Saturday, September 23, 2006

There's One Born Every Thirty Seconds

For the third year in a row, American Idol, Fox's ratings winner, will command the highest advertising prices on television, with a 30-second spot going for $500,000 to $700,000, Advertising Age reported Thursday. The network will charge the most during Tuesday night's performance show, with Wednesday night's results show remaining the second-most pricey hour of TV. This estimate doesn't include, of course, what advertisers will end up paying for 30 seconds of commercial time during Idol's finale. Companies ponied up $1.3 million for spots this year.

It's hard for me to imagine that marketers are getting their money's worth out of a half million dollars for an advertisement. During the commercials, I'm imagining most people on the phone to their friends complaining about the one who didn't advance or cheering about the one who did. Watching a Gap ad may be the last on the list of priorities that may include:
A bathroom break (for purging of some sort)
A refrigerator break (for as much alcohol as it takes to get through the show)

Switching over to check the score of the baseball game
Checking E! to see if Clay Aiken has another new hairstyle
Whining to your wife/girlfriend, "Do we have to watch the rest of this?"

If I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want to get something out of it. Such as:

HELSINKI, Finland (Reuters) - A fee of 25,500 euros ($32,000) is way too much for a woman to charge a man for fondling her bosom, a Finnish district court ruled. The court jailed a couple in their twenties for more than a year for charging a 74-year-old who suffers from dementia a total of 25,500 euros to enjoy the woman's breasts on 10 occasions.
"Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a 25,500 euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question," Judge Hasse Hakki, who heard the case, told Reuters Friday.

Aww - what does he know? After all, it's only $3,200 per grope. Besides, the guy is suffering from dementia. Do you think anyone in their right mind would pay that for handling boobs? What do you suppose the Bush's pay the White House Chief of Staff? I'll bet it's a lot more than $3,200!

Besides, what if it was her boobs? Wouldn't that be worth a few bucks? That might qualify as a "general life experience".

As you know, there is no end to the ways in which people can be separated from their money. Witness the Pete Rose baseballs, detailed here a few days ago. They were scheduled to go up for auction, but ESI Entertainment Systems Inc., a British Columbia company that provides gaming products and services, offered $30,000 for the 30 balls. They paid $1,000 each for them, even though identical baseballs are offered on Rose's web site for $299 each. Those whacky Canadians!

For the first time, Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans consists exclusively of people worth $1 billion or more. As a group, the people who made the rankings released Thursday are worth a record $1.25 trillion, compared with $1.13 trillion last year. The rich are indeed getting richer.

Now we know what they're doing with the money:
Squandering it on near-worthless advertising...
Squeezing breasts... well, OK, so it's not all wasted!
Buying baseballs for $701 more than the market price...

...buying these goofy-ass things for twice what they will be selling for in about a month. Now I know what Elmo is laughing at. Listings on Ebay tonight ranged from a laughable $25,000 to 99 cents, with most falling into the $50 range. The list price was $34.99, but they were gone quickly, and one assumes that the Ebay sellers scooped up most of them. They're probably Wal-Mart employees who met the truck at the loading dock.
That's right, one listing for $25,000 (or $80,000 if you care to "Buy it Now"). It's listed here. Plus $7 shipping, which takes some nerve. Yes, Elmo, we're all laughing at that one. How much would a shotgun cost to blow your fuzzy little head off?

It seems that intelligence and money are not necessarily made to work together. As we know, no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the general public.

My Mind is a Blank

So, enjoy this little video from the good (free) folks at YouTube.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy Equinox

In addition to this being the first day of autumn, today also marks the first full day that Christmas cards are available at my local shopping mall, and I suppose yours, too. The card clerks at the little Hallmark shop were stocking the shelves yesterday. Hurry and get them - they'll be gone by Hallowe'en.
The mall was empty Thursday night, and walking around gets me to thinking. Not just about Ruth's Hallmark and the Yankee Candle Company, but also about Aeropostale. How can they have a 50% off clearance sale? Apparently, we are paying way too much for that stuff to begin with.

There are lots of people on the phone, and at least five stores selling them. Important calls are being made in front of the Borders book store. "Should I pick up that McGreevey book for ya? ... hello ... hello ... hello?"
I suppose the answer was "no".

The Auntie Anne's pretzel may be the ultimate comfort food. THEIR SLOGAN: SPOILING DINNER SINCE 1988. I THINK NOT. HOW ABOUT: PROVIDING DINNER? Lucky for me I only had two. I pick at them like doughy cotton candy, and walk a little faster in hopes that the faint amount of exercise will negate the butterfat. No.

...there's the big empty store at the end of the mall that no one wants to move into. There it stands, a monument to rejection. On its own, it is a functional structure. Sound, square and secure. Once, it was a great resource, but now it sits waiting for another beau to move in, hoping to regain the past glory of a time long gone, before the dust gathered and the boards replaced the windows. It ages day by day, and soon we forget what was once there, and can only recall the emptiness that we think has existed far too long.

It is symbolic in its way, and full of those unanswered questions we ask ourselves. How do we find the one who will fill our shelves and replace our boards with windows? Life's great mystery. Men and women meet each other every day, and from what I can tell, they form relationships, as hard as that is for me to believe. How do people get together? It's a lot harder than finding a tenant for a vacant store, I know that.

Days pass into months and the dust gathers. No new tenants. Soon, the cool, autumn air will fill what was once warm and full of life. It seems as inevitable as the passing of time and as sure as the sunrise. The sun still shines as brightly, but it's waning angle is cool to the touch.

I wander life's mall, eating food court Chinese alone and strolling aimlessly, waiting for a store to open.

There's a chill in the air. Summer is over and the dreaded holiday season fast approaches. The boards may stay on the windows a while longer.

August, die she must.
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September, I remember.
A love once new has now grown old.
- Paul Simon

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen v. 2

My 13 Favorite TV Shows

Rules: No sports, no reruns and only national shows qualify. The list may change during the new season, since it looks like there are some good shows coming.
Since there are fewer sitcoms than ever, and I'm not a fan of the reality shows, this list was harder to compile than I thought.

1. My Name is Earl. The best ensemble cast on TV. Each one perfectly suited to their character. Jaime Pressly plays the best drunk in the history of television. If you're a Survivor viewer, time-shift Earl and soon, you'll be time-shifting Survivor.

2.The Late Show with David Letterman. The first half-hour is just about the funniest thing on TV. I've always preferred Dave over Jay. Jay strikes me as too phony-show biz, and belongs in L.A.

3. The Simpson's. It's slipped a little recently, but still shines.

4. Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don't have HBO, so I have to catch up with this by buying the DVDs. I'm always a year behind, but it doesn't matter. The DVDs are cheaper than the cable, and just as good.

5. Weeds. I don't have Showtime, either, so I watch the DVDs. Smart, funny and as edgy as anything on television. The odd subject matter makes it unique and worth watching.

6. American Chopper. It's been fun watching the shop grow from a tiny acorn to a huge conglomerate. The Teutel's are great to watch and true chopper artists. Sometimes the arguments seem staged, but fun nonetheless.

7. Pimp My Ride. I'd like to do a follow-up show and see what these cars look like a year later. Probably as trashed as they were when they first rolled in.

8. 60 Minutes. Still rolling along after many years on the tube. Andy Rooney deserves more time.

9. The Daily Show. A great lead-in to Letterman. Laugh out loud funny, and sad, since the news they present is based on fact. Does anyone remember who the original host was?

10. Cops. White trash on parade. If you're on this show, you're not calling your family and friends to tell them that you're going to be on television.

11. CBS Sunday Morning. Charles Osgood hosts this little news-magazine show. Usually, it's better than it's evening cousin, 60 Minutes. The stories have more humanity and are generally softer.

12. How I Met Your Mother. Hey, I told you this list was hard to put together! A little goofier than most of the shows here, but I like serials, and this one has an interesting continuing story line.

13. Saturday Night Live. Fading fast, and from what I understand, it's close to being cancelled. This was tough to pick, since I don't watch as much as I used to, but I'll go with history.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just Thinking

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, who broke his hand in Sunday night's game against Washington, had a plate screwed into the bone attached to his right ring finger during an operation Monday evening.
A plate? I think he'd be better off having a knife and fork screwed in there.

Meanwhile, Pete Rose is signing balls like the one pictured above. They are being auctioned off by one of these grubbing auction houses. Originally, they were signed for Pete's buddies, who were supposed to be collectors, but found a way to cash in. If only he had signed the Dowd Report that way, he'd be in the Hall of Fame by now.

Maybe some other high-profile goofball celebrities could start signing stuff, too:
DICK CHENEY - I'm sorry I shot that guy in the face. And, stop by the house, I'll reimburse you for the gasoline.
PARIS HILTON - I apologize for being so famous and not really having any discernable skills.
GEORGE W. BUSH - I apologize for being president and not really having any discernable skills.
JOHN KERRY - I'm sorry I'm not your president.
ALBERT GORE - What he said.
JIM McGREEVEY - I'm sorry for spilling my guts on Oprah. I should have just jumped on her couch and gotten it over with.
JOHN MARK KARR - I'm ... oh, nevermind.
MONROE, N.Y. - School officials apologized after an X-rated font was used on a third-grade spelling packet handed out to parents. The font showed male and female stick figures in provocative poses to form the letters of the alphabet. Officials with the Monroe-Woodbury School District in Orange County apologized last week after parents at Pine Tree Elementary School were given the spelling packet at an open house. Administrators said the teacher did not use the font intentionally.

Really? Unintentional. OK. Check out the font I'm using. It's your run of the mill trebuchet. Sounds dirty, but it's not. Would you get it confused with this?:

Me neither. Hey, it's not like those third-graders haven't already been exposed to stick figures having sex. Maybe it's the "group sex" that has them bugged?


AKRON, Ohio - A former postal worker who poured urine into his co-workers' coffee must serve six months in a jail work-release program. Thomas Shaheen, 50, of suburban Springfield Township, also must pay $1,200 to the people he used to work with to cover their cost of making a secret video of his role in tainting the office coffee.

OMG - Katie and Kimmyk - OHIO! My illusions are shattered. Now, you have to check your mailboxes. At least they are making him pay for the video. Look on the bright side, Tom ... "Producer" credit.
He was convicted of two misdimeanor counts of tainting food. Excuse me ... peeing in food is waaaaaaay more than a taint. He definitely needs a shoe piece.

LONDON (Reuters) - Surgeons in China who said they performed the first successful penis transplant had to remove the donated organ because of the severe psychological problems it caused to the recipient and his wife. Ten days after the operation, which had been approved by the hospital's medical ethical committee, the recipient had been able to urinate.

Woo-hoo! I hear there's a job opening at the Post Office in Akron.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm a Tuber

Hopelessly addicted, and at such a (relatively) young age. I spend countless minutes in front of the You Tube, gazing and searching. On Saturday, I found a rare (or, not so rare now) video of the complete "Supper's Ready" - the 23 minute opus that appeared on side 2 of the Genesis album Foxtrot, circa 1972. An epic masterpiece from my young-adulthood, and there it was in all its glory. I understand that it probably means little to you, but I got a little misty-eyed.

I tried to post a couple of videos on the blog and found that there is some compatibility issue between the You Tube and the Blogger Beta A problem with Beta - what else is new? Having seen You Tube videos on others' Blogs, naturally I inquired. What could the matter be? My buddy (and recently annointed Blogger Superhero) Pam clued me in on the proper approach. So, here's the little ditty I was going to post on Saturday. It's no Genesis, but it's pretty damned funny, and about 20 minutes shorter. Enjoy.

It's David Letterman taking orders at a McDonald's drive-thru:

Bird Droppings

I’m not your typical football fan. I’m not your typical anything, but football in particular. I don’t take the games as anything more than entertainment. When my team loses, it’s a story with a bad ending, nothing more. However, folks around here view a loss as a personal attack, and yesterday was a Giant kick in the stomach.

The Eagles blew a 17-point lead with 14:40 left in the game as the New York Giants snatched out an improbable 30-24 win in front of 69,241 fans Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Some fans leaving the game were interviewed by our local newspaper.

"Absolutely disgraceful," said Mary Agnes Sullivan, 74, of Blackwood. "I've never been embarrassed to be an Eagles fan until today. My great-grandson could have coached better in the third quarter than that arrogant (Eagles head coach) Andy Reid. He should apologize to the fans for what he did today."

"It's not (expletive deleted) fair," said Ashley Colinaro, 31, of Mickleton. "You give your heart to something and they don't care. That's an absolute disgrace losing that game. I feel sick. If they don't care why should I?"

That’s right, Ashley. If you have a bad day at work today, nobody from the Eagles is going to shed a tear or get angry about it. Don’t feel sick. Feel disappointed that you spent $85 and got only anger in return. Mostly, you should wonder why you feel sick. Chances are, most of the angry fans felt more emotion yesterday then they would feel if a member of their own family were involved. That may be worth examining.

A friend at work was watching the game at home with his girlfriend. She arrived midway through the game, and the Eagles started to tank. “Get out, you’re bad luck,” he told her, and she left. She returned before the fatal overtime period, and the team choked it up. “That’s it, you’re banned from watching games here. You’re bad luck,” he said.

Get a grip, pal.

As far as I’m concerned, anytime there’s a woman in my house, I feel lucky, football notwithstanding.