Monday, February 25, 2008

It looked safe enough from Madison Avenue

Compared to children who live in town, farm kids run about twice the risk of accidental death. That's not my normally perky first sentence. But J.C. Penney just ran a Sunday newspaper insert with a Benetton-bouquet of cute kids perched on a tractor. Wrong message; equipment accidents are the cause of hundreds of child injuries, amputations, and deaths - all part of farm livin'. Yeehaw. Rural health organizations are desperately trying to keep kids away from tractors. Penney's is promoting a clothing collection called American Living. Now doesn't that sound like a corporate commitment to USA-made apparel? It's not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Heebs and shines, maybe?

Of all the people who misuse words, the ones who piss me off the most are marketeers. Hucksters. Folks in my business. For one thing, they get paid to write stuff, so some level of professional pride should obtain. And there's no underlying depth of feeling to make any errors of usage trivial. This is hackwork pure and simple; at least make it competent. Don't try to sell me a decadent dessert unless you really think I want a chocolate truffle in a state of decay. And I'm not interested in your exclusive resort unless I know who's being excluded.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bob Edwards smiles and shuts off the alarm

Okay. Let's go over these Grammy results again; anyone who didn't care last night must certainly be consumed with breathless anticipation this morning. Then report on the screenwriters' strike, using a cute pun like, “The Hollywood writers seem to be writing an end to their strike.” And, oh: The President of East Timor was shot in a coup attempt. The United States is bringing the first 9/11-related charges against any Guantanamo detainees. Venezuela may cut off oil to the US. And so, NPR officially joins the list of Things That Used To Be Good But Now They Suck.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Boys and their petty turf battles

After a few weeks of raw weather, we're back to muggy with a chance of afternoon mildew – springtime in New Orleans. Suburban folk around here have a really long growing season for America's number one crop, grass clippings. Lawn care is mindbogglingly wasteful and stupid, but the weekend harvest is pretty funny. That's when untold thousands of adult men ride little clown cars with spinning knives underneath, collecting tiny green shoots to be sealed in plastic sacks and discarded. Future civilizations will probably view this with the same sick fascination we have for Aztec sacrifices or the feasts of Elagabalus.