Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Digging for Gold

There are dating sites exclusively for Christians, and dating sites for people who are looking for a clandestine hookup outside of their marriages. And there's a site for people who only want to date millionaires. Sort of like "The Ladders" but this time you're not looking for a job, you're looking for someone who has a job. A very good job and a lot of money.

Looks mean nothing to you. You're not shallow. You know that looks change. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain - they fade. And when they do, with, you can find someone who will pay to preserve your youth. (Tagline: "Romance for the Successful and Attractive." Seriously.) You don't even care much about compatibility. What is that, really? So you like high art and he likes football? You like introspective memoirs and he likes Bruce Willis movies? These stupid trivialities are not what make for good relationships. Surely there's something on TV you two can agree on. If not, surely there's something the two of you can go out and buy that will bring smiles to your faces. You see, money doesn't buy happiness, but it can rent it for a long time.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

They Didn't Even Mention "Windproof"

Except for pizza and porn, we don't make much of anything in the US anymore. Except Zippo lighters and the occasional eye-catching ad. Two simple points: "Guaranteed for life" and "Made in USA." Love the junkyard of disposable lighters, driving the first point home. They keep hidden a third point that Zippo was founded on: "Windproof."

But like the heirloom watch ads, I'd like to see a nice shot of an old biker passing his Zippo lighter down to his skater grandson.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Roadside Colors

I don't normally hop off the bicycle to pick up trash, but this bundle of utility flags caught my eye.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

At the Morrissey Songwriting Clinic

(Click for large.)

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Don Draper Lands Mercedes-Benz Account

If you watch Mad Men, there's no mistaking the voice now heard as the pitchman for Mercedes. Whether or not it's as good a voice as their former epic-sounding guy I don't think is even debatable. The previous guy lent a weight and authority to Mercedes that the actor Jon Hamm lacks. (Some say the former VO guy was Richard Thomas, aka John-boy Walton.) Hamm sounds wimpy in comparison, like he's not even sure he believes in this product, sort of like he's playing that wishy-washy Don Draper, who just bumbled into the studio when the real voiceover guy was sick and volunteered to read the script. And the scripts aren't helping him at all. I heard one last night where they actually used that lamest of lame lines, "The question is not whether you can afford to drive a Mercedes Benz, but whether you can afford NOT to," with, naturally, an image of a child in the backseat. Translation: "Drive a Mercedes or your kid DIES!"

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Friday is Just Like Any Other Day Lately

Life on the dole is a curious existence. On the one hand, you desperately search for gainful employment, while on the other, you have time to do things you didn't have time for when you were driving one hour one-way to sit in a generic office building in a cube, pumping out copy for taskmasters more suited to pushing a broom in a warehouse than making strategic marketing decisions. (And even then, I'm not sure I would trust them to sweep correctly.) Here's some of what I've been up to.

Presented a series of logos to a Jacksonville-based company, which is funny, because I'm not a designer. They actually loved one and are already using it on their in-development, internal site. I didn't charge them, since they're friends. And yes, I impressed them with the much-maligned (and deservedly so) faded reflection feature. 

Went on a job interview down in Tampa. Met with the lead person, who said, "My team would like to sit with you and discuss some things." In walked 11 people, who proceeded to tell me about the company and pepper me with questions such as, "What superpower do you wish you had?" "What animal would you be?" and "Pirate or Ninja?" (I swear.)

Took delivery of a 50" Sanyo Plasma. (Long story, but it was a prize.) This thing is imposing. Our "old" TV is now in the bedroom, a 42" Sony Bravia. I am now Winston Smith from 1984, trying to escape the giant visages screaming at me about healthcare reform from every room.

Presented a very cool idea to my favorite grocery chain. It was received well and is now being passed up the ladder, where it will likely meet its death in committee. Currently it remains a secret, but if and when they adopt it, I will be its loudest and most constant promoter, to the point that you will say, "I wish he'd shut the hell up about that stupid f-ing grocery chain." I made the pitch in Powerpoint - and yes - I am ashamed of that.

Got an up-close, inside look into how homeowner's insurance works. Basically, you make a claim, based on the recommendation of a professional whose job it is to determine these things, and then you watch as the insurance company spends thousands of dollars to fight your claim. I understand the need on their part to guard against fraudulent claims, but when you approach a long-standing policy holder as someone trying to get one over on you, then you pretty much suck in the customer service area. Are you in good hands? Now there's a feel-good slogan that doesn't mean a damn thing. Fuck you, All-State.

Went to a home-brew party at the neighbors'. They're Americanized Brits, the husband being some sort of mad-scientist for a defense contractor. I think he makes lasers that shoot out of cats' eyes. He also makes a great beer, or three. I came up with about six names for his concoctions with accompanying label designs, which again is funny, because I'm not a designer. But to a physicist like my neighbor, if you're "in advertising," then you can do that thing with The Photoshop, right? And when a physicist tackles a hobby like home-brewing, the results are very impressive. I am pushing him to "Take it to the Next Level!"

Added actual ads to this site. Am I a sell out? Yes, but it doesn't pay off until you have actual traffic. 150 visitors a day is not going to fetch me any serious coin. Also added a "featured video" in the sidebar, which will rotate with stuff from my YouTube account when I get around to it.

I have been living like a European, riding my bike each day to the market and loading up an old child carrier / trailer I found on Craigslist with the day's groceries and the evening's dinner. So far, no stalks of celery or baguettes sticking up out of the bags in that grocery cliché seen in the movies. I'm even using those damned reusable canvas grocery bags. I justify this disgusting transformation in me as "exercise with a purpose." We need groceries and I need exercise. Ya know, two birds. I'm sure people think I'm being "green," when actually I'm just trying to get in shape for the Apocalypse.

It is estimated that as many as 75% of American homes have within them a guitar. Granted, that guitar may be stringless and in the attic, but it is still there. It is also estimated that as many as 80% of all American males have attempted at one time to learn to play the guitar*. I knew how not long ago, but life has a tendency to get in the way of such luxuries. Dusted off the dobro and greased the strings, trying to remember where to put my fingers to make it sing like it used to.

* Both estimates based on pure fantasy with no data to prove them.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When He Wears Chuck Taylors, They Look Like Clown Shoes

Jesus God Almighty, I'm hearin' some crazy talk out there in my country. Been watchin' Fox News tonight. Lock up the women, arm yourselves, and have plenty of water and gold. Obama has passed Phase One in his Eight-Phase Plan to lift Lady Liberty's dress and sodomize her with the rolled-up scroll of the Constitution out there in the harbour for all the world to see. Especially the Arabs. If we can get That Guy out of office after only Four Phases, the worst may be avoided, though you can expect that the Koran will have replaced the Bible in courtrooms nationwide. But you hold fast, friend. Brother. We will defeat this foe.  Let Freedom Ring. Let the White Dove Sing. Let the Whole World Know it's the Day of Reckoning*.

I don't think I've ever done this, but I'm gonna repost an old post, because my dear countrymen, the Prophet Beck and Patriot Hannity, deserve it. Orignally posted January 8th of this year.

Because The Four Horsemen Won't Be Bringing Food  

Glenn Beck is the new spokesman for Food Insurance, a company that wants to make sure you survive the coming tribulations with your bellies filled. And they're coming, Beck warns in a video on the company's site. He's got these little backpacks for his whole family and his staff, and they look all Swiss Army or Red Cross-like. Two weeks of freeze-dried goodness for as little as $199.99 per person. Want to feed a family of five for an entire year? Only $9,299.99. Financing available.

Now I'm all for being prepared, but Glenn and his pals are turning preparedness into an industry that preys on the fearful and misinformed. Make sure you have plenty of gold coins so you can trade with other survivors for essentials like old issues of Town Hall Magazine and Sarah Palin's book.

So take note, all you marauders, murderers, pillagers, rapists and zombies out there planning on surviving the destruction: just look for the people with the black and red backpacks with the fork icon on them. That means "food" and you can steal them at gunpoint as they flee the city in their Hummers and Escalades.

* Lyrics from Sean Hannity's theme song.

Crossposted to Radio Free Babylon

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Locals Only: Thou Shalt Not Steal

Here's a fine local CPA, with testimonials from satisfied clients attesting to his skill with numbers and things like that. Larry and his wife seem like nice folks, and to show you how nice, they will include a little bible quote at the bottom of their full-page ad along with a cross image. But this is not any cross image, it's the very recognizable "cross and flame" logo of the United Methodist Church, and the denomination has some very strict guidelines regarding the appropriation of their logo, none of which it appears Larry has followed.

But Larry is seeking that coveted demo: people who will only drink milk from a Christian cow, and he means no harm, I'm sure. He's just not good at legal stuff.

He's waiting for the cease and desist, I suppose. Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. 

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

You Can Not Resist - You Will Do Its Bidding!

I was on an agency website, and they had the "Top 3 songs on your iPod" bit in the bios, along with "Most embarrassing song on your iPod." I know it is considered way uncool to like this song, but it is hard for many of us to deny it. Give in. Succumb to the uncategorizable sounds of Kajagoogoo.

Talkin' to you, David Plain!

OK - they could be categorized under "One-hit-wonder British bands of the 80s," true.

This really could be the new Rick Roll'd, if the intro weren't so long.

Bonus points if anyone knows where "Do Its Bidding!" comes from.

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I Don't Work for Trek Bicycles

I refuse to allow car dealers to make me advertise for them on the back of my car with a nameplate or license plate frame, and last night, I'm looking at my bicycle in the garage and I see branding every few inches.

There's the giant Trek logo on the down tube, the model number on the top tube, some sort of bragging about special aluminum on the seat tube and then the Trek emblem on the head tube. Besides the emblem on the front, which popped off with little effort, the rest of the markings are decals which are fairly impossible to remove, buried under a few millimeters of ClearKote. But Trek is not alone in advertising on my bike. Bontrager decides they need no less than seven logos on the seat and seat post, five per hand grip and multiple placements on the tires. Shimano naturally will not be left out and brands the shifters and the front and back derailleurs in multiple places. The local Trek dealer also placed a couple of super-adhesive, nearly impossible to remove stickers on the frame. After looking at this a while it started to piss me off.

I love my bike and have blogged about it fondly in the past. It's a low-end hard-tail but it's durable and has served me well over the few years I've owned it. But damnit, I'm not Lance Armstrong and these manufacturers aren't sponsoring me. I'm not a paid shill for Trek or any of the components Trek uses in the manufacture of their bikes. So I went about blackening-out or painting over every single logo today.

One family member has already dubbed it "the junkyard bike." I prefer to think of it as some sort of post-apocalyptic Road Warrior.

Now I guess I need to remove the swoosh from the shirt I wear when I ride.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Guru at His Twitter Avatar Photo Shoot

Twitter has enabled a lot of people to take themselves way too seriously.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stereotype: The Irish Are Witty and Insightful

One of my favorite bits of Ed Byrne's is his deconstruction of Alanis Morrisette's song "Ironic," but studies have shown that a good many of you won't devote five minutes to a YouTube video embedded in a blog, so maybe you'll watch this two-minute Byrne clip in which the comedian deconstructs Back to the Future.

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It's Magically Delicious

So it's that mystical day on the calendar when we honor some guy who taught the druids to stop building stupid stone monuments to pagan idols. And how do we honor this man? With boiled cabbage and meat so salty you could leave it on the counter and come back and eat it in a week and suffer no ill effects.


Here, for the first time ever, I will share a recipe that I'm about to create in my head. It's called Shepherd's Pie, American Style.


2 cans corned beef hash
1 onion chopped
1 can cheap green beans
1 bag frozen hash browned potatoes
16 tablespoons butter (8 sticks)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 graham cracker crust
1 cup Lucky Charms cereal, crushed

  1. Dump bag of hash browns into pan, salt them until all you see is salt. Throw some butter in there.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 12 Tablespoons butter (1 + 1/2 sticks) in large frying pan.
  3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). Dump the can of green beans in this.
  4. Add two cans of corned beef hash and sauté. Add tons more salt and a shitload of pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more butter as necessary to keep moist.
  5. Dump hash browns in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
  6. Place corned beef hash and onions in graham cracker crust. Distribute hash browns on top.
  7. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Sprinkle with crushed Lucky Charms cereal and serve with side of strawberry jam.

Serves four.

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Let's Give The Blue Hairs Some Ammo in This Fight

Not that it's a fight anymore, really, since Jay Leno got his old show back and will continue to make America not laugh every night until he finally retires to his warehouse full of luxury motorcars sometime in the very distant future.

It's a case of generations, or maybe just a case of sense of humor. Conan makes you cringe with him, that painful kind of humor they do on shows like The Office. Leno makes you cringe AT him, that painful kind of humor they do on say, Full House.

Conesy is doing an excellent job with his walking papers and $32 million. And that guy who created the Coco poster is making a little money. So even in defeat at the hands of Chinboy and the execs at NBC, Conesy seems like the real winner.

That's not fair to the folks with lace doilies on their armchairs. They got their nice young man back, that funny Italian fellow who tells the jokes. So why are they being treated like the bad guys? That skinny Irish man wasn't funny at all! He got what he deserved! Hurray for Jay!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Generic Ad Template

This can work for your financial advisory business, insurance outfit, or consultancy of any sort. It says what you want to say, which is what all of your competitors are already saying. (Click for big)

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The Colors! The Fabrics! The Robots!

A casual search accidentally leads to this time-vault discovery of Pepsi's 1986 foray into the world of fashion. I don't recall dudes wearing leg-warmers, but maybe these guys are into the whole Flashdance scene. Guy on far right looks to be about finished molesting the woman next to him.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

He Designed The Template Shatner Ran With

That of an actor mocking his own gravitas...

Met him once in San Diego. I was a room service waiter at the Hilton. He was in town to do some commercials for a Mercedes dealership. He had a giant bottle of vodka in his fridge. As I recall, it was Smirnoff.

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Now You're Just Stereotyping

I think Examiner dotcom (the site trying very hard to be hyperlocal) is looking at my IP and matching it with an ad inventory marked "serial killer, unemployed, anarchist, anti-government, rapist."

I thought that was Idaho. Ah well. We have our share of freaks too, and they should refinance.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Yeah - I Think That About Says It

Made a poster to amuse myself.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Good Friends, the House of Saud

A country based on Sharia law. An Islamic monarchy. A country where women can not vote. A country where there are no opposition parties. A country whose inhabitants are 100% Muslim, and a country where preaching anything other than Islam is punishable by death. (Facts all found here.)

Let's forget about all those things. Advertising is about how to spin your service or product for the good. They put together a pretty ad that makes them seem like a progressive and cool place to do business.

Crossposted to Radio Free Babylon.

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Linked-In Recommendations are Bullshit

"Will you write a recommendation for me?"

The very question is whiny by nature. And who will we ask this question of? ONLY people who are going to write over-the-top, nice recommendations for us, of course. I wish Linked-In allowed unsolicited recommendations, good or bad, like say, Amazon and their 1- to 5-star review system, because then I'd have this to say on a few Linked-In profiles. (Please note: I have never worked with a "Mike," to my recollection.)

Worthless Piece of Crap. Walking Proof of Devolution March 11, 2010

By: Jetpacks (Orlando) See all my reviews.

This review is for Mike Smith, Advertiser

Mike is the kind of guy who, if you aren't careful, will try to rape your girlfriend or murder your children if he thinks he can make a dollar from it. I wouldn't trust Mike to pick up my mail and walk my dog were I on vacation. Ineptitude permeates every aspect of Mike's life, from his slovenly appearance to the endless and boring Powerpoint presentations he has managed to turn into a career. The accomplishments Mike lists on his profile are the accomplishments of others. Mike can talk for a solid hour without taking a breath, and also without saying anything of import. Mike sucks beyond my ability to convey, and I only wish I could give him zero stars. Mike should not be employed in any environment where other humans work. He would make an excellent ant farmer or the guy who cleans up dead animals on the roadway.

Was this review helpful to you?

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It's the Little Things That Keep Them Coming Back

Anyone looking for a job knows all too well that there is no shortage of job sites out there wanting to help. Some are better than others.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Convenience Store of Logos

I have long been of the opinion that many in our industry milk the hell out of their projects. We like to "ideate" and conceptualize. We like to sketch and brainstorm and talk. We like to strategize and pontificate. Then we actually pick up our tools and either write or design, and many of us do this with a thoroughness that is not only unnecessary, but ridiculous. A recent colleague, a client-side team leader who came from a big agency background, was a master of making mountains out of molehills. One of our tasks was to create a new logo for his organization. This took no less than 18 months. There were votes, meetings, double-elimination logo tournaments, logo jousting, and finally, a 3-way logo death-match, in which the employees (about 600) got to vote in a secret ballot on the winner. Their votes in, the guy mentioned above went against their wishes and fixed the vote. He told them that his favorite logo was the one they picked. It wasn't. Needless to say, I've never worked with a bigger (or fatter) douche in my life. And you know who you are, big CMO down in Miami who sucks ass. (He didn't like me either.)

Anyway, all that to introduce you once again to Dana Severson, who brought us all some laughs at the expense of bad real estate ads. Dana, along with some partners, has a new idea. He's going to create one logo a day for 365 days. That's more logos than some designers will make in a lifetime. And he's booking clients over at The first logo was done for $2. The next one cost $4. They go up $2 per day until February 28th of next year, when a logo will cost $730, which is still a supreme bargain if you've shopped around for logos.

I'm no designer, but I play a design critic here on my blog, and I'm seeing Dana is currently going through his "Fading Reflection" phase. That's what the people want these days, I guess.

Dana also writes a column for Fast Company.

It's a good idea, and it gets the guy's work out there. Best of all, he does it quickly and at a decent price. And it takes a certain amount of what-the-hell balls to just build up your portfolio right out in the open for all the world to see, day after day for a solid year. Sure beats the designers who keep a "Please check back later! This section of our site is currently undergoing redesign" message on their Portfolio pages.

I'm guessing redos and edits on these one-day logos will cost extra. Or at least I hope so.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Put Your Ass in The Air Like You Just Don't Care

Reminiscent of the Casare Paciotti ad from a few years back, we have a passed out woman, martini glass on the floor, face down on a white leather couch in a short dress. She is but the next local model in a series of ads for Scan Design, a trendy Florida furniture store known for provocative, odd ads.

She is in love with her couch. Why is that so wrong? So she's a potential victim of date-rape by her lusty couch. Why is THAT so wrong? She is in love, and the couch knows it can have its way with her, because it respects her in the morning.

Scan Design excuse themselves in the copy of this ad, explaining that the idea came from a painter who was simply trying to win their competition, the theme of which was "Fall in Furniture Love." The painting is the template for this ad. It's an ad within an ad. So clever.  Rustin Robinson painted a woman passed out face down on her knees, bent over a couch with her ass in the air. And he won. (Click image for the big.)

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Monday, March 08, 2010

PETA Set to Piss off Sea World Visitors

PETA sent out a press release today that said "SeaWorld parkgoers will soon receive a message from above, courtesy of PETA."

A small plane carrying a large banner that reads "SeaWorld: Let Whales and Dolphins Out of Prison," will fly over the park Tuesday, according to PETA.

More here.

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Mr. Nice Guy - A Guy Who is Really Nice

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Serial Entrepreneur

Somewhere right now, a snake-oil salesman is devising his next killer app, one that will "revolutionize social media as we know it" or some such crap. Ten years ago, he was going to "take the dot com world by storm!" with SEO. He will survive, because bullshit is his art, and he knows how to sling it.

Click for the large.

(Yes, there are people out there calling themselves "serial entrepreneurs." That's like telling a venture capitalist, "I can't stick with anything for too long. I like to set it up, run away with some cash and then watch it crash because it was a dumb idea all along.")

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I Trust They Killed Everyone Involved

First the writer. Then the art director, the producer, director, talent - and finally the client who signed off on this. I share this only because misery loves company.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Northeastern Scum Bringing Wicked Ways to Florida

Bike Week, one of several motorcycle-themed events held in crime-ridden Daytona Beach throughout the year, attracts a large crowd of hard-drinking, fun-loving, tattooed-in-places-you-shouldn't-be ordinary Americans who just want to have a wild, week-long party that might involve a little innocent meth, some harmless prostitution and the occasional trafficking in sex slaves. But now some New Yorker has come down and spoiled the fun for everyone.

Story found here.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Beats a Killer Whale Show Any Day

In a matter of days, expect an ad agency with a dog snack client to steal this idea and use it in a commercial.

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Female Cops Sick of the Abuse

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Monday, March 01, 2010

And I Thought I Sucked at Photoshop

A commenter on my recent post, wherein I attempted to make light of digital art and the Tea Party movement all at once, failed to see the humor. OK, Tim. Whatever. Relax a little, bro. I guess what I thought was funny and obviously tongue-in-cheek did not register with some. Maybe I should endeavor to be more mainstream henceforth and curb my appetite for the bizarre and off-the-wall, the better not to confuse and bewilder my more literal-minded readers.

But if Tim wants to cast stones at people who suck at Photoshop, he can look no further than this ad, a full-pager from yesterday's New York Times Magazine, in which a golfer is lining up a putt while a massive, not-at-all-Photoshopped alligator lines up on him. 
(Click image for larger.)

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