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Home > Lucki Stars > Adding Insult

Adding Insult
by
Lucki Melander Wilder

Lucki, I think we're kindred spirits on the advertising thing.  I notice many of the same little nuances,
and have often thought I should keep a notebook handy to write them down.  -- Tom Ligon, SF author

It's surprising (or perhaps not) how many times I "Say what?!" to TV advertising, and want to share the fun with someone (everyone?) else.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or to call attention to your own (un)favorites. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

2021-10-19
Fish Foolery

Recently - in response to an apparently specious claim that its tuna sandwiches contained no tuna - a national sandwich-shop chain issued commercials insisting that their tuna sandwiches are made of tuna. (I say "specious claim" because the much-touted complainers completely withdrew that part of their claim in court.)

I'm willing to concede that the chain's tuna sandwiches indeed contain tuna. After all, when samples of the sandwich meat were frozen and sent to a lab for DNA analysis, the lab reported that it was unable to ID the meat because it couldn't extract any viable DNA. Note, it didn't say there was some other kind of fish or meat or bogus mixture. It just said its test didn't work. Well, shoot, if I lost, say, a finger and it was recovered by someone and cooked long enough to make it safe to can, immersed in water or oil, and then to eat (blech) after maybe months on the shelf, I don't think you could find my viable DNA in it, either. They'd be fortunate to even ID it as a primate (or possibly even as a mammal) never mind exactly which kind.

I can understand why the sandwich chain felt the need to protest via their adverts. To assure everyone that their tuna was 100% wild-caught tuna. (I don't want to sidetrack here into a discussion of wild-caught versus ranched versus farmed.) But it might be a case of closing one can of, um, worms only to open another in the process. 'Cuz it triggered some more-salient questions for me. Such as:

A tuna swimming in intensely blue water= What kind of tuna are you guys using? 'Cuz I pretty much want to stick with skipjack. It's a smaller tuna, so it matures faster, so it breeds sooner, so it's more sustainable. Plus which, it's pretty low on the oceanic food chain, so it isn't as rife as many other tuna species with mercury (like albacore or yellowfin), or have any PCBs (like bluefin).

= How do you (or your providers) catch the tuna? Are you able to accurately target the tuna you want? Or are you using methods that also catch other types of tuna that school with skipjack, other types of fish altogether, and even seabirds?

= What else do you put in the sandwich (or in the tuna salad itself)? Like, do I want to eat your sandwiches at all when a European court has ruled that your "bread" contains about five times too much sugar to be called "bread"?

Just sayin' that maybe sometimes it's better to let sleeping tuna lie. But what do I know?

Tue, Oct 19, 2021 at 11:37 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen this commercial, too, so I know what sandwiches you're talking about. It really is true that you don't know what you're eating if someone else made it, like canned foods. But what did the court call it if they didn't call it bread?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  True; though at least with canned foods, you can read the complete list of ingredients and get some kind of idea. And I don't know what the unbread would be called. Cake, maybe? But about a year ago, a court in Ireland found that the chain's recipe did not qualify as bread, a staple food, because the limit for calling something "bread" is no more sugar than 2% of the weight of the flour in the dough, but what the chain was using contained 10%, making it a confectionery. Granted, this was a matter of what kind of tax the chain had to pay, but still.... OTOH, there's not that much nutritional difference, since starch metabolizes into sugar anyway.
  BYW, thanks for catching my many typos, which have been corrected now. I had my flu shot Monday, and was pretty miserable for about 36 hours. My PCP said I had a "brisk" immune response and congratulated me on being so protected. And if I understood the pharmacist correctly, my strong reaction was tied to the fact that, like many people, I had the vax last winter but stayed in lockdown and mask-wearing. So because I was never exposed to any flu viri, which would've kept my immune reaction strong, my immunity waned; so this year, the vax had to sort of start from scratch and work harder. (But don't quote me on that, 'cuz I'm not sure that's what he meant. Shoulda asked. But between the flu vax and COVID boosters, he had more people in line than there were chairs for them to wait in, so I decided not to use up more of his time. I was glad to see so many people doing the right thing for their health, though.)

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Entries During
2021-2022

2021-10-19 Fish Foolery
2021-10-13 Meat Much?
2021-10-08 Bad Syne
2021-10-04 Parting Shot

2021-09-24 Sticky Wicked
2021-09-19 Stop Dead
2021-09-14 Ain't Right
2021-09-08 Haint No Way
2021-09-01 Swing Low

2021-08-27 Blue None Day
2021-08-20 Playing Catch-Up
2021-08-13 Map Question
2021-08-06 Cuckoo Cone
2021-08-01 Perish That Posture

2021-07-30 Room Loom
2021-07-23 Fire Fight!
2021-07-16 Done One?
2021-07-09 Jump Stop
2021-07-01 Laser Crazy

2021-06-25 Out Is Off
2021-06-18 Poll Hole
2021-06-13 Attitude Latitude
2021-06-06 Bear Market

2021-05-28 Yesss/Nooo
2021-05-21 Jag & Sag
2021-05-14 Loutly Laughs
2021-05-07 Double Down Dippy

2021-04-27 Hitting the Deck
2021-04-23 Too Dumb To Drink
2021-04-16 Petty Puddles
2021-04-09 Plainly PETurbed

2021-03-18 Cheap Cheep
2021-03-08 Red Bear Blue Bear

2021-02-26 Puppy Prob
2021-02-15 Medium Miss

2021-01-20 Rollin' Along
2021-01-08 Dippity Dum

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2021-10-13
Meat Much?

Ya know, I have to look very askance at meat producers who call their processed meat "deli" even though, with it being inundated with preservatives and packaged in plastic to be sold in supermarkets, you obviously aren't getting it in a deli.

[ASIDE] Deli is short for "delicatessen", which is a German word (borrowed from France) that means "delicacies". Originally used to refer to the special, fresh, quality foods themselves, the word eventually started being used to describe the stores that sell the food. But no matter how you cut it, megamarts are not delicatessens. [/ASIDE]

But I gotta once again note that a commercial is portraying more truth than the product purveyor or its ad agency probably intended.
Princess who got out of a multi-mattressed bed & discovered that a pea was hurting her back.
In this ad, a (one might assume) Thumbelina-sized lady in PJs lands softly on a slice of whole wheat bread. A slice of processed turkey becomes her blanket. Then apparently the whole rest of the package of turkey falls on her. Too fast to accurately count. But one might assume that, at an estimated 1 ounce per slice, it was either another 15 or 27 slices. Followed by a piece of cheese, a leaf of lettuce, and two slices of tomato. Topped, of course, by another slice of bread. Wow, a little bit of lettuce, a tiny tad of tomato, and whole wheat bread. How overwhelming healthy that massive sandwich must be, huh?

It's sort of a reverse princess and the pea. Only she's the pea and the mattresses are on top of her.

How is she still breathing? All that weight on her tiny little corpus has to be suffocating, If not crushing. Which, come to think of it, is what all that "deli" meat they're selling, with all its tasty fat and salt, is doing to your heart. Especially if you're using a whole package every day.

Which, though, I'm sure you're not. You've got more brains than that, right? Of course, you do. Me too.

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2021-10-08
Bad Syne

The handy insurance company has been running an advert that bugs the heck outa me. Not because the whole commercial is stupid. Because one little piece is. And it's jarring in an otherwise soothing commercial. A commersh the company obviously wants to soothe you with. So you'll feel secure in its hands.

Actually, on second thought, there isn't only one thing that jars. But at least the other stuff is subtle enough that it takes repeated viewings to catch them all.

ONE: The young lady is driving down the road when her phone alerts her that her new insurance bargain is in place. Well, naturally, that makes her smile. And in her enjoyment, she sticks her hand out the window and starts doing syne waves in the air. Well, we've probably all done that a time or two. But when I do it, I'm always a passenger. 'Cuz I don't drive. So I don't personally increase the risk of an accident by not having two hands on the wheel. Plus, why doesn't she have her phone on "Do Not Disturb" while she's driving? Even hands-free, the two seconds' distraction while a driver looks at their phone and processes who the call is from (whether they answer it or not) are the two most dangerous seconds of the otherwise quiet drive. Guess she really does need that insurance more than I do.

TWO: Now, the canine passenger in the back seat can't really make syne waves out the window with its front leg. So it makes them with its floppy ears. But I sure hope it's properly restrained there in the back seat. (It might be, though; it's hard to tell.) 'Cuz it's sitting right up against the door, and even has both front paws out the wide-open window.

FOUR: Then there's the three birds following the car. The first bird in line rises and dips. The second bird rises as the first one dips. The third bird rises as the second bird dips and the first bird rises again. It's very pretty, in a soothing sort of way. But either those birds are each encountering a hellacious thermal column or they've forgotten how to ride their leader's draft. Whichever the case, though, they're wasting a lot of energy. Good thing they don't run on gas.

4 syne waves, the 3rd one jaggedYou notice, of course, that I skipped the third syne-wave incidence. Yeah, 'cuz it's the one that really jars. I can almost believe the other three and be soothed thereby. But the third one totally breaks the mood, with a loud snap. 'Cuz there's no way I can believe...

THREE: The three crustaceans (two full grown; one small enough that I'd've thrown it back to continue growing and hopefully breed before being caught again) in the crab trap in the back of the pickup are also supposedly doing syne waves. Piffle, 'cuz that insurance isn't going to do them any good in the kitchen, so what are they all happy about? And they're not really doing syne waves. They're just bouncing up and down and waving claws in the air. More jazz dancing than syne waving. It looks anything but natural. It doesn't fit into the pattern set up by and for the others. To me, it messes up the whole ad.

Have you seen it? Does it bug you, too? I know, bad pun, crustaceans actually being big sea-bugs. (Have you ever noticed how much scorpions and lobsters look alike?)

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2021-10-04
Parting Shot

Oh look, it's another dose of double dumbitude. Only this time, it's not (just) the perps who are in danger of dying.

Airline pilot's hatDoctor's stethoscopeSomething's wrong with the flight crew. The plane's in danger of going down. The flight attendant needs to know if anyone in the cabin knows how to fly this thing. Not to fear. One pilot raises his hand. But another sitting beside him jumps up, climbs over him, and heads up the aisle. He's got this.

Something's wrong with the floor. Must be slippery, 'cuz the waitress is going down. Hard, fast, flat on her back, trays flying everywhere. Not to fear. A dining doctor rushes to help her. She's got this.

Oh wait. He's not really a pilot. He's just watched TV shows where, say, the President manages to, I dunno, single-handedly land Air Force One. So our guy is sure he can handle it. Just as soon, that is, as the flight attendant tells him whether the cockpit is in the front or the back of the plane. 'Cuz, ya know, he's never been in one before.

Oh wait. She's not really a doctor. She's just watched TV shows where, say, a random M.D. in the vicinity manages to properly diagnose a problem and, I dunno, do the Heimlich or CPR or a ballpoint-pen trach and save a stranger's life. So our gal is sure she can handle it. Just as soon as the other waitress gets her some tweezers, methanol, and an omelet. 'Cuz after all, the patient's kidneys are still beating.

Yeah, that'll work. Or more likely, pretending without a license like that, he'll go down with the plane, too.

Yeah, that'll work. Or more likely, practicing without a license like that, she'll get sued for aggravation of injury.

Look, if that video streaming service can make me dumb enough to think I can handle a critical situation for which I have no qualifications whatsoever, or if the only people who use that video streaming service are that dumb, then I ain't using it. No way, no how. The good samaritan laws are not there to protect puffed-up absolute idiots. And I'm not about to sign on with some company that wants me to act that stupid. Or thinks it'd be funny to pretend I could/would/should.

Hey, where did I put that old antenna?

Tue, Oct 05, 2021 at 12:14 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen these and, same as the water ones you linked to, they are silly. I didn't catch that the lady said her kidneys are beating. That's really silly. I wondered why the real pilot didn't just stand up and say, "Hey, I'm the one with the pilot's license." Do you think maybe the same ad agency did both sets of ads?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Ya know, that's a really good question. But as far as I can tell (though I certainly may be wrong), Martin did the streaming ads and Vayner did the flavoring ads. But there's obviously some kind of cross-fertilization there. Maybe someone left one agency for the other. Or great minds run in the same channel. Or fools think alike. After all, there never really are any totally-new jokes under the sun, are there, right?
  Not all adverts are closed-captioned, but many are. I have a tendancy to keep closed captioning on, except when a show is captioned live and is out of synch. And even sometimes then, when they seem to be using a lot of language I'm unfamiliar with. (And sometrimes it's a hoot to see what comes up when, say, the captioning was done from the script, but the final take was something other than the script. Or when the person doing the captioning didn't have the context information that the viewer does, and so just plain heard the line wrong.)

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2021-09-24
Sticky Wicked

Octopus curling its tentaclesIt's a drive-in. Running a movie on its huge screen. Which the family of four is watching intently. It comes across like a sealife documentary. I mean, that tenticular figure dominating the screen is obviously a real-life octopus. Which I'd certainly be watching intently, 'cuz I'm fascinated by this decidedly (by both theoretical and empirical evidence) most intelligent of all invetebrates on Earth. Well, except the creepy, loud sound effects may mean it's a dumb-butt monster movie. Which I wouldn't spend five cents or five minutes on. (Unless maybe Garima, Queen of Thanzanon, and her MarySue were there, too.)

Suddenly, Dad climbs out of the car: "Be right back." Mom and the two girls are so engrossed, they don't even glance sideways. No one asks, "Where ya going?" Which certainly isn't normal human behavior. (Unless maybe everyone thinks he's going to the john for the umpteenth time and don't want to embarrass or be bothered with him?)

With a smirk, Dad sneaks around the back of the car and forward along the passenger side. And lays in wait until just the right moment when the octo-monster lunges at the camera. (How many times has Dad already seen this movie, anyway?)

And lunges, too. Against the windshield. With a roar. Scaring the bejeezus out of the family. Who promptly scream and jump. All their goodies arc out of their hands, bounce off the seating, and scatter and splash across the floor. Candy, popcorn, and (judging from the color) sugary/sticky blue beverage everywhere.

Not to worry, though, 'cuz the seats and floor are covered with carefully-crafted coverings that withstand all kinds of weather and wacky shenanigans. Ain't technology grand?

Two problems. Not everyone was actually caught by surprise. The younger daughter wasn't. You can tell because her reaction is too slow. A very visually-obvious delay. Her toss-up is obviously conscious, not a knee-jerk reaction. Granted she doesn't have the experience base and therefore timing of the other actors. But shouldn't someone have caught and corrected that in editing?

But the real killer of the willing suspension of disbelieve is how Dad gets back in the car and everyone laughs and that's the end of it.

Really? They're all really gonna stay in that car and watch the end of the movie without anyone making the slightest attempt to clean up the mess all over the floor? A mess which they still, after all, have their feet in? And Mom has no choice words, or even a "We'll talk later" look, about causing that mess and wasting that money? And Dad's not gonna go, or be asked to go, replace the snacks the distaff fam were enjoying?

Shoot, even octopi clean up themselves better than that.

Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 11:15 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen this commercial, too, and it is funny. But you're right. The little girl throwing her stuff into the air was too slow, and the dad should have to clean up the car before he gets to watch the rest of the movie. There are a lot of silly commericals where people don't act like anybody really would.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Ain't that the truth. Sure humor sells, but it can also be distracting from the product. Especially if the stupidities are so rampant that I can't even remember what the commercial was actually trying to sell. In which case, the vendor has just wasted a whole bunch of time, energy, and money.

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2021-09-19
Stop Dead

While I was growing up, my nurturant mother worked full time. So most household chores got done on the weekends. This was back in the day when every blasted thing had to be ironed. Even sheets! Sensibly, she evolved the habit of doing the ironing on Sunday evenings while watching TV. Some things she could iron sitting down. For other things, she needed to be standing up. She'd sort the ironing into those two categories, do the stand-up ironing, then adjust the board downwards and complete the sitting-down ironing.

I learned the same habit from her. It stood me in very good stead. I would do all my ironing on Sunday, and then put together a complete outfit (including understuff and accessories) on a hanger for each day of the week. Saved me all KINDS of time. Even once taught it to my newest colleague, fresh out of college, the day he was late and told me it was because, in a rush, he had accidentally burned the shirt he was ironing that morning. He tried that Sunday ironing and hangering and loved it.

So I get the guy who's standing there at the ironing board while all around him rages a Game-of-Thrones-ish battle royal. Voices roar. Catapults heave. Arrows fly. Horses gallop. Infantry scurries. Swords swing. Axes fall. All the usual noisy tropes. But the viewer also has to keep an eye on some parts of what he's ironing. So he looks down ... just as the prince-type person dies in the arms of the lady-love he'd never before professed his love to. (With, if you pay attention to their names, very possibly good reason; but never mind that.)

Whoa! Did the prince just die? Darn, missed it!

Not to fear, though, 'cuz the voice-controlled virtual assistant is on the job. [ASIDE] Which, incidentally, my Number One Son offered to get me one of. And I declined. I don't need anything, especially connected to wifi, that's gonna listen to everything I say 24/7/365 just so it can tell if I've called its name. And then go tattle on me to its real master. [/ASIDE]

Iron standing on ironing board with shirtOn command, the battle abruptly halts, and the princely person re-enlivens and agrees to replay his death scene. During which, our iron-wielder looks down at his ironing and manages to miss the scene again.

So he asks for a third try. Needless to say, the prince is emphatically not happy about all the (re)dying he's doing. But hey, ya know, the show must (re)go on. He's nothing if not a trouper.

And the dude misses it AGAIN! Calls for another replay. And STILL looks down.

Hey, it'll only take a few seconds for the prince to finish his big scene. Stand the iron safely upright and back away from the board. That's right, keep your eyes on the prize and BACK AWAY FROM....

Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 10:23 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I haven't seen this commercial but I can really picture it. I remember ironing sheets, too, and stopping to watch something. That was back before we had voice replay, of course.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Also been there, done that. Different now. Not because of Replay. I don't have all that smart a TV system. But because nowadays, if the tag says something needs ironing, I don't buy it in the first place. One of the perks of being an old geezer.

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2021-09-14
Ain't Right

It's actually cute, in a way. It's an old, clunky turntable. The controls look like a pickle and two tomatoes. The turntable is a plate-like platform for a slice of putatively healthy bread, some nondescript lettuce, and a couple of circular slices of processed turkey meat stuff. And the armature holds, instead of a needle, an unlabeled, restaurant-style, pointy-nosed tube of yellow mustard. The controls suddenly activate. The turntable starts its deosil* spin. The needle armature swings into position and starts to lay down a track of mustard on the turkey. Yum?

Gold and white widdershins spiralBut wait - and here's the rub - the mustardy needle doesn't start at the edge and move inward. It starts at the center and moves outward. That's NOT how a record plays. I know so. Been playing records on turntables since little me learned to use Grandma's old wind-up Victrola. (And yeah, I'm a bit of a purist about the depth of vinyl-recorded sound that no digital-file device has ever been able to truly duplicate. Wish I'd inherited that old Victrola. And old Singer treadle sewing machine. *Sigh*)

And lest you think: "Well, maybe a record is made by going widdershins?" nope. The master turns deosil as it is recorded on, and then the vinyl copies are pressed from the master. No widdershins nowheres.

It's a small thing. But small things are important in making records and food. If the advertisers can't get that right, what else are they getting wrong? And do I want to eat any of their "inverted" stuff? After all, molecular "handedness" is nutritionally important; if food molecules are built in the wrong direction, they'll be either nutritionally useless or possibly even harmful.

Sorry, guys, this was by no means a record-setting attempt at convincing me to buy something.

* Deosil (pronounced "JOSS-ell") is what clockwise was called before there were any dial-faced clocks to make a directional word from. Counterclockwise was called widdershins. Learn something old everyday.

Wed, Sep 15, 2021 at 11:47 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  The car one [immediately below] was creepy, but this one's funny. I don't buy processed meat like that, although I do buy turkey sometimes; but even if I did, I wouldn't use a turntable to put mustard on it. They could have still applied the spiral of mustard from the edge to the middle. When a record ends, the post could stop the needle from moving any farther in, but what's to stop the mustard from still going out and falling off the edge of the meat?
  I never would've known what deosil is or how to say it, so I was glad to see that explanation there.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Well, for starters I'm with you on the sandwich. If I want turkey, I buy turkey. If I don't want to cook it, I buy it smoked. But it's all turkey. None of this processed turkey meat-like stuff. And secondly, I didn't even think about what would stop that mustard bottle from spiraling off the turntable and across your table ... and maybe rug. Thanks for that.

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2021-09-08
Haint No Way

Speaking of home-buying: That there more luxurious home? The one that has everything? All of which will become the buyer's? Because the previous owners left in a hurry?

It has everything, all right. Equally luxurious grounds. Furnishings. Furniture. Bric-a-brac. Books. Rippling lights. Empty chairs that move by themselves. Art that oozes paint down and out of the frames. A humaniform shadow creeping along the wall. A realtor who sneaks up behind you as you back out of the shadow-infested room.
Car in the dark, looking spooky with glaring lights and a bumpery frown
Oh, and a luxurious new car that starts itself - blinking its beams, revving its engine - the moment your partner steps into the garage.

Well naturally, this is not the house for you. No wonder the pushy real estate agent wants to sell it fast. No wonder the previous owners left in a hurry. And what ELSE did they leave behind?

And naturally, when the agent asks if you have any questions, your first and only response is gonna be, "No thanks. Not interested. Bye."

Only, before you can get a word out edgewise, your partner rushes in from the garage and says "We'll take it." Because, the tagline tells you, the heart-pounding automobile will haunt your senses.

Not mine! First of all, I have my own home. I own it free and clear (from the day I bought it). And I'm not interested in upsizing or downsizing or relocating. Secondly, I don't own a car, I never have and never will. I don't drive 'cuz I never learned how, and I never learned how 'cuz my lack of binocular fusion makes it impossible. Or at least very dangerous. Even more dangerous than that house. So I'm in no way a target for what this commersh is selling or, for that matter, pretending to sell.

But even if I were, this is not the car I'd want. A car that can importune you ... sans permission, even. A car that can make you stupid enough to want to live in that house. A house which would also haunt your senses, and not in a good way. And certainly not a car that can render you oblivious enough to warrant that look from your partner. The look that clearly says, "WTF!! Are you insane?! And you didn't even bother to discuss it with me? Fine, you buy the place. I'll see ya around sometime. Anywhere but here."

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2021-09-01
Swing Low

Back yard is way too smallSo there are Nora's parents (the character and the actress portraying her, young Miss Harriet, have the same first name) discussing their need for a bigger back yard ... and why their credit won't allow it.

Well, yeah, they definitely need a bigger yard. But every limitation they note also raises its own questions. To wit:

= What's with that big honking two-swing set? If you're gonna put a swing in a yard that's too little to invite a playmate into anyway, why not one swing that might at least (if you rotate it a quarter turn) allow your daughter to swing without slamming her feet into the walls both forwards and backwards? Better yet, why not walk her over to the local park to swing on the big swings with lots of other kids? Gotta be a healthier and more-fun alternative, right?

= Why in heaven's name does Dad tell her to "go long" before tossing the ball ... over the fence? Does he, like me, have impaired binocular fusion, so he can't really see in 3D? In fact, is that why he keeps insisting that the yard is big enough? Again, the park?

= Does Mom actually think she can hide by simply crouching down a few feet behind her offspring? Shouldn't she at least have tried to get to the house to hide? Really, hey, the PARK?

= And come on, Dad, a power mower? With bag, too? What kind of wimp are you? Won't a hand mower do the job just as well, plus be able to turn on a dime? Okay, maybe at least on a dollar? Or for truly fine control, how about a putter-style, trimming, American grass-scythe? Really build up those core muscles, maybe even? Or are you so ham-handed you fear you'll cut off your toes or something?

= Is Nora able to defy the laws of physics? 'Cuz no matter how hard she was swinging, didn't the fences keep her arc from going high enough to get hung up on the top of that fence behind her?

Yo, inquiring minds want to know. Extra credit for answers that make sense!

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2021-08-27
Blue None Day

I thought J.K. Simmons was good in series like Law & Order, Oz, and The Closer. He's also done good film work in various Marvel and DC thingies. From some of which we know he's good at over-the-top villainy, too. And his smartly-portrayed yellow-M&M's dumbitude is (almost) always fun. So it's no surprise that he's been doing another solid, fun job as the Hall-of-Claims (Who knew it was "real"?*) spokesperson for the marketable insurance company.

I have no gripe with him. But I do with the latest commercial in which he delivers a free congratulatory balloon to one of the company's customers.

First of all, he's not carrying very many balloons. Short on customers?

Secondly, if I have to answer an unexpected doorbell (which I personally don't ... ever) and then stand there going through a litany of gosh-wowness about why I'm getting a free, blue, anniversary balloon, I'm not sure it's worth the one freebie, celebratory, blue balloon. Or possibly even, if I'm having an off day, the freebie $50 deductible perk.

Blue balloon with pink ribbon floating freely into the cloudsBut neither of those is the really irritating part.

The really irritating part is when the little girl out on the sidewalk very politely (and even grammatically correctly) asks if she, too, may have a free blue balloon. And the spokesguy smiles and says "Sure!" as he hands it to her ... almost. And then grabs it back again while he matter-of-factly demands confirmation that her parents have maintained an insurance policy with the company for twelve consecutive months. Her confused, expressive pout is very understandable, and I concur.

Makes ya wonder, doesn't it? Does the company offer products, other perks, claims settlements, etc., and then pull them back at the last minute while suddenly inundating you with additional, up-to-then-secret requirements. 'Cuz if so, I hope you and your lawyer have a nice sharp pin ready.

* On the upside, definitely worth reading. And don't worry, it doesn't take nearly as long to read each true story as they say it will. Many of the ads are indeed about actual settled claims.

Fri, Aug 27, 2021 at 10:48 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen this commercial. I recognized as soon as you mentioned balloons, and I said "How would the little girl know the answer to get the balloon he's keeping from her?" But I didn't know the Hall of Claims was real. I followed your link. Even the pictures and headlines are funny. You couldn't make this stuff up. I clicked on the one about the clown and read the story. I'm saving the rest to enjoy this weekend when I have more time.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yep, the fictional museum's Hall of Claims in the ads is just a set; but many of the stories are real, and they are archived in an online Hall people can visit. I expect the number of exhibits will keep growing. Research can be such fun.
Wed, Sep 01, 2021 at 5:10 PM, Kim B. wrote:
Hi,
  I had a bit of time and looked through everything.
  LOVED the declaration story - and LOVED the photo of Mead (I finally see his face!) and Marielle and Shoghi - what a beautiful family. And really loved what her father said and how that all played out.
  Customer service????  I would worry about inputting the SSN to a bank number even on the back of the card.  That sounds so hacked. But congrats on staying free of cell phones!
  Adding insult - "politico posturing while people perish" reminds me very much of a political cartoon in the Greenville NC newspaper when I was a college student - it was of poppy fields on the left (id'd "Turkey") and emaciated people with their hands out on the right. The caption was "They grow opium while people are starving." The hypocrisy of running that in the heart of tobacco country really got to me.
  I looked at that Hall of Claims site - what a hoot.  And yeah, I love JK and yeah, that sounds like a serious script misstep.
  Malcolm Gladwell did a chapter in one of his books (maybe Blink or Outliers) on ketchup. There's a lot of good reasons that the top two ketchup brands are the top two. But - yeah, the ad sounds stupid.
  Reading Mya's bit every month because I find her so likeable. Sorry about that with the design .... but really feel sorry for me as a reader because I wanted to see a photo of her design and of the one they went with so that I could see what she was talking about - and see if I agree.
  Life is challenging here. Your stuff makes me smile and takes me on a mini-vacation. Thanks!
Love,
Kim
  Lucki responds to Kim B.:
Hi yourself, faithful reader,
  Glad you had time for it all. Kim.
  Yes, I hadn't really heard Marielle's declaration story quite like that. Her perspective was interesting.
  I had a cell phone account once. Rey got it for me. Drove me crazy … hated having so many people think they had a right to my IMMEDIATE response to their calls. I finally dumped it. The convenience in an occasional emergency wasn't worth the 24/7 hassle.
  Yeah. If you remember, I opted for the Moderna vaccine, even though I had to wait for months, partly because of their being the only company of the three that was never complicit in the opioid epidemic (which, of course, is still raging, too). And of course, quitting smoking, like, 40 years ago was one of the best things I and God ever did for myself.
  As far as I can tell, they're going to keep adding stuff to that Hall of Claims site. Worth checking back every year or so.
  Doesn't it, though. What was Dad thinking?!
  You will. She has it all planned out to crescendo over the next 3 months. Stick with it and you'll get that chance to agree (or not).
  Smiles and mini-vacays do help with challenges, don't they? That and provoking thought means we're doing our bloggy jobs.
So stay safe and smiling,
Lucki

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2021-08-20
Playing Catch-Up

Chances are that you have a bottle of ketchup on one of your shelves. Chances are that it's the #1 brand in the US of A (and the world). Chances are that, at least once, you spilled some of that ketchup on yourself. Reared back in dismay. And had the devil's own time trying to get the tomato stain out of whatever you were wearing. And sitting on.

Mushroom ketchupTomato ketchup[ASIDE] Did you know ketchup was originally made of <<-- mushrooms, not of tomatoes? -->>  Did you know the #1 brand didn't get into the ketchup business here until just shy of four decades after the first appearance of bottled tomato ketchup? Did you know one thing that may have contributed to the #1 brand becoming #1 is that it was launched during the US or A's centenary year? Did you know National Ketchup Day in the US of A is June 5? Don't you just love all the trivia? [/ASIDE]

So anyway, the #1 brand has a new commercial out for its old product. Packaged in its little portable packet.

This cute little kid is sitting in her child seat on the passenger side in the back of the moving car. Dad is in the driver's seat. In the rearview mirror, he sees his little moppet tearing open her ketchup packet and squeezing it all over the huge hamburger propped in her little lap. For a moment, Dad looks a bit concerned. Then, as his daughter picks up the oozy burger and starts to eat, he silently shakes his head and turns his attention, we hope, back to the road.

Assuming he's not a single father, what do you think Mom is going to say when the moppet comes in with ketchup, burger juice, and everything else that fell out of the sandwich smeared all over her face and, probably, her clothes? What kind of mess will be going into the laundry (regardless of who does it)? Who's gonna detail the inside of the car? And in fact, why was Dad letting Miss Moppet eat that huge, messy burger in the car anyway, instead of waiting until they got home? 'Cuz, ya know, a sudden swerve or brake could even have her wearing the whole sandwich, burger and all. Or, for that matter, choking on it.

Dad needs to catch up with his brains, 'cuz they're obviously out there running wild somewheres. I hope.

Fri, Aug 20, 2021 at 11:01 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Really? Ketchup used to be made with mushrooms? Like in that blue-green bowl you show? I didn't know that. And no, I didn't know when National Ketchup Day was, either. I didn't even know there was one.
  And you hope the father can catch up with his own brains. Ha ha ha.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I gotta admit that the the bright-red ketchup looks more appetizing than the dirt brown-ketchup. Probably why it took over the market to the point where folks don't even say "tomato ketchup" anymore; they just assume it's tomato. But I definitely like mushrooms, too (especially the stems), so I may look up a recipe just for fun.
Wed, Sep 01, 2021 at 5:10 PM, Kim B. wrote:
Hi,
  I had a bit of time and looked through everything.
  LOVED the declaration story - and LOVED the photo of Mead (I finally see his face!) and Marielle and Shoghi - what a beautiful family. And really loved what her father said and how that all played out.
  Customer service????  I would worry about inputting the SSN to a bank number even on the back of the card.  That sounds so hacked. But congrats on staying free of cell phones!
  Adding insult - "politico posturing while people perish" reminds me very much of a political cartoon in the Greenville NC newspaper when I was a college student - it was of poppy fields on the left (id'd "Turkey") and emaciated people with their hands out on the right. The caption was "They grow opium while people are starving." The hypocrisy of running that in the heart of tobacco country really got to me.
  I looked at that Hall of Claims site - what a hoot.  And yeah, I love JK and yeah, that sounds like a serious script misstep.
  Malcolm Gladwell did a chapter in one of his books (maybe Blink or Outliers) on ketchup. There's a lot of good reasons that the top two ketchup brands are the top two. But - yeah, the ad sounds stupid.
  Reading Mya's bit every month because I find her so likeable. Sorry about that with the design .... but really feel sorry for me as a reader because I wanted to see a photo of her design and of the one they went with so that I could see what she was talking about - and see if I agree.
  Life is challenging here. Your stuff makes me smile and takes me on a mini-vacation. Thanks!
Love,
Kim
  Lucki responds to Kim B.:
Hi yourself, faithful reader,
  Glad you had time for it all. Kim.
  Yes, I hadn't really heard Marielle's declaration story quite like that. Her perspective was interesting.
  I had a cell phone account once. Rey got it for me. Drove me crazy … hated having so many people think they had a right to my IMMEDIATE response to their calls. I finally dumped it. The convenience in an occasional emergency wasn't worth the 24/7 hassle.
  Yeah. If you remember, I opted for the Moderna vaccine, even though I had to wait for months, partly because of their being the only company of the three that was never complicit in the opioid epidemic (which, of course, is still raging, too). And of course, quitting smoking, like, 40 years ago was one of the best things I and God ever did for myself.
  As far as I can tell, they're going to keep adding stuff to that Hall of Claims site. Worth checking back every year or so.
  Doesn't it, though. What was Dad thinking?!
  You will. She has it all planned out to crescendo over the next 3 months. Stick with it and you'll get that chance to agree (or not).
  Smiles and mini-vacays do help with challenges, don't they? That and provoking thought means we're doing our bloggy jobs.
So stay safe and smiling,
Lucki

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2021-08-13
Map Question

So the guy gets out of his car in the middle of nowhere. He has no idea where he is. Or how to get where he's going. And he can't get any help. Not in person, and not without a signal. He's on his own. Even his big old how-the-blazes-do-you-fold-this-thing-again paper map isn't helping. He's stressed to the max. Which, admittedly, I can sympathize with. But...

Heaven forbid he, a guy, shouldn't be a pro at navigation. Should have to admit he's up a creek without his high-tech paddle. Oh, no. "I'm not lost," he declares, "I'm exploring."

Okay, I do have an SUV friend who sometimes says the same kind of thing. When we're driving somewhere and she takes a wrong turn or misses an exit or can't find a street address where she expects it to be, she quips about touring America.
Large fordable map
But back to the guy. And here's my question. He has that big old paper map; but he can't read it? If it can't plan his route for him and maybe even talk to him, he's stone outa luck?

Hey, I don't even drive, never did, and even I know how to read a map. In fact, way back in the day before Map meant Quest or Maps meant Google or Alexa was a thing, Rey decided he'd like to drive to Florida. His first ever out-of-state road trip. Which he assumed meant seat-of-the-pants navigation.

Not me. I dug out an old USA atlas I had, carefully planned and marked his route, and gave it to him. He was thrilled. Loved it. Followed it all the way. It was clear enough to him that the two times he encountered a detour, he had no qualms about following the signs until he was back on the map track. And of course, he followed my marked route back home again, too.

GEO satellite orbiting EarthSo let me ask: Have GPS and AI made people too stupid or lazy to read a static map anymore? How sad. 'Cuz what do you do when all the glitzy tech fails you? Like spinning in circles in Louisville? Or arguing over the highway home from High Point?

Or the time my SUV friend and I missed our expresway exit, got off miles later and, 'cuz access to the opposite ramp was neither parallel nor visible, stopped to let the GPS reroute her back to where we were going. Only, she was repeatedly frustrated because her GPS insisted we were still on the expressway. So no matter how many ways she instructed it to reroute, it kept telling her to get off at the next exit. But there was no next exit. Not unless we drove for blocks to get back on the expressway and then went miles more out of our way to reach another exit.

I finally opined that although the satellite could tell where we were horizontally, it couldn't tell where we were vertically. While we were some ten meters above the expressway, we were maybe less than two meters sideways of the outside shoulder. Two meters being the acceptable margin of error for GEO satellites, it apparently couldn't tell we'd come up a ramp onto a parallel surface street. I suggested that we drive to the cross-street overpass less than a block away and turn left. Sure enough, as we crossed over the expressway, the GPS finally figured out we were up on a surface street and began giving us newly-rerouted backtrack directions.

So yeah, guy in the advert, whatcha gonna do when you goitta THINK? For yourself? Without all the glitzy tech? In fact, not just think without it, but maybe even OUTthink it?

Like I said, just askin'.

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2021-08-06
Cuckoo Cone

The First Nations (Han) word is Tr'ondëk. It means hammerstone water. It became famous because of a gold rush about a century and a quarter ago. So now people use the name (as pronounced, poorly, by the prospectors) to indicate something very valuable. A source of wealth. Which I'm sure it is for the company that produces the products.

Hand holding sugar cone with cloud for ice cream and birds for peanuts A newish one of which is an old fashioned (more or less) ice cream cone. You know the kind. Sugar cone. Vanilla ice cream. Chocolate sauce. Even peanuts.

If the adverts are any indication, though, there's something in them that turns the average consumer into an idiot. Not the taste, 'cuz all this dumb stuff happens before anyone tastes them. No, it's something subliminal.

Case in point, one buyer stands mesmerized, wearing a virch visor, looking at and listening to a seductive message about the wonderful components of the deconstructed product. Mesmerized, I say. Motionless. Mindless. All while the real-life cone in his left hand, and the whole box of cones in his right hand, are left unnoticed to soon melt all over the place.

Another case in point, a guy gets easily talked into making good on his offer to shave off one of his eyebrows for a cone. Because, apparently, the product has made him too stupid to go over to the local supermarket and get one, or a box, for himself. And he doesn't even bargain to get two cones for both eyebrows, after which at least he'd look even (and they could grow back in together).

Much as I enjoy ice cream (which is more than I should), I'll take a pass, thanks anyway.

Sun, Aug 08, 2021 at 9:48 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  I see how the ice cream is a cloud. But what are the chocolate peanuts in the cloud?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Not in. In front of. Actually, below. Closer to us. Birds. (Sorry they don't show up so good.)

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2021-08-01
Perish That Posture

Sometimes, as with my article on the all-white, all-female nursing dolls print advert, I move a rant about a commercial into Abiding Blog. Because it's serious enough to warrant discussion there.

This time, though, I'm moving a rant about real life into Adding Insult. Because what I saw was so egregiously idiotic that it doesn't deserve the gravitas of an Abiding Blog entry. In fact, it was an unpaid advertisement for/of sheer stupidity of the first water.

It concerned a response to Nancy Pelosi's recent mandate to U.S. Representatives. Following the science as it evolving in line with the latest statistics on the burgeoning threat and accelerating spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, Speaker Pelosi once again instituted mask-wearing for Representatives in the House chamber and in their offices.

Boy howdy, did she get blowback. But one particular knee-jerk - and I do mean JERK - reaction grabbed my attention like a twenty-foot waldo. And my head immediately envisioned a headline to some story about how ridiculous this moronic rant was ... and how deadly. To wit:

Newspeper headline: "Beltway politico postures as people perish!"

Because, among other dumb-ass questions and pronouncements, he asked, "Which is it? Vaccines or masks?"

You'll notice that I haven't named this dude. It's not that I'm being careful about it. It's that I don't remember who the blazes he is, I don't care who he is as long as (thankfully) he doesn't represent my state, and he ain't worth my time trying to research his name. Which is also why I don't consider him and his tirade worthy of Abiding Blog-worthy credence. And so, to him I say:

The answer, you blithering carnekopf, is BOTH. The purpose of the mask is to slow and stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The purpose of the vaccine to accelerate your immune response if you do catch the virus, so you don't develop a serious or lethal case of COVID-19. Which is surely too scientific for you to understand, so let me offer this question to maybe help you figure it out at least as fast as the average chimpanzee trained to use an automobile simulator.

The next time you buy a car, you can get only one, not both, of these two features; so which one do you want: The gas pedal or the brake?

Tue, Aug 02, 2021 at 11:01 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Gas OR brakes? That's funny. That's exactly what he's doing. If you say he's a carnekopf, I'm sure he is. But what is it?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  A meathead, LOL. It's a bilingual epithet with added shades of Spanish, Italian, and Romanian. A sniglet I read somewhere in the distant past. From the Latin carnem (meat) and the German kopf (head).
Wed, Sep 01, 2021 at 5:10 PM, Kim B. wrote:
Hi,
  I had a bit of time and looked through everything.
  LOVED the declaration story - and LOVED the photo of Mead (I finally see his face!) and Marielle and Shoghi - what a beautiful family. And really loved what her father said and how that all played out.
  Customer service????  I would worry about inputting the SSN to a bank number even on the back of the card.  That sounds so hacked. But congrats on staying free of cell phones!
  Adding insult - "politico posturing while people perish" reminds me very much of a political cartoon in the Greenville NC newspaper when I was a college student - it was of poppy fields on the left (id'd "Turkey") and emaciated people with their hands out on the right. The caption was "They grow opium while people are starving." The hypocrisy of running that in the heart of tobacco country really got to me.
  I looked at that Hall of Claims site - what a hoot.  And yeah, I love JK and yeah, that sounds like a serious script misstep.
  Malcolm Gladwell did a chapter in one of his books (maybe Blink or Outliers) on ketchup. There's a lot of good reasons that the top two ketchup brands are the top two. But - yeah, the ad sounds stupid.
  Reading Mya's bit every month because I find her so likeable. Sorry about that with the design .... but really feel sorry for me as a reader because I wanted to see a photo of her design and of the one they went with so that I could see what she was talking about - and see if I agree.
  Life is challenging here. Your stuff makes me smile and takes me on a mini-vacation. Thanks!
Love,
Kim
  Lucki responds to Kim B.:
Hi yourself, faithful reader,
  Glad you had time for it all. Kim.
  Yes, I hadn't really heard Marielle's declaration story quite like that. Her perspective was interesting.
  I had a cell phone account once. Rey got it for me. Drove me crazy … hated having so many people think they had a right to my IMMEDIATE response to their calls. I finally dumped it. The convenience in an occasional emergency wasn't worth the 24/7 hassle.
  Yeah. If you remember, I opted for the Moderna vaccine, even though I had to wait for months, partly because of their being the only company of the three that was never complicit in the opioid epidemic (which, of course, is still raging, too). And of course, quitting smoking, like, 40 years ago was one of the best things I and God ever did for myself.
  As far as I can tell, they're going to keep adding stuff to that Hall of Claims site. Worth checking back every year or so.
  Doesn't it, though. What was Dad thinking?!
  You will. She has it all planned out to crescendo over the next 3 months. Stick with it and you'll get that chance to agree (or not).
  Smiles and mini-vacays do help with challenges, don't they? That and provoking thought means we're doing our bloggy jobs.
So stay safe and smiling,
Lucki

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2021-07-30
Room Loom

The oh-so-white insurance company's spokespeople - especially Flo, who used to be the calm and kindly one - seem to be getting more and more off kilter lately. It's disconcerting. And it's not like it's the actors fault - especially Stephanie Courtney - so much as the scriptwriters ... or maybe the account executives' wonky vision.

I mean, Flo's uncontrolled OCD and strident bulldozing into a stranger's conversation in one  advert is a definite case in point. No wonder her sarcastic coworker's "Super fun beach day, everybody" comment positively drips snark like a biting viper's venom.

Another commercial that more subtly limns a concept threatening to go off the rails is the ad where nothing happens. It's obvious that everyone is feeling awkward. Especially the customer. She doesn't like standing around waiting for something wacky to happen. But she's left high and dry.
Heavy metal bank Motionless In White
Then, when something finally does happen that piques her interest, Flo shuts it down by telling the newly arrived 3/5s of N'Sync "Now's not a good time." Really? Plus, leaving them confused as to why they were booked for the whole day but don't even get to perform for their three-member audience.

[ASIDE] Did anyone ever consider using the heavy metal band Motionless In White instead? LMAO [/ASIDE]

The capper on that one, though, is Flo's seldom-seen sidekick Rodney, who tells them to "Read the room, guys." (And then is so insecure he has to check with Flo as to whether he was right.)

Hey, "the room" reads loud and clear. It's in uncomfortable suspension. Increasing awkwardness looms. The customer would dearly love something to happen so she doesn't have to just stand there looking at her creepily still and quiet agents. Which, why aren't they leaving, anyway?

Hey, you two, YOU read the room!

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2021-07-23
Fire Fight!

Commercials I take apart usually either insult my intelligence or make me laugh at their lack thereof. Or both. But once in a while, one raises my ire to the top of the heap. Like this one.

It's by a "charitable" organization. One that stridently screams about the vital importance of letting just about anybody and their dog bear arms. Whether they have any business doing so or not. Whether they have any business being allowed to do so or not. Regardless of the resultant human (and, for that matter, other-animal) death toll.

Red-faced irate person on the telephoneNot very charitable - as in caritas, love of humankind - if you ask me.

But that's not what makes me irate about this particular advert. What makes me irate, as it asks - no, downright demands - that you text "PROTECT2A" to their number so they can grab your donation, what comes close to enraging me is when they tell you that doing so makes you a "second-amendment first responder".

As the mother of an actual, real-life, trained, public-servant first responder - one who not only spends his days putting himself in harm's way for others as a firefighter and emergency medical technician but who also has risked injury or death, both previously in law enforcement and also still now as a firefighter and EMT, from whack-jobs who never shoulda had access to a firearm in the first place - I deeply and loudly RESENT this organization granting their arguably gun-obsessed donors the honored title of "first responders". For what? Throwing, I dunno, ten bucks in the pot?

Where the hell do they get off?!!

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2021-07-16
Done One?

Let's see now: The long-haired brunette with the laptop comes up, having just booked their vacation hotel. But, just to be sure, she used a site that allows her to cancel the booking if necessary. She likes that flexibility. She's glad she found it. Proud even.

Hammer-like meat tenderizer about to fallNot so the short-haired blonde beside her, pounding out the steak with a meat tenderizer. No! She's been stuck in the house for a year. Cancel?! Absolutely nothing is going to stop her from taking her vacation. All this, snarling and screaming like a harridan, while she turns from pounding on the steak to pounding on the laptop. Destroying it. Nope, there will be NO canceling. She laughs and goes back to speaking calmly and pounding the steak some more.

The brunette - frowning at her shattered laptop, leaning away from the blonde, pulling her hands up out of harm's way - also emits a fearful little laugh. Not the kind that says, "OK, that was mildly amusing." No, the kind that says, "Whoa, you just scared the hell out of me."

Obviously, blonde lady needs a vacay, all right. Preferably in an institution with trampolines on the walls. Where they can adjust her meds.

And laptop lady doesn't just need a vacay, either. She needs to get the blazes away from her maniacally destructive, I dunno...Friend? Roomie? Sister? Lover? Wife? Perhaps even permanently. At least as far as being stuck together during a pandemic or any other long-term stressful situation goes.

I don't think I ever want to book on that website. 'Cuz I don't want to risk ever meeting that blonde somewheres where she suddenly decides to go on a violent tear. Especially not if she happens to have a household weapon in her hand.

Can ya blame me?

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2021-07-09
Jump Stop

The statuesque insurance company is now using children at play to tout its products. And it's a form of play I often engaged in at their age. Jump rope.

[ASIDE] Ironic memories about that. When I was in grammar school, the girls would often play jump rope. Me included. At least when I wasn't doing something more exciting. Like chasing a would-be playground bully around with an innocuous little grass snake I'd found in the weeds at the edge of the yard. Big bad boy scared of an 'ittle bitty serpent, ha. Anyway, during spring and fall (and summer break) back in the day, the boys would sneer in disdain at that girlish play and do much more boyly things like playing basketball or tag. Come winter, though, when the ground was icy, the boys sometimes decided that the challenge of keeping one's feet while jumping rope - especially double dutch - was a manly-enough challenge. So they would try to join in. Which we happily let them. 'Cuz we knew what the result would be. They might be a little surer on their feet (especially since boys' shoes and boots tended to be made with better traction), but they hadn't been practicing the girly jumping skill - especially double dutch - all year round like we (and professional boxers) had. We invariably outjumped them. Pffft. [/ASIDE]
Jumping Rope: At the White House; at 2 athletic events; a girl & her little sister outside
So there the three kids are. On the waterfront sidewalk, with the company's iconic "mascot" in the background. A boy and a girl are on the rope. Another girl is doing the jumping. And they're counting the dollars you can save with the vehicle insurance they're selling. One dollar, two dollars, three dol...you catch their drift.

Time passes. A long time. As shown by a moving overlay of sweeping clock hands and monthly calendar pages. Finally, the kids get to the last number they can handle. "Seventy-two thousand eight hundred and eight...dollars." That's a pretty hefty figure there: $72,808. If that insurance company can save me $72, 808 on my vehicle insurance, I have to assume they're expecting me to insure my Mars rocket with them.

But that's not the weird part. The weird part is why the kids stop. Now granted, if it were me, even back in my heyday I'd be pretty tired after 72,808 jumps, too. But these kids aren't just tired. They've gotten old and gray. Not just the jumper, who's trying to stretch and shake her aching joints and muscles. Also the other girl, who's holding her hand to her chest like maybe she's having a heart attack. And the boy, bald with a long beard, who's all bent over hands-on-knees in exhaustion. So let's look at how this could happen.

At the start, they're doing about one revolution per second. By the end, it's taking at least three seconds to complete a jump...which is more like a small step over the rope lying flat on the ground. So let's split the difference between starting off fast and finishing slow. Let's say the average is two seconds per jump. Now comes the math.

= 72,808 jumps times 2 seconds equals 145,616 seconds.
= 145,616 seconds divided by 60 seconds per minute equals 2426.93 minutes
= 2426.93 minutes divided by 60 minutes per hour equals 40.45 hours
= 40.45 hours divided by 24 hours per day equals 1.69 days

Go ahead, check my math. I don't mind you being scientifically minded. I may be wrong. But not by orders of magnitude.

And okay, I'll grant you that girl did way better than Guinness Book of World Records holder Joey Mosley's paltry non-stop 33 hours and 20 minutes in 2009, which raised for charity only about 52% of what the kids say you can save.

But the kids are old and gray and their clothes worn and faded (and time has accelerated so much) after less than 2 days?! What the blazes does that product DO to you, anyway? 'Cuz it looks to me like you might become your insurance agent's personal picture of Dorian Gray. So BEWARE signing any devilish contracts.

P.S. And let's don't talk about the sheer inaccuracy of titling the commercial "Double Dutch" when the kids are definitely not jumping with the two ropes that double dutch demands. Is the company equally inaccurate/sloppy in selling and servicing its product?

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2021-07-01
Laser Crazy

She's a cute little girl. Sweet. Sitting at the kitchen table. Alert. Eagerly waiting for mom to plop her meal on her cluttered toddler-chair tray. Then mom turns from the stove, both hands burdened. And daughter sees the food she's about to be given. Especially the hot dog. And she gets so excited that...
"Airy" laser beams capturing an object
...intense "Airy beams" of laser light shoot out of her eyes, pulsing enough to leave curving trails of plasma in their wake. With Star-Wars sonic effects, the scary-looking laser beams from the now scary-looking girl's scary-looking eyes grab the hot dog out of the bun in mom's hand. Lift it high into the air. Jiggle and turn it. And score two sides with tasty-looking grill marks. To the rising, rollicking rhythms of some funky techno music that may or may not be produced by the laser beams. Or the girl's smugly smiling mouth. Or who knows what. All while mom stands there with an indulgent little head shake. And the product label and slogan is plastered all over the scene.

Which begs the question(s): How did that weapons-grade laser biosystem not incinerate that fragile bun? And mom's hand? Who let that kid get so out of control in the first place? Why didn't mom stop or at least gently but sternly scold the kid with a word or six about safety and patience and concern for others? Or at least about first saying "Please?" or "Look out, mommy!" Is mommy actually scared of her young'un? Above all, what's the child doing in that kitchen instead of, say, Professor Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters?

Sure makes me want to avoid ever laying hands on a hot dog anywhere that child might conceivably see me and decide to be "helpful". (Not that I ever buy hot dogs anyway.) But maybe that's just me. How 'bout you?

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2021-06-25
Out Is Off

She's on her way out. Grabs her purse, shoulders it, and heads for the front door. But she gets nowheres. She looks down in confusion. Only to discover that her colorfularea rug in the middle of the room is actually the surface of a treadmill. (How did she not already know this?)

Not a motorized treadmill, you understand. No, it's a manual treadmill. You know what that means. The faster she runs, the faster it goes. So she can't potentially outrun it and step off the front, like running up a down escalator. No, she stays in place. And the slower she runs, the slower it goes. So she can't just let it carry her of its own back end, like a package sliding off a conveyor belt. No, she stays in place.

Needless to say, she gets nowheres in a real hurry. And she must be in pretty bad physical shape, too, 'cuz she runs outa gas and falls in exhaustion after a mere five seconds at her best speed. Looks like ever getting out of //her apartment is totally off the table, doesn't it.

At which point a voice from, I dunno, heaven? asks her if she wants to get out. When she wimpily agrees, the voice touts a product that helps travelers get out and go somewheres. It tells her when and how to escape. Not for free, of course, but at least at a discount.

Woman standing beside a treadmillReally? She needs to buy a product/service to get out her front door? What is she using for brains?

I also own a manual treadmill. (And I've also used many a motorized one, like at the health club or in cardio rehab.) I can make it go slow by walking slow, or I can make it go fast by running fast. But above all, I can get off it ... by stepping sideways.

Why didn't she just step sideways? Then she could walk beside the area rug to the yard-or-so of bare floor space in front of her door ... open it ... leave.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Am I really expected to trust the judgment of, and to emulate, someone that stupid? Would you?

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2021-06-18
Poll Hole

It's a news and opinion organization. It produces and distributes TV, web, and print media. And it does polls. Which it advertises. Sometimes in the expected places. Sometimes in the strangest places.

If you seen its latest polling ad, you're not alone. It's a very simple poll. It asks whether or not a certain person should be allowed back on Facebook. A simple question. And a simple way to answer. Just text a word to a number. One word to one number: "SAME".

Really? Same as what? Same as now? Same as before?

How is that a poll? You have no choice what your answer is. And you're never told what your answer will mean.

Do you think maybe they don't really give a flying fig what you think? They just want to look at how many answers they get. If they don't get many answers at all, they'll simply say that "SAME" means what they want it to mean. If they get lots and lots of answers, they'll simply say that "SAME" means what they want it to mean.

Two meanings? Two diametrically opposed meanings? Looks like it.

Small hole in a small poleFictional hole in the earth's North PoleGot that? When they go to tout their results, they can say that the few "SAMEs" they got means almost no one wants it to stay the same way it is now. Or vice versa. Or when they go to tout their results, they can say that all those "SAMEs" they got means almost everyone wants it to go back to the same way it used to be. Or vice versa. Their choice. You don't get one.

I could drive the Enterprise through the hole in that poll. Not the starship Enterprise. The aircraft carrier Enterprise, which is longer and carries way more people. Just sayin'.

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2021-06-13
Attitude Latitude

I'm not exactly sure why this TV commercial rankles me. It's not like it's excessively stupid or unintentionally hilarious or unethically manipulative or even pushing a heinous product (which maybe it is, but I don't actually know that). But it's just not as honest and open as it wants you to assume it is ... especially if you don't read the fine print. It just leaves me wary.

Let me start off by saying that this product is not for me. I don't mean I'm anti it. I just mean I don't use it, never have, and see no reason to. The product is an antidepressant. Its target audience is (or at least should be) people who are struggling with clinical depression. To the best of my knowledge, I don't have clinical depression (only situational depression sometimes, which we all face on occasion). Plus which, I'm not a doctor. So while I find myself cringing at the thought of a side effect being suicidal ideation or behavior, especially in young people, I really don't get to say whether people who ARE clinically depressed should or should not use it or be encouraged to.

BUT it does bother me, and I do get to say, that I find this ad disingenuous. Replete with voice-overs, the commersh shows us eight principals. Each of whom is, part of the time, holding a painted portrait of themself. The rest of the time, each is acting either depressed (before the product is named) or "normal" (after the product is named).

Person sitting in am empty, darkened space in a blue depressionAnd that's part of the rub. It's all acting. ALL of it. Even the portraits, each in a unique style, are "acting". Which actually the verbiage plainly tells us. If only we stopped to read it. If only it weren't made as unnoticeable as possible.

Hiding there in light letters. In the lower left corner of the screen, which is where no one ever naturally looks: "Actor portrayal." While a voice-over tells us that "This is art inspired by real stories...." Which "inspired by" declaration also appears onscreen. In smallish pale amber letters beneath a larger and brighter white flowing declaration that these are "Real expressions".

Wait a minute. The feelings behind the expressions on the people's faces aren't. They're actors. They're doing a good job of appearing depressed. But I sincerely doubt their are feeling depressed. What they're most likely feeling is content that they have a gig and are doing a good job of it.

More to the point, anyone who's paid any analytical or critical attention to TV/film in general know that "inspired by" is almost literally meaningless when it comes to depth, accuracy, or any real connection to or even stab at truth. It isn't even as meaningful as "based on". It generally means "I saw/heard something and that made me think of something (possibly totally unrelated) and I just took off on whatever fictional tangent I wanted to."

Maybe I'm being too picky. Maybe I'm being swayed by my own experience, both personal and vicarious, with people who do suffer from debilitating clincal depression. But to use the wonder of personalized visual (or any kind of) art to try to callously engage and manipulate the emotions of people who may be on shaky emotional ground already, simply to make more and more profit, grates on me. The isn't just the usual commercial intent to trigger the "addiction of acquisitiveness" that we're playing with here. These are people's actual physical life and death.

And really don't get me started on the fact that the eight principals include seven women and only one man. And that the voice-overs also include several female and only one male voice. We know what that's all about. After all, we're positively steeped in the culture that came up with the word hysteria, which literally means "uncontrollable insanity because of a dysfunctional uterus". In other words, acting like a sick, crazy woman. Give me a break!

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2021-06-06
Bear Market

Yeah, his business is different, all right. Odd, to say the least. Unique, even.

But is it profitable? Does it even make enough that he can afford to pay his car insurance rates.

Yep, there he is with his hot dog cart. Beside the waterfront. In New York (so it's probably not going to be a Chicago hot dog, darn it). Wielding his tongs in the steam table pan. Busily preparing his product for whatever customers may come. And all the while talking about how he does things a little differently. 'Cuz, ya know, not everybody wants the same thing.

Then a passerby walks up "Hey, I'll take one, please." So the vendor grabs one of his pre-prepped paper baskets. lifts up his dripping product, plops it into the basket, and hands it to the customer.

Which takes diffident dude aback. "Wait, this isn't a hot dog stand?" The vendor's rude response is to berate the guy for not reading the sign. (Wait, are they dissing New York street vendors?) Cuz, true, the sign doesn't say anything about hot dogs. But surely the dude had every right to think that the sign touted the unique name of the business, not the common name of the product.

Which is, they kid you not, Wet Teddy Bears. Cute little red beribboned, brown teddy bears. Soaking wet ones. Luckily not steaming, though.

Brown teddy bear with pride colorsAnd the bemused customer wanders away, while the vendor starts to barker his product big time. In fact, he guarantees you that the teddy bear you get will be wet or the next one is free.

Which is a silly sales point, since you will have noticed by now that the first one was free, too. The customer wandered off with it, having never paid a penny for the privilege.

Hey, if they're free, I'll take one, too. A bunch, even. Lug 'em home, run them through the dryer on the gentle cycle, fluff their fur, and give them as gifts to a bunch of kids. That'd be a unique bit of business, wouldn't it?

OTOH, maybe I'll just ignore him. 'Cuz he's gotta be paying his insurance somehow. If not for his car, at least for his cart. So either he's operating some kind of weird scam, or he's stalking and casing people (or an accomplice, maybe?) or he's in serial killer mode and the teddy bears are loaded with something he's been somehow made immune to, or it's some funky psychology project he's being paid to conduct, or ... in any case of which, I'm not interested.

But if you do want a wet teddy bear, you know where to go.

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2021-05-28
Yesss/Nooo

It's so dramatic!

It's a really nice kitchen. Judging, anyway, from its pristine lack of mars and clutter. To say nothing of the large central island with matching stools and the framed artwork on the walls. In a really nice neighborhood. Judging, anyway, from the other single family homes we can see through the large, sunny windows To say nothing of the mostly-window back door. They're a really nice couple. Judging from their demeanor, anyway. To say nothing of their quiet separated-yet-togetherness.

He's sitting there with a beverage in one hand and a ticket in the other. She's standing there, with a beverage of her own, sorting through the mail. Then the lottery official on their kitchen TV starts announcing the winning numbers. They both notice that the numbers being gradually revealed are familiar. Could it be? Could it really be? It IS!!

Glass of soda pop starting to spill"YESSS!' He stands up. Flings his hands in the air. Dropping the ticket on the island. And knocking over his beverage. Which, of course, spills directly towards the ticket.

"NOOO!" cries the guy, hands still in the air, but obviously for a totally different reason.

"NOOO!" cries the gal, flinging all the mail into the air.

"NOOO!" cries the official, practically reaching both hands out of the TV screen.

And what do they do?

Well, at the ad announcer's voice-over insistence, the gal reaches for the paper towels on the kitchen counter behind her. Which paper towels are still wrapped in their plastic package. Which, we all know, takes a bit of time and effort to break through and rip off.

That's their solution?! Reach for the paper towels first? Ya know, before the running liquid can get to the ticket?

Come ON. First of all, aren't lottery tickets printed in indelible ink? (I'm seriously asking. I don't play the lottery.) Unsmearable even if the beverage is alcohol? If so, so what if their ticket gets wet? Even with a dark beverage> As long as the numbers can be seen (via spectroscopy, if necessary)? Don't lottery officials see returning tickets in all kinds of weird conditions? Like the ticket went through the wash in a pocket? Or it got dropped in the mud, Or the cat barfed all over it? People are still gonna turn 'em in, right? And insist on their winnings?

Secondly, instead of waiting for the gal to go for the towels first, why didn't the guy just pick up the ticket? Or why didn't she, if he was too flustered?

And thirdly, how in heck did she manage to grab the roll of paper towels, get it out of the packaging, tear off a towel, fold it, and get to the liquid on her husband's end of the island before the ticket got wet? 'Cuz she wasn't wearing no superhero suit or anything that signals she has supersonic speed. Plus which, why did she start to rub up the spill from the end farthest from the ticket? Thereby pushing liquid towards the ticket? Didn't it make more sense to put the paper towel between the ticket and the spill and then push it backwards?

But you know what rags me most about the advert in the end. It's that nice, white, middle class couple being the big winners. 'Cuz (a) too large a proportion of the lottery income comes from poorer people, especially minorities, who can't really afford the gambling; (b) the payback ratio on lotteries is abysmally poorer than even casino gambling; (c) not as much of the income as one would expect actually goes to the civic projects being funded, and (d) I've seen so many horror stories of big winners whose lives were ruined because they didn't know how to carefully protect and/or wisely spend their sudden, unwonted wealth. I personally know of a family who went through their million in a year and lost everything in the aftermath.

Sorry, manufacturer and ad agency, the meme you've propagated makes me view your product negatively. I'll get my paper towels from someone who isn't quite so tone-deaf.

P.S. This is one in a series of commercials for the same product that use the "NOOO" meme. And I gotta admit I chuckle at the "Nooo/Yesss" version where, slipping free of the chopsticks, the Chinese dumpling tumbles and skitters all the way across the kitchen table (darn, that's one slippery slider indeed), off the edge, and into the Yesss-thinking bulldog's mouth. That quiet, attentive solidity reminds me of Bruce. I also flash on Silver's certainty that any food on or near the floor was HIS, period. I root for the dog to catch the dumpling. Although I wonder how often that kid spills his food like that, such that the dog has learned exactly where to wait for its easy pickings. (And I hope they were able to do that "catch it" scene in one take. 'Cuz the actor-dog shouldn't be eating that stuff. Especially not repeatedly.)

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2021-05-21
Jag & Sag

Finally, a commercial that shows you the real truth. Even though that's not what anyone intended it to do.

In the walls of a mostly empty room, there's these two tiny doors. One at eye level. The other high enough to need a ladder to reach. What's behind them is a mystery.

So this dude opens the lower door. Surprise! A rainbow arcs through the doorway. A rainbow that rains little multicolored candies into his hand. Which he immediately starts chewing pieces of. Not candy with any redeeming nutritional or antioxidant value (like, say, chocolate). No, candy made out of, let's see now, in descending order of amount above 2%:

= Sugar. Refined, I'm sure.
= Corn syrup. Really just another name for liquid sugar.
= Citric acid. OK, so maybe one iota of vitamin C.
= Palm kernel oil. Not relatively healthy palm oil, you notice. No, palm kernel oil. 80% saturated fat.
= Eight - count 'em, eight - types of dye. 'Cuz, ya know, rainbow.
= Titanium dioxide. As a preservative, one assumes. And also a brightener. 'Cuz, ya know, rainbow. The same metal, by the way, that's used to brighten and preserve adhesives, cosmetics, drug tablets and capsules, paint, paper, plastics, rubber, and sunscreen. Sounds tasty, doesn't it?

Well, having assuaged his rainbow candy fix for the moment (or maybe not, given that true satiation on that kind of "food" is about as hard to reach as the end of a, ya know, rainbow), the guy wonders what else might be hiding behind the other door. More sweet stuff, maybe?

So he climbs the convenient stepladder and opens Door Number Two. And out pops a huge, clawed lion (mountain, by the sound of it) paw. Accompanied by a skreeling growl. And a hefty swipe. Which knocks the guy clean off the ladder onto the candy-strewn floor. Whereupon a voice-over spouts the candy company's mantra. 'Cuz, ya know, rainbow.

Rainbow-colored jagWhat makes this advert so honest? Stick with me now. Think of what happens to the guy 'cuz of all that sugar. First, he starts eating it without even checking what it is, if it's real, if it's safe. That's addictive behavior. Then, perhaps in hopes of getting something even jazzier, he climbs up the ladder. That's the sugar rush. The jag. The high. Then he gets knocked on his butt. That's the sugar slump. The sag. The crash. Despite which, the sugar purveyor still pushes the product. Without any care for what just happened to the guy. Or even stopping to see if the dude could get up, or hurt himself, or what.

See? Unintentional, I'm sure. But actually HONEST.

Sun, Jun 06, 2021 at 9:44 PM, Kim B wrote:
Hi Lucki,
  Finally had time to give your blog[s] a look this month.  So much stuff.
  LOVED the declaration story from your spiritual daughter - the hungry one.
  Was interested in the Moderna pun, but didn't get your title.  ("Modernaty" - what??)
  Was suitably saddened, grossed-out and all by the recycle rant - I feel the same way, but can live lower on the food chain here [Fiji].
  Star of the month was Mya's post.  I don't always go for Mya's stuff because I'm not into comic con and the like, but decided I had the time to take a look.  WOWSERS!  Tell her I said congrats!
  Read the adding insult posts - and just felt sad.  I don't get tv.  I don't see the ads - so for the most part this is just a misery.  But then the one about the HONEST ad - that was so funny.  Oy lei.
  Thanks for keeping up with it all.  See you in July  :)
Kim
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Yeah, Kimit was a very prolific and meaty month. So's your comment!
  Helena's story is a good one, isn't it? It amazes me, sometimes, the paths people took to arrive at their chosen faith. As your own can attest.
  Just another pun ... on modernity.
  What can I say? I just hope my rant inspires someone(s) else to also start contacting companies about lowering their plastic-packaging profile.
  Glad you found the time, especially as this year's AniME is all one true-life story that has nothing to do with cosplay or cons. I'll be sure to let Mya know what you said. And hang in there, 'cuz her story ain't over yet. Not by a long shot.
  I'm glad you were able, sans TV, to appreciate the "honest ad" article. I do get notes from people just saying they recognized which ad a rant was about. Sometimes proving their point by IDing the product or company. It's rarer that someone can appreciate a rant when they've never seen the commercial it's about, just from my description. Must be writing something right.
  My plesaure. Out of curiosity, did you not have time to look at May's Aphorisms & Memes? Or don't you ever? Or did you forget to mention them? Or was there just not any you liked? Inquiring authors want to know. ;-)

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2021-05-14
Loutly Laughs

Hafta brace myself for this one every time it starts to run. Not fun(ny).

It's the ducky insurance company's post-paid show. Featured player Jill, her head held immobile in an upper-body brace, sits in her easy chair grimacing in pain as she peruses her medical bill.

Suddenly, two spokesmen and one spokesduck swoosh in with their news desk. Which is moving so fast that, when it stops, after colliding with her furniture, they almost get whiplash. Nevertheless, the guys proceed to cavalierly comment on Jill's reaction to the unexpected bill from her back surgery. Including the duck, who declares the product name. But at least does so in a way that it obviously hopes to inform, not berate. Then one guy calls for a rerun in close-up, so we an see the pained surprise in Jill's eyes.

That humiliation accomplished, and with the all-too-typical hyped-up bravado of sportscasters who've never played the game, the men continue to o-o-OH their way through a series of thoughtless, inconsiderate details about what benefits Jill won't get 'cuz she doesn't have their insurance.
Antique back brace on display
Meanwhile, since the desk is in her 3-o'clock position and thus difficult for her to see, the duck leaves it. Scoots over to Jill's right side. And (seriously questioning this time) yells the product name in her ear again. Which takes her aback. Which causes her to move away from it. Which she doesn't seem to appreciate, what with her back pain and brace and all. With the miniscule torque that the brace allows, though, Jill shows the duck her bill.

Now do the men finally express sympathy or concern or even understanding? Do they offer her some courteous details about how to better protect herself financially should, heaven forfend, such an injury happen again? Do they even let the duck get in another word edgewise with her? (Not that it HAS another word, but I suppose it could repeat its one word even more sympathetically.' Cuz remember, it was once in the hospital and then physical therapy itself.)

No. They accuse Jill of giving them the side-eye. Have a gloaty laugh over her pain and her inability to look at them directly. And put the desk in reverse. Abandoning both their potential customer and their fellow spokesentity.

Well, I obviously don't want to buy from an insurance company whose people would disappear? Especially when there's a claim. But I even more don't want to buy from an insurance company whose people (including its ad agency) openly ridicule its customers (actual or potential). And who think their pain is funny. If that's the attitude in public, in front of a customer (actual or potential), how much worse do you think it is in private? Thanks but no thanks.

Wed, Jun 03, 2021 at 11:08 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Just so we can see her pain? I haven't seen this commercial, but I know what company it is. They actually do that? That's awful. I won't want to buy their insurance based on this commercial.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Maybe the more-or-less sympathetic duck should quit the insurance company and, ala Barry B Longyear's take on DS Guy Shad, become a homicide detective for Interpol, yeah?

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2021-05-07
Double Down Dippy

The product is a bitcoinish buy/sell/store facility. The 30-second commercial is unique. Attention-grabbing. Reeking of bleeding-edge modernity. Well, that makes sense, 'cuz cryptocurrency is, ya know, such an investment opportunity. *Snort!*

Not a word is spoken. There's only the series of sparse title cards. The upbeat techno music. And the jazzy animation of a line chart with swooping line, reflecting change in value over time.

Open safe full of gold barsIt starts in 2009, wobbles up and down a bit, and finally shows a modest figure in the $25 range. OK. I can believe it. In 2010, it manages to gain about 20%, approaching $30. All right, somebody's buying it. But in 2011 it drops to a mere tenth of its previous value, hitting the $2 range, before managing to jitter back up to, oh my goodness, a $1000 range. Well golly, somebody was buying the dips. But that uptick seems inflated. Is someone artificially ramping up the market price to project way more trading than is actually happening?

But let's continue. In 2012, it gains another 10% or so. Reasonable. In 2013 it has a little modest growth, then nosedives downward. 2014 sees at falling below the $300 mark. 2015 sees it waffling around in the $200s before it takes a sharp upward turn and soars to new heights, passing $1500 on the fly. 2016 seems to have five figures in the offing. Gosh wow. And by 2017, we're talking almost the $20,000 range before another precipitous downturn. Which means by 2018, we're back in the $3000 range before we start to see a wobbly upturn.

Are you getting seasick yet? 'Cuz I am. This is an awfully volatile investment. Makes the Vomit Comet flight path look like a straight line. If a binge/crash dieter did this much weight yoyo-ing, they'd probably be dead of a heart attack by now.

2019 is mostly wobble, too. But by 2020, hey, the value has skyrocketed thru the $10,000 range, the $30,000 range, to nearly $50,000. And by 2021, by gum if this baby isn't closing in on $60,000! The animation goes into paroxysms of elation - replete with the occasional cash currency symbol plus atoms, unicorns, and scads of other crypto graphics. I mean, ya gotta love this current, if realistically imaginary, figure, right?.

Well, so what's next? After all its flashbanging self-congratulation, the line chart adds a dotted-line projection. Straight up into the stratosphere. 'Cuz ya know, it's only the beginning for cryptocurrency.

Roulette wheelThanks, but no thanks. I don't need your buy/sell/store services 'cuz the whole thing is way too volatile for me. If its past is any indicator, that meteoric rise you're experiencing, never mind projecting further, will be followed by an equally meteoric fall. And once it's that big, the crash-and-burn could figuratively - or perhaps even literally - kill some people. Maybe a lot of people. Even innocent bystanders. Didn't we learn anything from the previous crashes in stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.? During which the most vulnerable lose everything while the fat cats get obese.

'Cuz ya know, "the Market" in general is no longer a greenhouse. It's a casino. Modest inventors don't get to help the kind of entrepreneurs who drove innovative growth back when we were producing real things. Rather, filthy-rich investors who need for nothing but want more more more get to gamble with money they have too much of anyway, so they can make more money that they'll never really need (or live long enough to have the chance to spend on anything meaningful) at other people's expense.

Plus which, and this should give EVERYONE pause, the superservers used to run cryptocurrency currently suck up as much energy to do their thing as the whole state of New York. At the current rate of growth, they alone are on track to cause a two-degree rise in global temperature! Add that to other sources of climate change and it could end up killing all the people!! After which, of course, currency of any kind will be a moot point.

[BTW, this is my 100th Adding Insult entry. Yay me!]

Wed, Jun 03, 2021 at 11:08 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  That's crazy. What's the point of showing it going up and down and up and down and up and down and then all of sudden we're supposed to think it's going to go up and up and up and up and up? I see your point.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I rest my case.

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2021-04-27
Hitting the Deck

Speaking of swarming termites, as I figuratively did last week, they do show up for real in another idiotic commersh. One I find so ridiculous that I laugh sardonically just about every time I see it. And would not trust these live-action characters to fall if they ran 50 paces off a cliff and didn't look down, they're that cartoonish.

Abutting their home, they have a deck about (using the number of step risers as a guide) 3.5 feet off the ground. And they're grilling a meal on it. Well, HE's grilling. 'Cuz, ya know, it's a man thing. He tops off a Tex-Mex plate for her. She gladly acknowledges it and turns to, one assumes, go sit down somewhere. And then, looking at a corner post of the deck, she sees something absolutely appetite-stealing. "Termites!" she exclaims in disgust. And, ever ready, promptly sprays them...

Cartoon of a 1-person food fightHappy black child sitting at a slide bottom with her feet on the ground...with her plate of food. Which clanks against the corner post. Which promptly snaps in three. Totally collapsing that corner of the deck. Which in turn causes two of the other three corner posts to break. Leaving the deck tilted at a sharp angle. Dumping off half the deck furniture. And trapping the rest all cattywampus against the railing tension lines. Including the tilted-over, fiercely smoking grill.

Well, he's fast. He grabs the post cattycorner from the collapsed one as he falls. The only one that didn't break. And she's fast. She grabs onto his legs as she falls. And hangs there as they plead with and reassure each other about not letting go. All while she's futilely kicking like a kitten with a toy kick-stick (albeit carefully twisting to ensure that she, the actor, isn't repeatedly slamming her foot against the nearby edge-hanging chair).

Which begs some questions, like:

= Why didn't they build and upkeep their deck with pressure-treated and toxicity-(re)sealed wood?
= How long has that colony been there, that it's now big enough to start swarming?
= If the termite damage looks that bad, why haven't they done something about it before now?
= Just how heavy was that plate of food anyway?
= How long can they really both hang on?
= The deck midline now only half as high as it was, why doesn't she let go and slide till her feet touch ground?
= Then get out of the way so he can do the same?
= Preferably before the grill sets the whole thing on fire!

Hey, sardonically inquiring minds want to know.

Sat, May 01, 2021 at 12:50 PM, Loren , wrote:
Lucki-
  Also chuckled at this commercial. My 1st thoughts were different than yours:
    - I'm thinking the wife was actually lucky the deck broke, making the termites The Bad Guys in the story. Had it not broke, I'm imagining the husband: "Have you lost your mind? That's $20 of grilled meat you just threw away!"
    - Also lucky there were no guests. #lawsuit
    - She's a damn good throw. Probably the star player on her high school softball team. I would have missed the target by a mile.
Again, if she'd missed> The husband: "You know you're cleaning that up, right? The charcoal is in the garage, and there's a few steaks left in the fridge I was saving in case your freeloading brother showed up unannounced. Get to work."
Stay, safe, Loren

 

Lucki responds to Loren T: :
  I hear ya, bro, LOL. Talk about a different initial perspective, tho. Maybe it's a gender-difference thing, I dunno. But I guess I subconsciously preferred to see them as lovingly ditzy, rather than as microaggressively dysfunctional as you saw their relationship might be. 'Cuz her response in your scenario would probably be something about why didn't he see there was an issue and fix it already, shut up about her brother, and he knows what he can do with the extra steaks. And if they were that snipey with each other all the time, it'd be no wonder they'd have no one interested in coming over for Tex-Mex and lawsuits. No matter how awesome a grillmeister he might be. Just sayin'.
  But yeah, with your permission I'll add another question to the list about how thankful are they that no one is there to sue.

 

  Sat, May 01, 2021 at 4:50 PM, Loren T wrote:
  Fascinating. The microaggression thing would have never occurred to me. I'm thinking of it like a hack comedy writer, and I realized in an instance how typical that type of portrayal is. Here's a less aggressive scenario:
  Instead of hanging on to the post, the couple slides to the ground. After a couple of seconds, the husband says,
  "Nice throw. I would have missed it by a mile." Another pause.
  Wife: "I guess I better call my sister and tell her to stop by the grocery store before she gets here.
   Husband: "Good idea." Birds start gathering to peck at the spilled food.
   Wife: "Bon appetite." They both start laughing.
      Lucki responds to Loren T:
  Good for them.

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2021-04-23
Too Dumb To Drink

I'll tell ya, the dumb-butt commercials are coming outa the woodwork like swarming termites. I guess I'm OK with that, though, as maybe it'll help me catch up on the dearth of average-one-per-month entries over the last 10 years.

This commersh qualifies for the well populated "Why would I ever trust that person's choices?" category. Actually, it's two different adverts for the same product, and/but they really are two of a kind.

Desert waterfall sculpting sandThe guy in rolled-up sleeves and loosened tie collapses in the middle of the vast, rolling desert. Not a relatively moisture-rich desert like the Mojave. No, more of an endless nothing-here-but-us-sand-dunes desert like the Sahara. And he's thirsty. Really, really THIRSTY!

The gal in spacesuit and helmet plods across the relatively airless surface of our rust-red neighbor. Not, say at a water-reclamation facility at the pole. No, in the middle of nothing but miles and miles of arid iron oxide. And she's thirsty. Really, really THIRSTY!

Well, he sees a lone cooler in the sandy distance. Drags himself up. Staggers to it. At first he's elated. Then he's irately disappointed. Why? Are you kidding him? 'Cuz there's just plain ol' water in it. (A bit frosty-looking; must be one heck of a cooler.) Which he ain't interested in drinking, no way, no how.

Well, she nears a column of smoke marking what's left of a supply cache at a crash site. Speeds up, breathing hard. Finally reaches it. At first she's elated. Then she's irately disappointed. Why? Are you kidding her? 'Cuz there's just plain ol' water in it. (Part of which precious supply she shatters in disgust.) Which she ain't gonna drink, no way, no how.

Then thanks to someone's eagle eye in the sky, a rescue helicopter arrives. Hovers overhead. A flyer leans out and drops him a little bulb of flavoring. Which he grabs with gusto. NOW he'll drink.

Then thanks to a robot's eagle eye through which contact is reestablished, a manned lander arrives...237 days later! Sets down. A fellow astronaut opens the ramp and tosses her a little bulb of flavoring. Which she grabs with gusto. NOW she'll drink.

Desert waterfall sculpting stoneSince the helicopter is there anyway, the guy who threw him the flavoring asks if he wants a ride. But no, not him, he and his flavored water are just gonna walk. Really? Where? Using what map? (And I bet that cooler's gonna feel awfully heavy awfully soon, don't you? Of course, it may get lighter faster than the guy wants it to. Never mind the teeny bulb, does he even have enough water to make it out of the desert? OTOH, I guess he did make it all the way IN, so what do I know?)

Having come all that way, the lady on the lander asks the astronaut if she's coming with. But no, not her, she and her flavored water are just gonna go back to her lonely shelter and wait for the next lander, (And I bet she's gonna be awfully unhappy if contact fails again, or the next one crashes, or it never shows up. But even if all goes well, never mind the teeny bulb, does she even have enough water to last another 237 days? OTOH, I guess she did make it all the way through those first 237 days, so what do I know?)

These two people are too picky and just plain stupid to drink the only liquid around when they're dehydrated? And in the middle of nowhere? Never mind to accept a rescue? And I should trust their judgment because...why?

P.S. I doubt I'd use that stuff if I had it. As far as I'm concerned, the existence of a  hearty fix of clear, crisp, plain ol' ice water when I'm thirsty is absolute proof of the existence of God and Her benevolence.

Tue, Jun 02, 2021 at 11:02 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen both of these commercials and they're crazy. They're in the desert in the middle of nowhere and they'er not happy about WATER?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I know, right?

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2021-04-16
Petty Puddles

Speaking of canines, as we were last week, I'm all for people loving their dogs their whole canine lives. Even when said dogs are pouncing puppies. Alert adults. Aged animals. With all the minor wreckage that can entail. Because, no matter what, they're STILL psyched to see you.

So the little girl comes home and her little puppy is SO happy to see and greet her. It bounces right up. Oops, that juice box just got squirted all over the carpet. No prob, they can clean it up, right?. Somehow?

And then the not-so-little girl comes home and her adult dog is obviously glad to see and greet her. It scoots right up. Oops, that cup full of soda pop just got knocked all over on the carpet. No prob, she can clean it up, right? Somehow?

And finally the grown-up collegiate girl comes home and her aged pet is still excited to see and greet her. It plods right up. Oops, when she embraces and pets it, its quiet excitement results in an accident all over the carpet. No prob, it's OK, old girl. She can clean it up right. Make it all better. With her fancy dancy appliance for pet-related (and, one is expected to assume, any other) stains.

3 stages of dog life: puppy, adult, senior

Cute. Heartwarming. Understandable to pet people everywhere. That your pet is more important than your carpet. That the relationship is worth the occasional messes.

But why didn't mom stop her little girl from putting her juice box on the carpet to be stepped on?

And why didn't the middling girl put her open cup of cola somewhere safe instead of on the carpet to be knocked over?

And especially why on this pleasant day, if she knows that gal's-best-friend with the weakening bladder is always gonna come to greet her, doesn't the gal in her Barton U hoodie come in the back door instead and immediately invite the dog outside before she stops to pet it?

Or at least, knowing as she does that her dog knows when it did something wrong and needs to be reassured, why doesn't she have a pet pad at hand? A pad that she can slip under the dog before it sits down and she pets it?

It's not like such forethought is all that revolutionary, is it?

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2021-04-09
Plainly PETurbed

So the canine family is driving down the highway, jonesing for the rest stop they all obviously need. Mama, Papa, Sis, & Junior look quite relieved when their navigation device tells them they've arrived. Only there's this big glitch. The SIGN. In your face. Oh dear!

"No Pets Allowed" sign

Of course, "No Pets Allowed" doesn't apply to them. They're not anybody's pets. Nope. No tags hanging from their collars. As far as we can see, the only licenses they need (the adults, that is) is drivers' licenses. So by definition, they're, ya know, PEOPLE. The rest stop is all theirs for the using.

So they pull up in front of the place (apparently there's no parking lot, but they don't even bother to hug the curb), quickly consult on how bad they gotta go no matter what, roll down the driver's window a bit for air flow (yeah, that's gonna help keep the car cool when it's not even under a tree), and out they all jump to bark their way to the facilities.

Junior, released from his child seat, is the last to hit the ground running. But not for long. Short as he is, and for all his dogged determination to catch up, he's far behind the rest of the family when he hears something. Something show-stopping.

He turns around. And sees a very disgusted-looking tiger tabby in the driver's seat. Meowing a query and a plea. It's their pet cat. Who, of course, isn't allowed in the rest stop. And is protesting.

Well, that's a bummer. Junior waves a paw at the cat and whimpers his sympathy. The cat, with a grumble, claws at the window. (Which, incidentally, is open sufficiently that if it fights hard enough, the cat might be able to squeeze its way out sideways. Remember: Cats don't have big anchored clavicles like we do. They've got these little bitty rudimentary free-floating collarbones. Which is why, unless they're obese, they can squeeze themselves through any space as wide as their whiskers. Maybe the dogs forgot that.) It should protest and claw. Rightfully so. Leaving that poor pet in the car IN THE SUN. One hopes Junior cares about that. But what can he do? After all, he's just a pup. And he's gotta GO.

Maybe yon doggy family needs to be driving a car named not after the sailing sisters gathered together near their sea-nymph mother and earth-giant father but, I dunno, after a cosmic canine. Like, say, Sirius or Canis Major? Or maybe they need an even bigger reminder. Howzabout a cosmic feline like Leo or Lynx?

Constellation Pleides plus parents  Constellation Canis Major  Constellation Leo

In the meantime, I recommend you traveling canine contingent while away some of your hours between rest stops by deepening a bit on 'Abdu'l-Baha'sguidance re teaching kids about pets. Like:  Educate the children in their infancy in such a way that they may become exceedingly kind and merciful to the animals. If an animal is sick they should endeavor to cure it; if it is hungry, they should feed it; if it is thirsty, they should satisfy its thirst; if it is tired, they should give it rest. Also, doggone it, do the research needed to plan for your pet's needs on your trip. Find and aim for rest stops that WILL allow it in. And obviously don't leave it alone in a car in the sun.

Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 11:41 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  You know, it's easy to see the dog and the lion when they draw the figure around the stars. It's not so easy otherwise. The only one I recognize at night is the Big Dipper.
  About that last paragraph, RIGHT ON!
  Constellation Orion with Orion's Belt & Orian's Sword nhighlightedLucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yes, the Big Dipper, an asterism of Ursa Major, is very recognizable in the northern sky all year round.
  In the southern sky, perhaps the most findable winter constellation is Orion because of its two easy-to-see asterisms: Orion's Belt of three stars and, hanging below it, Orion's Sword.
  But don't feel bad about it being hard to find so many constellations. The ancients didn't have to deal with all the light pollution and smog that modern cities do, and a lot of people didn't have all that much more to do after dark except stargaze anyway.
  And re caring for your pet's needs, indeed. As you have obviously done with the likes of Lucy, her snuggle-buddy Hansel, and Max.

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2021-03-18
Cheap Cheep

OK, so the puffbally things are kinda cute. If somewhat self-absorbed on occasion. But their unfuzzy couch-potato comrade leaves a lot to be desired. I don't care how inexpensive that prepaid service is, I don't want it if it's gonna lead me into such loutish laziness.

I mean, this conoid icon of outa-shapeness actually thinks, and baldly tells his friends, that phone chatting with them is good enough 'cuz it's not worth going anywhere to join them in a face-to-face, homey, around-the-kitchen-table, communal gabfest. (This is taking place in a pre- or post-pandemic world, of course. No masks/social distancing required.)

It's not about packing up and traveling afar, you understand. It's not about driving a couple of miles to their house. Not about trotting down the hall to their neighboring apartment. Heck, not even about going from one room to another. No, it's about walking ten feet from the studio's living-area couch to its kitchen-area table.

But no-o-o. It's too far! Ten FEET!
Cricket playing cricket, spotlighted by a lightning bug
Too far for his endomorphic abdomen, packed pelvis, and pencil-thin legs. 'Cuz obviously, hey, he never gets ANY exercise that would improve those weird-ass proportions of his. (Shut up about body shaming. It's a geometric shape, not a human being.) Nope, too blasted lazy!

Well, maybe that's an unintended but very apropos metaphor. The company (and even more so the corporation it became a subsidiary of) certainly doesn't have the greatest reputation these days for going out of their way to provide the best customer experience/service. In fact, this isn't the first company that's gone downhill since being gobbled up by that corporate owner.

Sorry, the optics just bug me. So I wanted to shed a little light on it. And do not get me started on how batty it drives me when technology is repeatedly "improved" until it becomes absolutely useless.

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2021-03-05
Red Bear Blue Bear

Where is Dr. Seuss when you need him?

And no, I'm not talking about the six books that have been pulled. It was the estate's decision to make and they made it. (And by the way, despite the exclamatory cries of pundits and vendor websites, the books were not "banned". They were pulled by the owner, with no legal of official dictum imposed whatsoever. That's totally different.) Maybe they'll reissue the books if and when someone can make appropriate changes to the negative images. In a Seussian artistic mode but without the (conscious or sub) racist overtones. Maybe not. Their choice. I'm not bent out of shape about it. I'm not even really referring to it. I'm referring to the family (or families?) of bears in the not-in-the-woods commercials. And I was planning this article before the books were pulled. Sorry for the confusing timing.

Red Bears, Blue Bears, & Orange Too Bears

First of all, I'm trying to figure out whether or not you red and blue and orange bears in different adverts are all the same bears.

Red 1, blue 2, orange 3= Hey, are you three different families. Then why don't you ever mingle? I've only ever seen two colors of you in three ads. And in two of those, the two of you were adversarial. (OK, admittedly in the earliest versions from, like, goin' on two decades ago when the bears were still in the woods, there were more colors of bears in the same commercial, but they were more "natural" colors - pale yellow, soft orange, sandy tan, light brown - rather than glaring primaries.) In fact, even all the bears in your laboratory workplace are the same color. Ba-a-ad optics. And why do so many of your boy-cubs need glasses? Inbreeding?

= Are you perhaps from different climes? Even three separate species of bears, like polar and black and grizzly?

= Are you the same bears at different times of year? Changing colors according to the seasons like, say, stoats or arctic foxes?

= Are y'all really all white all the time, and you dye your hair? Are there also yellow bears and green bears and purple bears? Polka-dot bears and striped bears and plaid bears? Moire bears and rainbow bears and tie-dye bears?

Secondly, why are you parental bears so freaked out by a pair of briefs on the bathroom floor? They're your cub's undies. (Although why he needs them is beyond me. He doesn't usually wear any. Not on his bottom, anyway.) Pick 'em up and throw 'em in the laundry. Or, if you're that bent out of shape, in the trash. Sheesh, you need to grow up more than your kid does.
White baby cub hugging orangy mama bear in the snow
And speaking of your cub, there's no way he can unroll all that tissue all over the floor and then get it back on the roll as neat and tight as it originally was. Neither can his papa. Nor his sister and gramma. Plus which, why haven't you taught him that tissue from off the floor and/or run through not-yet-washed hands may no longer be safe for ALL uses, so it should at least be set aside for safe uses? (Especially when y'all have been rubbing it all over your faces and fur, for Ursa's sake.)

On the other hand, when you think he's not being clean, momma bear, wouldn't a private conversation be in order? Do you really have to call him out in front of all his friends like that? He's certainly doing better (if not better off) than when he was back in the woods.

Like I said, where is Dr. Seuss when you need him? 'Cuz something seems a little, uh, fishy here.

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2021-02-26
Puppy Prob

Haven't seen Mr. Mayhem Like Me around for a while. There may be a reason. Not a good one. I mean, come on, last time I saw him, well....

'Cuz if Mayhem Like Me is now your 70-pound St. Bernard puppy, why the blazes don't you have him properly restrained in the back seat? In a dog-harness seat belt? Even better, 'cuz those really only work for well-behaved dogs, in a zipline harness? Better still, in a dog crate? Or at least behind a backseat barrier, assuming one would actually stop 70 pounds of pummeling pooch

Any of those restraints, properly applied, would be, ya know, handy.

St. Bernard handing head out of car windowBut no, he's hanging out the side window back there barking. Then turning to lick his person's face. While she drives. With his big ol' slobbery tongue in a mouth that she saw him previously use to eat p...never mind. Then lunging to the front seat to pick up her purse like a dead rat and violently shake everything out of it. Then hanging out the front passenger window - wait, when did she close the back window and why did she open the front one for him? - to hold converse with a way-smaller dog in the adjacent car. Which distracts said smaller dog's person and almost causes him to have a rear-end collision.

And her flippant excuse - hollered out as she gets around to apologizing some 10 seconds, or something like a tenth of a mile, past the stopped small-dog car -- is "He's a puppy!"

And that doesn't even get into the dangers to the dog of letting it hang its head out a side window in the first place. Where at the least, the air flow will drastically dry out its eyes. Or blow debris into them. Assuming your car doesn't first get too close to some other vehicle. Or to something beside or over the road like, I dunno, a low tree branch. Or to something that will trigger the dog into lunging out of the car altogether, through the window that you have opened all the way. Or are you OK with your dog maybe deciding a kid on a bike is really a toy that runs by itself until - and if - caught?

Nope, seems to me that neither your car nor you dog is really in safe hands at all.

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2021-02-15
Medium Miss

There's this psychic being consulted by the young couple. The script pokes a bit of fun on the way to selling its car. I snorted at first, and then ruefully chuckled.

As often happens, there are two versions of this commerical. There's the long version that tells a complete story. Then, after a carefully calculated exposure timeframe, there's the typical shortened version the agencies place more economically to remind viewers of the longer advert.

Costumed female fortune teller with crystal ballIn the full ad, the psychic sees three things in s uccession, and addresses the couple accordingly.

1. She tells the young lady to dump her dating app 'cuz he's the one.
2. She says gesundheit a moment before her client sneezes.
3. She sees the stars of the right car for them.

Obviously the third point is the money shot. And the first point does a good job of immediately establishing what's going on. But that second point is the only one where we see the results of her actually knowing something before it happens. That is, the sneeze is indeed snoze.

Of course, she could've simply seen a nose wrinkle, made a guess, and taken a chance based on observational experience. Maybe she even intentionally wore an irritating perfume in hopes that it would cause one or both of the couple to sneeze. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say that middle point actually proved some sort of psychic foreknowledge.

Then there's the short version. In which the second point is totally eliminated to help fit into the shorter duration. What little proof there was? Gone! The result? Now, the whole act looks like an obvious con game. And no one really wants to take advice about buying something - especiially something as expensive as a car - from a blatant, tricked-out con artist, do they? Which may be why I didn't see very many runs of that shorter version. Or, actually, of the longer one either.

Guess the medium didn't work more'n a little bit in the big city.

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2021-01-20
Rollin' Along

Last month, my first blog - Abiding Blog - celebrated its tenth anniversary. This month, it's Adding Insult's turn to do likewise. Yep, ten years old today. As my Number One Son would say, "Whoo hoo!"

This is the 90th entry in this blog. So I haven't actually posted one every month. OTOH, some of the entries (especially the ones with "Short" in the title) took on, like, two or five or a dozen commercials at once. So we've definitely lambasted at least 120 adverts. (And even complimented a couple ... how's that for being even-handed?) I say "we" 'cuz you've also had the chance to enjoy the occasional curmudgeonly guest rant from old friend and famed SF author Tom Ligon.

I hope you've been able to see all the commercials I panned, even if you had to use keywords to find them online. I hope you've had a hearty laugh or ten. I hope you've even found food for thought on occasion. I guarantee you I'm going to keep seeing pitches that make me go "Say what?!" Like the one with the lady who intentionally rolls:

Roll Cake - before= Out of her bed. Much to her dog's consternation. With her bedding. Into her rug. Which wraps around her.
= Out the front door. Taking curtains and whatnot with her. Down her steep concrete steps. Also taking her welcome mat with her.
= Down her sloping sidewalk. (Guess she made a sharp right-angle turn when we weren't looking.)
= Exchanging greetings with the guy working on his car's undercarriage. Who seems pretty nonchalant about the whole thing.
= Catching and wrapping a garden hose around herself. Tugging it out of the hands of the neighbor lady watering her garden. Who doesn't even scream at her.
= Through someone's back yard. (How does she keep making these turns?) Wrapping their line full of clean clothes around herself, too.
= Then happily - yes, she's been grinning and giggling and whoo-hooing all the way - down the middle of the hillside road. (Wait how did she get out there?) Into a business district.
Roll Cake - after= Where she (having once again somehow gotten back onto the sidewalk) at least says "excuse me" to the guy trying to deploy a tablecloth. Which also gets pulled into her rolly-tube. And who doesn't yell at her either.
= Past the barber and the customer whose hair he's cutting. Who just watch her go by. Who look at each other inquisitively. But who, like everyone before them, does nothing to try and help her stop.
= Slamming into the lady carrying an armload of flowers from her truck into the flower shop. Sending flowers everywhere.
= Back into the middle of the street (how's she steering that thing?) and rolling down another steep hill into infinity in her now-flower-covered cocoon. (Well, at least she'll have some flowers at her funeral, right?)
= All while the laid-back voiceover of a presidential spokesactor tells you this is how protected you'll feel with the sponsor's products. Including the techie new ones.
= Which, given the whole mess (to say nothing of all the people she adversely impacted) is, for my part, NOT AT ALL!

Really. All this to tell you to trust in the handy insurance company. But, uh, how much can it do to protect her when she gets to the inevitable intersection on that final hill ... and rolls into traffic? Without even a horn? (Although I suppose she could try screaming WHOOO WHOOOOO HOO!)

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2021-01-08
Dippity Dum

The three princies of serendip riding out on their questAre you familiar with the story of "The Three Princes of Serendip"? The English version of the French translation of the Italian translation of a Persian fairy tale? It's the story from which the word "serendipity" derives, although only in a very roundabout way. The word's first appearance in English was on 28 January, 1754 when Horace Walpole wrote a letter to his friend Horace Mann regarding an unexpected discovery he'd made about a lost painting. Walpole likened it to the princes who were "always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of." Usually discoveries that were worth more than what they were originally seeking. In other words, unexpected happy accidents.

Well, in its latest ad, the little insurance spokeslizard shows off both his marketing savvy and his literary acumen. He reminisces about standing amidst the wild greenery beside a small lake, thinking up a likely company slogan. The first one he comes up with, though - containing one simple fraction - just doesn't have the requisite pizzazz. Too long and anticlimactic. Then he flashes on a second one - containing one double-digit whole number, said twice - and is so stunned by it that he "drops the rock. And his smug, standalone, final word? "Serendipity."

Except, he was already seeking a good, a better, slogan. So the improvement he discovered, while happy, was anything but unexpected or accidental. And it certainly wasn't worth more than itself, as it WAS what he was looking for and worth exactly what it was worth.

But then, I suppose you shouldn't expect command of perfect English from someone who's speaking it as a foreign language. Which, for the average lizard, English certainly is.

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