Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Unfortunate Moment in Tech Advertising

The geniuses of Plaid pointed me to this fun collection of ads and photos at IBM's website.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Twice as Much The Son of Hell

100% Jackass Punk

This guy has ruined enough of my evening drives that I now must swear him off. At least Limbaugh has a sense of humor and a brain and can argue his points when someone disagrees with him. All this guy can do is shout over the caller and then say, "Hey, look. I'd love to go on with you but I'm up against a hard break. We're just outta time."

I think we're headed for a war within the so-called "religious community." On one side you will have those who wrap their God in the flag and political ideologies. On the other side you will have real believers.

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm a Bad Blogger

Apologies to my blogging buds, whom I've neglected by not commenting on their blogs regularly as I used to. Reason is the Evil Corporate Masters, who prevent me from seeing anything with the suffix of .blogspot, .typepad or .wordpress. I can see you in my reader and always read your stuff, but that's it. Unless I get to you at home after work or on the weekends, I'm a negligent blogger.

Apologies to AdRants, AdScam, Agency Tart, American Copywriter, Catch Up Lady, Brand DNA, Chimp Media Monitoring, Copyranter, Every Sandwich, Hespos, Heybeus, Life in the Garden, Married to the Sea, Make The Logo Bigger, Mental Hygiene, MultiCult Classics, New York Punk, RayTube, Renegade Agency Confessional, Scamp, Texan in Hippieland, The AdHole, The Daily (Ad) Biz, The Assimilated Negro, Thinking in Vain, Toadstool, Why Advertising Sucks, Yes But No But Yes, Yonder Ponder.

Some of you have also been very negligent, not posting to your own blogs in months. Blogging is tough work, I know, but if you remain dormant, I've got to pull you from the "Linkers and Lurkers" list and replace you with something new. No offense, but if you've quit, I'm not keeping you around out of respect for your blog's memory. Not that I don't respect your blog's memory...but you know what I mean.

On the plus side, Evil Corporate Masters today announced a permanent switch from Business Casual to Totally Casual all the time, not just on Fridays. So maybe not so Evil after all.

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Band Names From Google News (with Links!)

Does your band need a name? Look no further than Google News Headlines.

In this episode of Band Names from Google News, I’m providing links to the stories that inspired the band names, lest you think I just come up with these stupid things all by myself.

  • Penguins Breathing
  • Not The Scott We Knew
  • Badland Breeze
  • Governor’s Girl
  • Breakfast Jihad
  • Monarch No More
  • Kleen NoodYou think we're emo because of our hair? Damnit! You're right.

  1. Pittsburgh wins a game against Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals
  2. White House spokesperson Dana Perino on Scott McClellan’s new book
  3. Hillary Clinton told South Dakota voters she envisioned that state as “the Saudi Arabia of Wind Farming.”
  4. Charlie Crist of Florida brought a woman to McCain’s ranch, surprising most of us here. Also, Gibbons of Nevada is seeking a divorce and his wife says he has a girlfriend.
  5. Dunkin’ Donuts pulls a Rachel Ray ad because loud mouthed Right-Wing-Babe-of-the-Month Malkin didn’t like her head-scarf.
  6. Nepal’s new government declares itself a republic.
  7. A man in Florida was robbed of $40,000 in jewelry by a nude maid service he hired while his wife was on vacation. She’s divorcing him now.
I've got 97 more if nothing here works for you.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Instant Classic

DISCLAIMER: I hate Ryan Seacrest. I hate Simon Cowell. I hate Paula Abdul. I hate American Idol and all that it stands for. But this is Gold.

Screw Weezer and their stupid, forgettable homage to all the recent virals. This thing, featuring Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black and Ben Stiller is far more viral, shareable and funnier than any contrived piece of crap by a washed-up 90s band.

To appreciate the true genius of this work, see here the original video from 1973, from which this thing was created.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aromatic and Festive On Occasion

Some of the most talented, devious writers are real estate agents. They can make a horrible property sound fun and exciting. “Tiny shithole” becomes “Cozy bungalow.” “In the ghetto” is now “Close to schools, buses and hospital.” “Death trap about to collapse” is transformed into “Needs a little TLC.”

I was frittering and wasting some hours in an offhand way* today, having fun with Google Maps street views. I found a lovely home in Indianapolis that could be described as “Great starter home with large lot! Detached double garage could be workshop for handyman or hobbyist! Room for your boat or RV! Popular neighborhood with a great reputation.”

Here’s the view from the front door; the porta-johns and grandstands of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

* Floyd is so overrated.

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Make Sure You Give 'em The Secret Handshake

MOVE!Sent to my home email account from work, when we finally got servers up.

It’s after 10AM and over the walls of CubeWorld™ I hear the frantic and excited retellings of weekend adventures, the synopses and analysis of various reality TV shows and your basic office gossip, rumor and innuendo offered up in whispers. The servers are down so no one can access any jobs, check their email or look at their Google readers.

Getting IT to do anything around here requires a 2/3 majority vote in the Secret Geek Council, (which convenes every New Moon) followed by the VP of IT’s signature. Then, in a scary ritual involving Red Bull mixed with Starbucks and the playing of gay 80s arena rock music, the IT people work their magic, which almost always concludes in what they will call a “Logic Lock Refresh,” meaning they turned it off and then turned it back on and somehow that fixed it. Then, because we are not schooled in The Craft of The Flipping of The Switch, they’ll act like they just rescued all of us dim mortals from the jaws of death and maybe we should build them an altar so they may be properly worshiped. I doubt brain surgeons and rocket scientists have the egos or unapproachable attitudes of IT people.

We might be able to do some work in about a month, knowing IT. I think they spend their days devising new rules to apply to the web filters. “Hey, look. That guy in cube #2,459 seems to enjoy visiting The Onion a little too much. Let’s block The Onion. But only in his cube.” [Cue evil laugh]

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The USA 3000

Ice cold milk must taste like shit after 3 hours behind the wheelI watched the Indianapolis 500 yesterday as my Dad was down for the Memorial Day holiday and has a tradition of watching the annual event from start to finish. I've never been a real race fan, but I watched it with him and found myself eventually enthralled. From an advertising perspective, it was fascinating. ABC never broke from the race even during commercial breaks, opting instead for what they call "side-by-side," whereby the commercials play in the right half of the frame while the race coverage continues in the left. As well, the on-car cameras provided an interesting perspective, and you could see the thought that went into sponsor logo placement on the vehicles as well as on the drivers' helmets. There was an inordinate amount of GoDaddy sponsorship, from the aerials provided by the GoDaddy helicopter, to the endless focus on Danica Patrick, darling of the race-circuit and spokesperson for GoDaddy. And there were multiple placements of GoDaddy ads featuring Ms. Patrick. (Patrick had a made for TV moment when her car was disabled by another driver in the pit lane, prompting the Race Queen to stalk down the track to apparently give the errant fool a piece of her very-pissed mind. She was sidelined by security.)

Anyway, the whole thing got me to thinking of an even bigger race that needs to get underway. A country-uniter. An event that would make Indy look like a soap-box derby. The race to end all races. The Mother of all Races. The USA 3,000.

Here's the plan:

Using our very nice Interstate system, 50 cars race coast to coast in a day-long focus on our nation's unique diversity and utter coolness. We'll use Formula One some fast cars, so we can get it done quickly and at speeds of 200+ MPH. The inconvenience to travelers needing the roads would be minimal. Let's say you live in Ohio. The Interstate and its on-ramps would only need to be closed for half an hour as the cars would be through there in no time. We start early on the East Coast and end in the West in the evening, taking advantage of the three-hour time difference. Mandatory pit-stops would be scheduled at predetermined locations on the route. Cities vying for pit-stop status would shell out major bucks for the honor.

Other sponsorship opportunities would be endless, as they already are in racing, but even more so for this event. Every state that was included on the route would want a tourism spot or two in the broadcast. The Department of Transportation could likely get in on the act. Naturally, the American Dairy Association would want to thrust a bottle of milk into the winner's hand. (If the winner drinks it at Indy, the ADA pays him/her $10,000.) I can see production and camera coordination being a tough one, but you know the networks would compete like starved jackals for the rights to broadcast the race.

This thing would be bigger than American Idol, bigger than Lost, bigger than a Presidential election.

Here are some proposed routes. Miami to Seattle, New York to Seattle, New York To Los Angeles, or my favorite, Orlando to Seattle. Gentlemen, (you too, Danica) start your engines.

And I thought of it, you bastard network dogs, and its documented and dated here for all to see. We'll fight over it in court should you decide to do this without me. You'll lose. And I 'll be that crazy guy who chooses to represent himself.

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The Sum of Four Primes

(193 + 197 + 199 + 211)

It is also:
  • The original toll-free area code for telephone calls
  • The international direct dial code for toll-free phone calls
  • A film speed
  • The flight number of a doomed TWA Flight
  • The name of a lame old Atari home computer
  • A perfect score on an individual section of the SAT test or on one of the SAT Subject Tests
  • The distance in meters of a track and field event
  • The year in which Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by Pope Leo III, beginning the Holy Roman Empire
  • The number of blog posts at "Where's My Jetpack?" as of this post.
By the way, advertisers, it is completely unnecessary, nay, completely retarded for you to tell us that there is a "1" in front of "800" when you print or speak your client's toll-free number. It's 2008. Most of us have figured out how to use the damn phone.

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Jetpack Shat

The new Priceline spot with His Royal Shatness jetting to the aid of some ladies via jetpack and pulling the old "triplets in a carriage" routine to distract them. He also speaks lemur.

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Turn Off Your TV for 30 Seconds at 3PM Eastern Time

(The traditional time to take a moment of remembrance on this day.)

Facing the English Channel atop a bluff in northern France is this cemetery, (captured here on Google Maps) final resting place for 9,387 American servicemen who lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. To the right in the semicircular garden are the Walls of the Missing, on which are inscribed another 1,557 names.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yes, She Went There

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all candidates are NOT created equal.Click it, por favor

UPDATE: Ah, damn. I was right.

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The Boss Would Like To Bond Now

The boss kinda looks like Ned BeattyClicking enhances freshness.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Cold Call Carl - Selling Twitter Consultation

If there's an app out there, there's a new media agency (or traditional agency looking to make another buck) who will teach you how to maximize it.

tweet tweet tweetclick to read, unless you've got like, super-crazy-cartoon vision

Previously in Cold Call Carl:
Niche Industry Magazine Ad Space - Cheap!
But it Really is Rocket Science
Tapping the Huge Revenue Stream

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Band Names From Google News

I said this was a "sporadic Thursday series," but now I feel an obsessive obligation to do it every Thursday. Part XIV.

For the newcomers, it goes like this: Thousands of hopeful artists and starry-eyed noisemakers the world over are gathering in garages and creating music. Maybe they do it on the bedroom computer. Doesn't matter. What they need before they ever strike that first discordant chord or pen that first clever rhyme is a marketing plan. More than that, they need a name to market, because dream though they will of "changing the world with music," the music can flat out suck as long as the group has a carefully cultivated image coupled with a winning strategy. Just ask Fall Out Boy. It's quite easy to find a promising band name, courtesy of today's headlines on Google News.

  • Day of Strikes
  • Peace and Placards
  • Trash Crisis
  • The Veeps
  • Arizona Barbecue
  • Fifteen Dollar Suitcase
  • Pain at The Pump
I've got 90 more if nothing here works for you.Jammin' at John & Cindy's. Charlie didn't bring a date

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There Are Two Kinds of People in This World

I'm melting!As Hillary Clinton continues to destroy everything in her path in pursuit of power, it is sad and sickening to watch the final death throes of her campaign. It’s like the Wicked Witch’s last scene in The Wizard of Oz. The shock on her face as Dorothy throws the bucket of water, then the shrieks and hissing as she melts down to her hat and cloak. (Did I just call Hillary Clinton a witch? Absolutely. And that makes me no more a misogynist than calling Bush a chimp makes me a zoo keeper.)

About a week ago, I almost felt pity for her. “She fought hard,” I lied to myself. “She certainly has grit and stamina,” I justified. Then my mind was suddenly liberated from that demonic reasoning and I recalled the despicable tactics, the rule-changing in mid-game, the charge that anyone who isn’t a Hillary supporter is sexist and the countless other shameful acts she and her husband have shown us this political season. Now she insists that letting her have her way, giving her the presidency she so desperately wants, so in her heart believed was hers, is on the same moral plane as the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement or women’s suffrage. And her die-hard legion of cultists truly believe “She cares about ME.” No, she doesn’t. She cares about nothing and no one but herself. If the states that went for her opponent don’t matter and the rules don’t matter, YOU sure as hell don’t matter.

Smile, point and wave. At invisible people on the tarmac.

As she now brazenly lies and cheats, she is turning our already ugly politics on its hideous head. She is spitting and shitting on us, and telling us while she does so that it’s for our own good. Thank you, Queen Hillary. May I have a towel? Maybe she actually is mad, as in crazy, as some suggest. I think she’s merely soulless.

But if she were my mother or sister or aunt, I’d probably try to avoid her phone calls and maybe gently suggest she seek counseling and medication. If she were my wife, I’d have divorced her years ago. Take the house, take half my money. Hell, take it all! Please, just go. If Obama picks her as his running mate, he’s a tool and a fool. Is America ready for a female president? Stupid question. Quit asking. Of course we are. But America will never be ready for Hillary Rodham Clinton.In a perfect world

Now, for the other kind of person in this world.

Grace Moon, a 6th grader from California, won Google’s Doodle 4 Google competition. She came up with this very cheerful design. Here’s Grace’s explanation: My doodle, "Up in the Clouds," expresses a world in the sky. This new world is clean and fresh, and people are social and enlightened. Every person here is treated as family no matter who they are. The bright sun heats this ideal place with warmth, love, and brightens everyone's day.

I will not throw dark clouds at your sunny vision, Grace. But you show beyond-your-years insight by explaining that this world you’ve created with your art is in the sky. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Very nice. A+.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seven Other Places

Here are seven other places you could be right now on this fascinating World Wide Waste of Time.

Yeah, I know. Technically, that was 11 other places. But I only used seven bullets. So shut up.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Web 2.0 - Straight Talk Express Version!

John McCain Wants You!

Sign up now to be a McCain Blog Troll. You can copy and paste with the best of them!

McCain's Camp will even give you the daily talking points to shout down the Leftist America Haters.

Do you love your country? Do you want to be involved in a 3rd war with Iran? Now's your chance to influence other voters with your wisdom and rhetoric, spoon-fed to you by Johnny Mack and his loyal tribe of Warrior Spinners! Tell The Maverick about your efforts and receive points for your success!

Don't be left out! Hurry! Act Now!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Caribbean Jewelry Store Says “Stone The Woman!”

House of Rajah, on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, invites you to throw rocks at girls. “Rocks” as in “Diamonds!” Get it? Rocks=Diamonds? It’s a play on words! A-hahahahaha!

Allow me to explain the genius of the ad, should it perhaps be lost on you in its hidden and clever brilliance.

When we are young boys, we are taught that it’s not nice to hit girls, throw rocks at them or otherwise treat them cruelly. But in this case, we are permitted to “throw rocks” at them, as in “give them diamonds,” because, as you might know, “girls” love “rocks,” and while we must be nice to them, we occasionally screw up and find ourselves out of favor with them. When that happens, girls are quickly placated by shiny, expensive things. It shows them that we “love” them.

Previously in Horrendous Jewelry Word Play.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

This Man Obviously Hates America

No, I'm not wearing eyeliner! But am I tan, or what?This is House Minority Leader John Boehner, (whose family is really tired of telling everyone, "It's pronounced BAY-ner!") and this is his official photograph.

I saw Representative Boehner on some Sunday news talk show this morning and I sensed something disingenuous, maybe even evil in the man. Then I realized what it was. He was not wearing an American Flag Lapel Pin. If you do a Google image search for Boehner, you'll have a hard time finding this Ohio Catholic Republican wearing an American Flag Lapel Pin. I think someone has some explaining to do.

Surely Representative Boehner understands that one's patriotism is measured by the symbolic act of wearing a cheap, Chinese-made trinket on the lapel.

Good people of the 8th congressional district of Ohio, I hope you do not re-elect this man, whose allegiances are suspect, whose loyalties lie perhaps with dangerous groups that hate America and whose own refusal to prove his love for his country make him ill-fit for public service.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

When Advertising Was Innocent

Come on, baby. You know you want to.
Nothing untoward or even mildly suggestive going on here. What? You've never seen a guy feeding a woman a hot dog? You've never seen another guy lurking creepily as another woman eats a hot dog? I really think you're reading too much into this innocent picnic scene from yesteryear.

Although, the dude without a date is really into that bottle as he reaches for a bunch of bananas.


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Friday, May 16, 2008

If Anyone Clicked This...

...I'd really be surprised.

While plotting my escape from these States United , I've become momentarily fascinated by the least visited of the three US Virgin Islands , St. Croix. Somewhere in my link-hopping, I encountered this banner ad.If you see us on your vacation, please kill us.

What was the designer thinking? Why grab a not-very-funny stock photo of the stereotypical "tourists" in flowered shirts, laden with multiple cameras, goofy hats and bad sunglasses? Even the ugliest American, the most ignorant tourist, would know better than to look like this. And surely knows better than to click on such an image.

I hope. Maybe I overestimate the sense and smarts of my countrymen.

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Let Me 'Splain it This Way

Many friends and readers are sending me links to this video of the professional jet fighter pilot who jumped from an airplane over the Swiss Alps and cruised to earth in a nice little 18-minute flight with his jet-powered wing-thing. They title the emails, “HERE’S YOUR JETPACK!”

It’s a nice sight to behold and looks like a thrilling ride, but no, that’s not my jetpack.

The only way I will stop asking the question “Where’s My Jetpack?” is when jetpacks are affordable to common folks like you and me and will safely convey us to and from our places of employment or the grocery store. It would also be nice if they didn’t sound like F-18s at full throttle and could fly for longer than a couple minutes on a tank of fuel. Another real benefit would be if they were available at Wal-Mart. I want them easy enough to operate that my Mom could handle one.

But more than that, “Where’s My Jetpack?” is at its heart a joke, a lament and an encouragement. The jetpack is simply a symbol of all the other things that were supposed to be here by now, promised to us by the advertisers, by Disney, by the government and all the other dreamers. As it says over in the sidebar in the “What’s The Meaning of This?” section: “The future is now, and we’re still waiting.”

And we will wait forever. Maybe the jetpack will be here in a hundred years, but I really ask the question to keep people from getting too pessimistic, believe it or not. It’s not just about a lack of technology or futuristic fun that hasn’t arrived. It’s about that grand Utopian vision that we will never achieve. As the song goes:

Where’s the end of war and freedom from disease?
Where’s the milk and honey from sea to shining sea?

Where are the crime-free cities and rockets on our backs?
Where are the smooth moving sidewalks? Where’s my jetpack?

The biggest lie ever foisted upon our optimistic species is, “You shall be as gods.” Here are some things I know about the future:

  • There will always be liars, cheaters and thieves, hiding behind asterisks followed by fine print.
  • Barack Obama isn’t bringing world peace.
  • John McCain is not a maverick. He's a typical phony politician.
  • You will always encounter spiteful and hateful bastards and bitches wherever you go.
  • People will likely always be starving somewhere in this world.
  • Life is only easy once in a great while.
As long as you know that the promises made to us and the dreams held out in front of us by our leaders, the media (and their sponsors) are usually a bunch of crap, you can do what you need to do, rarely being disappointed. You won’t be expecting a handout. You may be offering a hand-up. You might take a moment to appreciate what you have right here, right now.

That’s a roundabout way to arrive at optimism, I know, and I'm still working on it. But I have always learned the hard way.

A hovercraft in every drive

Instant breakfast on the table at 6:45
Rocket to the moon and race right back

to my holograph room and my new jetpack

Remember, I was gonna watch your dreams
On a flush-mounted giant plasma flat-screen

Baby, we were gonna live forever
With a wish and a pill and the pull of a lever

Heaven on Earth in a God Free Zone
Where we all get along and no one’s alone
A paradise of plenty where nobody lacks
We're all flying around with our own jetpacks

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

If It's Thursday, It Must Be...

...Band Names From Google News. (This is getting old, I think.)

Part XIII in a sporadic Thursday series

It’s become fashionable, some would say downright smart, to name your one-man/one-woman singer/songwriter act something besides your given name. Good example is Sea Wolf, known as a “band,” but in reality is just one guy. Unless you have a simple name that almost sounds made up, like say Joe Smith or maybe Jack Johnson, you need something better. And Mr. Johnson might do well to rebrand himself at this stalled point in his career. I would suggest “Barefoot Stoner Repetition.” You may also use your own name if it's some sort of bizarre joke. Like if you're a black man and you have a goofy white name, you will be successful, no matter your level of talent. Just ask Lenny Kravitz.

So anyway, all you lone-wolf dudes and chicas singing your hearts out in crappy clubs on open mic nights, here are some names you might try on, gleaned from today’s headlines at Google News.

  • Inevitable Cloak
  • Molotov Mullet Man
  • Cool at Cannes
  • A Bit Wary
  • The French Teachers
  • Question Direction
  • Sorry I Called You Sweetie
I’ve been known to pose as Radio Free Babylon.

Here are 83 more.That's some seriously ugly clothing. I'm guessing Eastern Europe.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seven Other Places

Here are seven other places on the Internet you could be right now.
  1. Every Presidential campaign logo since 1960. (Page might take some time to load.)
  2. It's an animated chimp movie, with jetpacks! (With Amtrak as a sponsor? Sure to suck.)
  3. Huge in Brazil, ancient Canadian power trio Rush. Their fans down there even sing to the instrumentals.
  4. Meatwater. (Thanks, Fish & Chimps.)
  5. The Obama worship has officially gone too far.
  6. Passionate-White-person-teaches-inner-city-youth-to-shine.
  7. A cool design firm wants you to work for them. You'll have to move to Jordan.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Bug Thugs

I don't know who's doing the Orkin TV ads, but the approach is fresh and funny. (UPDATE: Wondergood informs me that it's The Richards Group of Dallas.) The series is called "Unwelcome Visitors." This ad's title is Broken Down. The success of the production is all in the voice of the bug.

Another equally well-done ad is called Pizza Delivery. See it here.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

This Might Be Good

One of the writers for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has a book coming out that should be good for a laugh. At least this promo for it is.

The author of this blog was not paid for this advertisement, but he is not rejecting the possibility of promoting stuff for cash.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

All Aboard for a Stupid Idea

Guess what today is? It's the first ever National Train Day! How will you celebrate? Amtrak went to the trouble to create a micosite for us. I do like the Amtrak art. Bold and retro. Makes train travel seem exciting. I do hate the tag. Get your choo-choo on? Makes train travel seem gay.

They even have a poll you can participate in! Edgy. So 2.0. Hey, "Wheel of Fortune" got involved! That gives it an instant hip factor. Apparently Pat and Vanna talked about National Train Day on May 5th! Damnit! I missed it.

Fix the system, Amtrak! Quit with the gimmicks.

Previously in Amtrak Hatred
Amtrak SUCKS
Amtrak Keeps Sucking
I'm Almost Proud of Amtrak.

And read the comment a reader left about how Amtrak left her six year old daughter on the platform.

In the next administration, I want to be Transportation Secretary. My first act will be to fire the entire executive staff of Amtrak and import a bunch of German and Japanese train gurus. Then, to raise money to pay for the fixes they recommend, we will have a nationwide car-wash.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another "Band Names From Google News!"

Part XII in a sporadic Thursday series

It’s not like the old days, when you could say, “Hey! Let’s call ourselves The Vandals or The Wallflowers or The Cure or The Clash.” You can’t be “The” anything and expect a second look, unless it’s really outstanding like “The Fall of Man,” “The Icelandic Hookers” or “The Syringes.”

Better to call yourself something strange and curious, the better to draw the masses to your logo and merch marketing plan, which is what you’re after anyway, as your music is crap. (I’m talking to you Panic! At The Disco.)

So, young dreamers, ditch the dumb name and find a better one, courtesy of today’s headlines at Google News.

  • Senator Zombie
  • Fossella’s Daughter
  • Colorvoter
  • Magic Pistons
  • 4000 Farm Workers
  • Reeling from a Drubbing
  • Substantial Threat
I've got 76 more.

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I Blog, Therefore, I Am

I tend to think of this blog as an online magazine of stupid and sometimes interesting stuff. That's one of the reasons I never do a post without an image in it. (This ain't The New Yorker. It's more like Highlights for Children or Mad.) That's also the reason I will go back and edit a post if I later find misspellings or half-baked thoughts not fully fleshed out. Or if I find some twisted language that makes no sense, such as using "half-baked" and "fleshed out" in a sentence together. Baked flesh.

Traffic to this little corner of the World Wide Waste of Time has crept up slowly, but there is no way to "monetize" that light trickle and you will never see contextual ads in the sidebar. Maybe someday when I reach 100,000 hits a day I can start selling t-shirts and plastic awareness bracelets. Until then, it's just a place to create, because oftentimes my job doesn't allow me to do that.

Here are some of the things being said around the world about Where's My Jetpack?

"Brilliantly subversive."
Advance, a Danish agency

"I'm quite fond of Mr. Jetpacks."
Stan Lee, Melbourne, Australia

"It must be nice typing rants to yourself."
Some anonymous commenter

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cuttin' Slack for Good Customer Service

I called the garage where my car is being worked on today. It's been two days. They’re usually pretty prompt. Al answered the phone. He’s a nice guy with a thick accent that I can’t place, though it's somewhere in America’s Northeast. Al explained that it’d been a hectic day and they were “working on it.” Having a hectic day myself, I understood. In fact, I’ll bet our jobs aren’t much different, Al’s and mine. (And agencies love to call themselves "shops.")

When I think about it, my job now isn’t much different from many jobs. When I was a room service waiter at a resort in San Diego years ago, we’d arrive at 3 in the afternoon, get buried in work, help each other out, run around like mad dogs trying to keep ahead of the rush, find a brief lull where we caught our breath, then another rush, unexpected complaints and do-overs, solve problems, sneak a beer, (we had a friend in Purchasing who kept us stocked in iced-down Heineken) clean up the area, restock and shut the place down at 11:00 and go home. Same here, except for the sneak a beer part. Probably the same for Al at the garage. Or an emergency room surgeon. Or a Navy chaplain. An automotive designer. A Defense Department programmer. Elementary school janitor. OK, we're not saving lives or protecting the Pentagon's servers where I work, but you get the idea. We’re all keeping ahead of the rush, solving problems and going home.

At day's end Craig from the garage called me. "What's up?" I inquired cheerily, fully expecting the "Come pick up your car," notice. "I screwed up and ordered the wrong part," Craig said, "It won't be ready until tomorrow. But I thought I'd just give you the news upfront rather than beat around the bush."

Craig screwed up. He was honest about it. We're out of a car for another day. But we'll deal. And the same garage will get our business next time the car needs servicing. They always treat us fairly.

When we're straight with clients, even when we're late on a job due to our own screw-ups, we're likely to get some slack cut our way.

Someday I’m going to bring a case of beer, on ice, to Al, Craig and their crew.

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Alt + Tab as Fast as You Can

Occasionally it is required in CubeWorldTM that we get up and visit another cube to talk something over with a colleague. As I walk up and down the aisles, I watch as screens quickly shift back to work-related stuff when the cube occupants hear footsteps or see shadows. They're always a second too late. There's the young designer who enjoys celebrity gossip and is always minimizing a movie or TV site. There's the Long Island transplant obsessed with all things Yankees, exiting to a production spreadsheet when I approach. We have a Brit proofreader who is very active on eBay. One of my fellow writers has an amusing attachment to Barbies and can be caught leaving his favorite Barbie forum where he is responding to his fellow collectors.

Just leave the window up. It's better than looking guilty. Share what you're looking at with whomever happens to wander in. We all do it, so quit pretending to be working when someone approaches. You'll get your work done. We trust you. It's OK to have fun once in a while.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Spellcheck Next Time

This Houston protester...never mind.


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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bossman Speaking The Text Again

...and that's never pretty.


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And Now, A National Snapshot

I've noticed that the talking heads and political pundits are multiplying on TV. There are a dozen on every news show, and they all parrot each other. I've watched enough that I think I now qualify as a talking head and political pundit on TV.

My turn:

  • Blacks who voted for Clinton in 92 or 96 and who attend church favor Obama by 90%.
  • Blacks who voted for Bush in 92 or Dole in 96 and don’t attend church are really hard to find, but they favor Obama by 90%.
  • Blacks who think Obama was uncool toward his pastor and is acting out of political expediency support Obama by 90%.
  • Blacks who think Bill Clinton was “the first black president” support Obama by 90%.
  • Blacks who think Hillary Clinton’s use of a John Mellencamp song as her stump speech background music is really stupid support Obama by 90%.
  • Whites who secretly hate black people support Clinton by 51%.
  • Whites who want us to “move beyond discussions of race” are obviously white.
  • Blue collar, rural whites are perplexed that every four years people act like they care about them.
  • Republicans are voting for McCain, even though they don’t like him.
  • Conservative evangelicals feel neglected this year. McCain will win them in the end on a single issue.
  • White, rural, college-educated, female, lesbian, blue collar Christians are just really interesting, independent and very hard to pin down. I think they are the key swing voters this year.

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and then...the world stopped turning

It's like a strange disturbance in the force. I feel a collective, universal cry of, "Now what am I going to do on a Saturday morning?"

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Not What They Had in Mind, I'd Bet

Click it and it will grow

Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams and a few compatriots wait in line at the Florida DMV. Your democracy at work.

Hopefully they'll register to vote as they get their driver's licenses.

And since what you say on the Internet lives forever and can't be taken back, even if you delete the post, I would like to take this opportunity to recant my earlier denunciation of Paul Giamatti's performance in the HBO mini-series, John Adams. He grew into the role and did a great job in the final episodes in which we saw Adams retire to his farm in Massachusetts to live a life of hard work and constant heartbreak.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

More Band Names from Google News

Part XI in a sporadic Thursday series

So your band broke up and the founder claims rights to the name? Don’t fight him in court. His vision for the group was stupid anyway and a clean break from him and his dictatorial ways is what you and the rest of the group need. You also need someone who can sing and play guitar. And write songs.

But first things first. You need a new name. Let me help. These are possible band/group/musical act names you can use, inspired by today’s headlines on Google News.

  • The Mayors of London
  • Madam Suicide
  • Genetic Discrimination
  • Poll Driven
  • Billy Ray Pervert
  • Belated Condemnation
  • The New Mexican Doomsday Church
Nothing jumping off the page for you, huh? I've got 69 more. Try one of these.

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Editorial Fun at Wikipedia

Ever wonder about the origins of May Day? I frequently look up random things, like "where do we get the phrase..." and I generally trust Wikipedia for accuracy. Here's a great entry from Wikipedia about May Day:

No sooner did I discover that and grab a screen shot and they've got a redirect on the page to point to the real article here. The difference in the URLs was an uppercase "D" on the joke entry.

Now I have to go look up why pilots about to crash in old war movies shouted "Mayday, mayday!"

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Tire Tracks All Across Your Back

Click for bigishness.

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