Monday, November 17, 2003

Dumbing Down the House

I never fail to be amazed by the number of ways I've heard corporate types encrypt a simple four-word phrase into a paragraph of demographic analysis.

The phrase: "I don't get it."

It's always expressed as concern for the audience's base of knowledge, but do you hear that Kodak carousel click and rumble, and see dust floating across a beam of light? That's them, projecting their own dumbitude onto that teeming mass of morons out there. The ones who disavow anything that happened before 1998, anywhere other than on MTV, to anyone but P. Diddy.

Not us -- we're cool, of course. We just have to keep our audience in mind. Now, here when you talk about Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, why do you mention Don Rickles? What's the connection there?

Why won't people admit to not knowing anymore? Think of the great things ruined by the inability to say "I don't know":
Q: Knock knock.
A: Gee, do people really knock anymore? I think our audience probably just uses their cell phones when they pull up outside.


Q: What's the difference between a dwarf magician and chlamydia?
A: What if it were... SARS? I think our audience will know that better.
Q: No, you see, it specifically has to be an STD, because it's a play on words between "cunning runt" and--
A2 (speakerphone): Or what did Pedro on "The Real World" have?
A: Oh, that's great! Nice and current. We could use that!


Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?
Abbott: No, Who's playing first.
Costello: Never mind first. I wanna know, what's the guy's name on third.
Abbott: No, What's on second.
Costello: I'm not askin' you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: Our audience is long gone by now.
Abbott: He's on thir-- What?
Costello: Too many questions.
Abbott: Lou, what are you doing? We're on the radio.
Costello: Radio?! (SNORTS) No, no, no.
Abbott: Listen, you fuck-drunk retard. You embarrass me once more in front of...
Costello: ...Three commuters and a security guard? If you really want to reach the kids these days, you-- Aaack. Choking. Me.

Today's FOCR: "This Is Pretty Funny. I Mean, I Get It. But After All, Most of Our Audience Probably Wasn't Even Born in 1987 :>) What If It Were Linkin Park?," The Replacements, Pleased To Meet Me

Friday, November 14, 2003

Yes, I did. Yet I shame myself and my dorkified youth by missing what I missed.

The lyrics you leave incomplete are returned to you sounding either like "Mad Libs" for burnouts or "Match Game" for depressives.

"Like a drifter, I was born to BLANK BLANK"... Betty White!

Today's FOCR: "Blank Frank," Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets

P.S. Click the Gene Rayburn picture to visit a pretty awesome site. The music gets a little trippy after a while, though.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

"God" Damn, It's Good To Be Home

I traveled quite a bit over the past few weeks, causing a break in posting which I'm sure disappointed the three of you mightily.

This great country of ours, I tell you, it brings me a lot of joy. Ricky "Travelin' Man" Nelson may have had one lovely girl waiting in every port, but I've got my own things I count on while crossing America. Things which bring me my own kind of "homeland security."

No matter the town, I know:

* If it's Tuesday, somewhere on the radio is a Twofer Tuesday.

* If it's October, somewhere on the radio is a celebration of Rocktober.

[What other month can claim that kind of smooth twist? "Groovember?" Get out.]

* If it's a Tuesday in October, my head will explode with rocked-out joy.

* If it's a diner, there will be a breakfast special called "Deuces" something, involving pairs of eggs, sausages, toast, etc. These never, though, come with two orange juices.

* If it's a diner, and I ask for something "venti," they will punch me, as they should.

* If it's a public restroom, the hand dryer will be tactically etched to read PUSH BUTT and RUB HANDS UNDER ARM.

* If it's a late-model Volkswagen, it's in a hurry and sees you as an obstacle.

* If it's a dry cleaner, any requested turnaround time is like asking to rend the very fabric of time and space. I could ask to have my clothes back by 2007, and I'd be met with a Scotty-like plea for reason. "Two pants and shirt, Cap'n! The Martinizer's on the brink as she is -- I kinna do 't!"

* If it's signage involving quotation marks, it's going to be a laugher. A loose cannon with a Sharpie will always try for the five-dollar punctuation and come back with four singles and change.

The best was the front window of a bar on Foster Avenue in Chicago. Amid the posted bucket o' beer specials, the painter exhorted heavenly homeland protection thusly:
It could be a stinging piece of bitter philosophic sarcasm. Or the guy could just be "an" idiot.

Today's FOCR: (Quoth) "The Raven," Alan Parsons Project, Tales of Mystery and Imagination