Yes, Deer

For the second time in under a week I drove by a billboard on Route 93 South heading out of Boston that is advertising "Bambi II."  It got my twisted little mind thinking about what might come next in the Bambi movie franchise:

Bambi III: Thumper and Bambi – the Forbidden Love

Bambi IV: Flower – the Smell of Passion

Bambi V: Bambi Goes to the City

Bambi VI: Bambi Does The Forest

Bambi VII: Revenge Against the Hunters

Bambi VIII: Bambi Gets Horny (get it? Horns?  Deer? )

Bambi IX: Bambi Meets Freddie Kruger

Bambi X: Bambi Meets Jason

Bambi XI: Fire’s Revenge

Bambi XII: Bambi Vs. Smokey the Bear (made famous by Bambi’s line "F*** you Smokey!" and the grisly final impalement scene, the movie ending with Bambi throwing Smokey’s hat into a unconfined camp fire)

Anyone else got others?

Try Making the Beer Better First, OK?

This article has been referred to on a few different sites and in some e-newsletters I get:

Basically, the beer industry is trying to re-vamp its image through an ad campaign so the beer will appeal to the "wine-and-cheese, single-malt Scotch crowd" as it is called in the article.   

Interesting concept, but one that is fundamentally flawed.  I believe that the reason that Budweiser or Coors doesn’t appeal to the the sophisticated gourmand crowd isn’t just because of an image problem: its because the beer just isn’t as interesting as those other options. 

Somewhere along the way, American beer (Bud, Coors, Michelob, etc.) became a thin, watery, flavorless and fizzy beverage which simply wouldn’t appeal to someone who appreciates the balance of tannins, acidity, sweetness,  fruit and earthiness in a fine wine (or even a single malt scotch for that matter).   The big manufacturer beers are very simply one-dimensional in their taste profile – if you like them, then fine, go ahead and drink em, but don’t tell me that all beer tastes the same if that’s all you like.

You want proof that not all beers taste alike?  Take a look at this beer festival coming up (which I’ll be attending of course): Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Festival.  That’s a link to the beer list there.  Among some of the more interesting (or "extreme") beers are: Peanut Butter Porter, Monster Barleywine, Cherry Spice, Imperial Death March Stout, Whiskey Barrel Porter, JalapeƱo Sunsplash Golden Ale, Jamaican Stout….  let me tell you, none of these will taste alike, and all of them would make even the most hard-core wine or scotch snob feel hard-pressed to find something more interesting and complex than some of the beers there.

The above article also states that "Nor have brewers excelled at emphasizing that beer, like wine and certain liquors, can be brewed with different flavors (Anheuser introduced a pumpkin spice ale to coincide with Thanksgiving) and sold in attractive packaging" which is, again, false based on what smaller micro- and mid-sized breweries are doing.  Every year, nearly every micro-brewery puts out a "Pumpkin" or other "Harvest" ale in the fall and then a "Winter" brew in the winter. Those of us who understand that beer is a complex and interesting beverage look forward to trying these each year.  Rogue Beer, a microbrewery that is available nationally has some fantastic and interesting packaging, as does Magic Hat.  And they both make good beers.

What is interesting about this list of beers at the Extreme Beer Festival is that Anheuser-Busch will be there, the first time I can remember them having a presence at a Beer Advocate beer festival.  Kudos to them for trying to brew some new and interesting beers to help improve beer itself, not just its image.

Parody Needed

You really don’t even want to know the story behind how this popped into my head, but will somebody PLEASE – for the love of god, PLEASE – write a parody version of "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas and have it written from the point of view of either the Hunchback of Notre Dame and/or Igor the hunch-backed lab assistant from Frankenstein?

That’s comedic gold waiting to be mined right there.  Feel free to leave your contributions below.

A Quick Shot For You

Saturday night I went to see a few bands play at T.T. The Bear’s in Cambridge and I just wanted to give a quick reccomendation that people check out two bands:

First up is Muck and the Mires, who sport a great retro-style garage rock sound.  They are probably more of an acquired taste as they are definitely retro sounding.

Second, but definitely not least, is The Mooney Suzuki.  They’ve been around since 1999 from the looks of things, but still practically no one has heard of them, and that’s a crime.  They are fanastic.  They too have a great garage-rock sound, but not as "retro" and with a bit more of a funky sound.  If you like Lenny Kravitz’s more rockin’ tunes (think "Are You Gonna Go My Way", which, let’s face it, is a song that could be played 20 times in row and it would still sound awesome) then you’ll probably love The Mooney Suzuki.  Their stuff is on iTunes, so please check them out.  They get my highest level of approval and reccomendation.

So its TicketMASTER, is it???

I’m thinking that TicketMaster has lost their collective minds.  I got an email yesterday from them promoting Clifford The Red Dog live at the Opera House in Boston.   Let’s take a look at the sheer brilliance of this utterly useless email effort, shall we?

First of all, Clifford The Big Red Dog is a 40-year old children’s book character from Scholastic (though I swear I don’t remember him when I was a kid and that was sure as hell less than 40 years ago).

Secondly, I am a single, never-married guy with no children that I am aware of.

And most disturbing, the last five sets of tickets I bought from TicketMaster were: 

  1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  2. Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz
  3. Judas Priest and Anthrax
  4. Iron Maiden
  5. Scorpions and Whitesnake

Uhhh… yeah. Maybe TicketMaster wants a few of us head-bangin’ Satan-worshipers there to balance out the saccharinity of Clifford, but mommy and daddy probably won’t be too happy if I show up wearing my "Keep Music Evil" or Baphomet and pentagram t-shirt at their friggin’ kid’s birthday party. 

Or maybe Ticketmaster has taken on a vast right-wing neo-conservative effort and will bombard me with wholesome entertainment until I renounce the devil’s music?

Maybe I’ll just show up wearing a pair of shorts worn under a trench coat with a low-wearing hat and sunglasses.  You know, just to freak ’em out.  Maybe Sesame Street Live will be in town too. 

If you’re going to get arrested, you might as well make a spectacle of yourself…

On a totally semi-related note, I originally was going to write this with the following list:

  1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  2. Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz
  3. Judas Priest and Anthrax
  4. Ozzfest
  5. WASP with La Guns and Stephen Pearcy
  6. Motorhead and Corrsion of Confiromity
  7. Dio and Anthrax

All of which were in the last year.  That would have made my point a bit stronger, don’t you think?  However, #4, 5, 6, and 7 were all bought through either or NextTicketing.  I didn’t even notice how the places my tickets are coming from has changed in the last two years.  Glad to see that Ticketmaster doesn’t have the deathgrip it had (and still has for the most part) a few years ago.

What am I supposed to do with 3,000 freezer gloves in an office?

So I have been having a bad streak with customer service and shipping lately and would like to IMPLORE all companies out there to LISTEN to your CUSTOMERS.  Arrrgh!!!

I’m not asking for complicated stuff.  I ask for some samples to be sent to me here at my office in Franklin, Massachusetts and the rest of the shipment to a plant in NJ or PA.  What happens?  For the third time I get the samples and then two days later I get the rest of the order, which then eats up my time spinning my wheels arguing with the supplier, waiting for UPS/FedEx to pick them up again, get sent back, re-labeled, sent out again….

It is just so ridiculous and frustrating.  This should be the EASY part of the whole process, and consistently, companies mess it up BIG time.  LISTEN PEOPLE, LISTEN!!!

If this keeps up, this blog could turn into a black list of companies that can’t follow simple instructions.

Music Shouldn’t Be a Commodity

I thought that this article was kind of sad to read.  The main gist is found in the first paragraph: "internet downloading and MP3 players are creating a generation of people who do not seriously appreciate songs or musical performances."

I had hoped that the arrival of MP3 players and satellite radio would mean a new-found appreciation for music, but the easy availbility of it may mean the opposite.

I hadn’t thought about this potential outcome back in February of 2005 when I made this post about "Music Overload."

So how do we go about making sure people appreciate the work behind the art that is music?

A Little Empathy Please?

Let me explain why I am both befuddled and sometimes jealous of those who don’t pay any attention to sports.

Tonight, the New England Patriots lost their bid to do what no football team has ever done: win three Superbowls in a row.  It is a disheartening blow and one that made me want to throw the remote through the TV several times.  I was picturing it going through the glass and the sparks and smoke coming out of the TV when that stupid pass interference play was called on Asante Samuel.

It is frustrating, disheartening, disappointing and heart-breaking.

It is also a bit of a relief…

Of course I wanted the Patriots to be the first team in history to win three Superbowls in a row.  All New England fans did.  But the Patriots – like the Red Sox – never make the victories easy.  They are dramatic nail biters (which makes for great football) and while it would have been great to see another Lombardi trophy in the hands of Brady and watch another Championship banner go up at Gillette Stadium, it is also weird sort of  relief that all of New England doesn’t need to start working on yet another ulcer for the next three weeks.  That’s two more weekends where we can do what we want, when we want, where we want.

This is why I try to keep my sports fandom at a reasonable level.  I can get too caught up in it – become too competitive and do stupid things like make fans of opposing teams break down in tears with insults and trash talk.  I get nervous, disgusted, excited, and overjoyed.  I enjoy watching sports, but I can’t watch/listen to every single game, or else I’d be locked up by now.

However, I am enough of a fan that when I meet people who just don’t care at all about sports, I am dumbfounded.  But then at times like this, I’m jealous of them.  They may have done something more memorable than I did tonight, but I think that watching the game was exactly where I wanted to be.

I do want to say one more thing about the Patriots and their loss tonight: the dissection of this game will go on for days, if not weeks here in New England.  Blame will be shifted around as it is placed on the shoulders of the players, the referees, the coaches, the humidity, the altitude, the wind direction, the phase of the moon… whatever it is.  But I hope that what all the fans don’t forget in the middle of that discussion is that the Patriots have given us what very few teams in Football history have: a "dynasty" of three wins in four years and an AMAZING run of record-breaking games throughout those playoffs. 

We have everything to be proud of and I hope that whichever team wins the Superbowl this year, the team and their fans will enjoy it as much as we have the last few years with the Patriots.

THANK YOU Patriots for making the last few years the time we’ll look back on and say "those were the good ‘ol days!"

Let’s enjoy the peace and quiet while we can: 32 days until pitchers and catchers report!


In Marketing Lingo, We Call This “Targeting”

Funny observation of the day: earlier I was sending an e-card to a friend of mine who’s birthday is Monday and while browsing through the various selections, I wandered into the "off-color" cards and came across one called "oral gratification." 

Being a guy, I couldn’t resist checking out what it was and while the card was only marginally funny, I was struck by the fact that alongside it was an ad for Religious t-shirts.

Nothin’ like a little oral gratification to help you find religion! 


"Oh god… oh god… oh god…  Oh, I’ll go get you a towel."