Friday, January 27, 2006


Israel has ruled out peace talks with the Palestinian government now that it is controlled by the radical Islamist group Hamas. Ruling out peace talks, incidentally, is a strategy that has never once in the history of mankind led to peace. And with Iran ramping up their nuclear program, it’s really only a matter of time before there’s all out nuclear war in the Middle East. The Doomsday Machine is warming up…so if there's anything you'd like to do in your life, do it now. You've probably only got a few years left before WWIII.

Meanwhile, back here in the States, we’re more concerned with things like gay cowboys and washed-up celebrity dance-offs. And did you hear that Reese Witherspoon was given the same dress to wear for this year’s Golden Globe Awards as Kirsten Dunst three years ago? Of course you did – it was big NEWS.

There’s bigger news out there. Like the president’s support for warrantless surveillance. Two years ago he said it was illegal and not something his administration supported. Now he’s saying it’s a necessary evil in the war on terror. What changed between then and now? He got caught doing it – that’s what changed. Privacy and freedom are being painted over one small presidential stroke at a time. But who can argue if it’s all in the name of home security?

“They that would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Contrary to popular belief, these words do not belong to Benji F. They were included in a book he helped publish, but Ben did not write them. That doesn't make them any less powerful or relevant, however. Our Commander in Chief is making sure he has absolute authority on all matters of security in order to be effective in the war on terror, when absoulte authority clearly conflicts with the ideals that make our country great. Consider Russia. They've always gone about things a little differently, censoring the media, spying on citizens, etc., and they've been no more successful combatting the Islamic Chechen rebels than we were at preventing a handful of religious zealots from thrusting a fiery blade into our gut and altering the course of history. Making us less free does not necessarily make us more safe.

If anything, it makes us more scared. Not only do we fear the terrorists, we come to distrust and resent the people we presume are protecting us from them.

But this is just one of many topics of discussion I'd suggest is more relevant to our lives than whose party Paris Hilton ended up at last weekend, as newsworthy as that is.

You know what else is news? There’s a man about to be confirmed for the Supreme Court who many believe will attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. Democrats oppose the decidedly conservative Alito, while Republicans support him. Ho hum...what else is new? And because the Republicans are in control of Congress, Alito will be confirmed next Tuesday. Why is this news? Because this guy's his rulings, like all of the Supreme Court’s rulings, will have the power to change America - and, more importantly, your life. But never mind that – did you see American Idol this week? Yeah - that was some funny shit.

I wonder what those three would have to say about Alito.

Randy: “You scare me, dude. I mean, all that stuff you talk and your record and stuff. Dog – I don’t know.”

Simon: “Paula?”

Paula: “I don’t know. I kinda like his look. It’s hip. The glasses are cute. And you seem like a genuine well-intended individual.”

Simon: “Paula, you’re being too kind. Listen to what he’s saying. He’s an absolute disaster of a nominee. Alito – you have zero judicial talent. You’re not even qualified to decide what to eat for lunch. I’ve heard enough. Randy what do you say?”

Randy: “Sorry dog. I’m just not feeling ya.”

Simon: “Paula?”

Paula: “You know…I think you’ve got a lot of heart, but I’m just not sure if you’re right for this country right now. Keep practicing though.”

Simon: “Okay then. Thanks for coming in. Are we going to get any real nominees in here today?”

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Are you fine with the fine print? I'm not. I'm in advertising - I love hiding shit in the fine print. Exclusions, limitations, and restrictions all live in the fine print. Dates and dollar amounts like to lurk down there as well. Unfortunately, the fine print is giving asterisks a bad name. Any time you see an asterisk or a little cross next to a word in sales copy you immediately assume a scam is afoot. It's just not fair to the asterisk, who is only trying to be helpful.

Let's consider rebates for a moment. I fucking hate rebates. HATE rebates. Hate hate hate hate hate hate rebates. Fucking just give me the damn thing at the sale price already instead of making me work to get money back. That's a load of camel crap. Yet you find rebates all over the fucking place - most often on high-ticket items like cars, cell phones, and computers. And it's no secret why - they're great for driving sales. Rebates from “factory incentives” to “manufacturer discounts” let retailers advertise their products at drastically reduced prices so people think they're getting a bargain. What you’re really getting is shafted at the register, then sucked into an abyss of dubious details and pointless paperwork.

"If this computer is advertised for $899, why do I have to give you $1099? Oh – I need to send in a rebate for $200? Okay, that’s fine. What do you mean I can’t do it until after I’ve registered the product online – that could take a while since I’m not wired for service yet. And when I finally am registered, I need what? A copy of the UPC code from the box, the original receipt, a shipping invoice, a copy of my birth certificate, updated credit report, my SAT verbal score, and a note from my mother? What the fuck. Keep the $200 – I’ve got a life to live here, you fucking bastards." Rebates fucking blow.

Look in the Sunday paper at all of the bargains “after rebate.” You can get cell phones and cable modems for FREE if you’re willing to take the rebate challenge. What’s the rebate challenge? The rebate challenge is the series of hoops you’ve got to jump through to get YOUR money back. And the hoops are made intentionally difficult - to promote what folks in the retail piracy industry call “breakage.”

That there's a name for it should tell you all you need to know.

Breakage is the term used to describe the failure of busy folks like you and me to apply and qualify for rebates. Most industry estimates put breakage rates at 40 fucking percent! Yes, rebates have become all the rage for the simple reason that people are lazy. We don’t like collecting and filling out paperwork and mailing stuff in. And the more time that expires after your purchase, or the lower the rebate amount, the less likely you are to respond to the rebate offer. So that extreme value you got on your notebook computer wasn’t really a bargain at all. Not if you threw away the box it came in. Not if you can’t find your receipt. Not if you failed to apply for your rebate before the expiration date. It's all in the fine print.

I don't know about you, but I can think of nothing more inviting than the thought of curling up on a Friday night in front of a raging fireplace with a hot cup of cocoa and a long-winded rebate form.

Did you know that 50,000 of TiVo’s 104,000 new subscribers never redeemed their mail-in rebate offers. That’s a jackpot for the genius who designed the offer. Here’s another note of caution for you. Rebate checks can take MONTHS to arrive. You need to stay diligent and check on the status of your rebate. Sometimes these companies will “forget” to send you your money. And when they do send it, it’s typically disguised as “junk” mail in the hope that you’ll discard it. The industry word for uncashed rebate checkes is “slippage.” Again, good to know that it happens so frequently there is a name for it. Not to mention mathematical models that calculate its projected profitability.

Geri just got a “free” modem for ordering Comcast high-speed Internet service. Her “free” modem cost $80. She can get that money back, however, if she responds to two separate rebate offers. As if one rebate wasn't going to be difficult enough. Each rebate has a separate form that needs to be completed...paperwork I imagine is immediately shredded upon receipt. The rebates also require copies of the purchase receipt and shipping invoice as proof of purchase. There’s a transaction order number that must be submitted. Each offer must be sent separately and the redemption forms are only available ONLINE. Remember - she’s getting a cable modem here, so she's not even set up to get online yet. Here’s the part I love. Not only does she need to download the forms off the website, but they also want proof that she has paid for a month's worth of Comcast Internet service. To prove this, she’s required to include a copy of every page of her first statement – which of course wouldn't arrive for a month after she ordered the service. Someone doesn't want Geri to get her money back.

Last night she got online to print out the rebate form and - lo and behold - it wasn’t available any longer! They’d replaced it with another rebate form for another offer with different qualification dates. All of this crap you have to go through to get fucking $80 back - $80 she shouldn’t have had to spend in the first place since the damn cable modem was advertised as fucking FREE!

It’s all in that little asterisk, my friends. I don’t know about you – but I am not fine with the fine print. Unfortunately, the only way we’ll ever get rid of rebate offers is to follow them through to completion. We have the power to reduce breakage so that it’s no longer profitable for companies to lure you in with deceptively low “final” prices. If the retailer wants to negotiate a deal with the manufacturer on their own time, I'm all for it. Leave me out of all that crap and just give me the damn sale price.

With all of this slipping and breaking, we're really not saving anything.


According to officials, the Islamic militant group Hamas has won a landslide victory in the Palestinian parliamentary election. The forecast for Israel is continued bloodshed with frequent periods of suicide bombings. I think the UN should step in and take Israel away from both sides. If they can't play nicely together, they can't keep it. Maybe we can get Trump to invest and turn the holy land into a massive 1,000 hole golf course. Jerusalem Lakes Country Club. The Glen at Bethlehem. Palestine's Par Three. Putt Putt's Dead Sea Mini G.



Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I just found out that when people use the phrase, "You can say that again," they don't actually want you to say whatever it was over again.

I wish someone had told me this a long time ago. And here I thought people were calling me "Short Bus" because of my height.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Here's something I bet you didn't know. The collision capital of the world is Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Believe it or not, more cars are wrecked there per capita than anywhere else on the planet. It's so bad, most folks don't bother performing any routine maintenance on their cars because most cars don't last longer than a year!


I’m like a turd – I wanna float away
I don’t know where my bowl is
I don’t know where my throne is
I’m like a turd – I’m gonna float away
I don’t know where my bowl is
I don’t know where my throne is


Why are left-handed folks called Southpaws? Shouldn't it be Westpaw or Eastpaw? Are right-handed people considered Northpaws? Maybe Southpaw is supposed to be a polite way to say "the other hand," since we wouldn't want to say folks are either right-handed or wrong-handed. There's just something about using the word Southpaw to describe lefties that doesn't work for me. Southpaw sounds like a guy who's always got his hand down his pants...which I guess would make me a southpaw. I think that would make all guys southpaws, since hand-in-lap-nesting is a genetically encoded trait common to all men.

I don't know. Maybe it's time we rethink the "southpaw" misnomer.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Sometimes you gotta be firm. Thanks to Karen & Randy for this inspiring pic!