Lightning safety 101

This is all in the National Weather Service’s lightning safety handbook.  Verbatim.

Metal in no way conducts electricity.  So when a lightning strikes a building quickly run towards the lightning-struck building and touch as much of the metal on it as you can.   Rub the metal all over you until you are nice and electricity free.

On an unrelated note, a recent poll shows that 100% of employees who have finally finished their shift and are about to drive home in the dark will, in the case of a sudden natural disaster concerning their place of employment, run back to said place of employment and behold it with fresh eyes, as if said place of employment had just invented the wheel for the first time.

Opinion: if spinning an image of a skeleton “enriches your knowledge like you’ve never imagined,” you are an idiot with an exceedingly poor imagination.

Published in: on 30 August 2011 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How to do everything

…and complete nothing.

I do like the song, though.




[If you are reading this on a Playbook, you should have started doing something else by now.  You have like 30 apps running simultaneously–if you don’t stop reading this you won’t have time to read the tweets or tumbles or any of the other things that you won’t actually finish (or start).]

Honesty in advertising

I give credit where credit is due.

For awhile now, Domino’s Pizza has been doing everything in their power to let consumers know the truth about their pizza: it tastes awful.  I was, sincerely, unaware of this (with a cheaper, closer alternative, I don’t ever order Domino’s).  That is, until they ran an ad campaign composed of various segments of the above video.  At that point I learned that Domino’s pizza taste like cardboard, has ketchup instead of marinara sauce, and is not made with real cheese.  (To be honest, the amazed and shocked look on the chef’s face when he sees/smells real cheese is rather disturbing, given his job.)  Also, once the pizza is made, Domino’s doesn’t know how to box and/or deliver the pizza.

Domino’s, in an effort to fix their image and replace it with something hip and trendy, has turned to crowd sourcing.  Send them pictures of your pizza, tell them how awful it is, and, now, come up with “proverbs” to be placed on pizza boxes.

I am going to ignore the proverbs, by and large, since they were made, allegedly, by regular folk and not by a corporation that pays people to handle its public image.  Two exceptions.  One: “Satisfying Fulfillment!”  This did not make the boxes, but is listed as one of the “Top Proverbs.”  This stands out for an amazing number of reasons, given that it is only two words.  First, the redundancy.  Satisfaction and fulfillment are synonymous in some usages, and, ignoring that, how can “fulfillment” not be satisfying?  Well, I’ll actually answer that one, since I asked.  The one instance would be the definition of “fulfillment” as “the process… of handling or executing customer orders,” in which case we have already seen that Domino’s fulfillment is not satisfying.  Second, the interpretation of “proverb.”  Relevant definition: “a short popular saying… that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought.”  Being the magnanimous gentleman that I am, I will give the author credit for “short.”  I will not, however, give the author credit for what (in my humble opinion) is the more necessary component–“thought” (“useful” being too far beyond the scope of this verbal regurgitation).  And this segues to the third bit of note: the author.  The author is allegedly a “Dr” and one whom I will not be requesting any doctoral services from.

The second proverb of note was a “winner” and is featured on pizza boxes that are actually delivered (someone brought over Domino’s and our box had this “proverb” on it, so I know it’s real):


Most, with the notable exception of the Dr, of the entries simply took well known quotes and substituted in pizza-related verbage.   That is not why this stands out.  It stands out because of the original quote: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” (Alexander Pope).  You’ve probably noticed that Domino’s has equated its product, pizza, with “fools,” and a competing (I guess?) food product, burgers, with “angels.”  I say you’ve probably noticed this fowl up, but if you happened to be associated with Domino’s, clearly you haven’t, as it’s all over your pizza boxes.


Published in: on 30 June 2011 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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No “good deed” goes unmocked

My neuroticism may have leaked through on this one.

Commercial fixing:

At a basic level, I object to the portrayal of good deeds as surprising and out of the ordinary.  Something that needs to be “caught” as if it were a virus or bacterium.  The more we reinforce “good” as being “strange” the more “bad” becomes “normal.”  This results in entrenched societal habits that are contradictory to the actual desires and ideals of society.  I have the same objection every time I hear “boys will be boys.”  Of course they will, if you keep expecting that of them.  If you expected them to be helpful academics, they’d be that too.  Tabula rasa and all that jazz.

However, the crux of my criticism of this particular advertisement is the last few seconds.  The idea is that the woman is doing a good turn holding the door open to the blind woman.  In theory, this would be fine, but I see three major areas of objection.  Least to greatest:

1.  She’s not using the revolving door.  Not only is this the more exciting option, and everyone needs a spot of fun in their life, but it is the more environmentally friendly option (please note the source is biased, but to my knowledge the concept is accurate and it was the easiest link for me to provide).

2.  She was attempting to use the entrance as an exit.  Leaving through the wrong door and plowing through people is flat out discourteous.  It suggests that you cannot be bothered to pay attention to the flow of traffic and would rather inconvenience everyone coming in through the proper door than walk the ten extra feet to the actual exit (or the five feet to the revolving door).  That a blind woman just happened to be coming through for you to help out doesn’t justify the egocentricity of the original act.

3.  Which brings me to the most objectionable aspect: the impression is given that the blind woman is completely oblivious to her surroundings.  She manages to dress herself smartly, get to the station, and then she won’t be able to get through the door without help?  Even if that were the case, she doesn’t even notice the help somehow, she passes through the door way and immediately veers off in the direction she needs to go.  So, she doesn’t notice the door is open, like she’s never been there and doesn’t know there’s a door there, though she knows where to go beyond the door, or, she’s so callous as to not even appreciate the help with any acknowledgement beyond turning her back on the woman holding the door.  Actually, this is the same problem in the opening scene as well.  Why are there statistically excessive blind people in this commercial, and why are they being treated like they can’t function without the aid of others?  Or, why are blind people portrayed as self-centered jerks who can’t give the time of day to the kindness of strangers?

Published in: on 15 June 2011 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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I vow to use situationally inappropriate music

Let’s equate showcases of strength with music about contemplating suicide.

Commercial broken:

I’m not sure GMC knew what they were trying to say with this.  It’s almost like they wanted to make a wedding reference, but weddings aren’t macho enough for pickup trucks, so they went with sentimental ’90s alt-rock.  Presumably this conflicted with the rough-and-ready voice and images they usually use, so they toned those down a bit too.  The result is something that has neither the toughness of a GMC truck commercial nor the beauty and grace of the Collective Soul song that accompanies it.

They might as well have thrown in some of the lyrics too:

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
‘Cause it’s the world I know.
It’s the world I know.

I certainly would have to be on the brink to buy a pickup truck, let alone a GMC.  It’s not even a Chevy.  Watching this commercial, I feel compelled to echo the question in the song and direct it at GMC: “Has all kindness gone?”

Published in: on 14 June 2011 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Definitions that Samuel Johnson overlooked

I don’t encourage the use of illicit drugs (nor really licit drugs either).  This is relevant.

Commercial break:

The first thing that strikes me about this advertisement is that it is flagrantly a scam.  “Healthcare Information” and “Advertising” are, in this context, antithetical.  Advertising has one function: sales.  Which is fine.  I have no problem with people trying to sell their products in order to create financial security for themselves.  However, attempting to obfuscate the nature of the commercial by using “Healthcare Information” as a descriptor is ethically reproachable.  The spot is not intended to inform the viewer about anything other than a fictitious “medical condition” and the pharmaceutical that accompanies the condition, which is, shockingly, for sale at local stores.  Not to mention that the issue is easily solved with water, as the guy at one point says, but that doesn’t cure it.  You just end up sipping water again later.  You know, when you get thirsty or whatever.

The second thing that strikes me about this advertisement is the advertisement itself.  Dry mouth?  Really?  We already have eye drops to remove redness, now we have a spray to get rid of dry mouth?  What other side effects of pot smoking are we currently tackling in R&D labs?  Also, why is this not geared towards its intended audience?  I believe the correct term is “cotton mouth.”  Not to mention the old guy and his interesting accent (in the video’s comments, the spelling consensus is “dry moath“).  Though, to be fair, I suppose you’d have to be high to buy into this anyway.  I mean, the guy’s not even wearing a lab coat.  What does he know about medicine, or anything else?

Please make sense and spray

Or: Things that require you to go out and buy a table that will have no other function.

Commercial break:

I love this commercial for two reasons.  One, I think it’s really awesome that they’re now making family-size efficiency apartments.  It’s everything that you might get from the first floor of a house, but in one room!  And they say nothing good comes from tough economic times.

Two, the air freshener gets its own table.  No, not just a table, THE table.  The centerpiece of the house, the first thing you see as you enter the door.  All other furniture has been banished to the outskirts, unworthy to be within 15 feet of the singularly-purposed pedestal, crafted from the finest bits of rain forest so that the air freshener may deodorize unimpeded.

Additionally, from a practical stand point, this setup is not only rather extravagant and space inefficient, but impractical.  The product is designed so that when you walk in front of it, it registers your presence–presumably with a Terminatoresque scan/analysis–and maces you with the aroma of flowers.  However, if it is placed in the middle of the room, you are able to walk behind it, where there is no sensor.  To get around this problem, simply follow the lead of the woman in the commercial and spend most of your day walking in circles around the table.

Published in: on 5 June 2011 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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If you don’t have iProducts

Disclosure: I am typing this on a Dell desktop running Windows XP, which it has been doing for 7 years now.  I am a PC user.

Full Disclosure: I masochistically despise M$ and have been making increasing forays into Linux (I have Ubuntu on my netbook).  I like my software light, free, and open source.

Commercial break:

I don’t have an iPhone (nor do I plan on owning one in the near future).  But I do have iTunes (slowly weaning myself off in favor of Songbird).  And if you have iTunes, you also have Quicktime.  Don’t watch videos with iTunes?  What? Are you telling me that, in complete contrast to the stated purpose of iTunes as a music player, you’re only using it to play music?

Well, that’s ok.  Because if you have iTunes, you also have ipodservice.exe.  You don’t have an iPod?  You’ll surely break down and get one now, given how neat this executable is.  In addition to running at start up and eating away 5mb of RAM to do nothing whatsoever, it is also extremely difficult to remove and with each update to iTunes all previous methods of removal tend to become outmoded when iTunes decides to reenable the .exe whenever it feels like it.

But if you do manage it, that’s ok.  If you have iTunes, you have the slightly-less-intractable, though also running at startup and at all other times,  iTunesHelper.exe.  As the name suggests, this executable helps iTunes.  No, it doesn’t help the iTunes user (unless you are currently connecting and iPod or iPhone to your computer).  It helps iTunes use up as much memory as it possibly can, adding, give or take, another 5mb to the pile of RAM that you didn’t really need for anything else, did you?

If you do own an iPod or iPhone, you probably see the sense in the previous items.  Sure, they might not really need to run all of the time, rain or shine, but when you need them, at least their there.  Fortunately, Bonjour is also there, because if you have iTunes, you’ve also received a hello that might require me to pardon your French.  Bonjour is designed to help iTunes recognize printers.  So when you want to listen to music, you can… print out a song.  I think it uses the spinning of the printer spool like a phonograph.

If that sounds a bit too newfangled for you, just blink when you update iTunes and you’ll have Safari as well.  Though if you blinked at this stage in the setup, you were probably using IE before, so this is potentially an improvement, or at least not a detriment.

At this point, we almost have enough software to play a song.  But first we need another program that helps us connect the iPhone and iPod that we may not own (in my case, do not own).  Thankfully, if you have iTunes, you also have Apple Mobile Device support.

Now go on, press “play.”  By which I mean check your email.  For, if you have iTunes, you also have MobileMe.

Just kidding, we don’t have enough software yet.  We still need one more for your iDevices: if you have iTunes, you have Apple Application Support, which “is a framework for managing applications on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and (presumably) future devices.”  For such a small device, the iPod sure needs a lot of software.  I can only imagine what the nano version requires.

If you have iTunes, you have Apple Software Update.  Because, if you wanted to covertly receive all of this software, surely you want to keep it up to date while receiving even more software!  And you thought this list was exhaustive.  Peasant.

If you have iTunes, you probably don’t have much room left on your harddrive.

Published in: on 3 June 2011 at 1:12 am  Comments (1)  
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