Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

You Know What? #12: The Purpose of Marriage

You know what? If the purpose of marriage is procreation, then shotgun weddings should be the only ones allowed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Punch Up Your Ad Copy! #1, Quaker Oats

Listen, we here at Consider Your Ass Kicked! are going to help some companies out there add value to their brands, and maybe who knows? Inspire some aspiring ad copy writers out there to do the same, with this brand-new feature "Punch Up Your Ad Copy!" Our regular Sunday God Blog Theology feature will return next week (or on some future week to that effect).

Here's what I see on the back of my Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal box (by the way guys, love the new hand punch-back pull-out "handy pantry pack" back-panel opening!):

For over 130 years, Quaker has unlocked the power of oats to help people get the perfect start to each day.

Folks, that's perfectly good ad copy. There's nothing wrong with that ad copy. Until you see this -

For over 130 years, Quaker has unlocked the proper secret of ultimate oat goodness to unleash the power of oats on YOUR breakfast.

See? See? Now that ad copy is punchy. Oh, the other one was fine, but where's the punch? It ho hums along 'til it suddenly hits that "perfect day" and you're like, "Oh god damn it, that's a bit much, Quaker. PERFECT DAY? Nobody ever has or has had a perfect day. And if you think a bowl of hot wet oats is what will do that trick, you need to get that hat examined! Maybe it's too tight. Giving you the shakes."

Wait actually it says "perfect start" not perfect day, but I'm right there with you on that one. I thought the same thing. So this new version of theirs with "perfect start" instead of "perfect day," it's just - well, it's less of hysterically-overreaching hyperbole, but if anything, it becomes too timid.

Mine on the other hand. Check that out. Now at first you might say, proper's kind of an odd word, coming there. Wrong. Because Quaker is one proper company, and getting that out of the way up front sets the tone, and keeps the whole thing "on-message," brand-wise. If you're going to write ad copy, you better learn that lesson. And then the rest of it just brings the message home - like a freight train.

Quaker does not endorse or pay for this post. Nor should they! I provide this as a free service to the public - and you just keep making that oatmeal, boys.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thought of the day: On life's goodness.

"Life is good. The principal way people make to find life bad, is to live their lives in revolt against its goodness."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Some say a stranger came, dealing death before the end. Pt.10

Rose Althea walked faster. Her legs shed weariness in long, lithe strides. It was as if all the miles of the past week since the stranger's horse died were slipping off, slipping away. She kicked out of one too-big boot, then the other like she had practiced it. Her hands, nerveless at her sides since her arms had got too tired to swing, suddenly found purpose - undoing the man-sized buckle of her gunbelt, loosing her man-cut pants, and walking faster. She had found the river.

She kept her shirt on. It was clean white and brand-new a week before. She and the stranger Lido, presentable for once, had sipped whisky from champagne glasses at the county courthouse. It was his shirt. Now its front was a dried wash of blood, a deep brown puddle, like midnight in a sepia tint picture.

She let her hat drop last. Her mama's sombrero. About the only thing left to her; the only thing she owned that was her own.

Rose Althea was in a stumbling run.

Rose Althea splashed in, pushing in strong, running into the water. Past its current like gravity gone diagonal, she was leaping or falling flat, and almost senseless as the water plunging over her. Underwater, her eyes were sealed tight. Turned over heavily, slowing, her back found the bottom as the water kept pulling past her, dragging her long hair up and streaming, unplastered from her face. Not even concerned to hold her breath, she was gulping in impossible amounts of water. After days of deadly thirst, she was punishing her parched, tormenting throat with blissful, cold, excruciating relief. Her stomach felt like a numb balloon. Rose Althea was going to be sick.

She knew she was, and she didn't care. Breaking the surface, standing now with the water to her hips, coughing, hacking, gasping for air - she was sick. She didn't care. Heaving, she let the river run out of her. She stood there in that ruined shirt, stuck cold and to her skin, its clinging wrinkles like long wet lightning-shaped fingers, like watery fingers caressing her. She let the river's clean water run through, past, and around her lower body, her waist, her ribs, her chest, her shoulders as she sank again to her knees. The river was at her lips again, running around her head from behind, and she drank. Slow and deep. This time, she wasn't sick.

In the back of her mind, far back of her brightening, clearing eyes, the stranger Lido came on. He walked slow now, as ever. Conserving his stubborn strength, and in no hurry. She'd never be far enough ahead of him now to leave him behind. He came on. He was wearing what had once been a ball gown. It had been rudely torn, reshaped, and was now - almost - a poncho. In the shade of his hat's wide brim, his eyes were unconcerned.

"Oh God!" Rose Althea was laughing hysterically, now, clambering, taking huge jumping strides out of the shallowing river, back towards her clothes. The sun's brutality returned, soon as she'd got free of the water. Fingers, hands working, she pulled her shirt off, and wrapped it sopping wet around her head, like a bandage. She looked like she needed one. Her eyes were crazy. A part of her mind had detached, and was beginning to worry. She wasn't sure she could stop laughing. She threw herself on the grass verge, under a scrawny scratch pine, and tried to focus on breathing. On that mat of grass, under that tree it was heaven, with scary laughter in place of angel choirs. The laughter kept coming. It sounded like it wasn't coming from her. Like it was coming from the river.

Like it was coming from behind the tree.

"Oh God, I should've killed him!" She laughed, then laughed faster, then stopped shock silent, throat strangled, listening for echoes. Then laughed again, at herself. Her dumb, doomed self! "Oh god I should have killed him," she spoke the words unmeaningly, like the memorized prayer it had over this past week become.

Terror tickled her, terror and relief. She was not going to die from thirst after all. She was breathing with effort, ragged, tears streaming, deep forced breaths. Her laughter became less painful. The part of her mind that was detached had begun to hum haunted snatches of a lullaby. The sun was setting high overhead. The blue sky was falling dark.

In the back of her mind, under the shade of his hat's wide brim, the stranger's eyes were unconcerned. He had not stopped walking. He was humming a snatch of a lullaby.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Finally I Can Wear My Jeans Jacket!

I'm so happy! Finally, I can wear my jeans jacket. I got that thing almost five years ago: "Hey! I need one of these. I used to love wearing one of these! This is a key, badly-missing piece in my repertoire!" It was a nice one, too - dark blue!

But then I found I couldn't wear it. Every time I tried to, I found I couldn't. See, typically for pants I wear jeans. Even when I look real nice, often I've set it up so that the only possible note to complete the ensemble as your eyes travel down, to check me all the way out - from an often real nice (sharp-casual, or casual sharp, or dress, even - I rock a jacket) jacket of some kind, and then whatever top, and then you see those jeans - and you admit. they just hit rest of the put-together picture with the kicker it was looking for. Black jeans, frequently enough, or sometimes brown, or if I go down a size to 34 then that brings dull forest green back in range - plus those lustrously warm pale tan ones! The ones one's ex-girlfriend thought were leather? Can you imagine! Leather pants.

Ok. Fine for some I guess, if one is feeling Jon Bon jovial.

But honestly, most of the time we're talking: blue. Basic blue, lovely. As darkest blue they come. They fade later to whatever range you need, and softly! Though, honestly the almost brand new dark is my favorite.

I love wearing jeans as my pants preference! Cotton slacks, of the sturdy coarse weave known as "denim," ruggedly stitched to hold up to punishment (which is good for me, because if I may quote the Village People in their nineteen something something hit "Sleazy," "Watch me while I do my thing. I like my music loud and mean. I rock until I bust my jeans, now that's sleazy." - minus the "sleazy" part! I rock with just pure wholesome gusto - none-the-less jeans-busting in the long run, but hopefully the jeans in question are well-made, to stand up to it for some time).

Yet every time I tried to wear my jeans jacket, I was stymied. Couldn't do it! What do I wear it with - black jeans? You can't go blue, black! It looks...look, I don't put actual thought into outfits. I just pick A, pick B, pick C - "naw." Then switch B, look A, B, C..."perfect." It's gut or nothing with me, yet I've never walked out the door nude. Well, not sober anyway. Point is, I rock it and it's pure eye to gut to perfect strut. Lookin' goood, mister suspiciously-familiar! Oh hey, it's me.

So blue, black is out. Really any non match is out - for the same reasons. Yet blue, blue - that's bullshit, you can't do it. It looks like you're trying to pull off gas station attendant on false pretenses, it's pretentious. In the sense you're pretending as what you're not - or coming off that way, at least. Then even aside from that, because your jeans jacket fades at a slower rate than your far-more-frequently worn jeans, you have other problems.

I'd pretty much put that jeans jacket into a sad retirement - barely even used.

Suddenly, finally, without even realizing it - the solution just about jumped in my lap and solved itself. Tonight I realized what I'd needed all along to tie that shit together, blue with blue. It happened all by accident! I was out shopping, and spotted another key missing ingredient in my sartorial pantry, one I'd been bemoaning and bemoaning the lack of: a zip-bisected-pocket-pouch-front hoodie! I don't know why, but that extra piece of outerwear under there corrects the effect like the last checker in a winning diagonal Connect Four play. Black and with gray lining, brand emblazoned: Everlast. Sharp piece, but little did I know till I got it home: "Hmmmm....so what jacket do I wear with this...?"

Holy shit.


Thought: evaluation.

First thing out of their mouth - some people let you know to disregard their opinion.

Do it.

Always take a worthless opinion for what it's worth.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Side Note on Absolutes.

Ironically, the only person who truly can't judge whether a thing is good or bad is the absolutist.

The absolutist is holding out for a single standard that applies universally: a standard which could judge "good" from "bad" whether operating within opera or popcorn movies, whether within modernist or classical, whether within Hip-Hop, smoothed out on the R & B, or tipped more towards a Pop appeal. The absolutist wants "good" or "bad" to have absolute value, and to be applied the same by all to all. The absolutist has the highest standards for standards, and rejects all standards that fall short.

Well, good for the absolutist! I guess. But everyone else can see it's not merely bollocks, it is also hypocrisy. The absolutist objects to standards that are not held or cannot be applied universally, yet the absolutist's own standard can barely be applied at all! It's a ridiculously narrow, marginal stance, embraced by practically no-one - and for good reason. Is it ever useful? Is it even possible, for such a standard to ever be productively put to any sort of use? Who on earth can find it reasonable to insist that a standard for judgment cannot be valid, except that it applies universally?

The absolutist.

In practice, the absolutist would simply prefer the words "good" and "bad" did not exist. A useful stance for whom?

Nobody, really. Not even for the absolutist. You can't make language better by subtracting apt, clear, descriptive vocabulary.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I'm not going to program all this shit.

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