Don’t make me Chrysler

On the teevee, there’s been a couple of Chrysler commercials that have really, really annoyed me. The first one is subtly annoying, because I had to pay attention to it before I realized how awful it was. There’s a young waifish boy who is leaving school. We hear, but don’t see, a boy say “Hey, Billy, I’ll race you home.” And you see the waif look alarmed. He runs, and then we see three larger shadowy boys chase after him. He escapes into his mom’s Chrysler minivan.

Clearly, the boy is being chased by bullies, but this probably played poorly with some sort of focus group. Reasonably, who the hell wants to associate the safety of her car with her poor, picked-on child? But it drives me crazy that the fix for this horrible commercial was to have the dumb voice-over in the beginning implying that the child was racing the other kids home. The kid looks horrified, and the other kids chasing him are clearly disappointed they didn’t get to hand him a beat down when he barely escapes. Who thought that was a good idea? And now, the edited commercial is nonsensical and cringe inducing.

The other Chrysler commercial I didn’t even have to pay attention to for it to make my brain matter seep out. It’s another minivan commercial–does Chrysler only make minivans now?–and after talking about all the amazing thing this minivan does, the voice-over says, “Oh, yeah, and it literally gave birth to every other minivan.”

Unless this is about another Michael Bay movie that I’m never going to see, this is literally the worst use of “literally” that I’ve ever heard. Most people may not realize this, but advertising agencies usually have smarter people involved in ad-campaigns. If the ad was literally put together by a 13 year-old, I could understand the usage, but anyone who has a high-school education knows what “literally” means. That ad had to pass through at least 2 dozen people. Not one of them pointed out how wrong that was?

At any rate, I put the kibosh on purchasing any Chrysler products in my household. I’m sure that’ll be the final nail in that company’s coffin.

Humans don’t cost much

I just read that an employee of BP who was on the Deepwater Horizon Rig, pleaded the 5th at a federal investigative panel about his actions on the day of the explosion. The obvious reason for this is that there was criminal negligence or possibly criminal action.

The article deserves a read. One passage stood out:

The company men [from BP] have a key role on a drilling rig, said Carl Smith, a former U.S. Coast Guard captain and expert witness, who testified Wednesday.

“Their [BP’s] emphasis is they’re trying to drill to make money for their company, so their primary interest is to make progress on the well,” he said. “So, you’re always going to have a conflict between the people who are representing the owner’s of the rig and the people who are renting it because the people who are renting it want to go faster and drill, and the people who are operating the rig want to maintain the integrity of the rig, which is a natural conflict.”

The people who are operating the rig want to maintain its integrity. Seems fair. But the conflict is the company that is renting the rig, in this case BP, wants to drill faster at the expense of safety. Surely this implies that it is less expensive in the long run for the company to mop up oil spills and pay the insurance on those on the rig that have died.

That’s some truly fucked-up accounting, right there.

I’m old–and new things scare me!

Especially when the new things are hundreds of years old and sound Muslim!

Found on MSNBC:
Headline: "1 in 4 young adults has used a hookah," from MSNBC website

I have no desire to read the story. It may even be positive, since it is believed that hookah smoke is safer than directly inhaling smoke from a burning source, like cigarettes or pipes. But the only reason that this would be a story on a national news site is to freak out the whitebreads who think that hookahs can only be used for illegal drugs and would only be used by alien cultures.

Don’t tell anyone that some young people eat hummus and wear pajamas.

MSNBC can’t report financial news very accurately

Two headlines on the very same MSNBC page at the same time (as of 10:45 AM). This one is at the top:

Wall Street seesaws in early trading

Stocks slump at opening bell amid continuing investor uneasiness before bouncing back.

Emphasis mine. This one is further down, but reflects the current trend:

Wall Street tumbles for a second day

Wall Street tumbled again Wednesday, with investors uneasy about the health of the economy and earnings after disappointing reports from big names like Apple and Motorola.

I’d also like to point out that Apple had its best financial quarter ever. Ever. I’m not sure how that’s disappointing. I guess if you’re a news organization aligned with Microsoft, the best financial news ever from its competitor would be disappointing.

But going back to the way MSNBC reports on financial news, specifically on the stock market, I’ll check in a couple times a day, and if stocks are going down at one point, the headline will read something like, “Investors shaky on Fed meeting.” If the stocks move back up, the headline will read “Investors show confidence on Fed meeting.” And the article itself will stay the same. It’s totally ridiculous.

Meanwhile, my investment advice: Run for cover! The whole dang thing is gonna crumble on down!

They can charge money for that?

Captured on the checkout line at my local market, The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Ghosts and Hauntings:

Complete Idiot’s Guide: Ghosts and Hauntings

The entirety of the contents: “Thank you for purchasing this book. You hold in your hand the complete guide to ghosts and hauntings. There are none. Ghosts don’t exist. Now you are less of an idiot. Congratulations.”

Seriously?

Goodbye Dad? The headline? The top story? Really? K… show of hands. Who here is eager to go through the pain of childbirth without having that modicum of pleasure we get from sex? Listen, I know there is a small subset of women, who, for whatever reason, can’t get pregnant from their partner. I know it’s big business. But is this really national news? Or, maybe, are they just trying to scare the easily scared by intimating that we won’t need men anymore? And honestly, speaking as an endangered male, good riddance. Who the hell needs us? Without men, we wouldn’t have G or GW Bush. No Dick Cheney. No Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter. Cheap shots aside, the only thing that being able to combine two eggs into a fertilized zygote would do is give hope to a few thousand childless couples. “Goodbye Dad?” Ugly and unnecessary. Time for me to link to a new news site.

I got piqued

So I got this email from eBay that had this banner: Boost sales fast! Describe Item Specifics and peak buyer's interest. “Peak buyers’ interest”? Really? While I appreciate the proper use of the possessive apostrophe, the word is pique. It means to stimulate. It also means to annoy. Which they did.

Chernobyl’s effect on Norway

Last Christmas, my fianceé tried to buy reindeer meatballs for her father. It was kind of a tradition to get him some sort of unusual Norwegian treat, since his family is from there. But we couldn’t find them. There was a site that wouldn’t ship them out of Norway, but that was the closest we got.

Honestly, I figured that the demand just wasn’t there for any company to go out of its way to ship them, but Kathy assured me that she’d been able to get them in the past, and, really, the internets make it so easy to buy just about anything, no matter how obscure. My curiosity was piqued, but I didn’t find any information on the missing meatballs until articles started talking about the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. It turned out that the meatballs were banned from export, because 20 years after the initial fallout, a specific type of radiation was falling back to earth in Scandinavia and being absorbed by lichens and fungi.

Reindeer consider the lichens a delicacy. They were eating the contaminated lichens and becoming poisonous.

Now, an article from the New Scientist says that the sheep farmers in Norway are having problems, because sheep like mushrooms, and this particularly wet summer saw a bumper crop.

There’s an amazing quality to a pollutant that can poison thousands of miles from its origin and two decades after the fact. And, sadly, this is only a minor problem with nuclear fallout.