like credit card debt, she's probably hiding a lot of other crap, too.  Get out before she starts popping offspring!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Bad News: These just make you a slightly taller version of yourself

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I instantly froze and sat riveted to the screen when I saw the words "PAY ATTENTION" flashing repeatedly on the screen.  Especially with that red background.

Which meant that for the next 90 seconds or so, I got a lecture on why my life is destined to suck unless I can add a few inches to my height.  The guys at work won't respect me- they won't even notice I'm there.  Maybe they'll step on me, or slam the door in my face.  Maybe they'll think I'm a bug and take a swipe at me with a rolled up newspaper.  I'm sure not going to get That Raise- they'll be giving that to Slightly Taller Than Me Bob.  And now I'll know why.

That hot girl on the golf course (that's what it looks like to me, anyway) won't even give me the time of day.  And it won't be because she's not really standing right next to me, it's just a split screen.  It will be because even though I'm by far the best looking guy she's ever seen (funny, and a good listener, too) I'm not in her direct line of sight, being an inch or two shorter than she is.  Too bad for her- if only she had learned to look slightly down, we might have been the perfect couple.  Wasn't meant to be, I guess.  Her loss.

Thankfully, there are these leftover plastic retainers from the 1970s which are being sold as "MaxTall height enhancers," or something.  you just stick these things into the heel of any shoe which has a lot of extra room in the heel, and it Miraculously (there's that word again) makes you up to two feet taller.  Because they are invisible, no one will ever notice.  (They'll just think you strayed too close to an A-bomb test site, I guess.)

And of course, you'll be able to keep up the deceit because you can buy a set of these things for each and every pair of shoes you own.  Stay off the beach, and don't visit the houses of any of your Japanese friends, and your secret is safe.

But wait- what happens if that hot girl who suddenly finds you so attractive because she can make eye contact without looking down (is this a real problem somewhere?) allows you to take her back to your place for a roll in the sack (hey, it happens! No, really!)  Isn't this like the moment you finally have to take off the toupee (no, I don't have one?)  Or do you just keep your shoes on 24/7?

Actually, this seems to be the plan- we are told near the end of this ad that the MaxTall rubber thingees "mold to your heel, so your feet always stay in your shoes."  Yikes.  Maybe height won't be a problem anymore, but the stink from your feet will drive away fellow employees and hot girls alike, I'd think.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Feel free to take the leap without me, Honda

Here's another "this car will bring all your dreams within reach" commercial.  You know what I'm talking about- the kind of ad which tries to convince you that your humdrum, routine life will suddenly be transformed into a rollicking, fun-filled adventure the moment you purchase this or that automobile.   You can find the concept right next to "This Beer will turn any situation into an instant party" or "this deodorant attracts beautiful women" in the Advertiser's Bible.

In this Honda ad, we are told that we really ought to do certain things before taking the "Leap of Life."  First of all, what does that even mean?  What "Leap" is Honda talking about?  Why does this sound suspiciously like a "Bucket List" to me?  Considering that the company is trying to sell me an SUV, does the "Leap of Life" mean "getting married and having kids?"  I can certainly see how "dying" and "getting married and having kids" could easily be confused.  I'll have to give Honda this round.

But- those certain things?  Well, they are pretty damned dumb- Join a polar bear club.  Go to something called "Rodeo Clown Camp."  Spend the night in a haunted house.  Swim with sharks.  And not only are they all pretty dumb, they also all have something in common- you don't need a Honda SUV to do them.

And that's the part I really find mystifying in this ad:  Honda wants us to do all those things that Honda thinks would be really cool and edgy and exciting before we take the Leap of Life, but Honda never explains to us why we need one of their overpriced, oversized transports to get them done.  It would have been more honest if they had included in their list Fill up your tank for $120.  Because that's certainly something you'll be doing in your new Honda SUV.  A lot.

Especially if you want to take it along for the ride when you go visit that haunted house or attend Rodeo Clown Camp (seriously.  Rodeo Clown Camp?)  On the other hand, I strongly encourage the people who wrote this weird junk to go swimming with sharks.  I just hope they don't forget to rub themselves liberally with blood and fish guts first.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Laxmi: Because Stupidity is Universal

It took more than three years, but I've finally stumbled across a foreign commercial I simply cannot resist snarking on.  Chances are, I'll never actually see this one on television here in the states.  Bet you we see something very similar though, because the attitude is very, very American.

So here is a twentysomething man who finds himself roped in to buying a typical lunch- seaweed, rice, octopus, drinks included- for a gaggle of hot looking women who find his wallet and unwillingness to say "excuse me, who the hell are you" or "and I'm supposed to pick up the bill....why, exactly?" absolutely irresistible.   As he watches the damage mount, he realizes that it's very likely to overwhelm his credit limit.

So what does he do?  Well, he does what anyone with any common sense would do.  No, not announce that hey, he's not made of freaking money so it's every partier for herself.  No, not excuse himself to hit the restroom and slip out the back.  He calls Daddy and asks for an increase in his--allowance?

And in a response that I'm sure is very familiar to an American audience, Daddy just shakes his head- and approves the transfer of funds to cover his asshat son's inability to Say No.   Seriously, Daddy- you raised this spendthrift jerk, no one wants to hear you bitch about him now, in ANY language, ok?

Son hangs up the phone, lesson learned- the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  If Son is a pushover, Daddy's a bigger one.  At least Son gets the company of some pretty hot girls.  What does Daddy get?

Oh yeah, a bigger bill from Laxmi.  Which I'm guessing is Thai for "Visa."  Or maybe "CashStop."  I don't know.  It's been a long, hard week.  This commercial didn't help.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You almost don't even notice the Kia. Which, I'm guessing, is the idea

Quick tip to those of you who might be interested in buying a car in the near future: When a company needs to combine a video game, rapping hamsters and a truly awful Jump for the Remote theme "song," it tells you everything you need to know about the respect it has for the product they are trying to sell you.

Here's a synopsis of the response by YouTube chuckle-heads who really enjoyed this ad:

"Hahaha awesome, this looks just like that cool game I saw at Jeff's house....hahaha check out the hamsters....awesome song what is that song where can I get that song...oh man it's over, I hope they show that commercial again like right now...

"The only thing I didn't like about this commercial was that ugly green car they were driving, it would have been better if those hamsters had shown up in something better. Man, that was one nasty looking crap music and graphics though..I hope they make more of these commercials, maybe with the hamsters on motorcycles or something..."

"Where can I get this game? Are those hamsters on sale somewhere? Cool song I want that song where is that song?"

Seriously, Kia.  What ARE you thinking with this series?  Could it be "we have nothing worth selling here, so let's at least have a good time making this ad"" and "well, only people with the sense and intelligence of eight year old boys could possibly want to buy one of these things, so we might as well make commercials that appeal to them?"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tell you what- you shut up about your stupid electronics, I won't punch you in the face. Deal?

Ugh, you know it's bad enough that you are going all gushy over a stupid, mind-numbing piece of technology that does nothing but encourage you to sit as your body fat gradually takes over the rest of your body (the space between your ears being 90 percent fat already.)  It's bad enough that you've found another "this will allow me to avoid eye contact with the other humanoid life forms I am cursed to share the world with" mobile flat screen.  It's bad enough that you still haven't gotten over your fascination with being able to rub your finger around a screen and make images move around and change (seriously, when is that going to stop being the Most Amazing Thing Ever?)  But is it really necessary for you to pretend that this is something that we haven't already seen from other companies, or to act as if this is the ultimate, and won't be a giggle-inducing antique roughly 90 days from now?

And instead of wearing a shirt which reads SONY, why don't you read one that says "I'm a hopeless, friendless techno-geek, please feel free to beat me up, it's the only physical contact I ever have with actual, carbon-based life forms?"

And since this is your new Best Friend, how are you going to break the news to your iPhone?  Are you going to use the same speech you gave to the Blackberry last year?  Go easy, ok?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Who thought Flooring could be so gosh-darned adorable?

Awww, don't you want to just hug these adorable people?  Aren't they the cutest couple EVER?

And not Katniss and Peeta cute.  Not even Belle and Edward cute.  I mean CUTE.

Check out the way this guy talks about flooring- it's not that it has to be affordable.  It has to be "like FREE Affordable!"  Man, that's really affordable.  And really cute.

And then the guy sings some song about being free.  I don't know what that means.  I just know that it's so cute, I want to die.  That cute.

And then the cuteness envelope is pushed to the limit when the girl starts throwing food at the guy.  I'd say that this is clearly one of those "moments" that guys are supposed to take pills to be ready for, except that it's not possible to imagine these people actually having sex.  Way too cute for icky stuff like that.

I sure hope we see this couple in a whole series of commercials for stuff like flooring or whatever.  Because no way this was enough for me.  Maybe they can go to McDonald's next and toss quips concerning the dollar menu back and forth.  No wait, I know- they can update their Facebook profiles while sharing an entree at Applebee's!  The possibilities are endless!

Still better than listening to Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo

Well, this is depressing.  If you are a fan of the New England Sports Network, and a fan of gadgets that allow you to rub your finger constantly across a screen in order to bring up "information" or to post insightful comments like "this guy rox," here's the perfect combination for you and your sad, technology-addled little life.

Oh, and now you can group your friends in new and-- umm, "interesting" ways.  Check out the "Cool Kids" circle.  And the "my fave teams" circle.  I want to see the "just friends to keep my number up" circle and "never actually met but again, there's that numbers thing" circle.

And while you are scrolling and grouping and commenting, life is flashing by- only you don't see that happening, because you are too busy scrolling and grouping and commenting.  I imagine the people who own this gadget and subscribe to this service probably do take breaks to eat, sleep, and actually watch the sporting events they can't get enough "information" on from time to time, but I'm not absolutely sure- I was at a friend's house during a football game once, and every other person there spent three hours staring at their laptops, giving me (totally unsolicited) play-by-play updates on their fantasy teams.  I hope the noise of the game on the television didn't distract them too much.

Starting in late June, I'll be catching the Red Sox on NESN pretty much every day as they stumble to a likely third-place finish in the AL East, not even good enough to make the playoffs despite Bud Selig's latest tinkering with the sacred game for the purpose of assuring that every postseason includes both the Red Sox and the Yankees.  (Maybe Selig will wait until the last day of the season to announce that the rules have been changed- this year, all teams with the word "Sox" in their names which also play in 100-year old stadiums get to make the playoffs.  Hey, it wouldn't be any more blatant or manipulative than the end of "The Hunger Games.")  But even less than a likely poor season by my beloved Sox, I'm really not looking forward to NESN's nonstop barrage of stupid "check us out here, and here, and here" commercials.  Is it still ok if I just want to watch the game, then go do something else which doesn't require a flat, glowing screen?

Friday, April 13, 2012

I don't think "Well Done" really fits here, Totinos

I mean, first of all, this mom has raised at least one incredibly helpless kid.  Lacking a "find the frozen poison" App, the kid needs his mom's turn by turn directions to locate the box of precooked junk in a freezer containing exactly six items.  Hey mom, maybe Home Schooling wasn't the best option for your offspring....just saying, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree....

You really think it's safe for this boy to use the toaster oven without adult supervision?

Second, she doesn't tell her kid where the fresh fruits and vegetables are.  Or the whole grain bread and peanut butter.  Or the popcorn, the yogurt, or any number of other healthy choices she might have suggested.  Nope, she points them right to something called Totinos Pizza Rolls, which we can all assume contains a full week's supply of all the major food groups- fat, salt, artificial colors and flavors, the works.

Finally, she had better hope that the kid she once referred to as her Little Miracle (when he wasn't just "The Bundle") doesn't have any more tough questions, like "we can't find the bathroom" or "hey there's nothing on tv" or "there are these weird, hot orange things coming out of the stove, what's that all about?"  Because Boy Genius has just left his phone in the freezer.

Yeah, you got a real winner there, Mom.  Guess I can't blame you for feeding him fatty garbage.  The first step to starting over, after all, is letting go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good question, Honda. What IS this?

This is me wondering why I'm answering a little kid's questions about a car, when it's his parents who are going to decide whether they are going to buy it or not.

This is me wondering why I'm spending all this time babysitting this obnoxious little brat, while the parents don't seem at all interested in the car until the kid goes off to the restroom.

(This is me hoping that the kid never comes back from the restroom.)

This is me wondering why I don't hear either of the parents even once ask this kid to behave like something a little better than a hideously over-indulged little jackass.  Or even acknowledge that the prick is being an incredibly rude jerk who desperately needs a lesson in manners.

This is me fantasizing about cracking the skulls of this kid's parents together and shouting "What the Hell is the Matter With You, do you Really Not Notice your kid is being a Total Ass???"

This is me finally resigning myself to the realization that this kid's parents think that their wretched spawn is Oh So Adorable they Need to Share Him With the World.  Or they simply can't find a babysitter willing to take him on, at any price.  Or they are in constant terror of being wished into the cornfield.

This is me happily saying goodbye to this miserable excuse for a family, determining to change jobs before the first routine maintenance check comes due, and reminding myself to stop by church on the way home to Thank God I've never produced one of these Little Miracles.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I think CIROC is Latin for "Overweening Pretentiousness"

I don't know about you, but after a long, hard day of work for not very much money, there's nothing I like better than to see a commercial featuring rich, beautiful people jetting off to Vegas and guzzling "ultra premium" vodka.

As near as I can tell, this fabulously entertaining little ad is all about how millionaire playboys without a care in the world enjoy taking private planes to Vegas and then strutting around in $2000 suits as the congratulate each other on their God-given awesomeness. Naturally they are joined by equally glamorous, equally beautiful leggy women who share their fondness for The Good Life, which involves mugging for the camera and flashing million-dollar smiles for the benefit of us Little People, who are just happy to have the opportunity to bask in their reflected light.

And it all comes down to the Vodka. It's not JUST Vodka, and it's not even just premium vodka. That crap is for us peasants. This is ULTRA PREMIUM Vodka. If you didn't know that there was any such thing, well, you weren't supposed to. Because you aren't good enough for it, and if you got to Vegas in something other than your own Lear Jet, I'm sure the makers of CIROC would prefer you stick to Smirnoff anyway.

Speaking of which- I can't believe I miss those Smirnoff "I was there" ads of two summers ago. The people in them were no less insufferable than these dressed-to-the-nines rodents, but at least they seemed to be middle class dickwads who might actually have to settle for (gasp) flying coach now and then. Much better than watching the One Percent admiring each other as they toast their Far Far Better Than Us status.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yes, Burger King's Mary J Blige ad is racist. But not for the reason you think

This commercial for Burger King's "chicken" strips is getting a lot of attention these days.  Apparently, a whole lot of people out there think that it's racist because it depicts a multi-millionaire who happens to be black singing the praises of fried chicken. 

I think this ad is racist, not because Ms. Blige is singing about fried chicken, but for two different reasons altogether.  First, she is cued to sing by a fat, balding, pasty white manager in response to a question put by another doofus white guy- "what's in these new chicken wraps?"  So we may presume that Ms. Blige is absolutely immobile until a white guy wants some information, and another white guy snaps his fingers and sets her into motion.   Hey, bet you thought that career of yours had put you beyond having to play Stepin Fetchit to white males, didn't you, Ms. Blige?  Sorry to inform you, it just isn't so.

Second, Ms. Blige's job here is to sell the fatty junk as something the white customer would really, really like to eat.  In other words, her job is to lie.  Burger King figures black people are really good at lying, so why not, right?  Just throw them a few quarters, and they'll jump, sing, dance, and bleat whatever BS you want them to.  Even if they are already wealthy, like I presume Ms Blige is.  It's in their blood, right, Burger King?

Actually, neither of these examples really explains why I think that this ad is racist.  I think that this commercial is a vicious, outdated attack on an entire race of people, just like a whole lot of you out there do.  However, I don't think it's black people who are being targeted here.  I think this ad is intensely racist against white people.  I mean, check out that ridiculous head-bobbing thing that the manager does during Ms. Blige's performance.  White People do not act like that in real life!  White people are perfectly capable of keeping in rhythm, and moving to music as smoothly as black people, thank you very much!

As a White Person ( I think citizens of Italian/Greek heritage have been considered "white" in this country since the 1920s or so) I deeply resent this ad, and call for Burger King to do the honorable thing and issue an apology.  And allow embedding for the even more obnoxious Jay Leno Drives Into a Burger King in one of his Many Sports Cars ad, which is not only offensive to all races, but to a large number of house cats, plants and rocks, as well.

Well, it is a week to celebrate Miracles, right?

I bet you never thought you'd see the words "Miracle" and "Socks" brought together like this in an advertisement, did you? After all, there aren't that many products out there more mundane than socks.

Until now. Introducing Miracle Socks, the most recent Late Night Bet You Didn't Even Realize You Needed This product, most likely from the same people who brought you Miracle Sunglasses, Miracle Non-Stick Diamond cookware and the rest of the Miracle Garbage cataloge.

Miracle Socks end the many hassles that come with regular, everyday non-miracle socks. Like slipping, and holes in the toes. And the cutting off of the blood supply we all get from normal socks, which cause massive swelling, hemorrhaging and the all too typical leg ruptures, which in turn lead to very expensive surgery, amputation and even death.

How much would you pay to avoid all of this? Well, similar socks have been advertised on Make Believe Websites for upwards of $70 (probably the same phony sites which offer $300 sunglasses and $1000 nonstick pans.) Because you were lucky enough to be watching this particular station, you've stumbled right into an Available For The Next Six Years Only offer. Even better, you can get double the offer for "free"- except that of course the outlandishly expensive Shipping and Handling charges make any extras a very, very costly trap. But hey, how can you put a price on a Miracle?

And best of all- these socks are discreet. I don't know what that means. People can't tell you are wearing socks? Is this something you want to keep secret? Or is it that if someone asks these socks about you, they ain't talking? What?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Big Brother Is Watching You, and her name is Flo

As it turned out, we didn't need a nuclear holocaust or a 40-year war to enter the world of George Orwell's 1984. Just a promise of lower car insurance rates.

We've become such pathetic, Eager to Get Along by Going Along, Privacy is So Yesterday sheep that we have absolutely no problem accepting Progressive's "convenient" little Now You Don't Have To Tell Us If You Are A Good Driver Because We'll Already Know device, which you just clip to the interior of your car. And then forget about it, please- don't worry, Progressive will take it from here.

What does this thing do? Monitor your speed? Count how many times you apply your brakes, and how aggressively? Keep track of your midnight journeys to 7-11 or keep tabs on how many taverns you visit, and how often? Use wireless technology to tell Progressive when you've made "potentially hazardous" long-distance trips on holiday weekends? Because this is all information that you'd like your insurance company to have, right?

How secure is this information? If Progressive finds out that you hit McDonalds four times a week, will the company pass this little nugget on to your health insurance provider? Will you start getting e-coupons from McDonalds?

Coming next- this fun little gadget will include a listening device so it can monitor your level of "distracting" conversations. How about a built-in camera so it can catch you changing radio stations a little more than Progressive thinks is necessary? Apparently all of this is just fine, as long as it saves us a few bucks a year and it's served up to us with a smile by everyone's favorite pasty-white, red-lipped, smiling insurance hustler.

I'll say "pass" on this awesome new "service"- while I can. Because you just know this is going to be SOP for every insurance company in about fifteen more minutes. And we'll be fine with it- hey, if both Flo and that adorable little lizard think it's cool, who are we to disagree?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dairy Queen's Got Our Number

This is one of the most realistic commercials I've ever seen.

I have absolutely zero doubt that the moment easy, cheap cloning becomes available to the masses, Americans will use this amazing breakthrough in science to invent copies of ourselves, which will in turn allow us to perform multiple pointless, time-sucking and health-injuring "tasks" at the same time.

The average American will have a clone who will do nothing but text and blather commands into his I Phone all day. Another will stare at his television, developing callouses on his thumbs as he jumps from one brain-dead sitcom to the next (when we learn how to clone our televisions, we'll be able to watch everything at the same time, and won't that be wonderful?)

None of our clones will ever do anything productive (after all, they are supposed to be perfect copies of ourselves, right?) They'll spend all their time slacking off at the office, muttering "so forty-two seconds ago" and playing Angry Birds while reminding themselves that it's not the one day of the week that they all shave yet.

Oh, and each and every one of our clones will have the same taste in food. How awesome will it be when one of us decides to go to Dairy Queen and we don't have to give up the Cici's, Golden Corral and KFC experiences? When we no longer have to make that agonizing choice between the Double Down Chicken "sandwich" and the All You Can Eat Endless Pizza Buffet? When we are really in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger, but man that other place has that Chocolate Wonderfall thingee and all meatloaf you can choke on.

And later, Maybe we can all get rooms on the same floor of the same hospital when we all suffer identical heart attacks (after spending years sharing the same prescriptions for medication to manage our diabetes, of course?)

Congratulations to Dairy Queen for cutting through the crap and allowing us to accept ourselves for what we really are- a nation of fat, sweaty loafers looking for the next excuse to avoid doing something worth doing, the next plate of warm garbage to shovel into our faces, and a quiet place to die. Someone had to do it; might as well be the good people at DQ.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

If you're so great, Citi, why didn't you invent Sun Chips or Double-Stuff Oreos? Oh wait, maybe you did...

Wow, this is so embarassing. I'm a high school US history teacher; more than that, I'm an Advanced Placement US History teacher. I've been teaching this subject for seventeen years. I'm even one of the 1200 teachers who travel to Louisville, Kentucky every June to grade the million-plus essays written for the AP Exam. When I was a little kid, I'd grab an old textbook and sit with it under a tree for hours, soaking up as much history as I could. For fun. I can't remember a time when I did not love to read about the past.

And yet, I never picked up how Citibank was always at the center of it all. According to this ad, pretty much everything of any significance that has taken place in this nation since 1812 happened by the grace of Citibank. The Trans-Atlantic cable. The Panama Canal. The Marshall Plan. ATMs. The collapse of the Berlin Wall. All made possible, somehow, through the auspices of a massive, money-grubbing, blood-splattered corporate monster which I suspected all along ruled the world in partnership with Queen Elizabeth, the Masons and the Trilateral Commission but, as it turns out, was doing it all by themselves.

I'm certain that the long version of this commercial reveals that Citibank also brought us Currier and Ives prints, the telephone, roller coasters and transparent cola. Not to mention the Titanic, bobbed hair, hula hoops, lava lamps and two Gulf Wars. And I'm sure Citibank being responsible for the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, and the Area 51 cover-up, were the first clips to hit the cutting room floor.

Thanks for humbling my pride, Citibank. I had no idea how little I really knew about history. No wonder my kids don't do so well on the AP exam. It's too late to undo past damage, but next year I'm going to end each lecture with "...of course, Citibank was primarily responsible for all this..."

The Marshall Plan and ATMs. Seriously amazing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And if you have Direct TV, you get subjected to stupid crap like this

"When you have cable and there's nothing on, you get depressed."

Hopefully, you "get depressed" not because there's nothing on, but because you realize that your happiness depends on being able to sit on your ass watching television.

"When you go to seminars, you feel like a winner."

Sounds like a darned good seminar. But of course, this is Teh Evil to Direct TV, which only wants you to be happy while you are becoming part of your couch, developing callouses on your fingers from lovingly stroking your remote (I mean that thing with buttons that controls the tv- what is with your disgusting mind these days?)

"When you feel like a winner, you go to Vegas..."

Really? People who feel fulfilled and happy go to Vegas and gamble? Never knew this. I thought that those who went to Vegas to gamble were either comfortably well-off people who saw gambling as a form of recreation or entertainment, or sad losers addicted to a lifestyle that was sucking them dry. I never associated gambling with feeling "like a winner." I learn something new every day.

"When you go to Vegas, you lose everything."

Eh, maybe. Most people who go to Vegas certainly do lose, but the vast majority don't lose "everything." I imagine that the Vegas Chamber of Commerce will be having a word with Direct TV in the very near future.

Anyway, this all boils down- again- to reminding us that our lives are certain to spiral out of control if we don't invest in Direct TV. Because all good things come from watching the time-sucking idiot box- obesity, social isolation, dulled imagination, etc.

I have a different take: If you have Direct TV, you waste your life sitting in your dark living room watching crap. If you waste your life sitting in your dark living room watching crap, you don't get outside and get exercise and make friends. If you don't get outside and get exercise and make friends, your life isn't worth preserving, and might as well be wasted watching television.

Waste your life watching television. Get Direct TV.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

AT&T, 4G and Facebook- your recipe for a lot of lonely weekends

Let's cut to the chase right off the bat- the day I sit down with a speed date who instantly begins to compare what I say about myself to what my Facebook status says about myself is the day I get up from the table and walk away. Because why do I want to spend more than five seconds with this freakishly paranoid, judgmental weirdo who doesn't get that the only attractive thing about "speed dating" and "It's Just Lunch" is that they give you a license to blatantly lie your butt off about yourself- if this gets at all serious, we can start amending the mountain of manure you buried your date with in order to make a first good impression at that time. If it doesn't go beyond that first encounter, well, nothing lost, right?

Let me amend that first paragraph. The day I find myself speed dating, I'm just going to go home and cry myself to sleep anyway. And not because I'm afraid that someone I meet speed dating is going to check my Facebook status while I'm trying to introduce myself, because I don't HAVE a Facebook status (someone took care of that- you know who you are...) It's more because...well, jeesh. Speed dating? Really?

Anyway, is this REALLY an advertisement for AT&T's 4g connectivity network whatsamahoee whateveritis? Seems to me like its more of a "stop putting every stupid character flaw on the internet for the world to snark on, idiots, unless of course you WANT to be laughed at on the off chance that you ever actually meet someone you might like to get to know outside of a chat room" public service announcement than a commercial for anything.

And if you insist on putting your profile on line, at LEAST make up crap about yourself that might actually attract pretty, intelligent girls you'd actually enjoy being with. Like having multiple degrees and belonging to National Honors Societies and running for Congress and being a successful High School teacher (assuming that there are people out there who think that the words "successful" and "High School teacher" go together.) You know, sweet, innocent BS like that. Don't show your dark side- that will become starkly obvious anyway, probably before the dessert arrives (hey, I'm starting to see an upside to this whole "speed date" thing.)

Come to think of it, if you are willing to date techno-addled jerks who insist on researching your life while they are sitting at the fricking table with you, maybe none of this matters anyway. Just bring your own 4G phone, so you can respond by sniggering at her High School yearbook picture and her inferior-looking Facebook "friends." Or bring the report you printed up from "yeah, ok, so I totally invented my online profile- at least I'm not a serial killer wanted in five states. Now that we've cut through the crap, what are you doing next Friday?"

The New I Pad: It's nice to see all those teen-aged Chinese girls didn't die in vain

Here, stare at this thing for a while.

And "by a while," we mean- for the rest of your life. Just look at this. Watch movies on it. Play games on it. Store photos on it- and constantly adjust those photos by rubbing your fingers on it's screen. Make them smaller, then make them bigger. Now, make them smaller again. Adjust their colors. Check your Facebook status. Hey, have you played Angry Birds in the past half hour? Do that. Check your Facebook status again. Watch another movie.

Pretend you have some artistic talent by rubbing your finger on the screen after opening a "paint" program. Now you can be an "artist" in the same way that Guitar Hero once made you a "musician." Don't forget to check those photos again- they remind you that you once had a "life." Back when you needed one- during those dark days before you got yourself a new I Pad.

Get directions to the other side of town. Now, get directions to the train that will take you to the other side of town. Make sure those directions are turn-by-turn, so you can walk down the street to the train without having to look up. Download an App that lets you buy your train ticket by waving this thing at a machine at the station. As soon as you sit down on the train, check your Facebook status again. Play Angry Birds. Work on your "art" some more. Watch another movie- don't worry about attaching headphones. There are probably other people on the train- don't look up to find out though- but I'm sure they won't mind hearing the movie right along with you. How's that photo collection holding out?

The New I Pad: Because when a screen becomes this good, why ever look up? This screen is so good, it brings you closer to the things you love; for instance, your new I Pad. See how nicely this all comes together?