Wednesday, February 28, 2018

AT&T's Unlimited Asshattery

Remember headphones?  Those were those things you used to wear on your head and connect to your Walkman so you could enjoy your favorite music without bothering anyone else.  Quaint thought, huh?

Eventually they gave way to ear buds, which were more comfortable but really only did half the job- the wearer could hear his music, but people nearby could hear tinny music sounds-- pretty annoying, but remember, ear buds were more comfortable and that's all that really counts.

Here's proof that comfort is all that really counts- we don't use headphones OR ear buds anymore, anywhere, ever.  It's much more functional and enjoyable to just crank up the volume and listen through the device's speakers.  No more worrying about ear sweat or buds popping out or wires getting tangled.  Just watch and listen as if you're in your own living room and you are the only person who exists because when it comes to you and your immediate desires, you pretty much are.  That guy five seats over who just wants to read his book or think?  He's perfectly free to continue to do so- if the noise coming out of your phone bothers him, well, he can move, can't he?  And those other people in the restaurant (like the ones sitting near this particular douchenozzle?)  Well, if they don't want to hear HIS device, they are perfectly free to turn up the volume on their own, right?

What?  They were trying to have a conversation?  Well, that's pretty lame.  And not your problem.  You've got Unlimited Data, which means you have Unlimited Opportunities to show the world that you're an insufferably self-absorbed sociopath.  And you blend in really well with everyone else, because you're much more the norm than those weird people who still wear headphones or ear buds. 

Why did we ever even invent headphones, anyway?  I just don't get it. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

It's come to this. Thanks, iPhoneX!

Twenty years into the Cellphone Generation, these things have gone from phones you can take everywhere to postal services you can take everywhere to televisions you can take everywhere to professional photographer photo labs you can take everywhere.

And now, in 2018, a $1000 phone is pitched as the perfect device to use to....take a photo of yourself.  And then lovingly edit it so you look a lot better than you actually do.  And then...share it with the planet?  Or just store it on your phone, so it can be your very bestest friend and the one thing you really, really need to have pictures of?

I don't think we can get past this level of self-absorption, do you?  Oh, maybe- if you bleat "I am the Greatest" as you adjust the lighting of that Amazing Photo of Amazing You so it's Just Right Because It Doesn't Look Like You Anymore.  That manages to add a bit more narcissism to this stupid impulse purchase.  And why are you the greatest because you need to take a photo of yourself, having lost all of your friends due to your obsession with that stupid Can You Believe It Was Once Used as a Phone electronic device?  Oh, right- because you say so, and after all, what else is on the planet besides you and pictures of you?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chevy's Real People, Not Actors Ad writers inconvenience 2 million people for a 30 second commercial

Of all of the stupid settings for these ubiquitious Chevy "Really Stupid, Sad, Buttkissing People Not Actors" Commercials, this one has to be the most unpleasant as well as the one which demonstrates that every single one of these Not Actors were perfectly aware long before the cameras were turned on that they were going to be in an advertisement in which they'd be required to gape and gasp and drool over ugly More Of The Same cars.

I mean, think about it- they are sitting around a table perched on a concrete overpass, literally 20 feet from a traffic jam probably created by Chevrolet's desire to make an obvious and really idiotic point about "reliability."  Even if it's the one day of the summer in which Los Angeles isn't sticky-hot, it sure can't be that much fun to try to talk to eachother over roaring engines and car horns and shouts of "hey you assholes all the rubbernecking you're encouraging is causing a backup and keeping me from getting to my destination you entitled thoughtless douchenozzles," not to mention all that lovely carbon monoxide they're breathing in.  All for about twenty seconds of film which involves everyone's favorite spokeschoad who doesn't pitch Verizon whipping out that trophy for the 450th time to the delight of the dribbling idiots who just want to bleat their one line - be it "I want a Chevy now!" or "that's super awesome impressive Chevy rocks!" or whatever- so they can pile back into that van and be returned to the parking lot and be dropped off next to their own cars, where they'll be quickly reminded that there's no guarantee that their one line won't be snipped before the final product hits the air.

BTW, those "If Chevy Commercials were real life" bits are pretty funny, but I was more than a little annoyed that I had to sift through about a hundred of them before I could find a link to the ACTUAL commercial.  I've got things to do, YouTube!  Get your search engine tuned!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Hulu: Bringing families together, but only physically

Instead of this guy frantically switching back to the cartoon show in the hopes of making his son finally fall asleep so he can put him away and get back to sports, maybe he could have an actual dad moment by teaching that kid about the sports daddy likes and why they are fun to watch (and actually do- my great nephew is already getting into hockey and he's only two and a half?)

Naw- just let Hulu hypnotize your kid into a deep, deep sleep, carry him to the bed, and then get back to the couch to watch your sports all by yourself, "dad."  Much better that way.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How Black Entertainment Television "celebrates" Black History Month

So I'm back on the treadmill and Black Entertainment Television is replaying this excellent film, 2013's Twelve Years A Slave, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery some twenty years before the outbreak of the Civil War.  Northup's narrative is a powerful indictment of the moral depravity of the slave-master relationship as well as being an uplifting tale of stoic determination in the face of despair.

And during commercial breaks, BET shows us advertisements for....this.  A game show based on a board game in which black people test each other's "blackness" by asking trivia questions that I guess only people who are "really" black are able to answer correctly.

A few years ago, BET "celebrated" Labor Day Weekend by running the entire original Roots series- and airing the most obnoxiously racist Stepin Fetchit crap ads during every commercial break (and if you've ever watched BET, you know that there were a LOT of commercials breaks.)  When I snarked on that atrocity I think I used the term "one step forward, two steps back."  It fits here, too.

Hey, kids- sit yourselves in front of the tv and enrich yourselves by learning about the life of Solomon Northup, as told by Northup himself.  During the commercial breaks, PLEASE mute the tv, or better yet, mute the tv and leave the room for 4 minutes or so to get a sandwich or use the rest room or- hey, here's an idea!- go to Amazon and order a copy of Twelve Years a Slave.  It's a great read, and Northup's race isn't degraded and belittled and insulted in between chapters.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Courtney's looking for a Facebook Friend who will buy her dinner every other weekend

Courtney can't find a boyfriend in the traditional way because she's a flight attendant and is always traveling.  She likes "nice guys" and can usually be found on the beach- which beach she doesn't say, because as she said she's always traveling.  My guess is that if you want to be Courtney's boyfriend and actually spend time with Courtney you need to be nice and to follow her around the world so you can be at the same beach she's at between flights.

Seriously, does any of this make any sense?  Courtney doesn't meet a lot of those nice guys she likes because she's always traveling.  She doesn't say she's retired from the airline, so it sounds like what she really wants is someone willing to drop everything and spend a few hours with her from time to time while she's between flights, and is then willing to be satisfied with texts and skype chats and maybe the ocassional pic of Courtney having fun on the beach without you.

I think Nice Guys can do better, Courtney.  Get back on when you're actually available for a relationship.  You're kind of cute but you need to look at things a bit more realistically.  Right now, any "boyfriend" you think you've met on is spending an awful lot of time with other girls while you're gone posing by jet engines and having fun on the beach.  Doesn't seem worth the membership fee from where I'm standing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

RedFin- Property for People Much, Much Better than You

The young couple in this ad visit one impossibly enormous suburban castle after another but find each lacking in some way (maybe the bowling alley in the basement isn't quite up to their standards, or there's only two man caves, or the peacocks strutting around in the back yard just arent' quite right somehow.)  Sure they look big enough to house several families each but surely, through the magic of Redfin, they can do better, right?

I know I'm sure pulling for them.

And in the end, the female side of this pampered pair of entitled, spoiled-rotten asshats is totally sold when she walks into a kitchen twice the size of my apartment.  She doesn't need to see any other rooms in the house, thanks anyway RedFin Agent, this is where she's going to be spending all her time anyway!  All she needs now is a good pair of roller skates and a GPS to help her navigate her way from the stove to the sink to the fridge.

I hate everyone so much right now.

Friday, February 16, 2018

More preying on the elderly, courtesy of the Funeral Insurance Industry

"If you are 85 years of age or younger..." considering the channel I saw this on, the following pitch is directed to approximately 40% of the viewing audience.

It's a Senior Life Plan from the Senior Life Insurance Company, a company which I'm guessing sells insurance to Seniors.  I'm not sure of this, I'm just taking a stab in the dark based on the fact that the word "Seniors" is mentioned just under three hundred times in this stupid ad.

Specifically, it's another one of those ubiquitous ads for Funeral Insurance.  The "average funeral," you see, costs OVER $7500.   But the MOST government benefits pay is $255, which isn't even enough to cover the caterer for the wake for chrissakes!  I wonder if that "OVER $7500" number will be inflated before the ad is over, since I've seen commercials using the much scarier phrase "$30,000 OR MORE!"

"Leaving your loved ones to pay your debt..." first, what a sleazy way to reel in potential customers- "if you don't buy funeral insurance, it may mean No College For Your Grandkids or Someone Gets Evicted, even if none of that stuff happens Do You Really Want To Be Remembered As a Burden?"  Second, there's no "debt" unless someone goes through with the ridiculously overpriced Party Featuring You In a Box.  And if you don't leave money to cover it, why would anyone pay for an elaborate going away party for someone who has already gone away?

This Senior Life Plan for Seniors will pay up to $30,000 (I KNEW that phrase would show up!) for funeral expenses and "any other end of life expenses."  And we all know what "Up To" is worth, don't we?  It means they might come close to paying that amount if you buy none of the policies they're about to list as Available at an Unbelievably Low Price.

And like all of these ugly Expensive Insurance for the Easily Manipulated Elderly commercials, this one reminds the viewers to "ask about our Free Prescription Discount Card."  I don't know what part of that scam is all about, except that I'm 99 percent positive that it's either just another bit of bait on the hook that provides nothing of value not already provided by AARP or Medicare or it's a way of sticking a "small" extra fee to the cost of the "insurance."  I guess they ran out of those credit card-sized magnifying glasses and Magic Ear hearing aids?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Oh you have got to be kidding me, Chase!

The entitled little twat in this ad learned that a tree she and her then-boyfriend vandalized with a jacknife sixty years ago was about to be finished off and, having money to burn and not being aware of any charities or scholarship opportunities that might benefit from any of it, decided to blow the stack by purchasing the vandalized tree and having it shipped to her back yard.  Where she and her equally loathsome* significant other could look at it for a few more years.  I guess.

"My first thought was, 'I have to go get it!'"  Huh.  I'd have gone with "really?  That tree survived the gouging me and my thoughtless jackass lover gave it sixty years ago?  That's one hardy tree."

Anyway, she gets on the phone with her Chase Special Services For Disgustingly Stupid With Money Because They Can Be white people rep and tells him she needs god knows how much cash to buy the tree she tried to kill so long ago.  Other people might have to let the past be the past.  But she isn't Other People.  She's an almost unbelievably stupid, self-absorbed douchenozzle who is all about being "impulsive" as long as being "impulsive" means "doing something for Me."

I know this was supposed to be sweet and cloying and heartwarming and all that crap, Chase.  Happy F--ing Valentine's Day and thanks for putting a cherry on mine with this putrid steaming pile of excrement.  Just perfect.

*Unless he responds with a disgusted "you did WHAT?  You blew part of our retirement fund to transplant an f--ng TREE?  That's it, I'm filing papers to have your name taken off the accounts before you decide we need to buy the old Hershey Chocolate factory because we went there once, you bizarre loon."

I see my Home Chef every time I check out the mirror

These ads are like commercials for Home Makeover shows- the product is marketed exclusively toward Double Income households where neither adult wants to invest the energy into actually making dinner or the money into hiring help or going out to eat every single night.  In other words, for 99 percent of the people watching ads for "Home Chef," this is a world completely alien to anything we experience.

I sure as hell don't want to spend even five seconds watching Rebecca squeal with delight at how easy it is to unpack a huge cardboard box of food and paint-by-numbers recipes designed to make life just a little bit easier for people whose lives are pretty damned close to perfect already (except for all that prepping oh noes what a hassle maybe we should reconsider the hiring help plan.)  This is at least as bad as all those ads for Panera ("Real food for Real People with Big Bank Accounts.  You know, the only people who matter.")

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jared Jewelers meets Lowered Expectations and I guess we're supposed to find it charming.

This thing is, after all, three and a half minutes long.  Which means it's strictly for the Jared website and YouTube.  Well, MAYBE it shows up on one of those lame All Reruns All The Time channels you didn't even know your cable company provided because they are up there in the 500s, past HBO and Showtime.  Those channels have no problem with three and a half minute commercials.

Anyway, the whole time I watched this ad with it's weird imaging and music and camera angles and documentary-style narration, I kept waiting it to become a dark story of betrayal, secret families, money and murder.  Surely, I thought, the sweet balding old man would eventually bludgeon the sweet, lonely middle-aged woman and dump her body two miles off-shore after cleaning out her bank account.  I mean, there was no WAY this was actually going to be nothing but 210 seconds of a Jared Jewelry ad, right?

Man, was I wrong.  This thing actually ends with these people smiling and hugging and happy with eachother and the guy's choice of a ring.  He's not a serial killer or swindler or anything.  He's just an old guy who proposed to this woman and she said yes.  Even after watching the whole damn thing I can't tell you why it took three and a half minutes, but it did and because I watched, you don't have to.  You're welcome.

(By the way, if you want to know why this story is "one of a kind," you will have to watch it yourself.  Because I watched this once and found nothing special or unique about this "one of a kind" story.  If you see something special, feel free to let me know.  I'm done looking.)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

This World of Warships thing keeps happening on my Internet

"What?  You haven't played World of Warships yet?  Why the hell not?"

That's how it opens, seriously.  I guess we're all done trying to sell games to kids.  Everyone who plays games nowadays is a thirtysomething male desperately trying to delay adulthood for a few more years.  Got it.

Check out the virtually infinite number of things you can do in this game.  You can sink the Yomoto.  You can "avenge the Titanic," which means blast an iceberg, which strikes me as really stupid but which I guess it's supposed to be funny but sure as hell doesn't make me want to play the game because once you've taken out the iceberg, what then? 

Oh right.  You can sink the Yomoto again.  The fact that this option is mentioned twice in a thirty-second ad which is supposed to be about the almost infinite things you can do in this game makes me suspicious about how vast the World of Warships universe actually is.  What makes me even more suspicious is the line "you can go to the beach...." Uh huh.  That sounds fun.  Take a warship to the beach.  And then do what? Blow up the beach?  Hey, is the Yomoto back yet?

Whatever, people.  I'll never understand the attraction of any of this.  I'm going to play round of Frogger before getting back to cleaning and recovering from my dentist appointment.  Later.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Oh yeah, and this commercial is for Esurance. Somehow.

Dad is a bumbling doofus who acts as if he never, ever spends any time with his son and had no intention of ever having a conversation with him except dammit the car has broken down and he's trapped with this kid.

Kid is incredibly uncomfortable being with his "father," who is only making things worse by doing what only cliche'd awkward loser dads on tv do- take accidental moments of forced intimacy to try to check that "have the sex talk with the boy" box on his Parent Bingo Card.  He clearly would rather be ANYWHERE ELSE but with his dad right now.  And I can only guess that there's no WiFi service wherever it is they broke down, otherwise none of this would be happening- both of these idiots would be on their phones, pretending the other does not exist.

Dad is "saved" from having "the talk" by the appearance of the tow truck.  Oh thank goodness, they were only seconds away from maybe having a meaningful conversation (though I doubt it.  Dad's an inappropriate ass with lousy timing, Kid has or is going to learn about puberty the way all boys do- through experience, and through their friends, NOT from their dads.)

Kid has let dad know that he doesn't want to have this conversation with Dad, EVER.  Dad would be wise not to share this almost-moment with Mom; she'd be totally justified in calling him a clueless moron for making such a half-assed attempt to be meaningful in any way to the kid he helped make.  Go back to being silent and stupid, Dad.  Kid and his friends have got this.  Mom doesn't expect you to rise above your mediocrity.  Just get the car fixed, drop the kid off, and get back to the office where you will be surrounded by people you can relate to.  Moron.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I hate so much about this Domino's ad

So this guy isn't at all concerned that his car has suffered severe damage- as long as his crap mass-produced box of bland bread and sugary tomato sauce is intact?  Ok, whatever.  The guy is a moron.  I get it.

Here's what I don't understand- how did this idiot get back to Pizza Hut to exchange his "ruined" (it was ruined before he left the "restaurant," but again, whatever) pizza?  Did he call an Uber and pay ten bucks to exchange a pizza which cost the same amount?  He certainly looks dumb enough.

Pizza Insurance?  For Domino's?  Really?  Heck, I think dropping this junk into the snow could only improve it.  Meanwhile, shouldn't this idiot be calling about that other insurance policy- the one that covers his car?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

I suppose that in a previous scene, Amazon Echo reminded this guy he was getting married today

Think about it- this guy is seconds away from getting married, and he's already assuming that a year from now he'll totally forget the date of his wedding so he better let Amazon know so "she" can remind him.  Wow, what a great catch.

Prediction:  A year from now, Amazon will remind him that it's been six months since his wife threw him out of the house because he was incapable of finding his ass with both hands, a flashlight, and Amazon Echo.  Because seriously- if you walk into your wedding figuring you won't remember the date A YEAR FROM NOW, you aren't taking it very seriously and it just isn't that big a deal to you. Cripes, I've been divorced for more than twenty years and I STILL remember my anniversary date.

One more piece of evidence that this guy is a totally clueless jackass- he's telling Amazon Echo to remind him that today is his anniversary "one year from now."  Hey, buddy- if you do forget your anniversary as you expect you will, being reminded of it ON YOUR ANNIVERSARY is not going to help at all.  Even if you ARE miraculously still married, it will be WAY too late to do anything that doesn't stink of last-minute Yes Honey I Actually Forgot our FIRST Anniversary asshattery.  Loser.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

I'll be generous and call Audible a very small step in the right direction

Ok, so the thing that successful people have in common is that they read, except that none of the successful (I mean, look at these houses!  Check out those home gyms!  And they are busy, too!) people we see in this ad are actually reading.

It's because they are busy- you see, they may have become successful by reading, but now they don't have time to read (too busy being successful) but to stay successful they have to keep reading, so they listen instead.  Listening is just as good as reading- that's the mindset that weaned kids away from books to radio in the 1940s.  And Watching is as good as Listening, which convinced the offspring of those radio-listeners that Television was the New Radio.  So watching tv and reading a book are basically the same thing.

No, wait- according to Audible, reading and  listening are the same thing.  In fact, listening in at least some (all?) cases is superior to reading- when you're working out in your suburban palace or driving around, for example (though I must say, as a pedestrian, I would really rather not have people conjuring up images of what they are listening to while operating that heavy machinery through cross-walks and intersections.  I suppose this is marginally better than having them staring at their phones or dashboards, however.)

I don't want to be too hard on Audible- I do think that Listening is superior to Watching.  At least your brain is getting some exercise, and I totally agree that this is a benefit to joggers and gym rats who for obvious reasons can't read while also working out.  I might try this myself someday.  But right now I have to start reading the Kindle edition of Ron Chernow's biography Hamilton, which I purchased seconds before starting to write this post.  I didn't buy the additional audible option, because I think that with very rare exceptions like the ones I listed, Reading is the new Reading, and it's really not replaceable.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Quickbooks Self-Employed App: My own personal Groundhog Day

Yes, I'm totally aware that Quickbooks follows me everywhere.  I'm reminded every time I try to watch any video on YouTube and get smacked across the face with a version of this stupid ad.

Hey, Quickbooks?  I'm still not self-employed.  So please, PLEASE stop.  I've already developed a callous on my thumb from hitting the Skip Ad button so I don't have to suffer through yet another chirpy "here's how you can keep track of your receipts," "here's how you can keep track of your miles," "here's how you can keep track of your deductions," etc. etc. "helpful" blather which does not apply to me at all but is just annoying as hell.