15 Years is a Long Time With Just One Girl

In case you have been living under a rock (or simply watch ABC or CBS), today was the last day for Katie Couric on the Today show after 15 years of being co-anchor.  Those closest to me know that I harbor a bit of a crush on Katie, particularly her legs… but that’s not what I’m writing about. 

It isn’t something that I thought about before today, but it is amazing how we can build an emotional bond with someone over the airwaves – I’ve been watching the Today show since I was a kid when my mom watched it, which means that I’ve woke up to Katie Couric for literally half my life.  She’s told me about two wars in Iraq, 9/11, Columbine, the L.A. Riots, hurricane Katrina, and Oklahoma City.  I watched her the morning after I cast my first vote in a Presidential Election and during countless snowy mornings after classes were canceled or after coming in from shoveling a foot of snow.

So what that means is that I’m sitting here watching this silly morning show that I actually taped and trying not to cry since the most distinct memories of the world so far in my life are inextricably linked to Katie.  I never really thought of it that way before – all I thought about Katie was that she and Matt were always there and if she wore a skirt it was a good way to start the day… now I’m actually going to miss her in the mornings!

Good luck Katie!  Turns out I’ll miss you a little more than I thought.

Great Time Wasters

Forget connecting the furthest reaches of the world or empowering the common people; the web has proven its value by simply creating some ofthe best time wasters and mindless entertainment ever.  Here are two of my most recent favorites:

Photomosaic Zooming Click Thing (there’s no real name given for it.  I just know that I can click and click and click and click and click)

Eskiv – I love simple games like this.  They seem to easy to play but are actually nearly impossible to master. Use the arrow keys to move the circle so that it gets to the square.  Without hitting the bouncing blue dots.  Which seems really easy at first.  At first.  Then gets harder.  Then leads you playing until your fingernails get to be three inches long and you’re using them to move the foot-long unwashed hair out of your face….

Turn the monitor away from the cubicle door and click away!

My Favorite Comics

Finally! The answer to the burning question you’ve all been asking… "which comics are the Pop Culture Gangster’s favorite!??!  I must know!"

Well, at long last you can sleep well tonight my friends.  For lack of time to do a better post, let me share with you what I think are the best and funniest comic strips out there today:

Brewster Rockit – I only recently discovered this strip and it has quickly become a favorite. It is pun-filled and provides a fantastic parody of sci-fi and futureristic movies, TV shows and comic strips like Flash Gordon.

Pearls Before Swine – The king of the puns on the comic page.  Dark and spiteful that I think is kind of  reminiscient of Seinfield’s callous humor.

Get Fuzzy – I suppose most people would call this "Garfield gone bad" but its far better than that.

Zits – I’m not that far removed from being a teenager (or so I like to tell myself), but I think this strip does a great job of showing the world from the point of view of a teenager and a teen’s parents (official site is here, but they have limited strips to view)

I also want to say that I’m thrilled that Classic Bloom County comics are now available online.  Bloom County is my all-time favorite comic strip, bar none, and reliving these strips as I read them each day during or after lunch is great.


A few things that I’ve seen in the news lately that I wanted to call attention to:

Here in tranquil New England, there’s apparently a problem with t-shirts illustrating Sesame Street characters as gangsters.  What’s really funny about this is that someone came to this blog based on a search for these shirts.  Is nothing sacred?

Dan Brown joked that his book couldn’t undermine the entire Catholic Church.  He may have underestimated the power of the DaVinci code and the marketing juggernaut its become.

You know we’re officially living in the age of electronics when an online game where reality is re-created ends up creating a game that becomes so popular it ends up becoming tangible reality.  Welcome to the Matrix?  Or are we out of it? Even Neo would be confused by this.

In a much more basic down-to-earth story, USA Today tells the tale of how "premium beers" are declining and how some companies are trying to counter it with new marketing.  I use the quotation marks around premium beer not because I’m quoting the article, but because I think the funniest part of this article is that they think that Budweiser and MGD are premium beers.  Funny, or horrifying – one of the two.

Speaking of beer, I hope I get an update on this in a few months, but apparently Budweiser is going to be sold at the soccer World Cup in Germany, and the Krauts aren’t none too happy.  I can’t blame them!  I hope they all drink Riesling instead.

I’m not sure what to say about this, other than I think that "My Bling Bling" is the funniest name for anything I’ve ever heard.  Do you think that Barbie and Bratz are gonna rumble or what?  My money is on Barbie, since I think she’s a mean bitch deep down inside and is really pissed off over having no room for a stomach or intestinal tract in her body for 50 years.

Apple hooked up with Nike to introduce a neat bit of technology that targets those who use their iPods while exercising.  In a counter move of sorts, Bill Gates finally gets fed up not controlling 100% of an electronics market and is gonna do his own thing with MTV using Windows Media Player.   Let’s hope they stabilize WMP and make it a bit – no, A LOT – more intuitive to use before they take over the world.

Who says innovation is dead?  Here’s a company who wants to trademark the smell of pizza.  Umm… In Lithuania.

Another example of how technology has affected not only marketing but everyday life.  I think it is ironic that a show called "24" that has everything happening in real-time ends up being the TV show that is watched time-delayed most often.

Last but not least…  HEY! Nas declared hip-hop dead.  Has he been reading my blog?

Yes, I Continue To Suck

Really, I swear I’ll start writing again more often.  In the meantime, I just threw up a new logo on the front page here… courtesy of my friends at Rinck Advertising.  It will be subject to change in the coming weeks since they are working on some other ideas, but I wanted to get something officious-looking up.

Plus this was a nice easy cheater post….

One thing that I will say before I let you go: am I alone in thinking that the new TV ads for Red Roof Inn are HORRENDEOUS?!?!  I had a fairly neutral view of Red Roof Inns before, but now I would turn down a free trip around the world if I had to stay in their hotels.  The production quality is frightening, the writing abysmal, and the room looks… it looks… well… it looks like the type of room where you either a) bring a cheap hooker or b) commit suicide. 

Someone Get Me Some Yellow “DO NOT CROSS” Tape

I recently finally made the upgrade to digital cable, and I’m loving the improved sound and picture quality, as well as the on-demand entertainment.  One of the neatest things is found deep within the "Free Zone" of the On-Demand menu, where there’s an entire selection of concerts to be enjoyed free of charge. 

Tonight I put on a show by The Who at Royal Albert Hall in London back in 2000.  It is a good performance (I’m still watching it) and so far all the songs have been good selections and performed well.  The show is billed as "The Who and Friends" so they have a few guest singers and guitarists come on to do their thing with The Who, which is usually pretty cool.

Except that Bryan Adams was just on.  And they had him sing "Behind Blue Eyes."  They launched into the song – one of the Who’s most popular, loved by both the die-hard fans and the more mainstream set – and there was nearly no reaction from the crowd as they realized that this B-list washed-up 80’s rocker was going to attempt to sing one of the most heartfelt and difficult rock ballads you could choose to sing.

A few other artists have attempted this song, with similar discouraging results, most notably and painfully when that knucklehead Fred Durst tried to prove to everyone he could sing by covering it on their 2003 album Results May Vary.  Results may vary, huh?  Well, I think they just suck…

Anyway, this got me thinking that there needs to be the holy protected list of rock songs that must not be covered by other artists.  They can be played live occasionally as a tribute to a band’s influences, and if they are completely reinterpreted, then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (but then we get Madonna’s "American Pie" – be afraid).  But if you’re gonna just re-sing the song, just shorten the album, OK?  Here’s my first nominations for the holy creed of song forbidden to cover:

  • "Behind Blue Eyes" – The Who
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" – Queen
  • "Dream On" – Aerosmith
  • "Welcome to the Jungle" – Guns n’ Roses
  • "Stairway To Heaven" and "Black Dog" – Led Zeppelin
  • "Let It Be" – The Beatles
  • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Candle In the Wind" – Elton John
  • "Piano Man" – Billy Joel

Feel free to add your own songs that you feel should be left well enough alone.

A Few Thoughts to Get Us Caught Up

I haven’t been around much to do much blogging, but as I have a fairly quiet couple of weeks coming up, I’m hoping that I can make up for lost time.   To begin with, I wanted to a share a few interesting links I came across recently.

Google launched Google Trends, which is simply fun rather than useful for most people.  My favorite is that the first example they give is "Red Sox, Yankees."

For my birthday a few weeks ago I was given a mesquite flavored cologne, which drew a good laugh out of everyone.  Little did we know that the perfume manufacturers of the world were dreaming up Play-Doh brand fragrance.

As a marketer, sometimes you hear about marketing efforts that make you wish you were a part of them.  The other times, you’re glad you’re not, like this debacle for Mission Impossible 3.

Speaking of marketing, Wal-Mart continues its quest to dominate all aspects of our culture, including the smiley face.

Clearly marketing is the true one power in our world today, and musicans are starting to realize it, as they whore themselves out.  Good for them!  Its still better than listening to Britney hawk Pepsi with crappy music.

Barbecue means beer, right?  Of course.  So why not be straight forward about it?

Last but not least: if you need further proof that the world is shrinking and that we are living in a global economy, here it is.

The Most Gratuitous Web Page Ever

If you need proof that shopping is truly considered a hobby… a pastime… perhaps even a sport… in America, check out this guide on "How To Have A Successful Day of Shopping."  Mapping out your plan at the mall.  Literally mapping it out.  That’s what they reccoemend.

If you find yourself actually doing any of the stuff on here, or heaven forbid, ALL the steps outlined in this fine guide, then please, get yourself some help.