05 July 2009
Friday/July/10 2009 Filed in: TV Commercials
Twists and Turns
The backstory on the Glade Lady is more mysterious and twisty than the plotline of ABC's Lost last season. Is S.C. Johnson, Glade's parent company, trying to hide something?
Who is the Glade Lady?
USAToday reports that her name is Dori Kelly and she's a former runway model from Pennsylvania. But to read what bloggers are saying, you'd think this was shaky information, leaked by a S.C. Johnson executive under protection of anonymity.
The GrokMedia blog has been on her trail for a while now and may be closing in soon. They want to talk to the Glade Brand Manager. They have a few questions for him or her about how the enigmatic and alleged Ms. Kelly fits into the overall brand strategy.
And there's much controversy about the Glade Lady over at the 13Months blog where they admit to being obsessed with her and have even plotted her on a four box Hot vs Idiotic grid. She's been called Ms. Liar Liar there and they aren't thrilled with what she did to an animated gingerbread man. Yikes!
But wait, there's more...
Does the Glade Lady have a dark B-Movie past that's being hidden from us? Some think that she was in the cast of 1991's Winterbeast, a film that looks like it could go toe-to-toe with Plan 9 From Outer Space. Watch for the character at about 57 seconds who says, "I think we better get out of here..." Again you decide...
Thursday/July/09 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
Four days after the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, and five days before the 233rd anniversary of the birth of the United States of America, an improvised explosive device was detonated on a Baghdad street as a US military vehicle drove by.
Four American soldiers were on board that vehicle. All were killed.
Their deaths represent only one thousandth of all Americans killed in Iraq since 2003.
As brave sentinels of Operation Iraqi Freedom, these four soldiers served on the battlefield dutifully fighting a war that should never have been waged -- a war cowardly declared by officials too inarticulate to offer adequate rationale for the bloody misadventure.
As far as we know, these four men never entertained audiences of millions or commandeered headlines and tweets with their antics and eccentricities.
They never learned the skill of moving backward while appearing to walk forward, or starred on a TV show, or sold thousands of pin-up posters with their beguiling smiles.
What they did do was die brutally on a street in Baghdad, forgotten by all except those who knew them, loved them and now grieve for them.
These four soldiers of the 120th Combined Arms Battalion - Wilmington, N.C., were:
Sgt. 1st Class Edward C. Kramer, 39, of Wilmington, N.C.
Sgt. Roger L. Adams Jr., 36, of Jacksonville, N.C.
Sgt. Juan C. Baldeosingh, 30, of Newport, N.C.
Spc. Robert L. Bittiker, 39, of Jacksonville, N.C.
With all the celebrity tears recently shed for the Hollywood Glitterati, we hope that at least a few are left for these fallen soldiers of the valiant 120th and for the 4,236 military men and women who preceded them in death on hot blood-soaked desert sands.
Wednesday/July/08 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
What's wrong with this picture?
If you can't guess, a guy named Pete Best can tell you.
Pete (second guy from the right, as if you didn't know) was the drummer in the most successful band in history up until maybe about a half an hour before it became the most successful band in history.
Love Me Do
Most Beatlemaniacs have heard the story of how the Beatles recorded a version of Love Me Do, their first number one hit, with Pete. Producer George Martin wasn't pleased. Pete was kicked to the Liverpudlian curb and the song was re-recorded with a new guy named Ringo.
We imagine that every time Pete steps into an elevator these days he sticks his fingers in his ears terrified that he might be reminded about that cruel twist of fate four decades ago. But have you ever heard the Pete Best version of this Beatles classic?
Put yourself in George Martin's shoes for moment and listen to what he heard.
What would you have done?
That was ... interesting ...
Somehow the Four Lads from Liverpool never sounded so lethargic and so ... well, ordinary. The drumming seems somehow disconnected from the rest of the music - especially after about a minute in. And by the end of the song, Pete kind of goes off on his own somewhere.
This version helped us to appreciate just how important RIngo was to the unique sound and signature of the Beatles.
Here's Love Me Do as it was released on October 5, 1962. It became the band's first number one hit in the US in 1964...
Ringo was almost a Nowhere Man, too
Ironically, the story is that George Martin didn't like Ringo's version either. The single released used a session drummer named Andy White, with Ringo playing tambourine.
And as for life after Pete's rock and roll apocalypse... He worked for a bakery and later spent 20 years as a civil servant.
BTW, Andy White, Wikipedia reports, is today a drumming judge for the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...
PS: Happy Birthday, Ringo! - July 7
The Daily Mail
Tuesday/July/07 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Looking for a Hero
James Lileks is, in our opinion, a contemporary zeitgeist archeologist and a premier social historian.
We should explain that.
Lileks' clever Institute of Official Cheer website uses matchbook covers, hotel postcards, comic books, Sears catalogs and more to paint a fascinating picture of our cultural evolution over the last 50 years. This is no dry, dull college history lecture. Setting politics aside, James Lileks is as witty as all get out and as funny as hell.
Enter Lance Lawson
Mr. Lileks' website introduced us to Lance Lawson, the lead character of a newspaper comic strip that ran in the 1940s. And boy do we need Lance now.
Lance was like a mash-up of Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe and Robert (Da Vinci Code) Langdon. But while it took those guys hours and/or hundreds of pages to solve a mystery, Lance did it in four comic strip panels. FOUR PANELS!
LANCE LAWSON IN ACTION
Time's a wastin'
With all that's going on in our apocalyptic world these days, we really need a guy who could step in and get to the bottom of things fast.
Have you figured it out yet?
Do you know why Lance feels justified in man-handling the dirty crook masquerading as a pig farmer?
The solution printed at the bottom of the newspaper page explains Lawson's reasoning ..
The farmer called the pigs Hampshires but they were Poland Chinas.
Yeah, we knew that...
Monday/July/06 2009 Filed in: Science / Technology
"Man will not fly for 50 years."
Wilbur Wright, 1901
Graphic from Dark Roasted Blend
Isn't this the way we all once imagined ourselves in the future?
All purple-jump-suity and blissfully anxious to let our buxom loved ones know that Earth was about to collide with Saturn?
Okay, maybe that was just us here at Apocalypzia, but you get the point.
When we look back at how people in years past envisioned what life might be like in the 21st century, it's surprising how far most of them missed the mark.
"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
Brave New World
With the exception of Blade Runner, most visages of the future were a sterile and clinical amalgam of stainless steel and glass. Every house, every building was some smooth perfectly polished geodesic structure.
Each person wore some strange and extreme costume that looked neither comfortable nor practical.
It was as if the entire architectural, stylistic and cultural landscape of the past (our present) had been wiped clean and supplanted by some stark and gleaming new post-modern world.
"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
Things to Come (1936)
Where There is No Vision, The People Perish
While many predictions of the future either went too far or didn't go far enough, the on-target writings of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, George Orwell and, perhaps most especially, Aldus Huxley continue to amaze us.
"It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?"
Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone
And while a lot has been written about retro-future -- how people in the past imagined a yet unrealized future -- what about the other side of the coin?
What about inventions and technologies of the past that we once believed were the shape of things to come that just somehow didn't turn out that way?
We can think of a few. What would you add to the list?
The Concorde SST
Though, even today, still looking like a flying machine from the future, the Concorde was first conceived way back in 1956. Concerns about airworthiness and post 9/11 financial pressures grounded the Concorde fleet in 2003.
Bell Rocket Belt
Years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the world first witnessed a man flying around like Superman. Surely, we should all be rocketing to Starbucks for a Caramel Machiatto by now.
Harrier Jump Jet
Didn't we think that by now airport runways would be a thing of the past? Our Boeing 767 would slowly ascend from an O'Hare International Airport launch pad before rocketing us off to parts unknown.
Vertical take-off/landing jet aircraft technology is still the exclusive domain of the military.
And the Harrier Jump Jet is the marvel of the British RAF.
Harrier Taking Off...
True Space Travel
We're not talking about namby-pamby coffee-tea-or-milk Space Shuttle cruises, but real honest-to-goodness AOK Right Stuff fire-in-the-hole space travel. You, know. Where the goal is not to go orbiting around in circles doing odd-job handyman work but to actually go some freakin' where!
For millennia on end, humans wondered who would be the first person to walk on the moon. Now we wonder whether or not Eugene Cernan will be the last.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
Sunday/July/05 2009 Filed in: TV Commercials
The TV Commercial Guys Club is Not Male-Only
The Mercury Girl gently reminds you " to put Mercury on your list." Her assignment, it appears, is to help give the Mercury brand some personality.
That's been a long standing issue for Mercury. In the 1930's, Ford Motor Co. looked for a nameplate to position between its middle-market Ford and its upscale Lincoln divisions. Mercury seemed to fit the bill. Like GM's Buick, Mercury aims to be an entry-level luxury brand.
But the concept of entry level luxury has lost focus over time. Mercury cars, over the years, have drifted back and forth between being very nice Fords or very basic Lincolns. The nameplate seemed to lack a distinctive identity.
That's where the Mercury Girl (that's how she describes herself) comes in. She's Jill Wagner in real life and she's there to do for Mercury what the Verizon Guy did for Verizon and what the Caveman did for Geico.
Is she effective?
Jill's been at it since 2005 and that's one sign of success. The economic roller coaster, however, has been a rough ride for the last 10 months and the post-bailout world hasn't been kind to Detroit. But Jill is distinctive and fresh. And it certainly appears that she's been successful in giving Mercury something it's lacked from the beginning ... a persona.
Also worthy of note regarding TV spokespersons...
While the Mercury Girl, the Verizon Guy and even the Geico Caveman (his prehistoric name is Maurice, BTW) are all portrayed by actors easily Googled and Yahooed, the Glade Lady is somewhat more mysterious and enigmatic.