20.4.09

My First and Last Statement About the Tea Parties




[NOTE: Life, real and otherwise, has kept me away from this thing for a while. Hopefully there won't be any more two-plus-months breaks between posts.]

I am not sure I can remember when I've seen as big a clusterfuck of clueless sheeple as there were on Wednesday, April 15 -- the so-called Anti-Tax Tea Parties that took place in several locales around the country, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

My observation of the whole thing, now that I've had a few days to let it sink in, is this:

Many of the folks at these protests looked to be of an income group that's NOT making in excess of $250K a year, and WILL BENEFIT from the tax revisions (I speak to this with experience -- the new withholding tables courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have put an extra $17-something dollars in my paycheck every two weeks and those of my coworkers. Okay, $34 extra a month isn't that much, and in no way does it solve ALL of my problems, but it's a start).

You can look at any media outlet and see that there were many more signs at these protests besides the anti-tax signs (just Google it -- every other blogger, big and small, that didn't take a two-plus-months hiatus from blogging has covered it regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum). I feel some participants in these protests used it as an excuse to continue to spew the xenophobic hatred and conspiracy nonsense (Barack Obama's not a natural-born American! His birth certificate is fake!) that continues to make a mockery of the GOP (as if they don't do a good job of that all by themselves) as the divide between sane, rational GOP adherents and the batshit-crazy "oogedy boogedy" sector grows deeper.

For me, I can't help but look at the wingnuts and wonder if the next Tim McVeigh was in one of those crowds, one of those that's going to go off the deep end, prodded by what he hears on AM talk radio or whatever, and cause untold death and destruction as was visited on Oklahoma City 14 years ago yesterday. On a smaller but no less tragic scale, that may have already happened in Philadelphia. There's more about the Philadelphia shooter here. Surely you can put two and two together.

15.2.09

WTF Marketing



No, really. WTF?

The article is a little tongue in cheek but the fact remains: Mars, Inc. is bringing out all the female stereotypes to net-market a high-end confection called Fling -- sort of like an anti-Twix (called a "finger" on Fling's marketing site) without the caramel and cookie goodness but with (squeeeee!) sparkles*. Oh yeah, and each finger is a scant 85 calories (wonder if that was of any concern to the Donner Party). So far, Fling is only being market-tested in California.

There's all kinds of things about this that rub me the wrong way, the most damning of which is to refer to a chocolate treat (especially one being so brazenly marketed to women) as a "finger." Many women, for whatever reason, kowtow to societal pressures and expectations of body image combined with poor self-esteem, and find themselves struggling with disorders like bulimia, and you see where I'm going with this, and it's absolutely unacceptable. Of course, they could have been really disgusting and come up with any slogan involving the words "fingers" and "throat" and ... blech. Either way, its a mockery.

Another is the most visually obvious on the marketing website: Pink. I'd really love to know who decided, eons ago, that pink was a woman's favorite color, because I'd like to shoot them. The delivery-room color-coding, of course, is pink for girls and blue for boys, but while there's an obscenity of pink anything marketed to women (even Pink, the college girl-friendly leisurewear brand marketed by Victoria's Secret), I'm not really noticing a similar tide of powder-blue goodies for the ones with exposed plumbing.

[Male North Carolina Tar Heels fans: This isn't about you. Shut up].

They stopped short of including a warning for men similar to that for women in the prescribing information for the men's hair-loss drug finasteride (brand name Propecia). Just supposing, what happens if a man handles a broken or crushed Fling Chocolate Finger? Will his genitals shrivel up and fall off altogether?

Since the product has yet to go national, there's probably time to tweak that ad campaign.

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* The sparkles are mica, found in some cosmetics and dental-care products. Fling's website asserts that mica is also used by confectioners in gourmet chocolates and it's FDA-approved, so I'm going to assume it's OK to swallow it but I don't really like for anything I'm about to ingest to look like Yuletide bling.

7.2.09

Somehow We Knew This Was Coming

SI: A-Rod Tested Positive in 2003. Wow, and pitchers and catchers haven't even reported to camp yet!

I lost a lot of interest in Major League Baseball largely because of the steroid thing and most major offensive records from 1998 on that should probably be considered tainted. I had to know this day was coming when a really important offensive player would reportedly test positive. I never particularly liked Alex Rodriguez, but didn't knock his abilities as a player. Now there's probably a reason -- if true -- to knock his abilities as a player. And not just any player, but an all-world MVP-caliber superstar ... baseball's answer to the NBA's Lebron James, or the NFL's Peyton Manning.

I don't think baseball is necessarily doomed because of this, but it is that final stubborn holdover from an American era that went away eons ago. No matter what it has tried to do to reach younger sports fans that are more interested in football* or basketball, baseball manages to come off looking like your octogenarian grandfather who, in an attempt to be modern, thinks dressing in Hollister or A&F apparel and dropping Urban Dictionary vocabulary into his prescription drug-induced rants is the way to do it.

I wonder if we just keep it around because we have this innate dislike of wanting to destroy something that's perceived as a romantic and cherished piece of Americana. It's still cool that its the only game that doesn't have a clock, and the only game in which the team that's on defense has the ball, and it's also still cool that in baseball, the team's coach is called the "manager" and wears a uniform just like the players he's running out there. And yes, George Carlin's "Baseball vs. Football" routine still resonates a little bit in a modern era in which America is waist-deep in George W. Bush's leftover affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And down through the generations baseball has managed to do a bang up job of nearly destroying itself, only to survive and even sometimes thrive. Eventually, we'll bury Grandpa (and probably in a smart, sharp suit instead of his great-grandson's frat boy clothes). For so long as baseball-playing athletes get their names connected with performance-enhancing drugs and tainted records continue to stand, I now wonder if we should bury baseball too, or at the very least just lock it in a trunk in the attic for a while.

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* Either kind: Adrian Peterson plays football. So does David Beckham. It's just that we Americans call Beckham's kind of football by the annoyingly cutesy name "soccer." If the rest of the world calls what we call soccer "football," then I will too, and if you don't like it, you are invited to bend over and attempt to practice fellatio or cunnilingus on yourself. Or start writing your own blog and leave mine to me.