Monday, December 31, 2007

Television at it's absolute best

Here's a tv commercial from 1985...

If you've never seen this one, no doubt you've seen hundreds just like it. Go ahead, make fun of it if you want to (but not too much because I am in love/obsessed with the girl in it and if you make fun of her, I will have no choice but to fight you). It's ok, it is funny. These commercials always follow the same formula:
  • Present some tedious common chore in a manner that makes it seem more difficult than the combined labors of Hercules.
  • Demonstrate a miraculous product that will make accomplishing this chore not only possible but fun, possibly for the whole family.
  • Hint vaguely that the development of this miraculous product is somehow affiliated with the space program (optional).
  • Show a ludicrously low price for this miraculous product.
  • Point out that the consumer actually gets two miraculous products for the ludicrously low price of one.
  • Inspire call to action by offering at least one free additional separate premium feature or item if the miraculous product is ordered immediately.

Now, in the case of the Powerjet presented above, the free additional premium item is an on/off switch, which is pretty shitty if you think about it. Seriously, how screwed are we if all manufacturers start considering on/off switches as premium, value-added features? But that's the beauty; these commercials are designed so you don't have to think. At all. The last thing the manufacturer wants is for the minds of people watching these to function beyond the ability to dial a phone and read a sequence of numbers from a credit card. And that's what happens to you when you see enough of them, which is why I love them so much. Not all commercials, just ones like this from the "as seen on tv" family. I wish with all my might that there were a cable channel that showed nothing but these commercials 24 hours a day. I'm envisioning something along the lines of mid-eighties MTV, with these commercials instead of videos (which are actually just commercials anyway). I guarantee I'd watch for at least an hour every day. As it is, I have been known to reach an almost zen-like state while watching Tarnex commercials. Man, they just stick those crusty old spoons in a bowl of Tarnex and they come out gleaming. In fact, If I ever become independently wealthy, I am going to hire teams of people to scour the globe in search of the crustiest, nastiest pots, pans, candlesticks and flatware. They'll bring them back to me in my palatial mansion, where I will lock myself in a room on the second floor and live out the rest of my days growing a long beard and fingernails and polishing those items with Tarnex. Maybe you would bliss out to the Topsy Tail or the Bedazzler or, if you want to go really old school, the Pocket Fisherman. But that's another beautiful thing; there's something for everyone!

Now, I know none of this crap works in real life like it does in the commercials, but that's the whole point. As seen on tv, imperfections are erased, families are brought together, wrongs are righted and the mundane is made fun and exciting for one low, low price plus a free egg timer. You won't find anything else on television that gives you such feelings of tranquility, inspiration and inner peace and if you do, return this blog for a full refund.

Oh wait, it's '08

It's New Year's Eve, a time when everyone is required to assess the past and predict the future. The past? I don't see much value in worrying about what's already happened. It's like the old saying goes, "There's no sense crying over spilled milk so quit crying and let's go beat the shit out of the jerk that spilled your milk." Sure, I have a few regrets. I'm sorry the dinosaurs are extinct. I would have liked to have seen flocks of Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the earth like God intended. Who wouldn't? On the other hand, I'm glad that World War II is over and that we were able to blow up Hitler. I'd call that a wash. It's like that other old saying goes, "You can't make a blown-up Hitler omelet without breaking some Tyrannosaurus Rex eggs". So overall, I feel pretty good about the past.

But what about the future? Hmm. That's tricky because there's no such thing as a time machine that will take us into the future except for this one that I heard about that only goes into the future and takes 15 minutes to go 15 minutes, in which case what's the point? I think it's safe to say that what we have to look forward to in the future is more of the same ol' shit only louder and in different packaging. I sincerely believe that we've stopped inventing new stuff and all our innovative energy is dedicated to modifying that which already exists. This is most clearly evident in medicine where all efforts go toward treating symptoms and not developing cures. Simply put, there's no profit to made from solving problems. To quote yet another old saying, "Give a man a fish that prevents the development of malignant tumors and he will eat for a day and not develop certain forms of cancer, but teach a man that he needs a fish that treats chapped lips but has side effects that may include blindness, feelings of anxiety and uncontrollable seeping anal discharge and he will give you all of his money".
In spite of this, I'm genuinely hopeful regarding the upcoming New Year. Even though I think it's going to be 366 laps around the sun worth of more of the same ol' shit, most of that same ol' shit is still worth getting out of bed for. I'm also hopeful that what's damaged can be repaired. And if not, that it can at least be replaced. So good night, good luck and Happy Auld Lung Syringe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Surprising fact I learned today

My cat does not like egg nog. I thought he would, since he likes everything else I put in my piehole. He thought he would too, getting all up in my grill trying to get some, which is par for the course any time I'm eating or drinking. Also par for the course, I offered only token resistance before sharing it with him, which is why he thinks he's entitled to whatever I'm eating or drinking in the first place. I know that's entirely my fault so I don't even get mad about it anymore. Anyway, he licked at it twice, made an "aw, hell naw!" face and hauled ass. I don't know what he didn't like, maybe it was the thick texture or the hint of cinnamon he didn't expect when he first saw and smelled it. There's no booze in it, so that isn't it...unless maybe it is. Maybe he thought we were gonna spend a quiet Wednesday night, basking in the twinkle lights of the Christmas tree, watching the Lightning choke away yet another road game and getting snockered. Well normally two out of three ain't bad. Except of course when one of those two is the Lightning playing down to expectations. Next time I'll be sure to spike the egg nog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eight things that annoy me (and should annoy you too) about Christmas

I'm not one of those people who hate Christmas, but certain aspects of the holiday season do get on my nerves. Ok, here we go, in no particular order:
  1. Remaking Christmas songs – I don’t know why but every so-called pop star is required to record at least one Christmas song, if not an entire album. And for some other unknown reason, they always feel compelled to go out of their way to make the song their own, like they’re creating the definitive version of a song that’s already been recorded at least 300 times. You can almost hear them saying “Suck on that, Bing Crosby”. This is usually accomplished by altering the tempo slightly and piling on heaping scoops of unnecessary, elaborate vocal flourishes featuring lots of “whoa-ho-ho-ho” and “me-heh-heh-ree-yeah chree-ee-ee-ee-ee-st-may-aaaaas” nonsense which just makes everything a big mess, sort of like a cargo plane pilot doing barrel rolls just to show he can.
  2. Year end lists – I don’t need VH1 or Time to remind me what a wacky year it’s been. Whatever “it” is, I either remember “it” already on my own or I’ve intentionally forgotten “it” on purpose because “it’s” not worth the storage space in my brain required to remember “it”. Besides, I already told you back in February that the Story of the Year would be the Astronaut Love Triangle. Sex, astronauts, diapers, scorned lovers, a cross-country quest for vengeance and diapers. Nothing could possibly top that. Not “Chocolate Rain”, not the litany of Britney Spears shenanigans nor even the recent harmonic convergence of a Tampa Bay troika of trollops with Debra Lafave, Jessica Sierra and former Wharton High School basketball coach Jaymee Wallace all occupying what seemed to be the same 15 minutes of sex scandal and poor judgment fame at the same time. Not even Larry Craig. Ok, maybe Larry Craig.
  3. Online Greeting Cards – When you virtually care enough to hit send. Gee, how thoughtful. I’ll cherish this for up to 30 days.
  4. Misleading Christmas words – Not only is fruitcake terrible, unlike it’s two delicious primary components (fruit and cake) but mistletoe, which could be the most awesome nickname ever for a punter (basically by default, since nobody bothers to bestow nicknames on punters) has nothing to do with missiles or feet. Also frankincense has nothing to do with Boris Karloff.
  5. Making up new words to “The 12 Days Of Christmas” – For whatever reason, people don’t seem to understand that merely changing the words to what is easily the longest, most boring and annoying Christmas carol ever doesn’t render any of those negative attributes void. No, they’re too busy congratulating themselves for cleverly coming up with “The 12 Days Of (where they work/their family/their favorite TV show/something else they think is important here)” to get that. They also expect you to be suitably impressed with their cleverness. And, since it is Christmas, you’re sorta morally obligated to act like you are or else you’re a Grinch or a Scrooge (see #7).
  6. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Back to the subject of pop singers and Christmas music, this song begat Band Aid which begat USA For Africa which begat “We Are The World” which begat that smug "yeah, we got this" thumbs-up from Lionel Richie that makes me hate charity every time I see that video.
  7. Sexy Santas – The coalescence of two things that normally bring me great joy, but for entirely different reasons, Santa Claus and scantily clad women, confuses and frightens me. Please stop it.
  8. Being called Scrooge or Grinch for complaining about Christmas – Christmas as we know it now has been celebrated for hundreds of years. There are dozens of traditions, hundreds of movies and countless songs about Christmas…but you’re telling me there are only two derogatory terms for people who aren’t into it? How is that possible? We deserve, and should demand, more Christmas insults!

Merry non-annoying Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Notice to Pit Bull Gym

When I got home from work today, I noticed fliers hanging from my downstairs neighbors' doorknobs. But when I got to my apartment, there was no flyer hanging on my doorknob. There also wasn't one hanging on the door of the apartment across from mine either. Now I'm not complaining that I didn't get a flyer. That actually pleases me. Not having to throw it away without reading it, which is what I would have done, helps me feel good about doing my part not to harm the environment. Plus, the time I save by not having to throw away fliers that I have no intention of reading frees me up for eating crackers with cheese on them, watching "Most Shocking" on television and other leisure activities. No, my point is that I live on the second floor. And Pit Bull Gym is, well, a gym. Presumably, a place where people go to work out and get in shape. Do you see where I'm going with this? What I'm trying to say, proprietors of Pit Bull Gym, a place where people go to work out and get in shape, is that the person responsible for going door-to-door to tout your fabulous pitbull-esque getting in shape services is too lazy to climb stairs. This is probably not the most effective use of marketing resources nor the message you want to send. As such, this is going to be the reason I use to not join your gym that I was not going to join anyway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A short conversation about similes

"Did I ever tell you that my great grandfather was killed in the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919?"
"Really? How did that happen?"
"Yeah, apparently an enormous tank full of molasses burst and a massive wave of molasses flowed through the streets of Boston, swallowing everything in it's path. Great granddad tried to outrun it but was swept away and drowned in it."
"So wait, your great grandfather died because...he was slower than molasses?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Wow. That's probably the worst thing I ever heard."
"No, actually the worst part is he died before he ever even met my great grandmother."
"Oh. What? Wait a minute. How is that pos...hey, where did you go?"

J'a ever notice...?

Why is it that the guys who look goofiest in a baseball cap worn askew tend to be the ones who wear them that way? Whether it's because of a misshapen head, a bad haircut or simply an unfortunate collection and arrangement of facial features, the hat makes them do I put this delicately?...stupid. It doesn't come off like they're making any kind of fashion statement, it just looks like they're the sort of people who aren't quite capable of grasping what a hat is or how it's supposed to work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cell Phone People

Do you see...and hear...those people on their cell phones? I don't mean people who have cell phones. Hell, everybody has one. I'm talking about the people who are constantly on their cell phones. Well, here are some things you need to know about them:
  • The Cell Phone People are better, smarter and prettier than you are. They know it, too. But they aren't sure you know it. So they work really hard around the clock and at peak volume to remind you. You're welcome.
  • Their ring tones are not obnoxious, grating look-at-me sirens, they're melodic, soulful expressions of The Cell Phone People's beautiful, unique personalities, like snowflakes. Only better.
  • As a matter of fact, yes, what The Cell Phone People are talking about right this minute is that important, goddamnit.
  • Maybe you don't need to hear about The Cell Phone People's half of the conversation with uncle George and his visit to the chiropractor, but you don't deserve to hear it either. You're welcome again.
  • Actually, there are only two things in the world less important than what The Cell Phone People are doing on their cell phones right now, and here they are, in order:
  1. Everything else in the world, except you
  2. You

Monday, December 10, 2007

Update on the New Job

Only because I've been asked...

I've been at my new job for just over two weeks now and am still settling in. There's a lot to learn. But I go home every night at 5:00, I stop worrying about the job the second I walk out the door and I have every weekend off, which is exactly what I wanted. The job itself is not a repetition of the same routine day after day so I don't think I will get bored, so over all, it's working out exactly like I had hoped it would.

What is a little weird and a little difficult is being the new guy there. This is the first time I've started a new job where I didn't know anybody since, hmmm, maybe since I joined the Army 25 years ago. People who know me might find it hard to believe (although people who know me well will find it very easy to believe) that I am somewhat withdrawn and guarded around people I don't know. I enjoy being lively and entertaining but I choose to distribute my raucous, silly behavior in portions that I control in situations where I'm comfortable. Right now I don't have that, or even anyone to talk to, so my days are really kind of quiet and that's not much fun. Everybody who works there has been there at least seven years and they're all older adults, married with adult or late-teenage kids, so who knows, I may never fit in there. But life is all about trade-offs (or so I'm told) and I'm in a situation I chose for myself so I have no regrets and I should shut up already. It'll all be fine. I'm shutting up now.


Today was what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary.
In other news, "Deal Or No Deal" was on television tonight.

I observed both of these with equal indifference.