Aug 30

Friday Crap Roundup XXIX

To answer Colin from yesterday’s post, yes, perhaps “algorithm twerking” is what I’m looking for.

muskrattwerk

Clearly a time-honored tradition. Click because you need the glory.
Image credit: Streetwise Media and Funny or Die

And that’s a good a way as any to begin this week’s Friday Crap Roundup.

Continue reading

Apr 04

More Cheesy Ads

I spent a good part of the afternoon cruising YouTube in pursuit of various yuks and giggles. Apart from my usual diet of Monty Python, Epic Rap Battles of History, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Rush videos, I also perused some of the truly bad advertisements of the 80s and 90s. So I figured, “Hey, this sort of thing makes for a quick and dirty article, so why not go with that angle today?”

“Cygnus X-1” on a ukelele, man. Awesome.

Why not, indeed.

Leevers!

Circa 1982 the absolute coolest thing to have was the Atari 2600. This was the one and only thing I wanted on my Christmas list, man. Problem was those things were expensive back then, and my parents weren’t exactly technophiles to begin with.

VCR-03

They bought their first VCR … in 1989.
Imaged credit: Priwo

As fate would have it I got an Intellivision for Christmas instead. Was that because my parents appreciated the fact Intellivision’s graphics blew the doors off the Atari 2600? Oh, hell no! It was on sale, y’all. At any rate, I played the ever loving crap out of that thing. I might still have it if the guys at Mattel didn’t design it with dedicated controllers. Thanks a lot.

Anyway, I’m digressing a bit. Home video games nearly died off in the mid-80s, with consoles such as the Atari 2600 and Intellivision (what gamer geeks call “second-generation consoles”) taking a massive dump in sales and essentially disappearing from the market. The industry was brought back from the brink a couple years later by the Nintendo Entertainment System. This ad is for an NES game which became quite popular:

Possibly an acting school project. “Be the psychopath. Feel the psychopath inside you.”

I didn’t have an NES, only returning to the ranks of home gamers with a Super Nintendo a few years later. The Legend of Zelda was a pretty cool game for its time. Apart from its batshit insane commercial, it was noteworthy for a few other things. One, whereas most NES games came in gray cartridges, Zelda came in a gold cartridge. Two, the protagonist was not named Zelda. In fact, the Zelda character doesn’t appear until the very end, after you defeat the game. I’m not even sure about that.

I beat Zelda (to this day one of the very few games I ever beat) on a friend’s NES about 10 years after it came out. As for technology, I bought a DVD player on my own for the first time … four months ago.

The Legendary Eagle of Crap

This ad ran in the Chicago market in the 90s. When I was still in college at Idaho State, I heard whispers about it. A local ad so incredibly awful that its notoriety transcended its media market. There was still doubt, though. I’d never actually seen the ad, and I couldn’t believe someone would unintentionally make something that stupid.

Then in the summer of 1996, I moved to Chicagoland and finally beheld it myself. It is very horrifyingly real:

Wow. Just, wow.

Never mind the hysterically bad acting for a moment. If you hear a thump on the roof of your car, chances are you don’t think it’s a guy in an eagle suit. If it is, you may be able to file a claim for any damage he caused. Well, assuming you had insurance.

LAPD_Police_Car

And if it were that easy to figure out, no police force would have a problem with ticket quotas ever again.
Image credit: Cliff

No, no. The best thing about this ad is that the character – specifically called “Eagleman” – lays an egg. And he does so after assuming a position like he forgot his birdie Ex-Lax that day, of course.

It’s sure a good thing society has since evolved to the point where we’re not constantly annoyed by auto insurance commercials, isn’t it?

Apr 02

Bits and Pieces

Despite it being absolutely gorgeous outside, I spent the better part of the day filling out hospital forms related to my head injury a couple months ago. Since there’s nothing even remotely amusing about that (like I could remember it anyway), I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what the hell I was going to write today.

But I got to turn on the A/C for the first time this year.

Despite that, I have a couple stories possibly developing for your reading enjoyment. I guess it’s time for one of those potpourri posts. You know, a little of everything but not a lot of anything. That makes sense, right? Good. Let’s get started.

Return of the Moose

For a while I genuinely thought I was done writing about him, but a couple days ago none other than Moose Factory Boy™ showed up in my Facebook mail. His message? “I’m sure that you will be receiving a text/call very soon.” Um, OK. I assume he’s talking about Myrtle, but with him you can never be entirely sure.

smokesignal

Could be something like this.

As of this writing I haven’t heard from Myrtle, or anyone else for that matter. Whether or not she gets back in contact is anyone’s guess. If she does, great. If not, oh well. Dating hasn’t been a real high priority lately.

What’s the 419?

Speaking of dating, I’ve had an ad in the Boise Craigslist personals for a couple weeks now. Now before you accuse me of contradicting my previous statement, bear in mind this ad mentions Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Bandido Nation, Svalbard, Aotearoa and Erik Estrada‘s teeth, among other things. Not exactly Cassanova-type material.

To their credit Craigslist recently reformulated their policies, implementing an anonymous reply function. This has cut down on the spammers and the scammers significantly. A few still get through, including our friend “Tracy Miller.”

“Tracy” contacted me and assured me “she” was real and wanted to meet. My reply was, “And I’m real. Did you find Erik Estrada’s teeth?”

TV Guide Estrada

Yeah, I’m milking that for all it’s worth.
Image credit: trainman74

The reply mentioned nothing about Estrada, but Tracy did tell me about how she was a fashion school student living with a friend and her grandmother. She talked about her friend getting married and how she wants to get married herself. She talked about her love for God and how much of a good Christian she was. There was a bunch of other drivel I didn’t bother reading.

Most importantly, she responded outside the Craigslist system, which allowed me to track the originating IP:

nigeriaIP

Peek-a-boo!

Of course, being the magnanimous guy I am, I replied:

Hey Tracy:

No kidding? I’m into religion too! For the past eight months I’ve served as a dark deacon with the First Boise Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod). Just this past weekend we sacrificed some goats during a sunset ceremony up at Table Rock to culminate our annual “Cinco de Chivos” festival. We used to sacrifice children, but we were sued by the Most Antient Order of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli for trademark infringement. And, well, long story short we don’t do that anymore.

I’m not photogenic either. Especially not after my recurring bouts with leprosy. But I don’t let it get me down. Even though I only have eight fingers now, I can still type at 60 words per minute!

By the way, since you’re a fashion student and all, I’m guessing you know quite a bit about fabric. Do you know how to get goat blood stains out of linen?

Writing that was a hell of a lot more fun than filling out hospital forms. I tell you what ….

Mar 17

More Embarrassing 80s Videos

A little over a month ago I wrote about a couple video relics from the 80s which stuck with me over the years. As a writer I find this is a pretty good well to go back to. If my site stats are any indication, you agree. So here we are again.

If you know what the image below is, this will all be review. As for the rest of you, prepare for an education.

guard

No fair Googling or using Tineye.

You Can’t Beat Our Meat

I had the “honor” of working at the Wendy’s in the 2T in 1991. Before I say anything else, let me assure from personal experience that this is 100 percent REAL.

As those of you who have worked fast food know – which I assume is damn near all of you – the job sucks. It’s sweaty. It’s greasy. You don’t get enough hours to qualify for benefits, and you have to wear the same goddamn shirt every day. You’re also controlled by corporate shills who just don’t understand the “younger scene.”

EXIF_JPEG_T422

“But, but, everybody loves Justin Bieber!”

And no, I didn’t live in the “good old days.” Consider this 1989 training video on “grill skills,” which I was instructed with in those dark days. It’s a bit slow at times. I’m posting only the second half, but stick with it and bathe in its innate cheesiness. The first half features a lot of the late Dave Thomas blathering about your “important job” in a curious accent. If you really want to watch that, it’s here.

Who’s up for chili?

Check out the rap and country rock excellence here. It’s somewhere between Biz Markie and, um, Billy Ray Cyrus or something. Incidentally, they had me wearing the exact same teal shirt featured, unfortunately without the glitter.

I was so glad when I got to leave and go to Idaho State later that year. You have no idea.

Canoe, Canoe?

Oh man, every time this spot appeared on MTV I cringed. Just cringed. Even though at the time I had no chance whatsoever of dating a hot chick – and if I somehow managed to succeed I would have blown a gasket – I knew this was just … wrong. If you kids think the marketing for Axe is over the top (and you’d be correct), you should have seen what it was like a generation ago.

So from the same pheromone experts who brought you such venerable female magnets as English Leather and British Sterling, Canoe allows you to talk to hotties familiar with international maritime signal flags, and smell like you raided a 10-year-old’s Christmas stocking in the process.

“We now return to Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp.”

I don’t know about you, but to this day I’m pretty sure if the first words out of my mouth in any singles setting were, “Oh! Canoe canoe?” a restraining order wouldn’t be too far behind. Afterwards, every once in a great while MTV would redeem itself by giving me a glimpse of the mystery girl in the Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” video, but usually this crap was followed by more crap like Night Ranger.

The Proto-King of Cars

OK, this never aired nationally per se, but the basic concept plagued several media markets throughout the country in the 80s. The 2T was one of them. As a matter of fact, this guy like the 2T so much he actually moved there from somewhere back east later in his career. I want to say he was originally based in upstate New York, but I’m not 100 percent certain about that.

Anyway, meet Dave Campo, the undisputed master of local used car ads. In the 2T he worked for an outfit called Latham Motors, which was at the time the local Chrysler dealership. Sadly I was unable to find any Campo-era Latham Motors ads, but in his heyday his modus operandi was the same for all his clients. Take a look:

“With all the candy!”

Campo made what the industry calls a “shitload” of ads during his career, easily over 1,000. To this day anyone who lived in the 2T while he was active can recite the basic ad structure word for word, myself included. Campo died a few years ago. His favorite client Latham Motors went under at around the same time. Yet his legacy lives on in loudmouth used car TV spots to this day.

Is the US a lucky nation or what?

Feb 12

Fat Tuesday, Eh?

I was going to write an entry on HVAC and home improvement, as Dad is in town today to help with such things here at the Command Center. It wasn’t as funny as I wanted, but I was bound and determined to force the matter. You know, like the later seasons of Night Court.

Fortunately, the Catholic liturgical calendar (something I don’t normally pay any attention to) saved you from all that. It also gave me an excuse to post this. The link is probably NSFW, but you knew that:

“I’ll have the lot.”

Back when I lived in Philadelphia this was the single worst day of the year to go to work. The publisher I worked for was only a couple blocks away from the Fat Tuesday on South Street. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it’s kind of like taking 30 Slurpee machines, filling them with tequila and turning the entire college-age population of a major American city loose on them. The results were expected and consistent; South Street looked like the Gaza Strip for days afterward. Not even the Philly cab drivers could get through that mess.

Today I’m sitting at home with a cold, my tequila days long since past. NyQuil, however, may be a different matter ….

Oh yeah, here’s the rest of that scene:

“It’s only wafer thin.”

Bon appétit!

Feb 10

Myrtle and the Moose Factory

More stupid DNS tricks today. As noted yesterday I achieved the desired outcome with respect to the web site. However, I also momentarily lost the ability to receive e-mail. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I’m no longer receiving Craigslist-inspired spam from the Russian mob, it does cramp my style a bit. So until further notice please e-mail me at boisealbatross at hotmail dot com.

UPDATE: The DNS beast is slayed. Lane at lanestartin dot org is back online. Rejoice.

Albatross!

On the subject of Craigslist, yesterday I decided to jettison my various dating site profiles. It’s not that I haven’t been successful in the past year or so; on a strictly prurient level I’ve been VERY successful. It’s because I’m sick of it all. Of course, the fact my recent posts referenced nontraditional date site topics such as the French Republican Calendar, Subhas Chandra Bose, technological singularity, the Air Bud series and the Guano Islands Act of 1856, should have probably alerted me to that earlier. So gone are my Craigslist ads, my profiles on OKCupid, POF and Match.com and any further mention of Hamburglar of Arimathea. I feel better now. Robble, robble.

Somewhat coincidentally last night I went on a date, my first since early December. Myrtle (not her real name) and I have been dating off and on for the last two years or so. As it usually does, everything went fine. Nothing terribly remarkable to report about it.

I choose not to use Myrtle’s real name for two reasons. One, she’s a nice kid and I don’t want to embarrass her in this cesspool of snark. Two, she unfortunately has a stalker ex-boyfriend who I’ll refer to here as Moose Factory Boy™ (neither his real name nor his point of origin). Well aware of my dating history, a couple months ago Moose Factory Boy™ took the unusual step of friending me on Facebook. I accepted, because what the hell, right?

Based on my admittedly limited observations, it wasn’t long before I came to the healthy conclusion that Moose Factory Boy™ is what both sociologists and paleontologists refer to as “fucking creepy.” How creepy? Consider this Facebook conversation I had with him:

MFB: Lane, when is the last time you got tested for AID/HIV?
Me: September I believe. It was quite recently.
MFB: Why did you get tested?
Me: Due diligence. I’ve been quite active in recent months.
MFB: Can I get a copy of those test results?
Me: Why would want those? Sounds like you’re a tad … obsessed.

Now while I don’t necessarily release personal medical records into the public domain, I’m also pretty upfront about such things. I suppose I could have sent them, but he’d probably want a stool sample too. The logistics of that aren’t worth the effort.

trashcan

You’d be surprised how hard it is to find these things anymore.

Moose Factory Boy™ hasn’t surfaced recently, but you never know when he’ll strike again. Fortunately he’s not local or even close to it, so the chances of him turning up in person are slim. Of course this is much more of a concern for Myrtle than it is for me, but all the same I’m still keeping a lookout. So yeah, while I don’t want to ignore the Muse, I don’t want to make this situation any weirder than it already is by using real names. I honestly don’t know what happens from here. Maybe this time it’ll work out. If not, oh well. I’m a fatalist like that.

Oh yeah, for the record Myrtle and I didn’t watch any of the Air Bud movies last night.