May 04, 2006
Best and Worst Commercials on VH1 This Month
Best: it's not even close — the Arby's ad where the doofus kid taking his driving test destroys the cars in back and front of his while demonstrating his parallel parking skills.
The examiner smiles, gets out of the car, hands the kid his license and the airbag goes off and smashes the idiot back into his seat — ha.
I laugh every time I see it.
Sound is off but it doesn't matter: it's funny as heck anyway, like a Charlie Chaplin movie, and the red Arby's hat superimposed above the examiner's head tells you whom it's for.
True, the ad's not enough to get me to actually drive down Barracks Road to the Arby's on Emmett Street — but it did get me thinking about it, which is saying a lot.
I'm reminded of my first driver's test: what a debacle.
I was 16, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I took the test in an old Ford with a stick shift.
I wasn't very good on a stick under pressure, it turned out.
My grand finale consisted of pulling into the DMV lot and driving over the concrete stop at the front of the parking spot.
Deservedly so — I wasn't upset.
My next attempt happened a few years later in LA in a friend's classic Mustang (with an automatic).
I still wasn't very good.
In fact I was horrible, so much so that as we were driving to the DMV, (me behind the wheel to warm up) my bud got so agitated and frightened that he started screaming at me to pull over and let him take over and take me back home.
The problem was — and I will never forget it, it was so hilarious and frightening at the same time — that the traffic on Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles was so fierce (at least it seemed so to me from where I sat, my sweating hands holding the wheel in a death grip) that I was too afraid to do anything but drive straight ahead in my own lane.
I simply couldn't figure out how to change lanes without having an accident.
Somehow we made it to the DMV.
I was psychologically devastated.
I asked Cary, my great and good friend (still my very best friend in the universe, by the way — go figure) if I could still take the test.
He groaned and said, oh, all right — no way you'll pass, though.
When I told Cary he said that was the most frightening thing he'd ever heard.
But I digress.
The worst commercial?
Again, not even close, though I suppose that, strictly speaking, it's not a commercial but, rather, a series of promos.
No matter: it's the incessant battering incurred by my ickiness-detecting brain lobe from the snippets of coming attractions featuring VH1's dreadful new reality show, "So NoTORIous," starring Tori Spelling (top).
I am fascinated by how, after untold plastic surgeries by the very best hands money can buy — a real lot of money — she has ended up, at age 32, looking exactly like her father, except with longer hair.
Amazing — in a Bizarro World sense.
But hey — today's only May 4, the month is still young, so the current best and worst may yet be superseded.
Stay tuned — I know I will.
Oh, yeah, one last thing: am I the only one who thinks Tori's co-star, Brennan Hesser, bears a striking resemblance to presidential daughter Jenna Bush?
Pot Holder Trivet Jar Opener Sink Stopper Garlic Peeler
From the website:
- Silicone Pot Holder
This amazing little blue pot holder will protect your hands up to 400°F and then go on to act as a countertop trivet, jar opener, sink stopper, or even garlic peeler!
The pliable silicone material with its unique ribs gives a good grip even when wet and won't conduct heat to hands or countertops.
It would appear that the Swiss Army knife mindset has finally escaped its long–time form factor and now roams the world in search of new arenas to conquer.
One suspects this foray into the kitchen space is a mere stalking horse, the proverbial camel's nose under the tent.
Magic Faucet Light
From the website:
- Faucet light magically turns water into a brilliant blue stream
The light is automatically turned on and off every time you use the faucet.
Use the bathroom sink at night without flicking on a switch or dazzle guests at your next party.
It's sure to get glowing reviews!
Screws right on.
Farmers' Almanac TV — American Gothic crowd gets down
There's plenty of room for everyone in the new age of universal access.
Farmer's Almanac TV appears on a few PBS stations but the founders have wisely decided to make the internet their prime playground.
But I digress.
The company's backers originally hoped to be a cable network but "the plan changed, though, when they saw the costs and the difficulty of getting a channel on cable systems," wrote David Lieberman in a story in yesterday's USA Today.
The website's homepage currently features a combine demolition derby.
More on the iconic painting
World's most helpful key holder — 'It remembers where you parked, minds the meter, lights the key hole and neutralizes static electricity'
Can your key holder do all that?
Can it do even one of those things?
Didn't think so.
From the website:
- World's Most Helpful Key Holder
Eliminate the embarrassment and possible danger of forgetting where you parked the car.
The world’s most helpful key holder remembers where you parked, minds the meter, lights the key hole, and neutralizes static electricity.
It records and plays a 15-second memo — example: "I parked on Level B, row 2."
The LCD timer with running seconds doubles as a clock.
Touch the rubber static pad to a metallic surface and you can open your car without receiving a nasty shock.
Push a button to activate the bright LED light.
Uses 1 AAA battery and 2 cell batteries (all included).
4"L x 1"D x 2"H.
'Why are you so hung up on clocks when you think time is an illusion?'
Above, the best reader question of the year, just in yesterday morning at 9:31:22 a.m. EDT (but who's keeping track of the time, right?).
The question was submitted by reader jd.
It stopped me in my tracks — or would have if my tracks hadn't been moving at 0.7 mph.
I am gobsmacked into silence.
I have no answer.
I could fill this post with free association that appeared to be an answer but it really wouldn't be.
I'm reminded of Ingmar Bergman's piercing observation, "Explanations are simply clumsy rationalizations with hindsight."
I have believed that to be true from the moment I read it many years ago.
But you can bet that I am going to turn the clock question over in my mind a time or ten million in days to come.
Thanks, jd, for the laser focus of your observation.
For now, please refer to yesterday's closing
Personalized Mae West* Neon Pencils
I like the song "Walk This Way" a lot but I don't like it when my pencils walk away.
Never again will someone make off with one of yours "by mistake" — you'll spot the thief across from across the cubicle farm if you're using these.
From the website:
- Personalized Neon Pencils
Kimball's quality hexagonal #2 pencils.
Perfect for fund raisers, parties, gifts, and more.
We'll personalize them for free with a name or special message (1 line, up to 30 letters/spaces).
Twelve pencils for $4.99.
*Many people people believe Mae West's famous query to be about a pencil but it was, in fact, focused on a gun.
You could look it up.
No — we're not going there.