And now for something completely different…

Protestations to the contrary, I really never fear for boredom.  On a daily basis I look around me see things that are so silly, ludicrous and stupid I can’t help but laugh.  The other day I was leaving the train station and an older, frail woman seemed oblivious to the rules of the escalator.  You stand on the right and people walk to left.  You’d think being older, frail – indeed small—she’d have no issues keep the left size clear.  Nope.  She had lots of bags and placed them in front of herself.    I could almost hear the station operator saying “Back up on Escalator 2! All Agents to Escalator 2!”

Later in the week, I was again stuck behind a slow, older woman.  And if you realize I’m in my 50s, you recognize this is odd during the morning commute.  I thought she should have been at home at her kitchen table, agonizing over which pills to take why the Sudoku book sat lonely, begging for attention.  She had an odd slow shuffle and traffic pattern of commuters prevented me from passing her.  When finally my opportunity to make a jailbreak came, I down shifted for acceleration and she stepped left in front of me.

Hitting my pedestrian brakes, I was dumbfounded.  Had she traded Sudoku for radar?  I re-shifted, hit the wheel hard the right and made my move.  I took one step and she shuffled back to the right, using the wall the same way a good cornerback uses the sidelines.  At this point I slowed down, gave up and took video to send to the producers of “The Walking Dead” in hopes a finder’s fee for showing them how zombies really should shuffle.

We know that all bad things come in threes; of course there is one more commuting anecdote.  Coming home one night the train was crowded and day was hot.  Getting home any time between 6 and 7 means 2 things:  it’s hot and there are lots of people.  This had been train that started at the airport; there were too many people with luggage.  I think travelers should stay off commuter trains.  The train gets us to and from work; the side benefit is that it takes people on vacation. It’s bad enough they went away while we work; the semi oblivious way they use their luggage to create a steeplechase is just ridiculous.  Isn’t there a law about being oblivious in public?

I had finally crawled over several steamer trunks and piles of gift bags to get off the train and make my way to the escalator.  Amazingly enough the left side is open and we are descending from the platform smoothly.  This time of year this is amazing, because there are always kids coming home from San Francisco who just stand 2 across and 2 deep unaware of the rules we adults have.  Sadly, my euphoria is short-lived.  Just ahead of me is a man with 2 large suitcases on the escalator.  With both of them in front of him, it is obvious to me he has not developed or considered his exit strategy.

I hate be insightful.  Right on cue, he and his bags left the order of the escalator and mad a pile at the bottom.  The people walking on the right had to stop, forcing those not paying attention to walk into them.  The people on the left were coming off faster than the buffoon and his bags could get out of the way.  There was jumble of arms and legs and “heys.”  It was ugly and ludicrous in a way that only stupidity could be.  How could he not know to wait till the escalator was empty or, god forbid, use the elevator.  Yep, there is an elevator for just this reason.

But ridiculous things are not limited to my commute.  This week I was catching up on several TV shows on the DVR and while the DVR makes avoid commercials easy, it minimizes them more than eliminates them.  Sadly, the bumper for the TV show “Save Me” was unavoidable on several occasions.  Yes, I was watching NBC.  The tag line for the show is, “She choked on a message from G-d.”  Seriously?  All I can imagine is that this 3 second clip is on heavy rotation in Wal-marts in the Bible belt.

I kept wondering when the Westboro Baptist Church was going to start their protest.  This seemed like this is right in their wheelhouse.  The second or third time I saw the indigestion inducing spot, I realized the start was Anne Heche.  I know that here resume has been far from stellar, with many mediocre titles to her name, but everything about this resonates career ending.  I don’t believe this is the vehicle to give her cache.  After all, isn’t the first thing you think of when I say “Anne Heche” is “Ellen’s ex-girlfriend?”

NBC generally has decent comedies, but their dramas tend to, shall we say, suck.  I guess they are trying to pull their comedies in line with those dramas. I know when I think the path to TV rating success I think NBC taking a cancelled concept from HBO and putting their own unique spin on it.  I’m thinking next time someone says Anne Heche you’ll be thinking, “ wasn’t she just cancelled?”  That’s right, I’m choking on a message from NBC.



Wax on, Wax off

There are days I lament the stupidity my fellow man.  Today is one of those.  Like H.L. Mencken said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”  He did not actually say this, but it is a pretty fair summary.  Of course my favorite Mencken is Rachel, but I digress.  What else would explain the popularity (#1 in your hearts and #1 on the charts) of the Dukes of Hazzard, The Beverly Hillbillies or Manimal?  (Ok, Manimal wasn’t #1, I was just testing you.)

With the advent of the DVR, we aren’t forced to watch commercials like we were in the past.  I find this to be exciting and ground breaking.  By using the DVR to time shift our viewing, we generally get 18 minutes per hour of our life back.  With some minor effort, we can watch 3 hours of prime time TV in just over 2 hours.    While this exciting, it is not new; I have been viewing TV this way for about 8 years or so. 

Even with the DVR, sometimes commercials can’t be avoided.  Sometimes we all watch live TV.  Like the pregame shows before football during the playoffs. (You just heard Jim More screaming “Playoffs? Playoffs??!!??” didn’t you?) What is new is the shock of how dumb some commercials are.  And they must work, because I see them over and over and over.  I feel like a crash test dummy, being pounded over and over by bad commercials  As opposed to good commercials – there are a few. 

I remember seeing an old ad for some “space aged” and “futuristic” new cookware years ago.  It was made so food wouldn’t stick.  To reinforce the point, it showed several people cooking and ruining their food by burning it into the pan.  To be fair, this was akin to showing a Neanderthal or Troglodyte using rocks to make a computer keyboard work.  It was such hyperbole, it was comical. I would have thought the ads were better suited to MadTV or SNL.  On further reflection, I thought of my ex-wife.  She could burn water and did twice. Ouch. Good-bye pots.  Nevertheless, I do believe that might be such a small percentage of the population, that the portrayal is ridiculous.

From there it is really such a small step to the legacy of Ron Popeil and Ronco.  Do you want to shine a penny? Scramble an egg inside its shell?  Do you need a pocket fisherman?  We have come so far.  Or have we?  

Lately, my eyes are being raped by the commercial for the ear vac.  Seriously?  I’m sure you’ve seen the ad.  A guy uses a q-tip to clean his hear and scream, “OW!”  Who does that?  I think I’ve been cleaning my ears for over 43 years.  I have never pushed the q-tip all the way to my ear drum.  I’ve never screamed from cleaning my ear wax.  Who watches these things?  Who buys these things? Sadly, because the commercials run constantly, I tend believe someone is buying them.

Or perhaps it is a wicked plan.  Maybe someone somewhere wants to gather all the earwax they can.  It is hard to harvest it from the q-tip, but from a vacuum, that’s doable.  Perhaps they are not satisfied having the largest ball of rubber bands or a picture of the Last Supper on their burnt tortilla.  Their new mission might be a swimming pool filled with ear wax.  Or perhaps ear wax is the answer to the zombie apocalypse because they can’t resist it or digest it?  Perhaps aliens use it as fuel for their ship.

Maybe people are just stupid.  Not you, you are reading this.  But still, I wonder how rich the ear vac people are getting?

I vote for stupid.