Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Smooth Nuts

I have a love/hate relationship with the advertising industry. The hate part because I dislike being pandered to with insanely sloppy repetition of insulting themes. For example: Mens attraction to womens breasts. I mean please, are we all still 13 years old?

The love part because I really enjoy the remarkable creativity and humor of the industry when it gets the creative part right and doesn't take the easy road of pandering. Another love part comes because my son works for a very large worldwide agency. His branch of the firm focuses on the Internet. Recently my son sent me an ad his company was responsible for that has sold a ton of Phillips electric razors. Here is the link to the Phillips Body Groomer ad

OK, I guess the ad is a little silly and maybe even pandering, but it is creative and fun.

Then today..........I hear a Norelco ad that was completely insulting of the 'I hate it variety'! The voice-over talks about having to get a close quick shave at the office before he heads for a 'hot' date with his wife. Huh? A hot date with your wife? Like you're not gonna get some from your wife if you have a small stubble? I'm pretty damned romantic..but a 'hot date' with my wife?? What is the deal with the phrase 'hot-date' anyway? Do any of us intentionally select cold or lukewarm partners for dates? So when we happen to choose a hot one to date is this what creates a 'hot date' instead of going out with the lukewarm girl? I think you don't know if it is a 'hot date' until its over?
Come on Norelco. I don't want to hear about hot dates with my wife. I want to know how to shave my nuts like in the good ad.

*****************

OK, I guess am still 13 years old. Wanna make something of it?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Amber Waves of Grain

The chickens ran faster than Jose now. When he had been a teenager and even into his mid-20’s he could always catch them. His father would send him into the yard to catch at least three chickens on special occasions when the whole family was gathered to eat. His father had also taught him how to wring their necks and drain the blood from the body. He was too old and slow to catch the chickens now. His mother and father died many years ago in their hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico. When Jose was sober, he would remember crossing the Rio Grande River into South Texas. When he heard about the availability of migrant farm work in Florida he had paid a man $50 to drive him in the back of a solid sided delivery truck to Florida. He and the other human cargo in the truck had been forced to urinate in the corner of the truck and had gone without food or water for the 32 hours of the non-stop trip. Even when the driver would stop for fuel or eat at restaurants on the route, the immigrants remained in the back of the sweltering truck without water or food.

He worked the farms in central Florida for many years, sending the money home to his wife and 3 children in Oaxaca. When possible he had placed any extra money in the hiding place inside his trailer, pulling up the tattered green carpet from the corner of the tiny bedroom. Once the carpet was pulled aside he could reach into the crevice between the floor structure and metal casing over the wheel. The crevice is where he stored the savings he eventually sent to his family via courier, trusting only his fellow immigrant friends from the fields to deliver the money. The trailer had been given to him by a farm owner after many years of working on the farm and running the illegal crews the farmer employed. Jose didn’t speak English well, but he was capable of understanding what was required and communicating the instructions to the Spanish speaking crews. The farm owner had helped him secure citizenship papers, but it was an illegal arrangement, so Jose never felt truly safe from authority. He couldn’t read well either, but he managed to get along by relying on those around him. He kept a low profile and tried to avoid any contact with the police.

The drinking had begun when he returned to Oaxaca and discovered his wife had run away with another man, taking the children, leaving with the money and possessions his earnings had provided. She left no address where they could be found. Heartbroken he had returned to Florida. His sustaining thought had been that the money he earned now was his to spend. Twenty seven years had passed since that last trip home. Jose was rarely sober now in the last half of the sixth decade of his life. A great deal of the money he earned on the farms was spent on the never ending supply of alcohol. He tried very hard to be sober in the fruit gathering season, at least during the day, but it had now become hard even to view the morning’s first light with clarity. When the non-work part of the year came around he found the relief to his pain and loneliness in the best friend he had, the fuzzed reasoning and deep sleep of too much alcohol.

Jose’s reasoning wasn’t always clear, but he knew it was the Christmas season because of the Christmas lights that were strung on the houses nearby. He remembered the long ago Christmases of Mexico when he had been a boy. Now he had no friends or family and no one to celebrate the holiday with, though the lights told him that many families would be gathering and the children would be happy as he had been so many years before. The pain in his chest had grown worse in the past few days and now even the alcohol would not let him ignore the damage. The pain seared through his deepest drunken stupor now. His left eye twitched uncontrollably and his skin had begun to change color, the pale coffee brown tone turning to yellow. The whites of his eyes had also begun to change color. Today the pain had been so severe that he had drank even more heavily, but the pain knifed through his fog. He stumbled to his knees when one of the chickens had run in front of him. In a lurching motion he had tried to grab the chicken as it ran past. He picked up his left hand from the dirt. A skinned area on his lower palm began to bleed through the skin. It didn’t hurt. Oddly he couldn’t feel the hand at all. On all fours now, his hands in the dirt along with his knees, he noticed the ants in front of him. The ants were busy in the way that ants use to mock the lazy, running about the ground carrying debris into and out of the hole with righteous sobriety. Tears streamed down his cheeks, hitting the ground and creating tiny craters that the ants navigated without concern. He noticed that the ants worked on anyway, treating his tears as part of the days challenge. Jose watched the ants for a long time. The ants were fuzzy and seemed to be walking sideways unless Jose squinted his eyes just so. The squinting made him dizzy and his forehead would plop down onto the center of the ant bed for a moment until he could raise his head to study the ant’s relentless march of production once again. Jose noticed the ants crawling over his hands and arms only after they began to sting him. He raised his head higher to a point where he could see the house across the street. He thought he might try to ask for help, but he knew the couple across the street would want to take him to a hospital where his illegal papers would be necessary and he might be exposed. He knew the lady was named LaToya, but he wasn’t sure of her husband’s name. They had helped him before. He liked them. He didn’t communicate too well with them because of his language problem, but he could see in their eyes that they cared about him and he knew they would help, but there was so much about his life they didn’t understand.

He knew they wondered why he slept in his car. When he had a family in Oaxaca, in the time before they had gone off with the unknown man, he had proudly driven them around town in the car, music blaring from the radio, smiles on the faces of his children and wife as together they showed off the wonderful treasure gained by working in America. It was a car like no one that worked in Oaxaca could afford and it made him feel proud. The last time he had seen his family he had driven them all weekend in the car. He slept there to try and remember them. He tried, through the alcohol and pain, to remember his son’s happy smile and the laughter of the boy’s younger sisters. His son would be 34 years old now but Jose had not seen him since he was seven years old. Seven years old is how he pictured his son. He would stare at the radio that had filled the air with music that weekend in Oaxaca trying to remember how it had all been.

He didn’t want the police to find him this way. It meant certain trouble for him. He rose unsteadily from the ground and turned toward the car only to fall to his knees again. He began to crawl, the pain in his chest overwhelming now. When he had finally gotten himself into the back seat he rolled onto his back and the rear window swayed above him. The pain could not be quieted and for the first time in his life Jose prayed to die. He was too tired. He wanted to see his family. He wanted to see his seven year old son. The windows were fogging and he thought again about the family across the street. He wondered if they would notice he was gone. He hoped they could use his chickens. He liked the neighbors. Jose closed his eyes tightly and prayed again.

The police talked to the neighbor across the street. The officer that seemed to be in charge asked the neighbor when he had seen Jose last. He asked him if he had noticed anything unusual the night before. He asked if Jose had any relatives that he knew about. He said it appeared Jose had died of natural causes.

The neighbor crossed the street to tell his wife LaToya what had happened. When she heard about the man with the chickens, the one she had waved at each morning and had helped on some occasions, she lowered her head to the table where she was wrapping Christmas presents and began to softly cry.

The medical examiner’s assistant removed the wallet from the small brown man’s hip pocket. She searched through the contents for a clue to the man’s identity, hoping to contact his relatives. Inside the wallet she discovered a photo of a young and smiling Mexican woman and 3 children. The oldest child in the photo, a boy, appeared to be around six years of age. A younger sister stared into the arms of the mother, smiling at a newborn baby sister. The mother smiled at the camera. In an inside sleeve of the wallet she found another curious piece of folded paper. It was a full page of white notebook paper with what appeared to be the words of ‘America the Beautiful’ written carefully in blue ink. The paper was worn and tattered, not all of the words legible after riding many years in the man’s pocket. Enough of the words were present for her to understand what it was and as she re-folded the paper into the complete square in which it had been originally folded she could just make out the words ‘amber waves of grain’ in the center of the outside fold. She sat the paper aside and studied the photo again. These are beautiful grandchildren she thought to herself.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Overwhelmed

Enemy of the Republic was very kind to check on me. (comments on last post) I want to assure you I am not being indifferent to my blog friends here. I am simply OVERWHELMED by business obligations at the moment. I will be back, and thank you for checking on me every once in a while.
Seven
Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rattamatazz

I am a fan of animation and clever little critters that have human voices. I love the art and creativity of the genre. Did you know Ratatouille is coming to your movie theater soon? Its the story of a small mouse consumed with the goal of becoming a famous chef in Paris.

Want in on an early preview of the cooking mouse? Use this link for some fun and knockout animation..........Watch the 9 minute preview!
The path to the preview is Enter Site/Videos/Film Clips
Monday, May 07, 2007

Lost in Complexity


I made my way through a dark day
Blaming what I feel on the forces that tug with determination
Against my smile and a more gentle way

Your smile and your tenacity
Those two things
They finally won the day

Wandering, lost in complexity, I guess it’s just my way
And then at the end of the day I find your simplicity of reason
Your way to make me need to stay
Unfolding for my senses, yet another season
Of magnificent simple reason

The season of reason I will call it for now
The smile that crosses that freckled face
And opens the door to my own smile somehow
The beginning is close at hand, I think we can tie the lace.

And smile again
In an embrace like hand in glove
Smiling into that lovely freckled face
A face of love

The beginning has come round again
We can tie the lace
And smile again
Face to face

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Seven Wonders

Yesterday I heard a Democratic operative declare that Hillary should be considered for president because she has done so much for women's causes. I'm left wondering what would be said in the liberal mainstream press if it is declared that a man should be considered for president because he has done so much for men's causes? I think these are functionally equivalent statements, but I'm confident the mainstream media message plays far differently between the two. In fact I suspect a male candidate would never DARE to form that sentence in the first place.
I wonder why?

Three out of every four women I saw at the grocery store today were obese. Not kidding. Not chubby, I'm talking rolling bags of fat. Three out of Four.
I wonder why?

I saw a special on TV (which places it in immediate doubt) about older men approximately my age using internet chat rooms to score with barely teen girls. The Houston PD was setting them up by pretending to meet with them, then busting them when they appeared. Even Miss America has worked a sting operation. Some of the guys they showed were 50 somethings with huge bellies, pocket protectors, etc. So I'm wondering what are we selling/telling our young teen girls that makes them susceptible to these individuals? That is, why would they agree to meet them in the first place? And why in God's name is a fiftyish man interested in a 13 year old girl?
Just wondering both things.

Why do people try to rush to the front of the line to board an airplane. I mean every seat is assigned (except for Southwest) and I have never had an airline not check to make sure every ticket holder is on-board before leaving. Since it takes about 20 minutes to load an airplane and every seat is assigned why are folks elbowing up to the front as if its first come first served?
I wonder why?

Do you notice store employees always ask you "How are you?" or they cheerfully say "Hello!"
But when you stop to tell them how you are, they are walking away, or if you say hello back to them they aren't actually listening? So obviously retailers think their employees should do this, but they don't instruct them to actually care?
I wonder why bother with one half and not the other?

I have Satellite TV. It goes out in big storms, every single time it rains hard, without fail. An announcement is produced on my TV screen that the signal has been lost probably because of weather conditions. Yesterday my satellite TV provider sent a promo mail postcard telling me this is the season of tornadoes and storms in Texas. So, they say, when the big storms come, be certain to tune in to their programming for valuable insights to survival.............???? OK, will do, there must be a subliminal in the blank screen.