Friday, March 31, 2006

I long for an Ugly Obese Widow

This - my friend - is truth in advertising. Straight from the New York Post. Finally, someone is telling the bitter, brutal truth in a personal ad. For years personal ads have used CODE WORDS. Here are a few:

Affectionate (Possessive) Artist (Unreliable) Athletic (Flat-chested) Average-looking (Ugly) Beautiful (Pathological liar) Commitment-minded (Pick out curtains, now!) Communication important (Just try to get a word in edgewise) Contagious Smile (Bring your penicillin) Educated (College dropout) Emotionally Secure (Medicated) Employed (Has part-time job stuffing envelopes at home) Enjoys art and opera (Snob) Enjoys Nature (Bring your own granola) Exotic Beauty (Would frighten a Martian) Free spirit (Substance user) Friendship first (Trying to live down reputation as slut) Fun (Annoying) Good Listener (Borderline Autistic) Humorous (Caustic) Intuitive (Your opinion doesn't count) In Transition (Needs new sugar-daddy to pay the bills) Light drinker (Lush) Looks younger (If viewed from far away in bad light) Loves Travel (If you're paying) Loves Animals (Cat lady) New-Age (All body hair, all the time) Non-traditional (Ex-husband lives in the basement) You get the idea.

Ugly & Obese deserves a pat on the back for her truthfulness. This might go down in history as the very first legit personal ad. She should be lauded. This moment should be celebrated. Others should follow suit.

If I were older and unmarried - I'd call this woman. She's my kinda girl.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Claw" machine Danger!

If you ask me, there isn't a bigger rip-off than those "Claw" prize machines. You know. The big box full of stuffed animals - you put in 50 cents - and direct a little claw or bucket to drop into the prizes - if you snag one, you drop it in the chute. You've likely tried the "Claw" before - you just didn't experience the "prize chute." These things are virtually impossible to win. Why would you want to win anyway? All you're gonna get is a super cheap trinket of a toy. This logic and understanding of the "Claw" is that of a mature middle aged man. If I were 3 years old, I'd wanna play. I'd want everything in there. I'd want that stuff so badly - I might climb up inside the prize chute to see if I could get in the prize box.

Dateline: Yesterday. Godfathers Pizza in Austin Texas. 3 year old boy does just that. He opens the prize chute door and wiggles his little body into the machine. Who is this kid? Houdini?

Firefighters had to be called to rescue the kid. He's OK. When it was all over did he at least scam one toy? He was in there afterall. He could have put all the toys in the chute and passed them to his big sister. The Goofball kid went through all this and forgot to get a toy. As a matter of fact, no one present even thought to get the kid a toy. The Godfathers patrons were too busy snapping pictures of the kid trapped in the machine.

It could have been worse - much worse. He could have wanted a Coke.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bacon flap lifters.

I can go to the grocery store in 20 minutes. I can buy $200 in groceries in 20 minutes. I can follow the list, get everything I need, pay for it - and be out in 20 minutes. How is this possible you ask? You probably take longer. You probably inspect the bacon.

Every grocery store has the bacon area. It's where you find all the bacon packages from numerous bacon companies. Who doesn't like bacon. You're likely out of bacon right now, because you ate it all. Maybe your favorite store has 10 brands of bacon. Let's say there are 15 packages of bacon per brand. That means you are confronted with 150 packages of bacon for your consideration. Most of the packages are really boxes over vacuum packed bags. There is a little flap in the back to lift and inspect the bacon from a horizontal long cut side view. This flap is my flap.

There are women that must lift the flap. They must lift the flap of each of the 150 bacons. They must be assured that of all the available bacons that day - they purchased the most pleasing, desirable bacon. I'm not really sure what makes a bacon pleasing - I imagine a meaty bacon is best - I'm not sure. Hell, bacon is mostly fat anyway - that's what makes it bacon - as opposed to ham.
This liftable flap is why many women can't compete with my 20 minute shopping trip. Some women, I know more than a few - take a full 20 minutes just selecting the bacon. Flap lifters lift their flaps - then sloppily toss their reject bacons back into the bacon bin. I know they do because I've never bought a bacon that hadn't had it's flap dislodged. It's disheartening to know all the bacon I've ever eaten is an unknown flap lifters reject bacon. Stop the bacon madness.

Microwave bacon. It's here now - and it's the future of bacon. Not overpriced, much less grease to contend with and best of all - flapless. I'm a convert if only because I know the package hasn't been handled & rejected by a flap lifter. If microwave bacon companies institute flaps in the future, I swear I'm switching to sausage.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pimpstars! Maybe I'm not the target market.

I thought mag wheels were cool. I thought chrome rims were all the rage. You've seen em. They get bigger, shiny-er & more expensive all the time. I've seen wheels that cost $1000 each. Now comes PIMPSTAR.

Pimpstar uses a computer program to transmit text & full color pictures to your wheels. Apparently you can do this as you drive. If you see a beautiful woman in the next car, you can flash your number on your wheels. She'll see it, take down the number, call you & throw herself at you - because you have the coolest wheels ever - PIMPSTARS!

When you pass a military vehicle, you can flash full color American flags on your wheels. The military personnel will shine with pride as they become mesmerized by your wheels.

You can sell advertising on your wheels. Coca Cola will no doubt pay you to flash their logo. You'll need your wheels to generate revenue because these babies cost $12,500 for four.

Great idea. I'm gonna get some and project the image of hubcaps onto my wheels.

Watch for Pimpstars where you live very soon - appearing on cars that aren't worth nearly as much as these wheels. That's the way it goes isn't it? $12,500 wheels, $2500 tires, $7000 stereo, $5000 video system - installed in a '95 Mitsubishi worth $1200.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I am March Languid

I don't have March Madness. I've become March Languid. I don't care who wins. My teams are out. Well, don't care who wins might be too strong - I'm really really really really glad DUKE LOST! Wasn't that great? The CBS announcers spoke of Duke like they were NBA quality and showed L.S.U. little respect. The tones of their voices indicated they felt "it was just a matter of time" until Duke pulled away. Duke didn't and it feels good. I know many of you feel the same way. There's something about rooting for the underdog that's pure. It's American to cheer for the weak. We love toppling dynasties. We're hyped & media overdosed and when all the prognosticators can be exposed as phony know it alls - it's a beautiful thing. NCAA seeding is asinine. The 64 team selection itself is flawed. The one thing all the analysts in the world can't measure is - heart. It does the heart good to see Duke lose. They're the only team with it's coach doing Chevy commercials. Coach K - may be the only coach you know - and next week he'll be doing the same thing as you & I. Watching the games on CBS. Go ahead CBS. Fill the screen with statistics. Make them move and dance around the screen. Give your stats little sound effects when they pop up. Just know the number one team statistic during March Madness - is a stat they don't show. It's the "don't give a crap about what you think factor." L.S.U. was over 90% in their DGACAWYT factor Thursday night.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I don't want to work at KTRS

From KSDK Channel 5 St. Louis:
It was in KTRS 550 AM studio D Wednesday morning that talk show host Dave Lenihan was rallying for Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice to become the next National Football League commissioner. Then Lenihan, on the job for just 8 days, says he made a career ending slip.Lenihan said on the air, "She loves football, she's African American which would be kind of a big coon. Oh my God, I totally, totally, totally, totally am sorry for that. I didn't mean that." Lenihan spoke to Newschannel 5 and said, "This morning I was on the radio and I was talking about how great it would be to get Condeleezza Rice to be the commissioner and I meant to say it would be a 'coup' and, unfortunately, I said what a coon it would be."KTRS 550 General Manager Tim Dorsey says it didn't take him long to decide what to do. "Within about 2 seconds of listening to it," says Dorsey.Dorsey fired Lenihan, and apologized to the Secretary of State saying there is "Zero" tolerance for a remark like that."More than anything else, I apologize to Condeleezza Rice and to our listeners for having to hear a remark like that," says Dorsey.

I've heard the clip. Maybe he did it on purpose, maybe not - I can't tell. That's my rub. If he did in fact, simply slip up - this is terrible. In the course of sitting in front of a live microphone for countless hours each week (something I know about) - it's unreasonable to expect a human not to make a mistake from time to time. Get on the net and search around for the Sheppard Smith FOXNEWS video of him saying "Blowjob". Everyone from David Brinkley to Casey Kasem has been caught by a live microphone. The way KTRS management reacted was waaay over the top. They fired the guy within minutes. His explanation wasn't considered. Its obvious to me this is political correctness - nothing more, nothing less. What Lenihan said was unfortunate at best. There was no pattern to his decision making. He'd been there just 8 days.
I can only imagine how my company would react to me making the same blunder. My bet is they would stand behind me. If I appologized - and mis-speaking didn't become commonplace, they'd listen to my explanation - and I'd go on. One thing for sure, if every single word I spoke could result in my firing - I'd freeze up - unable to utter a sound.
The Big 550 KTRS St. Louis. Another of the over 10,000 radio stations I have no desire to work for.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Steven Tyler Secret Surgery

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith is undergoing surgery today. His publicist calls it an "undisclosed surgery". They're not saying exactly why Tyler is under the knife. Tyler is 58 - and Aerosmith has cancelled the rest of their North American tour because of this.

Undisclosed Surgery? What does this mean? Why wouldn't his people just come out and say? I will now speculate. Eventually we'll find out - we always do - let's see if I can sleuth this.

I believe it must be an embarrassing surgery. I can think of no better reason to keep it secret.

*I'm thinking butt. Tylers butt. Hemorrhoids maybe. Maybe something up there by accident. Maybe a blockage of some sort. Colons are nothing to fool with. Tylers colon would have been on CNN if he'd not made it secret. OR,

*How about cosmetic surgery? Lip reduction. It's about time for Tyler. Maybe a Lip Lift. Maybe he got them slammed in a car door. Maybe an elevator closed on them.

In the days to come - we'll find out what it was. My money's on Tylers Butt - or his lips. I don't blame him for the secrecy. It's just funny how easy it is to figure out.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No Need to Thank anybody.

My Broadcasting Company, Midwest Family Broadcasting has been praised repeatedly this week for our efforts during Springfields' tornados. We had a plan, we put it into effect - and it worked. Staff was made aware of the impending emergency - literally hours - before anything happened. When it was clear we were in the eye - several staffers manned their posts.

The calls of praise are nice. The thanks and congratulations are well received - BUT - this is what we do. Most of the Springfield staff (especially the old guard) - realize our first mission is to inform the public. Matters of public safety always take precedence. Not one, but two 20 year broadcast veterans took charge on Sunday night. If you ask them - they'd tell you this is the very reason they chose broadcasting as a profession. It's the reason my generation got into radio. Do you think it's because we like to listen to music? Do you think we like all the contests we play on air? First & foremost - we want to matter. Sunday - we mattered. With all the distraction of The Sopranos season premiere & Desperate Housewives - with the Internet & Playstations going all at once, suddenly a whole population is squatting below ground level listening to local radio. TV was useless. Internet needs 110 volts. Radio needs 2 AA's. I know I'm speaking for my co-workers when I say - they purely enjoyed serving you. They look forward to serving you tomorrow too - on a better day - when you're not in the basement.

Radio is a part of the community - that sadly over the years has been taken for granted. For those of you who have the "What have you done for me lately?" mentality - many of you know now, we may have saved your life.

We'll do it again too - as long as the Antenna Towers stand.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tornado dude, day 4

Got this note from a listener:

Just wanted to say how refreshing it is to get the storm news from you and Kellie. Some other local reporters (especially on TV) have a tendency to hype it up and have been insensitive to the personal loss people have been faced with. One reporter/camera man was showing a man's demolished home and stupidly asked, "How's it feel to see everything you've worked for destroyed in an instant and to have your life ruined?" What's he going to say? "Oh no problem! I feel good today, maybe a slight cough coming on, but otherwise, I'm fine". GRRRRRRRR.... You and Kelly really share the news with seriousness and compassion, yet enough light-heartedness to not depress us all beyond coping. I wonder if you 2 know the positive impact you have on the city of Springfield and the surrounding area. Your pride in our city is contagious!!! Thanks! ~ Kim

Thanks Kim. Maybe I've learned something being on the air three decades. In situations like this - shut up & listen. I am not the story - people are. Tell the story. In this town now, there are thousands of stories. Kim, what you're witnessing are green broadcasters caught up in the excitement of probably the biggest story they've ever been associated with. Cut them slack. They know not what they do.

One story I can't get out of my mind is a man named Mike. I met Mike at sunrise the morning after an F2 tornado had taken out his mobile home park. Somehow, Mikes trailer was mostly unscathed - (porch ripped off and a 4 inch tree branch horizontally impaled in the side) - he was peering out the door as I drove by. I said, "There's a man in there"! I pulled over and went to talk to Mike. He was a Vietnam Vet in a wheelchair. His legs had obviously been lost in the war because the blunt trauma was apparent. He's in the dark with coffee, cigarettes and a little dog. He'd ridden the storm out alone. When the shit hit - he couldn't get out - so he hunkered down - and by the grace of God, survived. He was "matter of fact" about the whole thing. He wondered where his giant porch had gone. I looked around and told him it was about 40 feet behind his trailer now. The power is still out in Mikes area. Mike appeared to have a gas stove that still worked. I speculate he's been heating his home with the stove. It's been in the 20's overnight. My curiousity has the better of me. I'm buying groceries for Mike. I'm going to visit him tonight. Insurance? C'mon. All he may have is me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

FEMA! Bring hairdryers!

I've spent three straight days on the air assisting in getting information out in the wake of the Springfield Illinois tornados. People here are trying to get on with their lives. Residents are helping one another. It seems there is free coffee & food on every corner. The Hotels are completely booked - there isn't a single vacancy. These are people who can't live without electricity. Maybe the Hotel refugees just miss cable TV. If I can't watch the S.I.U. game Friday - I'm going to drive the neighborhood looking for a satellite dish.

Bright side: Firewood here will cost 10 cents a cord this Winter. Bright side: Some people who wanted massive home renovations - will now get them - paid for by their insurance companies. Bright side: All the ugly retail signs that have been a blight on Wabash Ave for 30 years are now gone. Bright side: WDBR's broadcast tower fell down. (My fingers just typed that - I don't really feel that way.)

Guilt. I have guilt because my capitalist brain is swimming with ways to profit from this disaster. "Bri's Generator Hut". We'd sell nothing but gas powered electric generators. I could name my price. "Bri's Chainsaw World". Same deal. How about a new product? "The Power Outage Beauty Kit". Inside you'd find all a woman needed to get ready for work during a power failure. The heart of the kit would be a 12 volt DC hairdryer. I've come to realize - what women miss most about electricity is not being able to dry their hair. More Guilt: After the storm passed and I came out from my hole/bunker - I was upset that I lost a vinyl patio chair cover. I sulked for about an hour until I came upon it in the middle of the road about a half mile away. I slammed on the brakes and retrieved it. My net storm loss is - nothing but sleep.

I will continue to assist my community through my broadcasts, look at the bright side, feel guilty, consider profiting from others loss - and whine about the cable being off - at least until the S.I.U. game Friday. Just in case - got a dish???

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Joe vs. the Tornado

Why don't tornadoes watch Bill O'Reilly on FOXNEWS? It's a no spin zone.

What happened to the cow that was lifted into the air by the tornado?
Udder Disaster.

I crack myself up. Ugggh.

Two F2 tornados passed 500 yards north of my house Sunday night. My hometown of Springfield Illinois is pretty messed up. The twisters cut a swath about a half mile wide all across town. Trees are down, roofs are gone, businesses destroyed. Powers off to 12,000 customers still today - and it's Tuesday. Day to day life here will return to normal soon. I spoke with several residents who'd already cleaned their property of debris & placed tarps on their roof. I'm amazed how Central Illinois residents just jumped in and started "working the problem." The community is coming to the aid of itself. Residents here aren't waiting for Federal Aid. They're not waiting for FEMA to roll in. No one has asked for a $2000 Debit card. Damage is in the multi millions of dollars - yet, we're cool - because by and large - we're insured.

Let this be a quick lesson to anyone worldwide facing potential catastrophic property damage losses. Buy insurance. It's what we boring Illinois people do.

Too bad. I heard the Government gives away plasma TV's in situations like this. The truck hasn't made it here yet. I don't think they're coming.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

$10,000 bills are very very pretty

I like the looks of this. Found in a safe deposit box of a dead bank customer in Green Bay Wisconsin - a rare $10,000 bill. These haven't been circulated in 60 years. You don't have to think long to understand why. Do you want to run this through the laundry in your jeans? Do you want your dog to eat it? Do you want to pull into a McDonalds drive through with a $10,000 bill? Well, actually - that'd be fun. Do you want to accidentally tip your waitress with this? What was the point of this bill in the first place. In the 40's, $10,000 was almost 5 times the average annual income. This would be like a Half Million Dollar Bill today. These bills were used mainly by Banks to transfer large sums of money - both domestically & overseas. If they were stolen - they'd certainly be easy to track.

Maybe it's time for $10,000 bills again. Now that this image has hit the internet - they will come back. The bill will be printed on computer printers all around the world and passed to stooges at convenience stores. Just know, when Leroy hands ya a $10,000 bill for a 12 pack of Bud and a pack of Camels - it's a fake.

By the way, that's Salmon P. Chase up there - yep - the banker.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm all Ryan Seacrested out!

Ryan Seacrest. He's everywhere. That's an understatement. Why - is the question. Idol is huge. Is it because of Seacrest? We all know the answer. His fame is on the coat-tails of trendy formulatic television. If he hadn't been lucky enough to get the Idol gig in the first place - all that's followed - wouldn't have. He's on E. He's on radio in L.A. He does syndicated radio. He has a clothing line. For the love of God, he's being touted as the next Larry King! What's next? The sky's the limit. I wanna know when he sleeps.

Am I jealous? Yeah, probably. My hey-day was about 20 years ago - when I was his age. I was approached to do the show in L.A. Seacrest does now, in 1987. That was the apogee of my career. But -

All that's followed for Seacrest - I don't understand. He's not compelling to listen to on the radio. He's not especially good at interviews. He's not at his best ad-libbing. He's not that sharp a dresser. His voice isn't especially strong. He isn't funny. Is it the hair? It's gotta be the hair. Seacrest is the flavor of the month. When Idol peaks and Fox pulls it - look for Seacrest to be pulled too. He won't have the shelf life of Dick Clark - or the radio career of Rick Dees (The guy he replaced in L.A.)

I have Seacrest on my mind (you know that's not his name - right? Sounds like a toothpaste or a mouthwash) because, I saw him on the Oscar red carpet broadcast Sunday. He was wearing a child size clip on bow tie. If Dick Clark could speak, he'd say "Good Lord." I'd like to hold him down and give him a shave.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Asteroid!!!! We mean it this time.

You have until 2102. May 4th precisely. That's when the asteroid is gonna hit. It's a doosey. 500 yards long and one billion tons. When it hits, it'll blast a crater 6 miles wide and 1/3 mile deep. It'll set everything on fire for 60 miles around. It'll strike Earth with a force equivalent to ALL the world's nukes.

Meet the end of the world - thanks to 2004 VD17. Scientists found her in November 2004 and set the "risk of collision" at 1 in 3000. Today they've revised the chance to 1 in 1000. Over 18 months the odds have increased dramatically. What will the odds be in 96 years? Sounds like we're screwed.

I'll be dead already. So will my kids and likely their kids. I'll be so emotionally removed - I don't really care what happens - but we should begin teaching our young how to dig holes. Really deep holes. Our only real hope is burrowing deep into the Earth and becoming Mole people.

Bruce Willis will be dead too. Is there any real alternative?

I broke my own Gas Grill rule.

I've owned several gas grills. Most recently I've owned the $199 job - that lasted 10 years then began to rust away. I loved that grill. So much so - that I refurbished it. I put in new burners & hoses. I cleaned & painted it. I even cleaned and re-stained the wood slats. I've resisted buying a new grill for one reason & one reason only. I didn't want a grill with side - burners. You know what I'm talkin' about. Side - burners magically appeared on gas grills about 10 years ago. It's as if the grill companies conducted some massive "grill study" and concluded Americans want side - burners. This American sees no need for side burners. Up until recently there has always been a model or two, that simply had shelves on the sides. These were the grills I eyed for future purchase. Often, I'd go to the home store and mingle with the men there admiring the grills. They're there you know. Men that have no intention of buying a grill right away, but are inexplicably drawn to the grill area. We look at the grills, discuss them among ourselves, and plot on how we'll talk our wives into buying one. After a while - we move to the mowers.

Over the weekend - my grill ship came in. I pulled the trigger on a new gas grill. Not just any grill. A CHARMGLOW gas grill. Those old enough immediately think of Monty Hall & Let's Make a Deal. I'd never seen a Charmglow grill in my life, until Monty gave one away almost every day on LMAD. The only name more prominent on LMAD was Dicker & Dicker of Beverly Hills. Jay Stewart, tell everyone what Brian just bought!
Right Monty! Don't let its low price deceive you - with three cast-iron burners, 45,000 BTUs, a 636 sq. in. cooking area, plus a 12,000 BTU side burner, there's no skimping on power or space! Includes one-touch electronic ignitor, non-stick porcelain grates and warming rack. Constructed of stainless steel and heavy die-cast aluminum! Propane tank not included.

I broke my own gas grill rule. I waited too long. Every grill now has a side - burner. You snooze, you lose - my gas grill lesson for today. At least there's only one side - burner. By the time I replace this grill - all grills will have two - maybe three - side burners.

XM: 100% Commercial-free music no more!

Channel updates from XM:
"We regularly review and update our channel line up to revise our overall offerings. We will add the Oprah & Friends channel in September 2006. In the first half of 2006, we expect to add certain new channels, including additional commercial-free music channels, to slightly increase our total number of commercial-free music channels. In addition, commercial advertisements will resume on music programming currently provided to us by Clear Channel. Certain of these changes implement a settlement agreement and are in accordance with the preliminary decision of the arbitration panel for a dispute we had with Clear Channel relating to our respective rights and obligations under agreements entered into in connection with Clear Channel’s 1998 investment in us. From time to time, we make certain of the content we produce available for broadcast by others, including traditional AM/FM radio stations."

As I understand it, there are four channels that contain 'music programming' by Clear Channel - Sunny, KISS, MIX, and Nashville - and as this reads, XM will include commercial advertisements on these channels.

XM plus Clear Channel equals Skylab. I look for XM to fall into low orbit and spray debris into the Pacific real soon.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Saluki that never attended S.I.U.

I was the dog. The mascot. Actually, there were 5 of us. A "Big Saluki Dog" - and four "Puppy Salukis". I get asked about this often, since I revealed a couple of years ago. that I was an S.I.U. Saluki mascot in Carbondale Illinois 40 years ago. I grew up in Carbondale and was a "townie". I was a puppy - I was still a kid. The S.I.U. Gymnastics Team was the first place the University recruited team mascots. One was chosen, (he was Big Saluki) - and the other four came from my neighborhood. We puppies all lived right next to one another. We were all under 10 years old and had to provide our own Saluki costumes. I think that's how we got the gig. Our mothers committed to sewing the outfits. Team mascot outfits were in their infancy 40 years ago. I recall the suit being made of a material that felt like fur - and the head had a giant foam rubber nose insert. Mine was green. Yep, green. I was a green Saluki. We went to all the Saluki Football & Basketball games in the mid 60's until one by one we grew out of our suits. We were in all the parades. I especially remember the Homecoming parades. The suits were hot, but we survived. My Saluki Dog suit stayed in the family for years. My little brothers had an instant killer Halloween costume. When they outgrew the suit, they just wore the head. No, it's not around anymore. I'm sure it just fell apart from all the wear.

I bring this up because once again S.I.U. has made the NCAA basketball tournament. The last time I saw an S.I.U. game in person - was all those years ago - when the Arena was brand new! I was on the floor throwing little commemorative basketballs into the crowd - not realizing that 40 years later I'd look back on those times - with pure joy.

When I hit college age I attended Western Illinois University. To this day, I don't know what I was thinking.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Biggest SUV yet.

Remember the Hummer the first time you saw it? You were blown away at it's sheer size. It was heavy & wide with giant wheels. It was being used by the military and we applauded when the consumer version came out. The Hummer made even the largest truck look puny. Now, we're in Iraq and the insurgents are pissing us off. The roadside bombs have taken their toll. Force Protection, a company in South Carolina, has come to the rescue.

Meet the "COUGAR". This baby is an armored 6 x 6 that carries 14 people. It dwarfs the Hummer. The Cougar is in production right now. It's 450 horsepower and 45,000 pounds of American made truck baby. The "Buffalo Cougar" even has a "claw" on the front that scoops up and detonates enemy mines like stepping on chewing gum. These trucks weigh as much as seven GMC Yukon XL Denalis, and get about 5 miles per gallon. This, my truck drivin' friend, is travelin' in style. They cost just under $1 million each, and our Government has placed orders. Yes! Let's skip ahead about five years.

You're at the grocery store. As you pull in, there's a 30 year old soccer mom coming out. A store employee is pushing her cart and is going to load her groceries. He shouts, "Damn, Lady!" - as he spots her ride. He then loads her groceries into her 45,000 pound, 450 horsepower SUV. It's taking up three parking spaces. She opens the drivers side door and smacks the Buick parked next to it. The sheer weight of the door knocks the Buick into the next space and causes $9000 damage. She leaves a note on the Buicks windshield. Her husband rests easy knowing his wife will make it home in one piece with the groceries, even if she did burn $15 in gas just running to the store.

Pick up a Cougar soon, at your local Cougar dealership. Finance it for 60 months. Be the first on the block to sink into the asphalt on a hot day.

Friday, March 03, 2006

News Flash! James Bonds New Car!

Remember the Aston Martin? Over the years I recall a Ferrarri & a BMW. Q always had a great car for Bond, complete with all the gadgets needed to blast his enemies. In 1971 Bond drove a Ford Mustang, but it was a rental car he got in Vegas. He once got away in a Fiat he borrowed from a farmer. He drove an AMC Hornet, another rental, in Live & Let Die. But, the cars furnished to him by the British Government were all high end. Q apparently had an unlimited budget when it came to cars for James. That's all over.

Casino Royale is the next Bond film. I won't even broach the Daniel Craig selection, but I will take issue with his car. The British Secret Service has issued it's top guy, a FORD. A Ford Mondeo. It looks like a Ford 500. It has the typical Q gadgets. It is a Ford. Not a Jaguar, a Bentley or Rolls. Not a Lamborghini or a Porsche. A Ford. "Have you driven a Ford lately?" "No. Not for 34 years - since Diamonds are Forever, and it was a rental." OK. Not to blast Fords. The Mondeo may get great mileage. It may have side impact air bags. It may be high ranked on the JD Powers customer satisfaction index. There's just nothing elegant, nothing suave, nothing mysterious, nothing sexy - about a Ford.
Why then did Q decide to go with a Ford? Maybe because at Ford - Quality is Job One! Nope. Ford paid $18 Million to the producers. (See previous product placement post.)

Next Bond movie, what will Bond drive? I suggest the 2007 Chevy Suburban. When the shit gets deep he can press the Onstar button.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Worst Video Game Ever!

Desert Bus is the worst video game ever. Unfortunately the game was never released, until now. 11 years after the planned release date there are Torrent download sites that have it.

The goal is simple. You drive a Bus through the desert from Tucson Arizona to Las Vegas. The hard part is that the trip is in real-time, so it takes 8 hours. And it gets even better: There is no scenery or other cars on the road, just plain desert, for 8 hours. Oh, and your bus veers to the right just slightly, so it’s impossible to just tape down a button and go do something else. Rumor has it that if you make it to Vegas, you score one point.

Reportedly, no-one has ever made it to the end of Desert Bus. I'm not even gonna try.

Don't ask me to help you "move".

Don't even think about it. If you're moving, don't ask me for help. Don't even think about it. The Seinfeld episode with Keith Hernandez comes to mind. Keith wanted Jerry to help him move, and Jerry thought it was too early in their relationship - to ask him to help. He's right about that. Helping someone move, is the biggest favor a man can ask another man. Jerry might argue it's dropping someone off at the airport - but I believe moving beds & couches up & down stairs trumps everything. Now, you ask WHY Brian may I not ask you to help? Why, if we're good friends, can I not depend on you? Maybe you believe our relationship has elevated itself to moving status. No. No it hasn't. Don't ask me, because I will never, never, ever ever - ask you to help me. That's it in a nutshell. I developed this strict no moving assistance policy over many years. I used to help friends all the time. To some good friends, I was always a go-to guy. Back in the 80's - I said, that's enough. No person you know has moved as many times as me. I moved out of the house into an apartment. I moved to another apartment, to another apartment, then another. Then I moved to Champaign. Then I moved back to Springfield. I moved into a house, into an apartment, then back home. I moved into another apartment - then moved to San Antonio. I moved into an apartment. Then another apartment - then a house. I moved to New Orleans. There, I moved into a condo, then a house, then moved to Boston. I moved back to an apartment, then moved back to San Antonio again into a house. Then I moved to Dallas into a house, then another house, then to Springfield into an apartment, into a condo, into a house. I'm not gonna count up all those moves, I get dizzy just thinking about it. Everytime I moved, I paid or my company paid, to professionally move me. The only people that helped over the years not on a payroll - were my kids. Once they got old enough - they chipped in. That is why the only people I will ever ever help move are my kids, and you're not one of my kids are you? So, don't ask. You know the answer.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Product Placement - The Next Generation

I remember watching My Three Sons on CBS 40 years ago and noticing every car in each episode was a Pontiac. Then, during the credits it read: Automobiles furnished by Pontiac.
There is a great scene in Live and Let Die the movie, when Bond is in the backseat of a cab. The driver is killed with a dart from a passing car, and the cab careens out of control. Every car the cab almost hits is a Chevy Impala. There are Impalas of every color. Two doors, four doors, wagons, each an Impala - and an early attempt at product placement.

Product placement has come a long way in 40 years. Now, companies pay everyday for their products to be placed, positioned & used on television & movies. Whether or not this type of advertising actually works, remains to be seen. Real studies on product placement indicate it might not be effective at all. It hasn't kept companies from doing it though. From the Diet Pepsi cans on Friends to the cereals in Seinfelds kitchen - these products are everywhere - placed there on purpose to influence your buying. Now, brace yourself for this. FROM NOW ON, THESE PRODUCTS MIGHT NOT REALLY BE THERE!

Oh, they'll be there. Digitally. On your screen, just not on the set. There might be a box of crackers on a table that really isn't there. There might be a soap bottle by the sink - that is simply digitally inserted into the scene. And, when the same episode runs in syndication it might be a different soap, or the box of crackers might become a can of peanuts.

There are more than 100,000 product placements per year, just on television right now. When producers can digitally insert products after production, what will the number be? It's gonna get stupid real fast. Soon, every product on television and in movies will be a brand name product. This is a far cry from the days when producers used tape to alter products by covering the name.

This all comes back to, is this advertising effective? In the case of this consumer, no. Now that I know the product I see with my own two eyes might not actually be there in the first place, I will be reluctant to purchase them. Why? Because they're messin' with my head.

Me? "Mr. Home Improvement"? Nope.

I have a beautiful home. It's tastefully decorated. It's a new construction home that I had built just over 10 years ago. No one has ever lived in the home but me. It's laid out the way I want it. Now, 10 years later, little improvements are being made. The "girl channels" on TV lead me to believe I should participate in decorating. HGTV, Discovery & TLC shows make decorating and home improvement seem so easy. These shows often show dramatic changes being made to homes - that always conclude in one hour, sometimes 30 minutes. What we miss watching these shows, is often several days pass. Often paint is spilled. Countertops are cut too small. New windows don't fit the openings. The new stove blows all the fuses. People fall off ladders. Husbands and wives argue to the point of divorce. These are the moments that get edited from the shows. I've never seen a wife throw a staple gun at her husband on one of these shows - but I know it's happened. Why then, do couples take on these projects? Isn't a relationship worth more than new cabinets? Isn't a copacetic lifestyle worth more than new hardwood floors? Married couples take the decorating leap of faith everyday - coaxed by these oversimplified TV shows. The shows always end with "the reveal". This is where the homeowners get to see the finished project. They always say, "Oh, it's so beautiful". Then, the camera turns off - and the wife clocks the husband. Every home has projects that need to be done. Walls need to be moved. Closets need to be built. Faucets need to be installed.

Do what I do and save your marriage. Call a professional. Write a check. It's what Dr. Phil would do.