Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back to "normal" in Tampa....


For the first time in three years, I'll be traveling to score Advanced Placement essays (I'll give you two guesses why the scoring was done entirely on line in 2020 and 2021.)  So this is where I'll be until June 8.  I'm bringing my laptop with me and I might update this blog during my stay, but I probably won't (based on the stats, very few people would notice either way.)  So enjoy this little travelogue about the place I'll be or skim the archives till I get back.  Bye for now!

Monday, May 30, 2022

TCM's annual gaudy "salute" to the troops


When Turner Classic Movies released this promo for their Memorial Day lineup of programming in 2007, the youngest World War II veterans were entering their Eighties and the youngest Korean War vets were entering their mid-70s.  The youngest Vietnam War vets were entering their fifties, not that Vietnam War vets have ever mattered to Turner Classic Movies when it comes to "honoring sacrifice." 

Fifteen years later, it's another Memorial Day Weekend and like clockwork we are being inundated with one World War II According to Hollywood film after another, because there's apparently no other way to show appreciation for our veterans than to remind the very few who are left that the United States used to fight honorable wars against real threats to humanity and that the 100 percent white American army saved the world from those threats without blinking an eye when called upon to do so because Back Then People Respected Authority and Loved the Flag and God.  

I've always wondered why any veteran of any war would want to be reminded every single year of what was almost certainly the Worst Years of their Lives, or why reminding people of those wars they once read about in textbooks is seen as such a vital mission by networks like TCM.  If I had seen combat in any war I think it's something I'd rather forget, not have shoved in my face by well-meaning networks or politicians or car dealerships.  Of course, the youngest World War II veteran (practically the entire TCM lineup this weekend is World War II-themed films) is in his mid-90s, so chances are that very, very few of them will be watching TCM this weekend anyway.  Here's hoping they are spending time with their great-grandchildren and eating big cheeseburgers at a picnic table instead.  They've earned it.  

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Progressive, Jurassic World, and a lot of stupid crossover garbage.


Seems like every other commercial I've seen over the past few days has been some stupid Jurassic World crossover like this one, and I'm sure that with two weeks left before the latest Look at the CGI Dinosaurs summer blockbuster opens it's just something I'm going to have to get used to.

This one pretends that Progressive sells Dinosaur Damage insurance, which is about as believable as a commercial featuring people at a drive-in (and watching 1960s-style "let's all go to the snack bar" intermission ads.)  See, it's FUNNY because there's carnage and people screaming (and presumably being eaten off-screen, because if you've seen any of these stupid movies you know that the only thing dinosaurs ever did was attack and eat anything that moves, all the time.  Maybe that's why they became extinct- they were simultaneously exhausted and obese.)  So you should buy Progressive Insurance because look they spent big money trying to make some lame connection with a movie which, by the way, you should go see as soon as it opens.  And then go back to see several times because you've got so much money burning holes in your pocket.)

All would be forgiven if we saw a T-Rex gulp down Flo with one bite.  And then cough her back up because hey, dinosaurs have standards. 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Weight Watchers, "Points," and a long uncalled-for lecture on healthy eating. You're welcome.


Know why American Tourists tend to overspend when visiting Europe?  It's because everything is priced in Euros instead of American Dollars, and Euros are worth more than American Dollars, so if you don't constantly do the conversion in your head it's easy to con your brain into thinking that everything is cheaper Over There. 

I'm pretty sure that this is the same idea behind Weight Watchers "Point System."  You see, Calories are big scary things that convince people who are paying attention that they should cut back on portion sizes for anything that is at all good-tasting, because all that stuff has a lot of those awful, awful calories.  A milkshake from McDonalds all by itself has over 500 calories.  Have a Big Mac with that milkshake, and that's another 550 calories.  Get a medium bag of fries to top it off, and that's another 320 calories.  So just like that, a quick trip to the Drive Thru for lunch and you've banked 1370 calories for the day. 

BUT, if you calculate that meal using Weight Watchers points, you get much smaller, less imposing numbers:  18 for the Big Mac, 32 for the milkshake, and 10 for the fries.  That's 60 points instead of 1370 calories.  Which one makes you feel better about consuming?

Of course, the problem is that your body couldn't care less if you are counting calories, points, macros, or shadow length of the food you are consuming.  If you're going to eat this crap, is it really better to pretend that it's "not so bad" because hey Weight Watchers says I can have 100 points a day and this is "only" 60 points?  I doubt your doctor would agree.  

Know what Americans also consistently overrate?  The importance of exercise in maintaining a healthy weight.  Exercise has very little to do with weight loss or weight maintenance.  It's great for building a healthy heart and lungs, keeping muscles strong, maintaining flexibility, and all that; it's almost meaningless when it comes to losing weight.  The only thing that really matters if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight is DIET.  Calories in, Calories out.  Or Points in, Points out, if you insist on following some gimmicky plan like Weight Watchers or Noom or Whatever.  You aren't going to sweat away that crap dinner you just shoveled down in your car on the way home from the Drive Thru even if it was "only" 60 points.  More likely you're going to burn off maybe one-fourth of it after a thirty minute run on the treadmill, that is if you even GET to the gym- you'll probably just go home and fall asleep after putting down THAT mess.  

I'm not a doctor or a dietician or a nutritionist and I don't charge for health advice because you get what you pay for.  But I still feel very comfortable in urging everyone not to try to trick their brains into thinking that they can eat "without restriction" all their favorite foods and still lose weight, because if your "favorite foods" include fast food, that stuff is designed to override your natural hunger cues and reprogram it to demand more junk the more you eat.  You can't Point Count your way to health unless you also very carefully police what you eat.  You can't Treadmill your way there, either.   You don't need a fancy, expensive meal plan (or even an App) to make sensible choices about the health of the only body you are ever going to have.  You just need to want it.  Good luck. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

The $5 Taco Bell Breakfast Box is just a really stupid idea


Here's what your five dollars buys you if you hand it to Taco Bell for this box of crap, according to the official Taco Bell website:  A "Grande Toasted Breakfast Burrito" which looks to have ground meat and eggs cooked in grease and wrapped in white bread, hash browns deep-fried in more grease, two "Cinnabon Delights," and "your choice of coffee or a medium fountain drink" (potentially even more calories in the form of sugar and milk.)

So let's see- there's a little protein here, but otherwise pretty much nothing but fat and empty carbohydrates, including sugary ones which are certain to spike your dopamine levels and program your brain to go back for more before lunchtime- hell, you'll be desperate to find a stale doughnut in the breakroom by the time to get to work.  You've given your kidneys a workout (well, at least SOME part of your body got one) and you've accelerated your skin's aging process.  And remember what I just said about dopamine?  Well, guess what- eating those "Cinnabon Delights" condemned you to be crazy-hungry all day long, as well as feeling sluggish and wanting a nap, which just encourages you to reach for more sugar and caffeine just to keep going.  Oh and by the way, unless you plan to run a marathon after work, you're almost certainly going to end the day in a calorie surplus- the box of greasy sugary sludge ranges from 880 to almost 1200 calories depending on how much milk and sugar you take with the coffee, and as I already implied, you've already started out your day by wiring your brain to demand that you keep eating.  

Seems to me that that Poison Breakfast in a Box cost you a lot more than five dollars if it wires your brain to want something similar for lunch and dinner, not to mention the sugary snacks you'll find yourself reaching for because your brain won't turn off the EAT command.  Hard pass on this one.*

*I've still never consumed anything from Taco Bell.  It doesn't look good.  I know it ISN'T good.  So why would I give this place my money?  Why would ANYBODY give this place their money???

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Bell and Howell does it again!*


I appreciate the fact that Bell and Howell doesn't use the words "magic" or "miracle" to describe their little Bug Zapper which Doesn't Zap Bugs device, but I'm still left a bit confused about what I am seeing here.

First, why are these houses so infested with bugs in the first place? They look clean- I don't see overflowing garbage pails or dirty plates sitting around.  What is attracting all these bugs?  Are these houses next to landfills?  

Second, what kills the bugs?  I mean, how do I know that those bugs aren't going to just fly out the moment I open the machine up to "clean" it?  This isn't actually a bug zapper.  The light just attracts the bugs.  It basically just invites the bugs to hang out together in one place instead of bugging you.  How is it "Silent Bug Deadly" (I didn't make that awful pun; the commercial did.)  As far as I know, bugs don't just die of claustrophobia if you trap them in one place.  Sure they'll starve to death eventually, but after how long?  One commenter on a video reviewing this product suggested that the user should tape some fly paper to the bottom- that makes sense, but it also reinforces my idea that this thing just gets bugs out of the way.  It's not "deadly," unless the bugs die of boredom or something.

Third, I'm always suspicious when any As Seen on TV product is described as "whisper quiet."  I'm pretty sure it always means "gives off an audible hum you'll get used to, so get over it you stupid baby." Or maybe "Senior Citizens, who despite what you see in this ad are our target audience, can't hear anything so they won't hear this."  

Fourth, I'm also suspicious that we aren't told how much energy this thing uses.  It's a light AND a fan.  I'm sure it doesn't cripple the electrical grid like those "Dutch" "Fireplaces" do, but if it actually creates a powerful vacuum, I suspect the impact on the bill isn't Nothing. 

*that voice actor sure gets a lot of gigs, doesn't he?  Is there anything he HASN'T tried to sell us?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Know what else Hurts So Good, Pizza Hut? Diabetes. Heart Attacks. Fun stuff like that.


Based on the YouTube comments, nobody seems to really like these commercials featuring an obese man swooning over the latest entry of a diet which consists entirely of garbage take-out "pizza."  They seem to exist to make fun of or downright hate.  I guess it's just another example of there being no such thing as Bad Publicity?

And a question I see asked time and time again in these comment sections is "does he really eat this stuff?"  My first thought is "not likely."  My second is "no, but it's obvious he doesn't feed his body properly, and he doesn't move enough, it's very possible that he does spend a lot of time wearing sweatpants because that's the only thing he's comfortable in."  Which makes it even sadder that this clown has sold out to peddle Pizza Hut's version of Sugary Carbs and Fat in a box.  If he's not in total denial- or has bought in to Fat Activism/Fat Acceptance/Health At Every SizeTM- I wonder what he's thinking as he takes money to encourage viewers to consume this awful, life-shortening junk.  

Friday, May 20, 2022

This Heinz Commercial isn't terrible, but it still bothers me


So this is a nice commercial in that Dad doesn't do what Dads tend to do when kids do something that risks dirtying up their precious cars, instead taking the messiness in stride and enjoying seeing his little daughter being happy with her food in the back seat.  

But, being Me, I still can't help but wonder why the trip to the Drive-Thru didn't just include a stop off in the park so that Daddy and Daughter could have a little face to face time while she's eating that burger.  What's the big hurry that requires this little girl to open ketchup packets while riding in the back seat?  Sure they seem to be having fun, but it seems to me that they aren't having as MUCH fun as they would have if they just took my advice and found a nice place to eat lunch quietly, maybe even have a conversation in the process, instead of this rushed mess-waiting-to-happen.  Slow Down, Dad. You don't have to be glancing at your happy daughter using the rear-view mirror.   Wherever you're going with that kid, it will still be there if you arrive 20 minutes later.   Jeesh. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

MadTV saw this Geico Commercial coming more than a decade ago


This garbage graced my television more than 30 times yesterday during some sportsball event while I was just looking for some background noise while grading essays and writing final exams.  "Noise" turned out to be exactly right- apparently Geico thinks that the only thing it really needs to sell insurance these days is jarringly, obnoxiously loud commercials.   

The current horse being beaten to death is the "our house is perfect except...." bit, which is super stupid as a one-off but downright grating when it's repeated in a dozen or more "different" ways, none of which even hint at the quality of the product being sold.  Thanks again, Geico, for helping me wear out my mute button.

Meanwhile, I thought that there was something about this ad that sounded familiar, and a quick YouTube search proved me Not Quite Insane Yet:  Check out MadTV's use of muppets in a mock Geico ad from the good old days of yesteryear- err, about 2010 or so:

Saturday, May 14, 2022

AT&T commercial featuring Lamelo Lavar, who I guess I'm supposed to know and recognize for some reason...


( I mean, he's "famous," right?)

"You still here?"  

Yeah, that's a phrase that any AT&T customer can relate to.  I imagine that every single one has, at one point while entering Hour Two of Waiting Around for Your Turn to Get Some Help, asked themselves some version of "I'm still here?" or "why am I still here?"  Because in real life, those AT&T employees aren't casually walking up to people who aren't even customers but are just hanging around because there's no place you'd rather be than a crowded, sweaty AT&T store filled with exhausted, stressed, bored customers and underpaid employees.

Oh, and "Employee of the Week?"  That wall is going to be completely covered inside of six months.  Then what?  The store going to find somewhere else to put framed professional photographs of the "employee of the week?"  I seriously doubt it.  "Employee of the Month" doesn't make much sense.  "Employee of the week" is another level of Implausible Stupidity. 

Oh, and I don't care who these people are.  Nor do I care how many YouTube Mouth-breathers "lost it" at the end because LOL OMG SO FUNNY.  This is dumb, dumb dumb and so are you idiots.  

Friday, May 13, 2022

Infinitely Insulting


This song is about a man who is heartbroken because the woman he loves is heading out on her own to explore the world without him.  It's not about a woman driving around in her LookAtMeMobile.  Cripes. 

I'm just hoping that Cat Stevens doesn't have control of this song anymore.  I'd hate to think of him as a sellout of this magnitude. 

And as for you YouTube commenters- I've said it before, I'll say it again:  What the hell is the matter with you people?

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Nobody Out-pizzas the hut when it comes to minimalist advertising


Believe it or not, the "actually it's only ten bucks" sneer is the Official Punchline of this Nothing Commercial for Crappy Pizza.  Well good for you, Mr. Robinson, heaven holds a place for those who pick up a paycheck shilling for life-shortening garbage.  

But if you actually eat this stuff and don't just sell it to the stupid mouth-breathing audience (like that stupid kid who feeds you your cue,) well, sneer and snigger while you can, because your heart isn't going to last much longer.  For it's sake, I hope you just hold and praise this pizza (come to think of it, the pizza itself is barely even mentioned in any of these ads- just it's cost) and don't attempt to consume it, at least not on a regular basis.  Because- and I have to be blunt here- you're going to die soon unless you get that waistline under control.  There's nothing funny about morbid obesity.  A lot about it which is painful and life-shortening, but nothing funny.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Allstate joins the assault on Working from Home


Remember that whole series of nasty, anti-Work from Home commercials Apple dumped on us at the height of the pandemic?  It was called "The Outsiders" and it focused on a group of unmotivated slackers determined to cheat their employer out of productive hours by doing as little work as possible from their home "work stations."  

Well, I guess that Corporate America isn't quite done trashing employees yet, because here's another Lazy Good For Nothing Cheater Living High on the Hog at his Company's Expense commercial, this time from Allstate.  

Look at this guy.  He's got a substantial house with a swimming pool (and a faux Roman statue for decoration, nice subtle touch there, Allstate) which he's enjoying by sunning himself while pretending to be on a Zoom call.  Since he seems to be the host of the call, we can assume he's making more money than any of the other participants, but again, just look at him:  He's not paying any attention to the call.  He's not working.  All he cares about is his tan and his pool and (inexplicably) the fact that he's saving 25% by bundling home and auto insurance with Allstate.  This guy needs to get back to the office where the ceiling cameras can keep an eye on him, am I right?  This is what happens when we let the most productive workers in the world good for nothing slackers "work" from home- they will totally take advantage of their Saintly employers.   You know, like they did during that so-called pandemic that only existed to The Former Guy from his rightful office.

The message is clear:  American workers are worthless unless they are being carefully supervised.  Left to their own devices, they'll cheat the system and smile while doing it.  Working from Home is a necessary evil during lockdowns and all that, but it's time to get back to Normal, which means it's time to get back to rush hours and offices and the 9 to 5 (but keep your phone on before 9 and after 5, there's money to be made after all.)

*for sure, I'm a 25% savings away from having all this.  Sure, I am. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

KFC brings us an overflowing bucket of mmmm....STUPID!


"mmmmm.....I married into a family of mouth-breathers so witless and incapable of thinking about anything other than what is actually in front of their face, I can actually appreciate a few seconds of silence because seriously- if this is what they think about while eating, imagine the pointless drivel that comes pouring out of their mouths when they DO speak."

"I mean, they could at least notice that despite the fact that we all have chicken on our plates, the bucket is overflowing.  But hey, it's a KFC commercial so that's kind of a given, isn't it?"

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Here's another Home Computer Blast from the Past!


Ah, the good old days- when you could sell a computer by showing a kid pretending (badly) to type on a "professional keyboard" (when nobody had a computer at home, and very few people used one at work, what did this mean?  Whatever we want it to mean, of course!) and you could convince probably more than a few people that the system you were selling responded to voice commands (the kid says "ADAM, move that paragraph" while using the keyboard to move it- I bet we were supposed to think that the computer "obeyed" him.)

And that a project "you'll never finish by morning" will get done in approximately 15 seconds because you've got a word processor program which is doing absolutely nothing that can't be done with the electronic typewriter I relied on my freshman year of college- I'm not going to tell you what year that was, but the anniversary is coming up this month and the first number in the Announcement/Request for Donations is "4."  Ugh.

And that a computer which did not have internet access because that wasn't a thing yet but can be used to create a "launch sequence."  Who does this kid think he is, David Lightman?  Gonna play Thermonuclear War next?

At least back then, Lori Laughton was worried about what was legal....