Attention News Media!
Let me help you out here! Some free advice!
When you’re filing a story (industry term) about some sort of supposedly newsworthy event, include a little something called details.
Here’s a piece titled “The Onion Apologizes for Tweet About Quvenzhané Wallis” over on our sister site newyorktimes.com where they note that “an obscene reference” was made about the young actress. And over at our other sister site usatoday.com, they noted that the Onion issued an apology for a tasteless Twitter remark (which I understand is called a “Tweet”) with the headline news that “‘The Onion issues apology for tasteless Twitter remark.”
Neither story mentioned exactly what was so offensive (though to be fair, USA Today eventually added a link to another story filed a few minutes earlier that spelled it out, or at least gave us the first letter:
If your news organization is touting something as news, have the editorial courage of your convictions to print the actual details of the story rather than make oblique references to it. The entire story here begins and ends with the dreaded c-word, and to paraphrase the Onion itself, everyone seems afraid to use it. (And yes, I realize the irony of me not including it here, but I’m brilliantly and insightfully commenting on the story, not reporting the news. Also, my grandmother reads this blog.)
Furthermore, if readers have to leave your site to do their own research elsewhere and find out what the goddamn story is, your news organization has failed at the one thing it’s supposed to do.
Nothing that happens on Twitter is ever news.
That Stupid iPod / iTunes Ad Campaign!
HAVE YOU NOTICED that iTunes gift cards have recently changed?
They now resemble the button for the iTunes app on one’s smartphone or other unnecessary device that irritates us when we see people using them in public with little regard for others, their surroundings and their driving.
The new card design (above) is an improvement. The previous versions baffled and offended me. Here are the ones I’m talking about:
These colorful silhouettes have been part of Apple’s marketing campaign for the iPod since it was introduced. And plenty of funny institutions from Mad Magazine all the way to Mad TV have spoofed them, back when it was actually current.
So, yes, the time for spoofing is long over. Rather, I’d just like to say that as a quiet, restrained, arguably normal, less arguably socially-challenged individual, I really can’t stand people who behave the way those in this failed iPod campaign do.
What kind of person gets so wrapped up in their music that they feel the need to carry on like this?!
These are not people in clubs enjoying a shared experience. They’ve got earbuds in. They alone hear their music. (Unless they’re among those attention-starved jackasses who intentionally crank it to such high levels to let others know what crap music they’re using to achieve permanent hearing loss.)
So stop dancing, you morons! You look ridiculous. How ridiculous? I’m glad you asked.
Take this one here: Like me, you’d guess that she was calmly walking down the street, listening to something pleasant like “The Best of the Fifth Dimension,” at a reasonable volume (“low”), when suddenly a car bomb goes off nearby, the force of the blast propelling her backwards.
In all likelihood, she was merely an undisciplined child whose parents didn’t want to rein in this “free spirit” so now she’s idiotically bopping along all over the sidewalk to “Everybody Talks” and you can’t risk passing her on your Rascal for all the high kicks.
Look at this Bieber-haired freak. Sure, it’s possible from the posture this is a modern day Jack London who just grabbed onto a passing freight train and is lighting out for the Territory as he listens to the audiobook version of “Roughing It,” to mix late 19th century literary references.
However chances are this is just some self-absorbed brat on a crowded subway car that you have the misfortune to share a pole with. And if that right hand of his inadvertently slaps your L Magazine one more time, none of us would blame you for grabbing that iPod, throwing it to the ground, and smashing it with the heel of your vintage purple and brown bowling shoes before Carlie Rae Jepsen and that Owl City guy finish autocrooning about their wholesome “Good Time.” We would blame you for the L Magazine and the bowling shoes, though.
Oof! Snap kick to the stomach by a vicious Muay Thai fighter on the loose?
I thought so, too!
No, this is the woman behind you in line at the post office and she wants everyone to know how much she likes Nicki Minaj.
You’re thinking what I’m thinking – he bent over to tend to his sneaker and inadvertently tied his earbuds cord into the loop of his shoelace. When he stood back up, he yanked that leg skyward. Sure, could happen to anyone!
Only – that’s not what happened!
No, this is a fellow shopper in the produce section at Albertsons keeping everyone from getting anywhere near the hot house tomatoes (on sale) while listening to his precious Black Keys and making a darn fool spectacle of himself.
Seems obvious, right? He’s got his window fan on way too high and even turning his head in that direction would raise hell with his contacts, so he’s hoping to adjust it without looking, mashing the controls with his iPod hand.
This is that little twerp on the elliptical next to you at the gym whose flailing arms keep threatening to invade your personal space. He’s also subtly trying to get you to see the screen, so that you know he’s listening to Graffiti6.
One might venture a guess that the above young man decided that his life is not worth living, has leapt off a bridge and is in the process of plunging to his demise.
Sadly, one would be wrong.
In fact, he’s grinding along the freshly-painted edge of a bus stop bench that our taxes paid for when his skateboard hits a bolt and he stumbles into the street. Now you’ve got to slam on the brakes and pray that the asshole on your tail (on his iPhone, of course) is paying enough attention to avoid rear-ending you. The brakes hold out, your car’s back end crumples up like an empty beer can on a forehead at a frat party, and the oblivious skater, blasting someone named “Flo Rida” through his skull, has picked up his clattering skateboard, hopped on it again and is two blocks away before you find out the guy who plowed into your trunk doesn’t have insurance. Boy, that was a long one, huh?
Now this gal: Stepped out of a cab and one of those heels plunged into a sewer grate causing her to stumble? Or, judging by her twig-like limbs – perhaps she’s doubled over for some spontaneous purging?
She’s listening to her new favorite Bangles song after seeing it on an episode of “I Love the 80s” and she’s hoping her exaggerated and inaccurate approximation of an Egyptian hieroglyphic will impress the strangers in the food court she careens into as she heads to Hot Topic to shoplift a Punky Bleach Kit.
I guess my point is I can enjoy my music while I’m perfectly motionless (save for some occasional and mild finger-tapping if it’s one of Bert Kaempfert’s peppier numbers), and by God, I expect others to do the same. It’s certainly no surprise Apple abruptly pulled the plug on this colossal failure of an ad campaign.
Next Time: I set my sites on those annoying Fed-Ex ads with the guy who talks so fast you can’t understand what he’s saying.
Another Example Of Society’s Mounting Stupidity!
I REALIZE I run the risk of alienating the, what, six of you who occasionally wander on here to kill some time when there’s no new interesting cat videos on YouTube if I start complaining about the irritating minutia of my day-to-day life too much, but, aaah, the hell with it, right?
Here is a photo I took of the TV screen in the living room. Yes, yes, yes, let’s all make fun of me for “Teen Wolf.” Look, Kaitlyn loves that show, sure. But beside that, do you see anything, hmm, out of the ordinary, say?
Let me spell it out for you: The titles are not alphabetized correctly.
When arranging a list of items in alphabetical order, you disregard the word “the” at the beginning of a title.
Like you, I learned this in second grade.
So when I’m scrolling through the things I’ve recorded, I get about half of them in the right order and then I hit the Ts with some (but not all!) titles which are alphabetized starting with “The.”
That is, some shows with “The” in the title are alphabetized beginning with the first main word; others, such as “The Amazing Race” and “The Men Who Stare At Goats” are alphabetized starting with “The.” There’s absolutely no consistency!
I realize that in the grand scheme of things, this is not a life-altering issue. But on the other hand, it’s presumably someone’s specific job at Dish Network to input the titles alphabetically for viewing on menu screens like this. So he (or she) is doing it completely wrong!
And who suffers?
Me, who has to spend another 0.7 seconds scrolling down to “The Price Is Right.”
Get Off My Lawn! Yard!
HERE’S SOMETHING I need some help with and maybe you can help me out:
What the hell is up with lanyards?
Is this just a Los Angeles thing? Or is this nonsense going on all over the country?
Over the past three years or so, countless thousands – maybe millions – of otherwise rational-thinking people have decided that the thing to do is to start carrying their keys on a damn “lanyard.” Like this jackass:
By the way, this isn’t the first instance of me getting caught taking pictures of men’s midsections, but at least this time it wasn’t in the fitting rooms at JCPenney, I had a semi-plausible excuse, and I was able to successfully run away.
Anyway, I see this literally dozens of times each day, everywhere, on men and women – the lanyard hanging out of the pocket – and I want to understand, I really do, but I don’t! I just don’t get it!
Why don’t I get it? Well, maybe it’ll help if you see my keychain.
Four simple items: metal key ring, house key, car key, and spark plug gapper that I have no idea how to use but it was a buck at Pep Boys and it impresses the ladies.
“What’s that, Ted?”
“Spark plug gapper.”
I’ve wracked my brain trying to understand the popularity of lanyards as well as the pros and cons of owning one and so far I’ve come up with a bunch of cons but only one pro:
A lot of people who, a few years ago, didn’t know what a “lanyard” is have since broadened their vocabulary by exactly one word.
I understand and appreciate the concept of a lanyard as an efficient way to carry an ID card if you work backstage at a concert, or at Best Buy, or, I don’t know, I guess maybe at NASA.
But how did it make the jump from a cord worn around your neck on which you clip your identification or security clearance to an oversized nylon strap dangling outside your pants with your keys attached? How exactly is this more convenient than a regular key ring?
So, inspired by NASA and the smart people there, I approached it scientifically, and I drew up a chart to help me figure it all out.
Well, that was a big bust – I still don’t get it and I’ve wasted nine hours on this – time I could have spent learning how to gap my spark plugs.
Shame On You, Del Taco! ¡Que Lástima!
AS regular readers of this blog know, the other night it got late, I didn’t have anything in the house to eat and so I went to Del Taco for dinner.
For those of you who aren’t from the Southern California area or wherever the hell else they don’t have Del Taco, what happens is that there’s a “quick-serve” chain out here called “Del Taco” and they’re famous for co-opting the Disneyland Haunted Mansion typeface for most of their moronic little catchphrases and stupid logos what they print on cups, window slicks and “tray-liners,” to wit:
Anyway, what sears my carnitas is that when you go in and order one of their “combos” (that is, combinations; literally a “combination” of various foods constituting a meal and consisting of an entreé, a side dish – often French fries – and a beverage – all for a single price, as opposed to purchasing the items à la carte) the fellow, or in some cases, gal, at the register will immediately counter with “Medium or Macho Size?” (“Macho” being large; evidently in the hispanic community, great size is respected and equated with masculinity.)
And not being any sort of glutton, not needing the “Macho” size, not wanting the doctor to tell me I’m going to lose any more toes, my natural reaction, and now yours, would be to respond with “Medium.”
Ah, but that’s where they get you! Because, brother, you don’t even know it yet but you’ve just been up-sold!
Del Taco, literally “of the taco.”
See, what they should be doing (if they should morally be doing this at all!) is saying “Would you like to upgrade your order to medium size or macho size?” but oh no, they conveniently leave out the whole first part of that phrase! So you naturally think that, given the seemingly casual, matter-of-fact way they deliver it, you think that you’re already getting the medium size and the up-sell is merely to the “Macho” size option.
So by replying in good faith, “Oh, good heavens no, but thank you for asking. You see, I’m watching my figure – please, the medium size will be plenty,” bam! they’ve just up-sold you, you poor bastard – and you don’t even realize it!
They ought to be ashamed is what!
And don’t try to tell me that it’s something that happens at just one particular Del Taco – because like you, I regularly eat at no less than five different Del Tacos, and no less than twice a week at each one, and they all pull this same crap every-single-goddamn-time! Shame!
So I’ve decided that this is the month when I pay attention and catch them before they’ve tricked me yet again – or may a plague of Morlock Spurlocks descend upon them like so many goateed locusts!
I Just Threw Up On My Lawn A Little
FOR the inaugural installment of Get Off My Lawn, as you readers who wrote in voted to name this feature where I complain about things that because of my advanced age I don’t understand (Surprisingly, the rather abstract “It’s 2012; why do you even have a blog?” came in second!), I decided to focus on three phrases that irritate the hell out of me.
I was pretty sure that I remembered hearing “I just threw up in my mouth a little” in the movie “Clueless.” So in an effort to make sure I was accurate I looked it up online and not only did I not find out whether it’s from “Clueless,” I also learned that Gawker has also covered this phenomenon.
Gawker’s complaint, however, is the use of these sort of phrases on blogs – while I’m annoyed by them wherever I happen upon them. Sure – I do see them on the internet, but I hear them more often than I read them.
I’m aware that “I see what you did there” is a well-known internet meme, but that’s not the phrase that troubles me. Switch the pronouns around and pose it as a question – “You see what I did there?” and it serves roughly the same sarcastic purpose but becomes an admission of an obvious joke by the person who just made it (rather than a condescending comment on someone else’s bad joke).
I’m sure this variation exists on the internet. But me, I hear it out there in the real world, brother – in radio spots for car dealerships, on TV by that jackass announcer on NBC who tells me to stay tuned for sixteen seconds of additional “Whitney” hilarity after they flash its production logo, from the bingo caller at Kon-Kow-Wa Vista Casino where I bring Nana on Tuesday afternoons. (It’s always, always after he makes the same crude joke when he calls “0-69.” And then it’s up to me to explain it to my grandmother and the other ladies at the table, half of whom are hard of hearing.)
The most overused and therefore worst of the three is, of course – and I refuse to use it here (meta-)ironically – “wait for it.” (I’m disgusted enough at myself for using the prefix “meta.”) Over at Gawker, they’re as puzzled as the rest of us regarding its origins or what the hell it actually means other than being “a ridiculous tease and artificial tension builder that’s never worth the wait” – which is saying volumes because the “wait” is merely the length of time it takes the speaker to say the words “wait for it.”
This bit of drollery makes even less sense when you come across it on a page. Yet this is the one I hear the most – on radio, TV, in person by people who need to be kicked in the head – as though it’s somehow original or clever.
Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of these ridiculous phrases and their usage – and yet it’s all quite apt – is that even my complaining about them shows how out of step I am with the rest of the world: That Gawker post was written in 2006.