127 entries categorized "LMNOP"

An Update

Today, someone posted a comment on a post I made five years ago about the five things I am afraid of. I have decided to update you  regarding my thoughts on those five topics.

1. Horses.




2. Dakota Fanning





3. Stories about when people don't get enough anesthesia and they feel the whole surgery but they can't move or scream




4. Purple eyeshadow

EyeshadowI might be coming around on this one.




5. Poor font choices

Comicsans NEVER.

Spotted at Marshalls

Fake Toms. Finally, something for those of us that like the look of Toms, but don't want to help children.

(Yes, I am reposting my own tweet, cuz I DO WHAT I WANT.)

After seeing these today at lunch, I thought it might be fun to think of an even betterworse business idea than fake Toms. The best I could come up with was selling a bunch of those awareness wristbands and then donating all the proceeds to one of the Captain Planet villains.

I Should Have Followed My Instincts

I'm feeling especially bitter right now, because someone has taken a business idea I once had and HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present: cerealmarshmallows.com, the most amazing online business ever.

Now, I totally had the idea to sell something called Even Luckier Charms when I was younger.  It was just the marshmallows.  (Probably a lot of kids had this idea; it's not that hard to eat Lucky Charms and come up with the concept of wanting more of the part that tastes good.)  But now, some guy has taken that basic idea and turned it into an extremely well-executed, state-of-the-art web business.  Consider his mission statement:

Here at Cereal Marshmallows Our Goal is to Deliver you the absolute best and Crunchiest marshmallows available and I believe that is just what we have. I searched the World Over Japan, China Mexico, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, UK, Australia, NOWHERE could I Get a Crunchy Crispy Marshmallow I ordered everything you could imagine and tried to get manufacturers to make it for me to no avail. I ended up with a pile of soft Yucky marshmallows big enough to fill a Dozen Trash bags Then Right here in the USA I found the perfect Marshmallow only Problem was I had to order over 10,000 pounds WOW and Marshmallows are LIGHT this is a SEMI Truck full well a big step but nonetheless one we made and now we sell out every 4 months or so I’m sure you will love these marshmallows

Man.  This guy went to Japan AND China Mexico.  He really did his research.  And he also has a lot of great recipes to share.  My favorite is the one for "Cereal Marshmallow Macaroni and Cheese:"

Cereal Marshmallow macaroni and Cheese: WHAT… Yea yea yea I know but I am only Reporting what I hear you may want to try this or GOD knows whatever other creation with the Cereal Marshmallows

This guy is gonna be a millionaire.

A Saturday Well Spent

I was at the county fair yesterday when, just before leaving, I passed a tent with this sign:

Toilet decorating contest?!  Why, that's the kind of thing that almost makes you drop the gigantic caramel apple you bought after spending 20 minutes babytalking to rabbits in the bunny barn!

I obviously took pictures, because  toilet decorating is exactly the type of cultural event I like to report on here.

The Mean Green Methane Machine:

"Honey, I Shrunk the Toilet" and one that was labeled "Daycare Toilet"


Undersea-themed toilet.  This one was kind of weak:


Some others, including the "Captain's Log" one that was Mike's favorite:


And finally, my favorite, CHERRY PIE A LA COMMODE:
I am now officially including "enter toilet decorating contest" in my list of life goals.  Actually, let me revise that: I am now officially including "WIN toilet decorating contest" in my list of life goals.  There, much better.

More pictures of the fair here.

I Officially Love Every Single Person to Have Ever Written to the Editor of Official Variety Puzzles

OVP_Large I flew to Boston this weekend for some family activities, and before my return flight I bought the September 2010 issue of Dell Official Variety Puzzles so I could do some totally sweet word searches and logic puzzles in the airport.  However, the most entertaining part of the book--by far--ended up being the "Pencil Notes" column at the beginning.  "Pencil Notes" is basically a Letters to the Editor-type situation, and OMG--the people who write letters to the editor of puzzle books are AMAZING.  Here are some of my fave excerpts:

"I was very heartened to read the comments from solvers in May's Pencil Notes, as I too prefer the more difficult puzzles at the back of the magazine.  There are so many publications with easy material and so few with hard features.  Although I don't like all of the latter, I'm happy that they're around.  It would be nice if some appeared in every issue; Build Score, for example, is great, but it seems to pop up only once a year."

"And in response to Kay Johnson, please don't reduce the number of Anacrostics here.  A while back you cut the amount in one of your sister periodicals from 15 to 12, and I still feel deprived."

"KEEP the 'tough stuff' in this magazine . . . Anyone who finds this title too daunting can find tons of easier alternatives on newsstands."

"I've enclosed page 119 that lists all of the Dell magazines that went on sale in March, April, and early May.  You can see that I've underlined the word SUDOKU 17 times, so no fan of this feature can claim that he or she doesn't get enough!  We word-game addicts, then, would like to see fewer Sudoku in your other titles."

"You might call me crazy; however, I can totally relate to the woman who said her dog gets annoyed when she solves.  My cat, you see, seems to get jealous when I curl up with a pen and this magazine.  She often parks herself between me and the page!"

The editors included an equally amazing response to that last snippet:

"We must say, you've painted an amusing picture, Theresa.  We can just see her mewing over a puzzle while you're musing over it!"


Toilet Paper is the Most Complicated Thing Since Corn Cobs

Now that it's 2010 and every self-respecting business/brand/product has an accompanying website, I enjoy looking up the most mundane companies and products I can find too see how they use their web space.  The truth is that for certain categories of product (toothpaste, bleach, etc.) there just isn't that much to say--but companies feel compelled to say something, because not being on the Internet is a Capital M, Capital O Missed Opportunity.  Today, I am giving you a guided tour of one of my favorite examples of this phenomenon: toilet paper!!

Now, toilet paper advertising was hilarious long before the web got involved.  To be fair, it's a hard product to market; while the target demographic is clear (butt-havers); the actual application of the product is . . . unglamorous.  As a result, toilet paper brands go waaaay abstract, giving us cuddly imagery and trusting that we will make the required logical leap ("It must be good, because that baby with wings lives in a cloud made out of it!") in exchange for not having to see the more mundane realities of toilet paper spelled out for us during a 30-second break from America's Got Talent.  But since this type of marketing is already such a stretch, taking it to the web makes it even more absurd.  Don't believe me?  Then clearly, you've never Googled Charmin.

Charmin - Google Search

(click to enlarge! this goes for all pics in this post.  wouldn't want you to miss out on the toilet-papery greatness.)

You can already tell this site is going to be good, based solely upon the site description's plea to "Explore the Charmin forest to find the toilet paper products that are right for your family."  Don't mind if I do!
  Charmin site

The Charmin forest has everything a typical forest should have: trees, bears, and conspicuously-placed packages of toilet paper.  (Take that, Leave No Trace!)  We recognize the Charmin bear from those TV commercials, in which we learned that bears--who are often misrepresented by science as shitting indiscriminately throughout the woods without cleaning up after themselves--actually prefer to hang toilet paper rolls on cartoony tree branches and pass down toilet paper preferences and advice to their bear sons.  ("Other advice" includes saying, "Oh, you didn't know how to kill all those people camping in their trailer?  TRY USING MORE TEETH.")

In the interest of desperately trying to fill up space, Charmin links us to some incredible uses of our free time.  First, there is SitOrSquat.com, "a place to find and record bathrooms all around the world."  What could be more noble?  I encourage you to check out their community page, which is described as " a place to interact with anything that has to do with bathrooms."

If that, SOMEHOW, is not enough, you can also visit Charmin's Enjoy the Go site, which seems to be designed for the purpose of encouraging women to enjoy going to the bathroom more.  Please watch the video on the page--you will understand.  (By understand, I mean NOT UNDERSTAND.)

Alas.  We can't spend all day in the Charmin forest.  Let's move on.  Next up: Angel Soft. 

Angel Soft also goes the abstract route by linking their product to angels.  (This toilet paper is as soft as dead people!)  Here's their homepage:

  Angel Soft Bath Tissue

We get to see a nice picture of a mom and her son at bath time; presumably they are more able to enjoy their nightly bath time ritual now that they have been relieved of the complex and emotional task of wondering what toilet paper is preferred by naked babies on clouds. 

We also get a Fun Bathroom Fact: "85% of moms say the most common bathroom blunder is falling into the toilet when the seat is left up."  This information is undoubtedly 100% factual, because it is brought to us by the company that has also done the complicated math required to assure us that 12 double rolls are equal to nine mega rolls, which is the equivalent of 24 regular rolls.  We can also click on a link to a "Toilet Paper Through the Ages" timeline, which informs us that, among other things, "Colonial Americans used corncobs to cleanse with." 

(Sorry, Founding Fathers, your secret is out--and you are gross.)

Soooo . . . Let's check in on Cottonelle.  Is their motto "better than a corncob?"  Let's find out!

Answer: no.  Cottonelle's market research told them that Charmin had taken all the talking bears and Angel Soft had kidnapped all the angel babies, so they wisely went puppy when mascot-pickin time came around. This was a solid move, in my opinion, but their website is a bit confusing.  Apparently, they took a survey about whether Americans preferred to have their toilet paper roll "over" or "under," and it appears that the 15% of American moms who were not currently trapped in their own toilets due to bathroom blundering had graciously taken the time to vote and decided on "over."  A video explains that Cottonelle's new and improved design is specially engineered to suit over-rollers, and I genuinely cannot tell if they are serious or kinda kidding.  I don't need this confusion in my life!  Let's check in with the simplest brand of all.


Scott's packaging is simpler than the other brands mentioned above; they don't mess with puppies, bears, angels, or any of that nonsense.  Their wesbite echoes this relative simplicity and is similarly mascot-less. This might be because the website advertises the entire Scott family of paper products as a whole--napkins, paper towels, etc., making those mascots less applicable.  (Although frankly, if a baby angel is making a cloud-nest out of TP like some kind of heavenly child-slash-gerbil hybrid, I would think he would want some nice, stiff paper towels to add some structure to the whole thing.) 

In lieu of mascot, Scott's got a community shtick going, and the homepage shows some of the most recent discussion topics. 

  Scott Community: Community: landing_1277953607638
One example is "Shining the Shower," brought to us by someone named Barbara, whose parents knew she would group up to eventually comment on a toilet paper website.

I have mixed feelings about Scott.  While this approach seems a bit less ridiculous than, say, exploring the Charmin forest on a Wednesday afternoon--it's also kind of boring.  So, what's a toilet paper brand to do?

If you have any good ideas, let me know.

You Can Imagine the Restraint it Takes to Not Title This Post "All About the Benjamins"

The Treasury Department unveiled a new design for the $100 bill today.  Naturally, this was big news for the two main hundred-dollar-bill-using groups: drug dealers who stick them in suitcases, and aunts who put them in graduation cards. 

The new bill looks like this:

This press release details all the features, but the most noticeable changes are as follows:

  1. Addition of blue 3D security ribbon on front of bill
  2. "Bell in the Inkwell" graphic that changes color when bill is tinted
  3. A random-ass quill pen, because THAT'S WHAT OLD TIME PEOPLE USED TO WRITE THINGS WITH

The features of the new Benjamin are also detailed in this extremely over-dramatic YouTube clip, which I sort of love.

Basically, the new bill contains every available anti-counterfeiting technology they could throw on there, minus a watermark "Just try and counterfeit this, bitch" speech bubble coming out of Franklin's mouth.  That's coming in 2011.


Last Friday, the public radio program Marketplace featured an interview with my archnemesis, the Free Credit Report guy.  You know--this guy:

(Everyone take a five-minute shuddering break.)

Apparently the dude is a French Canadian named Eric Violette.  He doesn't actually sing the songs you hear in the commercials; he is lip syncing to the work of someone else (presumably the only slightly less camera-ready Satan).

The interview, transcribed here, contains a few quirky anecdotes, like about how Violette couldn't properly lip sync the line "should have seen it coming/just like an atom bomb" because of the dumb way French people pronounce "atom."  Ha!  But then, all of a sudden, Violette says the following when asked about the fame the commercials have brought him:

"Yeah, I did receive some pictures of women naked. The first time, I was so surprised. It's so flattering, but she sent these pictures to the guy on the commercial, you know, so it's not me."

HOLD THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT.  Someone--no, make that someones, as in multiple humans--sent NAKED PICTURES to the Free Credit Report guy.

I'd always thought there were only two types of people in this world: people who hate the FreeCreditReport.com guy, and people who have somehow yet to see the FreeCreditReport.com commercials.  The fact that this kid has actual fans sending him actual naked photographs is incomprehensible.  Who are these women??  Did they get bored of sending their underwear to the Micro Machines guy?  I am extremely disturbed.