A blog about nothing in particular, with puns, drawings, and charts because I'm too lazy to write a lot.
All originial content by @DuckSauceGeoff

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How About Some Privacy?

Two weeks ago, Mimi Alford, a former intern during John F. Kennedy's presidency, released a tell-all book detailing her 18-month affair with the iconic president.  Then last night, the second of a two-part documentary about former president Bill Clinton aired on PBS, calling attention to the Monica Lewinsky scandal yet again.  Now more than ever, we’re reminded that privacy no longer exists for high-profile members of today’s society.  It’s not enough that the media breaks new scandals featuring current politicians.  Now, the media is rehashing old scandals and digging up more in order to smear the names of our nation’s heroes.

Every member of the media knew JFK was messing around, but they had the decency to keep it quiet.  There were unwritten rules; some things were simply off-limits.  But at some point, everything changed.  Maybe it was when Nixon got himself caught that people began entertaining the ridiculous notion that politicians' personal lives have any impact on their ability to lead.  Whatever it was, some event brought an end to the rules of civility, starting a frightening trend that continues to this day.  Suddenly, journalists realized they got more attention when they wrote scandalous stories about politicians.  Sure, people have been printing negative commentary about our leaders since the dawn of America, but these could be written-off as biased rants and rumors from political opponents.  Now, the stories have become more shocking, more personal (the more the better), and now there is proof.

And it’s not just politicians (e.g. Herman Cain, Anthony Weiner, Larry Craig, etc.) anymore.  Today, musicians, wealthy businessmen, and athletes are under unrelenting scrutiny from the media, who are constantly waiting for the elites to falter so they can create a scandal and steal the spotlight.  In the past, rock stars got a free pass, the upper crust was untouchable, and athletes got away with everything.  Now, artists like Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, and Lil’ Wayne are persecuted for living lives they always dreamed about.  Now, rich people like Mitt Romney, billionaire sports owners, and CEOs are being condemned for wanting to make more money, and face constant pressure about how they choose to spend it.  Even athletes like Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, Julian Edelman, Sam Hurd, and Josh Hamilton (just to name a few) are suddenly unable to do whatever they please.

So why is this a problem?  It’s a problem because it’s eroding the incentives that once convinced aspiring, talented individuals to strive for the country’s most important positions of power.  The type of person who wants to be a president or senator wants power and perks.  Take away his ability to sleep with subordinates, enact policies that benefit his own interests, make guaranteed money from book deals and speaking engagements that in no way depend on his performance in the position, etc. and what’s left?  The kind that wants to be a rock star wants free drugs and an infinite supply of booze.  The guy who wants to be incredibly rich wants to use the money to act like an asshole.  And the type that wants to be an athlete wants the ability to do anything he feels like doing without the fear of repercussions.  If you take these incentives away, what’s left? 

Would-be politicians are already rich.  They already belong to important families with connections to lucrative jobs.  They’re already able to wield the power that came with their last names.  So if our most important political positions have nothing else to offer, how are we going to convince these qualified candidates to give up everything they already have?  At this point, it’s easier to sleep with the secretaries and interns at their current companies than to take a risk with a white house intern.  In fact, it’s easy to have an affair with the temp at the copy shop across the street – the media doesn’t care about regular people – why strive for anything at all?

If we continue to harass politicians and tarnish their names, they may be forced to stop taking the unwritten privileges that were once fundamental rights of the officeholder. Then they’ll realize there’s nothing left to encourage them to press on and these great men will give up on their dreams.  Soon, the only people left to fill these positions will be the fanatics who want to “serve their constituents”.  Who is going to grow up dreaming of being President of the United States of America?  Pussies – that’s who.  Next thing you know, we’ll have politicians who just want to be public servants, rock stars who “do it for the music”, rich people who don’t act like dicks, and athletes who are thankful for the opportunity to play games for a living.  Suddenly, we’re not America anymore.  I don’t even want to think about where this story ends. 

Seriously though, rock stars without drugs?  At least don’t take that away from us.  If nothing else, we still need good music.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: End of an Era?

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl was great.  It was an intriguing matchup that managed to live up to the hype.  Plus, the game was exciting enough to make people at the party shut up about their "famous" dip for a few minutes (they're all the same; nobody cares).  But while I was pretty psyched-up about the game, I wasn’t just interested in the football – I was watching for the commercials.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love football – I was just looking for something special.  I’ve had my eye on a certain something that has been popping up in commercials over the past decade, and I was curious to see if the trend would continue through Super Bowl Sunday.

Back in 2000, a sports comedy debuted in theaters about a team of substitute pro football players who were called to play during a labor strike.  “The Replacements”, starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman, produced a few laughs, but ultimately fell into the “Cheesy/Dumb Comedy Disguised as a Sports Movie Starring Unathletic Actors in Laughably Bad Sports Scenes” category (e.g. “The Waterboy”, “Rookie of the Year”, “Mr. 3000”, “Semi-Pro”, “Juwanna Man”, “Summer Catch”, etc.).  It’s certainly better than most/all of the other movies in that category, and it does find its way onto a cable channel from time to time, but the movie is all but forgotten at this point. 

However, one strange legacy from the movie remains – the jerseys used in the movie continue to show up all over the place.

I first noticed the jerseys in a Tinactin commercial around 2004 or 2005:

Then I started seeing them in other commercials (and I'm convinced I saw them in a music video too), but I never took note because I figured the trend would have to end soon.  I mean, there’s no way companies would continue to use the same uniforms that were just used in a half dozen other ads, right?  Wrong.  For the rest of the decade, the jerseys frequently popped up in commercials, leaving me baffled (and a little excited) every time.

But by the end of the decade, the appearances had slowed to the point that I thought it might be the end of the road for Keanu’s threads. Then in the past year, there was a sudden resurgence.  First, there was the Jared the Galleria of Jewelry commercial (Winter 2010-11):
Then in June, I saw an online banner ad for a new show called “Necessary Roughness”:
And just to throw in some variety, even the cheerleaders’ uniforms began to make appearances (Summer-Fall 2011):
I guess you have to hand it to the ad men/women in Hollywood for being so thrifty, but things were getting a little absurd.  I know it's cool to be green and everything, but nobody likes recycling that much.  And it seems I wasn’t the only one who noticed that things were getting out of hand because everything finally seemed to change at the end of this football season.  The start of the playoffs brought on a relative bevy of ads featuring unofficial football jerseys.  And to my surprise, the familiar red and blue unis never appeared.  In fact, some of the jerseys looked new and actually sort of cool.  Taco Bell and Prilosec used some basic red uniforms in their new ads, but at least they were different.  And French’s and AT&T pulled out all the stops, showing off some cool new digs in their TV spots:

So with this football jersey hot streak, and plenty of new jerseys to reuse in future ads, I was looking to the Super Bowl to signal the end of the “Replacements” Era.  I figured if I didn’t see the jerseys in a new Super Bowl commercial, I could reasonably expect to never see them again.  So what was the final tally?  Well, it was a little anticlimactic, but I got what I was expecting: 1 new jersey (presented by Bridgestone) and 0 new “Replacements” ads.  Of course, they showed (and are still showing) the Jared Jewelry commercial, but they can’t keep showing that forever, right? 

This is enough evidence for me – I think I can safely say that this period of jersey recycling is over.  I’m just not sure how I feel about it.  Bad movies should disappear, and football commercials are long overdue for an upgrade.  But I do think I’m going to miss this little game of “I Spy” next season.  I guess I’ll just have to pay attention to the football. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Banana Timeline: Why I Eat Pop Tarts for Breakfast

Here Goes Nothing...

Well, I guess I just started a blog.

I'm not sure how you got here (though I'm guessing you're lost), but since you are here, I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself: I’m Geoff, and this is my blog.  I’ve wanted to start one of these for a while and I finally decided to pull the trigger.  That’s about it.

So what’s this blog about?  I’m not sure, really.  What kind of stuff will I post?  I don’t know; I like to draw a little, so I’ll probably post some (bad) drawings.  A lot of things annoy me, so I’ll probably talk about those things pretty often.  And I’m forced to spend my days in a white collar prison (i.e. office) with people I wouldn’t otherwise speak to (i.e. co-workers), so I’ll likely use some posts complaining about that.  Aside from that, who knows.

Anyway, thanks for coming to the blog – I hope it doesn’t suck.  I mean, I know I can do better than at least a few of the clowns who put stuff on the internet.

So, assuming I actually stick with this ridiculous idea (you could call me a bit of a quitter), I hope you keep coming back.  I think this could end up being pretty cool.

So, here goes nothing…