Wednesday, March 31, 2010

American Idol, Green Jobs and the Border

Ok I will now admit it. I watch American Idol and find it entertaining. Don't tell anyone.
I would like to pose a couple of questions as long as I am here wasting time. With your permission Herr General.

What is a "Green Job?"

Why is our southern border not militarized?

Would Rachel Maddow look less bullish with longer hair?

What is a real "progressive" anyway?

Why does my lawnmower continue to give me problems?

How is that "hope and change" working out for ya?

Why is loving this country a bad thing?

Why is Osama Bin Laden not dead and gone?

Why is Coke better than Pepsi?

Why is the Panama Canal in the hands of a third world nation?

Why is Toyota better than Ford?

Why do old "bikers" wish they were really members of the Bandidos, Sons of Silence, Pagans, The Breed, etc etc?

These are good questions damn it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Television Commercials I Like

Today I would rather not think too hard about the problems that are confronting our great country. If there was any doubt that we have a Mohammedan sympathizer in the Oval Office, then last weeks actions should have erased that doubt. There is now some sort of "health care reform" that will probably turn out to be a boondoggle that will further damage the economy, and thank the Lord that South Korea has determined (or chosen to determine) that their warship was not a victim of a North Korean attack. If the South publicly accused the Democratic Republic of a military attack it is conceivable that this administration would abandon our important ally in a lurch. I would imagine that those in South Korea sense this. So instead of delving into these important matters, I think I will just blabber about tv commercials that I find interesting.

Television advertisements can be an art form every bit as entertaining as "real" movies and tv programs. Although it must be noted that for every good one there are hundreds of those that are merely "informative" without being entertaining. That is fine and good but a little bit of humor works wonders in putting a product before the public. Lets take a look at a few successful campaigns.

The Progressive Auto Insurance ads that have been running for quite some time have been quite successful and by now every one who watches television should know that Progressive sell auto insurance. The woman that is the "star" of the commercials a somewhat goofy brunette who is at the same time, well, sexy in an odd sort of way. This is brilliant advertising and I would imagine that the campaign has paid for itself many many times. One of the early ads featured very attractive blond woman who, when talking, curls her lip in an interesting way. I would be willing to bet that males in focus groups found this very sexually appealing while at the same time not coming across as exploitive to women in said groups. There is actually some "science" that goes into a very successful and quite expensive national campaign before it rolls out.

Geico, another insurer, has two very good campaigns running. The predominant one features the Geico Lizard and it is doubtful that there is anyone in the nation that does not know who this is. The advertisements are somewhat amusing but the real genius behind it is that now everyone knows that Geico sells auto insurance.

Ditto for their other major campaign that features the "cavemen." This has been so successful that there was actually a sitcom spawned from the characters. Both of these campaigns have, I am sure, paid for themselves many times over.

Now the top dogs in the insurance industry - State Farm and Allstate do not have to resort to airwaves saturation as do the up and comers. State Farm advertisements of late have targeted Geico and Progressive in a straightforward way without resorting to humor or gimmicks. This is a luxury of a leader in an industry, but, it must be noted that since the State Farm ads do mention Geico and Progressive by name, it does mean that those at State Farm are worried at least somewhat about losing market share.

The advertisements for Southwest Airlines are exceptional. The latest one where the men run up to a competitors aircraft and lift their shirts while yelling is an exceptional take off of the scene where the Scots faced off with the English at Falkirk (perhaps Bannockburn) in the film Brave Heart. The entire "Its on" campaign that Southwest airs is quite good and helps to solidify the perception in the public mind that the airline, while "no perk," is still somewhat a cut above the "full service" airlines in the industry. Anyone who regularly flies with both Continental and Southwest will testify to the superiority of SW.

It is interesting that an add campaign can be quite irritating to be a huge success. Remember the "Mentos" commercials that aired a few years back. These were horrible but they are indeed memorable for being so bad and the do indeed hit the target in getting the products name in the public conscience. This is a risky strategy however as there are large numbers of people who will be so turned off by a campaign that they may not be inclined to buy the product.

The very same can be said of the "Old Navy" campaigns that are periodically unveiled. The commercials are terrible but they do get the "Old Navy' name out there.

Intel has a very good advertisement out that features an engineer walking into the coffee break room and being greeted like the winning QB or rock star. That is quite interesting and is probably effective at keeping the Intel name in the public mind.

The horrible fast food chain "Jack In the Box" has has a very successful campaign running with "Jack" being the "star" of the series. My favorite is the one where a couple are in the hot tub with Jack and his apparent wife. The other couple are apparently swingers and the long haired blond male just looks like a smarmy swinger type from the 80's. This commercial is exceptional as indeed are most of the spots in this campaign. Brilliant advertising without question. Unfortunately the food is not (in my opinion) worth eating.

I have always loved television commercials and often find them more entertaining than the actual shows that are being offered on by the various networks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HealthCare Passed. Now What?

Well it appears that some sort of "healthcare reform" has passed although it is still unclear to most in this country what that actually means. It apparently means higher taxes on business which, by the way, create jobs. Businesses large and small are already burdened to the point of it becoming almost not worth the effort for some to continue. It looks as if some of us will have to pay some sort of tax or "fine" if we chose not to purchase health insurance. Who knows what a job killing, bureaucratic nightmare this will become before it is fully implemented. Oh and by the way, it will not really cover everybody and is apparently not really the "universal care" that many have demanded. Now with that being said, it is without dispute (by any compassionate person) that there has to be some sort of reform. It is tiresome to go around town and see fliers posted in restaurants and stores advertising a benefit bar b que for some child that has an awful disease or condition and can not be treated due to lack of insurance or funds. That is a travesty that should be rectified immediately. Although it must be said that in Texas there is a low cost state subsidized health plan for children that is relatively inexpensive and it makes one wonder why more parents don't take advantage of it. It might of course mean that some folks would have to cut down a little on their weed, cigarettes and beer to afford it though. I guess that is too much to ask of any "parent."
Now there are some that keep screaming about "death panels" and bureaucrats getting between you and your physician and they insist that this will be the future if we continue down this road. In reality this is already happening with the denial of coverage for pre existing conditions and even denial of treatment for those who are policy holders with no pre existing condition. What you have there is a private sector bureaucrat making life and death decisions. It could be argued that those who make such decisions have been indirectly responsible for many many deaths in this country for conditions that, if properly treated in a timely fashion, need not be fatal. Is that not murder? There may not be malice involved in those decisions (arguably) but there certainly is forethought.

Oh well, it is a no brainer that some reform is needed and indeed some mandate from the government to enforce fairness in the system but (and this is a big but) it is disturbing that so many of those leading the charge for healthcare reform seem so Un American. It is without question that the Pelosis, Reids, Obamas, Boxers, etc. etc. have much more in common with early National Socialist thought (on some issues) than with the vision of the founding fathers. Please don't take my word for it - Read the party platform of the NSDAP (Nazi Party). Now the "progressives" certainly are not nationalists. In fact, they are anti nationalist to the point of being a danger to the nation, but they certainly have the socialist part down. I'm not quite ready to say we are heading down a classical Fascist or Marxist path just yet, but there is some indication that this is a possibility.

When the man said he was going to "fundamentally change America" I am sure many who voted for him shrugged that off as campaign rhetoric, if they thought about it at all. That was a mistake.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Malvinas My Ass Hurts

Hillary Clinton has spoken on the need to mediate the continueing disagreement over the ownership of the correctly named Falkland Islands. They are only known as the Malvinas by the losing party. What Mrs. Clinton does not seem to understand is that the issue was settled in 1982 and remains settled until such time as Argentina decides to strike again. The loss of the Cruiser General Belgrano, the cowardly retreat to port of the rest of the Argentine "fleet," and the literal stranding of the half trained Argentine conscripts probably still weighs heavy on the their national conscience. The UK will never give up the Falklands I would wager no matter what a progressive (whatever that means) U.S. SecState (or President) says or does. The question has been decided by war as most important international conflicts historically have been and will be as long as humans grace this planet. To think otherwise is childish. Mrs. Clinton's untimely remarks serve no purpose and is frankly disrespectful to a nation (and fallen UK soldiers loved ones) that is our ally in the current conflict with the Mohammedans. It appears that Mrs. Clinton and the administration she serves have little understanding of the realities of the world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrity White Teeth SCAM

There is a product called Celebrity White Teeth that is advertised on the Internet on various sites and appears to be a quite appealing product. If you order the trial product however you will find yourself charged a heck of a lot of money. At least three different "companies" will attempt to hit your credit card. Buyer Beware!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Houston ISD: Layoffs Coming Soon?

There is an article today concerning work hours that will be cut in the food service department of the Houston Independent School District. While there are apparently budget shortfalls requiring some action, it does appear that the board is going to go after those employees that have the least resources available to defend themselves. Anybody that works in an education environment knows darn well that the "lunch ladies" are a vital part of the educational team. Many kids come to school without having had anything to eat (for numerous reasons) and a good breakfast has been proven to help keep the mind alert for learning. Same for lunch. While the quality of the food served is not going to measure up to any halfway decent restaurant, that is beside the point. The food is "fuel for the day" so to speak. I am sure that the HISD board has all the usual "there will be no let down in productivity in the food service dept" public relations bull available to broadcast (to anyone who cares to listen), but everyone knows that this is nonsense. Support staff are as important to the educational process as teachers themselves. What is not as productive to the process are the number of administrators. Lets be honest here, quite a few of those in management in a large district really do not have anything to do that is of any real consequence or value to the educational process. Indeed in quite a number of cases they are little more than a hindrance. Perhaps the board should take a look at some of these extremely well paid positions that in reality are of little benefit. That is where real money could be saved instead of cutting the hours of the "lunch ladies."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Strikes Again

Lindsay apparently is suing E Trade over one of their exceptional (and kinda creepy) baby advertisements. When will this psuedo celeb (Lindsay) just go away? She needs to have her agent contact someone in Chatsworth to line her up with some gainful employment. Know what I mean?

Oscar Commentary

Well the Oscar Awards show was on the other night and I admit that I watched most of it. I thought at first that we just recently had this thrown in our face, but that was the Golden Globes. There is really not too much to say on the subject but of course I will mention a couple of things.

James Cameron thankfully did not personally win an award for "his" film Avatar. I am glad of that. Cameron appears to be an egotistical ass who feels that he is above reproach and criticism. He is not in the same league as Lucas, Scorcese, the late Damiano, or even for that matter Stone. Besides, and here is the real crux of the matter, it appears that Cameron and Co. absconded with the name "Avatar." There is a film coming out this summer that is to be called "The Last Air Bender" based on a television cartoon called "Avatar." I am sure that the group that produced Cameron's "Avatar" employed armies of scumbag lawyer types to wrest the name "Avatar" from their rightful owners. Oh well, I suppose it is nothing to get all rowdy about but it just seems a bit crappy. This of course is only my opinion and I could be wrong. I doubt it though.

Sean Penn made his appearance at the awards show and that is fine. Now I don't like Mr. Penn, but I certainly have a good deal of respect for him. Why? He has been down in Haiti doing the work that a good many of the loud mouth Hollywood types wish they had the balls to do. They talk a good game about world problems and do of course get involved financially (I suppose) but it is not too often that you see them out in the field (so to speak) working with the people. Mr. Penn gets his ass out there and gets his hands dirty. Bravo for him and I mean that.If you recall he personally got in a boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and helped pull people out of the muck. Were there any other Hollywood type doing so? Not that I know of. Even if one thinks that Penn's politics are insane (which I do), or thinks he might personally be a prick ( I suspect him to be so), respect must be given where respect is due. Penn puts his money where his mouth is, and if I am to understand correctly, a lot of that money is from his personal account. He probably needs to make more money in his chosen field. Hopefully someone will soon hire him to be the feature actor or something similar. If the Hollywood types really want to help out in Haiti maybe some of them could consider donating funds to Mr. Penn personally or help him "line up another job." If I'm not careful, I may just start liking this guy.

Just a few thoughts.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Darn Good Television

I have come across a television series that is pretty darn good. The "Undercover Boss" show that airs Sunday evenings has corporate executives going "undercover" out in the field of their various business units to check on the moral, operations, etc. etc. So far I have seen the Waste Management, Hooters and White Castle episodes. I missed the 7-11 Stores episode where I am going to assume that the exec went undercover as a clerk and had to put up with the worry that some wild ass was going to rob him of the 50 bucks in the register. The Hooters episode was interesting especially when one of the managers was observed making the girls eat beans off a plate like dogs licking from bowls. He should have been fired on the spot for that.
All in all this is an excellent show, but the "boss" going "undercover" in any large organization is somewhat of a dangerous experiment. Why? In each of the episodes that I have viewed, management has come up with some "pro employee" program that will in reality do nothing more than cost the company money. That is fine and good when things are going great, but try to explain that to stockholders who are looking for profits when times are tough. Now as a pro labor sort myself, I agree with and condone perks and programs that help make a workplace more palatable, but I also understand that a company needs to profit to survive and grow. Sometimes employee programs can be a waste of valuable resources.

The other morning I was watching Telemundo and came across a show called "Muy Buenos Dias" I now understand what Beavis and Butthead were talking about when they spoke of Telemundo in one of their episodes a few years back. This show, which airs very early in the am, is nothing more than some Spanish language music video clips and a bikini dance that looks to be taking place somewhere near a beach location. Nice way to start the day! There are a lot of extraordinarily good looking ladies dancing and of course there is a good deal of "hint of butt crack" featured. Since the show is of course all in Spanish, I could not help thinking that regular viewing is a great way to "bone up" on foreign language skills. You have to admire Hispanic culture. Can you imagine NBC airing some sort of bikini dancing on their early morning programing. There would be cries of sexism, exploitation, etc. etc. What a silly world we live in.

On a side note, I did notice that on one of the videos there was a band called "La Paz de la Sierra" (I think) that featured a lead singer that appeared to resemble a cross between the late Pablo Escobar and Ron Jeremy. That was pretty funny.

If you are up early, check this one out on Telemundo!!