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Feb

2

Superbowl Ads Getting Worse

By admin

The 2009 Superbowl commercials were just as bad, if not worse, than the 2008 Superbowl ads. I mean they were outright terrible! I was embarrassed for these companies that are putting them out. Now I realize that it has become a tradition in America to try and create humorous ads for the big game. The problem with humorous ads is that they are usually not good commercials. There are exceptions to this of course, but those exceptions are not to be found in any of the past few years’ Superbowl commercials. These are the most expensive commercials on television to both produce and air. For them to flop so horribly is inexcusable - and executive heads should rightfully be rolling.

Not only were not any of the ads good commercials, but they weren’t funny either. I never even broke a smile. Perhaps there is no longer any true creative talent working at any of the ad agencies responsible for the insult to the American intelligence that was perpetrated upon us today. What an incredible waste of money and resources during these times when both should be so precious. I wonder how many jobs Pepsi, Coke, Doritos, Anheuser Busch, and Go Daddy could have collectively created with the money they blew on failed attempts at humor. Certainly none of their ads will be responsible for creating any additional revenue, so they may as well have burned the money.

Here are a few of the less memorable highlites:

Go Daddy further degraded it’s image by producing a commercial featuring female race car driver Danika Patrick taking a shower. What naked female race car drivers in the shower have to do with registering internet domain names is beyond me. I have never seen anything cheaper, less creative, and less funny.

• Some stupid health drink company or another came back again with more dancing cartoon lizards, mixed in with some dancing hip hop stars. I didn’t know or remember the company when they did this last year, and I still don’t know who they are nor will I recognize their products if I ever see them on store shelves. And it wasn’t entertaining in the least.

• A business meeting in which the company served Bud Light threw an employee out a glass window when he suggested cutting back on expenses by not providing beer at all the business meetings. This was not funny and worse yet suggests that the product is expensive.

Audi provided the action with a seemingly never-ending car chase scene which suggested that criminals through the past few generations could always rely on Audis when it comes to needing a getaway car. (If that wasn’t the message sorry, but that’s what I got out of it.)

Doritos ran two commercials (this must be a recession-proof business) both which featured senseless violence that was supposed to be funny. I will give them credit for doing a good job of product branding however, as the Doritos bag was prominently displayed by the guy smashed on the front of the bus windshield. But somewhere in my subconscious mind I now think that consuming this product is dangerous.

Castrol motor oil came out of the woodwork with an incredibly expensive commercial that pushed the limits of being politically correct. I actually would have liked this one if they didn’t end it by imprinting in my mind the image of a guy making out with a monkey. With that image forever imprinted in my brain I will now go out of my way to make sure I never use that particular brand.

• Then there were the movie trailers. Hollywood must not be in a recession when they can tack on millions to a movie budget for trailers on films that will not be out for months. I was horrified to see an upcoming sequel for The Fast and the Furious. As if there aren’t enough insane twenty-something year olds in lowered Hondas risking my life every time I am on the freeway already!

There was a very consistent theme in all the failed attempts at humor in the ads this year. I cannot quite pinpoint it, but it was almost like the same three guys wrote most of the commercials. You know what I mean? It was all cheap sight gag stuff and no comedy of any substance. Go to any third-rate comedy club and pick a few struggling standup comics and they could have produced ads ten times more entertaining, guaranteed. Of course the product branding probably will still suffer, but at least we would get a decent laugh.

Papa Riah

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Jan

23

Parent Kidnappings Cry Wolf

By admin

Parent kidnapping is an oxymoron that is on the rise in our society. This is definitely a sign that our culture has hit the skids. Those of you around in the 1950’s or 1960’s would never have heard of such a thing back then. The very idea would have been absurd. How can a parent kidnap their own child? Not possible. And to some degree, that holds true today - at least from a logical viewpoint.

But not from a legal one. And because most people will gravitate towards the logical viewpoint in their mind, it tends to defeat the legal one. This is because the cry wolf effect reduces public aid for law enforcement.

A good example of this concept is car alarms. When you hear one go off, what is your first reaction? Do you run out towards the car to stop the thief? More than likely you are annoyed at the knucklehead that owns that car, as obviously they did something to trip the alarm (such as open the door before disarming it). I like to imagine a car thief during broad daylight in a crowded city area running into no resistance because everyone assumes he is the owner.

Where I live there is something called an Amber Alert. This was developed a few years ago due the rising rate of kidnappings in our wonderful state. The way it works is, a witness to a kidnapping (or anyone who has any information about a suspected kidnapping) gives a description of the car and/or kidnapper to the police, relatively quickly after the incidence takes place. An Amber Alert with this description then interrupts every radio and television broadcast in the area as an attempt to get public help.

It’s a good idea, it has worked, and no doubt saved a few kid’s lives. But what has been happening recently is that they are using it for parent kidnappings. Meaning that a parent who is involved in a nasty divorce takes the kid when they are not supposed to, or perhaps even the reporting parent simply does an Amber Alert on their ex-spouse as their retaliation for whatever spat they are having that day.

So responsible citizens who perk up at the amber alert, ready to take notes and keep an eye out for the vehicle, hear that the suspect is the child’s mother or father and then just say oh and completely disregard it. It ends up becoming a waste of a great emergency tactic. By allowing parent kidnappings to be included in Amber Alerts the effectiveness is greatly reduced. Pretty soon we all start thinking another parent kidnapping every time we start to hear an amber alert and pay no attention anymore. It’s really too bad.

Papa Riah

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Jan

14

Our Culture Peaked 2-3 Decades Ago

By admin

Have you noticed that nothing cool is coming out of our culture these days? It’s almost as if we have run out of creativity. The newest thing is reality TV shows, and even those are starting to get old. Lets face it they were never really that good. The winner of the first Survivor was an openly homosexual man who insisted on walking naked in front of everyone (while being filmed) and credited his win towards being sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, and the best liar. What a great testament to our modern culture, huh?

Then there is American Idol. Certainly some great singers have made the finals over the years. But how many of them have inspired you to go out and purchase their CD’s? My guess is none. Why not? Probably because none of them are different enough to make any real mark on our cultural landscape. Somehow they are just another singer and there is nothing innovative about their music. Oh sure - it’s fun to watch the competition, but when the season is done you are pretty much done with the contestants.

Contrast this back to twenty years ago, say 1979. Think about the TV shows Midnight Express (with Wolfman Jack) and Don Kirshners Rock Concert (which came on right afterwards on Friday Nights). Remember Saturday Night Live when it was actually good? We all used to plan our weekends around it. Have you even dared to watch it lately? Probably not, because it has gotten so bad that it’s embarrassing.

What about kid’s toys? Certainly technology will have improved on those, right? One would think. After all, by now we are all supposed to be driving flying cars. But if you compare today’s video games with the old Atari system and even the first Pong game, there is something missing. I remember the little handheld football and basketball electronic blip games -those were great. Today’s Nintendo DS units with all their technology don’t have anywhere near the interest that those things did.

Oh sure we have really trick cell phones now. To say nothing of the internet, portable email devices, and every other way to make sure you are never away from work that you can think of. And I am a big fan of those things. But what have they added to our culture, really?

Movies are not getting any better despite incredible advances in technology. Even when a good movie is made they cannot sell it unless they use cheesy tactics to attract the masses of brain-dead idiots. Music is only getting worse, as evidenced by the fact that classic rock stations are the most popular places on the radio dial. Literature by it’s definition is a thing of the past and art isn’t far behind.

I really cannot think of one single aspect of modern society that has improved in the last twenty years, with the notable exception of communications. And it’s arguable that the communication advancements we have made are actually a large contributor to the degradation of our culture.

Papa Riah

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