Jun 05

History Wednesday: Frequency Manipulation

Today I took my daughter swimming at the condo association pool next to the Command Center. Being an exceptionally nice day in Boise, some of the neighborhood kids were already there. One of them had her iPhone or whatever plugged into a speaker, playing her list of jammin’ MP3s. This experience proved to be exactly as excruciating as it sounds.

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You’d better “Beliebe” it.

Replace Justin Bieber with, say, Wham! and the iPhone with that noted paragon of past 2T culture, Z-103, and you’d have a scene very reminiscent of the Putt n’ Plunge during the mid-80s. Of course, my mind working the way it does I thought to myself, “Hey, it could have been Z-43.”

No, I’m not making an obscure Ed Wood reference here.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Mar 30

Touring the 2T

Being a holiday weekend and all, it was pretty slow around the 2T today. When I lived here, I used to pass the time by driving around town. I figured, why not do that today? It’ll kill some time and perhaps give me some material for the blog. Excellent thought, I must say!

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I’m not the only smartass hailing from here, you know.

So it was settled. I drove around the 2T in search of the weird, wacky and stupid. My camera: the Pantech Jest, tricked out with authentic cat toothmarks. My vehicle: the usual staff car, a 2004 Ford Focus. My music: A Farewell to Kings by Rush. I was ready to find the story out there.

Bask in all its glory, supplicants.

I began with a southbound journey down the main drag, looking for hilarious and/or inane reader board errors. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything worthy of the FAIL Blog. The closest thing I could find was the recently-opened Chick-fil-A, which is neither worth photographing nor patronizing. A quick jaunt to downtown yielded similar results. I suppose this is a good thing, since it indicates a certain degree of intelligence among the populace.

I found material through other means. Being hours away from any major population center of note, sometimes one finds some unintended mixed messages. The smaller towns around the 2T are good places to look for such things.

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Not an LGBT establishment. At all.

The evening’s unexpected highlight came when I was pulled over by the police. Yeah, I was caught doing 35 in a 25 zone. I couldn’t find my insurance certificate, which is particularly embarrassing since my insurance agent is my father. Fortunately I have all sorts of junk in the staff car, so I was able to find a copy of my current insurance declarations. The kind officer let me off with a warning.

Well, I suppose I achieved what I set out to do. With dusk approaching, I returned to my parents’ house to await the Easter Bunny, or something. Perhaps when I get a chance again I’ll go trolling for people who can’t tell the difference between a plural and a possessive. In the meantime, let’s hope for an uneventful rest of the weekend.

(Note to self: Get a new insurance certificate from Dad ASAP.)