Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Ad Nonsense

You know, I love the Christmas season as much as the next person with a Christian background.  The sounds and smells of Christmas, the generosity and good will that is more evident at this time of year, and the thoughts of love and peace and spending time with your family.

What I don't like about Christmas?  The terrible, awful, no good 'Holiday' ads on TV and radio.   And this year, a new trend* is having people (or animated icons) badly singing a bad Christmas carol with all the words changed to shill their wares.  They completely ignore the spiritual meaning of Christmas, unless it really is all about Santa and boosting the economy.

As I write, there's an ad to the tune of Jingle Bells on TV.  Another ubiquitous one is the new store called "HM" or something which is SOOooooooo bad, to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, and then there's that Honda dealership with all the employees singing Fa-la-la-la-laaa.

a) Most of these ads have people intentionally singing off key and/or just plain bad.  It's actually a little painful.

b) Changing the words of a carol to sell your products is just... really not right.  Also sorta lame because it is SO overdone.  I can't wait to see the ad featuring "Amazing Grace"as Amazing Chase Manhattan VISA™ ...

c) These ads play every five minutes. The same ads.  Over and over.  ARGH!  Stop stop stop, you're making me crazy!

All of this is not only making me crazy, but it is impeding my ability to get into the Christmas Spirit.  And I've only got a few more days!

OH well.  Thank goodness there's a total lunar eclipse tonight.  I'll have to stay up for that.

Happy Winter Solstice, y'all!

*or maybe I'm just noticing it more thanks to the awful Quizno's cat commercial earlier in the year - actually made me boycott Quizno's until they stopped playing it.  I guess they thought it was cute. Note to Quizno's:  IT'S NOT CUTE!!!! IT'S HORRIBLE!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Help

I read the wildly popular book "The Help" the other day.  It's really good!  It's written in three different voices: two black maids and a white writer from Jackson, MS in 1962-1963.  It's a fascinating time and an even more fascinating viewpoint, and it's written very well so I recommend it highly.

But I looked up at one point while reading and smirked to myself at the irony.  I was sitting in a bar (pool hall, actually, but not a skeezy type of pool hall), listening to rap music requested by the white patrons who were dancing and posing like the "gangstas" they wish they could be.  It's nearly forty -- ack, FIFTY --  years after the times written about in "The Help" and there are still racists and bigots, and minorities still have an unfair disadvantage in many ways -- but now it's "cool" for white kids to act black or Hispanic or anything other than the preppy "Biff" and "Muffy" ways the white kids acted in "The Help".

I just found it an interesting juxtaposition.  (I'm pretty sure Miss Hilly would not approve.)

And yes, I'm that weird girl at the bar, reading a book.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Basic Guidelines for Professional Sports

Last weekend, the Minnesota Vikings came to Washington, DC to play my Washington Redskins at Fedex Field and I overheard this conversation between my bartender friend (QOTJ), and a customer:

Customer:   "So, how do you feel about 'your boy' coming to town to play the Redskins?"
QOTJ:           "My boy?"
Customer:  "You know, Brett Favre, who you've been drooling over for years?"
QOTJ:          "Oh, I don't like him any more… he's kinda icky now."

I laughed at the conversation, but it got me thinking.  First, I agree that Brett Favre has gone down in my estimation because of his hijinks that were revealed this year (no pun intended).  He used to just seem like a pretty decent guy who could really play football.  And there was the whole "Something About Mary" thing (Favvrrvrrvr).  But now?  Skeezy.  Same with Tiger Woods.  And many, many other idiot superstar athletes.

I think Tiger Woods hit the nail on the head in his "apology" when he said basically that he thought he was better than everyone else and none of "that" (i.e. laws, ethics, humanity, decency) applied to him.  That  disgusts me. 

So, I started wondering why has there been such an epidemic of sex scandals, steroid scandals, criminal activity, and well, just general "better than thou" stupidity surrounding these so-called "role models"?

Not even to mention the fact that anyone could think it's a good idea to send pictures of their "junk" via email or text msg – sheesh!  First of all: EWwww! Second: Have they not learned that anything sent electronically will eventually end up on the Internet for public review?  (Again,  EWWWW!)

So, after all of this thinking, I have decided to give those poor overpaid prima donnas some help.

Gigs' Basic Guidelines for Professional Sports

Basic Truths
  1. Playing a game really well does not make you better than anyone.   Seriously.
  2. Money does not buy class.
  3. Money does not buy love.
  4. Money does not buy respect.
  5. All money buys is room, board, and stuff.
Basic Guidelines for Players
  1. Be thankful and humble that you are lucky enough to work in a business that pays you so much to play a game.
  2. Be gracious, and don't boast.  Quiet talent is always more appreciated than loud and flamboyant boasting.  (Example: Art Monk)
    • Corollary:  Do not go ballistic when you make a good play unless it puts points on the board or changes possession.  You are just doing your job, for Pete's sake!
  3. Be a team player.  If you play in a team sport, you are not any better than the team with which you play.  You might be the most talented player on your team, but you can't win the game without all the other players.
  4. Play fair, because cheaters suck.  If you want to be a better player, then train for it.  No steroids, no surreptitious filming, no pine tar, no blood doping or whatever the latest cheating mechanism is.
  5. Use your mind, open your heart, and help your fellow man.
  6. Respect your opponents.  They have trained just as much as you have for this competition.
  7. Be a part of your community.  The people in your community are the people who come to see you play and they are more likely remember you forever if they know who you are OFF the field too.  (Example: Darryl Green)
Basic Guidelines for Team Owners*
  1. You own the team, not the people.
  2. Owning a team does not make you an expert in the game.  That's why you hire coaches and staff.
  3. Hire the best people for the job, give them the resources they need to do it well, then let them do it.
  4. If you keep your employees happy, they will be more likely to respect you and do their best for you.
  5. You are responsible for keeping your customers (sometimes called "fans") happy and coming back.   They are not responsible to you.
*Can you tell I'm a Redskins fan?

Basic Guidelines for Parents
  1. Sports stars are NOT role models for your kids.  They are human, and sometimes they make mistakes.
  2. If your kid is ultra-talented, bring him/her up with the basic truths and guidelines above so they don't turn into the idiots in sports today.

Any additions?  

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Wrap it up already!

    Um, I don't know if you noticed, but it's December now -- so I did not succeed in writing a post a day for November.  Ah well, I'm OK with that.  A lot happened in November!  I had three topics left:  1) A favourite movie (because of the British spelling, I'm wondering if this started as "Remember, remember, the 5th of November"…), 2) Something I could never tire of, and 3) Three great things that happened this month.

    OK, the movie is easy:  Henry V (Branagh version).  Or maybe Gladiator.  Oh no, wait, A Shadow of a Doubt – classic Hitchcock!  No… To Kill A Mockingbird.  Oooooo what about the Star Wars movies?  (Empire, of course, is the best).  Hmmm, "Empire" reminds me of Empire of the Sun – excellent Spielberg movie starring a very young Christian Bale.  Beautiful.  And then there are the kids movies – Toy Story, Wall-E, Harry Potter (not really kids movies anymore), all the Disney movies… sigh, maybe this wasn't so easy after all!  (Dang, I didn't even include Real Genius and Princess Bride!  Or The Usual Suspects or Pulp Fiction.   THE MUSICALS!!! Ohhhhh nooooo!

    I think maybe I have spent far too much time in darkened theatres…

    (It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Major League, The Thin Man, A Beautiful Mind, …)

    *shake*  OK, I'll stop now!

    Something I could never tire of is my snuggly kitty.  He snuggles up next to me on the couch when I'm on the laptop – and sometimes tries to sit between me and the laptop, which is a little difficult because he is 21 lbs.  When I go to sleep, I turn on my side and pat the bed and he curls up against me.  The other day he kept meowing all over the place and I couldn't figure out why because he had food, water, and a clean box.  And then I noticed that the temperature had dropped precipitously – which I hadn't realized because I was in sweats and wrapped in a blanket – and he was COLD!  So I pulled out another blanket and patted the couch next to me.  He jumped up, irritably, and I wrapped the fleece blanket around and over him, and he just snuggled right up next to me with his head on my lap.  It's about time I paid him back for all the love and snuggles he's given me!

    Calypso in the morning

    And last but not least: three great things that happened this month.

    1. My mom is OK.  A few weeks ago, she had a medical emergency and was put in the hospital. She went home from the hospital the next day and they are still trying to figure out why what happened happened, but… she's OK.  And my Dad is getting help for a different issue too, so things are looking up there.   And I'm going to drive down to visit them in December.  Yay!
    2. I got to spend time with my nephew.  Yes, I know, I've already talked about him a lot.  But I hadn't seen him since last Christmas!  I really enjoyed having a "date" with him to see the new Harry Potter movie at the Uptown (preceded by dinner at Spices, yum!).  He's so grown up now, even though he's still as much as kid as I am.  It's fun to see the world through the eyes of a 19-year-old again – especially when he's so much wiser than I was at that time in my life.
    3. "Hair" – The Musical.  My friend "M" was able to get amazing seats (Row J) for us to see "Hair" at the Kennedy Center.  It was much fun to have dinner and a show with my "Hoodlum" friends – and WHAT a show!  I did my best not to sing along, but then got to join my friends M&G on stage with the cast to sing (and dance) the finale "Let the Sun Shine".  It was brilliant, and I still feel the good vibes and happiness that enveloped me that night!
    From the Hair Online Archives

    Thus endeth my "November Postage".  Even though it's December.   heeheehee

    So, what's next?  This has been interesting experiment for me in a lot of ways.  I have enjoyed having a topic given to me to write about, but I also realized that I just didn't seem to have the time to write every day.  Or maybe I just didn't make the time.  Sometimes I didn't make the time because I was exhausted, but sometimes because there were just other things that were more important. 

    And occasionally, I had something else I wanted to write about – and sometimes I did, but sometimes I just wound it into the given topic for the day.  And sometimes I just waited.  Maybe that's a good thing, because now I've got some topics lined up for December now.  The bad thing about it is that some of those pieces I wrote in my head are… gone.  Must have been BRILLIANT, right? hahahaha

    All right, night night!

    p.s. Thanks to my sister for the pics of my nephew and parents!