Arimathea
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Wednesday, November 16, A.D. 2011
YiaTube

Athenos is not my favorite brand of packaged hummus, but Kraft’s Greek label commercials are sweet like Melissos’ honey. Enjoy what Yiayia says.

Yiayia on stay at home fathers:

Yiayia on fashion:

Yiayia on cohabitation:

Evidently, the ad campaign began in late winter earlier this year, but I only recently discovered the videos. I want more Yiayia commentary; grandmothers know better.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 16, Anno Domini 2011
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Wednesday, September 28, A.D. 2011
Holy Smoke

Leave it to Americans to find a way to combine tastlessness and consumerism in even the most hallowed aspects of life . . . and death. I present Holy Smoke, a company that turns cremated remains into ammunition so that one can go out in a bang. From the company’s site:

Planning a loved ones final arrangements can be a challenging responsibility, one you want to do with care and consideration. Allow Holy Smoke to help you create a tribute to your outdoorsperson like no other.

We provide compassionate personal service, exceptional quality, and a truly unique memorial. Our unparalleled service and overall value are why our loyal customers won’t go anywhere else. We look forward to serving you!

The name you can trust! . . .

Now you can have the peace of mind that you can continue to protect your home and family even after you are gone.

The company is based in Alabama. I shall refrain from additional comment.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, September 28, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, August 4, A.D. 2011
Snoopy Sno-Cone

My brother Aaron surprised me by alerting me to the continued production of the much beloved Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. My first impulse was to buy it to enjoy during the horribly hot and humid August summer, but then the inner naysayer responded that it would not be used enough to justify a purchase, that I would have to find a place to store it, that the refrigerator already makes crushed ice . . . but still, Snoopy is so cute, and the shovel! Everyone loves the shovel until it breaks.

It is somewhat pathetic that products invoke such powerful nostalgic longings. I still miss my hometown produced Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow; I can still hear her moo. O Kenner, where have all my plastic childhood memories gone?

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, August 4, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, July 28, A.D. 2011
Black on Black Crime Hot Wings

I was researching tourist information for a possible upcoming trip to Pittsburgh when I came across a bizarre news story from WPXI: “Avalon Restaurant Criticized For ‘Black on Black Crime’ Hot Wing Flavor.” A hot wings restaurant named Big Shot Bob’s House of Wings apparently decided to name a new sauce flavor “Black on Black Crime.” The owner stated that the negative reaction to the name surprised him, and he excused his bad business decision by saying that a loyal “African American” customer came up with the idea. I should like to have been privy to that colorful interaction.

The story gets better! After the public outcry, Big Shot Bob’s altered the sauce’s name to “Big Fine Woman 2000.” The shop allowed the woman who made the initial complaint to rename the sauce, and “Big Fine Woman 2000” is what she decided. Oh, artifice does not hold a candle to truth!

In reviewing online reactions to the story, I encountered much handwringing about black on black crime. If only we could stop black on black crime! Left unsaid is whether the ongoing plague of black on white crime remains joyfully accepted. I suppose that a better wish would be for the end of widespread black crime, or, even better, the end of crime simply.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, July 28, Anno Domini 2011
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Tuesday, July 19, A.D. 2011
The Mall

I am not a devotee of Malcolm Gladwell, but I did find his article on the mall in The New Yorker quite interesting: “The Terrazzo Jungle.” Gladwell recounts the vision of the mall’s creator, Victor Gruen, as well as his disappointment in what became of his idea. Gruen wanted the mall to be a commercial centerpiece to an extensive, planned development that would create an orderly and beautiful community in suburbia. Such did not occur, though attempts at integrated commercial and residential space continue as the new urbanism refuses to submit before the American cult of the ugly and haphazard. Gladwell also explains how tax policy resulted in ghastly commercial developments largely disconnected from a community’s shopping needs, which thereby facilitated the American wasteland of suburban sprawl. Also of interest is mall designer Alfred Taubman’s commentary on the mall’s commercial strategies. The article is delightful pop anthropological candy. Enjoy.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, July 19, Anno Domini 2011
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Wednesday, July 13, A.D. 2011
The Ty Ty Zone

I maintain an extensive garden list of the species that I have in my yard. It is obviously incomplete, but I work on it when I have free time. I often use Google’s image search to help identify plants, and the pictures often take me to helpful and interesting sites. The quest for cultivars has also introduced me to some weird horticultural zones. This week, I came across one of the oddest—Ty Ty Nursery in Georgia. It is so outlandish that I doubted that it was a real store. However, it seems that the Ty Ty folks really do sell plants, though the web is full of complaints from disappointed customers. I want to ask these disgruntled buyers what possessed them to order plants from a nursery that advertises its stock in such a perverse manner. Ty Ty’s site has the aesthetic of sleazy television commercials that run in the middle of the night. You have to visit the site to grasp just how bizarre it is. Do not forget the videos.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, July 13, Anno Domini 2011
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Monday, February 28, A.D. 2011
Cabot Cottage Cheese

It is Maslenitsa, or Cheesefare week—the last week before Lent. It is a good time to note the delights of dairy, and I therefore want to recommend Cabot cottage cheese to you. Cabot is a Vermont cooperative that makes excellent cheese and other tasty dairy products. My father and I visited the company’s main creamery two years ago on our New England trip. Caboteers are justly proud of their award winning cheddar, but there are many fine cheddars in the world. I usually buy Cabot, but I like other brands, as well. However, no one makes cottage cheese like Cabot. It really is addictive; it will make every other cottage cheese disappoint you. As such, I wrote the following rant to Cabot for revealing to me its beatific vision of bovine bounty but then mercilessly casting me into the outer darkness of gourmand gehenna.

I have a serious complaint to make: Cabot has ruined cottage cheese for me! Several years ago, one of your fellow Green Mountain folk introduced me to Cabot cottage cheese, and I had never before eaten cottage cheese so good. I grew up eating it both sweet (on mandarin oranges, pineapple, or peaches) and savory (on crisp lettuce with fresh home grown tomato slices), but your brand, even eaten by itself, bested every kind that I have ever had. For some time, I could find Cabot cottage cheese in various stores in D.C., but it was always hit or miss. Now, however, I can’t find it at all. Once you go Cabot, you can never go back, and I hunger in vain for your delectable dairy ambrosia. Breakstone? Gag! Please help me; tell me where I can find your cottage cheese in either D.C. or Cincinnati (preferably both). Thank you!

P.S.) I even made a pilgrimage to your creamery in Cabot two years ago as a side trip when I attended a friend’s wedding in Boston. There was no cottage cheese there, either! Your cheddar is great, but nothing even comes close to your cottage cheese. For the love of all that is true, beautiful, and just, please take it national!!!

You may find such a letter over the top, but then you have not had Cabot cottage cheese.

In its absence, I prefer Kroger and Trauth brands, with which I grew up. Still, they do not compare . . .

Posted by Joseph on Monday, February 28, Anno Domini 2011
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Wednesday, February 9, A.D. 2011
Canned Unicorn Meat

Happy birthday to my father! Many more years to him!

I doubt that Dad would appreciate the following, but when I was looking at ThinkGeek’s Tauntaun sleeping bag, I decided to browse the other products. That is when I found Canned Unicorn Meat; it is an “Excellent Source of Sparkles.” As a vegetarian, it might be odd that I am an enthusiastic supporter of unicorn consumption, but the fantastic animals are fattened “on a diet comprised entirely of candy corn,” and I love candy corn! So, really, it would be like eating processed candy corn, right?

More facts about the Radiant Farms product:

Imported from a small independent cannery in County Meath, Ireland

Crunchy horn bits in every bite - an excellent source of Calcium

Tastes like rotisserie chicken but with a hint of marshmallow sweetness

Sparkly meat lends the unmistakable air of class and sophistication to your parties

Not yet approved by the USDA or FDA, but the nuns have eaten it for centuries and they’re healthy as horses

Pretty soon, Michelle Obama will be lecturing the nation’s schools to offer unicorn meat as an integral part of nutritional reform.

I also found in the Seattle Weekly that the National Pork Board had threatened legal action against ThinkGeek because ThinkGeek used the expression, “Unicorn—the new white meat,” in an April Fool’s joke from which they developed the above product (like the Tauntaun sleeping bag). It is deplorable that an obviously parodic use of the catch phrase would be found to violate copyright protection. Hey lawyers, when are you going to stop letting the scumbags among you defame your profession?

Anyway, I suspect that ThinkGeek’s My First Bacon talking plush toy is more of my father’s slice of meat . . .

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, February 9, Anno Domini 2011
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Monday, February 7, A.D. 2011
Big Game Commercials

Two years ago, I offered my thoughts on the Super Bowl advertisements of A.D. 2009, which included the magnificently crafted “Heist.”

I noted that Coca-Cola usually makes the best commercial of the Super Bowl. I think that Coke offers the best ad this year, as well. Here is “Border.”

While I find most of the game’s commercials base and stupid, Coke charms and embetters the audience. Nicely done. Two years ago, the company offered its gift to geeks with “Avatar.” This year, Coke bestows “Seige” upon the world’s nerds. Not bad.

The other commercial that I really like is a bit cheesy, but I’m a sucker for such things. Here is Bridgestone’s “Carma”:

Of course, I appreciate Volkswagen’s “The Force.” What American man from my generation would not like this ad? It is our destiny.

As a child, I played Luke, though. Still, Vader gets a fun song.

Motorola’s “Xoom” entertains with its ironic mockery of Apple. Those conforming non-conformists . . . Moreover, the girl has a pretty face and lovely eyes.

It’s the Super Bowl; one must acknowledge some silly ads. CarMax’s “Kid in a Candy Store” delights with visual gags (and hippies are funny), Snickers’ “Logging” features Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr after a long absence with their trademark whines (and Jews are funny), and Doritos’ “Pug Attack” satisfies my low brow appetite perfectly without being overly gross or crass (and pugs are funny . . . and the woman looks a lot like Kristen Wiig—she’s funny, too).

Lastly, I have to give credit to Chrysler and Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) for the “Imported from Detroit” commercial. I love Michiganders, and I appreciate their undying civic pride. Detroit is an American tragedy, but I don’t mind the fantasy of romanticizing its state.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, February 7, Anno Domini 2011
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Friday, February 4, A.D. 2011
A Hoth Winter’s Night

My friend and fellow connoisseur de la culture geek Andrew alerted me to the following product from Lucas’ commercial empire—a Tauntaun sleeping bag. ThinkGeek evidently featured the product as an April Fools’ Day joke and consequently experienced Corellian corvettes full of interested fans who wanted to buy it. It developed the product, lobbied Lucasfilm for their licensing blessings, and made Adam Smith proud. Now, you can sleep in your very own dead Tauntaun carcass to stay warm during frigid nights, which Star Wars fans often experience.

You may read the story on ThinkGeek. They also feature scores of company and customer photographs, which remind you that their commercial community does, in fact, think geek. They even made a video. The world is a wonderful place.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, February 4, Anno Domini 2011
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