Friday, July 28, 2017
One more extended vacation from this blog before heading back to school and the routine- this time I'll be spending a week at Hampton Beach NH, where we've been renting a house every late July/early August since the late-90s. Very little by way of internet connectivity, so no chance of updating the blog until Saturday, August 5.
Please enjoy the archives while I spend a week taking long walks, swimming, playing paddle ball and having coffee and protein bars for breakfast and ice cream for dinner....and playing ancient video games at the arcade. See you next Saturday!
Well, that's over. Now Dell encourages kids to use their laptops to secretly play stupid video games instead of paying attention in class.
Oh, but maybe the hidden message here is that Peter Parker is already a science savant bored out of his mind in a way-too-easy High School science class, so he can totally ignore the lame teacher and play mind-numbing, time-sucking games and still ace every test?
And I'm not even going to get into the fact that the kid is supposed to be Peter Parker and he's playing a video game starring- his alter ego? Seriously, what the hell? Oh wait, I said I wasn't going to get into that.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Pretty much every YouTube commentator/glue-sniffer adores this ad. They all find it LOL OMIGD SO FREAKING FUNNY, thanking Allstate for "finally depicting a smart man in a commercial for a change," and begging the company for more commercials just like this EPIC BTW WHO IS THE MOM SHE IS SO HOT ad.
Personally? I wonder why the hell this guy is ok with the job of carting around his idiot zombie family, or why no adult in any commercial featuring cell phones has any control at all over when they are used and when they are off. (Great modeling there, btw, Mom.) I wonder what would be so horrible about this guy saying "turn your phones off when you're in the car and talk to eachother like human beings. Pretend we're a family or something." But apparently that simply isn't done anymore.
Instead, we get an ad which would only be funny if the husband was saying something like "you idiots have no idea that I've cleaned out the bank account and am going to fake my own death so I can be with my mistress starting Friday night. And maybe you won't even care until the phone bill comes and you realize how addicted you are to electronic stimulus. I'd almost like to see that. But not enough to stick around."
Now that would be a commercial worth gushing over. This? Not so much.
Monday, July 24, 2017
In all of the other episodes in Southwest's apparently neverending "Wanna Get Away?" ad campaign (which I think rivals only Flo from Progressive in wearing out their welcome) we kind of get that someone has done something really stupid and would really, really like to be able to melt into the ground and vanish from sight rather than deal with the consequences of that really stupid thing.
But in this ad, the guy who shows up and identifies Fenwick has unwittingly saved the life of every person in his defeated group except one- Fenwick. They should all be thrilled that they managed to be incredibly loyal and brave yet because of this one guy they will get to tell their grandchildren how incredibly loyal and brave they were. The dope looking for his shield has saved an entire army from annihilation- only one guy, Fenwick, will be sacrificed. Which is what Fenwick wanted anyway- shouldn't he be the very first to thank this guy? I mean, what are we supposed to think- that if the guy with the shield hadn't shown up, they all would have been spared, and now they are all going to be executed? Because I got the opposite message.
(After all, if after the battle between the slave army and the Romans in Spartacus someone had unwittingly identified Kirk Douglas as the guy Lawrence Olivier was looking for, Spartacus would have been satisfied, Crassus would have been satisfied, and the slave army would have been sad but spared. Instead they all get crucified. That's a happier ending?)
So what am I missing here?
Sunday, July 23, 2017
So the people in this boring but affluent suburb are doing the usual boring but affluent things- playing catch, writing on the driveway with chalk, etc.- just minding their own business and enjoying life, when....
...they are interrupted by a parade of roaring ImpulseBuy LookAtMe StatusMobiles, which completely distract each and every one of them from the quiet little moments they were enjoying and compel them to stare with drooling mouths at the cars which for some reason are coming down their street at a speed at least 15-10 MPH over the posted speed limit (oh and this is apparently the only suburb in the United States without any speed bumps, anywhere, but never mind....)
I supposed that when these idiots have moved on, the kids and adults who live in this suburb will completely forget what they were doing and will continue to be consumed with Consumer Lust which will not be satisfied until a red Mercedes Benz is in the driveway. I just hope that once that itch is scratched they are allowed to go back to doing those innocent but very unprofitable things they were enjoying before they were interrupted by Madison Avenue. Down $60 K or so, it's back to playing catch and writing on the sidewalk, right?
Friday, July 21, 2017
Maybe it's because I was born after 1980, I don't know, but I'll agonize for ten minutes over which brand of freaking laundry detergent to buy and when I used to shop for cars I'd visit the dealership at LEAST twice before finally committing. My travel agent knows that I'll be sending her at least half a dozen emails requesting information on as many different countries before I decide which, if any, I'm going to be visiting next summer- and then I'll start the long, ardous process of nailing down the right week I intend to go.
But apparently it's perfectly normal nowadays for young people to see a house they like, whip out their phones, and commit to a 30-year mortgage in about fifteen seconds flat. Monthly payments? Insurance? WTF-ever, I guess. Checking out different banks to see who is offering the best deal? We don't do that anymore, grampa. We've got Smartphones now- which means we can make life-defining decisions by scrolling our finger across a screen. We've got thirty years to think about it, starting later. That house is available, we want it, what else is there to discuss?
A few years ago I snarked on a commercial which featured someone using a Smartphone to check out pets available at the local shelter, and picking one out based on how it looked on her screen. I feel stupid for making fun of that person now. The people in this ad are spending far less time researching mortgages and agreeing to spend $400,000 plus interest between now and mid-century than that pet-seeker did in finding a small mammal to take care of for a decade or so. I thought "One-Click" adoption would come before instant mortgages. Shows what I know.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
This ad reminds me of those Educational Videos put out by Encyclopedia Brittanica or Centron back in the 1950s which were supposed to remind kids that Freedom isn't FreeTM and that all the wonderful things that make life in the lily-white suburbs worth living- cars, parks, schools for white people, and prefab housing for white people- not to mention cheap fruits and vegetables for white people harvested by brown people- come to us courtesy of American Capitalism, which is God-Given but must be defended with prayers, hard work, and the Military Industrial Complex.
Sure, when you flip that switch, you just "take for granted" that because you paid your electric bill, the lights will come on. But being a spoiled rotten We Americans Have No Idea How Much Blood, Sweat and Tears Went Into Providing This Service culture, we need two minutes of "this is why you should shut up about the negatives attached to oil, natural gas and nuclear power because hey do you want power or not?"
Turns out that for me to have the power to run my laptop so I can post this blog, thousands upon thousands of people had to sacrifice millions of hours to build thousands of miles of pipelines and wiring and dozens of nuclear power plants, I had no idea and I feel so immensely selfish and will never again complain when there's a spill or meltdown and I'm sure as hell not going to ask where the waste goes EVER, because after all it's my fault it even exists because I turned on my laptop and I TAKE IT FOR GRANTED that power will be there.
While I'm at it, I sure as HELL am not going to ever grouse about my electric bill again, when you consider the army of people who toiled for decades to create the grid which even made the Miracle of Electrical Power possible, I should be thankful it's not a thousand times higher, and I should be AMAZED that despite the obvious superiority of the American Energy System (direct from Canada, but shut up) virtual saints are (unbelievably) working to make it EVEN BETTER OMIGOD WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS I'M NOT WORTHY!
Personally, I'd be proud to have a nuclear waste dump in my backyard. Or fire coming out of my faucet. I'd think I was doing at least SOMETHING to contribute to this Miracle of Endless Practically Free Energy All The Time and not just being a selfish ungrateful maggot like those hippies with their Commie solar panels and wind farms (I bet they are all atheists, too.) Now if you'll excuse me, I have to flip my lights on and off while singing "God Bless America." Oh, and thanks to you too, Canada. I guess.
Monday, July 17, 2017
...wearing a day-glo green backpack, or looking both ways before I cross the street, or working hard to make eye contact with drivers before attempting to cross the street, or always walking defensively, assuming that the people operating motor vehicles these days have their eyes on everything BUT what is right in front of them....
...when you are just going to keep coming out with products designed to encourage those motor vehicle operators to completely zone out concerning everything going on in the real world all around them and just be on Facebook or obsessively checking their email instead of making sure that they aren't slamming into someone who is just trying to get from Point A to Point B without being smushed from a completely distracted asshat who is supposed to be OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE AND NOT F--NG AROUND WITH THE INTERNET????
BTW, I just love how no part of this ad actually shows anyone using the WiFi capabilities being offered- probably because Verizon couldn't figure out a way to do it without showing people breaking the f--ing law, which they are totally being encouraged to do with this kind of technology. I'm doomed.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Just do a quick survey of YouTube comments and you'll see that Chevrolet's "Real People, Not Actors" series is among the most loathed in the history of commercial buffoonery. Chevy's response, clearly, is to just ramp up the jaw-dropping dumb by putting the pathetic mouth-breathing "I'll say or do anything for a few seconds of facetime on tv" Real Idiots into increasingly absurd, forehead-slapping situations.
Check out this latest chunk of stupid, accredited to Valley Motors or something which I guess is just one of the 3500 or so local Chevy dealers in the United States where you can see one of these dull crapmobiles for yourself. One of the Real Shameless Not Actors squeals with delight because she's test driving a Chevrolet on a racetrack, something she'll never be able to do once she buys the car but figures that won't matter because taking Brady to soccer practice will feel just like being on the Nascar circuit. Another refugee from a nearby Trump rally gives us the obligatory "WOOOO!" as he uses a Totally Unnecessary But Satisfyingly Compensating pickup to- umm, climb some obstacle, for some reason. Never mind that he'll be using that $40,000 toy to haul garbage and couches and groceries over speed bumps and will never, ever encounter anything like this obstacle in real life. As for the guy who wants to "head to the Chevy dealership as soon as he gets home," well, more power to you, buddy. I don't even care that you're blatantly brown-nosing Chevrolet to get yourself on tv because when you've sunk as low as this, what difference would my dissaproval matter to you, you pathetic nothingburger?
The really bad news is that there's absolutely nothing different about these ads except for the word "Summer." These look exactly like the ads we saw all last fall during the baseball playoffs and then during the NFL season. And there are always Chevy sales events going on- always. Just like there are always people ready to chirp valentines to Chevy in exchange for 2 seconds of "hey look at me I'm on tv" validation. Man are you people sad!
Saturday, July 15, 2017
So the fiftysomething husband and father in this ad looks at his thirtysomething trophy wife and the kids she dutifully popped out for him as her end of the bargain and says "look, honey, I work pretty damned hard for this multimillion dollar home with it's massive kitchen and modern appliances and even bigger living room. And I know you think that I'm a bottomless well of cash, mainly because that's what I told you when I convinced you to surrender your youth to me in exchange for a life of security.
"Fact is, these mortgage and Lexus SUV payments are taking a pretty big bite out of that hedge fund money- I'd explain to you what 'hedge funds' are and how they support this lifestyle, but if you were interested in clogging your pretty little head with stuff like that I would never have married you- and the kids' endless parade of extracurricular activities don't help much either. Not to mention the big-screen TVs and internet access you kind of insisted on so you don't go absolutely insane in this house while the kids are away and Juanita (whom I am NOT sleeping with, yet) is doing the shopping and cleaning. And let's not forget Juanita, who is fifteen years younger than you are and has the kind of body you had when we first met, just sayin'.
"So we're going to have to economize somewhere. And since I have hefty life insurance policies on you and the kids, and I'm home maybe eight hours a week anyway, it's going to be in home security. That's why I'm going to protect your guilded cage with a bargain-basement do-it-yourself saw-it-on-late-night-tv so-called alarm system. It will keep you and the kids- and Juanita, if she's not helping me in the office that night- super safe, I assure you. Now how about another beer, hon?"
Friday, July 14, 2017
In 1991 I bought a Dan Quayle watch, but they weren't being sold to "honor" Dan Quayle. This has got to be brilliant snark, right? Right?
I mean, it uses every cliche from every Collector Plate/Prayer Coin/Authentic Replica WWII Watch commercial ever, right down to the ancient codger telling us that he is "proud to own this bear, and proud to be an American." Heck, it might even be the SAME vet who told us that he was proud to own the Not-Actually-WWII-era aviator-style watch and was "proud to be an American."
I mean, I know this is an incredibly stupid country populated by mouth-breathers (look how 46 percent of us voted last time around) but this can't be real, can it? Or if it is, and someone will actually answer that phone number and there's a factory in It's Pronounced JINA making these things, this concept was put together by someone with a PhD in Cynicism?
This can't be the brainchild of someone who actually LIKES Trump, can it?
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
My guess is that Barack Obama, having been born in Hawaii, is ALSO unable to stream Amazon Prime....
Never mind the video; I didn't bother to watch it and it really has absolutely nothing to do with what I hope you all consider an hysterically forehead-slapping blog post. I just wanted to include a clip from my friends at Amazon Prime, all of whom deserve this snark more than most of the people I blog about....
Ok, here's the setup: I have Amazon Prime, which means I have access to Amazon Prime Video. I'm in Vermont, which I THOUGHT had been part of the United States since 1791 (not trying to be pedantic, there's a payoff coming up, I promise) on summer vacation and I thought I'd just play a video to pass the time.
The video started, only to be interrupted seconds later by a message: "Access to this Video is Prohibited due to Geographical Licensing Restrictions." I tried another video, and got the same message. Then another. And then one more.
Then I wrote to Amazon for an explanation. And hilarity ensued. Here's their response, copied and pasted from my email. I haven't changed a single word. I am not kidding:
In 2015 my place of work switched to Evergreen Health, and I had to find a new primary care physician for the first time in more than 25 years. I went to Evergreen's "very helpful" website, where I found a long list of general practitioners who, as far as Evergreen was concerned, accepted Evergreen Insurance at the present, or once upon a time, or maybe in the future. In any case, I spent some hours over the course of some days failing to secure the services of a general practitioner. For about a year.
During this time- the winter of 2016-2017- I was so constantly sick that I finally gave up and went to a CVS Minute Clinic for treatment. First, I checked the CVS website to make sure the Minute Clinic accepted Evergreen Health. They did. Then I called Evergreen Health to make sure they would pay for the Minute Clinic. The nice lady on the other end of the line said "yes, CVS takes the insurance," which isn't what I was asking but was as close as I was going to get to an actual answer. So I went to the MinuteClinic and got a prescription for what was basically Claritin. A month later, I got a bill for $140- $160 minus the $20 Evergreen paid for. I wonder, if Evergreen had paid fifty cents of the $160 visit cost, would they have said "yes, CVS takes the insurance?"
Anyway, for two years I tried and failed to find a general practioner through Evergreen Health's not-at-all-helpful website, and every time I called to talk to a real person I was urged to use one of Evergreen Health's Primary Care Offices, conveniently located nowhere near any metrorail stations (and only one located on a bus line.) This spring I gave in and made an appointment at the only clinic I could get to by bumming a ride with a friend and taking half a day off from school.
The visit went well- I got a complete physical and everyone was very nice. Yay, contact with a doctor again! Kind of the reason we have health insurance to begin with!
Last month, I got an email from Evergreen Health- the company "regrets to inform me" that it is closing down it's primary care offices- all of them- this summer. I was given 60 days to pick up a copy of my health record (which I could obtain if I gave the office three days notice.) I was also given the advice to use Evergreen Health's web site to find a new primary care physician.
I'm sure this is Obama's FaultTM, but whoever is to blame, I'm about to start my third year of paying premiums but not actually having a primary health physician except for that one day this spring. Thanks, Evergreen Maryland, for playing your part in making the American Health Care System the very best in the whole world! I'm sure that a good percentage of those Canadians fleeing their own awful Socialized Medicine to seek Good Medical Care use doctors who take your insurance. I just wish they'd drop me a line and let me know who those doctors are. I could return the favor by warning them not to try to use one of your Primary Care Offices, since they don't exist anymore.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
I haven't been on another planned summer vacation for the past several days, just stuck without electricty, and then with electricity but without internet, which to many people means without electricity because as one of my Facebook friends pointed out, what is the point of electricity if it isn't used to get one on the internet?
But tonight I have both internet and electricity, so I can update this blog by posting what isn't exactly a commercial but is more like a review which turns into a commercial by pulling a great big "this isn't as bad as you think because take a look at this much much worse thing over here" out of nowhere at the last second. Burger King's deep-fried mac and cheese monstrosity "won't set you back as much as you think," we are told, because it has "only" 310 calories per five pieces (and we just KNOW that the lard-butt future heart disease patients who would consume this are going to limit themselves to five pieces- and not eat it as a side with a Double Whopper, oh no..) But here's the kicker- we shouldn't be too critical of BK's fried macaroni and cheese dusted with more cheese because KFC's Double Down Bacon and Mayo between two fried chicken slabs has more calories! I mean, check out this gigantic picture and everything! As long as you aren't eating THIS, you are doing just fine- heck, you might as well get two of those 5-piece fried cheese things, you'll still be ahead of the game!
Never mind that this is exactly like telling someone to go ahead and drink that coffee laced with rat poison because at least you aren't putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger- that would be REALLY destructive! Yep, because 'merica. No country is better at killing itself with food and being aggressively proud of its ability to rationalize it. Ugh.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
(The word "Life" in the video title used very loosely...)
Dear Crazy Dog Lady:
Just because you never met a fellow human being willing to tolerate you and your insanity doesn't mean you get to call your Sad Substitute for an Actual Family your "boys." They are dogs. Three big, clumsy, stupid dogs who look to you for food and shelter and pretty much nothing else. They don't love you. They'll never love you. You can talk to them about your problems- and man, do you have problems- but they won't understand a word of it and they really don't give a damn anyway. They'll never give you advice or a loan and they sure as hell aren't taking care of you when you're sick. For all the "love" you provide them, including this tic medication or whatever the hell this commercial is pushing, the only thing you're getting in return is hair and dirt and noise and the opportunity to pick up and carry around feces when you take "your boys" for a walk.
A few more things- your "boys" don't give a damn that you serve them in different colored bowls. They are color-blind and even if they weren't all they would see is the food. They have no clue that you are protecting their health by adding medication to that food- and no matter how long they live, they'll never reach an age where they'll tell you how much they appreciated the care you put into "raising" them, because they don't appreciate it, they just expect it, maybe because from the moment they were puppies you gave them the idea that you exist for them and not the other way around (which is actually the case, if you could be honest with yourself for just a few moments.)
Just to wrap up- you are going to outlive your "boys." Probably by a lot. People generally don't outlive their kids, and they certainly don't expect to. That's just another way your "boys" are not your "boys," they are your pets. They'll die and you'll replace them with other "boys," or maybe "girls," and then that generation of Animals Which Live With Me Which Are Just Like Family will also die and be replaced, and so on and so on, because that's our relationship with animals* unless we are Insane. Just Sayin'.
*My parents lost one of the animals that lived in their house last night, the victim of a little guillotine which snapped it's neck when it wandered into the wrong part of the kitchen. I opened the trap and tossed the nasty little thing into the weeds. They'll get over it.
If I had the technology, the time, and the talent, I'd probably replace this blog with videos like this. Except that they'd be even more clever. I'd fulfill every lazy semi-talented slacker's dream of becoming an instant YouTube celebrity sitting at home watching the massive checks just keep showing up in my mailbox- err, I mean, being direct-deposited, of course.
Because I don't have any of those things, I'm stuck with this non-paying, Just Because I Need To Rant Sometimes blog. Oh well, at least that means I can slack off now and then and just post awesome parodies created by people with far more talent. This one snarking on Grammarly, for example, which does a great job hitting that Literacy is Overrated Man Those People Who Paid Attention in English Class Were Such Suckers Product.
Oh well, the people who made this still deserve a pat on the back for a job well done, so here it is. I wonder if Saturday Night Live has done their own version, and if not, why not?
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Whoever Karlie Kloss is- and Youtube tells me that she's a Supermodel and Entrepreneur, whatever- she isn't a web designer and at no point in this video does she show me how to design my own website. She just shows me how to type Wix.com on my web browser's address line, which I'm pretty sure I could figure out all by myself and without one stupid video after another hosted by Karlie Kloss.
She also shows me how absolutely, unbelievably delighted she is with herself and her life of camera-mugging, jumping around, and generally acting like an idiot with a brain stuffed with straw and yogurt because she knows how to use Google to find chimp-friendly tools her assistant can use to create a website to let people know that she's not JUST that annoying woman on YouTube peddling Wix.com- she's a real, successful Supermodel and Entrepreneur!
Anyway, glad you're picking up a little money on the side, Ms I'm Supposed to Know Who You Are and Take your Advice on How to Build a Website even though it consists entirely of "use Wix.com." I strongly suspect that if you posted a video "showing us" how to peel a banana, it would involve nothing more than "type 'Peel a Banana' and watch this other cool video, glad I could help, now if you'll excuse me, I have to get my picture taken grinning like a psychotic moron 'cause that's what I do! Glad I could help all you non-Supermodel non-Entrepreneurs!"
This ad for JD Wentworth's scummy "give us your structured settlement of lots of money in exchange for a lump sum nowhere near what's coming to you" is even worse than most because it literally tortures the viewer, and all because someone at JD Wentworth thinks that boy bands are still a thing.
As to the message itself- yes, JD Wentworth provides a perfectly legal service, legitimate in exactly the same way that "Rapid Refund" loans are legitimate- "oh, you have a large amount of money coming to you but you have to wait and you're willing to trade it for less money right now? Sign right here, sucker." Yes, perfectly legal. And yes, perfectly scummy and nothing to be proud of, let alone loudly advertising.
I imagine that if television had existed during the Crash of 1929, Mr. Potter might have hired a band to sing the benefits of trading in your Bailey Building and Loan shares for ten cents on the dollar, and there'd be people defending the practice. Ah, you were ahead of your time, Mr. Potter.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
I guess it was just a matter of time before someone invented t-shirts which absorbed odor, finally solving the age-old problem of what to do when you simply don't want to follow basic rules of hygiene and do things like bathe regularly and use deodorants. This commercial is a natural successor to those Lysol ads which feature people dumping entire cans of aerosol into couches because Oh No We Are Having Visitors Any Moment Now And We Are Disgusting Slobs Who Simply Will Not Do Any Actual Cleaning More than Once a Year.
And, guys? We are already living in the Golden Age of Shabby, with untucked shirts, uncombed hair, and unshaven faces being the the height of fashion. Never has it been easier to just roll out of bed and out the door (my battery-operated travel razor died two days before my overseas trip came to an end, and I have to admit I am grateful that I didn't feel the least bit obligated to spend five Euro on a couple of AA batteries, like I would have if it happened 20 years ago.) Now another once-necessary but Oh So Tiresome chore- bathing- goes the way of the dodo. Because being a slob in every other respect shouldn't include the stink, I guess.
I wouldn't invest in odor-absorbing clothing, however. We're probably only a few years away from smelling like a sweatband being all the rage and not announcing your presence with your body odor being something our way-too-uptight grandparents thought was important. This is going to get worse before it gets better, people.