Sunday, July 30, 2006

faulty memory

I was going to write about something, but now I've forgotten what it was. I do appreciate that BET shows "blackbuster" movies as a shout-out to Chicago natives who pronounce "blockbuster" without a rounded "o" sound, but there was something else I wanted to mention.

But now let me take the time to write about a few things I scribbled down on a piece of paper back in March because I wanted to write about them right away. But of course I didn't write about them then. So now I'll vaguely try to recall what I originally wanted to say:

1. Harry Nilsson
I checked out a lot of CDs from two Chicago Public Library branches last fall and winter, and one was a greatest-hits compilation by Harry Nilsson, who's probably best known for writing the song "One," which was covered by Three Dog Night and Aimee Mann among others, and for covering the song "Without You," which was a huge hit in '72. I don't think he ever had a huge hit that he actually wrote, although he did write many songs. The most interesting thing about Nilsson as far as I'm concerned is that he never toured. He made album after album in the '70s, just like many other artists, since album sales were so high back then (I need to find out more about this, though, because it's amazing to me how artists were sometimes releasing up to two albums per year, which didn't happen after the '70s were over unless your name was Prince or Ryan Adams), but he didn't go on the road to drum up awareness and further sales. Steely Dan got away with not touring after their Pretzel Logic album, I think, but it just seems inconceivable today. Touring is the main reason I'd hate to be a musician. It just seems depressing, and Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe had the videos in the mid-'80s to prove it (even though they tried to romanticize their loneliness and exhaustion at the same time). I'd probably be one of those guys who'd prefer to hang out in the studio recording take after take. Luckily I have no musical talent, so I'll never have to worry about this conundrum.

2. The Simpsons
It's been going downhill since 1996. A full decade, but only my friend Jeremy and I seem to have noticed. Yes, I know, there are still good episodes, but they're few and far between now, and the same jokes have been recycled since 1996. What amazes me is that no one else seems to notice this or care. (And maybe I shouldn't care so much—I realize everyone's love of the show depends on how old they were when they first discovered it and the particular season in which they discovered it. Some people think the 1995-'96 season, the one I consider the beginning of the long, dragged-out end, to be one of the best.) The show doesn't even get great ratings anymore, so is it still on the air because the merchandise sells so well? I haven't seen anybody wear a Bart Simpson T-shirt in a long, long time. Is it because the show's a cultural institution at this point? Maybe so. Still, I don't get it, and I hate that the show didn't go out on top creatively speaking. When it finally ends after 27 season it'll be a big media event, but back in '95 I said I'd cry during the final episode because I liked the show so much. I won't be crying when I'm in my late 30s and the final episode finally airs; at that point in my life I think my crying will be devoted to more localized concerns.

3. sharing earbuds from your iPod
I saw a man and woman sitting next to each other on a train back in March. The man was sitting on the left of the woman and had an earbud in his left ear. She had the other earbud in her right ear. They were listening to something on an iPod while also talking to each other, which is why the ears that were closest to each other were left bud-less, I guess. It was a strange sight to see. Come to think of it, I've seen this phenomenon twice on the train, and each time the couples weren't concentrating on what they were listening to. I don't care if it catches on, but don't bring it into movie theaters, please.

4. McDonald's "McWake-Up Calls"
I didn't like when you called me two mornings in a row at 5:30 and 4:30 AM with prerecorded voice-mail messages from Mr. T and "Speedy" Juan Pierre of the Chicago Cubs telling me to eat at McDonald's that morning. I also think your TV commercial in which a black teenager wakes up his parents with a live performance from Cheap Trick is ludicrous. How many black people know or like Cheap Trick, even in their hometown of Rockford, Illinois? Nice try using scatter fire to hit your target demographics, McDonald's.

5. blonde girls with glasses
I like them. I like them a lot. In fact, they could brainwash me very easily if they wanted to. What am I saying? They have brainwashed me. Back in 2003 I was brainwashed by a blonde girl with glasses named Amy Jones, and I still haven't gotten over her completely. I saw a blonde girl with glasses on the train back in March who was probably in her early 20s. She knew she was pretty, so if you looked at her as she lost her balance slightly while standing up to exit the train, she'd smile back at you. Thanks, pretty blonde! Because a lot of girls who aren't as effortlessly pretty as you and wouldn't look as good with glasses on wouldn't dare smile back. I now have a slight crush on a married woman at work who's in her early 40s and has two kids. Yes, she's a pretty blonde with glasses. History repeats.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Recently I've seen lots of Snickers ads on buses and taxis that feature the recognizable Snickers colors and typeface, but in place of the product's name are made-up words like "satisfectellent," "Peanutopolis," and "Nougatocity." I suppose the ads are supposed to make you say "Huh?," and I guess there'll be a payoff soon in some sort of bigger Snickers ad (maybe we'll all learn how we can move to Peanutopolis to start a new life that really satisfies us), but for now all I can do is question the effectiveness of the made-up words I've seen:

1. "Satisfectellent" — I'm sure a combo of "satisfactory" and "excellent" is what the Mars Inc. marketing team was going for, but without that crucial s sound in "excellent," the second word I initially see in the combo is "repellent." I might be the only one who sees that since the combo word is "satisfectellent," not "satisfactellent," but now I'm realizing that the "fec" part also makes my mind jump forward to "fecal." Snickers = fecal ... probably not a connection the Mars marketing team wants you to make.

2. "Peanutopolis" — This word makes the most sense to me. A play on "Metropolis." I got it. Boom. But it also sounds a tad Greek, e.g. "The Peanutopolises are a family who would be greeted very warmly in Plains, Georgia."

3. "Nougatocity" — Why not just Nougat City, Mars marketeers? Because you needed a combo word, not two separate words? No no NO!!!!! No one lives in Newyorkocity or Siouxocity or Jeffersonocity. (I even checked MapQuest.)

4. I'm a moron who just realized that "nougatocity" isn't what I thought it was—it's a play on words like "velocity." Nougatocity measures how much nougat is in a Snickers bar, I guess. Fine, you win this round, Mars.

Monday, July 3, 2006

jolly people

Today's eye-catching AP headline: "Fat people not more jolly, study says." But that headline sure did make me chuckle, therefore putting me in a jolly mood. Thanks, fat people! See? You serve a purpose after all.