Ice Insults My Intelligence

Yesterday I tried a bland, boring advertisement for my new blog.  (Click here to visit.)  The new blog showcases a side of myself you don’t often see on Bumblepuppies… namely the hardcore academic side.  Around here, you get the humor end of business and that’s probably what you’d hope for from the ever popular gratuitous advertisement from me.

So, I’m trying again.  This time, I’m taking a page from the future and from the past.

My new blog, The Blacklight Candelabra, will offer writing challenges and I’m composing this post in response to a writing challenge.   Since you can only hide a brain inside a zombie’s mouth (and I choose not to do that), you might call that my professional side to some extent.

But then again, I was Freshly Pressed this year for writing a musical parody.  This is closer to the person my oldest friends would recognize and it’s the person my regular readers are most familiar with.  I suppose it’s also what makes my arrogance endearing to everyone I meet.

With that in mind, I offer you a breathtaking musical rendition of quality marketing material for my new blog.

To the tune of:

Yo, Bumblepups, let’s kick it!

Blacklight baby
Blacklight baby
All right dogs
The candelabra’s up now
Pups is back with a gift for your diction
Ideas grab a hold of you weekly
Shoot like a harpoon quick and meekly
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I don’t know
Turn off the lights and I’ll glow
To the extreme I’ll rock your blog like a vandal
Light up the cage and free your brain, it’s no scandal.
Write!
Light up the candle and glow
I’m feedin’ your brain like philosopher Rousseau.
Deadly, when I write a cruel challenge ’cause
Anything fluffy and light does not move paws.
Love it or leave it
You better gain brains
You better hit bull’s eye
The pups don’t play
If there was a problem
Yo, I’ll solve it
Check out the blog while my big brain evolves it

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Now that the zombies are jumping
With the new year in and the brain cells are pumpin’
Quick to the point, to the point no faking
I’m saving them brains like a golden kraken
Saving them if they’re so quick and nimble
I go crazy when I see you’re dismal.
And the bloggers with a souped up tempo
They’re on a roll and it’s time to plead nolo.
Buildin’ up your 4.0
With my kitchen here so your brains can grow
The zombies on standby
Waving just to say hi
Did they stop?
No, they all passed by
Kept on pursuing to another space
They busted a left and they’re heading to the next blog
That blog is dead.

Yo so I continued to Candel… hey! Blacklight Ave
Brains were smart answering all my topics
Zombies expelled, visiting the tropics,
Jealous ’cause I got all the brains
Play with a rage and attention is all mine
Ready for the pings on the back
The pings are acting swell because they’re full of great acts
Blog posts rang out like a bell
I grabbed all nine
The information gels.
Hopin’ for the pingbacks real fast
Logged in again, was not aghast
Topic to topic, the blog will be packed
I’m tryin’ to bring some friends before zombies attack
Zombies on the scene?
You know what I mean…
They’ll pass us up, and mesmerize all the dope fiends.
If there was a Zombie
Yo, I’ll kill it
Check out the blog while my big brain distills it

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Take heed, ’cause I’m a lyrical poet
The puppy’s on the scene just in case you didn’t know it
My blog, that disposed of all the brain fog
Enough to shake and kick holes in a dog
‘Cause my blog is like a chemical spill
Feasible thoughts that you can vision and feel
Conducted and formed
This is a hell of a concept
We make it hype and you want to step with this
We play through the days, slice the zombie, hell oh yeah!
Cut like a razor blade so fast
Other bloggers say, “damn”
If my blog was a drug
I’d sell it by the gram
Keep my composure when it’s time to get loose
Magnetized as I write while I kick my juice
If there was a Zombie
Yo, I’ll kill it!
Check out the blog while my big brain does fill it.

Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the
Blacklight baby, Visit the

Yo man, let’s get over there.
Word from your teacher.

Blacklight baby
Too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool
Blacklight baby
Too cool too cool

 

The Blacklight Candelabra: Protecting Your Brains from Zombies in the Coming Year

Deceptive Geography Insults My Intelligence

I was at the grocery store last week because I needed some lime juice for the “nonalcoholic beverage that can be mentioned online.”

This was on sale, so I bought it:

Let us drink, let us drink.  (Limeade, of course!)

Let us drink, let us drink. (Limeade, of course!)

I love Italy and I love Italian food.  Most people seem to love Italian food and the Mafia. We can talk about the Mafia now because this is obviously Sicilian lime juice and we all know that the Mafia runs all the businesses over there.

And as you can see, the Mafia even imports its lime juice from Peru.  Don’t get me wrong, now.  The juice was excellent and I’ve heard good things about Peru.  I just doubt that the Mafia is unethical enough to deceive consumers with a geographically inaccurate brand name.

Children’s Vegetables Insult My Intelligence

Sorry.  You came to the wrong place if you were expecting a post about Spongebob brand baby carrots.  Like Spongebob, those carrots are supposed to be presumably harmless to the at-least-semi-average human of youthful age.

Instead, I’d like to chat about other foods that children don’t usually like.  For example, chilies.  Here in the non-southwestern US, folks have a tendency to use fewer ingredients that impart a noticeably strong flavor and/or punishment to their tongues.  Needless to say, chilies are a tougher sell in this climate than in others, especially to kids who don’t want to eat anything that doesn’t contain chocolate or breast milk.

And so some brilliant nomenclaturist discovered the world’s hottest chili.  It is around 250 times hotter than a jalapeno, which puts it a lot closer to pepper spray than to anything you normally put in your mouth on purpose.

Seriously, I’m not joking.

Red means stop.  (Photo credit: Thaumaturgist)

Red means stop. (Photo credit: Thaumaturgist)

Food heat is measured in scoville units.  Jalapenos range from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units.  Pepper spray is two million Scoville units.  This chili weighs in at one million.

And they decided to call it a “ghost chili.”  Does that sound like something your child would pick up in the store and bite into because it sounds cool?

I thought so.  On the other hand, maybe that will teach them a very important lesson.  For example, they can learn to avoid vegetables.

With apologies for the bad pun, the resulting tongue damage is why the younger generation has such bad taste.  It’s not Bieber’s fault for once.

Convenient Perspectives Insult My Intelligence

Have you ever looked at those glossy tourist brochures promising you bright and colorful adventures that look like this?

Prague cropped

Oooooh, pretty!

Of course you have because that’s what’s best for business.  However, you inevitably arrive at your destination and discover something a little different…

Cheerful, isn't it?

Cheerful, isn’t it?

I took this photo in Prague, which is a beautiful city in a soot-covered sort of way.  It still looks a little run down in places because of its time under communism and a lot of the sights haven’t been scrubbed clean… or so it seems.

Moral of the story: when planning a vacation, make sure your perspective matches that of the travel agency.  Or better yet, do your own research.  Your sleep deprived spouse and children will thank you while you’re all cooped up together in that tiny hotel room with no escape from each other.

New Video Games Insult My Intelligence

Growing up, I spent tons of time in front of video games.  Now that I’m grown and unemployed, I wish I could still find some games of the type I used to love.

These are the old-school RPG’s.  Since many of you will only be familiar with the newer model, here’s a glimpse of the past:

That video highlights what used to be possible in a video game.  At the start, you could choose the job type (magician, warrior, etc.) of each character and all sorts of combinations were possible.  That meant you could play the game repeatedly and you’d always experience something new because you’d need a new strategy for the group you had selected.  The four white wizards in the video were known as the most challenging combination possible in the original Final Fantasy game; a lot of imagination went into devising the method of winning portrayed in the video.  (That was the game’s final battle, which is why the video’s ending is so surprising.)

In case you don’t remember what imagination is, look it up in the dictionary.   We don’t breed much of it these days.

And since RPG’s have always taken notoriously long to complete, the video game companies obviously saw a losing proposition.  You can’t have customers being happy with your product for too long or else they won’t need to buy anything new.  (I wonder if this is why cars break down so often…)  So the companies added more intricate storylines and, eventually, movies to the games.  Once you add this, the characters must always be the type that is portrayed.  Player choice becomes impossible unless the game companies start programming the myriad variations in stories and videos to accommodate a player’s options.

That’s going to happen, right?

And there died the ability to replay an RPG once you’ve completed it once.  Evil marketing genius, I say.

In fact, new games arguably revolve around around the movies and storyline instead of gameplay itself.  I liked the old-school RPG’s because I didn’t have to fumble with the controller and struggle with my less-than-stellar reflexes.  And then these games were unceremoniously transformed into first-person battle simulators that bore no resemblance to the original genre.  And now they’re becoming interactive movies that require neither reflexes nor anything else but the willingness to shell out large sums of money. (Well, I suppose they also require the ability to gaze into a screen for long periods of time.)  If I want a movie, I’ll buy a DVD or join Netflix and spend a lot less for it.

Nevertheless, the game companies get away with calling these offerings RPG’s.  In some cases (Final Fantasy, anyone?), game mechanics became unrecognizable in new releases even though the game title presents the new product as an installment in the longstanding series.

Just put a crappier car under the same nameplate and idiots will flock to the new vehicle, ignoring all evidence that they’re being sold nothing more than a name.  This isn’t the understandable evolution of a product.  Instead, it borders on bait-and-switch.

Granted, I don’t miss the hours and hours I used to spend repeatedly battling small monsters so I could build up my characters’ skills enough to progress in a game.  Nevertheless, it’s not too hard to program a game with more major tasks that are separated by smaller gaps in how far your characters have developed.

Oh, wait.  It is too hard.  Those huge gaps ensured that programmers didn’t have to design larger world maps and more enemies to fight and longer stories.

And there’s the irony.  Expanding the storytelling aspect decreases the quantity of story the programmers must devise.  A 15-minute movie clip often progresses a story less than a few brief shots of text, but the movie clip looks good and that’s all that matters with games.  Besides which, it takes fewer movie clips to make a “legitimately” long game.

Or perhaps I should say a legitimately long “game.”

“You” Insults My Intelligence

It’s Sunday and you’re sitting on the couch watching TV instead of doing something useful with your time.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t entirely fair.  With the economy being so rotten, let’s assume that you’re performing your patriotic duty by watching commercials.  Maybe you’ll even buy something.

Today, I’d like to help ensure that your much needed purchase doesn’t turn out to be crap.  The method is simple: look for the word “you” in the commercial and, when you find it, avoid the product.  Claiming that a product is “perfect for the perfect you” or “fits the way you live” relieves businesses from having to make specific claims about their product’s quality.  Perfect for you, how?

Because it has “the quality you’ve known for years.”  True, but if the product is garbage, that’s not a selling point.  Telling me that I know the product is garbage shouldn’t make me want to buy it…

Unless I’ve had a lobotomy.  Sad thing is, these commercials work.  You can tell this by their continued proliferation on TV.  And they work because we’re all little children.

File:Mirror baby.jpg

(Photo credit: roseoftimothywoods)

Get a clue!  You’re perfect and you’ll be even more perfect with our product.  (Obligatory grammar note: I realize that “more perfect” is gibberish, but since when is gibberish prohibited from commercials?)  We can sell a new you to you because you love you, don’t you?  And if you buy our crap, it behooves you to believe us when we tell you that you are really buying you.  And it’s all true, too, because you belong in the loo.  And we can rhyme “you” and “true” and “too” and make a nifty little jingle out of your pathetic little self.  And then you will think you never knew differently, at least until the bill comes due.  Then you’ll be blue.

ooooooh…

Just be sure your pathetic little self forks over the $24.99 for shipping and handling.  You handle the payment, the mailman handles the delivery, and we handle the long pointy object going towards your [adult content, censored by blogger.  However, in the spirit of the post, it should be noted that the body part sometimes resembles a giant U.  How convenient.]

Book Spines Insult My Intelligence

Ah, books!

Publishers put considerable effort into a book’s front cover.  If you’re shopping online, the cover becomes the image that gives you a first impression, the image that influences whether you purchase the literary product, the image that scares you away.  It shapes your expectations about what’s inside and it gives you a lifetime of aesthetic pleasure as it sits in prominent display on your bookshelf for years after you spend the relatively few hours reading it.

Not quite.

Once the book goes on your shelf, the spine becomes the only visible part.  If you’re in a library or one of the ever-declining number of brick-and-mortar bookstores, it’s also the spine that first announces and advertises a book’s existence and contents.  (Yeah, I know.  A few books are displayed face-up on tables.  However, those titles tend towards “The Philosophical Meditations of Justin Bieber” and similar drivel.)  And it’s the spine that announces your intelligence to all guests, unless of course you only bought the books to look smart.  In that case, the spines announce your good taste until some incredulous fiend asks you about them.

In my case, the book spines broadcast my superior intelligence and I’d like to share some details with you.

books

This is my image of my books that display my intelligence for all to see.

As you can see, the spines range from purely functional to highly decorative to advertorial to none of the above.  Derek Walcott’s publisher (you can’t miss its presence on the spine) decided to go with dull green and huge lettering for its spine.  You can’t miss that spine on a shelf and you’ll never forget who published it, if you can figure out whether Omeros or Noonday is the publisher.  “Derek Walcott” is obviously the title, the same way Mr. Copperfield wrote a book called “Charles Dickens.”

Cover of "Omeros"

Oh, this clears things up.

Penguin Classics went in the opposite direction on its spine for “Monkey.”  We get tiny print for all text and a small picture for the publisher’s logo.  You could easily miss this title on the shelf, but I guess they decided that their “classics” line needed to look more distinguished and illegible to the low-eyesight crowd than “Year of the Hare,” which features a cute little bunny.  For a book called “Monkey,” how hard would it have been to make that spine stand out like “Hare” does?  Monkeys are cute too, especially wise playful monkeys like the book’s protagonist.  Ironically, the front cover of “Monkey” features the monkey while the hare is reduced to a minor detail on its front cover.  I don’t get it.  Why pull on people’s animal-loving heartstrings on the spine or cover, but not both?  Methinks those publishing executives need to improve their marketing techniques.

“My Name is Red,” subject of a recent post, goes even further with the ornamentation while giving viewers a title they don’t have to tilt their heads to read.  Considering the book’s contents, the pictorial element couldn’t be avoided and my shelf is happy to house a work of art.  I wish “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out” had similarly managed to recapture the interesting graphic design from its front cover.

Cover of "Life and Death are Wearing Me O...

Cover via Amazon

Instead, the spine gives us blah and undersize typeface that doesn’t even fit.  So yeah, that was the publisher’s error, not an issue with my cropping… but thank you for assuming I wasn’t at fault.  Quit snickering.

And then there’s the Borges.  Nice and colorful like a neon sign.  And since the publisher and/or translator decided not to render the book’s title in English, having it on my shelf makes me look like I know Spanish.  Excellent!  I support anything that inflates the specter of superior intelligence I can wave over others.

That means the boring and functional “Blind Owl” spine gets lost in the crowd.  That’s a shame because the novel bursts with imagery.  On the other hand, such a narrow book spine might not display the cover’s ornamental font effectively.

The Blind Owl

The Blind Owl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With that font on the spine, I’d expect it to be as legible as “The” and “and” on “The Master and Margarita.”  That would be unfortunate because, in the case of “The Master and Margarita,” the spine looks like it’s for a bartender’s guide to excellence in Mexican beverages.

That said, I think it’s time for me to go master a margarita.  Stay thirsty for knowledge, my friends.

Space Colonization Insults My Intelligence

S-C21

Become the citizen of the first global state of the universe!  Take a look at our promotional video and be swept away to faraway realms:

Of course, we’re required to tell you that space travel is a little more complicated than getting from one place to another.  We sometimes have to deal with a couple of minor disturbances:

Asteroids screenshot

Our rocket is the triangle-looking thing.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite such brief inconveniences, nothing more explosive can generally be expected to happen.

S-C2

Our rockets are far too monochromatic for such an occurrence to be predicted.

Our rockets are also equipped with additional legally mandated safety measures and cautionary guidance that you will find conveniently printed on the bottom of your seat cushion.  Here’s one of the many helpful hints you’ll discover:

S-C23

But then again, nothing you breathe on our rockets will even remotely compare to the unidentified flying odors (UFO’s) you inhale every day on earth.

Factory Smoke

Will you really miss earth?  (Photo credit: Miroslav Petrasko (hdrshooter.com))

You see, governments want you to believe that UFO’s don’t exist.  We want you to understand the truth because the truth will set you free.  But freedom is never free.  Our new global state of the universe threatens earthly regimes; you must not let them prevent you from exercising your right to assert your citizenship in any way you want.

Don’t just be a citizen.  Be THE citizen.

S-C24

It will be worth your money.  All you have to do is believe.

Professional Athletics Insult My Intelligence

Stadium crowd performing "the wave" ...

Okay, I cheated.  This stadium isn’t in the U.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a pet peeve about sports that I’d like to share with you: idiots who care about the “home team.”

Once upon a time we were all in high school, or most of us were anyway.  As you may remember, a big deal was made of the football team and other athletic successes.  It made sense in high school because  our classmates and friends were competing under our school’s banner and you could get behind your friends even if your school spirit was lacking.  Sure, it was obnoxious when non-athlete classmates would cry “we beat Smith High School” as though they had partaken in the victory, but sports were a reasonably wholesome diversion for the community, or at least the part of the community that didn’t get drunk or pleasured behind the stadium, or those who didn’t die from heat stroke, or get coronary disease from the stadium food, or meet other undesirable ends.

And then many of us went on to college and the athletics got bigger.  Unless you went to a small college, you probably never met any of the players.  At my college, they even lived in a separate dorm, although I did observe the occasional player or two in the dining hall for us plebes.  I suppose, then, that the players were at least nominally of the community.  But as we all know, college sports improves school spirit and increased school spirit translates into alumni donations.  A visible and visibly successful sports team also increases applications for admission (which helps in the almighty US News rankings) the way advertisements do; if high school kids have heard of a school, they’ll view it more favorably.  Nevertheless, it’s no harm no foul here because no one is getting swindled… with the probable exception of those athletes whose dreams of stardom are being taken advantage of for the college’s gain.

Unfortunately, these school programs prepare their graduates to be fleeced later on.

English: Anaheim Angels vs Boston Red Sox at A...

Okay, this one is geographically correct. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And that finally brings me to professional athletics.  Most players do not hail from the city they play for and they rotate from team to team as trades and free agency arise.  To say that the average baseball player is our friend or neighbor is more than a little stretch.  Suffice it to say that there is nothing inherently Boston about the Red Sox except the franchise name, and the same goes for all other teams.   Nevertheless, the sports business has convinced the public at large that such a connection exists, which gets people excited about “their” team.  They then become willing to pay for tickets and t-shirts and all sorts of other expensive paraphernalia.   In theory, that’s not a bad thing.

In practice, it means the rest of us end up having to fund, with our tax dollars, increasingly more advanced stadiums because the sports businesses threaten to move away otherwise.  What other business can get away with demanding substantial government subsidies like that without the public becoming enraged about it?

I know the sports franchises often claim that athletics attract customers for other local businesses.  Just a thought: if we took all that money that would be spent on a new stadium and applied it to something that would benefit local businesses more directly, I’m sure we’d get more bang for our bucks.

Drumming Up Business Insults My Intelligence

man-o-lantern

(Photo credit: j l t)

I would like to take a moment to inform you that funerals suck, although not as much as dying, I suppose.

There was a death this week caused by a massive heart attack.  The whole thing reminded me a of a catalog I had recently received in the mail for some reason.  I don’t remember the company’s name but it specialized in products for larger-than-average people.  I only saw the cover and it featured some products that could be useful.  There was the plus-size clothing (a necessity for overweight people who don’t want to walk around naked), oversized chairs with extra weight capacity, and a triple-basket deep fryer.

Yeah, an oversized deep fryer for fat people.  Normally I’d gripe about the stereotyping but I think I’d rather nail the company for trying to drum up business.  If all those overweight people buy the deep fryer, they’re going to need to buy additional oversized products.  If they buy the more sensible vegetable steamer (which wasn’t advertised on the cover and probably wasn’t in the catalog), the company can lose some customers.

Fortunately, I think vegetable steamers sell better these days than triple-basket deep fryers.  The people buying the deep fryers probably don’t need vegetables because they are vegetables, or will become vegetables (or vegetable food) soon enough.

Italian Tripe Insults My Intelligence

English: A restaurant in Treviso, Italy.

Not the same ristorante, but you get the point…  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the tripe picture in my last post, you surely must have known that I’d return to the topic.

When I think of tripe, I think of a dinner I had on my tour of Italy.  The tour company arranged for the group to occupy a little ristorante that would have been really romantic if I had been there with a horny female friend.  The food was excellent and we were all having some great conversations with the people at our tables.

Enter the tour guide.  He asks us to quiet down and listen to the opera singers that will be performing for us.  I’m no opera aficionado, but the singers were reasonably good even if I and most of the the others would have preferred to chat.

And then it finally happened.

The opera singers pulled a CD of themselves from their pockets and started prancing from table to table asking if anyone would like to purchase a copy.  By the time they reached my table, they were looking incredibly annoyed when no one raised their hand.

Moral of the story:  If you’re trying to sell products by associating them with a memorable moment, don’t destroy the moment.  People aren’t always stupid.

Irony Insults My Intelligence

English: Italian tripe Français : Tripes Itali...

Tripe.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The time has finally come.  That’s right!  This is the 100th post on this blog.  The first 98 were a lot of fun.  I slammed Bank of America, Earthlink, Haagen Dazs, and lots of other businesses that insult my intelligence.  I wrote about all sorts of terrible products and services that people ought not spend their money on.

And then came post 99.

I was previewing post 99 and noticed something new in the window.  I saw a little box that said “Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here.”  As it turns out, WordPress had started displaying ads on my blog.

If you were a business, would you want your products advertised here?  I’m the type of person who would google my own blog just to see the ad and then write a post about how idiotic it is.  (FYI: you can’t be logged in and see the ads on your blog.)  It’s product placement at it’s finest.

And on this momentous occasion, I would like to congratulate WordPress for extracting some financial recompense from my blog.  Even if it’s just a few pennies, it’s a few pennies that prove just how little oversight goes into the spending of (at least some) marketing dollars.

And so…

Best wishes digesting my next 100 posts!  You may interpret my inclusion of that tripe photo any way you like.