Archive for August, 2009

Paste up - London.  Photo by Dr. Case on flickr.

Paste up - London. Photo by Dr. Case on flickr.

Here in the comfortable confines of The Curmudgeon office, I may publicly state that I detest infomercials, but secretly I admire the “advertising business” side of them, the product ambush on your fears, insecurities, anxieties, too-small or too-large body parts, greed, hopes, and dreams.  I have been known to become mesmerized by a particularly good one, and have watched some more than once.  I never buy anything, but boy, do I ever want to.

And now comes the infomercial that was viewed as so offensive, it aired once and was pulled from the airways.  I speak of Doc Bottoms Aspray (pronounced ay-spray).  Apparently there was never a deodorant so strong, so smell-neutralizing, so safe, that it can be used on even your most intimate areas.

Aspray pic“Aspray goes where other deodorants can’t. Aspray your butt,” the announcer blusters. “Aspray under your arms. Aspray your feet. You can even Aspray your privates.”  Just in case you haven’t gotten the idea, a woman is shown in a tight shot of her pelvic area crossing her legs when her hand enters the frame holding the can of Aspray, enticingly close to her coochie.  (Of course, using the word “enticing” was a poor choice of words, knowing as we do that it has an odor problem.)

Were the producers serious?  It certainly looks like it’s played for comedy.  Let’s look at the included testimonial by “Larry F. ,” who tells us frankly that he’s “got odors in special places,” and after a bit of stuttering he clarifies: “My butt.”  Larry’s performance is less than believable.  In fact, it’s downright comedic, and suddenly we realize we are in an alternate universe where a Saturday Night Live parody has become reality, and the reality has become parody.

MSNBC aired the commercial once and removed it, but I am not offended by it.  I think it  is hysterically funny and entertaining, and now I have to buy some butt glue because I laughed my ass off.  No, I think it is marketing genius all the way down to its name.  Let’s face it, people aren’t going to call it ay-spray.  They’re going to call it ass-spray.  And there’s also the name “Doc Bottoms,” as in “your butt smells so bad you need a butt doctor.”  The commercial would have been talked about anyway, but they’ve hit the mother lode: removed from the airwaves due to offensive content and well on it’s way to going viral on youtube.

As we say in the ad biz, “You can’t buy that kind of advertising.”


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Photo by Joure223 on flickr.

Photo by Joure223 on flickr.

Here in the perfectly located offices of The Curmudgeon, we occasionally relocate to an even better spot.   Similarly, a man must sometimes reposition himself, you know, down there.  There are specific unwritten rules for this repositioning.  One step over the line and you are no longer repositioning but playing.  There was no confusion of what one man was doing on a N.Y. City subway when he was immortalized on a chip in a woman’s cell phone sitting across from him.

He was playing.  He was spanking the monkey.  He was singing diddledee doo dah all the ding dong day.  Too bad 41 year-old Cileane White was sitting nearby, minding her own business, armed with a cellphone.  When the festivities began, Ms. White kept her head and snapped a pic of Kevin Bishop from da Bronx, also known as “Tickle Me, Schlomo” to his many friends made during 64 arrests and 24 convictions.

Photo by Wendy Shaky Hands on flickr.

Photo by Wendy Shaky Hands on flickr.

According to the New York Daily News, White then went to the police station with her evidence.  At first a female officer told her the situation was “not a police matter,” but White persisted until finally a different officer accepted the report.  Police later arrested the suspect on charges of public lewdness and launched an internal investigation of the female officer who originally refused to accept the report.  It does make me wonder if it’s wasn’t a police matter, whose matter was it?  MAWW?  Mothers Against Weiner Wankers?

Update: After his Thursday Arrest, Bishop appeared in court on Friday.  Bishop admitted to flogging the bishop, adding, “I deeply apologize for what happened.”  He’s probably sorry he was caught.  He was charged with a misdemeanor and face 90 days in Jail.

It reminds me of my favorite TV show.

Law and Order
Weiner Wanker Division

doink, doink.

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Here in the friendly confines of the Curmudgeon offices, we are constantly surfing the web looking for tasty morsels to bring to you, our readers. Naturally, we love to point out foibles, inconsistencies and the outrageous, but we’re not exactly looking to throw people in jail. Not so the police who surf sites such as Facebook and Myspace looking for nefarious activities. This is necessary, I suppose, for who can tell what terrorist plots are tweeting through the Internet?

What they found instead was a song called “Kill Me a Cop,” written and produced by Antavio Johnson a few years ago when he was a teenager. Remember the uproar over rap lyrics 20 years ago? Oh, what fun times those were. Ice Cube and N.W.A. were singing “@$&% the Police” as a form of protest and Tipper Gore was talking about putting warning labels on music. So here comes a kid who wants to protest just like the big boys, albeit 15 years later.

Several years after recording it, the cops find the song on Myspace, and in it he waxes philosophic about two police officers who harassed him. In it, Johnson raps, “Im’ma kill me a cop one day.” Unfortunately, he calls the two cops by name – well, nobody ever accused rappers of being smart – and he promised that he would shoot them with a “glock” in the dome” if they ever “get my timing wrong.” The great irony is if you Google the guy’s name he is now a self-proclaimed Christian rapper.

So the cops investigate, and the result is the now 20 year-old Johnson gets two years for threatening a cop. Ok. I’m not going to discuss whether that should be a punishable offense, but two years? For a song that was never even played on the radio? This reeks of “the man” pushing down “the people.” What about all the politicians and pundits who are criticizing the current President of the United States? Are they not guilty of treason? And isn’t treason a hangable offense? Oh, no, no, you say, that’s freedom of speech. Okaaaaay. And this is…what? It is about silencing protest. It’s about denying our basic rights as defined in the Constitution. (Never mind that the kid is already in jail on cocaine charges.) It is about keeping the people down so we can serve the elite and finance their lifestyles while clamoring for a slice of bread.

You may think I am being overly dramatic, but then I say to you that you fail to see the truth. It was unfortunate that the would-be rapper did not have a lawyer and simply plead guilty. At least now publicity over his case has opened discussions, gotten him a lawyer and backing from the ACLU, and he’ll probably get an appeal and a reduced sentence.

So pay attention. The bloodless revolution is coming, and I’ll write more on that and Dropout Nation later, but two years in prison for lyrics in a song?

That’s a bad rap.

(This story was reported by the Orlando Sentinel and other leading news services.)

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Graffiti in Barcelona Spain

Graffiti in Barcelona Spain

Here in the well-adorned offices of the Curmudgeon, I would let a staff member paint a mural on the wall, but I hardly think I’d just give everyone some cans of spray paint and graffiti lessons.  Yet, that is just what the town of Crawley England is doing.  They’ve announced a class for children aged 8 and up to improve their graffiti skills, and all this in a town that spends $66,700 every year to clean up the graffiti.

The course wont only teach the little Picasso’s how to express themselves with graffiti, but in theory at least, will also teach them about the responsible uses of paint.  As reported by UPI, the kids will practice on canvas, and Liz Hart – the organizer of the class – tells the worried town that “Those who take part would not consider going out to tag a bus stop, wall or whatever.”  But isn’t that what you’re teaching them to do?  Graffiti?  And isn’t graffiti normally spray painted on walls, bridges, and trains?

The townsfolk have noticed this discrepancy as well, to which Hart says, “I can understand some residents may be worried. But I can assure them the young people will be told the difference between vandalism and graffiti as an art form,”   Hey, I have to admit that I’ve seen some graffiti that would knock the paintbrush out of your hand, but most of it is crap.  Who’s going to decide which kids produce art and others produce glop.  I guarantee that a good number of those kids are going to be producing the aforementioned glop, but will think they’re Jackson Pollack (who, come to think of it, did produce glop.)

The town of Crawley has been the victim of random outbreaks of racist graffiti, which is hardly desirable, art or no..  Who can blame them for being skeptical?

“Once armed with a spray can and the tricks of the trade, these kids won’t just do it in the classroom. They will want to do it everywhere to get their tag known,” said one resident who asked not to be named. “What next? How to break into cars?”

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Diana by JaxomLOTUS

Diana by JaxomLOTUS

Here in the heroic but not Homeric offices of the Curmudgeon, we approve of citizens doing what they can to thwart crime -when it harms another person – believing that if everyone got involved, that there would be a lot less of it.   Crusty practices what he preaches, having gone so far as making a citizen’s arrest on the streets of New York City where the wild things are.

Dante "He Hath Seen Well" by Jean-Leon Gerome

Dante "He Hath Seen Well" by Jean-Leon Gerome

So we were shocked – shocked, I say – to hear the story of Jim Nicholson who worked at a Key Bank in Seattle.  As reported by the Associated Press, a man attempted to rob the bank by demanding money, but Nicholson grabbed at him and the man ran.  Nicholson ran too.  He tackled the guy several blocks away and held him until police arrived.

Hero?  Man of the hour?  I’m afraid not.  The robbery incident happened on Tuesday, and he was fired on Thursday.  Nicholson said he understands the bank’s policy that employees comply with robbery demands and avoid dangerous confrontations, but says his instincts took over.  I know what he means.  That’s what happens with us superheroes.

The pussies at Key Bank declined to comment, so I will comment for them:  “We are big wussies here at Key Bank.  We welcome all bank robbers to come in and do business with us.  Bring weapons if you like, but really all you need is a note.  And don’t forget to take a free toaster!”

Okay, so the Seattle police and the FBI advise against tellers taking any action.  In the article, police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says, “they should be good witnesses and comply with demands unless their personal safety is in jeopardy.”  Did you read that correctly?  Don’t do anything until it escalates to the point where you are probably going to get killed, then do something about it, after it’s already too late.  Under no circumstances try to stop it when you actually have a chance, before you are looking down the barrel of the gun.

goliaghtyear by krundle (Blvd of Broken Dreams)

goliaghtyear by krundle (Blvd of Broken Dreams)

I find the banks firing of this man unacceptable.  I am calling for a National Boycott of Key Bank.  Your money is not safe there.  Close your account and move it to someplace else.  Best to move it out of Seattle.  Furthermore, I call on all bank robbers to immediately begin robbing Key Banks willy nilly.  After all, you couldn’t be safer.  And surely, word of this has reached all the other banks in Seattle, so feel free to rob them too.  If fact, rob all the banks in Seattle.  It’ll be easy.

Tell ’em Sgt. Whitcomb sent you.

To see the Associated Press story, go here.

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