Thursday, January 31, 2008

Louisiana Trailer Trash Train Wreck Tops News

This is what matters. This is what we care about. This gets top billing this afternoon on Google News.

What we need in this country is a bone-jarring, teeth-rattling facepunch.

What? That's a UK paper's photo? OK. Then they need one too.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No Free Ride for Car Dealers

They’ve likely ripped you off by a few thousand dollars, and yet you allow them to stick some ugly nameplate on your car as you drive off the lot. At the very least, they try to mount a tacky black plastic license plate frame to the rear end, complete with the dealer's URL and phone numbers. Or vinyl lettering. Whatever. And off you go, advertising this dealer for free everywhere you drive.

Unless you work there, or have a friend or relative who works there, or in the unlikely case that you really did enjoy your purchase experience so much that you want everyone to know about your friends the car dealers, why are you offering your vehicle up as this dealer's rolling outdoor signage?

Insist that if your vehicle is to carry one of these, you expect to be compensated. Otherwise, make them take it off.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Half Off! Super Bargain Basement Price!

This one won't last! 13 bedrooms, 10 full baths, 12 fireplaces! Lighted tennis court, pool with pool house, stables, movie theatre and so much more.

Located on 6 beautifully manicured acres in the highly sought-after community of McLean, Virginia, this stunning colonial, perfect for entertaining, was originally offered at $25 million in 2003. The housing market’s downturn is your good fortune, as the price is now reduced to just $12.5 million. Take a tour now!

Disclaimer: Previous two owners were assassinated.

The recent media giant group mutiple orgasm over Ted Kennedy’s endorsement, crowning and genuflecting before Jesus Obama is what led me to stumble upon this as I was taking a quick refresher course in Kennedology.

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Get Out of My Face, McCain

I can’t visit a website, turn on the TV or listen to the radio without being slapped with another John McCain ad. (Even Australian news sites pick up that I am visiting from Florida and serve me McCain banners.) Thankfully, this will all end tomorrow as the candidates leave Florida to go blitz and blast another state with carefully selected talking points, spin and out-and-out lies.

It’s considered bad form to say anything negative about McCain, what with the whole prisoner of war history they remind us of all the time. He’s the “maverick,” the “straight talker.” If you do say anything bad about McCain, you’re required to preface it with praise and respect. “I respect John’s patriotism and his service to this country, however, I think the record will clearly show that my good friend Senator McCain is a pandering dick, a liar and a punk.”

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Where Women Glow and Men Plunder

Tired of the petty politics, celebrity obsession, rampant crime and general malaise of your home country? Australia may be just the place you've been dreaming of. Sure, we have our own idiots to deal with, but all in all, we're not bad.

Wide open spaces, cool cities, nice weather and decent people. Yes, you’ll have to get used to a few differences, like summer being winter and vice versa. We also drive on the left side of the road, but it's not that big of a deal after you've done it for a day. As for the sinks draining in the opposite direction, that's a myth. Crocodile Dundee is a stereotype, so don't expect to see guys like that. Also, Outback Steakhouse is not a fair representation of our country.

You're welcome to visit, of course, but we’re looking for skilled, hard-working types who want to make a new life in a country that hasn't yet been completely screwed up by American culture. Visit the Australian Department of Immigration to find out more.

For a few years now, I've been romanticizing life Down Under. I've read some books and regularly visit some Aussie sites. It gets nicer looking every day. Personally, I've got the city of Adelaide in mind. This kind of wanderlust is common in a global economy. My next door neighbors are from England. (He helps build missiles for Lockheed/Martin.) One of the proofreaders here at work is a native Londoner. Sometimes, the grass just looks greener.

For a good primer on Australia for the American, check out Bill Bryson's book In a Sunburned Country.

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Hit Her Harder, Please

Click for offensive, larger view

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

One Family's Ruin is Your Opportunity!

My generous local paper's website, alllowing me to search foreclosure listings for FREE! (I went there trying to grab a screenshot of a banner ad in which they failed to Photoshop out the iStockPhoto watermark from the picture they stole. I mean, we've all done it, right? But most of us know to hide the watermark.)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

15 Out of 15 Dairy Queen Customers are White

(And so is the lone guy working the store.) At least that was the case in 1960. On second thought, that might be Obama serving ice cream inside the DQ.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Plan59, a great site of ancient advertising art. Laggard that I am, I only recently found it and spent too long perusing today when I was supposed to be crafting compelling copy. After viewing way too many images, I think I counted one person of color. He was a train porter serving Coca-Cola to a white family.

The site does remind you, however, that at one time (pre-Photoshop) being a "commercial artist" meant that you actually had to have some artistic skills.

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Cynical Graffiti

Stereo surround and DVR, a six-foot screen
Send a geek on call for the custom install
And while you’re at it – keep it green

Two sunroofs are better than one in a leased SUV
300 horse (professional driver, closed course)
and the headrests play DVDs

You’re leaving the casino with you’re-not-sure-who
Blame your restless leg meds for those thoughts in your head
Side effects make you gamble and screw

Trade some stocks on the road from your musical phone
Down a vitamin water and text your daughter
She’s on MySpace so she’s never alone

What’s in your wallet? Can you hear me now?
Shift it, rearrange it, you're the agent who can change it
Making sure it’s got plenty of “wow”

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New York Giants

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I Take it Back - A Little

I guess I've been a little bit mean to Harley Davidson on this blog in the past (hoping in vain that Indian Motorcycles would get their act together up in North Carolina) but this new cycle from HD turned my head.

Susan Carpenter, writing in the LA Times, says it very well: "...the 2008 Softail Cross Bones, a bike that spins back the hands of time to an era when Harleys weren't ridden by dentists."

But if I ever buy one (unlikely), I'll make sure the dealership paints it flat black, with no Harley logo.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

He Was a Preacher Before Anything Else

You won't hear this message invoked today. We seem to want to remember only the nice things King said, while ignoring his warnings. If a national figure were to utter these sentiments today, he'd be labeled a crazy, evangelical Bible-thumper and cast aside as irrelevant. But rest assured, everyone will be honoring the memory of (Rev.) Dr. King today with lip service, conveniently forgetting some of the harder things he had to say.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mommy, There's a Man in My Pants

"I know, sweetie! And I've got a masseuse on my boob."

Club Med is doing some weird stuff these days.

"Let's wash out the mom and kid's clothes and put scenes of vacationing people on them!"

click for bigness

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Bucket List Sucks

At least that's what all the critics are saying. I could've told you that without seeing it.

Premise: Two old guys have terminal illnesses and go off on a world tour to do things they want to do before they kick the bucket.

Starring: Two overrated old actors.

Lemme Guess: Jack Nicholson plays a grizzled smartass who thinks he's a ladies man? And Morgan Freeman plays a wise old soul who teaches the rich, shallow man a thing or two about life? And Morgan Freeman will do a voiceover to help the crappy script along? Will madcap highjinx ensue? Will there be black/white bonding, life lessons, attempts to jerk tears?

And here's Morgan Freeman before he made it big, in an ad for Listerine, using as its unique selling proposition, "It tastes like hell, so it must be good."

There are more "Before they made it big" ads featuring other actors over at Cracked Magazine.

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Rockin' Rockstars Rockin' a Startup

I could lose my lunch over this if I'd eaten lunch yet. Everyone's favorite Social Media House of Bullshit, Pay Per Post, is showing Episode 10 of their little in-house series called "Rockstartup." It's probably old, as stupid ideas like this almost always end up in the "tried it for a time and gave up on it" pile. Go watch now.

Thrill to the trials of the site going down as the "Code Ninjas" work feverishly to fix it. Listen with awe as Ted, the founder, shows you what a cool guy he is because he doesn't have an office and "wants to get the pulse" of the operation by being "out on the floor with the team." I've never seen a company try so hard to be so cool. Rockstartup? Pardon me while I projectile vomit.

Read some of the hip, irreverent language on the website. Stuff like, "Do you eat, sleep, and breathe the Internet and social media? If so you may be the right person for a rewarding career with the most creative group of disrupters out there." Disrupters? Wrong. You've got a business model that rewards fake blog postings for companies that in all likelihood just plain suck. How do I know they suck? They went to you to get people to write fake blog postings about them!

Orlando-based Pay Per Post says "Get Paid to Blog About the Things You Love." That's a lie. You get paid to blog about things you've never heard of, to the tune of about $5. You are paid to create tags and "awareness" for something you've likely never used.

In that sense, yes, I guess Pay Per Post is a group of disrupters. They are making blogging a whore's domain. And they are the pimps.

Real, trustworthy blogging about products and services is unpaid. It happens when a consumer actually uses a thing and likes it or hates it. Then they write about it on their blog. For instance, Fred Leo recently got screwed by Panasonic and writes about it.

Here's another example. I use the Senseo coffee maker. Senseo is awesome. It makes a great cup of coffee. It is fast, efficient and unlike any coffee maker I have ever used. I bought one for my parents. I encourage everyone who enjoys coffee to get one. They are available everywhere. They are affordable and you will actually like your home made coffee again. Here is a picture of a cup of coffee brewed this morning with the Senseo. Look at that frothy goodness. It is wonderful. Get a Senseo now.
Nobody needs to hand me $5 to write that. It is a real testimonial (written in a fake Pay Per Post way) about something I use and enjoy. And Senseo will never have to use a service like Pay Per Post's because Senseo has a decent product that people like and talk about.

"Social Media" can't be "monetized" in this way. When you are paying people to create fake testimonials, you instantly lose any credibility for your company.

I really want to see all these social media parasites, gurus, hucksters, evangelists, snakes, sharks, weasels, rats, dogs and rockstars crushed in the coming crash.

Previously in "I Hate This Business Model."

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And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood

Here in Central Florida, we get people from everywhere. They come on vacation to see the Mouse, and they say, "Nice weather. We should live here." When they arrive, they never quite let go of the places they came from. New Yorkers will tell you all day long what a shithole Florida is while extolling the virtues of Brooklyn or Queens. Puerto Ricans, Britons and Russians display their national flags on their cars. On my street during college football season, I can find the flags of Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Boston College flying on porches. At the local park on any given weekend, I can watch a Dominican soccer team play a bunch of pink-faced Germans in a friendly match of national pride. Even in that loose, pick-up, amateur league, you will find the players shaking hands at game's end.

This is a transient area, a microcosm of the Great Melting Pot, where every color, country and 49 others states are represented in a simmering stew. And just like every other area that boasts a Chinatown or a Little Italy or a Spanish Harlem, we manage to get along. We're Americans first, but we're not about to let go of the places we truly think of as "home."

That said, this is my 619th blog post. 619 is an area code in San Diego. Go Chargers.

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A Guide To Cruiseology

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV has been the subject of many a blog these days. I finally got around to seeing the video that will officially kill his career (we can hope) on Gawker.

It's confusing, disturbing and should do more to drive people away from Scientology than anything else. MTV has a great glossary to help you decode many of Mapother's words.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Locals Only - Round Up The Dentists

Part VIII in a series of reviews of very local advertising.

It's time to put a stop to dentists using the Cowboy Molar as a mascot. It wasn't effective/funny/cute in 1985, and it's ten times less so now.

Previously in Locals Only

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Redesigning the US Flag

I grew up in a very patriotic household, and flag respect was taught at an early age. For example, “If the flag touches the ground it is required that we burn it,” or “The flag will never be flown at night unless it is illuminated,” and “The flag shall not be worn as a bandana, t-shirt or any other article of clothing.” (And those were Mom's rules. Dad's were even more stringent.) But even with all that built-in respect, I find that I hate the American flag.

Now, before you get your patriotic panties all in a wad, allow me to clarify: I think the design of the US flag is hideous. It’s the world’s most tasteless and gaudy flag design. What were they thinking when they came up with this thing? Besides the fact that it is “star spangled” (the gayest term ever) it’s also off balance. In some instances it can actually look like it’s being displayed backward. We’re accustomed to seeing the blue part on the left, but when it’s on the right sleeve, or on the right side of an airplane, the blue is on the right. (The reason they do this is that the flag must never look like it is in retreat; it is always displayed moving forward, as into battle.) And what happens if we add more states some day? We gonna make room for more stars in the blue field? Stupid idea to add stars every time you add a state. And thirteen red and white stripes? Dumb. Looks like peppermint.

So, let’s fix it. I’m calling for entries. Send them to jetpacks(at)gmail(dot)com. Here’s mine.

Dad weighs in. "uh oh .....touchy subject! I would imagine you'll get some responses! Personally I like the design...maybe because I grew up with it...but I think it's the best looking flag out there. And adding a star for a state? That's dynamic! "

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Cold Country Wheat Farmer Recruiting

1911, London

"I'm here to see Mr. J. Obed Smith about emigrating to Canada."
"I'm Mr. Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Emigration. Do you farm, young man?"
"No, sir. I'm a cobbler's apprentice."
"No future in cobbling, son. None at all."
"That's what my girl said when she left me."
"Girls love a wheat farmer, and that's a fact. We'll teach you to farm."
"What's Canada like, sir?"
"Beautiful country, my boy. Mild climate, and 100 women to every man."

Found at AdClassix.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Memory's a Little Cloudy

As advertisers, we are supposed to evoke moods, stir feelings and create scenes. If it were possible, I’d be happy to do that without ever having to include a call to action.

The weather reminds me of other places and times. This morning before dawn, the street was wet, the air was mild, and there was a steady wind high in the trees. The cloud ceiling was high but dark, a night storm drifting away. I was transported to Northern Virginia, where I delivered The Washington Post as a kid. I remembered having to hold a paper in front of my face in the summer months to cut through the spider webs that had gathered overnight under the trees in the yards.
Earlier this month, the air was brisk and clean, with no trace of humidity. There was just enough sun to keep me from feeling cold. If I closed my eyes, I was in the mountains of Southern California, high above the smog of the city, on the winding road that cuts through the Cuyamacas on the way to Julian.

A certain degree of sun mixed with a chill in the air will take me to Southern New York, where on the lush lawns of the parks of West Point, I’d watch the barges and small sailboats move up and down the Hudson.

Sunny, breezy and warm is springtime in West Texas. Cloudy, windy and cold is a Southern Missouri autumn.

My memories of these places appear in my mind as Photoshop documents, layered, saturated and brilliantly contrasted. The backgrounds are as clear as the foregrounds, with every green vivid and every blue deep, some sort of postcard from the past. In these documents, all is well with the world, be the image rainy and cold or balmy and bright. Any remembrance of personal trouble or world upheaval at the time is erased. It’s the weather that always opens the document, memory triggered by some subtle change in atmosphere.

It's not a real world; just a pleasant place to visit with eyes closed and a deep breath. Much like the worlds we create as advertisers.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Richard Head - VP of Something

Those who know him call him "Dick."

If you run your mouse over it with your hand and then click, it will grow larger. Yes, that's the way. Yes. Nice.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spots That Make You Go, "Uh..."

I enjoy a nice cold Kirin beer if I'm at the sushi bar. As they say, "When in Tokyo." (It's got a slight pear aroma with a sweet, smooth not-too-heavy draw. And I have no idea what that means, but it seems apt.)

This commercial, while well done, (and likely lost on me as I do not hablo Japonés) seems to be trying to strum a thousand different heart strings at once. I count: family, working man, youth, generational divide, culture, society, beauty, striving and longing - at least. Any interpretations that might shed light are welcome.

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The Similarities are Striking

  • Both are recognized dynasties
  • Both are often referred to as “machines”
  • Both have been accused of cheating
  • Both crush opponents without mercy
  • Both are hated by more people than support them
  • Both are considered inevitable winners
  • Both are robotic and mechanical
  • The defeat of either would prompt spontaneous nationwide partying
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    Who Said This?

    "We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient–that we are only six percent of the world's population–that we cannot impose our will upon the other ninety-four percent of mankind–that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity–and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem."

    A. Some crazy isolationist
    B. Some wimpy politician
    C. Some socialist dictator

    For the answer, click here.

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    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Let the National Puking Begin

    I may have to stop paying attention to this crap. I will lose my mind before we pick a new leader.

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    And You'll Only Drink Milk From a Christian Cow

    You should never judge a book by its cover, but you’ll be expecting others to do just that in your new job as Packaging Manager for Thomas Nelson Books.

    This is an ideal job for a junior designer who wants to live in Nashville. “1-3 years working in the commercial art industry or recent art school graduate with strong student portfolio may apply.”

    You’ll be designing book jackets, which could be kind of fun, I’d think. A couple of your duties:
  • Sets creative and conceptual tone of book covers for multiple SPUs.
  • Oversees creative direction and execution of final cover design (including copywriting).
  • Interested? See here.

    Oh, what they don’t tell you is that Thomas Nelson is an “inspirational” book publisher, so you’ll be marketing your books to an exclusively Christian audience. You will also likely not get hired if you don't share the company's "core values."

    Christians in this country long ago abandoned their savior’s directives. They started marketing to one another instead. Moneychangers in the temple. Booksellers in the foyer.

    As I’ve said before, Christians have their own books, bookstores, radio stations, music, TV stations, programs, movies, magazines, theme parks and yellow pages. Now you can be their own book jacket designer.

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    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    If This Van's Rockin

    This is from late last year, but I love the concept. Old 70s airbrushed van art comes to life. You've got Viking guy, tiger-riding lady with a giant afro, unicorn-riding princess, and wizard in a crazy airbrushed old-school animation for Honda Odyssey's "Respect the Van" campaign. From agency RPA. The animation was created by Nylon Motion.

    These were the kinds of vans that you saw on the street as a child and knew to steer clear of, because only drug dealers or child molesters would drive such things.

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    Recyclable Paper Plates!

    Winner: Most Misleading Packaging and Product Naming

    "Nature's Own." "Green Label." And the kicker, "Made from 100% Paper, A Renewable Natural Resource."

    This is almost as bad as the 400 pound man who owns a car dealership and can therefore call himself "The world's largest Chevy dealer."

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    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Go Climb a Tree

    This was the beginning of bringing kids indoors to simulate playing games they should've been playing outside. The spot opens with OJ. And thankfully, no one names their kid "Harvey" anymore. While the spot ends with the claim "Endorsed by your favorite pro stars and teams," they weren't allowed to include team insignias on the helmets in the opening.

    I know most of the country will be rooting for the Indianapolis Mannings this weekend, but I've got my money here. (Love this old school crest with the cartoon crazy horse drawn in art therapy by a demon-possessed child suffering from a high fever.)

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    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    The Difference Between You and Keith Olbermann that you are probably a decent, tolerable, tolerant person who doesn't pretend to walk on water, nor do you think you are the country's King Maker. Also, your hair is not pin-striped.

    From Wikipedia: A pundit is someone who offers mass-media opinion, analysis or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically political analysis, the social sciences or sport), on which they are presumed to be knowledgeable. As the term has been increasingly applied to popular media personalities lacking special expertise, however, it can be used in a derogative manner. Pundit is also a slang term for politically biased people pretending to be neutral.

    And for the last time, America, they're called punDITS, not punDINTS.

    Pundits are nothing more than glorified bloggers who get paid. They also have whiter teeth. I recently heard Chris Matthews (hawking a book on CSPAN's "Book Notes") speak disparagingly of bloggers. He maintained that bloggers aren't bold like those in his profession, who are out there in the trenches doing battle face-to-face with people they oppose. He suggested that bloggers can hide in anonymity and toss bombs while pundits might run into their victims in the corridors of power and therefore have an obligation to maintain civility in their criticisms. Which I guess is why they say things like, "My good friend Senator Jones is a big, fat lying sack of crap."

    The comments section has always been open here, Chris - you glorified blogger.

    And the pundits have proven they don't know any more than bloggers this year.

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    I'm Lovin it


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    Grass Don't Lie

    Someday I will cease writing bullshit for liars. Someday, when old “friends” call me and ask me to “work your magic” on some “on fire” job, I will say, “Find yourself another writer.” Or when some sales type says, "Yeah, man, whatever, just do that fluffy writing stuff and let's get it out the door," I will say, "You know what, jackass? I'm done making you look good."

    So I just renewed one of my many domains, The ‘Scapers.The fantasy is that I will mow lawns and somehow make a living. I'll probably need a bunch of illegal aliens working for me if I hope to realize a healthy profit.

    Yeah, I need a logo. I'm accepting free ones.

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    Take it to The Bridge

    Art is so subjective, but every time I'm in the conference room and I see this logo on the speakerphone in the center of the table, it makes me cringe. I just find it lame. And on the phone itself, the logo is all beveled out to the extreme, making the effect even more "wife had an early copy of Photoshop and designed low-budget corporate logo for new start-up." But I guess it goes along with the name, which is pretty literal as well. We need something that says "Many communications." It's got that fake, "evil corporation" ring to it, like they use in comedy movies; GloboDyne, ChemTech or PlastiCorp.

    Polycom, Inc.�(NASDAQ:PLCM) is the leading independent supplier of standards-based IP phones, and has over 600 patents either issued or pending approval and over 15 million lines of active code across its product portfolio. In addition to their leadership in IP phone technology, Polycom� hired someone with no skill at all to design their logo. Well, maybe in 1986 this was considered really "cutting edge." Polycom steadfastly refuses to upgrade its logo.

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    The End of Term Three Way Handshake

    Gee, where have we seen this before? An American President, eager to salvage his "legacy," goes out of office trying to be the great Man of Peace for the Middle East.

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Overheard a Few Cubes Down

    "We'll need to use the impactful images."

    If you use the word "impactful," please stop it now. It is only used by pretentious ad people, usually on the account services side.

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    It Takes a Village to Untangle a Pileup

    Authorities in Central Florida today are urging do-gooders to stay away from the pile-up on Interstate 4, saying, “There is nothing you can do.”

    Man, all those Hummer owners looking to feel good about their purchases must feel so helpless right now.

    Most of the Hummer drivers I see here are soccer moms. They are always on their phones, and they are almost always alone. The men I see driving Hummers usually fall into the hair gel, cologne and gold bracelet demographic. I'm no Green Team member, but I can easily despise a Hummer owner. Their own self-hatred is what drove them to organize that stupid "Hummers for Hope" group. I don't even think it's the gas-guzzling that gets me as much as it is the fact that they are driving what amounts to a Chevy Tahoe, but they think it's some sort of urban assault vehicle. As for design, it's just butt-ugly.

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    Monday, January 07, 2008

    No Posts For You

    I don't get sick. Until this weekend, I hadn't been sick in about 10 years. So I'm medicating and sleeping. I love Nyquil.

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    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Clintons Resort to Jedi Mind Tricks

    Politics, (or campaigning at least) is simply advertising, where people are tricked into buying something that isn't quite as it is being packaged and sold.

    Every once in while, a product comes along, like the iPhone, or Barack Obama, and people sense that there might be some steak behind the sizzle. They line up to purchase. They abandon the old product, which then tries desperately to rebrand itself, claiming to be just like the new one everyone now wants. Or better than it. More original. Tested. Proven. Don't leave us. You'll be sorry. You really gonna roll the dice with that new thing?

    You can't fake authenticity, which is what our politics has been freshly invigorated with of late - on both the Republican and Democrat sides. Issues aside, it's nice to witness candidates who aren't programmed robots.

    Bob Herbert has some better thoughts on what we are witnessing currently in this marketplace called the 2008 Presidential Election.

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    Friday, January 04, 2008

    The Charlatan Has Spoken (Again)

    Give it up, Pat. You're a false prophet. But somehow, people keep giving Pat airtime when he announces his "God told me" list every new year.

    Pat predicted a nuclear attack on US soil by terrorists in 2007. He's become one of those Jean Dixon styled astrologists, every new year announcing what he thinks he's seen in his tea leaves or what appeared in his crystal ball. And he says God told him. I think God might be telling Pat to shut the hell up.

    From Pat's own Bible come these words, out of Deuteronomy 18, verse 22.

    "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."

    Go away now, Pat.

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    In College it Won't Be Illegal

    Having done a few weeks of freelancing for the creative services division of my local paper this summer, I can attest to the fact that print journalism is having a tough time of it, particularly local newspapers. Subscriptions are dropping and no one knows quite how to monetize this whole Internet thing, aside from placing annoying pop-up ads on every page of the paper's website. The online versions of the newspapers want to be everything to everyone. “We’re your news, weather and traffic source. And dining guide. And job hunting place. And garage sale finder. And place to meet singles in your area.” Trouble is, every local TV and radio station website makes the same claims. The competition for readers and visitors is getting tough. The Post, The Times and the various wire services have all the international or national stories locked up, so the papers resort to touching human interest stories or titillating scandal.

    So I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me to find my local paper scraping the barrels of salacious journalism today on their website, offering up as one of their Photos of the Year galleries Women Arrested for Having Sex with Their Students, brought to you by the University of Phoenix.

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    Thank God for Six Points

    As an afterthought to yesterday’s post about the Miami Dolphins, and with the playoffs beginning tomorrow, I’ve been thinking of more ways the Dolphins can rebrand.

    This team makeover will be a good opportunity for the new head coach to implement what I call “Gentlemen’s Football.” When the rest of the league sees that you mean business, they will respect you more. You might even learn to respect yourselves. You might win a game or two.

    The following offenses by players will be punished with stiff fines, levied by the team.

  • Speaking to a reporter about yourself in the 3rd person
  • Speaking to a reporter indoors while wearing sunglasses
  • Speaking ill of your teammates or management
  • Celebrating a tackle
  • Celebrating a sack
  • Celebrating a touchdown
  • Getting on one or both knees after a touchdown
  • Making the sign of the cross after a touchdown (Fine is doubled if offender is not Catholic)
  • Pointing to heaven after a touchdown
  • Jumping in the air to bump chests, sides or backs in celebration of anything
  • Taunting opposing players or fans
  • Raising your arms to encourage the home crowd to cheer more
  • Trash talking
  • Stepping over a downed opposing player without offering a hand up

  • All "celebrations" will be simple, congratulatory handshakes between teammates. (Regular, business-styled handshakes. No finger snaps, fists or elaborate hand choreography.)

    Fan adulation may by acknowledged with a polite nod and a smile.

    Players scoring touchdowns will hand the ball to the nearest referee and jog to the sideline.

    No offense to your faith, your mom or your many years of hard work that got you here, but you are highly paid professionals looked up to by millions of kids. Show some class. You guys went 1-15. It’s time to get serious about the game.

    I can even see these gentlemen’s rules spreading to other teams.

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    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Big Tuna and The Dolphins

    So Bill Parcells took over football operations for the Miami Dolphins and promptly fired the General Manager and today axed the coach following their pathetic 1-15 season. I think the problems run deeper than that. Parcells is always a winner wherever he goes, but he may need to look closer at the team’s image and consider rebranding. This is 2008. Football is meaner than it used to be. The media are referring to the Miami shakeup as a "makeover." So let's really make over the Dolphins.

    We’re talking about dolphins. Gentle, playful, cute, always-smiling dolphins. This is not a good football animal mascot like a bear, lion, bronco, jaguar, bengal, colt, eagle, ram, charger, seahawk, panther or falcon. The only animal mascot in the NFL with a weaker image than a dolphin is a cardinal. And the Cardinals have sucked forever. One of the original names floated for the franchise was Sharks. That says football.

    But of course changing the name of the team probably won’t fly, so how about some scarier colors? We get it. You’re Miami. Festive, colorful, tropical, but must you wear turquoise and cantaloupe? And that dolphin logo. He’s smiling! Oh, yeah, you gave him a downturned brow a few years ago to make him “menacing” but he’s still the smart, happy, favorite animal of every 4th grade girl who dreams of being a marine biologist. Why not just go all the way and make him completely cheerful? Sleek him up a little, like they do on the stadium’s logo.

    Good luck, Parcells. And see what you can do about letting Ricky have his weed.

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    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Finding My Calling at Monster

    Monster doesn't see their site as some sort of resume posting place. They are out to help you find your "calling." ("Why were you over at Monster during work hours, Dave?" I was checking on their current campaign is all.) To help illustrate the "calling" concept, they have provided within their Flash intro some funny pictures of people who found their callings. We have Rubik Rasta Buddha Aficionado, Young Unblemished Mechanic Girl and Preppy Fabulous Baker Boy. I'm not sure what the young man at top does in his retro three-piece suit and nice office, but he has a Mac, so it's obviously a cool job. And mechanic girl had best be warned: you're in for some serious sexual harassment in that environment. (Is that a BMW 2002 on the rack to the right? Baby, let me check your points, fix your overdrive.)

    I can't find the job - er, calling - I was looking for: Unedited Writer of Whatever I Want. Which is why I have this blog.

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    Unfunny Guys Have Funny Hair

    Hey, Robin. You've got the cash. Why not invest in something other than the cheap stuff? You'd be better off grey* than to try to fool anyone with that unnatural color. You're funny.

    Have a look at Dennis Miller doing the same thing.

    *While I will usually side with my country in most of the English vs. American spelling differences (harbour, travelling, etc.) I prefer their "grey" to our "gray."

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    This Year I Resolve To...

    Do more for the environment ... by tossing Yellow Pages into the recycle bin as soon as they land in the driveway.

    This handsome three volume set arrived on New Year's Day from Embarq, formerly Sprint, formerly who knows what else. Embarq is using a very weak campaign featuring "Dex," a nerdy know-it-all. In the radio ads, Dex surprises dumb husbands when their wives say, "Ask Dex" in response to their inane queries about dry cleaners, Chinese food or movie theatres. Dex is hiding in the cabinet, spouting out distances, hours and phone numbers.

    Nevermind that Dex is hiding in the cabinet, he's a harmless geek. He's just here to help. Not sure if Embarq is doing any TV, but the campaign would be better if the men showed some sort of jealousy at finding a man living in the house, to which the ladies could respond, "He's just a friend," or "He's like a brother to me."

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