The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy : AOL Turns Left

February 12, 2011

I have been a subscriber to AOL since I first bought a laptop computer way back in the dark ages of 1991. That’s right my friends I am the last person in the country who is still paying for AOL! That may end soon.

I even bought stock on in AOL way back before the tech boom of the late 90’s and wish I would have sold out long ago. As an early player in the ISP business I thought AOL could have been a market leader. They have floundered both in their business model and in their content. I kept waiting for them to find their way. It’s my optimistic nature.

AOL announced last week they were buying the Huffington Post. It was announced that Ms. Huffington, one of the greatest political chameleons of all time, would control the content.  This may have surprised a number of analysts but to anyone who has been reading the “news” as provided by AOL over the last two years it was no big deal. Little in their content would change.It would be hard for anyone to imagine the content of AOL could get more left wing than it has been lately. The following three stories are illustrative of the general tone of AOL’s recent content.

Item 1- Sportswriter Kevin Blackstone posted a piece on dumping the National Anthem from sporting events. His logic is that the singing of the Star Spangled Banner is too political! After starting his column with some non-sequitur about the singing of the National Anthem in Congress in 1955 he concludes,

“But if our lawmakers don’t sing it every day to begin the country’s business, spectators of a mere sporting event shouldn’t be forced to sit through it, either, especially during the time we are living through right now.”

It seems that Mr. Blackstone views the celebration of our nation before a large public event as a punishment to be endured. He also feels, I gather from the quote above, that when things are tough in the USA we should ignore it rather than trying to find something all American’s can agree on – we live in an awesome country! If the National Anthem is too political for Mr. Blackstone maybe the flying of the flag should be stopped as well.

http://kevin-blackistone.fanhouse.com/2011/02/08/time-to-turn-off-national-anthem-before-sports-events/6

Item 2- Columnist David Corn pontificates on the sanity and political opinions of conservative icon Glenn Beck. The ultra liberal Mr. Corn, who has written for every far left rag other than the Daily Worker, see Mr. Beck’s opinion that the uprising in Egypt may turn out to be more that a blooming democracy as an insane conspiracy theory. He belittles Mr. Beck’s suspicions of Acorn and the Tides Foundation as more ultra right kookiness. In Mr. Corn’s opinion the uprising in Egypt is a pure democracy movement and to consider it as anything else is unconscionable crazy talk! I only hope our President, who has show his rank amateurism at foreign policy during this crisis, has his staff drawing up some sort of contingency plans if things in Egypt take a turn for the worst.

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/02/08/glenn-beck-should-fox-toss-him-out-of-the-coop/ 

Item 3- Why attack just one conservative value or person when you can you can group them into bunches and deride them as a whole? Sharon Fish seem to think all Conservative women are blundering dunderheads who couldn’t hold Mr. Obama’s jacket. They lack refinement in speech and presentation. My solace is that I am old enough to remember another conservative icon that the media and elitists derided as a fool and bumbler a few years back. He was so dangerous to their ideology that even today they are trying to rewrite history to diminish is greatness. He would have been 100 this year.

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/29/sarah-palin-michele-bachmann-and-sharron-angle-are-they-all-yo/


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Super Ads 2011

February 7, 2011

Before I get started on my review of this year’s Super Bowl commercials I want to come to the aid of a lady in distress. Can we lay off of Christina Aguilera and her muffed line in the National Anthem? Look, she was nervous, under pressure, and out of her element. The NFL asked her to sing fully clothed and without a stripper pole to hang onto! While I’m on the subject of the Nation Anthem why can’t the football players show a little respect when the country is being honored?  Their sideline slouching was shameful! Roger Goodell, get out your paddle and take some of those guys to the woodshed!

Once again the folks who think this is a good way to spend their investors dollars spent slightly more than the gross national product of Niger and Ethiopia combined with, in most cases, very mediocre results. With so many ads it’s hard in a short piece to hit them all so I am skipping all the promos and movie trailers although the CBS/House parody of the 1980 Mean Joe Green was one of my favorites.

I think I have finally figured out that GoDaddy.com is run by a horny fifteen year old boy out of his parents’ basement. What in the world trying to make me think Joan Rivers is hot has to do with getting a domain name is beyond me? Joan is a safe distance from “hot” no matter how many body doubles they used. I don’t know how much money Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels are paid to debase themselves in what year after years have been the unsexiest and unfunniest ads but it isn’t nearly enough! The ads beg us to go to their website to see the “uncensored” ending to the ads. I wonder how many frustrated high school boys went to Go Daddy thinking they were going to see Ms. Patrick and Ms. Michaels in the buff but only found a lame joke/dance number instead. Can someone tell me the name of Go Daddy’s biggest competitor is because I am moving my domain names!

The Groupon ads with Timothy Hutton and Cuba Gooding Jr. were clever and as a conservative I liked how tweaked liberal causes. This series was among my favorites until I had to explain to my 12 year old boy what a “Brazilian Wax” was after the Elizabeth Hurley ad. Do we really need to be making jokes about crotch waxing during a sports event that is watched by families?

Pepsi Max/Doritos continued their series of homemade ads which this year fell woefully short of the high standard that had been set in previous years. Cans to the groin, spousal abuse and felony assault: hilarious! The finger licker and pants sniffer guy was just creepy and made me wonder how the HR person at this company still has a job. I must admit I did like the “tiny dog through the door” ad and if I were picking the winner “house sitter who revives grandpa” would get the money.

Some brief takes some of the other ads. Eminem doesn’t do commercials but had two on during the super bowl. Anyone convinced the rap star is pimping down Woodward Ave. in his Chrysler 200?  Coke Dragon ad: predictable. Faith Hill Teleflora: Nice “rack” joke, please refer to Elizabeth Hurley comment. Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr of Snickers: not bad for variations on a theme. Motorola Xoom: Let me see if I have this right; if you have a Xoom you are a rule breaker and unlike all the zombies using that other Smartphone, you know the one who did the original 1984-ish ad years ago. So let’s all run out and get a Xoom so we can all be the different again. Do I have it?

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/02/06/motorola-xoom-ad-inspired-by-apples-classic-1984-ad/

Chevy Truck/Lassie, I chuckled! Bud Light/ Home Improvement: weak. Bud Light/Dogs: weaker! Chatter.com: forgettable. Mercedes Benz/Diddy: Look who we spent too much money to get in our ad! Chevy Cruse/Old Folks: Oops I think you missed a cliché! Career Builders: Monkeys are always funny! E Trade/babies: Apparently as babies get older they lose their sense of humor!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_UR1t_Kj0w

The cream of the crop for this year were very good! The Bud Light “product placement” ad was an example of taking a joke and running it into the ground until you can’t help but laugh!  When the Bud Light truck comes screaming into the frame I was LMAO! Both Bridgestone Tire ads were clever and well done. The “reply all” ad was my runner-up favorite of the evening. Is there anybody under the age of 90 who hasn’t sent an e mail they wish they could pull back? The other Bridgestone ad had a high cute factor with the beaver repaying the driver who swerved to avoid hitting him.

I liked Kia “Epic Ride” but my overall favorite for the day was the CarMax, “I Feel Like…” ad.  Though both ads followed a series of connected vignettes the quirky similes of the CarMax ad made it my big winner! Agree, disagree or maybe I missed your favorite, let me hear from you!


The Vast Right Wing Conspriacy: Top Gear USA

January 2, 2011

 

There is a long history of cultural exchange between British and American television. Sometime the American results are better than the British versions like Sanford and Son. Some are wildly successful without making major changes like American Idol. Some are carefully adapted taking into account the cultural differences of two countries separated, as Winston Churchill said, by a common language, like Law and Order: UK. Others are humiliating failures because the producers didn’t have a clue what made the original great. All three American versions of “Fawlty Towers” would fall into this category.

Unfortunately for the Americanized version of the long running BBC hit “Top Gear” it is trending into the third category. The show is lacking three elements; originality, chemistry among the hosts, and humor. That’s a shame because it has a lot going for it. The best asset of the show, after the cars, is comedian Adam Ferrara. I will readily admit that I have a bias towards my fellow comics doing well but the problem is that the producers of the show seem to lack the humor gene. In the six episodes I have seen thus far they haven’t let Adam loose. The closest they came was when he got a ticket for speeding on the causeway to Key West.  After watching the rest of the episode I wasn’t sure if this was an actual event or staged for the camera.

More on that in just a few minutes. Let me back up and admit I am a huge fan of the British version or the show. The three “presenters” as they are called in the U.K. seem to have a real friendship and mutual respect for each other even though they constantly “slag” on each other. I realize that relationship has been built over the years but even when I go back and look at older seasons of Top Gear on DVD that chemistry seems to exist. The two other hosts of the American show, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood  seem to be a little out of their element as hosts, despite the fact that Mr. Wood has experience as a reporter for NASCAR and Speed Network.  I don’t want to be too negative about Mr. Wood. He has a “good old boy” hominess that I think could work to his and the shows advantage but it seems that the producers haven’t figured that out just yet.  Secondly the British version is anchored by Jeremy Clarkson; though one of the three hosts he obviously the boss and the center of the show.  I believe having a “boss” on screen would help give the American show some definition and Mr. Ferrara would seem to be the natural choice.

The problems of Top Gear USA are greater that the hosting duties. Thus far every “challenge” given to the hosts is a direct rip off from the BBC version. Car vs. skiers, seen it! Boat, car and plane race to a destination, been there. Many of the shots seem way too staged to have been just captured by the roving camera. It the episode where the guys race from Miami to Key West there is a beautiful shot of all three modes of transportation in the same frame as they race South. What are the odds?  This is the scene which called Mr. Ferrara’s traffic citation into question. Call me crazy but I think a realty show should be realistic!

They also use the “Star in A Reasonably Priced Car” segment from the original series. This features a celebrity driving an underpowered car around a European style formula one track.  

This feature of the show could have been easily “Americanized” by using a typical “NASCAR” banked loop track, (Perhaps the producers failed to notice how popular NASCAR has become?).They could have also used a drag strip, the most American form of racing.

Despite its faults I am watching Top Gear USA; it is set on my DVR. I am hoping the show matures and finds its stride because like millions of Americans I love cars! When the host gets behind the wheel of a Bugati-Veyron, McLaren, or some other supercar I will never own I can’t help but thinking how cool that would be. When they take a challenge in a “beater” I can identify with that feeling of hoping my car makes the next exit after driving several of the POS I have owned in my life.  I hope the show runs long enough for them to get so far down the list that I might get invited to take the reasonably priced car around the track because I know I could leave Jay Leno in the dust!


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Takes a Run for Gilda

April 24, 2010

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy took a trip to Nashville TN this weekend to run in the Music City Marathon. Spurred on by the insanity of a good friend Comedian and author Jeff Allen we ran today for Gilda’s Club.

We had started training in December, (you can see a complete list of my training runs on the Music City Marathon page) The first day I couldn’t run a full mile with of collapsing into a wheezing pile.

We started by getting up at 4;45 am to go to LP stadium and park. The plan was to get there early, ride the shuttle to the start at Centennial Park. Then go over to PF Chang’s and meet up with the res of Gilda’s Gang for photos and get into the starting line. We  got into a huge traffic jam at the parking for the stadium and made the start line just as the elite runners were beginning. No big deal. Jeff and I had planned on finishing somewhere between 5 and 5 and a half hours. My thought was that the Kenyan guy expected to win would be finished, showered and on a flight back home before we crossed the line.

It took us almost thirty-five minutes to get to the start line. NO problem since we had computer tags to tell or exact start time

We run well but were prevented by race officials from finishing. More problems were on the horizon with a serious storm front moving towards Nashville. A contingency plan was made by race organizers to cut full marathon runners off at projected 4:30 min finish times. When we got to the 11 mile mark at 2 hours and 15 minutes we were directed to finish the half marathon run. This was fortuitous as by the time we got to the parking lot there was serious lighting and rain.

In all this was a great experience. I lost somewhere between 25 and 30 pounds. I got back in to semi good physical condition at the age of 57. Best of all Jeff and I raised close to $4000 for Gilda! When’s the next race?


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Lindsey Lohan, Reality is Calling, Please Answer!

March 15, 2010

 

You can say a lot of things about the modern Hollywood “Celebrity Class,” but no one has ever accused them of being short on a sense of self worth or ego. Case in point the recent publicity shenanigans by one Ms. Lindsay Lohan.

In case you haven’t heard Ms. Lohan, former teen movie star, is suing E*Trade for $100 million. Why? In a recent commercial, part of the  E*Trade series of talking baby ads unveiled at the Super Bowl, one baby refers to another baby named “Lindsey” as a “milkaholic.” Ms. Lohan’s claim is that the American public thinks of only one person when it hears the name “Lindsay” and that she is that person. Furthermore, that this funny little ad has so damaged her career and her reputation that she should be compensated to the tune of $100 Million.

  My response: wow! I never thought of Ms. Lohan in reference to this ad until she grabbed some tabloid headlines by filing this suit. This redefines the concept of hubris. Oedipus, the old standard for hubris, pales in comparison to the monumental assessment of self on two levels.

Ms. Lohan is under the delusion that she has become “The Lindsay.”  That most of the people in the civilized world think only of her when they hear that name. That by braving rehab a few times, posing for Playboy and making a series of forgettable teen films she has achieved the status of Madonna or Cher. A bold claim when the only Lindsey who has been in the news lately is Ms. Lindsey Vonn a multiple medal winner in the recent Olympic Games.

I did a little experiment with some friends who play tennis and said, “Hey, how about Lindsay making a comeback?” To a person they all remarked that it would be great to see Ms. Davenport back on the courts. I did the same with some musician friends who thought it would be great to see Lindsey Buckingham back with Fleetwood Mac. In politics Lindsey is a Senator from South Carolina. I know that Ms. Lohan spells her name with an “a” instead of an “e” but I put that down to her undereducated parents. If you have never seen any footage of these two, they are a pair of gems.

Let’s set the name thing aside for a minute and move to point number two. For a minute I will concede Ms. Lohan her point that she is “The Lindsay.” Let’s also concede the point that the folks at the ad agency for E*Trade had some ax to grind with her and intentionally used the name “Lindsay” (Do we know that the baby in the commercial isn’t a “Lindsey” for those who wish to split spelling hairs?) as a disparaging reference to Ms. Lohan. How much is she damaged?

The combined total U.S. gross box office of every film Ms. Lohan has made in the last six years is $28 million less than she is asking in her law suit. Maybe she will use her lawsuit winnings to reimburse the producers of those turkeys. Her top salary demand for any film was $7.5 million and that was in 2004 before she put her career and life into self destruct mode. I am guessing I could get her to do a film tomorrow for a new Kia, a pass to the VIP room at the right Hollywood night club and a few Starbucks gift cards. If this ad has done anything it has helped her sagging fortunes by giving her a way to garner a little free publicity.

Oh yeah before I go, if Ms. Lohan should prevail in her lawsuit I want everyone to know that I will be in court the next day. Among those who know comedy and golf I am universally known as “shankopotamus.”


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Super Ads

February 8, 2010

I am not a huge NFL fan but I never miss the Super Bowl because it has also become the show place for America’s advertising giants. The Super Bowl ads have come to be a competition in themselves and are often better than the game. At a reported cost of over $3 million for a thirty second ad it would be hard for me to imagine that any of the ads are cost effective but it’s not my money so roll the tape!  The ads on this year’s broadcast ran the gamut from great to banal to shockingly bad to scary and a few hit out and out stupid.

Once again this year the people who run “Go Daddy” got their pole dancing girl friends a gig on national TV.  I am beginning to think that GoDaddy.com’s ad agency is run by Larry Flynt. Their banned “Lola” ad about an NFL player who comes out of the closet to design ladies lingerie was on the level of a bad SNL skit, like there is any other kind. They weren’t the only advertiser to get in on the sophomoric heavy sexual overtones bandwagon. Monster.com’s ad entitled “Beavers” was perhaps the most shockingly bad outing of the evening. It ends with some inferred bestiality. Hey, it’s a “beaver,” get it. Ha-ha he said, “Beaver!” Cut to people who are unemployed and using Monster to search for a job rolling on the ground laughing hysterically. Maybe that’s why they are unemployed. Why do these two web firms continue to run this type of advertising? Maybe they have research that shows only mouth breathing troglodytes use their websites. Maybe all tech firms are run by really nerdy guys who have never lost their virginity. I am at a loss to explain this advertising trend.

Bud Light’s corporate image of the American male is almost as low as the tech world’s view of woman. Guys are beer swilling lay-abouts who will do just about anything to down a few Bud’s. If their ads were even close to being funny I could let it go for the joke but they were not. Thanks for that uplifting picture of male behavior.

E Trade has been running its campaign of computer enhanced talking baby ads for a few years now and they had a couple of cute ads especially one where a boy baby was talking on a video link to his girl baby friend. The whole concept is getting a little predictable although it still has a high “cute” factor. Still, I don’t know how many multimillion dollar investors move their accounts to E Trade because of the funny “milk-a-holic” line.

Judging from some ads there are either a lot of advertisers who don’t want conservatives to buy their products or a lot of liberals making television advertisements. When Audi’s “Green Police” ad showing government environmental cops arresting people for violating the planet first came on I thought it was a PSA for the Obama administration EPA policies. It wasn’t. Seems as long as you are driving an Audi diesel you are on the right side of the environmental fascists, for now!  

Qualcomm, trying to sell America the Flo personal TV, has combined leftist ideology and male bashing in its two ads featuring a guy who is “spineless” and a heavily political video montage by Obama idolater Will.i.am. I guess his stage name is supposed to be clever but it makes me think he was just raised on a little too much Dr. Seuss.  Can you imagine the flack a company would get if it let Ann Coulter or Glenn Beck produce a video montage for it’s Super Bowl commercial?

The best single ad was a promo for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Building on another ad Dave had done with Oprah Winfrey the ad opens with Dave complaining that he is at the worst Super Bowl party ever. The camera pulls back to reveal Oprah sitting next to him trying to sooth his feeling and then pans to show Jay Leno sitting next to Oprah. Jay says’ “He’s just saying that ‘cause I’m here.”  Then Dave mocks Jay’s reply and an exasperated Oprah throws her hands in the air! Hilarious! It shows that above all Jay and Dave are comics who put the funny about personal differences and even their own shows!

I loved the Abe Vigoda/Betty White spot for Snickers but my award for the best corporate spots goes to Doritos. For the past several years the folks at Doritos have not hired a big dollar ad firm but have run a national video competition which has produced a steady stream of funny innovative commercials. By unleashed the unfettered creative power of 300 million Americans to get their Super Bowl ads the Frito-Lay Corporation has been one of the top rated Super Bowl advertisers and has richly rewarded those willing to do the work. Perhaps the Obama Administration should take notice.


The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: Psychic Predictions 2010

January 5, 2010

Here it is 2010 and still I have no jet-pack or flying car. Those were the kind of things that I was led to believe would be here by now when I was a little kid. The real problem is that there isn’t one on the horizon either. You know what is in the near future for us? A remake of the Yugo or some other Euro-crap car that doesn’t burn up much dinosaur remains and tops out at a heart stopping 50 or 60 miles per hour.

It is that time of year for me to let my psychic self loose and gaze into the future. Yeah, I know I’m a little late but I promise not to predict anything that has already happened like a lot of your main stream psychics tend to do. Last year Kevin Costner didn’t even have the decency to make a bad film so I was o-fer-09. The only way for my psychic score to go is up!

My Predictions

In 2010 a well-known Hollywood film maker will produce a film that by most Midwestern standards would be called “porno.” It will be hailed as a great step towards artistic freedom and rated “R.”

In the coming year I will not be familiar with the work of anyone who wins a Grammy.

This year General Motors will introduce the “Volt” as the car of the future. It will sell slightly less units than Paris Hilton’s last CD.

Vince Vaughn will star in a movie as an over confident bumbler with a heart of gold who  has a wife or girlfriend that is so far out of his league the movie will be classified in the science fiction genre.

It will be revealed that having a supply of “non-hybrid seeds to plant an acre of nutrient dense food” for your family will do you no good in an extreme crisis unless you also have a tractor, a fuel supply, a water supply, some knowledge of farming, several high powered rifles, lots of ammo, food to last you until harvest time and at least an acre of land to plant.

The price of gold will drop to $450 an ounce. Obama will place the blame on the Bush Administration.

The State of California will go out of business and divide into three smaller states, Upper California to the far north, South California from Orange County to the Mexican border and The People’s Republic of Central California which will go broke again in 2011.

The Chicago Cubs will win the National League pennant and during the World Series be bought by Warren Buffett who donates the team to Haiti.

A record cold spell holds the Midwest and Northeast in its grip for the entire month of February. Obama blames the Bush Administration for its failed weather policy.

Kathy Griffin hosts New Year’s Eve celebration on the new Hustler Channel and is again fired for being too crass. She blames the Bush Administration and the Patriot Act for the “chill wind” blowing through Hollywood.

An Islamic fundamentalist attempts to create a “manmade disaster” by placing a bomb up his backside. The device is detected after he dines at a White Castle before going to the airport. Janet Napolitano orders “inspections” of every passenger on all flights. This job is given to the IRS which is already highly skilled in this type of work.

Keith Olbermann challenges Rush Limbaugh to a charity boxing match but refuses to remove his glasses in the ring and then cries foul when Rush punches a guy wearing glasses.