With all the time, money and creative expertise that go into producing a national TV spot, how is what happens in this Orkin commercial possible?
Homeboy goes off at a swank, supposedly private dinner in New York, except no one told the BuzzFeed journalist in attendance—whose under table engorgement must’ve been considerable—that the dinner was off the record.
Now it seems more like a psycho stalker.
National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that the league would further modify its ever-evolving domestic abuse policy by allowing players on a team to offset a teammate’s league imposed penalty for domestic abuse by “trading” credits they will now receive for each season they complete without incurring a wife beating incident.
“I got it wrong again,” Goodell admitted at a hastily called news conference this morning. “When I suspended Ray Rice indefinitely yesterday after video surfaced of him punching his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, I inadvertently punished our fans, and, most importantly, I inadvertently punished our owners who have so much precious money invested in these athletes.”
After reiterating his stance that the league had “zero tolerance” for domestic abuse, Goodell turned the program over to league spokesperson Bobby Danabout, who gave reporters the broad outlines of the spousal abuse cap-and-trade-scheme.
“This is a reality-based plan that acknowledges that our sport has both inculcated an uncontrolled capacity for violence in certain players on the one hand, and recruited other players expressly because they already had an innate capacity for antisocial violence on the other hand,” Danabout said. “What this policy will do is enable the players who have successfully avoided spousal abuse for an entire season—or have at least avoided getting caught for it—to help their fellow players stay on the field following a wife- or girlfriend-battering incident.”
While Danabout said details were still being ironed out, he asserted that the policy was strict enough to protect the league’s reputation, if not the wives and girlfriends of its players.
“This will not be a free pass by any means,” Danabout continued. “Players can only trade spousal abuse credits like-for-like. So, for instance, if a player knocks his wife’s teeth out, he’ll need to find a teammate with a “wife’s teeth knocked out” credit willing to trade them to him. It can’t be a ‘girlfriend’s teeth knocked out’ credit, or a ‘gave wife a black eye’ credit. Absent the availability of a matching spousal abuse credit, the full force and severity of the league’s penalties—whatever they may be at that moment—will come down on that player.”
Danabout said the changes would go into effect immediately and would be permanent until the next uncomfortable public revelation forced a hasty revision.
So said Robin Williams’s brain.
It always surprises me when I remember that not everyone knows what depression is, that many people have never experienced it and never will.
Depression sucks. It literally sucks. It sucks out the essence that makes you who you are, and it leaves you an empty, self-doubting shell.
Robin Williams had everything! He was adored by millions! He had family and children who loved him. He was filthy rich, for God’s sake.
But his brain told him he was no good. And he finally gave in to it.
I am not equating myself with Robin Williams, but I am comparing myself to Robin Williams. Like him, the first word people who know me would use to describe me is “funny.”
And like him, I have to battle depression. Most of the time, it’s a battle I’m winning, but every so often, I lose ground and have to fight to get it back.
Clearly, just as my creative gifts pale in comparison to Robin Williams’s, so, too, must the depths of my depression.
And I’m so grateful of that. Even at my darkest hours, I’ve never taken an actionable step toward suicide.
Depression tells you you’re a loser. That in spite of everything you’ve fought to achieve, even as it stood in your path blocking your way, you’re a loser.
Poor Robin Williams. He’s an object lesson for those of us whose faulty wiring tells us we are losers. He was so clearly not a loser.
We who fight similar battles would honor his memory by remembering that.
He was not “no good,” and neither are we.
The internets is all about the cutting edge and what’s new, right? Wrong! And especially wrong if you are discussing brand design.
You may not know this, because you may actually have a life, but AirBNB introduced a new logo yesterday. My first thought was, “Huh. New logo.” My second thought was, “Oh, geez, I’m so uncool for not hating this.”
Because a significant number of people spent a significant amount of time on the internets yesterday hating on the new logo. And sure enough, when I checked in, there they were, posting their snarky comments and their clever, acerbic Photoshop manipulations, raising a hew and cry that this new logo is the dumbest thing since, well, the last time a big brand changed its logo.
In short, it is the WORST. THING. EVER.
Nowhere are the lowest aspects of internet cynicism and one-upsmanship more evident than in the certain sectors of the design community. If something new drops, you better not be standing between the haters and the bandwagon or you will get your ass trampled.
So old. So atavistic. Sooooooo predictable.
Happy 4th of July. Remember: Light fuse, get away.
“Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as ‘trigger warnings,’ explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.”—Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm, by Jennifer Medina, New York Times, 5/17/2014
Where the Wild Things Are—WARNING: This work includes disturbing depictions of stern parenting, including a child being sent to his room with no dinner. Sensitive readers may find this triggers unpleasant memories of that time Mommy got upset with them for misbehaving at the mall.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—WARNING: This work includes about 11,000 casual uses of the “N” word. Though elemental to the theme of the book and representative of actual usage and vernacular among many residents of 19th century America, sensitive readers may find this triggers a personal confrontation with America’s unpleasant and inconvenient history of slavery, and an awareness of how persistent racism continues to inform the complex state of race relations in the U.S. today. Thoughtful reflection may result.
Green Eggs and Ham—WARNING: This work includes depictions of a character being offered a meal that initially seems highly unappealing to him. Sensitive individuals may find this triggers memories of that time Mommy made them try stewed zucchini.
Goodnight Moon—WARNING: This book includes rhyming couplets. Sensitive individuals may find this triggers involuntary rhyming chiming through their heads. Oh, dammit.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—WARNING: This book includes depictions of a child living in extreme poverty. Children who have been sheltered from the knowledge that such children exist may find that this triggers fears that someone is going to come and take away their things.
Harold and the Purple Crayon—WARNING: This book includes depictions of a child forsaking crayons of all other colors for a purple crayon. This may trigger fears of exclusion in sensitive children who aren’t purple.
Charlotte’s Web—WARNING: This book includes depictions of a cute talking piglet. Young vegetarians may find that this tempts them to try bacon.
You remember Affluenza right? It was the diagnosis that helped a Dallas-area teen get off easy after causing a fatal drunk driving accident.
Now this week we learned that paralympian/murderer Oscar Pistorius may get a similar break: the judge in his case ordered that his trial be halted so that Pistorius could get a psychiatric evaluation for “general anxiety disorder.” And I thought, well, gee, that’s a pretty lame name. Why not call it what it really is: Oh, Shit—I’m Going to Prison Disease?
But it made me realize that all of us regularly come into contact with people afflicted with all sorts of modern ills for which no good names exist. Until now.
Temporary Inane-ity—”Yes, OK, my clients did coat those campus wheelchair ramps with silicone lubricant, leading to the plaintiffs’ grievous injuries. But is it not plain to everyone that towards the end of the semester my clients were overcome by Temporary Inane-ity?”
Douchebugs—”Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please do not look at my client as someone who forced an ambulance off the road so that he wouldn’t miss out on a $2 Jaegermeister happy hour. No, please look at my client for what he is: a victim of an insidious Douchebug infestation.”
Nice Blindness—”Objection! Not to minimize the victim’s beating injuries, but I refuse to hear my client referred to as a bully and a thug when right here in this courtroom we have heard an expert witness attesting to the fact that he suffers from Nice Blindness.”
Involuntarily Situational Morality—”Ladies and gentlemen, all you have to do is look at my client and see that Involuntary Situational Morality is real. Does this look like a man who would date rape? No! But once the victim passed out, what could he do? My client was helpless. His ISM took over.”
Fail-to-Give-a-Shit-itis—”Your honor, you heard our medical expert. It’s not that my client didn’t want to stop the criminal conduct of his associates. It’s just that he has chronic Fail-to-Give-a-Shit-itis.”
AUSTIN, TX—Social networking behemoth Facebook today issued no comments or statements of any kind on whether it plans to acquire a small personal blog for $19 billion. Or not.
The deal would be the largest ever for a site few have ever heard of, even fewer read, and which, despite half-hearted attempts at monetization through Amazon’s affiliate banner program, has earned no revenue.
The purported transaction comes on the heels of Facebook’s announcement that it would acquire WhatsApp, a text messaging service, for $16 billion.
“Ah, I can’t talk about that. I’m writing a fantasy blog post right now,” said Rich Malley, Oblogatory’s founder and Chief Content Officer, in response to the rumors. “All I can say is that nothing would change around here. Our readers—and I mean both of them—can expect us to continue delivering the same uneven content on the same sporadic schedule.”
If completed, the deal is expected to be for $1 billion in cash, with the rest paid over time in stock options, promissory notes, high-end luxury cars, sumptuous meals, top shelf liquor, vacation getaways, and “pretty, shiny things.”
While refusing to divulge actual numbers, Malley says that traffic for his little-known site is “well over nothing.”
“This is all about potential,” said Margaret Fulsome, an analyst of worthless web properties at Funyon-Ruffles, an investment advisory firm. “Zuckerberg must see some fantastic growth there, or else why all the rumors?”
Others weren’t so sure, with some suggesting that accounts of the deal were intended to drive up Oblogatory’s perceived value to Facebook’s competitors.
“I don’t see Facebook doing this deal for $19 billion,” said Fariq Monsoon, an adviser at Goober-Raisinet, once he stopped laughing. “I mean, maybe if Oblogatory can generate a little buzz with these rumors, some desperate company—I’m thinking Yahoo—might give it some credence and come in with a lowball offer, like $1 billion, maybe.”
Confronted with this speculation, Malley issued a one-word response: “Sold!”
In deciding what to ship, Amazon said it may consider previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user’s cursor hovers over an item.—WSJ: Amazon Wants to Ship Your Package Before You Buy It
“Hi, honey. How was your day?”
“Oh, pretty good. Anything in the mail?”
“No, but you got a package delivery from Amazon.”
“Really? I didn’t order anything from Amazon.”
“No? Well, look, honey, if there’s something you’ve been wanting to tell me about your sex life…”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant that got wheeled into our den this afternoon.”
“Who’s Larry? Your, um, boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend? No. Larry’s the guy at work who pulled up the page with the 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant on my work computer while I was in a meeting.”
“Well, does Larry have a wet vac and a barrel dolly? Because the goddamn drum is leaking and now we have an oil slick in our fucking den.”
“Not oil. That stuff is water-based.”
“Whatever. Tell your dipshit friend Larry he needs to get his ass over here, get that lube drum out of our house and clean up our new laminate floors.”
Using dogs and cats instead of human children, Daniel Mills, a veterinary science dude in Great Britain, recreated an experiment that measured the bond babies have with their mothers. He learned three things:
1. Human babies are greatly attached to their mothers
2. Dogs are greatly attached to their owners
3. Cats will pretty much whore themselves out to whoever is handiest
We are shocked, shocked.
Have you head about the controversy surrounding Goldieblox and the viral video? The girl-toy merchant incurred the displeasure of the Beastie Boys over the use of the latter’s song “Girls” in a web video published by the former. Read about it here. Read an excellent breakdown of the relevant copyright issues in the case by Andy Baio on Waxy (as seen on Daring Fireball! All praise to Daring Fireball!)
Baio notes, in a postscript, that Goldieblox has made the original video private and replaced it with a neutered version. But, oops, they haven’t quite updated that on their site yet, as these screen shots show:
All judgments aside, seems like a cave-in to me.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 12, “ROB’S AFTERNOON OFF”
INT: Suburban Living Room
ROB FORD is entertaining friends JAMAAL, his drug dealer, ROXETTE, Jamaal’s girl, and MARTHA, a prostitute. Bottles and overflowing ashtrays cover the coffee table in the otherwise immaculate traditional-style living room. Rob is tooting a massive line of cocaine just as the front door opens and his wife, RENATA, enters, carrying shopping bags.
Honey, I’m home!
ROB (face comically covered in white powder)
GAAAHHH!! Lumma ferma gamma herp!
Oh, hey, Mrs. F.
Oh, hello, Jamaal. (to Rob) I’m sorry, honey, what did you say?
Rob gets up and moves to give Renata a bearhug.
Cumma har, babbababba. Lemma…
Rob falls over and completely obliterates the coffee table, sending bottles, ashtrays, cups and glasses flying everywhere.
Oh, dear. I better get something to clean that up.
She exits. Rob, sprawled on the floor, immediately begins snoring loudly. In a moment, Renata is back with a rag.
Is he… is he choking?
Oh, no, dear. That’s just his apnea. Now, would you all be so kind as to help me roll Robbie over so I can clean the Hennessy off the Oriental?
Sure, Mrs. F!
OK, I get it. Enough already. I’m taking all kinds of flak for spurning a $3 billion offer for my social-whatever-it-is site, KwiKibbitz. People think it’s insane that a 23-year-old guy (and PS, I’m almost 24) would turn down that kind of money.
Well, to all those who say, “Dude, you’re just 23—you could live off $3 billion for the rest of your life,” here is my response:
First of all, I mean, are you kidding? What world are you living in? $3B does not go nearly as far as it did when I was a kid. After I told my dad about turning down the 3 billion, and after the paramedics got his heart beating again, I tried to explain this to him. “See, dad,” I said as they adjusted his oxygen flow, “maybe when you were 23, $3 billion meant something. You could probably buy a lot with it, like maybe a consumer conglomerate or two. But this is 2013.” I tried to go on, but, well, the EMTs told me his blood pressure was dropping again and that they had to get him to the hospital ASAP.
OK, and second of all, dudes, I am not selling out my baby for peanuts. How would that reflect on my belief in the greatness of my world-beating innovation? Look, until me (OK, me and my devbros), no one had combined pre-existing technologies in exactly the same way I did to produce a service that does exactly what KwiKibbitz does. I may never another idea for combining other peoples’ ideas that’s as good as this one. I gotta see this through to its ultimate outcome. And from that perspective, from where I’m sitting—in my comfy chair in my nice office, living a very nice lifestyle that is completely supported by the largesse of my VC investors—$3B is chump change. And, dudes, as I flash by you on the street in my Ferrari, do I look like a chump to you? No, because I’m going so fast I’m all blurry! Vroom!
Third of all, to all you people who say $3 billion is a shit-ton of money considering KwiKibbitz has never earned a dime and probably never will, I say, You so don’t get it. See, I’m not in this to get rich. I’m in this to get super-rich. Oh, yeah, and to bring added value to society and all of that kind of shit.
So, with that said, make me an offer. But, dudes, don’t insult me with some ridiculous $3 billion figure.
It’s nice to belong. I used to feel like a wet blanket for dismissing Malcolm Gladwell over his facile, seemingly counterintuitive arguments based on flimsy evidence that excludes inconvenient facts. But now it feels like a party!
In his WSJ review/takedown of Gladwell’s new bestseller David and Goliath, social scientist Christopher Chabris’s closing reads like a clarion call to the Gladwell Skept-o-Sphere: “Mr. Gladwell should acknowledge when he is speculating or working with thin evidentiary soup. Yet far from abandoning his hand or even standing pat, Mr. Gladwell has doubled down. This will surely bring more success to a Goliath of nonfiction writing, but not to his readers.” BOOM!
Now Chabris goes long(er) in Slate. In The Trouble with Malcolm Gladwell, Chabris links to several reviews of David and Goliath that find fault with it for much the same reason he does (e.g., that Gladwell overplays weak evidence, ignores contrary evidence, and blithely casts his huge logical leaps as given scientific fact or law). Then he really gets down to business, arguing that some of Gladwell’s own statements reveal the cynicism behind his game.
Chabris finds that Gladwell at times claims he’s just a storyteller whose work is merely a gateway for readers to the true scientific research undergirding his arguments. Chabris suggests that Jason Kottke carries this water here. He also cites instances where Gladwell has argued the opposite, essentially saying, “The public at large is never gonna read that heavy scientific shit, so I’m summarizing the work and placing it in a context that my simpleton readers can relate to.” Both are true in Gladwell World. Let’s call it the Gladwellian Law of Whatever.
But more than anything, I’m glad I saw the Chabris piece because it links to the Guardian’s brilliant 600-word parody of Gladwell’s entire oeuvre. POW!
At any rate, those of us in the Gladwell Skept-o-Sphere can at least take some comfort from the very premise of David and Goliath itself: with all of us Davids throwing stones at Goliath Gladwell, his credibility is going to fall and he doesn’t stand a chance of being taken seriously. Right? Oh, wait.
After playing with iOS7 for a couple of days, I’ve found a few hidden gems buried in the code. Some of these are practical, some just for fun, and some are just, well, FLORM!
Bitch Mode (Siri-equipped models only)
To access Bitch Mode, tap twice anywhere on your home screen and yell “bitch!” The Siri interface will appear, with Siri inquiring, “What would you like to bitch about today?” Then just unload! Everything that’s pissing you off, just get it out. Scream it, shout it, whisper it, even rasp it in your bitched-out-until-you-can’t-take-it-anymore voice. No matter how petty, unjustified or mean-spirited your bitching is, Siri, in high resolution virtual empathy, will respond, “I know, right?”
Oblogatory rating: Essential
Admittedly, this is one of those “gee whiz” features with very little practical use and it is included mostly just to make Android users jealous—and to temporarily free them of their spleens. To access, hold your phone up for an Android user to see and pretend that you are showing off the home screen’s “slight, but totally noticeable and amazing 4D parallel reality effect.” While the Android user is occupied trying to see something he secretly believes he’s not cool enough to see, stealthily plunge your hand through his rib cage and pull out his spleen. When he becomes totally frustrated and gives up on trying to see the effect, casually ask, “So, how’s your lymphatic system feeling right about now?” Note: this feature will be locked, preventing you from further use until you give the guy his spleen back.
Oblogatory rating: Nice-to-have
Lost? Confused? Never fear, Glinda Mode is present at your location! To access, hold your phone to your heart (through your clothes and skin is fine), close your eyes, then click your heels three times while saying, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” When you open your eyes, you should be back in Kansas! You’ll be in bed under the covers and in your nightgown, so if you tend to overheat easily, you may wish to disrobe before deploying Glinda Mode (though please exercise caution if you are in police custody at the time). Also, as you will awake with your loyal little dog beside you, I can’t recommend Glinda Mode for those with pet allergies. Sorry.
Oblogatory rating: Game changer
Perhaps the most esoteric and astounding of all the new iOS7 features, FLORM! is best used with extreme discretion. This is not something you can—or should—do all the time, though to fully understand all of its implications, you may wish to try it now as you read along with this little tutorial. To access, type F-L-O-R-M-! into your phone’s search field (yes, all caps), then tap return. I’ll wait.
Yeah, pretty amazing, huh?! As Siri might say, I know, right?! So cool! You can see why I warn people not to do it all the time—who could handle such extremes of joy and ecstasy? Though God knows I’ve pushed the FLORM! envelope a time or two these past couple of days.
Whew! Wow. FLORM. Yeah.
Oblogatory rating: Worth killing for
Massa’s Favorite Pea Soup
3 lbs. darky-shucked green peas
6 cups slave-style chicken broth
Spices to taste
Just give your girl the ingredients list. She’ll know what to do. Her mammy probably made this for your mama and daddy lots of times.
Massa’s Favorite Flaky Biscuits
3 cups white flour
1 cup well water drawn by your colored person
Mix all ingredients. Beat well. When your uppity girl finally gets the message that you want biscuits and you want biscuits NOW, stop the beating and she’ll get her shiftless ass to work.
Massa’s Favorite Thievin’ Darky Pot Luck
This isn’t really a recipe so much as a plan for throwing together a last-minute feast in a hurry.
Send your girl down to where the coloreds stay. Get her to tell those darkies they best turn over all the nice victuals you know they done stole from your larder. Send Ol’ Buck down there with her if you have to. Ol’ Buck, he may be black as coal, but he hates a thievin’, shiftless darky just like he’s a real person. Once your girl returns with the recovered food, tell her to throw together something nice for lunch, and but quick! Keep on ‘em or they’ll take advantage, you know.
Good eatin’, y’all!
Paula “I ain’t no racist” Deen
Have you seen the Radio Shack Beats Pill #UWANTIT commercial?
And by the way that hashtag says, “U WANT IT,” but you are forgiven if you saw, “U WAN TIT,” you filthy lecher, you.
In his AdWeek critique of the spot, David Giantasio says, “RadioShack comes off like an unhip, balding, middle-aged dude desperately trying to prove he’s down with the kids—and failing badly.”
What’s wrong with that? Aside from the failing badly part, I mean.
AdRants titled their post about the ad, “Radio Shack Enlists Saran Wrapped Hotties to Sell Dildo-Like Radio,” but I think they mean that in the nicest possible way.
Now, I’m a customer service business. And I know with all the quick cutting and movement in today’s ads, it’s sometimes hard to miss the important stuff.
So if you watched the commercial and don’t get what all the fuss is about, or if you watched the commercial and are outraged but don’t quite know why, or if you watched the commercial and want to spend a little quality time in the bathroom more closely examining the most provocative and porn-influenced images from the spot, here they are.
Don’t say I never do anything nice for you.
The Onion, a national humor publication reeling from criticism for an Oscar night tweet that referred to 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis as the C-word, apologized and said it was instituting age restrictions to prevent such flaps from happening in the future.
During the awards ceremony, an Onion employee tweeted, “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c***, right?” on the company’s official Twitter feed. Little known before the incident, The Onion, which publishes a website and a weekly print edition, found itself in the spotlight the day after the telecast, and the attention was overwhelmingly unflattering.
“Clearly, we were out of line, and we apologize to that little… to that girl,” Natalie Fensch, a spokesperson for the company said. “We now realize that no 9-year-old can truly be a c***.”
Fensch said that Onion CEO Monty Sweetwater had issued new age guidelines spelling out which females may or may not be described as c***s in the company’s media properties. Pressed for details about those guidelines, Fensch demurred. “Come on. I think we can all agree that we know one when we see one,” she said.
Asked if the guidelines spell out a specific minimum age, Fensch would only say, “All I can tell you is that any girl who hasn’t hit puberty yet is safe. At this time.” She went on to say that fact checkers from the Onion would contact any female referred to as a c*** in one of the publication’s manuscripts to verify that the guidelines were met. “We expect to build up a database of approved c***s that will expedite the review process for future c*** references,” Fensch said.
While Fensch reiterated CEO Sweetwater’s apology, she did try to take some heat off the writer who sent the offending tweet. “I mean, I think it was an honest mistake,” she said. “That girl looks every bit of 13.”
As to what terms The Onion’s writers would use for young females who don’t qualify as c***s under the new guidelines, Fensch would only offer that the terms “ball-busting tween” and “short-bitch” were among many being considered.
Über-blogger Jason Kottke has been in overdrive since the Newtown tragedy. Today he posted this about a bullet tax proposal Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed in the ’90s.
And then a couple of people on Facebook pointed me to this bit from Chris Rock: