Thursday, May 30, 2024

Where I'll be until June 8- the Westin at Crown Center in Kansas City!


So I'll be off to score Advanced Placement exams for the 16th straight year (well, I've scored them for 16 years, but for reasons I don't care to get into I did it online for two straight years a while back.  2020 and 2021 to be exact.  You'll figure it out.)

And this year we have a new city as our host.  From 2008 through 2016 we were in Louisville Kentucky, then in 2017 we were in Tampa, then back to Louisville, for one year, then Tampa again, then online scoring, then Tampa again, and now Kansas City.  I've never been to KC but I'll be arriving pretty early on Saturday morning and hope to catch a few of the sites, maybe take a trip to the Truman Library (the World War I museum is staying open late for us on Wednesday so I will cross that off the list later.)  A Royals game is a possibility next Friday, we'll see.  

My hotel is a full mile from the convention center where I'll be working from 8 to 5 for seven straight days, giving every essay that shows up on my laptop a fair and honest read to the best of my ability.  So it will be easier than ever to get my steps in, and I expect to complete the annual "Lazy Marathon" in record time this year...

See you when I get back- until then, enjoy the archives and click a few ads if you want to contribute!  I should get SOME benefit out of commercials, after all!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Remember this when ESPN is reporting the huge gambling scandal in sports in 3....2....1....


This is the top "story" on ESPN's NBA page leading up to tonight's Timberwolves-Mavericks game-  A podcast on how to optimize your bets on the game.

Hey ESPN, look up the word "complicit."  Then memorize the definition.

This is not going to end well.  I'm just waiting for the Pikachu faces when it all blows up.  

Despicable Me 4, Volkswagen, and another Crap Crossover ad nobody asked for.


There are crossovers, and there are crossovers....we've seen the Lorax used to sell Denny's (or was it IHOP?  I don't actually remember, even though I made a post about it at the time.)  Star Wars used to sell some other truck.  Deadpool used to sell Slurpees.  And so it goes.

Then there is this ad, featuring the characters from a cute little movie that turned into a megahit way back in 2010 with a heartwarming little story that parents and kids could both appreciate.  Remember those innocent days, before Illumination decided to take the minion characters and turn them into the most god-awful obnoxious franchise since Ever?  We've had something like six movies which have become more and more minion-centered as they've regressed, including one that was simply entitled "Minions" and was entirely about, well, you know.

I don't want to see any more of these movies (I saw the first two.  Thought the first one was sweet.  Thought the second one was totally unnecessary and dumb.  And now I'm done, because I value my brain cells.)  I don't want to see them at the theater, and I sure as hell don't want to see them on my TV witlessly pitching Volkswagen as if Gru doesn't already have a very cool, three-story high car with a rocket propulsion system (see, I can still remember the first movie.)  Just...stop this.  Please.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Your Second Chance- More Morgan Silver Dollars have been discovered! Again!


Hey look the good people at Morgan Collectible Garbage have located another 3,485 of those Amazingly Rare sort-of-silver coins that have some silver which they've been telling us are practically non-existent and are willing to part with them for only about three times what they are actually worth, plus shipping and handling.  What a steal.*

Let's look at a cheesy "guard" opening the gate to a cheesy "vault" filled with what look like money bags from an episode of the old Superman show while the narrator says something about the U.S. Government and the confiscation and destruction of more silver than has ever existed in nature in order to con silly old people into parting with actual money for these trinkets.  Now let's look at a few graphs showing the rising value of silver because that's totally not a non-sequitur considering that there's almost no silver in these silver dollars.  

Let's wrap up by pointing out that you get a really cool display case with each coin that will look great on the bookshelf when your adult kids come over, see it, roll their eyes and start that old argument about how you really need to sign those Power of Attorney papers before you donate your 401(k) to Peter Popoff or Donald Trump or whoever is trying to convince you that Bored Ape NFTs are a great investment opportunity.  

Friday, May 24, 2024

Go Plate is Disarmingly Stupid


I know that all of these Not Available in Stores product commercials have to show people being incredibly inconvenienced by entirely trivial situations- after all, if we actually NEEDED any of this stuff, it would have been invented decades ago-but there's something positively delightful about seeing people having what looks like seizures caused by needing to hold a paper plate overloaded with food.  Seriously, is this a problem that anyone considers so serious that they'd rather walk around with a plate of food impaled by a bottle?  You still need to stop eating if you want to take a drink (I really wanted to see at least one kid dump that food all over himself when he forgot that his bottle was holding the plate and he just titled the whole thing toward his mouth.)  

But hey, it made some old guy's tailgating experience the greatest ever, so there is that.  Let's toast the Amazing Dumbness that is the Go Plate.  Just don't forget to take the thing off the bottle first. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Legxercise is another Only on TV piece of Dumb


"Have you ever had legs?  How about feet?  Then you need this product to deal with those problems."  Ok then.

"The movement provided by the Legxersize moves the stagnant blood from your feet back to your heart..." and that's a good thing?  I want stagnant blood in my heart?  Why?

If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, sitting on a couch, sitting on a chair- in short, not using those legs and feet which are the focus of this ridiculous non-exercise exercise device, I guess it's a good idea to try to keep those feet and legs moving just a little bit to prevent clotting.  But all you really need is a tennis ball in a shoebox- just roll the ball around with your foot as you sit.  There, I just saved you however much money this dumb piece of junk costs.  Even the shipping is free.   You're welcome. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

CarShield is the Biggest Scam that does not involve a Gambling App


So the whole Law and Order tie-in is NOT a desperate cash-grab by two minor celebrities who see their careers coming to a swift end.  It's a way of making a super-clever point about it being a "crime" to pay for car repairs because you didn't listen to Vivica Fox and Tracy Marrow and buy the non-insurance the pitch in their ads.  Got it. 

And how exactly does the whole CarShield business model make it such a reprehensible scam?  Let us count the ways:

1.  The ads manipulate language to tell the listeners what CarShield wants them to hear but not what CarShield does NOT want them to hear but which covers their butt legally.  We hear over and over again how "covered repairs will be covered" and buyers of CarShield "will never pay for covered repairs again."  Well, no duh.  But thousands of people will ignore the word "covered" and just hear "repairs" and "never pay."  And if viewers of limited means aren't already anxious enough, 

2.  The ads play on the economic insecurity of their audience.  Every time you turn the key, you might hear a strange noise that means that you are about to spend $$$$ you don't have on the thing that you need to get you to your job and make money and pay the bills.  Every time you go out on the road, you run the risk of sustaining damage to your car that you can't pay for and that's the ball game, your whole life has been turned upside down and you are basically screwed.  So here are a bunch of people with first names and single initials for last names to tell you how much they "saved" by getting CarShield.  Which leads us to...

3.  CarShield never tells us the price of their "service," because they don't want viewers to factor that in to the risk of having to pay for a car repair.  A "basic" CarShield contract will run you $100 a month.  You can get "gold"-level coverage for $140 a month.  Remember, this is for a WARRANTY.  It is not INSURANCE, which you still have to pay for separately, hopefully from a company that is not run by con artists like CarShield.  So let's pretend that there really is a guy out there who had a $2K car repair actually covered by his CarShield Warranty.  He certainly had the "gold" membership.  But if he paid the premiums on that policy for more than fifteen months, that warranty cost him more than the repair would have.  $140 a month placed in a bank account for fifteen months would have netted him a $100 surplus after paying for that repair out of pocket.  Oh, but what if he needed the repair after SIX months?  Well, that still would only save him $1160, not $2k.  But this is all a moot point, because....

4.  CarShield's thirty-page warranty agreement- which I'm guessing nobody reads- is chock-full of legalese which explains to the customer why they shouldn't even bother calling when they want to file a claim (I've heard stories from people who can't get anyone on the line for "24/7" towing service, or if they can, are told to pay out of pocket and "file for a refund.")  CarShield is very good at using phrases like "engine repair" while excluding specific parts which are needed to effect engine repair.  It's the reason why many mechanics refuse to accept CarShield (and why CarShield is actually BANNED in some states, like California.)  It's deceptive but legal because it's right there in paragraph 4 of page 22 Sorry You Didn't Read It Sorry No Refunds. 

Look, extended warranties- which is what CarShield, HomeShield, etc. etc. offer- are all scams.  Every one of them.  This is just maybe the very worst because it doesn't target homeowners who probably have a bit of financial leeway because after all they own a house.  I'm quite certain that the vast majority of customers drawn in by these disgusting ads are renters, minimum-wage workers, single parents and elderly people on fixed incomes.  They can't afford your non-product, CarShield.  Stop taking advantage of loopholes in our ridiculously lax Truth in Advertising Laws.  Or just keep paving that road to hell, where if there IS a god you'll be joined by Big Gambling when your time comes.  

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Domino's "Emergency Pizza" Offer for when life is a mild struggle for several consecutive seconds.


This guy lives in an enormous house with an enormous kitchen and has purchased all the ingredients he needs to make himself a pizza.  But he experiences a few seconds of inconvenience trying to get the jar of sauce open, so....all that planning gets tossed aside in favor of hitting the Dominos Pizza App on his phone and just getting a generic pile of bland warm garbage delivered to his house instead.

Why was this guy even trying to make his own pizza if he already had the Dominos App?  Did he get the notion that he might actually like to eat a real pizza with actual flavor?  Does he have a significant other who asked him to please please please just COOK something for once instead of greeting him/her/they/zee/zir/dragonself/whatthef-ever with another delightful delivery bag of processed overpriced junk when (insert pronoun here) walks through the door?  And this is the level of effort this guy is willing to make?  Ten seconds with a jar?

What is he going to do with all those ingredients now?  Do they just go into the trash can?  Lesson learned- preparing your own food is a waste of time and anti-Capitalism anyway so don't do it, let Big Engineered Food do the work?  Ok then...

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Inevitable Downfall of Professional Sports is right around the corner


In 1994, baseball took a major hit in popularity after its second major player's strike in just over a decade.  Ironically, it took a steroid-fueled home run race to bring the game back into the public consciousness.  The subsequent doping issue ruined a number of careers and will keep several of the players at the top of the home run record list out of the Hall of Fame (Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro...none of these guys are getting in, ever.)

Baseball survived the Black Sox gambling scandal of 1919, probably because it had such limited competition in the world of entertainment and because it seemed to involve only one team.  

Today, gambling has become the financial driver of televised sports.  Entire pre and post-game programs are sponsored exclusively by gambling programs- FanDuel, SportsKings, etc.  ESPN scrolls the odds for pretty much every event almost 24/7.  Gambling takes up at least as much of the ad space as alcohol, cars and medications for skin conditions and diabetes.  It's a multi-billion dollar industry fueled by an addictive behavior sold to the audience by the most familiar faces in Hollywood and sports itself (David Ortiz, what the hell are you doing shilling this crap?)

Let's be real here.  It's only a matter of time before this house of cards comes crashing down with "shocking" news of point-shaving, phantom injuries, bizarre, game-changing plays, mysterious umpire and referee calls, etc.   It's only a matter of time before a major scandal We Couldn't See Coming Because We Didn't Want To tars all of professional sports to the point that it can't recover and becomes attractive only to people who like their games as scripted as professional wrestling. 

Professional Sports has sold its soul to the drug of unlimited money flowing from the pockets of addicts.  Unless the Feds step in and ban gambling apps and the sponsorship of professional sports by gambling houses, the crash is coming, and this time, I don't think pro sports recovers.  I think it really will be the end this time.  There are just too many non-sports entertainment options out there now.  

Pro sports had a great run, but there are only so many times it can sabotage itself for quick profits before it finally kills off that golden goose.  Gambling WILL be the destruction of professional sports.  Bet on it. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Let's be honest, FanDuel....


1.  You did not want to make this ad.  You'd much rather put that money into paying Kevin Hart and Jamie Foxx and ESPN hosts to blather about how SuperAwesomeAmazingFunAndEasy gambling on sporting events is.  A "system?"  Yeah, the only system you're interested in is the one that provides the App and takes the money.  

2.  "I set up a one hour a week time limit on FanDuel."  First, you have to set this up- it's not the default.  The default is to stay on as long as you want.  And what happens if you want to go beyond that time limit?  Is it just a matter of turning it off like the "Do Not Disturb" option on your phone.  I'll give you +400 that it is.  That's a joke.

Is an hour a week a long time to be spending making bets?  Isn't the whole program super-easy to navigate?  If you decide how you want to bet in advance, it seems to me that an hour means a lot of placing of a lot of bets.

3.  "I set limits so I only bet what I can afford."  Yeah, right.  Who decides what a gambling addict "can afford?"  Isn't this like trusting a drunk to limit his alcohol consumption?  How many smokers successfully "limit" themselves to a certain number of cigarettes per day?  And again- how powerful is the "lock" an individual places on his maximum?  Is that "limit" just a swipe away from vanishing when the itch becomes too strong not to scratch?

And the image of two men who obviously live in substantial suburban homes, obviously intended to send the message that gambling is something that financially stable, SUCCESSFUL guys do with no impact on their financial stability...ok then.

Come on, FanDuel.  There's no safe level of heroin intake.  You can't play Russian Roulette "in moderation."  The only "safety feature" you can add to your phone is one that prevents gambling apps from being downloaded.  Like Thermonuclear War, the only winning move is....not to play. 

This Marcos Pizza Commercial offers free delivery with a side of diabetes.


Lady, you should be thinking of Macros, not Marcos.  The last thing you need is another evening of sitting on your couch eating yourself into a carbohydrate coma with cheap delivery pizza.  How about hitting the gym before eating a meal made up mostly of protein (and no, the cheese on the pizza doesn't count as protein?)  In short, a healthy diet and exercise should be the only "routine" you should be working on.  Pizza delivered to your couch should not be a "routine" for ANYBODY.

And buddy?  If you really care for this woman, stop being her enabler and encourage her to take steps that will lead her to living a healthier, happier and longer life.  Start by deleting the Marco's Pizza app from your phone.  And all the fast-food delivery service apps from your phone.  You'll both thank me later. 

Saturday, May 11, 2024

The story that Jardiance has to tell.... the story of America itself.  We are a fat, lazy, stupid people who spend way, way too much time sitting on our ample backsides staring at screens (even at home, where our number one activity is to watch other people do things on television or our laptops) and then complaining that we "don't have time" to eat healthy.

Look at this commercial again.  Every single person in it is overweight.  The women who are not morbidly obese are certainly Overweight according to the Evil Evil Racist Body Mass Index.  The men all have pot bellies, which means they are considered "straight sized" and probably pass as "slim" in most communities today.   But if you compare this to an office scene captured on tape in the 1970s, you'd see the difference is pretty damn stark.  Fat is now Normal.  And it's not a problem to be solved with a healthy diet and exercise, but with a little pill with a "great big story to tell."  Um, ok then. 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

This depressing Swiffer Commercial


I see a lot of people commenting how much they like the vibe of this ad; the infectious smile of this girl, her energy as she moves from room to room with her favorite cleaning utensil, the way her eyes widen in amazement as she notes how much of her hair she picked up this time....

Me being Me, I'm more concerned that this woman is losing so much of her hair every freaking time washes and dries it.  What kind of drugs is she on that is making this much hair loss a common thing for her?  Is she literally yanking it out with the towel?  Also, if I lost anywhere near as much hair as this woman did I sure as heck wouldn't pick BLINDING WHITE as my house's color scheme.

One more thing- for chrissakes lady, go out and make some friends.  There's more to life than dusting.  You enjoy this way too much.  Get some help.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

A Blast from the Past with this thoroughly out of date Heineken Commercial


I'm sorry, but who the hell meets a blind date at their OWN APARTMENT?  This woman seems pretty cute (if prone to snap judgments and indecisiveness.)  She can find guys out in the Real World.  But she not only agrees to a blind date, but she gives the guy her address, has him show up at her place, and immediately offers him a beer- isn't he going to take her out to dinner?  Holy crap, did she make him dinner, too?  What is going on here?  Is this woman still single?  How do I get her to call me?

Who is the male ad writer who came up with this fantasy nonsense?  There are very good reasons why none of this happens in real life.  For one thing, it simply shouldn't.  How STUPID would a woman have to be to have a blind date meet her at her apartment instead of a public place, and instantly offer him alcohol instead of heading out the door?  Is this woman's biological clock ticking THAT loudly?

What is the plan for tonight?  Sit around the apartment, talk and drink beer?  That's a nice activity when you've established yourselves as a couple.  Except for the talking part, it's remarkably like being married.  But a FIRST DATE?  This woman is dressed to the nines, too.  Who is she trying to impress?  Her cat?  

What happens if the date goes badly?  How does she get rid of this guy?  He's already in your place.  He's already got alcohol in you- thanks to your own situational blindless and almost criminal naivete. Even if he leaves quietly, he knows where you live now.  NOTHING about this situation comes off as something arranged by a mature, sensible adult female.  Yet she's trying to decide if he is worthy of the "good" beer in the fridge.  And that's another thing- who are the other two beers for?  Is she doing this again later tonight?  Does she have already have a boyfriend who is out for the night that she's cheating on?  


Saturday, May 4, 2024

This ridiculous Loan Depot Commercial....


I'm sorry, but listening to this guy wax poetic about "his music" and "his home" and "his life" as he waltzes around what looks to be a million-dollar loft apartment in downtown Manhattan is just a little too much for me.  I've seriously never cared less about anyone in my entire life,*  but I guess that works out ok, because when this guy gets done there's really no room for anyone else to care about him, anyway.

Loan Depot is best known for selling adjustable-rate mortgages (they make up the majority of the $1.8 billion in business they did in the housing market last year.)  They are also noteworthy for giving their CEO a $42 million dollar bonus a few years back.  Their customer base tends to be people with less than stellar credit ratings who are willing to sign on the dotted line to pay very high-interest mortgage payments forever rather than live within their means in apartments which may NOT have 360 degree views of the Manhattan skyline.  

Back to this idiot- man, I wish I could adequately describe how very little I give a flying damn about your freaking music and your plants and wish you'd just grow up and accept the reality of being an adult and maintaining a sustainable budget instead of placing yourself in a situation where you'll be demanding debt relief inside of a year or two.  Hate to tell you this, but our government only bails out banks, not people.  When you and your plants and your albums get tossed on to the sidewalk, Loan Depot will flip that apartment, maybe even handing it off to someone who can afford it.  You can move your crap back in to mommy's basement; hope there's room for you to frolic in front of the washer-dryer if you can work up the enthusiasm.  No, I don't.  

*this sentiment may change the next time The New York Times publishes an article about a young performance artist struggling to find a condo for under $1.5 million in the Right Neighborhood.  I will probably care about that person's "problem" even less. 

Friday, May 3, 2024

This Dupixent Commercial gives me the creeps.


Nothing may be more important to these little girls than clearer skin, but I suspect that their skin condition takes a back seat to $$$ that can be made in exploiting these little girls when it comes to their parents.  

Am I wrong, or is there something very, very disturbing about the use of scantily-clad minor girls in commercials for drugs which carry significant risk of severe side effects, or drugs in general, or ANYTHING IN GENERAL?