Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Movie Made Me Do It.

I majored in Advertising and Public Relations.
No, Really.
My passion is jounalism but I took so many interesting advertising courses that it was just as easy to declare an advertising emphasis. Besides that, I wasn't very good at punctuation.
Whatever, the point is I love ads and I really love bad ads because it makes me feel smart to point out the flaws.
The worst TV commercial I've seen lately is for Hollywood Video.
Apparently they are trying to combat movies-by-mail and on-demand cable. They are doing it quite badly.
Their current ads feature normal-to-beautiful looking people choosing incredibly lame movies then regreting their choice.
It's an attempt at parody but it dosn't work because it dosn't ring true.
Even worse than the unrealistic premise of the ad is the message that customers have bad taste. Left to our own devices we slovenly movie lovers will watch something that sucks. We need Hollywood Video to save us from ourselves.

Attention Hollywood Video's ad agency:
Don't insult your money, er customers. Duh.
And spare us from your horrible satire; we grew up on The Simpsons and we watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. We know satire and if you can't do it well don't do it at all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Designing for Disaster

You can't turn on the TV, radio, or open a newspaper without being reminded of Hurricane Katrina today. We were all pretty shocked at the pictures coming out of New Orleans last year, and the Johnny Jihads of the world looked like ineffective little punks compared to a giant swirling cloud of rain and wind.
Are we prepared for another natural disaster, have we learned anything and more importantly have we done anything?
"The American Society of Civil Engineers last year gave the nation a "D" for its infastructure conditions, esimating it would take over five years and $1.6 trillion to fix the problems. "
So the infastructure of the USA is only one natural or man-made disaster away from total collapse?
Will someone please tell me what our wise and noble federal government is doing about this? "Experts say that a transportation bill passed last year (to address these problems) is riddled with some 5,000 'earmarks' for projects sought by members of Congress that do nothing to systematically address the problem*"; such as the infamous 'bridge to nowhere' in Alaska.

In the words of our beautifully blunt on-line community: WTF?

Maybe roads and bridges and sewage treatment plants and landfills arn't exactly sexy, but damn; they're really really important.

Lets hope that all the Katrina anniversary celebrations draw attention to the extremely basic needs in our own country, and perhaps we'll start getting some much-needed maintenance.

Until then?
We're fighting wars in foreign countries; re-building the Gulf Coast (supposedly); cutting taxes (for rich people); and building cookie jar museams in North Carolina with federal money; but the airplane landing instruments at LAX keep breaking down.

Come and get us Islamo-nutcase-terrorists; we're wide open.
*Italicized info by Chuck McCutcheon, Newhouse News Service

Friday, August 25, 2006

Strong Stuff

Jane Eyre is a fantasy; a fairy-tale; complete female flippery that would NEVER happen in real life. However, 150+ years later people (like me) are still reading it and thinking about it.
The book is such a part of our literature heritage you probably already know the basic plot, so there will be no re-cap, only musings.
Our heroine, JE, was a strong woman. She wasn't strong only because she overcame some really bad situations, but because she actively avoided making a bad situation worse.

Two flawed guys tried to pressure her into marriage and she turned them down in a time when single women were treated like freaks.

After JE's engaement fell apart, she fled temptation without taking anything that didn't belong to her. She left the pearl necklace Rochester gave her and didn't even ask for the wages she was owed. She ran away from her fantasy love and his crazy wife and went out into the cold cold world all alone.

I would have taken the pearl necklace a few pieces of silverware on the way out.

Not Jane, she was going to make it by herself. Sure, she had to sleep in the forest and eat pig slop, but it was a small price to pay for a clean conscience.

Strong and pure Jane already knew she couldn't have lived with the guilt of being an illegitimate wife and living in a false luxury.

A weaker woman would have run away with Rochester, self-medicated the guilt away, nagged the jerk out of her life, and ended up miserable anyway.

JE stayed strong, made the hard but good choices and it all turned out OK in the end.
Even if JE hasn't gotten back together with Rochester, you know her life would have turned out well because she had conviction.
She made decisions that were good for her in the long run. To hell with Rochester and his lies and St. John and his 'you were made for work not love,' Jane was gonna take care of Jane.

If you've read JE, what do you think?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time and its temptations.

My last post is 2 and a half weeks old. In cyber-time I might as well be dead.
What have I been doing? Nothing fun I assure you. I wish I'd been on vacation or had guests from out-of-town, but fate has not been so kind.
I took a nasty fall down a steep slope and injured myself quite badly. I actually had surgery. I've never had surgery before, except a c-section and I was up and around only two days after that.
My current status is disabled, really.
I can't walk into my apartment unassisted, I can't take care of my children, I can't drive, can't shop, can't walk to the mailbox. I'm home-bound, all alone, and it's a little weird.
Now I have time, time do to whatever I want as long as I can do it at home. Thanks to the internet, I can indeed do a lot from home, I could stay house-bound forever become one pale, ratty and paranoid recluse. But that's not me, I like going outside.

Ironic really, here I finally have all the time in the world, and I'm using it to resist certain amusments.
For example, I could have the TV on all day and really get a schedule going, but I'm resisting that temptation. Yesterday I did watch Oprah, I tried to pretend I didn't know she was about to come on, and yesterday's show wasn't even that good, but I watched and I'll probably watch again today. Cheating husbands, on today's Oprah.
I could also spend the whole day chatting on craigslist about any varity of subjects, but I've not gone there . . . yet.
Most tempting of all and therefore the thing I must resist the most is eating.
I could and dread to spend my day eating all the junk in the house. You see, my husband is back and being a skinny man, he can fill the fridge with whatever he likes, being a full-figured woman I must bear down and do something to ignore all the junk he's brought home.
It's not easy.

Help me Oprah.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Stay Back Starbucks

Starbucks sales at coffee shops open at least 13 months rose 4% in July.
Analysts forcasts ranged from a rise between 6-7%.
The headline gasped "Starbucks sales sluggish, comsumers buying gas instead," or at least it should have.
Starbucks stock dipped as a result of the above sales information. The Corporation for Overpriced, Super-Sweet Coffee Drinks speculated that frou-frou drinks like the Banana Creme Frappucino and the Green Tea Bluberry Frappucino (which tates NOTHING like green tea) were taking too much time to prepare thus causing long lines thus driving customers away.

I used to be a serious Starbucks person. At the Starbucks conveniently located in my local Safeway, buying drinks with my Safeway Club Card assures that every 8th drink was free. Loading up on caffine, sugar, fat, and calories plus a getting closer to my 'free one' was an almost daily ritual.

My personal favorite: Grande Iced Mocha. No Whip.

I don't frequent Starbucks much anymore. It wasn't the outrageous price or the insane number of fat grams nor long lines that drove me away. I found a substitute: dark roast mate. Mate a tea from South America thats tastes god-awful in it's original form.
Some North Americans guys and their marketing company made it taste good and one box of 20 tea bags costs five dollars, four if it's on sale.
With some milk and honey, mate is about the best tea I've ever had, and it dosn't leave you with the rot-gut the way coffee does.
Not that I've sworn off Starbucks forever; it's still the occasional treat.
I'm hoping I never see the Mate Frappucino at Starbucks, I'm sure it will taste delicious.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Why the Oxygen Network has no credibility.

This item appeared on the internet yesterday: "Women like Tech Toys more than Shoes"
Let me tell you right now: This does not apply to Me.
I think Sony or Verizon wrote this press release and paid the Oxygen Network to release it.
The first part of the article says that some group of women were given a choice between a plasma TV and a diamond solitare necklace and most of them chose the TV. As a woman, I must way we are hard-wired to put beautiful things on our bodies, not zone out in front of a mini-movie screen watching car chases and balls swooshing through hoops or goals or end zones or whatever.
Why would you choose a fancy schmancy TV when the old one works just fine over a real diamond necklace? It's not possible.
I guess men can't understand the allure of jewelry and I can't break it down other than to say it makes you look and feel good. TV dosn't make you feel pretty. You can't put a TV around your neck and feel the lights sparkling and the heavenly weight of money and love pressing against your throat like a crown. TV can't do that!

The article also says that women are just as tech savvy as men, this I believe- but still the part about TVs over diamonds, just dosn't ring true.

What do you think girls? Is this total baloney or what?