Speak Lassie!

Well, here we are on day three already of this Dog Days of Summer  grindstone.  Sick of dogs yet?  Well, tough chew toys, because we’ve got another one coming your way right now.  Goes by the name of Lassie.  Enjoy it or keep off the furniture.

I thought I was just helping to keep him warm, I didn't realize I was spooning him and giving him a false sense of security.  (Image from texas fishing forum dot com)
I thought I was just helping to keep him warm, I didn’t realize that my spooning with him was giving Timmy a false sense of security. (Image from texas fishing forum dot com)

Timmy fell down a well” – Really? That crap again?

I’ve been working with a therapist for some time now. Spent a ton of money I really couldn’t afford. Don’t go thinking they let dogs in the Screen Actors Guild back in the golden age of television – ’cause they didn’t.

Anyway my therapist says I’m what you call an “enabler”. She says that me saving Timmy all those times just enabled him to keep living life like a reckless jerk-off; getting lost in the woods, kidnapped by escaped convicts or trapped in an abusive relationship with a gay biker named Otis.

I’m dealing with my own issues. Timmy is Otis’ problem now.

I’m not the only one writing about dogs, these folks are working hard at it too.  Don’t get emotional, it’s not like they’re pulling a sled across the Alaskan wilderness and sleeping out in the snow.  Click on them and see if I’m lying – my guess is that they’re probably up on the sofa again.


Steve Betz

Joes Musings

Jtailele’s Blog

MC’s Whispers

Shouts From The Abyss

H. E. Ellis

Lenore Diane

Fix It Or Deal

1 Point Perspective – You just read my version of Lassie, but why not click here and look at something else – my attempt at scoring a lucrative book deal by writing porn in my own version of 50 Shades.

I’ll Have a Venti Mocha Latte Where The Sun Don’t Shine

The upcoming season of TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” will be featuring a husband and wife who are addicted to coffee enemas.   The couple each average four of the 32 ounce enemas every day.  Personally, I limit my daily coffee intake to one 20 ounce cup, and to date, I have never poured it up my butt, not even by accident.

That TLC show just RUINED my favorite coffee mug for me!  Thanks, you A-Holes! (Image from like cool dot com)
That TLC show just RUINED my favorite coffee mug for me! Thanks, you A-Holes! (Image from like cool dot com)

To answer your logical question as to whether Mr. and Mrs. Coffee are located in Florida or California, it’s Florida.  If these Arabica-enema junkies strike you as especially odd, the show will also be profiling a woman who enjoys eating her cat’s hair.  While the micro-fiber sofa usually has a good snack-sized supply of Mr. Whiskers’ sheddings, she prefers licking it directly off of his disgusting pelt.  In the event that this lady ever teams up with the one from “Hoarders” who has 37 cats, they might form a sort of Jack Sprat-style alliance.

Mr. Whiskers (Not his real name)  (Image from free fresh wallpapers dot com)
Mr. Whiskers – not his real name – requested anonymity as he was concerned about Morris and Tony the Tiger finding out.  He was so upset about the show airing that he dropped a deuce in the potted palm out in the foyer.  (Image from free fresh wallpapers dot com – black eye bar courtesy of the author’s mad Microsoft paint skills)

The coffee enema woman declined to give her last name but had no problem showing the cameras her face and discrete self-applications of back-door caffeine.  She reported killing time during enemas by doing sudoko puzzles and catching up on Tweets.  Inquiring minds need to know if she is only reading the Tweets or if she’s espresso-ing herself.

As both a huge fan of coffee and a world-class avoider of enemas, I’m troubled by the java smuggler story.  I’m more than a little concerned that my personal love of a good cup of joe might now be misinterpreted by others.  A case in point; I was just over at the local doughnut joint asking the man in the turban for a caramel latte and an extra large black coffee to go.  He made a face which may have been due to my limited mastery of the Hindi-Urdu dialect, or it could have been something else.  Was it possible that he’d presumed I had some dark purpose in mind for these two hot beverages?  I left the store, making a show out of taking a big sip out of the scalding extra large.

“Mmm-mmm!  That’s good coffee!” I called out to no one in particular.

Still, I sensed that there may have been a few people there who didn’t fully believe me.

With no place left to turn, I came to you, my loyal readers to purge my soul, if not my colon, with my thoughts on the world being Chock Full o’ Nuts.  It’s a sad day when one dopey TV show taints the identity of us coffee lovers.

  • This disturbing practice gives the phrase “Something’s brewing” a whole new meaning.
  • It’s just one more thing to make tea drinkers feel superior.
  • Those people put the “uck!” in Starbucks.
  • There’s no truth to the rumor that they’re considering changing the slogan to “Good to the last plop
  • Care for a cup of demi-ass?
  • Constipation may require a French Press
  • Leaving yourself without sufficient access to a toilet after your coffee enema could result in latte in your culottes – also known as cu-lattes
  • This could also lead to cappucino in your chinos
  • Aficionados are known to spend a few bucks extra for Jamaican Poo Mountain coffee
  • That’s funny!  Jim NEVER has a second cup of coffee at home – I wonder if it’s because I use my lower G.I. system as a decanter

I could go on and on, but I’ve got to get cracking on my post about the cat-lady with the eating disorder.  It’s only a matter of time before she hacks up a hairball and then everybody will be writing about it.

Please enjoy the oh-so-topical video clip I’ve entered from Youtube below.  It’s my very first attempt at a video link – let’s hope it works as effectively as a quart of decaf going the wrong way up the exit ramp.

Follow Me On Twitter N C My Nu Bangs!

{I was recently Freshly Pressed here on WordPress.  For those of you who aren’t WordPress bloggers, just know it’s a big deal, with the most important by-product being the wholesale harvesting of new followers.  Lord knows, I grabbed my fair share of new disciples.

The big challenge now is not writing some disappointing piece of crap for my next offering.  After slaving like a dog for months to finally get a bunch of new followers, I don’t want to scare them away this soon.  Be that as it may, I’m going to write about the following topic anyway.}

When I was a kid, a hundred years ago, the news was not fun viewing.  The screen featured a very serious looking man, wearing a suit, sitting at a desk with some papers in front of him.  He’d tilt his head slightly at the camera, cock an eyebrow above the frame of his horn-rimmed glasses and tell America what had happened that day.

No screaming like a Banshee when these guys were on.  They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)
No screaming like a Banshee when Huntley and Brinkley were on. They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout-outs. (Image from anchoringamerica.com)

My brothers and I seldom stuck around to see what the anchorman had to say, as it wasn’t very entertaining in our estimation.  Our Dad would yell at us to “stop screaming like Banshees” so he could hear it.  Maybe if the news featured them, we would have sat down quietly and found out what the hell a Banshee was in the first place.  Instead, the only visual breaks in the action were usually maps of Southeast Asia or stock market graphs.

Of course, time changes ones tastes, and now I occasionally want to watch the news.  This was the case the other day.  The house was devoid of  Banshees, and the wife and I sat on our respective ends of the couch and watched Diane Sawyer on ABC.

Diane Sawyer is an attractive woman, not necessarily by TV standards, but certainly by news standards.  She also presents the news like a kinda-foxy aunt telling bedtime stories.  As the newscast wound down, a picture of Michelle Obama flashed on the screen behind her.

Can you see anything different about Michelle Obama?” Diane asked us viewers, her voice lilting and mischevious.  Then they cut to commercial.  Some guy in a khaki shirt was telling America about a quick and easy way to manage the tartar build-up on the teeth of our dogs.  I glanced over at my wife and made a wrinkled kind of face, as if to ask her about what had happened to Michelle Obama.  I got no reply to my non-verbal query.  My wife had looked back down at her Kindle as soon as the commercials started.  For the record, the non-verbal communication between my wife and me will be the focus of an upcoming post, in case you think I can’t top this one for dull topics.

I was annoyed at Diane Sawyer for teasing me and the rest of America with this First Lady topic.  I’m not worried about Mrs. Obama.  She seems like a strong woman and I’m certain there are plenty of staff eager to make sure she comes up with great healthy snack ideas for the kids and always has an outfit to wear that looks sassy yet refined.  Still, as the commercials for reverse mortgages and erectile dysfunction medications droned on, I wondered what it could be.  It’s funny that bullying is illegal in America, but teasing has been allowed to escalate into an art form.

Diane Sawyer doesn't mess around when it comes to the news.   Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson.  She was so glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher's shin guards - that would have been SO embarrassing!  (Image from bet.com)
Diane Sawyer doesn’t mess around when it comes to the news. Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson and Elvis’ daughter. She was glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher’s shin guards – that would have been SO embarrassing! (Image from bet.com)

After what seemed like an eternity, Diane Sawyer was back, smiling patiently, as if it were my idea to wait 4 minutes before finding out the answer.

She briefly recapped the question for those sleepy audience members in the back of the classroom who didn’t hear it the first time.  Then she dropped the bombshell.  Apparently there were two things different about Mrs. Obama.  The first was that she had started her own Twitter account and the second was that she had changed her hairstyle to one with bangs.  The first lady had bangs!

That’s NOT news!!” I screamed.

My wife’s attention was startled away from her Kindle and the dog quickly got up and slunked from the room, not sure if she was in trouble.  I could hear a low rumbling sound as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley spun in their graves like rotisserie chickens.  I turned to my wife to expound further on this travesty of news reporting only to discover that she had already found where she had left off and resumed reading her electronic romance novel.

I looked back at the screen as Diane gushed about the exciting topic of the wife of the leader of the free world having a Twitter account.  For the record, if my dog could type a little better, she’d have a Twitter account too.  If she did, she may well have left the room earlier to “follow” Mrs. Obama on Twitter and not because of her assumed guilt.  As for the guilt, I didn’t find that chewed up pair of boxer briefs behind the recliner for several more days.

I let it all sink in.  As if changing ones hairstyle isn’t upheaval enough, Michelle had started Tweeting at the same time.  Talk about a busy day!  Before I could wrap my big, bald head around it all, Diane moved onto the next story.  There was a scratchy recording of a little girl being interviewed on an old time radio show.

Do you recognize that voice?” Diane cooed.  Another question?  One tease after another!  This wasn’t the news, it was pop-culture trivia torture.  If she kept this up, Sawyer would make Pat Sajak look like a Nobel Prize laureate.  This time, she was kind enough to give us the answer without going to commercial first.  It turned out the little girl in the recording was none other than actress Betty White, who had turned 91 years old that day.

Betty White is in an American treasure (not to mention the last “Golden Girl” still standing).  Every birthday is a milestone, and the closer she gets to triple digits, the more newsworthy it becomes.

The standard format of any news show is that you start with the biggest story first, then work your way down to the filler and fluff.  By this framework we can deduce that Michelle Obama’s hairstyle/Twitter account story ranked higher than Betty White getting older.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I even took the time to consider this.

I guess I should be thankful that my kids are too old to have been in the house interupting my time watching the news.  What kind of father would I have been if I had shushed them so that I could properly hear this drivel?  Truthfully, I think I would have preferred screaming Banshees to listening to what Diane Sawyer had to say.  Oh well, at least she’s nice to look at.

Walking Dead While Talking Logic

Let’s make this clear: I enjoy “The Walking Dead”.  You can’t beat the dramatic interactions, the plot twists, and the extreme nature of a life in a zombie-filled world, where hope is all you have.

Who doesn’t love zombies? Can we have a show of hands – assuming zombies haven’t eaten your hands yet (Image from podcast.teachercast.net)

My love of the show is predicated on my having to be able to accept the premise that the world is largely populated with zombies, and that if you let your guard down, even for a minute, one of them might just sneak up and take a bite out of you.  Before long, you’ll either be eaten by a horde of them, or turn into one yourself.  Without the acceptance of the premise, the show is totally silly.  Modern medical science tells us that there is no such thing as a virus or disease which turns people into mindless, flesh-eating zombies.  The nightly news tells us that bath salts will do the trick.

I’m okay with embracing the premise, but I have my limits.  Anyone who’s ever gone to a horror movie will tell you that you have to accept certain things to be able to enjoy the experience.  For example, no one in their right mind would ever go into the haunted house at the end of Creepy Lane, and certainly not at the stroke of midnight on Friday the 13th.  No sane person would open that door at the end of the hall when there’s all that scary sound-track music playing.  People in horror movies are notoriously stupid when it comes to their choices.  If you’re going to enjoy a movie or TV series of this ilk, you simply need to surrender your logic for a few minutes and enjoy the ride.

Fans of the show will tell you that the story isn’t really about the zombies.  After all, zombies, or “walkers” as they are also called, are mindless carnivores.  There’s no real opportunity for character development when it comes to these hungry guys and gals – it’s just lurch, attack, hiss, and re-lurch.  The meat of the Walking Dead story is the interactions between the survivors as they try to stay alive.  For the most part, the very human emotions and difficult decisions they are faced with are what make the show compelling.  Luckily for the cynical viewer, there are so many zombies that the survivors don’t have to make the typically foolish decisions we’ve grown accustomed to in the horror genre.

Be that as it may, I need to point out a few things about the show which are sticking in my craw like a poorly chewed piece of Hershel’s calf.

Premise:  Once infected, every zombie develops incredibly sharp teeth and jaw muscles which allow them to have the destructive biting power of saber toothed tigers.

Bullcrap:  Despite hyper-trophic jaws and a disregard for pre-existing dental shortcomings, we are expected to believe that a weak spot has developed in the front of the skull of each zombie, allowing survivors to kill them with the poke of a stick to the middle of the forehead.

In the spirit of writing a “green” blog, I’m re-purposing images from previous posts whenever possible. This guy may have been infected with the zombie virus, but his teeth still look like he just came from the orthodontist. (Image from zombiecombatcommand.com)

Premise: Wild animals don’t run away from people now that most of them are zombies.

Bullcrap:  Wild animals are wild, and having the majority of mankind turn into killer-jawed eating machines will not likely make an owl or a deer any less afraid of a human.

Fer Chrissakes Bambi! Didn’t you see season one when the zombies attacked and ate a horse?! You need to stay away from humans! (Image from jnace.net)

Premise:  Without an infrastructure, things like gasoline delivery don’t happen anymore.  Early episodes showed characters dodging zombies while looking for gas.

Bullcrap:  Now that the show appears to have landed a sweet little product placement promotion with Hyundai, the days of looking for fuel are gone.  As a bonus, the responsive handling of the Sonata is great for dodging the undead in the middle of the road.

This Hyundai Veracruz will outrun even the fastest zombie and there’s plenty of storage for pointed sticks and flashlights! (Image from cargurus.com)

Premise:  In the first two seasons, survivors had to be frugal with battery use, as new Duracels were even rarer than gasoline.

Bullcrap:  I can’t keep the flashlight in the kitchen from being dead every time there’s a blackout, but in the catacombs of the prison, these guys suddenly have tons of working flashlights.

The great thing about this baby is that you can also use the back end of it to pierce the egg-shell thin zombie skull just above the bridge of the nose (Image from dansdata.com)

Premise:  Hillbilly Daryl has three arrows in his quiver, and almost always has one loaded and ready to fire in the crossbow.

Bullcrap:  He never runs out.

Daryl has three arrows, and the same number of shirt sleeves as Larry the Cable Guy. (Image from walkingdead.wikia.com)

Premise:  Zombies are slow, lumbering creatures and are easy to shoot.

Bullcrap:  No one with a gun ever misses, except for the one lady, who missed so badly she almost hit Rick in the foot – but after that, she didn’t miss again.  Oh and Otis missed the tame deer and shot Carl at the end of season 1.

You’ll never get a good head-shot on that zombie if you keep looking at her ass! Focus, Carl, F-O-C-U-S !! (Image from tacticalfanboy.com)

Premise:  Bullets are getting scarce, especially after the survivors shot up the prison grounds killing zombies who could have been dispatched with sharp sticks.

Bullcrap:  Bullets won’t be in short supply for long, rumor has it the producers are currently in negotiations with Remmington brand ammunition for a product placement deal for hollow points starting next season.

I used this before for another post. It was a pain in the ass to draw, so using it a second time eases the painful memories of struggling with badly drawn thumbs.  (Illustration by the author)

Premise:  Lori is conflicted by her situation.  She’s going to be bringing what appears to be Shane’s baby into a hellish world filled with flesh eating ghouls and very few quality daycare centers.

Bullcrap:  She’s got a big bun in the oven!  Between the swollen ankles and the hemorrhoids, she shouldn’t be able to escape the zombies.  Even a mindless walker will be able to identify her as the weakest member of the tribe as well as a two-for-one in the eating department.  Can’t she get eaten, please?

While Mexican beer is off-limits to pregnant gals, Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia with a few dill pickles is still a favorite for those late-night cravings. Lack of refrigeration pretty much kills that option though – no wonder Lori is so bitchy! (Image from knowyourmemes.com)

Great Commercial Series – Chevy Camaro Graduation Gift

Sometimes, commercials aren’t just ads for products, sometimes they’re entertaining funny little 30 second stories. (Image from article.wn.com)

You’ll likely recall this one if you ever saw it.  A dopey high school senior gets a graduation gift from his parents.  The gift is a sad little dormitory refrigerator which Mom and Dad have festooned with a ribbon.  The gag is that it’s sitting in front of a shiny yellow Camaro convertible.  The kid, who we’ve already pegged as a little dopey, sees the car and mistakes it for his graduation present.

While the premise of the ad is simple, it speaks to us on many levels.  As parents, we realize that our ideas of gifts, while grounded in the necessities of finances, may not jibe with the preferences of our kids.  There is also a certain common sense to the parents’ choice of a dorm fridge – you graduated from high school, Tommy and you were lucky to get into a state college.  Those two facts merit a small appliance, not a muscle car.

We can recognize the unrealistic nature of youthful optimism.  Kids clearly have little if any idea about the cost of a brand new car.  The neighborhood setting of this comic tableau is decidedly middle class.  This is where working people live, not the rich folk who would possibly buy their child wildly generous gifts for fairly pedestrian achievements.

The commercial succeeds because the incredible high of a cool new car is not lost on any of us, despite the fact that we will have to deal with payments, insurance and higher and higher gas prices.  Mr. Johnson, the neighbor who the car actually belongs to, understands these things, but he is still financially solvent enough to be able to go play a round of golf.  The director cleverly leaves out the potentially awkward act of Johnson putting a full bag of golf clubs into the trunk of the Camaro before he drives off.

This commercial works for me because it speaks to so many things which have nothing to do with a Camaro.

Alright, enough of these commercials, I’ve got featured presentations to write about.

Great Commercial Series – Cars.Com

Welcome to the second installment of the Great Commercial Series.

Today’s feature is the Cars.com ad, with the singing second head.  The first, and in my humble opinion, best one of these is the one where a seemingly normal guy is talking to a car salesman, when a smaller version of him pops up from behind him singing about which car he wants.  The man is wearing a brown jacket and tan turtleneck.  His mini-head is perched on the top of an arm-like appendage which comes jutting out of his back.  The mini-head is wearing the same brown jacket and turtleneck – so adorable in an “Alien” sort of way.

Where exactly do you get a skinny brown jacket without arms?.. and sorry brudda, mini-me’s looks better than yours (Image from shoppingblog.com)

The guy appears somewhat embarrassed by his micro-cephalic alter ego, which he introduces as his “confidence”.  The mini-me head has no regard for his larger twin as he dances around on his long neck and belts out his cocky, arrogant choices of cars in a soul falsetto (Considering the tiny size of his head, maybe the falsetto isn’t so false).

In another one of these ads, a woman with a massive bouffant hair style has a miniature version of herself emerge from her tresses and sing a Natalie Merchant kind of ditty about her desire for “this car, no no not that one”.  Recently a new one showed up with a curly haired guy playing a harmonica above the head and under the hat of his host.  While those commercials are good, neither one touches the first one for entertainment value.

The beautiful part of this ad is that everyone can identify with the little head with the desire to sing about getting what they want without any qualms.  We’ve all got a second head of our own, and we can hear them singing if we try.  They belt out “The long-line at the grocery store blues” or the heavy metal classic “Geriatric in the passing lane and your blinker’s on for 7 miles” and of course the rap classic, “You got something in your teeth, fool“.

Here’s a link to the commercial on Youtube.  Use the back button on your browser to come back to this blog to give me your comments and likes, or I’ll grow a second head out of my ear and give you another piece of my mind.

Great Commercials Series – Direct TV

This guy was frustrated over his cable service. One thing led to another, and by the end of the 30 second commercial, he ended up bloody in a roadside ditch. The not-so-subliminal message: Get our product or bad stuff could happen to you. Advertising genius! (Image from adage.com)

If you watch TV much you’ve probably seen the commercials that Direct TV runs about how life can go horribly wrong simply because you get frustrated with something as innocuous as your cable TV service.  The ads are incredibly smart, in that viewers are sucked into the concept and want to see how being frustrated with bad cable service can somehow lead to ones being left beaten and bloody in a roadside ditch, or selling their hair in Vegas.

If you don’t watch TV or you’re one of those high-brows who will only view commercial-free public TV, then you’re missing out on a funny series of commercials.  Why you’d be reading the drivel that I write when you’re too sophisticated for “The Real Housewives of Topeka” is a question which I cannot answer.

In my Great Commercials Series, I hope to spotlight a single great commercial or series of commercials, then examine what makes them so good.  In this case, I’ve tried to come up with my own version of the ad.  When reading my version, please switch the voice in your head to the actor who does the Direct TV ad voice-overs.  If you are not familiar enough with his voice, try Sean Connery or Pee Wee Herman.

Here now, is my version of this great commercial:

When your cable doesn’t work, you feel like you’re wasting your money.

When you feel like your wasting your money, you lose the motivation to work,

When you lose the motivation to work, you start burning through your sick days,

When you use sick days unecessarily, you start watching soap operas,

When you start watching soap operas, you become convinced that Katerina is having doubts about her feelings for Quinn,

When you start spending too much time worrying about the relationships of fictional characters, you forget about important dates, like your anniversary,

When you forget your anniversary, your wife gets angry and locks you out of the house,

When your wife locks you out of the house, you end up sleeping in the car,

When you end up sleeping in the car, you wake up with a stiff neck, a cramp in your leg and a grouchy demeanor,

When you wake up with a stiff neck, leg cramps and a grouchy demeanor, you look like a zombie to your paranoid neighbor,

When you look like a zombie to your paranoid neighbor, he mistakenly believes the apocalypse has begun,

When your neighbor believes that the apocalypse has begun, he gets out his cross-bow and shoots you in the head with a hunting arrow,

Don’t get shot in the head with a hunting arrow, get Direct TV.

He didn’t appear to have much facility with stringing up Christmas lights, and his mailbox stayed broken for months, but unfortunately for you, his crossbow skills were excellent (Image from thecrossbowstore.com)

I’m not expecting Direct TV to be ringing my phone off the hook, but you’ve got to admit, zombies are hot right now, and Halloween is just around the corner.

Please forgive me for not posting the actual video in this blog, and just using this link to Youtube.  I’m lazy and don’t feel like paying to upgrade my blog to put videos in it.  Be a sweetheart and use the back button on your browser to come back and let me know what you thought of the post.

Notes From An Old Codger – Volume I

I swear, he sold me a bag of fried pork rinds and a bottle of Mountain Dew outside of Little Rock! (Photo from phojoe.com)

When I was young, just decades ago, I swore to myself that I would never become old and out of touch.  Little did I know that even as I made those solemn pledges to myself, the process had already begun.  I’d developed a fondness for types of music which would eventually be played on the Musak system at the supermarket.  I’d played outdoors and lived with grass stains and no seat belts, in a world devoid of video games and on-demand entertainment.  My favorite hairstyles would not hold up well to male-pattern-baldness.  The final straw was having children.  Those hyper-sensitive critics who would have a real problem with my trying to dress or act  like anyone but a Dad.

I read a post recently, where Life With The Top Down referred to a man she’d met.  She wrote that he reminded her of Cee Lo Green.  I have to admit that prior to seeing him in a soft drink commercial a few months ago, I had no idea that Cee Lo existed.  Once I did see him on that ad, I still had no idea who he was and had no desire to find out why 7-Up decided he was famous enough to represent their product.

My disconnection from popular culture has become disturbingly common.  As I wait in line at the supermarket, my cart packed with plenty of roughage, denture cream and a Valu-Pak of Depends, I glance at the tabloids out of sheer boredom.  The headlines scream for my attention as they always have, but using names I don’t recognize.  Apparently So-and-So has admitted to cheating on What’s-His-Name.  In another blockbuster chunk of news, Whosie Whatsie has gone back into rehab due to her dependence upon drugs which I haven’t even heard of.  While the infidelity and substance abuse issues of people in the public eye shouldn’t be my business to begin with, the fact that I don’t recognize a single name of any of the participants just gnaws at me.  In my heart of hearts, I know that as a good American, I should care about the trials and tribulations of these strangers, but I’ve never heard their songs or seen their movies.  At this point, it seems like too much work to learn who they are so that their addictions have meaning to me.

Besides, gossip and bad news don’t work that way.  You’re supposed to “know” the person first, then be surprised and concerned when you find out about all their problems.  If you know about the star’s crippling dependancy on lethal cocktails of barbituates, stool softeners and bath salts before you even know who they are, it just ruins the whole emotional experience.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse’s ass.

Once upon a time, the tabloids were simpler.  Superstars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Elvis were in almost every single issue.  Even in death, they showed up.  The formula was simple: take a really famous person with some peculiar lifestyle choices, and speculate about every single aspect of their bizarre lives.  If you had nothing to go with, just make something up.  Many’s the time where Elvis was resurrected from the grave and reported to have been sighted working at a mini-mart in rural Arkansas.  Michael Jackson giving you a slow week?  No problem, he can be abducted by aliens.  When Liz Taylor and Michael got together, the stories wrote themselves.

Now people who aren’t even through the 9th minute of their 15 minutes of fame are already all over the gossip rags.   I saw an article about a woman who had done something stupid.  For the life of me, I couldn’t begin to figure out who or what this woman was.  She may have been a singer, an actress or the newly discovered wife of North Korea’s President for Life.

Fortunately, I have a bevvy of younger, hipper people working around me who I can refer my questions to.  In a pathetic attempt to try to stay in touch, I approached one of my coworkers for info.

“Who the hell is {insert name here}?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s one of the Real Housewives of {insert locale here}” my colleague answered, looking at me to see if I was seriously even asking that question.  “She’s the one who had the big fight with {insert second name here}.  She threw the {circle appropriate projectile – table / chair / Chihuahua / bottle of Cristal} at her!”

My colleague made a face of expectation, waiting for the light of recognition to flicker on in my ancient eyes.  I tried my best to fake it, closing my eyes as I rolled my head slightly to the side.

“Oh!  Right RIGHT!  The one who threw the thing at the other one!” I said, hoping she’d let this matter drop.

She looked at me with pity, pretending to be unaware that I was lying.

It’s no use, I’ll never keep up with a culture which changes at the speed of Tweets.

I guess I should accept my status and start mowing the lawn in loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.  It’s clearly time to embrace my inner old codger.  I’ll regale anyone who’ll listen with stories about how football used to be a man’s sport, played without gloves or Darth Vader visors.  After all, football season is nearly upon us.  I saw a commercial for the NFL just the other day.

There were shaking pom-poms on the screen.  I waited in eager anticipation to see who was behind them.  I hoped that it was Ann Margaret or maybe Raquel Welch. You can imagine my disgust when the pom-poms dropped to reveal the smiling mug of Cee Lo.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon-Scented Garbage

I was watching TLC the other night and saw several commercials for “Craft Wars”.  For those of you who have enough of a life to have avoided seeing the commercials or TLC itself, allow me to describe what this craft competition show will apparently be about.

“Hi Tori! By the way, I’m a big fan of your work. Oh…Okay, well anyway, this piece is my interpretation of a happy jack-o-lantern. It will make a great door hanging or as seasonal decoration. The crooked grin gives it a touch of whimsy!” (Image from blog.craftzine.com)

Three contestants are given crafting supplies including all the hot-glue sticks and glitter they could ever hope for.  Then, the host says “Your time starts…NOW!”  The crafter-contestants, who by their very existence make me feel like a superior life form, all scramble across the set to get to the bins of crap that they’ll be making “crafts” out of.  This is essentially the same format that’s used on shows like “Top Chef”, “Design Star”, “Chopped”, “The White Room Challenge” and countless others.  As if watching these scrap-booking, swatch-pasting zealots isn’t bad enough in and of itself, the whole thing is hosted by massive has-been mega-talent, Tori Spelling!  The description above was gleaned from my having viewed a 30 second commercial several times, while I was busy watching some other inane offering on TLC.

It’s truly effortless to sit here and complain about what passes for entertainment these days.  I mean, they make it so easy.  So I sat down to write my rants about just that, but then a deeper thought occurred to me.  With the recent celebration of Father’s Day, I was reminded of what my Dad used to say;

“Turn off that damn idiot box and go cut the grass, dammit!”

Oh wait, wrong Dad quote.  He also used to say;

“If you’ve got a problem with it, then come up with something better or shut the hell up!”

Good point, Dad (My Dad didn’t actually curse that much, but I sure as shit do).  I put on my thinking cap and came up with some programming  ideas of my own.  I’m going to email these ideas to TLC, NatGeo, HGTV, Bravo and A&E.  They’ll be welcome to use any and all of my ideas without having to pay me a dime, but I do want the title “Creative Consultant” and a link to my blog in the opening and closing credits.  Here we go:

The Rolls Royce of Eternal Rest – this baby is a serious upgrade.(Image from Jawdrops.com)

America’s Next Top Mortician – Three morticians are given a challenging stiff to prepare for a viewing and funeral.  They will each have a fixed number of hours to fully prepare the corpse for interment.  Some of the challenges will include pushy, unrealistic family members who want Aunt Bessie to look “more life-like”, ill-fitting clothes for the deceased, and convincing the family they should pay for the up-graded casket.  Finally, what final-rest competition would be complete without the hearse-obstacle course?

Janitors Got Talent – Everyone knows at least one janitor who insists on singing or telling jokes while pushing brooms and emptying trash cans.  Here’s a chance for janitors to shine like freshly scrubbed porcelain!  Each contestant will have to demonstrate their unique talent while brushing toilets, running a floor buffer and refilling the soap dispensers in the women’s bathroom.

Cryo-Bank Tellers  24/7 – This gritty, up-close slice of reality will follow the challenges of round-the-clock employees at a St. Louis sperm bank as they deal with the crazy demands of such a bizarre work environment.  Hand held cameras will follow them throughout the facility with copious amounts of digitized blurring of clients faces, specimen jars and more!  At least once every episode, one of the tellers will lament “The sign on the door said ‘Unoccupied’, Geez I hate when that happens!”  Hilarity meets revulsion when new staff members are pranked and directed to put their lunches in the wrong refrigerator!

Bus Wars – Broad Street Local – Parking Wars meets Cash Cab as Philadelphia’s public transportation passengers are asked impossibly difficult trivia questions.  Contestants are frustrated, angered and embarrassed to realize they can’t possibly win any money.  Tempers flare when the contestants realize that the host/driver has ignored their stops while waiting for one of them to answer the question!

You turbo-charge this thing, put a chain guard on it and go to work. (Image from social.kidspot.com.au)

American Baby-Nose Pickers – Poor little Tyler and Brittany can’t do it themselves with their little bitty fingers!  Whether they use the squeeze ball, a Q-Tip or their own massive adult fingers, Moms and even Dads just can’t rest until that little hanger is out of their babies’ honkers.  The contestants will have to face tough challenges like booger-eating older siblings and the nausea of onlookers.  Tension builds as we close in on the final weigh-in!

My Biggest Fat Gypsy Rose Lee Loser – Theatrical directors and personal trainers team up to direct a community theater production of “Gypsy”, starring the morbidly obese who compete to lose the most weight while dancing and singing the hit numbers from 1959’s Broadway smash!  Wardrobe issues and self-esteem are on a collision course in this emotional competition!  Contestants are pushed to the brink when they have to keep their appetites and salivary glands in check while singing the lyric “..have an egg roll, Mr. Goldstone..”

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m going to go ahead and send the link for this blog to all those networks.  Keep your eyes peeled in the months to come, I think I’ve got a few winners here.  Listen up network execs, as promised, these ideas are there for the taking, and all I ask is the “Creative Consultant” tag and a plug for my blog.  Be warned though, my next batch won’t come so cheap!

Fathers Day Gift Giving

To be honest, I think these may have been Mother’s Day gifts, but you get the idea

I’ve been giving some thought to all of the cool stuff I made or bought for my Dad on Father’s Day over the years.

The love behind the gifts was unconditional of course, though the range of what the an 8 year-old could fashion out of modelling clay and pipe cleaners may have been somewhat limited.  In those days, you could make your Dad a coffee mug.  Even if he didn’t drink coffee or tea, it didn’t matter, because the mug would usually be comically lop-sided and as leaky as a sieve.  Dad could use the mug to hold pens and pencils on his desk.  Hopefully, the desk had ample room for the paperweights and ashtrays which you had made for him on Father’s Days gone by.

When I got old enough to hit my mother up for money and a ride to the store, I’d get Dad a tie.

I look at the world these days and wonder what kids could possibly be cranking out to give to Dad today.  The coffee mug is still a classic, but with the advent of computers, I don’t know how many fathers really need all that much pen storage.  Similarly, the paperweight is all but obsolete.  Who needs to hold down papers in paperless cubicle?  Everyone knows how politically incorrect ashtrays have become, and using one to hold paperclips would require an office with papers in it.

I’m sorry son, but Aunt Tilly was no fan of Mr. Bobby LaBonte. (Image from listia.com)

Casual workplaces and tele-commuting make neck ties about as relevant as a new needle for the Victrola.  The opportunities for many Dads to wear ties are rarer all the time.  Dad won’t want to hurt their feelings, but perhaps someday the youngsters will understand why he can’t wear that nice NASCAR necktie they gave him to Aunt Tilly’s funeral.

Madison Avenue has been bombarding us with ads for power tools, golf clubs and European sedans as ways to honor our Dads.  Despite the efforts of advertisers, it’s doubtful that many in the 10 and under set were out buying Dad a radial arm saw or BMW this past week.  As nice as it would be to have a new toy, Dads know better than to pin those wishes for a day like this.  That’s what mid-life crisis birthdays and inheritances are for.

I’m not sure what has become of the various ashtrays and coffee mugs which my own kids made for me on Father’s Days gone by.  I can still picture what my daughters and son must have looked like as they wrapped up their school year and finished the projects they’d made for me.  I suppose as long as I have those pictures in my mind, the actual lump of painted clay doesn’t matter all that much.

We don’t need papers to appreciate a nice paperweight after all.