Friday, February 24, 2006

Where has all the E-D gone?

Anyone who has a semblance of a life will tell you it's hard to stay current on positively everything. So along with my ignorance about foreign companies running U. S. port facilities (betcha you didn't know that either) it came as a bit of shock to see Mark Martin's #6 car sporting the AAA logo instead of the Viagra logo we've come to expect. But that led to another shocking revelation: I can't remember the last time I saw ANY E-D drug advertised on TV. Did I miss something?

Used to be you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing that little hussy touting Levitra. She was always just a little too slutty to be somebody's wife so I always assumed she was representing all the mistresses of the world who weren't getting their fair share. Now that the spokesmodel gig is over I figure she's working the door at some Kit Kat Club somewhere - Hoboken, maybe? I'll give Bayer Pharmaceuticals credit though, it was the sluttiness factor that made me remember Levitra commercials over all the rest. I have a vague memory of people lounging in outdoor bathtubs and some guy throwing a football through the tire swing but after the deluge of E-D advertising, nothing else remains in the old memory banks.

Usually the Web has the answer to every burning question, but search as I may the only thing that I ran across about the sudden disappearance of E-D advertising was an article that said the NFL was ending its relationship with E-D drugs - which, on the face of it seems a bit ingenuous but who am I to argue? But back to Mr. Martin, I'm relieved that Roush Racing has gone back to an automotive-related sponsor. There is a time and a place for drug advertising (the time is 6:30 PM and the place is Nightly News) but NASCAR isn't it (except for maybe Prilosec because having to race with Tony Stewart would give anybody acid indigestion.)

The sizeable gap left by the exit of E-D drug advertising from the marketplace has been filled with drugs to help us sleep. Levitra has been replaced by Lunesta and Cialis replaced by Ambien CR. I guess the awful truth is that after staying up for all that time (after four hours call your physician) America needed some well-earned rest. Sleep tight everyone.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Well whale

After reading the story in the paper this morning about Japan's whale meat glut I was suddenly struck with the terrible realization that I have lived more than half a century and have never tasted whale. I've tried and enjoyed the flesh of a number of species not typically found at Harris Teeter. But whale? Not even once. I'm so ignorant about whale meat that if I were to pass by your house on a warm June day and you were in the backyard barbecuing a mess of whale steaks, I would not be able to sniff the air and say to myself "Ummm, somebody is cooking whale."

I figured that before I condemn the Japanese for their "culinary heritage" I'd better know wherefore I speak so I called around a couple of Japanese restaurants to find out what day whale would be on the menu. (I don't want to appear squeamish but I didn't call the Sushi restaurants - despite John Bachelor's glowing review of Sushi 101 - because I think you should walk before you run.) But, heck, you'd have thought I asked them what day kittens would be on the menu. (Before you too get excited I've never eaten kittens either.) You probably have to go to a bigger city like New York or Atlanta to get whale.

The newspaper story says that the Japanese are losing their taste for whale and the implication is (at least how I read it) that the whaling industry is concerned that not only will a number of hard-working whalers be out of work if the trend continues, but soon, the seas will be wall-to-wall whales. I've only seen whales in the wild once - in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia about 35 years ago - but with all the shark scares of the past few years, the idea of having my summer vacation cut short by pods of marauding whales fills me with trepidation. Those suckers are big and if we've learned anything from Jonah and Pinocchio, they'll swallow you whole and not think twice. If Gregory Peck was alive today he'd probably be the first to remind us that whales are mean-tempered and carry a grudge forever.

I'm pretty good at putting two and two together and getting five but I don't think it's any coincidence that the Japanese are boycotting US beef about the same time as their domestic whaling business is going into the toilet (so to speak) If you think Harris Teeter Rancher beef is expensive, try shopping for Japanese Kobe beef sometimes. I can see some harried Japanese working mother stopping by her favorite store on the way home, picking up a chub of ground Kobe beef ( at $25.00 a pound) and tossing it aside in favor of VIC Special whale chops (if whales have chops). Why not chicken you ask? Uh, bird flu. It's a conspiracy.

Actually, I think my fears of whale overpopulation are probably unfounded. Maybe if we left them alone for a while they might take the time they're currently spending avoiding Japanese whalers and over-eager Green Peacers to finally learn to communicate with us and share their rich culture. They've probably got a million porpoise jokes we never heard.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

True Crime

If you're one of the millions of people who watch one or more of CBS's CSI shows you might occasionally feel sorry for the poor writers who have to come up with a new plots every week. You know they're struggling because some of the plots are sooooo farfetched they strain credulity.

Luckily, the good folks from down Selma, NC way are the obliging sort of people who have helped to make North Carolina the "interesting and unique place to be murdered" state it has become. (Do I smell a new state motto?). The murder I'm speaking of was buried (sorry, couldn't resist) on one of the News and Record's back pages this morning. It's a classic tale of missing persons, dismembered bodies, false identity and "weapons of mass destruction" (how a sawed-off shotgun got to be a weapon of mass destruction is beyond me, but who am I to argue?). Anyway, this case just screams to be a CSI plot. It has the requisite ewwwww factor: the dismembered limbs have been mouldering in the ground since 1997 and the limbs belong to not one, but at least two different people. You can almost hear medical examiner, Alexx Woods turn to Horatio Caine and say: "Horatio, I've got two left femurs here." to which he will reply "I think our killer just tripped himself up."

Of course, the story needs a little polishing. The killers in most CSI plots are attractive wealthy people and not the "salt of the earth" types the current suspects appear to be - but you never can tell from mugshots. The Johnston County Sheriff's office is being typically cagey about the details of this crime, especially about the supposed "tip" they got about it in the first place so I'm going to presume they really don't know jack about the case. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the SBI wasn't poking around Johnston County at this very moment. But, who cares? I'm sure the CSI writers will fill in the gaps with their own devices.

That's all I've got for you today except to note that North Carolina - and Wilmington in particular - has been prominently mentioned in "Surface" over the past few episodes and last night Wilmington was drowned by a tsunami. I hope that the New Hanover County board of tourism hasn't been inundated with callers concerned about their summer vacations.

TV is my life.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday moaning

It's late Monday afternoon and while I don't have anything in particular to say, I do have thirty minutes to kill and I could use the practice tyoing, I mean typing. So bear with me while I meander around for a few minutes (28 now) .

Todays topic is/are cellphones. I've had one of these suckers for five years now and just recently I learned how to use the T9 word function for text messages. I know, I'm an old fart and probably shouldn't be "texting" (it's a young persons' thing after all) but sometimes texting is way more efficient than making a call. It's quick, it doesn't require small talk and you don't have to answer a lot of qualifying questions. If you are a post-50 who never took the time to learn T9 word, do it now and your life will improve overnight. Well, almost. I still have to teach my wife how to read text messages - but that's another story.

Cellphones are in the process of becoming information devices and not just communication tools. It's no longer good enough for your cell to deliver calls from the same old lady who gets mad at you for not being the number she thought she dialed (personally, I think she thinks I'm hot), no, cellphones have to provide CONTENT. One of the latest conceits from our friends at Anheuser Busch, (and they're serious) is to provide you the opportunity to download their latest Super Bowl commercials to your cellphone at no cost to you. Who wouldn't want that? Well, me for one.

I get enough content from every other conceivable source. I don't need videos, movie trailers, sports scores, porno (well maybe porno), instant replays, MSNBC, CNBC or any of the thousands of other things available. But I do understand cellphone providers' dilemma. With very little effort (and I mean VERY little effort) they could be just like BellSouth.

Several of my very close relatives are retirees from this august institution and for that reason alone I will grit my teeth and pay my BellSouth bill every month and hate the stupid bastards there who, because of either conceit or narrowmindedness, refuse to come up with a competitive business plan. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks it's stupid that I can call my son's Chapel Hill number on my cellphone for no additional cost on my cellphone but have to pay for a long distance call on my house phone. I gather that no one at BellSouth has a television so they probably don't see all those commercials from Vonnage and Time Warner offering broadband phone service for roughly half the cost of the most basic BellSouth home service.

Dear BellSouth, please consider the fate of General Motors and Ford and put all those bright minds of yours to work thinking up something that Sprint and Verizon (who used to be just like you btw) already figured out that will blow our socks off. Please. Do it for my relatives, do it for your children. Do it for this great nation of ours.

Sorry folks, didn't mean to excoriate BellSouth like that but who knows what might come out when you're free-associating. And while I'm at it, Suncom, you don't get it.