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Home > Lucki Stars > Adding Insult

Adding Insult
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.

If Only

This one is perhaps not so rant-worthy as just sad. And I didn't want to address it before Hanukkah / Christmas / Kwanzaa anyway, because it's for a charitable cause that I wouldn't want to adversely affect in the minds of donors who tie their giving to a religious holy day or cultural holiday.

It's meant to be heartwarming commercial that features a series of children leaving their hospital to spend the Christmas with family. We see them in short vignettes as they each sing a small part of an old holiday favorite.

          ...I'll be home for Christmas;           You can plan on me.           Please have snow and mistletoe           And presents on the tree.

          Christmas Eve will find me           Where the love light gleams....

Note that they leave off the opening lines that some versions have included, but then a lot of people do.

          I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love           Even more than I usually do           And although I know it's a long road back           I promise you....

Even more tellingly, they especially leave off the two closing lines, although they use and repeat the instrumental chords as background music.

          ...I'll be home for Christmas           If only in my dreams.

I don't know how many people, hearing this advert, automatically fill in the missing final lines. I do. But maybe most folks don't remember them. Or never knew them. And "most folks" may or may not include the people who created, approved, and implemented the ad.

If it's a matter of lack of knowledge, shame on them for not doing their research. If it's a matter of their thinking none of their audience would notice, that's sort of insulting, too. If, however, it's a callous attempt to manipulate viewers' emotions with subliminal (or, in this case, subaural) thoughts of death (especially a child's), I'm even less than impressed with their thought process. Including the ethicality thereof.

Pair of World War II soldiers huddled together in a shallow trench in a snow-covered landscapeSee, this is NOT a wishful, joyous song of family reunion and celebration. Rather, it's a wistful, melancholy dirge of loneliness and little hope. Little hope not just of getting home this Christmas. Not just of getting home in the coming year, either. Not just of getting home for untold Christmases to come. Little hope, maybe, of getting home at all ... alive ... ever.

Because this song, recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby (albeit rejected as too much a downer by more than one person initially asked to consider it) is sung from the point of view of a soldier fighting overseas in WWII and writing home to his family with little hope that he can keep his promise to them. Hence, "if only".

It proved so popular, though, that Crosby was frequently asked to sing it at performances, especially by the families of soldiers. And invariably by soldiers wherever he went on USO tours, even when it wasn't Christmas time.

Anyway, like I said, I don't hate the song. I don't hate the ad agency for using it. I certainly don't hate the nationally known children's hospital for requesting donations by every means at their disposal. But I don't love it either. There's just that slight miasma of gratuitously tear-jerking undercurrent - an unease about children who might not make it home either, not for Christmas, maybe not ever - that chills me a bit. Puts me off. But that's just me.

P.S. This charity has been doing a lot of commercials with multiple spokeschildren lately. I find myself wondering if they're doing them as try-outs to decide on a new spokeskid, what with their featured "senior" representative, Chicagoland's own Alec Cabacungan - usually partnered with his mid-teens Canadian counterpart Kaleb-Wolf De Melo Torres - aging out of "us kids". After all, Alec's in college now and looking at his teens in his rear view mirror. (Yep, he's a licensed driver.)

Sat, Dec 31, 2022 at 11:06 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I know this one, and I know of the hospitals. I didn't sing the last lines in my head like you do, but I can see what you mean. You catch stuff like that. You're right, they've been using a lot of children in their ads lately. I never would have guessed either of those boys were that old, especially the smaller one who has broken just about every bone in his body. They are like your two World War Two soldiers who had to fight so hard just to stay alive. Happy New Year.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  They've been real troupers (and troopers) indeed. And happy Gregorian New Year to you, too.

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Entries During

2022-12-31 If Only
2022-12-26 Bonus Busts
2022-12-21 Snow Go
2022-12-16 Pizza Bureau
2022-12-11 Illegal Intender
2022-12-06 Unsnory Story
2022-12-01 Whale Tale

2022-11-29 Oh Lawdy
2022-11-25 Sneaking Abowt
2022-11-21 Book Wyrm
2022-11-17 It's Pawsible
2022-11-13 Turn Style
2022-11-09 I Call Interference
2022-11-05 Right (Of) Way
2022-11-01 Optics Oops

2022-10-16 Fete Fate?

2022-09-24 High Dudgeon
guest blogger: Tom Ligon

2022-08-21 Danger, Dangler

2022-07-16 Burrp

2022-06-02 Bo Oh Bo

2022-05-23 Don't What Now?!

2022-04-23 Superstar Show

2022-03-20 Breath Catcher

2022-02-15 Resigned Results

2022-01-22 Gray Faze

2021-12-22 Back-Up Buster
2021-12-16 Moo-ish Mix
2021-12-10 Jumpy Much?
2021-12-04 Judgy Much?

2021-11-28 Lizard Lip
2021-11-22 State & Switch
2021-11-16 Cliff Faced
2021-11-10 Bell Bummer
2021-11-04 DJ Dilemma

2021-10-25 Cues & Clues
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


Go to Older Entries

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Bonus Busts

The holidays always bring out a super-spate of cookware commercials, each one touting its superiority over all the others. And maybe, when it's a single item for sale, offering some kind of lesser freebie to boot. But there's one tendency all the multi-item offers seem to have that just drives me up the wall.

In brief, just about every single one of them tells me about all the essential stovetop items I need. And why theirs are the best.

Then tells me how much I'll have to pay someone else if I don't immediately glom onto their own bargain-priced set of products.

Then offers to, say, knock one payment off that price. Or some duplicate if I just pay "a separate fee".

And THEN gilds the lily by showing me a whole bunch of other items they'll throw in for free. Most of which I really have no use for. Like, I dunno, a set of loaf pans and cookie sheets and muffin tins and pie plates. Which, well, I DON'T BAKE!

Oh, and don't forget the free shipping if I act right now.

First, no shipping is "free". It's just hidden in the price. Second, if I have to pay a separate fee for something, then it isn't free either, is it? Third, and most to the point, if they can afford to bonus me all that "free" stuff I don't need, then aren't I paying way too much for the stuff I do need? Inquiring meal-makers want to know.

Tue, Dec 27, 2022 at 11:06 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Yes, I've always wondered about that separate fee. They tell you the cost of the first one, but they don't tell you how much the separate fee is. That makes me suspicious. But I've never wondered enough to actually go to their website and start ordering so I can see how much the separate fee is. I have a set of really good cookware that I boiught when I got married, and it's still going strong. It's lasted many times longer than that little 10-year guarantee they give you nowadays.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yeah, suspicious. And I agree with you. It sounds like a joke; but when it comes to anything we expect to be sturdy, they really just DON'T make 'em like they used to.

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Snow Go

What fun! The family is outside having a snowball fight. All except the littlest girl. She's watching them through the picture window. Elbow on the sill, chin in hand. Looking anything but amused. Maybe she doesn't feel like getting all bundled up. Or going out in the cold. Or getting snow down her neck.

Then something strange (and potentially horrific?) happens. One of the thrown snowballs misses, Lands. Erupts back up out of the snow at, like, a hundred times its size. And starts rapidly rolling away.

Large snowball rolling rapidly downhill

Apparently hearing something behind her, the girl turns to see a whole new slew of decorations and gifts magically sprouting amidst what's already been deployed. Which the surprised child assumes (rightly) are related to the renegade snowball. Which she therefore decides to pursue. She runs through the living room, races out the front door, jumps down the steps (whereupon she is suddenly attired in additional bright snow togs, and the steps in festive stuff), and gives chase. Oddly, no one else in the family seems to notice any of this. Or asks her where she's going.)

Gaining speed and mass, the snowball rolls down the sidewalk and up a drift. Which it jumps over, landing in front of a hatchback whose driver has just opened the hatch. Leaping up on the hood and jumping to the roof, it uses the hatch like a diving board, spilling snow all over the driver. Who is suddenly sporting a fashionable (but not very warm-looking) new outfit. As an unexpected cascade of wrapped presents comes spilling out of the cargo deck. Oh, hope none of them were, like, breakable.

Next thing we know, the the extremely mobile snowy mass has changed direction and barged through the front door of somebody's house. Its passage through the living room adds two young people to the empty armchairs. And as it blasts through the dining room with a couple seated at the mostly empty table, two more guests appear. And with a fillip like the slight jump of dishes in the tablecloth trick, there are suddenly six diners dressed to party at a table filled with fine dishware and a delicious feast.

Outside once more, the snowball jumps onto another car, shedding a plethora of wrapped gifts onto its roof. Hope none of them were fragile, either. Hit a pedestrian. Or cause some nearby car to have an accident. But at least the kid in the car, also unexpectedly inundated, seems okay. And cautiously amazed.

But wait, we're not done yet. Once again, we see the little girl, plus two dogs she apparently picked up along the way, still running down the middle of the street (yeah, that's safe) after the self-guided snowy orb. As it once more speeds through a door. Of a store.

Actually, a trio of stores. In one building. Their three colorful neon signs aglow. So we finally get to see what companies the fast-paced action, bouncy music, happy lyrics and, finally, promise of making holiday dreams come true are all about.

At which point, somebody responsible for the final version of the commersh missed a beat. Didn't motivate young Violet McGraw well enough. Or used a bad take in editing. Or didn't want to pay for another day of shooting.

'Cuz what she was, I assume, supposed to look like as she gazed up the the three signs is awed ... ecstatic ... equally eager to enter. But that's not really what we get. Instead, she skids to a stop, and the dogs "sit, boy" in the snow beside her. And with her quizzical brow, swaying body, and shuffling feet, she looks mostly confused, confounded, and totally unconvinced about even approaching, never mind entering, the stores. Which I'm sure is not how the advertizer really wants potential customers to feel.

Thu, Dec 22, 2022 at 10:34 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Well, I got my chuckle for the day, without even seeing the ad. I bet I'd really laugh if I saw it. You hardly had to comment, except about somebody dropping the ball. You just told it and it was funny. And it just ends like that? She doesn't go in the store or anything? You'd think maybe they'd at least do a sequel. It reminded me, though, of the one with the lady rolling down the hill. Same ad agency maybe?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  "Dropping the ball." LOL Good one. I shoulda thunk of that; but now you've given me my chuckle for the day. Thanx. Good point, too, about how you can sometimes recognize (or at least "feel") when commercials for very different products/companies were created by the same ad agency...or even by the same team/person.

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Pizza Bureau

So, it's not an ad for some local little pizza joint. The kind you frequent for the ambience, authenticity and, like, taste. No, it's for a national chain. The kind you order from for the convenience, standardization, and speed...just about anything but, like, the taste.
Old wooden 3-drawer bureau
And now, they want you to know, you can get not just one, not just two, but three or more items in the same box! Isn't that wonderfully convenient?! Yep. It all comes in this cardboard bureau with three drawers. Golly wow, triple the treats. Like, YAY, right?

The drawers are opened one by one, staggered from the bottom up. We see the bottom drawer full of big breadsticks and mini cinnabuns. The middle drawer with a plain sausage pizza, and a top drawer with a plain pepperoni pizza. All while the spokescomic sings you a badly mangled, broken-metered Christmas carol about the contents.

Well, I've never been a fan of take-out pizza. (Never even mind the greasiness of the all-meat no-veggies pizzas, or how melting bun icing might get all over one of the savory breadsticks.) I don't care how pretty they make the boxes look, how carefully they place that little three-legged pizza savers, or whether they're delivered in a real high-quality Kosar bag (Cool Chicagoland connection there; so, okay, I care a little about that one).

Nevertheless, even the company's commersh for its equally roomy, one-layer flat, buffet-style dinner box doesn't scream an in-your-face "Gack, tastes like cardboard!" the way this little pizza bureau does. For me anyway. So I'll take a pass.

Sun, Dec 18, 2022 at 9:46 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  Too bad they don't deliver it in the nice kind of antique wood bureau you show. It would make it worth it.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Ma-a-aybe. Then again....
  No, of course you're right. The classic bureau would be worth the $25. And you wouldn't have to eat the pizza. You could always feed it to the dog (if you don't care how healthy your dog stays). Or to the pigeons; unlike Mikey, they'll eat anything.

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Illegal Intender

Okay, it's a stare-down standoff. Dinner is over. The host is in the kitchen cleaning up (one assumes, though there is no mess to be seen) when his neighbor walks in (from stage left). The host asks how his guests liked the lasagna. As if a guest would tell him if it sucked. Although, actually, this guest doesn't compliment, or even mention, the lasagna at all but simply thanks the dude for having invited them. Then the brother reveals why he came into the kitchen in the first place. To pay back some money owed. Fifty bucks, looks like. He takes the three bills out of his wallet and hands them to the host.

Who grimaces, pulls back, screams a bit, drops and breaks the dish he was holding, and says his family always asks for payback via the advertized payments network. The guest notes that the two families use different banks. The host replies that the network works with all banks. But come on, the bro is handing him the money. Urges him just to take it and be done with it. The host complains (maybe he'll lose a few seconds of interest or something?) if he has to take the cash, 'cuz the network would instantaneously deposit the $50 in his account. By now the bro is getting fed up. He tells the host to just put the money in his pocket. The dude still demands his neighbor network the money to his bank account.

And they both stand there glaring at each other until one of their wives walks in (from stage right; how many entrances - given the back door we can also see - does that kitchen have, anyway?) carrying an empty bowl. She asks if everything's okay. Without even reacting to the broken dish all over the floor. That's one gracious sister, there.

Both men insist everything's fine. The brother lays the cash on the counter and pulls out his phone to use the app.

And that's just plain stupid. He shoulda just laid the cash on the counter and walked away. (Actually, he shoulda done that long ago.) Not just because the host was being ungracious. Because (depending on state mandates) the host was even being illegal. It says so somewhere on the obverse, the face, of every US bill there is. From the $1 bill to the old $100,000 gold certificate that was only ever used in fiscal channels and which the fedgov holds all remaining copies of (even professional collectors aren't allowed to own any of this largest bill ever printed):


ALL DEBTS. Which means you can't refuse to take cash for simple payments. Not that you should anyway. Counterfeit bills (currently totaling millions per year) are less prevalent than kited and fake checks (currently totaling billions per year). And credit card payments, Paypal, etc., come with a fee to the recipient. So cash really is king. Period. Exclamation point!

Sun, Dec 11, 2022 at 10:56 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  That's ridiculous. The guy refuses to take the money, and breaks a dish over it? Maybe he didn't want to take the cash because he knew if it was in his pocket instead of the bank, he'd spend it on something stupid.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Burning a hole in his pocket. I didn't even think of that. It's definitely a thought, though.
  Looks lately like maybe you check my blogs before you shut down every night, JIC. Cool. Thank you for your interest...and especially for your feedback. I especially appreciate it when you see errors and let me know right away, so I can correct them before most other people read the entry. Much appreciated.

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Unsnory Story

I've talked about the side effects of meds, I dunno, maybe half a dozen times already. Sometimes in general, sometimes in detail. This is another instance of a specific commersh that boggles my brain.

It's for a product to help me get to sleep. To combat insomnia. Well, I've learned over the years that if I ain't gettin' to sleep, it's not happenstance.

It might be something as simple as indigestion, sour stomach, gas. I make a mental note of what I think triggered it, so I don't do that for supper or late snack again any time soon, and then I get my butt up and go get an OTC antacid or antigas aid ... preferably one with the fewest deleterious side effects for me.

OTOH, sometimes I can't get to sleep easily because I'm in the old geezer class now and don't always produce as much melatonin as I need. So I get myself a melatonin tablet. That's not even a med per se. Our bodies produce melatonin naturally, so the tablet is just a low-dose supplement.

It can also happen when something's buggin' the hell outa me that I need to ID and then let it go. I may do that by sitting up, grabbing a paper and pencil off the nightstand, and jotting down a possible cause and a game plan for what's bothering me. Or I may call a good friend who I know doesn't answer their phone after [insert a reasonable hour here] and vent to their voicemail. Or I may grab my prayer book, find a Scriptural prayer that addresses the issue I've ID'd, say that prayer as sincerely as I'm able to in the moment, and then just let God worry about it on my behalf so I can get some sleep.

All three of these techniques have minimal side effects. I have to pay attention to what antacids/antigas meds I take 'cuz there are some that are hard on my kidneys. If I have an early thing tomorrow morning wake-up that extra melatonin could make me sleep through, I have to set my alarm louder than usual. I'll lose some sleep if I have to go into writing mode; but then I wasn't sleeping anyway, so what the heck. I'll probably have to answer some questions and concerns raised by my friend tomorrow. Can't think of any negative side effects to prayer, though, and God isn't gonna give me grief for dumping my problem on Her. So win-win there.

Now let's look at the side effects of the heavy-duty med being touted for people who have "overactive wake signals". The name of which drug contains a syllable meaning lively, which doesn't sound very calming and sleep-inducing to me (but what do I know?). Anyway, contraindications and possible side effects for this daily med? By the hundreds. Okay, not really that many, but it does take a lot of time to list them.
Wide-eyed sleepless (& possibly scared) woman lying abed in the middle of the night
= Don't take if you have narcolepsy
= Don't use alcohol while on this prescription
= Don't drive or operate heavy machinery if not fully alert
= Daytime sleepiness
= Headaches
= Worsening depression
= Suicidal thoughts
= Hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up
= Temporary inability to move or talk
= Somnambulism, including walking, driving, cooking, and eating while asleep

All in all, 25 seconds in a 90-second commercial. And you know that manufacturer didn't waste 28% of their advert dollars outa the goodness of their little ol' heart. They were forced to include it if they wanted to advertize at all.

Maybe it's just me but - even setting aside questions like: would I realize I'm not fully alert if I'm not fully alert? - that list of negatives is gonna help me do anything but sleep.

Okay, 'nuff said. I'm goin' to bed. Without this med.

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Whale Tale

Dark blue wing0flippered whale flying in a light blue sky with white cloudsIsn't that cute. This here energy drink gives you wings (or in this case, a hover jet). Even if you're a whale. Must be a heck of an energy booster if you can flip on your back and propel yourself into the air on a water jet from your blowhole.

Wait! Eject a jet of water from your blowhole? Really? And keep ejecting it even while you're flying? Water?

Um, sorry, but whales don't even do that when they're in the water. The only thing they eject from their blowholes - and, true, they do it very forcefully - is air. Their blowholes are their nostrils. And when under water, said air-breathers sort of hold their noses (otherwise they'd drown ... just like any other mammal who inhaled water).

At the surface, their warm breath expelled into the air may cause condensation mist, true. But the higher the blowhole gets above the water's surface, the warmer the air is compared to the water temp, 'cuz evaporation cools the ocean and warms the air. So once the whale was in flight, there'd be little if any condensation mist there.

Not to mention that as the whale forcefully exhaled, it would lose pressure-power and start to sink. At least until it inhaled again. And would it have time to refill its huge lungs to jet-power capacity before once more hitting the surface?

Plus which, it uses the colder water around it to regulate its body temp. In the air, and expending all that jet energy, it would soon overheat. Big time. Even more crucial, a whale's weight is supported by the water it's in, not by its skeleton. In flight, its bones would start breaking and its organs collapsing.

So I don't care how sugary and caffeiney that energy drink is, this commersh is even more ludicrous (and therefore less buy-convincing) than the "gives you wings" advert I panned back in '19.

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Oh Lawdy

I've been seeing a nationally-advertized law firm buying up a lot of TV time to convince people they're so-o-o dedicated to their clients. For the heck of it, checked them on BBB. I can see why they're maybe a bit hungry. They have a lot of one-star ratings, including grumbling 'cuz you can't give a zero-stars rating. (And remember that for every complaint actually filed about some product or service, there are another ten dissatisfied customers who didn't formally file one or even complain to the company, but who don't go back to it again and do bad-mouth it to all their friends...and even strangers.)
Lawyer sitting at his computer screaming & tearing his hair out
Anyway, these two people are sitting in a restaurant awaiting their meal. One of them, we're given to understand, is a lawyer. The other could be a client, a colleague, a friend, a spouse, whatever. Just as the waitress comes, the guy's phone rings. Maybe a client calling. Maybe not. Not even looking at his screen to ID the caller, though, he picks up the phone and answers. Simultaneously waving away the waitress without looking at her either. And apparently not even apologizing to his companion, nor offering to step away to take the call privately.

Obviously, the commersh is meant to convince me this here lawyer is so interested in helping me that nothing else matters as much to him. But what I get from the ad is that he's overworked, desperate, and rude. Yeah, that's gonna help me win anything with my self-respect intact.

Tue, Nov 29, 2022 at 11:41 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  I haven't seen this one, but you're right about being rude. If that's his client and it was me he was trying to convince to hire him, I'd get up and leave.
  I love your picture of the overworked guy going "Ohhh NOOOO!"
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  So would I.
  Yeah, I know how he feels. Still no excuse for being rude to anyone, including a possible client or paying customer.
  It's notable how often you read new posts as soon as they appear. Like checking daily just in case. You do have fun with them, don't you? Thanks for being such a loyal reader, Nancy.

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Sneaking Abowt

Well, maybe Christmas is coming a little early. (That's a joke, folks. As far as most advertisers are concerned, the 12 Days of Christmas are more like the 55 Day$ of Chri$tma$ ... and some of them start advertising even before Halloween! I realize that the winter holiday season is where many retailers make the bulk of their annual income, and I sympathize with their fear of what might happen if they don't make those sales. But SHEESH.)

Anyway, Dad's in the open-walled kitchen getting his coffee, his back turned to the living room. Behind him, his wife, son, and daughter sneak by, each carrying a big, brown, bow-bedecked box of (we can assume from the logo) car accessories. He senses or hears something and almost turns, but doesn't catch sight of them; so he shakes off the feeling of something going on behind him.

The family makes it unto the garage unseen. They excitedly install into the car a set of front and rear floor mats, seat cover, cargo deck liner, cellphone holder, bump step, and mud flaps. Then they honk the horn and, when Dad comes through the garage door to see what that's all about, they yell "Surprise!"

I was surprised, too. And not in all that positive a way. I mean, come on:

= How did they manage to bring in or get delivered, and then hide, those big boxes from him?
= Why wait until he was in the kitchen getting his coffee (as opposed to, say, in the bedroom dressing ... or better yet, in the bathroom showering)?
Gold, Red, & Blue Giftwrap  Bows= What kind of oblivious booby is he not to immediately check on something his instinct told him wasn't normal in his own house?
= How did they manage to not only move those boxes across the whole room but also open the garage door (which wouldn't normally be open, and at least one of them would have to put down a box to open it) without making enough comotion for Dad to notice?
= How did they do all that work in the garage so silently without Dad, still in the kitchen, hearing them?
= How did they do all that work in the garage so quickly without Dad, still standing at the coffee pot, finishing his cuppa?
= And for goodness' sake, why were there colorful bows on the now-empty brown boxes in the first place ('cuz it's not like the family wrapped them or some such)?

Well, if I decide to cogitate on the whichness of the why at a rate of one dumb question per day, I guess I have a week's worth of unproductive pondering to complete. I suggest you not join me in that wasteful wondering.

Sat, Nov 26, 2022 at 11:15 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen thisl one, the family sneaking behind him, but not in the detail you did. It's usually the ninja guys, but this was the family. But he really didn't notice, which didn't make sense because if it was me, I'd sure check it out and make sure no one was there in my house who shouldn't be. And you're right about why would they put bows on the plain boxes. Wouldn't you hide the ugly boxes before you honked?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  You just asked asked another salient quesiton. That makes eight ...  great, another day wasted! LOL

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Book Wyrm

Flo may be a bit tired, but her oh-so-white insurance company's "life coach" is greatly tiresome. And I'm disgruntled. 'Cuz Dr. Rick is way too much (a send-up of) a certain talk-show Dr. guy who gives a lot of shallow and specious advice. Dr. Rick is equally self-aggrandizing, egotistical, arrogant, and rude. And now he's doing book signings for Dr. Rick Will See You Now, at which he insults his autograph-hunting buyers. To wit, he:

= complains that his young-homeowner readers "who have become their parents" still have a long way to go.
= disparages a customer exploring for a bargain (or at least info on whether there's one to be had).
= puts down another one for using a hackneyed phrase.
= doesn't express even pro forma thanks to one who thoughtfully (if, granted, intrusively) brought him snacks.
= nor, if he didn't want them, graciously offer them to people who've been standing in his line, either.
= belittles another interested in maintaining linear orderliness (which, if the other line standees don't like, he should let them handle it themselves instead of making their decision for them as if they're too wimpy to).

Where to start? Well, I could rant on the whole (pffff) life-coach thing, given the vast divide between (a) the rare practitioner who may occasional actually help someone and (b) the industry and its questionable practices and claims. But I won't. Instead, let me take on the author character.

Look, I've done book signings, too. And the idea of acting the way Dr. Rick did makes my teeth itch. Who does he think he is? He's not the most important person at that event. His readers are! Without them shelling out their hard-earned bucks for his book (and a moment of his courteous or, better yet, friendly attention), there would be no book signings.

This gray-headed snake in the grass is obviously a reverse ageist. And he's certainly become his parents...if his parents were officious, narcissistic curmudgeons.
Two elders enjoying each other's company
I'm mightily sick of ageist adverts. Which are exacerbated by the fact that most advertisers don't give a fig about the senior demographic. Maybe 'cuz with age can come wisdom. And people with wisdom don't waste money on empty promises and cash-sucking fripperies.

Our culture should frikkin' hope that most people grow into the wise, considerate, stable elders who are the bedrock of a humane society. But if this commersh is any indicator, it hasn't gotten the memo yet. Dr. Rick, anyway, sure hasn't.

Tue, Nov 22, 2022 at 12:10 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  That's for sure. There's nothing worse than really wanting to meet someone. You stand in line for a long time. Then they're rude to you? It makes you want to just put the book back and leave. That's what I'd do if I was there.
   Some elders are wise. They've learned not to fall for stuff. Unfortunately, some aren't or they're lonely and just want to talk to someone. They get taken advantage of. People tell them it's so important and it's only just $20 or just 50 cents a day and they keep pushing. But if adds up fast. If I spent money any time someone was nice to me and acted all concerned or excited about something, even something very meaningful, I'd be broke. I try to avoid people like that, and just don't respond.
  It's true some seniors don't like other old people, or don't like anyone else at all. They figure they've lived long enough that they don't have to put up with stuff. However, many older people have the gift of long experience that they learned from, and our society shouldn't take them for granted.
  I really like the picture of the two older people paying all their attention to each other. They look so sweet and kind.

  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I can't disagree with a word you say. And I don't need to say it over now, 'cuz you said it so well.

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It's Pawsible

I'm gonna stick with Lily again, for an ad that was, I admit, more fun to watch than the exhausting one panned immediately below. Much more fun. 'Cuz I love a pun. And this advert is rife with 'em.

Lily, pet terrier in arms, is joyously welcomed by name into the third in a chain of dog-friendly cafes called, coyly, Jones Bones Barkery (a silly rhyme and pun #1). It's a little disappointing that her dog isn't also welcomed by name, but that's a minor glitch.

Lily responds by complimenting the owner on her business going "through the woof" (pun #2). After an appreciative chuckle to acknowledge the wordplay, the sister gets serious for a moment about the importance of everyone in the chain - from shirt-sleeve head office to staff of all three cafes to on-the-go drivers - staying connected in real time regardless of location. Naturally, Lily seizes this opportunity to plug the alpha phone company's 5G product/service.

Which the owner decides is "just pawfect" (pun #3). Lily pointedly indicates her dog as she asks if the idea is "terrier-ific" (pun #4); and the sister confirms "I labra-dore it!" (pun #5 in an awesome hit driving towards the left field wall). Only, Lily just misses finishing with that rat-a-tat grand slam by clapping her dog's forefeet together and declaring a "round of ap-paws."

Jack Russell TerrierDandie Dinmont*Sigh* So close. But "paw" had already been used; and second time isn't the charm. I don't blame it on the actors, of course, or the director. I blame it on the writers. "Round of ap-paws" was good, but "just pawfect" was kinda hackneyed. They coulda come up with something better. Like, just off the top of my head sans a paycheck, if Lily's terrier had looked more like, say, a Dandie Dinmont ---> than a <--- Jack Russell, couldn't the owner have reached out, scritched the dog, and said "really [wink] dandy"? That would've been possible, right? Maybe even plausible?

You, dear reader, are invited to tout your own substitute pun if you have one.

Tue, Nov 15, 2022 at 11:25 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen this commercial. It is fun. There are a lot of puns. I didn't think about the two paw ones, but I'm not surprised you did. Your two dogs are both cute, but that one with the short legs would have been fun. At first, I thought you meant the owner said "wink" but then I got that she was winking.
  Did you notice you put the wrong date?
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yep, I love a pun. "Upun" just about any subject. Lily and the owner are in another commercial where they talk about how things in business can be rough. And there are a bunch of dogs, starting with the big one behind the counter with the owner. And every time it's called for, one of the dogs says "ruff!"
  Didn't put the wrong date. Accidentally uploaded it before I meant to. Still my goof, though. Good catch.

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Turn Style

So there's Lily (wow, the character even rates a surname: Adams) at the - I dunno, info? - counter, talking with an alpha phone company customer as Cam rolls out a big ol' heavily-framed floor sign declaring that new customers get the best deals.

[ADISE] Why Lily's standing in front of the counter, instead of behind it - or just maybe to the side - where she'd naturally be facing incoming customers, is beyond me. Camera-angle demands, maybe? Odd blocking, though. Oh, wait! Actually, it isn't beyond me at all. She's directing. She places herself. 'Cuz of all the hateful body-shaming and sexually harassing comments from twerps who think they have the right to act subhuman in (anonymous) public. But never mind all that. For now. [/ASIDE]

The customer reads the sign aloud, then asks what about someone who's already a customer. Which I can definitely relate to. 'Cuz, like, how often have you wondered why you - as a customer for many years - don't get some of those newbie-grabbing perks in return for your loyalty?

Lily's "No problem!" response is to ask Cam, who finally has the sign wrestled into position where he wants it, to turn it around. Which he quite obligingly does. With some effort. I mean, that thing is really ponderous for little fathomable reason. And sure 'nough, the sign on the other side says exactly the same thing, except it substitutes "existing" for "new".
7 Smarkphone/Smoartwatch devices
Well, naturally, this other brother standing over by the shelves, considering various products, turns and sees the sign. And naturally, he wants to know what about someone who's a new customer. And naturally, Lily asks Cam to turn the sign again, Which, with a tired sigh and a strained grunt, he does. Pleasing new-customer guy, of course. 'Cuz who doesn't like special perks for going to the trouble of changing companies?

At which point, customer #3 walks in, sees the sign, and inquires what about existing customers. Guess what Cam, already leaning on the sign frame in exhaustion, is now expected to do. Without Lily even going over to help him. "Just a second," he pleads. And at least the new sister expresses some concern for him as he once again wrenches the sign around.

Makes ya kinda wish that blasted store won't get any more customer today. Makes ya also wonder if they treat all their employees that badly (except for the "star" sellers anyway). And if so, is that gonna rub off on how they'll actually treat their customers once the deals are made.

P.S. While Milana Vayntrub's no million-bucks-a-year Stephanie Courtney yet, she may get there. She does have that patented projection of caring and clueless combined. And at least- like a fellow hated/harassed actor who's made beau coup bucks with and for two - count 'em: TWO - other phone companies, she gets her well-deserved screw-the-trolls revenge at the bank. On this commersh, though, the award for effortful acting hasta go to Ryan C. Clark.

Mon, Nov 14, 2022 at 1:01 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  When I read this, I got the pun in the title. Good one. I'm going to have to watch out for this commerical so I can see it again and get all the things you talked about. Poor guy.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yeah, that sign is as big as Cam is, which is why he can lean his head against it. It probably wasn't has heavy as it was made out to be; but if it was really easy to turn, then he had to acted all the harder.

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I Call Interference

As I did back in August regarding another political ad, I've waited until the election is over before addressing this one. And I'm keeping it here in Adding Insult 'cuz even though the subject matter is serious enough to be Abiding Blog-ish, I don't want to give it more oxygen than it deserves. But there's nothing lighthearted about the ad or this response.

It isn't an ad for any candidate; it's all against one candidate. So right there, I give it less credence than I would a positive ad. I know: the pundits say that negative ads are more powerful. And I suppose that's (unfortunately) true ... more people may very well vote against than for a specific person or thing. But I personally find totally (especially brutally) negative ads mostly have the power to turn me off regarding the candidate who's running the ad. After all, I try to judge candidates on their proven track record (for good or ill), not on extracted sound bites or simplistic tick boxes.

The gist of this ad is a very successful (PhD, minister, author, actor, award-winning survivor/activist) Black woman's calm yet heartfelt rant against a candidate who supports repeal of a state law mandating parental notification if a minor receives an abortion. And I have absolutely no doubt she honestly believes in what she's saying. After all, her bona fides include having been raped and trafficked in her tweens and teens and being forced to have multiple abortions. Which, sadly, not only led to major mental trauma but also physical trauma that resulted in her never being able to have children.

And it doesn't matter that, while I certainly sympathize and see her salient points, I don't really agree with her argument that parental notification of abortion would result in more such young victims being found and rescued sooner.

The first thing that occurred to me when I heard her was the fear that had there been such a law in her state when she was young, the rapist/traffickers would at the very least have provided her with a false ID and medical history anyway. Or more likely wouldn't have even tried to take her to a legitimate doctor in a legitimate hospital. Just taken her to some back-alley abortionist who would've done the quickest job possible, possibly screwed it up enough to kill her, and in any case certainly ignored the law and never notified anyone.

Not to mention that: What if she'd been a teen that escaped from abusive parents who'd now know where she is? Or one who feared revealing an unexpected pregnancy to parents who would also force her either to have an abortion or to have the child against her will or health needs. And then, in either case, punish her for the rest of their lives for her "sin"? She'd've still been traumatized and endangered.

And did you notice how this ad targeted synpathetic Black voters while at the same time subliminally stoking the fears of White voters about crime in the Black community? 'Cuz I did. But even that wasn't the clincher.

Silhouette of Florida - yellow on blackSilhouette of Illinois - lavender on blackNo, final straw for me was that this ad, run against a gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, was funded and placed by a Florida PAC. And Florida has no more right to interfere in our state (or any other state's) elections than Russia has to interfere in our national (or any nation's) elections.

But I suspect that most people didn't take any notice of who the sponsor was, or discover where it was from. I'm just glad I did. 'Cuz keeping democracy takes work! And is worth it. God willing ours survives yesterday's inordinately divisive elections intact.

Sun, Nov 6, 2022 at 5:00 PM, Claire K wrote:
  I immediately saw the non sequitur, too, and thought the same thing you did. Twice. No one would've given any good information to a hospital.
  No more right to interfere than Russia...I like the way you put that. I have to remember that one. You're right, there have been a lot of bad decisions, especially Citizens United, on how to fund elections. Targeted PAC money for specific local elections shouldn't be allowed to cross state lines.
  Lucki responds to Claire K:
  Thank you. Fortunately, stuff like this didn't lead to the vaunted red wave. Guess folks are wising up...and tired of it. And yeah, we need to at least get back to what PACs used to be and do.

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Right (Of) Way

Speaking of insurance ads (as we did on the first of the month), have you noticed the preposterous parody of politeness from the marketable insurance company.

Four cars meeing at an intersectionTwo cars pull up to the 4-way stop sign at exactly the same second. As some mysterious bell somewhere pretentiously tolls, the guy headed south defers to the one gong east.

Southbound: "It's all you."
Eastbound:   "No, I insist."
Southbound: "It's your turn."
Eastbound:   "Nope, I think it's your turn."
Southbound: "I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much. Go!"
Eastbound:   "I appreciate your appreciation. It fills me."

At which point, good ol' spokes-JK tells a pedestrian bystander that safe drivers save money. She seems surprised that drivers can save money (on, one assumes, their premiums) just for driving safely. Which, when you consider it, she does have a point: Shouldn't safe driving be the norm? But I suppose the company has to have some kind of policy perk to tout. And maybe safe driving just isn't the norm anymore. If for no other reason than a seeming massive increase in incidents of road rage.

Oh, and look, another car has pulled up to the intersection. Going west, this one. Frustrated 'cuz nobody's moving, she throws up her hands and says, "Come ON."

Southbound says to East, "After you." Eastbound says to South, "After you." Westbound goes honk honk. And as the guys simultaneous repeat their deferrals, she semi-sensibly drives through the intersection.

Look, I don't drive. Never have. Don't expect I ever will. But even I know that (a) when two cars arrive at an intersection simultaneously, the one on the right has the right of way; it's the only way to legally resolve that contretemps (granted there are legitimate exceptions, but this wasn't one of them; Eastbound had the right of way) and (b) this kind of time-wasting idiocy - which really smacks of another case of battling testosterone, each of them adamantly vying to be the more condescendingly polite - can all too easily lead to sudden road rage between them or on the part of other drivers.

There's the right way, the wrong way, and the no-way. This was not an example of the first. And it certainly isn't a type of petrifyingly punctilious pseudo-politesse behavior any insurance company should be encouraging.

Sat, Nov 5, 2022 at 10:13 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I've seen this ad. They are really trying to be all polite. But after a while it's not polite any more, it's rude. No wonder the lady gets mad about no one going anywhere. And goodness, all those P words you ended with.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Liked that silly string of popping Ps, didja? And you're right, the gridlock does turn into rude.

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Optics Oops

Did the oh-so-white insurance company (and why are there so many insurance commercials these days?) really realize the message they sent at the end of their Flotector's reminiscences?

Everyone else on the team is on the bus and raring to go home. Not she. She stops and looks back, nostalgically reviewing all the noble protecting they did that day, once Alan raised their heraldic flag.

Starting with Jamie badly skinning his knee protecting the car from an errant baseball. And letting everyone know in no uncertain terms how much that antiseptic Flo's administering HURTS. Followed by Rodney protecting the house's open window from an unexpectedly attacking sprinkler. After which everyone dons cat masks to scare the pigeons off the car roof. Which is not somewhere pigeons would tend to sit. And it wouldn't take a mask to scare them off, what with all the hollering and hand-waving. And as the team relaxes with their marshmallows around the fire pit, Mara deploys her full-sized fire extinguisher. Which, non-toxic though it must be, probably made the marshmallows taste awful. And maybe caused skin rashes on the colleagues she sprayed.

Baseball in flight Spewing lawn sprinkler Pigeons being cautious near a cat Fire extinguisher gushing a cloud

So now, as Flo stands on the bus step, mesmerized by her memories, Mara says "You know we'll be back tomorrow, right?" To which Flo wistfully replies, "Yes, but it'll never be today again." True that. Still, the rest of the team, their day done, plaintively whine for her to get on the bus, hey, already.

But what's missing is: who's gonna protect the place at night. Where's the B-Team? It's not like the bus just pulled up and they got off to formally relieve the day shift. There's no other bus. There's no one that got there some other way. The property is, as far as we can tell, abandoned of protectors altogether.

So, do I really want an insurance company that implies they only protect me and my stuff during the day, not at night? When it arguably may be even more needed? 'Cuz I really ain't down with that!

Fri, Nov 4, 2022 at 11:48 AM, David N wrote:
  I used to like the Progressive commercials better.


Lucki responds to David N:
  You mean you liked the Progressive ads better than other insurance companies? Or you liked them better before than you do now.


  Fri, Nov 4, 2022 at 1:35 PM, David N wrote:
 The older Progressive ads. The newer ones are just eh to me.
      Lucki responds to David N:
  Ya know, I've been feeling the same way too much for a while. There have been more misses (or at least near misses) than hits lately. Maybe the writers just got tired. Or new ones came in that just don't quite get it.
Sun, Nov 6, 2022 at 1:05 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  They've been there all day? How could they be in just one place all day but protect all their customers? And if they're there every hour of the day every day -  which is ridiculous, who could do that 24/7 -  you're right, what about the night?
  Also, the insurance company doesn't protect from things happening? It just protects people from having to pay a lot for them all at once after they happen.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I know, how many sci-fi clones of Flo et al are there, right? Plus which, yep, do I really want those people hanging around outside my home all day every day? Talk about stalking. Intrusive.
  True. And whenever they actually do something, they raise your rates!

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Fete Fate?

So Mister The Lizard tells us that: "On my travels across the country, I came across this house with water dripping from the ceiling. You never know when something like this will happen." And he goes into his spiel about his brand of insurance. (Well, okay, that IS what he's there in the advert for.) As the water continues to puddle on the furniture, and the damage to the ceiling worsens.

After which spiel, he posits: "Now, if I had to guess, I'd say somewhere upstairs there's a broken pipe." At which point the announcer jumps in with more touting of the subject brand of household insurance.

Of course, by this point, we the viewers already know something the strangely upright reptile doesn't seem to have any clue about. (Which doesn't really make sense, given the noise factor.) To wit: The "leaky pipe" on the second floor is really two rambunctious, hollering kids. One jumping into a large water-filled inflatable pool. The other using a garden hose pulled in through the window to spew water everywhere. Not to mention the second hose with a spiraling sprinkler turned up full blast. Also a barking dog big enough to partially collapse the side of the pool when it steps on the edge. Raining lots more water all over the floor. Of their bedroom!

Don't know what they're so splashingly celebrating, but they're sure having a great time of it.

Still, based on this commersh, do I really want to trust that insurance company?

'Cuz, first, what is the spokeslizard doing wandering into some-random-body's house anyway? Especially when he assumes they're not home?

Secondly, is he deaf? Or stupid? Or does he just not give a damn? 'Cuz surely he can hear the kids and dog? And I'm sure they don't sound like a broken pipe. Even if a broken pipe were somehow very vocal.

And as long as he IS there, why doesn't he at least go up to investigate or something? After all, aren't insurance people supposed to help clients avoid or de-escalate claim-worthy situations in the first place? Even if just to improve the business's bottom line?

Llizard on its back under a rock that fell on itPlus which, who-all is gonna get hurt if he stays in his spot under the leak and then the one kid decides to jump into the pool again? Worse yet, not just from the now-weakened floor, but from the top bunk bed? What if the floor collapses? Dumping down a ton of water, one or two kids, and the dog into the first floor? (Sure hope they at least have health insurance for those kids. And maybe that dog, too.) In which case, when the ambo does come, are the paramedic rescuers gonna even notice, never mind care about, a little smooshed critter buried under all the debris? One that nobody even knows is there (where he shouldn't be)?

But no, having said his laconic say, Lizard Lips just stands there like a lumpy bumpy frog on a log. "Sigh*

Sun, Oct 16, 2022 at 11:08 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  That is funny. I've seen that commercial. This is great. You write it so funny. It's funny already, but you enhance the funny. Can you visualize that? I can. I would go crazy if my kids were up there doing all that. Maybe they're celebrating begin left home alone.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yeah, where were the parents? That's why the kids were doing all that...they were alone. (Nobody knew there was a nosy lizard invasion downstairs.) When the folks do get back, though, bet that's the last time those kids'll be trusted home alone for a lo-o-ong while.
Fri, Nov 4, 2022 at 11:48 AM, David N wrote:
 For a simple person like me, this was way too deep.


Lucki responds to David N:
 "Simple" = bullpucky. Don't even pretend. But what was "too deep"? The commercial? Or the article? Or its title?


  Fri, Nov 4, 2022 at 1:35 PM, David N wrote:
   The article - I'm a simple person and kids with a leaky pipe took too long to figure out.
      Lucki responds to David N:
  Ah. Which tells me that, in all probability, you never saw (or didn't remember) the advert I was lambasting. So you didn't get its punchline until well into my third paragraph. But if/when you DO see it, you may remember the gist of the article then and get to have fun with it again. In the meantime, apologies for taxing your patience.

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High Dudgeon

And now for something completely different.

It's been wa-a-ay too long since we've had a guest column – in either Abiding Blog [see here] or Adding Insult [see here] -  from fun friend and famed SF author Tom Ligon, but that's about to change. Right here, right now. 'Cuz Tom recently shared with me a wonderfully curmudgeonous "commercial" for inviting people to his cabin. The following excerpts contain the saga of that email sharing.

Lucki's African iconLUCKI - Tue, Sep 20, 11:57 AM
Did you notice Cowdrey's invocation of Rattlesnake Ridge in the May/Jun F&FS?

Tom Ligon's owl iconTOM - Tue, Sep 20, 112:12 PM
I missed that.

Our Rattlesnake Ridge is a name I proposed for our cabin in West Virginia.  My wife objected. The conversation went something like this.

      She:  But if we call it Rattlesnake Ridge, nobody will want to visit.
      Me:    And the problem is?

But I relented. The little grey flycatchers named it for us: The Phoebes Nest.

I now use the [Rattlesnake Ridge] name for not-for-profit lab and consulting work.

Lucki's African iconLUCKI - Tue, Sep 20, 1:22 PM
"And the problem is?" I concur, tho the kind of folk I'd like to invite would probably be intrigued by the name.

The story is "The Big Many" [in which the lead character is walking in the Ozark hills]…the sunlit lake no longer looked as pretty as before. Ten feet off the trail, a coiled rattler shifted its diamond-patterned scales, elevated the tip of its tail, and gave its three pairs of rattles a shake. Otherwise it took no action, and Abel was glad to do the same.

Immediately reminded me of the laid-back rattler you wrote me about encountering [in comments here].

Tom Ligon's owl iconTOM - Tue, Sep 20, 1:44 PM
My thoughts exactly ... I would want visitors who are not put off by rattlers, and who very much want to see our tens of thousands of stinging insects we keep as pets. I will attach the warning sign I want to put up at the entrance. Feel free to use it.

Well, who could resist an offer like that. So here it is!

[Reader: This sign appears in all caps, with gradually decreasing print size, until the last row, which is full size again.] WARNING!   Venomous Snakes, Stinging Insects   Wild Animals, Predators   Strong Magnets, High Voltage   Surveilance Cameras   South Recording Equipment   Construction, Science Projects,  Vehicles, Earth Moving Equipment   Tree Roots, Rocks, Holes, Liquids   Electromagnetic Radiation   Sharp Objects, Firearms In Use   Gravity In Full Effect, Slippery When Wet   Cranky Old Curmudgeon   Science Fiction Story Test Area   Satellites And Aircraft May Be Overhead   Walkways, If You Can Find Them, Are Uneven   Clerk, Mark This As Exhibit "A"   I Would Keep Out If I Were You

Mon, Sep 26, 2022 at 12:15 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  That's not very inviting.


Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Well, it's meant to dissuade people.


  Mon, Sep 26, 2022 at 12:37 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  It does a good job LOL  Everything I want to stay away from when I go camping or hiking or something.
      Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  He insists on comin' across all curmudgeonly, but he really isn't. Only, don't tell him I told you that; 'cuz if I blow his cover, I'll never hear the end of it. ;-)
Tue, Oct 4, 2022 at 10:07 PM, Kim B wrote:
   I'd probably give Rattlesnake Ridge a pass - not because of the snakes, but because of being so far out of the sci-fi loop as to be a total dud in conversational arts.
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Heck, if you ever get invited, or even wander in by accident, don't hesitate to go ahead and meet up. Tom wouldn't let your dearth of SF bona fides stop no convo. He's an equal opportunity curmudgeon.

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Danger, Dangler

Let's start with a quick definition: In grammar, a dangler is a word or phrase that's in the wrong place and/or refers to the wrong subject in a sentence. According to fiction editor Beth Hill, this bad placement can "create nonsense or unintentionally humorous sentences that don't mean what the writer intends for them to mean."

And let me tell you, the kinds of writers who all too often come a cropper of this issue definitely include copywriters tasked with writing good advertising copy. Ditto directors who don't catch them. Ditto actors who don't, either.(Or maybe are too insecure to openly question the idiocies that may result.)

I'm gonna give you just two recent examples touting two very different products. And I'm going to rewrite them to make actual sense. Finding and reworking the wealth of other dangler instances in daily viewing is being left as an exercise for the reader

Nurse's capExample 1: "As a nurse, sleep is very important."
From this, I'm supposed to realize either that (a) nurses know how much people, especially sick people, need their sleep or that (b) it's important for nurses to get enough sleep. Or both. And both are undeniably true.

However, what the sentence says is not true. Sleep is not the nurse doing the talking. But that's what the sentence says. Her line should've been "As a nurse, I know sleep is very important." Or maybe "As a nurse, I know how important good sleep is to me."

You'd expect a nurse to know that and say it correctly. But of course, she's probably not a real-life nurse. She an actor. (Or at least a nurse with this acting gig on the side.) And actors are expected to deliver the lines given to them. Even when those lines don't make sense.

Musician's trumpetExample 2: "As a musician living with diabetes, fingersticks can be a real challenge.
Once again, I don't think there's a musician named Fingersticks who's living with diabetes. Challenged or un.

In fact, I don't think there's a musician named Fingersticks who's living at all. I couldn't find one. Not that I searched all that hard, but still.... It should've been "As a musician living with diabetes, I find fingersticks are a real challenge." Or maybe "Fingersticks are a real challenge for a diabetic musician like me."

But at least they used a real-life musician to say their messed-up line. And even a real-life musician with real-life diabetes. (Plus, we both came from the same neck of the woods.) So points for all that, anyway.

Mon, Aug 22, 2022 at 11:24 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Wow, that was right up your alley, making words really say what they mean. And I do see what you mean about how they can really get the meaning all mixed up. The "nurse" probably meant both things, and didn't say either of them right. Where's the musician's neck of the woods? And did you mean where you put two quote marks together in the first paragraph? Either you have two quotes and a missing quote mark that I kept looking back to find, or one quote and an extra quote mark.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  You're right, all right; it was right up my alley. Not that I've never made that kind of goof myself; but I do notice how often they are perpetrated by people. I think it's a patterning skill that you either learn in grade school or not at all.
  He was born in Hartford, CT, which is less than 10 miles from "hard hittin' New Britain".
  Oh my, thanks for catching that extraneous qoutation mark. Just plain didn't see it.
Sat, Sep 3, 2022 at 10:00 AM, Kim B wrote:
Hi Lucki,
  I enjoyed this month. I agreed with Reverse-1.
  Loved the Dangler post - ha ha. Yeah, those drive me nuts.
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Yeah, danglers. Always been one of my pet peeves (which I nevertheless sometimes come a cropper of myself). It's one of those grammatical constructions that people either learn well in grade school or never learn at all. I was on a team once writing a style manual for people in (I think it was) insurance, so their correspondence and reports would be consistent and make reasonable sense to readers. We debated how to write the section on avoiding danglers, but finally decided not to even try, 'cuz it's complicated and our readers either already knew how to avoid danglers or weren't gonna learn in a couple of pages (or decades).

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Boy, I'll tell ya, that little insurance reptile (insureptile?) sure gets around, doesn't he? This time he's at - or actually on - a table. Dining on a burrito that's as big as he is. In a garden that apparently belongs to the married couple sitting with him at - but not on - the table. Who also have their own burritos in hand.

Pleasant day. Nice scenery. Good food. Friendly conversation. With a lizard. A bipedal lizard. An English-speaking bipedal lizard. Just your typical morning's dining experience, right?

Sausage burrito with topped with tomato sauce & cheese and with salad & chips on the sideAnyway, the couple wants to know for sure if they can save money by bundling various forms of insurance. Of course they can, quoth the lizard. Home, auto, motorcycle, whatever. He then compares bundled insurance to a breakfast burrito. With any ingredients and sides you want.

The couple lean into the simile, get metaphorical with it, and start naming various burrito components that one or the other likes or doesn't like. By time they get to the seventh, the lizard is a little lost. He can't figure out what they're actually talking about any more.

"Insurance," says the wife. "Burritos," says the husband. Simultaneously.

Right there, I'm not happy that the husband is - as too often happens in adverts - pictured as a ditz. One who, in this case, can't think beyond his stomach. But that's a passing irritation. 'Cuz that's the point at which the writer or director or somebody loses track of anything even approaching "reality".

I don't care how unusual your dinner guest is. If you and your spouse suddenly diverge like that in answering a simple question, you ARE going to quickly look at each other in surprise. Maybe even exclaim. But this couple doesn't. They stay focused on the lizard like each other don't even exist. Only after the lizard chuckles are they released from that thrall to glance at each other. Wordlessly.

Verisimilitude down the tubes, ya think? Good job ruining the mood, hey.

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Bo Oh Bo

So I was watching a crime procedural from, like, over 15 years ago. It was an episode I don't remember seeing the first time 'round. Which meant I didn't know what was coming.

Gruesome skull & crossbonesBut I really didn't know what was coming after what I didn't know was coming came. If you catch my drift. And I'm pretty sure the advertiser who bought the first slot in the first commercial break didn't know what would be coming before what they knew was coming came, either. If you catch my drift. (If you don't, don't worry. You'll get it.)

So we get to the scene where one of the episode characters is crashing. And it turns out that he's been poisoned. Intentionally, the investigators eventually learn. With botulinum toxin. The deadliest toxin in the world. Bar none.

A toxin of which, by the way, a mere nanogram (one billionth of a gram!) per kilogram (one thousand grams, or ~2.2 pounds) of body weight will kill half of all untreated humans who receive that miniscule dose. By slowly paralyzing all their muscles. Including the skeletal muscles they need in order to move. Eventually even to speak. And their lungs. And, if they should still live so long, their heart. Which is why any case of botulism is treated as a medical emergency.

Needless to say, of course, the assassin - the unknown subject of criminal investigation, mind you, or "unsub" - has used a far-from-miniscule, sure-kill dose. And the red-shirt character dies.

At which point, snap, we go to commercial.


Worst commercial segue ever?!

Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 3:30 PM, Marianne G wrote:
  Oh no! LOL. Twice. Where did you find that rerun?
  Lucki responds to Marianne G:
  I know, right? That's exactly the reaction I had. I said out loud "No!" and then laughed halfway through the commercial. WeTV.
Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 11:54 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Oh my. That is so funny. I bet that advertiser was mad.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I bet you're right. They probably called the sales department and demanded a refund of some sort, at the very least. I remember once when I was working for a magazine, an ad for a packaged sweet, like cookies or small cakes, was accidentally placed beside an article about people eating too much junk food. The advertiser demanded a refund and got it. This despite the fact that the article would most likely be read by people who eat too much junk food and who thus would be most likely to respond to an ad for same. It wasn't the psychology that mattered, it was the optics. Likewise in this TV case, maybe the juxtaposition actually made the commersh more memorable. After all, it did for us, right? It'd take one heck of an algorithm, though, to catch any resulting up- or downswing in sales; so who knows.
Sat, Jun 4, 2022 at 11:19 PM, Gus Z wrote:
  That is funny. That is so funny. I'd like to read more of your blogs.
  Lucki responds to Gus Z:
  Well, always nice to meet a new reader. Welcome, Gus. I'll send you links in future. And ya know, you've also got years of backlogs (or should I say backblogs) to enjoy. Have fun.
Fri, Jul 2, 2022 at 3:57 AM, Kim B wrote:
  Stupid botox - ha!
  But [in your announcement "Consider It Dun"] how is this mud-colored or a drab horse or a stone-built fortified settlement in Scotland or Ireland? .... (why did I even bother to look it up?)
  Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Yeah, supremely stupid. But then, what advert isn't on some level, regardless of what programming surrounds it? (Of course, a lot of that programming content is stupid, too.)
  You didn't look it up far enough. LOL   "dun (transitive verb): to plague, pester, make persistent demands on"
    Fri, Jul 2, 2022 at 12:09 PM, Kim B wrote:
  Where I looked there was no verb listing for "dun." And I don't recall ever reading it in verb form. Extensive English is such a great foreign language!
  Best ad ever:  jeep's Groundhog Day commercial.  Love it so much that if I were buying a car, I'd def at least go look at a jeep in gratitude.   I could write an essay about how perfect and not-stupid that jeep ad is.
      Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Are you talking about one this one from 2020? I never watch the SuperBowl, so I totally missed it then. You're right. It's hilarious. Even worth sitting through whatever dumbass pre-video ad they make you watch to get to it. Thanx for the heads-up. And the laughs. Then again, how can you possibly go very wrong with Chicagoland's own Bill Murray?
        Fri, Jul 2, 2022 at 1:41 PM, Kim B wrote:
  That's the one.  I just rewatched it again.  Magnificent!

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Don't What Now?!

Way back in 2013, guest blogger Tom Ligon lambasted an automobile manufacturer for including - in its commercial featuring a family driving down a quiet neighborhood street - the dire fine-print warning: "Professional driver. Closed course. Do not attempt."

"[I]s this gratuitous disclaimer just a sign that we have too many lawyers with too much time on their hands?" he asked.

Good question.

This month, I'm not going to pick on a particular advertiser. I'm going to call out a whole industry for the same kind of idiotic overlegalese. Because you've probably seen a spate of similar adverts from a wide range of medicine manufacturers.

Each commercial tells you all about some company's fancy dancy new med. It jubilantly exudes about all the awesome benefits. It confidently urges you to compare against some other medicine it implies just doesn't work as well. It also warns you, in the most boring tones possible, about contraindications and side effects. But one warning stands out as just plain stupid ... or maybe egregiously insulting.

As far as I can tell, there is no medication (and never was) on the market with the name UltraMedin. So I'm going to use that made-up name (and remember, you heard it here first) to exemplify what I keep hearing in commersh after commersh from everywhere.

In advertising UltraMedin, the manufacturer very carefully, pointedly, and succinctly warns you. "Don't take UltraMedin if you're allergic to UltraMedin."

Red dUnce cap on green grassWhite dunce cap on brown skullThat's it. Not "...allergic to any of the ingredients in UltraMedin." Not "...allergic to [some other product name]." Not "...allergic to [a type of food or whatever]." Not even "...allergic to it." Nope. "Don't take UltraMedin if you're allergic to UltraMedin."

Really? Why not? Why can't I intentionally take something I already know will, I dunno, make me sick? Make me go into anaphylactic shock? Make me die? (Of course, if I never took UltraMedin before, how would I know not to now?)

Hey, advertiser, you really think your customers are that big of idiots? If that's your opinion of me, why should I have any higher opinion of you?

Mon, May 23, 2022 at 11:22 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  That is ridiculous. Don't take this if you're allergic to it. That's common sense, you're right. And how would I know if I'm allergic to it if I never took it, that's true too.
  I like the way DUNCE looks on the skull, like it's fluorescent.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yep. And thank you; I thought I chose a striking shade to go with the brown tones.

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Superstar Show

Tennis ball on the lineShe's an athlete. A businesswoman. A fashionista. A mighty megastar. A really-o truly-o super-duper winner. And, busy her, her day isn't quite over yet. But drats, she's developed a paralyzing migraine headache.

Not to worry. She knows that the show must go on. And she knows something that'll stop that nasty ol' migraine in its tracks. Quickly!

Isn't that nice? Mind you, the med won't prevent migraines. It'll just stop one once it's already happening. Quickly!

Business-meeting decision boardWell, that's assuming she takes the oral med within four hours of the migraine's onset. But that's OK. 'Cuz she can carry a dose around with her. A pre-measured, pre-packaged dose. A very over-packaged dose. Wow, how environmentally conscious.

But it is there for her to use. On the tennis court. In the office. At the fashion show. Doesn't matter. It'll work for her. Quickly!

Of course, there are some side effects. But the most prevalent ones are not all that bad. Ya know, nausea. And tiredness. Hmmm, throwing up. And falling asleep. Just what she needs. On the tennis court. In the office. At the fashion show. But at least she can get her migraine relief. Quickly!
Fashion walk
Quickly being maybe, like, within two hours.

TWO HOURS?! For something so-o-o debilitating? That's their definition of quickly?

How's she gonna do at that fashion show during those two hours? How's she gonna make good consultative decisions at that business meeting during those two hours? How's she gonna win her champion-level tennis games during those two hours?

Quickly? Ya think?

Mon, Apr 25, 2022 at 11:15 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I remember what it's like to have migraines and you're right, 2 hours is a long time when it hurts that bad. But at least it helps to know you've done something for it and it will be 2 hours, not 20. But I still wouldn't be modeling clothes or running a business meeting, never mind playing tennis.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Can't really speak from personal experience much, as I only remember a bout of bad migraines related to a med I once had as a child (and have been careful not to ever since). But yeah, two of anything bad beats twenty.

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Breath Catcher

Ya know, I'm happy for the lady who can now breathe better thanks to her speciality medication. She seems to be enjoying her active lifestyle. But some of her actions seem a little iffy. It goes like this:

= To start with, she comes out of the yoga studio and offers a cheerful namaste to the beginners class (one instructor, three students) practicing a pose on the lawn. Isn't that a bit distracting? Especially if any students are already wobbling a bit?

= Next, she wanders through, not around, the tables in an open-air eatery. But if the surprise party there isn't for her, why does she say "Aww, you guys!" as if it were? And if it is for her, why doesn't she stop and join it? Either way, seems rude.

= Then she catches a wayward basketball and, instead of reflecting it back into play or holding it out of play until the appropriate team member comes to the sideline to get it, she sinks a basket ... to the joy of one team and the consternation of the other. How is that fair play?

= Fourthly, she photo bombs a lady taking a picture of her dog and herself. She doesn't even ask permission to touch the dog first. Which, since she doesn't greet either of them by name, aren't we right to assume she doesn't even know?

= After which, she inserts herself into a game of jump rope. She makes a simple front-door entrance and completes a couple of jumps, but then forces the rope to a stop so she can walk away (on the front-door side). If she didn't know how to exit the game she was intruding on, what business did she have entering it at all?

= Next, she wanders into the street to get to her scooter, which is at the other end of the bus shelter. Why didn't she stay on the sidewalk until she got to the scooter?

= And what was her scooter doing parked out in the street instead of against the curb?

= Worse yet, parked in a bus stop? In such a way that any bus would have to either hit the scooter or force the waiting passengers to go farther out into the street to board?

= Worst of all, parked awfully close to a fire hydrant? So any fire apparatus would not be able to pull up to the curb unless it ran the scooter over? In that contest between scooter and fire engine (the apparatus that has to be closest to the hydrant), which do you think would win?

So much for the advert. But just for fun, let me share a story of fire engine versus car that I once witnessed. I was on an upper floor of an office building in the Loop when I and a few of my colleagues saw a person park next to hydrant and run into the college building across the street. One of us commented on how the guy better get his business over with ASAP in the unlikely event of a fire.

Gotta watch what ya put out into the universe, ya know? 'Cuz sure 'enough, it wasn't all that long before we heard a fire siren. Naturally, we all stood at the window to watch what was happening. And what we saw happening was a fire engine double parking next to the car, with several of the dismounting firefighters gesticulating their disgust. Then they carefully laid the fire hose over the roof of the car, attached it to the hydrant, and opened the valve.
Open fire hydrant spewing water
Water filled the hose. It also spewed from the connection to hydrant. And I mean SPEWED! All that extra pressure had to go somewheres. Where it went was against the passenger side of the car. Nothing like a freebie, high-powered, car wash, right? Good thing the windows were all rolled up.

The fire was apparently quickly contained. The firefighters soon returned, shut off the flow, detached the hose, and capped the nozzle. And off they went. Oh well, back to work.

Luckily, one of us noticed when the owner of the car came out of the building with another man. We all stood up to watch again. They both went to the passenger side of the car, where the driver unlocked and opened the door for his passenger. And both of them were inundated with about three feet of water that had collected in the car, forced through the seams between the body, doors, and windows by hydrant's high pressure but unable to leak back out afterwards.

Yep, they had to drive off in waterlogged seats plus several inches of water still held on the floorboards by the rocker panel. Wanna bet the dude never, ever parked by a hydrant again? And never opened a door without actually looking in the car first? Once flooded, twice shy.

Fri, Apr 1, 2022 at 4:45 PM, Kim B wrote:
Hey Lucki -
  I also enjoyed [this] Adding Insult - haven't seen that commersh but played it out in mind's eye.  What a string of misfires!
Happy April


Lucki responds to Kim B:
  Well, I guess that lets me know I wrote it well, if you can picture that whole thing sight unseen. ("Misfires ... LOL)

  Happy April (and Ridvan) to you, too.


  Sun, Apr 3, 202s at 5:37 PM, Kim B wrote:
Hi Lucki -
  I'm glad to get your monthly postings, except when I am TOOOOOOO flat out.
  You do write well. :)
  Happy Ridvan to you, too.
hug hug (VR arms)
      Lucki responds to Kin B:
  Huggy thanx.
Sat, Apr 2, 2022 at 11:56 AM, Greg D wrote:
   Did you see the other one they did with the guy? He doesn't know how to hopscotch and almost crashes into the kid in front and also keeps jumping in and out of their soccer game. Both are bloopers.
  Lucki responds to Greg D:
  Yep. He also has poor balance, and keeps fingering stuff in the yard sale that he has no intention of actually stopping to buy.
Maybe not a total swing and a miss, that ad, but at least a Punch and Judy bloop for sure.
Sun, Apr 3, 2022 at 3:20 PM, Nancy B wrote:
   That story about the car full of water was really funny. He just didn't think and look what happened.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I know. I wonder what the passenger had to say to him. Oh, to be a crawfish on the floor in that flood. ;-)

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Resigned Results

Sometimes they make you laugh because they're so patently hilarious. And sometimes they make you laugh because they're so blatantly ridiculous. But sometimes they make you laugh because they're so unintentionally ironic that you have to wonder if the ad agency is trying to sabotage the customer ... and the customer is that oblivious.

I've seen one of those, repeatedly, on MSNBC. And I laugh every time. It's one of those strident political ads. The kind that pretends to be seeking your opinion but is really just seeking your cash. It purports to ask you to sign a petition. A petition demanding that President Biden immediately resign. (Like that's gonna happen.)

Of course, you know what really happens when you text the word "RESIGN" to the organization selling you this twaddle. If it's a plain short-code text number, you've just given them permission to incessantly inundate you with specious "news" and clamerous pleas or demands that you send money ... money ... MONEY! If it's a text-to-donate number and you missed the fine print, you just had some predetermined "contribution" amount added to your phone bill. Aren't you just thrilled?

If that's not what you want to happen, oh well, buyer beware. But let's look at what happens if you in fact DO want that to happen.

I've pretty much got to assume this ad is aimed at MAGA sympathizers. Which is, sadly, too often synonymous with nationalistic and white-supremacy wingnuts. But OK, they have a right to reach out to like-minded people and even ask for cash. This is a MAGA-type ad on MSNBC, though. How many takers do you think they'll get for their ad dollars ... with, say, a flat rate of $25,000 per airing or a CPM rate of $20 per thousand viewers per airing? Do you think the advertizer will get their money back? (I'm guestimating, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the ballpark.)

Of course, maybe their goal is just to gin up more money from their members by telling them how important advertizing on a platform like MSNBC is. Or maybe their goal is just to irritate the station's viewers ... perhaps hoping they'll change the channel in disgust.

But I don't think they thought it through. Or rather, I don't think they think their "crowd" will think it through. Because what would happen if President Biden actually took their petition to heart and resigned?

Letter with envelope: "To whom it may concern: I quit! Sinderely, (signed) Joe"

Who'd immediately become President (and have the incumbent edge in 2024)? Yeah, right. I could just hear screaming heads exploding all over the place, couldn't you?

Thu, Feb 17, 2022 at 11:39 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  Yes. I really like this one. It was educational, especially about the expense. I like to learn how things work.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  So do I. I guess great minds run in the same channel, right? LOL

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Gray Faze

Maybe this one irks me so because it's goring my own ox. But I don't think it's just me. I think it's an ubiquitous American-culture issue.

I can think right offhand of four advertisers who exemplify this problem.

1. The reptilian insurance company's spokeslizard is hanging out with a friend. They see a cover bragging about the company's 85 years in business. This wealth of experience is, we are given to believe, a major asset to any customer. All well and good. Then the friend questions whether the lizard has the same longevity as the company. And the lizard gets all insulted. Jumps salty. Does it really look like it's 85, it demands to know. Accusingly.

2. The oh-so-white insurance company has been running a series of adverts making fun of mid-age adults for "becoming" their parents. So much so that they need an officious mentor to monitor their every move and set them straight...or at least chivvy them along. And what makes it worse is that some of the things they're doing are common sense and even courteous. Like, is it possible that the lady who's packed snacks for the trip knows her family really can't afford the inflated prices of snacks purchased at the terminal? And that taking the ones she brought away from her will pose a hardship 'cuz now they either have to spend more than they can afford or just go hungry? To say nothing of the confiscated food being wasted (unless the mentor is purloining it for his own use)? Worse yet, where does that mentor get off dragging away the snacks-for-the-game shopper guy who's stopped a moment to mention an employee's helpfulness to the super-market manager? When sometimes such a simple and quick courtesy can make someone's day?

3. And lest you think it's only insurance companies who pull this stuff, there's the 5G provider's commersh wherein a father starts talking with his son about the product/service while they're fishing together. And to demonstrate how much it can do for them, he shows the clip he made of he and his wife in a joyous jam session. Which clip he then shares online. Much to the protesting, embarrassed chagrin of his son. Who actually should be overjoyed that his parents have both tech savvy and such an active, fun relationship.

4. To say nothing of the senior-style, nutritional-supplement supping lady who declares that age is just a number...and hers is unlisted. Really? If it's "just a number" to her, why does she feel the need to keep it secret? If she's at an age where such liveliness is unusual, shouldn't she be bragging about the numbers.
Portrait of Harriet Arminta Tubman by Robert Savon Pious, gift from Harmon Foundation to National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
These days, the US of A is, pure and simple, mired in an ageist culture. Age is considered a liability instead of the asset it is. The assumption is that every old person is a nagging, stupid, used up, and useless bother unless s/he individually, actively, and repeatedly proves otherwise. When it's the exact opposite that should be held as true: that every person who's survived for so frikkin' long is a treasury of valuable experience, wisdom, insight, and guidance to share unless s/he individually, actively, and repeatedly proves otherwise.

When my Number One Son was little, he tried to "help" Mommy one day by plucking out a few of my gray hairs. When I asked him why, he told me I was too young to be gray. I lovingly told him to leave my gray hairs alone because I'd earned every one of them...and was proud of it.

Needless to say, I have more now than I did then. Still earned every one of them. Still proud of it. If you have one gray hair or one hundred thousand, so did you. And so should you be, too.

P.S. The above beautiful oil-on-canvas portrait is of Harriet Tubman by Chicago-educated Robert Savon Pious. A gift from the Harmon Foundation, it now resides in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution.

Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 12:18 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  That is a beautiful painting of Harriet Tubman, so noble and aged survivor. And you're right. People here don't respect and esteem their elders the way I saw them do in China (for all its faults, too) when I lived there and taught school.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  You're right. Someone who could risk what she risked and do what she did and survive for so long deserves respect and esteem. I believe the portrait was done in 1951 from a 1911 photo of her, at age 89, in the Library of Congress (but don't quote me 'cuz I could be wrong).

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Back-Up Buster

Back in my Adding Insult 10th-anniversary entry in January, I mentioned that I had not racked up 120 entries, but only 90. Even though I did figure I'd manage to lambaste at least 120 commercials. Still, it bothered me a bit that I didn't keep my commitment of averaging (as I did accomplish with Abiding Blog) one entry a month ... even if that commitment was mostly just to myself.

I could've rested on my laurels of, I later discovered, actually hitting more than 180 mostly-adverse adverts over those 90 entries. But I decided not to. Instead, I decided to see if I could catch up. And not just to 120 articles. To enough entries to show for all the years this blog has been in existence. And finally, I decided to complete that project this year. Yep, up from 90 articles in ten years to 132 in eleven!

Which I did. Caught up and a little plus. Thanks to herculean (LOL) effort on my part - and, of course, the continued idiocy of many a comersh - this my 135th Adding Insult! Hope you enjoy it.

Construction figure trying to keep someone at baySo, let's see if I've got this right. I'm a construction contractor. Or subcontractor. In any case, a hands-on supervisor. Working on a construction project with a couple of my guys. An inside job, at the moment. A small one, yeah. But at least we've got the framing up and a skin on. And I'm reading the plans to make sure we're on target and what's next.

Suddenly, I hear a strange lady's voice instruct me to "Imagine having someone else do your books for you." Which I'm definitely not in the mood to imagine right now. 'Cuz I don't hafta imagine the frikkin' suit in a hard hat standing on the edge of the flatbed that just crashed backward into and through one of my walls. Taking it completely out. Scattering debris and endangering my workers. And me.

I don't give a flying fig right now who's gonna do my books for me. I wanna know who's gonna rebuild that wall the jerk just blundered through. I wanna know who's gonna replace the supplies and cover any overtime or deadline-default fees. I wanna know who's gonna pay any injury claims. I wanna know who that dude on the flatbed is. So I can sue him, his company, and the driver of the truck he rode in on. I wanna remember that company's name. So I can be sure never to trust them with anything ... ever!  Certainly not with checking my books for me, the screw-ups.

And no, you oblivious idiot, as you dust off your suit and back outa the building, I don't think it's "Cool."

Sun, Dec 22, 2021 at 11:43 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  I haven't seen this one but I can kind of figure it out. Of all your Insult blogs, I think I've seen about 3/4 of them and 1/4 not. But even the ones not, you describe so well that if I do see them later, I recognize them.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Thank you. When I can describe something well enough that even people who haven't seen the commercial get the point of the rant, I feel the writing of it is well worth the effort (and fun!).

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Moo-ish Mix

English is one of the richest and most nuanced, and most fluid, languages in the world. That's because it steals from, like, everybody. And its grammatical structure is loose enough to allow a myriad forms of combination. That's why puns are one of its consummate art forms.

There are downsides, though. For example, English's spelling conventions are a nightmare even for native speakers, never mind people trying to get a grasp on it as a second language. Which is why spelling bees started as a particularly British and American phenomenon. Also, the looseness of English grammar easily allows for misunderstanding or confusion. Which is why, for all its ability to be very clear, it also conduces to deceit, whether intentional or un.

Curious cow with a nose full of frecklesTake this case in point of (intentional or un?) lack of clarity: the series of commercials that feature butter made with the milk of Irish grass-fed cows. And never mind getting into the differences between, say, "made of" and "made with" and "made using". I want to concentrate on "Irish grass-fed cows", which is exactly how the advert I saw put it.

Exactly what does that phrase mean? Well, because of how loose English grammar is, you don't exactly know. It could mean, for example:

1. A breed of cow called "Irish" - as opposed to, say, Guernsey or Jersey, Belgian Red or Brown Swiss - that has been fed some kind of grass somewhere in the world.

2. A cow of unknown breed that has been fed a variety of grass called "Irish" - as opposed to, say, tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass - somewhere in the world.

3. A cow of some breed somewhere in the world fed some variety of grass grown in Ireland and then shipped as silage to the dairy farm.

4. A cow of some breed in Ireland that has been fed some variety of grass grown somewhere outside of Ireland and then shipped as silage to the dairy farm.

5. A cow of some breed in Ireland that has been fed grass grown somewhere in Ireland and then shipped as silage to the dairy farm.

6. A cow of some breed in Ireland that has been fed grass grown on its dairy farm...hopefully, in pasture during good weather and as silage only during bad weather, but maybe not.

7. A breed of cow called "Irish" that has been fed a variety of grass called "Irish" somewhere in the world.

8. A breed of cow called "Irish" that has been fed a variety of grass called "Irish" in Ireland...either as silage, or in pasture, or both depending on the weather.

Those aren't the only alternatives, of course, but one of them is actually true. It took some research for me to be sure which one. But you still aren't. Because "Irish grass-fed cows" just doesn't make it clear. Granted, pithy is good in slogans. But sometimes allowing an extra word or two to make things clear would be nice. Especially for viewers like me who are suspicious of exact word choices anyway. 'Cuz, ya know, the Durano Principle that "...if you cannot say what you mean, you can never mean what you say. The details are everything."

Just sayin'.

P.S. And just for fun, yes, there is in fact a breed of milch/meat cow called Irish Moiled. But no, there is not yet a specific variety of grass called "Irish anything", although there are, like, a hundred grasses found in Ireland.

Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 11:22 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Wow, that cow has a lot of freckles.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yep. I picked the funniest-looking photo I could. And named the file "Freckle-Nosed Cow". You'll notice she's wearing gold "earrings", too. Makes her one show-stopper of a cow, doesn't it? LOL

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Jumpy Much?

Oh, she's so-o-o happy. She just got an alert from the handy insurance company. (Which distracted her attention while she was driving, for heaven's sake. Waydahgo, Handy.) An alert that switching to their automobile insurance has lowered her rate by $718. (If she bought it, wouldn't she already know?) $718 for a year of full coverage, one would assume, rather than per month. Unless that Honda of hers is made of white gold or something.

In fact, she's so happy that, at a child's tacit invitation to join in their fun, she starts jumping for joy. Rope! While in the driver's seat! To the cheers of the crowd.

Must be one strong lady if she can pull the whole car up with her as she jumps, ya think? Strong as a T-Rex, maybe? Yeah, I know, T-Rexes don't have strong arms. Just go with it.

Filmstrip: Two people twirling a rope that a T-Rex is jumping

[ASIDE] Bet they actually filmed this one in Amsterdam, where the company's agency for in-house ads is located. Otherwise, why be using a decade-old Euro version of the Accord. And assuming no CGI, the hydraulics added to that there car must've been humongous. Sure shook the actor up. [/ASIDE]

But the verisimilitude gets a little more frayed than even that. Are those rope turners really keeping that long rope continuously swinging that slow, hanging in the air that long, hitting the ground that flat, timing it so closely with the car. Looks like they had to stop after each jump or two, then change camera angle to do another jump, then string all the individual shots together in post-production. That's why we never see more than two swings in a row from the same angle, and sometimes only one.

That's not the biggest issue, though. Not for me. My issue is: How high is that handy insurance company going to jump their customer's rate back up when she puts in a damage claim for breaking an axle or whatever while jump-roping her car? Plus liability if someone else gets hurt? 'Cuz if you have a customer that ridiculous, you gotta do something to rein 'em in, right?

As usual, inquiring minds (of erstwhile jump-ropers) want to know.

P.S. Don't want to imply taking credit for the GIF I purloined that filmstrip up there from. I found it on Youtube. See it in action (about a minute's worth, but sometimes there's an ad first). Make sure you have your ears on.
And watch the ground shake and wobble the camera, even.

Sun, Dec 12, 2021 at 11:30 AM, Nancy B wrote:
  Ha ha ha. Thank you for the link, although I did get an ad first. I saw the wobble when I looked for it. I bet their arms were tired after all that, but the dinosaur was having fun!
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yes, it was. Its roars and gargles really make the whole thing a hoot. Hopefully it wasn't too hungry afterwards.

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Judgy Much?

I think this one also falls under the category of unintentionally telling the truth. But I don't know for sure. It may have been intentional. It may not. I didn't actually see the broadcast being advertized, so I guess I'll never know. Guess I'll just have to stay confused. And that lack of certainty is why I'm addressing this one here and not in Abiding Blog as I've previously had occasion to do with a triggering commercial of import.

Local news was doing a blurb on an upcoming exposé of some sort. Now, broadcast nightly news gives its stories anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes on average, the median length being 41 seconds. At two words per second, give or take, not a lot of time to cover a lot of ground. They don't have enough time to give any story other than pretty short shrift.

Given that, though, you can imagine how short a time - usually 5 to 10 seconds - they have to advertize some story. So, I don't know if the end scene of the commercial was so wonky on purpose or just a factor of editing to fit the time allotted.

A judge's gavel in shadowThe exposé had to do with some kind of crime that may or may not have been committed. By or not by an ID'd individual. The advert for it included two sound bites by two people who may or may not have really known what was going on. I don't at all remember what the first guy said about the case. But the second guy sure had something to say about someone apparently not coming forward with an attempt at explaining or defending or producing evidence for themself. Which blew my mind...and not in a good way.

"If you've done nothing wrong," the dude declared, "prove it!"

Excuse me, dude, but that's certainly not the way our justice system is supposed to work. (What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"? I don't have to prove I'm innocent; YOU have to prove I'm guilty.)

Unfortunately, that's too often the way our justice system is likely to work. (And we all know who regularly gets the short end of the stick in that flip.)

That gap between the ideal and the real is why I'm confused. Maybe the exposé really did show that someone was prejudiced about what went down and by whom. So maybe ending the commersh on that note was intentional, to call out injustice in a way that made viewers want to see the story. But maybe it was not intentional. So maybe the advert accidentally highlighted how awry the public's and/or the media's perception of our current justice system truly is.

Either way, though, it certainly gives one pause, doesn't it?

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Lizard Lip

Boy, howdy, that little insurance spokeslizard is sure gettin' a mouth on him.
Sunset at the beach
It's a beautiful day. Sunny. Warm. Lazy. A day when anyone would want to head to the westward-facing beach. A very liberal beach, I might add.

And so, our little critter heads for the sea and sand. When he spies the "Clothing Optional" sign beneath the big "Sunset Beach" placard, he considers his own corpus and remarks how convenient it is that he needn't cover up.

Then, as he passes the sign, a placid crab at the edge of the sign's shade silently waves its arms at him. Could be a warning. Could equally be a greeting. But our lollygagging lizard gets lippy. "Oy, crabcakes, what ya looking at?"

How rude! How condescending! How species-ist! How would he like it if some random human beach-goer whom he waved to stopped, looked him up and down, and said something like, I dunno, "Yo, lizardlips, what's your problem?"

Sat, Dec 04, 2021 at 11:29 AM, Bri L wrote:
  Your nickname for him isn't as insulting enough. What's worse is he didn't call the crab another kind of dumb animal, he called him FOOD.
  Lucki responds to Bri L:
  Good catch. One I didn't notice at the time. Thanx.

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State & Switch

I don't often rant about politically-oriented ads (this is arguably my 4th such this year, out of 42 entries so far), but this one got my goat...and I'm going to give it pretty short shrift.

The nice-appearing, articulate, suburban-type senior lady starts griping about the potential vote that could give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices. She follows this with scare-mongering horror stories about other countries where, she claims, the government's setting of drug prices has led to consumers not getting the drugs they need at all. Don't let that happen here, she rants. Tell your electeds you don't want that happening here, she rails.

Red "A" [not-equal sign] blue "B"Just one problem with that. A does not equal B, never mind Q or Z, Negotiating bulk pricing based on economies of scale is not the same thing as price-setting. Not at all. If you're really against getting bulk pricing based on how many seniors there are in this country, ma'am, then you should also never shop in a mega-supermarket or big-box store. In fact, you should never even buy anything in the economy size or multi-item set with its lower unit pricing.

I call a false equivalency!

So assuming you don't catch all the fine print, dear reader, who do you think might be paying the big bucks to repeatedly run this ad? Medicare? AARP? Big Pharma? Three guesses, and the first two don't count.

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Cliff Faced

The two buddies are thoroughly enjoying their road trip. Their vehicle can handle the dusty, meandering road. The surrounding scrub brush is wild. The mountains are awesome, They feel like they're in a screensaver. And they are so excited about just one thing: getting higher.

Onward they drive. Up the hill. Over the rocks. Through a pass. Swaying and jostling and spilling their beverage. Higher, ever higher.
Colorful cliff in a mountain range
Hey, they're yodeling-high. They get out of the vehicle at a nice lookout point, and the white dude starts trying to yodel. The bro, though, nips that in the bud. "Don't do that." (I concur.) But hey, they can still go higher than they've ever gone before.

They reach the somewhat flat surface of a stony cliff rim. Get out. Walk in front of the car. Skid to a stop as dust from their footsteps falls into an airy abyss. And simultaneously go "Whoa!" You can imagine the stricken, heart-palpitation looks on their faces. It's no wonder that, staring down the vertical drop to the snow-encircled verdure below, they decide, um, they're good...and now's a good time to go lower.

I should hope so. But I'm just not convinced to suspend my disbelief. Not at that cliff's edge. Nobody drove up there at any speed. Certainly not the actors. Not given how close to the edge their vehicle is on perilously bare rock. More likely it got lifted into position by helicopter. And they'd be idiots to even start to get into it again if it ain't firmly anchored in place.

You probably already know that I don't drive. That doesn't mean I don't ever go on road trips. Even road trips through mountainous terrain. In fact, the last time was I went on just such a mountainy trip was in early autumn of 2016. And let me tell you, if my actually-very-sensible driver had tried pulling an idiotic stunt like that, I'd've seriously considered getting out and walking home...from North Carolina. (Not really, of course, but you catch my drift.)

Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 11:32 PM, Nancy B. wrote:
 I recognize this one and they're right, the scenery is gorgeous, breathtaking. But I still wouldn't walk up to the edge like that. I'd admire it from 10 feet back, that's close enough. I hope those people were safe.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B.:
  So do I. There are several ways those shots could've been taken, none of which convinced me they really drove up there at all, never mind that fast. As I mentioned, large props (with or without accompanying actors) are often lifted into outlandish position by helicopter. If all that really took place on a high cliff, I seriously doubt the actors did that walk to and from the cliff edge. I'd expect it to be stunt performers (though not stunt doubles, which is a higher level of performance), also firmly anchored by harness and cable (which would then be edited out in post-production). Or maybe some greenscreen combination melding shots taken at the location by drone and those taken on a set built to mimic that cliff top. Equally possible it was CGI. To me, trying to understand the logistical techniques is equally fascinating.

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Bell Bummer

Bell on a red buoy standing on sandIt's so romantical. Out with friends in the night, their eyes lock at the beach bonfire. They scurry off together, laughing, to play in the surging water's edge. They clasp hands. There's that special look. They lean in for the obvious kiss. The bell buoy leans way over and hits the sand with a loud clang.

And the young lady backs off with a dismissive, almost glazed look. Turns abruptly. And to the dude's befuddlement, strides off to the closest taco restaurant. Where she sits alone, lovingly enjoying her crispy/melty meal, while another bell deeply rings.

And ya gotta wonder what in heaven's name possibly-illicit chemical compound they're putting in those tacos, to hypnotize her into that isolating triggered-addiction behavior. Refried roofies, anyone?

I just know that if I were that guy, I'd be very, very careful never to take that chick (or possibly any date) anywhere near one of those taco places. Nor do I wish to be one of the hapless people for whom that bell tolls.

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DJ Dilemma

Modern DJ setupShe's a DJ. With the usual basic setup (you've seen it before). Out there on the boardwalk by the river. Why she (the character, not the actor) is set up where she is, we don't really know. Though we do know from other commercials - by other vendors, but possibly the same agency - shot in that kind of spot that she's risking sudden dousing by some careless speedboater. Which, I'm not sure I'd want to risk my equipment (and possible electrocution) that close to the water. But OK.

Her professional moniker echoes that of the statuesque insurance company. Whom she enjoys getting her insurance from. 'Cuz it's customized to her needs. And being a DJ, duh, she knows all about customization.

A passerby walks up and asks for a throwback. Hey, I can dig it. So can the DJ. She has a disco version of the company's jingle ready to rev. "You got it" she signals as the music cascades. Yep, that's the '60s and '70s right there. Cool. But the young lady obviously isn't nearly as old as I am. And she doesn't dig it. Sister changes her request to something she can dance to. (Which makes no sense. If you can't dance to disco, you can't dance.)

So the DJ switches to an EDM version of the jingle. And to prove you can dance to that, in comes this nearby white dude. Showing off his oddball loner moves. Which the DJ, doing her own little steps, doesn't pay any attention to.

But the other sister does. And from the look on her face, this is not her cup of tune and he is definitely not her definition of dancing.

Do I really want to trust my hard-earned dough to a company whose ability to customize to my needs and wants might be as poor as their spokesDJ's ability to fulfill a simple groovy request? Do YOU?

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Cues & Clues

Have you seen the commercial where almost "the voice of God" wanders across a soundstage and denies knowing everything? Attributes people's perception that he does know everything to the way his voice sounds (and, well, maybe 'cuz he actually got to BE God an almighty time or two)? And asks oddball questions for which he doesn't really expect answers in the moment? But, ya know, maybe some shows on this particular TV channel might answer them. Questions like:
Clockwise from top left: 4 jets; 4 screwdrivers, 1 fork, man holding boom mic
What's the fastest jet ever?
Even if the flight attendant (and Google) doesn't really know, maybe someone on this channel really does know.

Who decided righty should be tighty?
Even if the clerk doesn't really know, I suspect it was someone right-handed who realized it's harder to turn your hand inward than outward. But that's just a guess. Maybe someone on this channel really knows.

When did they start using forks?
Well, surprise, surprise. The waitress really knows. The Byzantine Empire. (Most likely.) Maybe she heard it on this channel.

Insert the blurb for the channel here, 'cuz it answers "impossible" questions. And "God" always has questions. And, after all, "curiosity moves the world." Then cue his final question as "God" looks heavenward:

Why do we call it a boom mic?
Oh, for heaven's sake, how is that a hard question? Anyone who can't venture an answer to that one is probably too ignorant to ever bother watching the informative channel anyway.

Duh, it's a microphone. And it's mounted on the end of a boom! Sheesh.

P.S. I say "ignorant" as opposed to "stupid" because stupid is about not having intelligence to understand answers (and maybe even questions) or about not using common sense, but ignorant is about ignoring sources that could/would give you (a) understandable and truthful answers and/or (b) a better grasp on common sense and how to apply it.

Tue, Oct 26, 2021 at 11:11 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  Well, I didn't know what a boom mic was either. But I haven't seen this commercial. So I'm glad you included a picture.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  Yes, but you aren't in the entertainment industry. And "God" was looking right up at it, so he could see it was a mic on a boom. Whereas you, even if you were watching him, might not be able to ID exactly what it was he was looking at when he asked the question. But as you say, you got it from the picture here.

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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 claim when it went to 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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:
  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!
  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,

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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 of 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:
  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!
  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,

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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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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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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:
  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!
  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,

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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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  :)
  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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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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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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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 T wrote:
  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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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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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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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's guidance 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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