30 August 2009
Saturday/September/05 2009 Filed in: Weekend Showcase
Sifl and Olly were the sock puppet creations of Liam Lynch and Matt Crocco.
Sifl and Olly comedy sketches were originally filler between MTV videos in the mid-1990's but then evolved into a half-hour show. Somehow MTV never understood the pure, lunatic genius of this program and canceled it after only two seasons with unseen episodes still in the can.
We hope there's a large cult following out there for this show, but we wonder. A Google search for Sifl Olly generates only 46,000 hits versus 2.2 million for Beavis Butt-Head and 38.5 million for Family Guy.
It's probably more accurate to call the Sifl and Olly Show improv, with scripts offering only serving suggestions for the mad minds of good friends, Lynch and Crocco.
A Word with Chester
Precious Roy's Home Shopping Network - Pirate Cripplers
Letters to Chester - Chester's Recipe
Precious Roy's Home Shopping Network - Squirrel Zappers
Friday/September/04 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
Them that has, gets...
The August sales figures for automakers are in and we're getting our first read on the impact of the Cash for Clunkers program.
For Ford, Toyota and Honda, the news was good. All three companies boosted their numbers last month. For Chrysler, down 15%, and GM, down 20%, it was a different story.
GM's Golden Years
Things looked very different in 1958 when GM celebrated its Golden Anniversary. America's torrid love affair with the automobile was white-hot and the future looked bright.
That year, the Chevrolet Impala was on the threshold of a decade long run as the best selling automobile in the US, with total unit sales of 13 million over that period. The Cadillac's scalpel-sharp tailfins were a bold statement that GM was ready to rocket to the stars. Pontiac was a proud member of the fleet.
The Long and Winding Road
Today, GM struggles for survival in a world hammered by an economic slump and a marketplace rife with global competitors. The first post-bankruptcy commercial was almost an apology for how the company had stumbled since the Golden Years.
Asleep at the Wheel
As auto industry prospects turned bleak in 2008, the -- then -- heads of Detroit's Big Three told Congress the shape of things to come. The GM guy and the Chrysler guy are gone now.
Thursday/September/03 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
-- Limiting fructose MAY boost weight loss, UT Southwestern researcher reports
-- Sleep aberration MAY play role in near-death experience
-- Epilepsy drug in pregnancy MAY lower child's IQ
These are all actual headlines in recent medical news stories.
The word may is an expression of possibility. May is one of those words that can actually be an antonym of itself. To say something may happen is to admit at the same time that it may not happen.
The headlines above look newsworthy, yet, because they can also mean the very opposite of what they state, they could be interpreted as meaning nothing at all.
Words Have Precise Meanings
We have to be careful when in conversations in the Apocalypse. As Francisco d'Anconia reminded us in Atlas Shrugged, words have precise meanings. Where confusion can take root, it will.
Somewhat is another one of those squirrelly words.
"I'm somewhat disappointed by your behavior."
Somewhat? Does that mean you're very disappointed? If the emphasis was on the "somewhat," the problem could be pretty serious. But if the emphasis is on "disappointed," it suggests a pretty mild rebuke.
Pretty?! How the heck did pretty get to be an adverb?
(Click image below to play..)
Wednesday/September/02 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
Exactly how long was this supposed to keep a teenaged girl interested and amused?
Apparently for decades. Leveraging off the wild success of Disney's High School Musical, Milton Bradley (no, not that Milton Bradley) relaunched this 1960's board game.
Instead of the non-descript white tuxedo guy or beach date guy in the original game, players open the door to see whether or not Zac Efron is standing there with a corsage.
Are today's teenage girls going for this?
Sissy Mynarcik thinks so. She bought the game on Amazon for her ten year old daughter. "My daughter is an addict," Sissy states in her Amazon review, "She will not stop playing the game. She even plays it by herself."
Of course you can't please everybody. Sue Mallory said in her Amazon review, "although this is a very fun game... I was expecting the Original Mystery Date game with the ... dud date guy."
Sue isn't the only one who is more interested in the original.
The 1960's commercial has cult status now, inspiring several YouTube spoofs.
2008 Presidential Primary Spoof
During the presidential campaign last year, XCowboy2 released this version.
The One Man Show Spoof
Playing all the parts, CrashingCrockery has his own fun with this oh-so-60's commercial.
Tuesday/September/01 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Daniel Craig as James Bond - Neither Shaken or Stirred
If anyone understands the dark inner workings of an apocalypse, it's Bond, James Bond.
Daniel Craig was considered an odd choice for Bond franchise. He wasn't tall, he was blond and relatively unkown. Apparently, we're very picky about who saves us from certain destruction.
While Sean Connery's Bond was strictly Cold War, Craig's Bond -- patterned more after the Ian Fleming novels than the previous movies -- exists in a world where we've seen actual acts of terrorism more heinous than anything Goldfinger, Largo or Blofeld ever imagined.
And as for Bond villains who threatened global destruction if not paid huge ransoms, who would have thought it would be a POTUS, not an evil scientist, to scare the beejeezus out of us all with the threat, "If you don't give me $700 billion by next week, "this sucker could go down.""
Our Man Flint: James Coburn
James Bond wasn't the only guy who knew his way around an apocalypse.
Enter Derek Flint. Saving the world with a cigarette lighter with 82 different spy gadget functions. Eighty-three, if you want to light a cigarette.
Our Man Flint was intended as a Bond-spoof but, in retrospect, the movie stands tall as the Roger Moore years took the 007 franchise into the cartoon zone.
Starring the late, great James Coburn, the film captured the go-go energy of the 60's and melded it with way-over-the-top but enjoy-the-ride film fun.
The World's First Ringtone?
But Our Man Flint has another great claim to fame. The movie introduced the world to possibly the first and arguably the coolest ringtone, ever!
Patrick McGoohan: Cold War Cool
The Original Danger Man
When it comes to Cold War spies, Patrick McGoohan's John Drake was, arguably, the coolest. He dismissed Bond-type gadgets and was rarely, if ever, sidetracked by femme fatales while on the clock.
Patrick McGoohan, himself, was so cool that he turned the role of James Bond in Dr. No. He wanted to play a different kind of spy, one who used his brain more than his trigger finger.
Thus TV's John Drake was born. Drake didn't save the world from evil scientists and meglomanics. He negotiated the rusting iron-curtain apocalypse in ways that we imagine that Cold War spies may really have done it.
Not a Number, A Free Man
Sadly, on January 14, 2009, Patrick McGoohan passed away.
Read the Apocalypzia post: Top Ten Women of the Apocalypse
Monday/August/31 2009 Filed in: Marketing / Business
Did the I'm a Mac...I'm a PC ad campaign really start way back in 1996?
Scottinger's Blog thought so when it uncovered this MacAddict magazine feature from the mid 90's.
It's like Deja Vu all over again isn't it? Almost a template for today's Mac commercials. Especially humorous, though, is the call-out about the Mac Addict's hair - The casual "Seinfeld-cut" because "of course Jerry would never use a PC." Oops!
Even the Idea of Using Call-Outs Got Recycled
Nothing new under the sun we suppose...
Justin Long gets the once-over...
...and so does John Hodgman
Related Apocalypzia Posts: Mac vs PC: The Global, Bizarro and the Historical View
Monday/August/31 2009 Filed in: TV Commercials
Hello, I'm a Mac ... And I'm a PC
It's been three years now since Mac and PC first teamed up for the Apple ad campaign. Has it all been worth the trip?
The TV commercials still seem to create buzz and the latest round has Patrick Warburton and Robert Loggia joining the Mac and PC avatars.
Perhaps more important to the Apple bottom line, Ars Technica reports that Macintosh US market share has trended upward since the campaign began.
Around the World
Here in the US we know Mac and PC as Justin Long and John Hodgman and it's hard for us to imagine anyone else playing this Odd Couple. But around the world, Apple depends on local talent. How does the rest of the world see the Felix and Oscar of personal computing?
Here's several takes on the Pie Chart commercial from around the planet.
The dynamic between Mac and PC is familiar here, though PC presents a fairly stuffy persona compared to John Hodgman's more nuanced approach. Mac here seems to be trying to channel the gifted and underrated Justin Long.
Apple employs the comedy team Rahmens for their commercials in Japan. It's interesting - and probably smart - that Apple doesn't always try to replicate the total look and feel of the US versions. There's a very different vibe here between Mac and PC.
Bizarro Jerry and Bizarro Bill
There was another strange incarnation of this odd coupling when Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates teamed up for a short-lived Microsoft marketing disaster.
This Bizarro version of the Macintosh campaign is ironic given that Jerry is a huge fan of Superman. That Jerry's character on Seinfeld always had the most current Mac sitting on the desk in his apartment made the campaign that much more...well...bizarre.
The campaign was successful only in finally exposing Jerry to the Seinfeld Curse that had allegedly plagued Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and, until Old Christine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The Real Thing
Perhaps the strangest version of Mac and PC was the 2007 joint interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
How It All Began
Hello, I'm a Mac...
During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple Computer ran a Ridley Scott-directed commercial in which a dark apocalyptic world is transformed and redeemed by a hammer-hurling beauty.
Even Steve Jobs was conflicted about whether Apple should use such a brash ad to introduce the Macintosh. But this commercial is a graduate course in how to do everything right and pull it off with style.
Reportedly shown as a paid ad only once, this commercial, created such a legacy of cool that Macintosh is still reaping benefits.
This is Marketing Apocalypzia of the first order.
... and I'm a PC.
Just two months later, the IBM PCJr was launched with a very simple mission -- take down that pesky little upstart Macintosh.
While Apple's introductory commercial engaged the imagery of a future gone wrong, IBM's suggested the imagery of a past gone right, or at least so they thought.
The campaign, however, centered on Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp, from the 1936 silent film Modern Times, a scathing critique of how the industrial age fueled desperation during the Great Depression.
This is the spokesperson for your new product? Yikes!
We call it the beginning of the end of IBM's leadership in personal computing.
Other Apocalypzia Posts:
Has Apple Lost Its Cool?
TV Commercials category.