Take Tylenol Cold – You Won’t Look Like the Scary Lady on the Train

hallsadReally?  This ad is going to sell you a cold medicine?  Take Halls – you’ll still look like crap, but you’ll be able to muddle through!  Take Halls – you not only will look like crap, but you will scare small children on the train! 


And not only is there one snot nosed lady attempting to sell Halls, there’s another one on the opposite wall, who’s nose is even redder – Take Halls – we know Rudolph was your favorite reindeer!


Seriously – is this really selling Halls to anyone? 


Not the work of Don Draper.

The First Amendment on a Thursday

So, this young attorney dropped by our office recently, wanting to take his novel theory of defense on a test run, see if it passed the laugh test.  Basically, his client was accused of saying nasty things about the police.  He wanted to put on a First Amendment defense. 


A few weeks later, I ran into said attorney, and asked him how it went.  He just shook his head.  The case was called to the bar of the court.  He laid out his defense, a kind of mini-opening, and the Judge looked at him, cocked his/her head and said, “Mr. Young Attorney, there’s no First Amendment on Friday.”


So Philly!


But, luckily, the First Amendment, even on Friday, is alive and well, and while Ms. California is a total boob, she had every right to say what she said on national television, and had every right to make a fool of herself.


I’m not defending what she said, I’m defending her right to say it.


And saying it should not lead to her being called the “c+*!” word. 


Why on earth does Perez Hilton, a man who makes his living drawing penises on women’s faces, think it’s somehow better to be a mysogynist than a homophobe? 


Shanna Moakler, former Ms. USA, and a self-annointed wise soul, addressed the controversy on her blog, saying, “She lost the crown because she wasn’t able to convey compassion for ALL the people that, as MISS USA, she would be representing,” Moakler wrote. “And if YOU like it or not, gays and lesbians make up this country as well. THIS is why we have judges, so they can find the RIGHT woman who obtains these qualities.”


Hmm. Let me break this down.  First of all, Ms. USA represents no one – she is not elected, she is a beauty pageant winner.  She was picked above all women for looking the best in a bikini, and playing Fur Elise on the harp.  She can go to any country, and say anything, and I could care less – she is not an ambassador, she is not in anyway a representation of my views.  If we’re looking for women ambassadors – we need look no further than Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton – not elected per se, but definitely they extensions of our vote for the current administration.  Shanna Moakler, my voice around the world?  Not on your life.


Now the second part – “THIS is why we have judges, so they can find the RIGHT woman who obtains these qualities.”  Taking into consideration the above, who cares about judges, when the title means nothing.  But, putting that aside – a judge who calls a woman a “c*&!” is the right man to find the right woman who obtains (hmmm . . . do you think she means embodies?) these qualities? This man, Mr. Penis Drawerer, who has risen to fame denegrating women, and making fun of young starlets who are clearly on the road to nothing short of death because of their untreated mental illnesses and addiciton is the one who is going to look deep into the souls of these contestants and find compassion?   


Look, I’m not knocking profanity  – anyone who knows me knows that in college I wrote a college editorial expounding on the virtues of the f$*&!  word but the “c&$@” word is not simply profanity – it’s a hate word – the same as calling a Jew the “K” word, an African American the “N” word, or any other word that we all accept as socially unacceptable and down right reprehensible. 


And why hasn’t he been called out on this?  Instead, Ms. Cali is laughingly asked to respond to his use of the “c” word – really?  Would this be the spin on the story if Ms. Cali were black and he had called her the “N” word? 


In the end, this is really a trivial controvery – but it really burns me up – that somehow it has become acceptable to use the “c” word on national television, and the purveyor of this hate speech somehow becomes the hero of the media spin on the story.


Sure, the First Amendment protects Hilton’s right to use the “c” word – even on a Friday – but that doesn’t mean that we have to ignore it, pretend he didn’t say it.  His use of the word devalues any other speech that comes out of his mouth, not that it was worth much in the first place.

A “Friendly” Reminder

Dear Senator Charles B. Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, former senator and failed nominee to head the Health and Human Services Departmen Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton and failed nominee for Chief Performance Officer,  Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius:


Today, I paid my taxes.


Just a friendly reminder –


You should too!





A Taxpayer Since 1985

Easy A

So, remember I referred to Joey’s science project debacle a few posts ago?


Apparently, it wasn’t such a debacle.


He got an A.


I’m still scratching my head.


Let’s go back, see what you think.  Joey was given his 5th grade science project assignment before Thanksgiving.  Sometime before Christmas, he had his project approved, and his main bullet points approved.  Joe and I knew nothing about this until the day before it was due.  Oh, Joey’s bringing his science project to your house – everything is ready to go, you just need to print it out and paste it on the cardboard.


So, he brings over his tri-fold cardboard display board.  No color construction paper, no pictures to hang on the board, just 3 graphs, showing the difference in battery voltage from the start of the project, Friday in the a.m. (3 days before the projects due), until the end of the project, Saturday in the late p.m (2 days before deadline).  Joey’s project you see, had something to do with determining whether you have the best batteries on the market – or, as his approved title questioned, “Do You Got the Best Batteries.”


Yes, that was the approved title – Do you GOT – I couldn’t believe it.  And, I know that the teacher actually read the form, because she had made corrections to his other bullet point/headlines.  Anyway, he totally suckered everyone – because his testing method was putting the batteries in his X-box controller, each for five hours, to test the level of change in the batteries.  All of the batteries started at 1.6 volts, and dropped to a volage of 1.4, except for one battery that started at 1.5 and dropped to 1.4. 


And the graphs — the only thing we had to hang on the board – showed the batteries all starting at 1.5 and dropping to 1.4.  When I asked for an explanation of this graphing phenomenon, he explained that he ran out of room numbering, so his mother just said start at 1.5.


Needless to say, there was a lot of starting over to be done.


So, I poured myself a glass of wine, skipped watching the Eagles v. Giants playoff games, and explained to the child that I understood the waiting until the last minute thing, that I did it all the time as a child, and the problem ended up being that what you did at the last minute was probably crap, and when my parents went to back to school night, there was my crap next to someone’s project that hadn’t been saved to last minute, or had actually been done by their parents.  And, if handing in crap is ok with him, then by all means, wait until the last minute.  But, if he wanted to do something better, maybe he should start earlier.


We then talked about the problems with his scientific method – specifically that he had not managed to wear any of the batteries down, and that he had actually learned absolutely nothing from the video game playing experiment. 


Then, there was the mad frenzy of gettting everything up on the board.  Needless to say, nothing on the disc he brought over was usable.  It had been typed in Typepad, so everything was locked into a small font.  I printed out pictures of the batteries from the website, the specifications, etc.  And, five hours later, there was something – it still looked like crap to me, but he had something to hand in.  And, even if it looked passable, the underlying project was still crap.


And, I’m still trying to figure out how he got an A on this thing.  The research paper that he handed in contained no research – I know it’s fifth grade, but you can still find at least one study out there on the internet that has already done a battery comparison.  Or, his hypothesis had something to do with thinking that the Energizer battery would be the best because it had the best commercial — he could have at least talked about the commercials, and why the commercial was so persuasive.  His project “notebook” was two pages of illegible scribble on a steno pad, that I had tried to pretty up by giving it a cover.  I guess he got an A because the same person who approved “Do You Got the Best Batteries” is the same person who gave him the grade.  But, I’m totally pissed off.  Why would this kid ever put any additional effort into a project if some shmo in authority just told him that this piece of shit was worth an A?  Everything I said to him about starting earlier, pride in his work, etc. – out the window.  And the thing is, I’m right – and now I have been stripped of my credibility.


You may be thinking, this was only a 5th grade science project, maybe it was worth an A, and I say no – I’m sure there were at least a handful of kids that took the project seriously, started on time, and put together fantastic projects.  And his gets graded the same as theirs?  Oh, I guess they got an A plus.


I can only hope he got an A, because in his Conclusion that he put up on the board, I pretty much made him write a conclusion detailing all of the things he could have done differently, and why the experiment and the project was pretty much crap.


But, I think in this day and age, where everyone gets a trophy, and we pride ourselves on rewarding mediocrity, that’s just too much to hope for.

The Emperor’s New Clothes – The Bird Poop Facial

Women are putting shit on their face. 


I’m not talking about zit cream that could burn a hole through your skin, or exfoliators with acid, or makeup that is the consistency of spackle.


No, I’m talking about honest to G-d shit.


Bird shit, to be precise.


While getting ready yesterday morning, I had one ear on mischievous Lemon, and the other on the CBS morning show (although it may have been CNN, I’m not sure what channel we left it on when we went to bed).  The morning show featured new miracle anti-aging, skin whitening treatments.


The first treatment – placenta.  Yes, placenta, afterbirth.  I’ve heard of 200px-placenta_ad_in_hong_kongstrange customs like burying placenta in the backyard, but swabbing it on your face?  But, somehow, I’m not as skeeved out by placenta as I am by bird poop.   I don’t want placenta on my face, but I kind of get it – many myths and legends are attached to the placenta, in particular, in burying the placenta – giving a girl baby digging powers, giving a boy baby the power of prophecy (British Columbia), protecting a newborn child from the spirit of a mother who died in childbirt (Bolivia), simply connecting the newborn to the earth (New Zealand).  So, while it’s not for me, I get it – I can see where someone would believe that an organic blob of guck that once nutured a maturing fetus might have miraculous restorative powers.


But, bird poop?  Really, seriously?  Women are paying between $150 and $225 for the miracle Nightingale dung treatment.  I don’t care it’s a cute little Hummingbird – I find it hard to believe that poop from a Nightingale is any different than poop from Philadelphia’s own flying rat, the pidgeon.  Is there really a fortune to be made by hanging out in Rittenhouse Square and scrapping the bird poop from the goat statue? 


And what do scientists have to say about this – when CNN interviewed scientists, they “explained”:

“Bird experts at both the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology were at a loss to explain the benefits of nightingale droppings as a skin treatment. Brian Keller, a dermatopharmacologist and executive vice president of San Francisco-based Bio Zone Laboratories, which manufactures custom private-label dermatological products, offered one possible reason.

“The reason this product may work is the high concentration of urea in the fecal-urine combination in bird feces. Urine has a lot of urea in it and it has long been used as a skin-softening agent,” he says. “It’s obviously shrouded in a lot of mystery.”


The problem with this however, is that the question posed seems to have been, “Doctor, can you explain the benefits?”  What benefits???  There’s no proof there are benefits.  It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes – he’s naked!  Lady – you have bird poop on your face!  High concentration of urea?  Now that’s appetizing – and when they asked the women who volunteered to try these miracle treatments, they said, yeah, it still smells like poop. 


Shit is shit, even if you dress it up in Geisha clothing.  If you visit the Shizkuka website, the spa in New York specializing in this “exotic” treatment, you get a nice little history of Geisha, their flawless skin, and how to solve the troubles of all of that spackle white make-up, the Geisha used this bird poop secret ingredient to cleanse their skin and unclog their pores.  However, when interviewed, the proprietess, Shizuka Bernstein, says about this long secret history, “I’m always trying to bring Japanese culture and tradition to my spa,” said Shizuka Bernstein. “I heard my mother talk about this treatment when I was a little girl.”  I heard my mother talking about this treatment?  This is the source of this ancient, Japanese Geisha ritual?  I heard my mother talking about throwing salt over her shoulder, about giving someone the evil eye, and about how if I made silly, ugly faces, my face would freeze that way.


And who are these women taking the bird poop cure, passed down from Shizuka’s mom to Shizuka?  Not my women, not my friends – we’re broke.  I’m lucky I can afford to put Cetaphil on my face, let alone a $200 pile of birdshit.  Does wealth lead to a sucker, born every minute? – because that’s how often a Nightingale will shit in his cage.