Eastern Europea

Oh man, this commercial is back. Katherine (“I thought I married an Italian”) seems appalled to discover that Eric is eastern…European? She looks mystified and skeptical. He looks dumbfounded and slightly nervous. Neither had a clue that there were such a people as the Eastern Europeans, nor do they even know where the mysterious land of Eastern Europea is. It wasn’t in Wikipedia. Things don’t look promising. Look at her. Look at him. She only married the dope because somebody told her Italians were good in bed. His being Eastern European might explain more than just his similarity to the greasy, shifty eyed great grandfather in the picture. This marriage is over. She’ll find her an Italian yet.

Polly the parakeet


So when I flipped on the TV last night to watch Earth vs Flying Saucers again, George Burns faded into a parakeet. A mechanical parakeet. Name of Polly. Polly turns its head and chirps. That was about it, head turn, chirp, head turn, chirp. It really sent the people in the commercial. The old lady cooed, the kids were wowed, and the young woman reached into its cage and petted it. Petted a mechanical parakeet. Petted and whispered sweet nothings to a mechanical device. Somewhere in China they’re churning out Polly’s by the boatload, and somewhere in America people are keeping them in cages just like real parakeets.

I told myself, no, no they aren’t. No one has a cage with a mechanical parakeet in it.

In ancient China they did. Palace gardens with fountains and flowers and mechanical birds. They were marvels. But that was back then. A mechanical bird was quite a feat of engineering. Now, it’s positively primitive. But nevermind the bird. What’s with the woman petting and talking to it? And why the cage? Polly isn’t likely to fly out. All Polly can do is turn its mechanical head and let out a chirp. It’s that woman I worry about. Of course she’s an actress. She’s being paid to talk to that mechanical parakeet. Not paid much, I’m sure, but a gig is a gig. It’s the ones who aren’t actresses that weird me out. The ones who paid good money (plus shipping and handling) to talk to Polly. Coo at Polly. Pet Polly. Sit there hour after hour, teaching Polly to say hello. Of course if they’re sweet old ladies, it’s not an issue. Sweet old ladies who talk to mechanical parakeets are not really a problem. Sweet old ladies do things like that, and Polly the Parakeet doesn’t smell like a house full of cats. But if you see a guy my size talking to a mechanical parakeet, it’s time to move to the front of the bus.

Somebody should break the news to this lady, but gently.

Somebody should break the news to this lady, but gently.


The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act


I keep falling asleep on the couch during the midnight movies . . . last nite it was On the Waterfront, my fave flick ever. I couldn’t figure out why . . . after all, one of my seizure meds discourages sleep even. Then I read Greg Burk’s latest MetalJazz and he’s going on about the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act. CALM for short. Clever.  He’s crazy about it. No longer can commercials be louder than the programs they’re interrupting. You can imagine Burk before its passage, in his EZ chair, lunging for the remote and cursing the Toyotathon.  No more, though…all is mono-volume, smooth and unsurprising as the Kansas plain. The law went into effect on December 13, about the time I began dozing off before Marlon Brando had a chance to tell Rod Steiger he coulda been a contender.  I am lulled into deep sleep curled up on the couch, surrounded by the new fluffy couch pillows (which don’t help things either). Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger and Ashley Madison and the Mattress King flowing seamlessly together.  Nothing interrupts. No more being jolted awake by those ads for the Trojan Twister and their haunting undertone that men aren’t really necessary at all. But the thing is, I always did my best writing in the wee hours, invariably after being awoken by that delicious babe describing hideous malpractices that can be sued for. She rattles them off, all kinds of scary things,  diseases and deformities and even death. She talks so fast, this chick, and never blinks. Disturbing. And I don’t even know what a vaginal mesh is.  So I’d turn off the TV and turn on the computer and out would come prose. All kinds of prose. A blog’s worth of prose. No more. Now I just sleep, wake up, straighten up the house (I always straighten up the house), read a while and go to bed, the real bed, and sleep again. No prose at all.

There goes my writing career.



So on late night television I keep seeing this icy gorgeous blonde warning me about testosterone supplements. They can cause stroke, pulmonary embolism, blood clots, heart attack and even death she says. She really punctuates that death. There’s no empathy in her voice, it’s almost robotic. She stares you down without even a hint of pity. She wasn’t hired to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. You can tell it’s bad. It’s not like an honest death. You died because you needed more testosterone, and the gorgeous blonde knows it. That’s the kind of death they whisper about at funerals. And yet you took that supplement because of blondes like her. One of late night TV’s little ironies. But I’ve never taken a testosterone supplement so I will never die and the blonde can stop worrying.

Then just now I get a call. A lady will give me $150 dollars if I took a testosterone supplement and answer a few questions. It’s nothing kinky, alas, just a survey. I thought about lying and saying yes, lady, I’ve taken testosterone supplements. But then I remembered that pitiless stare of the gorgeous blonde. So I said in my lowest voice possible, no lady, I don’t take no testosterone supplements. She said thank you and hung up.

So now some wimpy guy is gonna make $150.

Those testosterone supplement commercials were pretty cool, though. You’d see them late at night too. Some middle aged guy looks tired. Doctor says you’re tired because you are a weak excuse for a man. Gives him some medicine with a terrifying warning about what will happen if your wife comes in contact with it. (Basically her voice will drop and she will beat you up.)  Then, next scene, the middle aged guy is getting bedroom eyes from a gorgeous blonde. Little does he know that same gorgeous blonde will be warning him about stroke, pulmonary embolism, blood clots, heart attack and even death as he watches late night TV, too wired and horny to sleep. He’ll watch her and want her and next day get a hundred fifty bucks for his trouble, the pipsqueak.

Hot babe says you will die.

Hot babe says you will die.


Super Bowl

(Super Bowl Sunday, 2014)

Saw an incredible hockey game yesterday morning. Back and forth, until they piled up a five-five tie and a frenzied overtime finished it off with a terrific Caps goal. Detroit slunk off, so close but so far. I love hockey, and that was a game, man, that was a game. No pathetic blow out. No horseshit music at halftime. No insanely expensive commercials. Just two hockey teams playing like their lives depended on it while the audience sat on the edge of their seats.

Some sports are real. And some sports have degenerated into show biz.

This isn’t the kind of thing you’re supposed to talk about on Linked-In. But they were. A site that’s all about business and commerce and ratings and climbing up the ladder, and everybody is talking about the Super Bowl, and especially about the commercials. Sports as seen through commercials. Or maybe commercials as sports. I know there was actual sports involved. There were two teams and a cloud of Astroturf dust. Apparently, on LinkedIn, that was incidental to the real action, the commercials. I thought about the hockey I’d seen the day before. Those teams showed up on that ice yesterday to play a hockey game. These teams seemed to show up at the Super Bowl to sell Budweiser and Doritos. What was the score, 43-8? That’s not even a contest, not even pretending to be. That’s just a bunch of guys running around a field to fill in time between commercials. And I didn’t even watch the game. I read about the commercials in the news. In fact I read about the commercials before they were even aired. Somehow people have made a contest out of the commercials. There was pre-game debate about who would have the best commercial. Stop and think about that.

Or stop and think about this: “The ad touched the depths of my soul,” says Char B., a middle school language-arts teacher from Livonia, Michigan, on LinkedIn. “Nothing reaches raw emotion like the love of animals.”

A beer commercial touched the depths of her soul.