Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Go West, Young Mitt

A new WBB post every six weeks or so is probably not going to be enough to hold your interest, but I know that for many of our die-hard readers, this blog is the go-to site for unvarnished Mitt Romney (2012!) news and notes. So after a long-ass hiatus, we're back to share the latest Mitt bon mot.

A well-placed source, known in some quarters as the Associated Press, reports that our cherished once-and-future presidential hopeful has moved out to schmancy La Jolla, California.

On behalf of the WBB Los Angeles Bureau, welcome to Southern California, Mitt!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

21st century conundrum

If Twitter is down, where am I supposed to go to bitch and moan about Twitter being down?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

King me

For some reason, there's an article on Yahoo! Travel today about the World's Most Beautiful Castles. Since you wanted to know, my immediate reactions were these:
  1. This is the perfect travel piece for the depths of the Great Recession! Thanks, Yahoo!! (And, by the way, since Yahoo! comes with its own exclamation mark, I assume that's the proper style for when it appears at the end of an exclamation, right?)
  2. Damn, I'm really looking forward to Yahoo! Travel's article about the World's Ugliest Castles.

I don't really care much about castles unless they're white and serve small hamburgers in cardboard sleeves. But I read a few parts of the story anyway. And I'm glad I did, because I learned about Bavaria's Newuschwanstein Castle.

The good folks at Newuschwanstein must be very proud indeed, because the writer claims that Neuschwanstein was "a major inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland." Which I think is like saying that Monet was "a major inspiration for Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Light."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My new favorite Web site

Here it is! Don't think I don't have an RSS feed set up for this bad boy looking for goodies!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My favorite trend story is back!

It seems only appropriate that the first week back at WBB one of my all-time favorite trend stories would re-emerge: the story of the poor person/service worker/person generally not of "significant means" who found a crap-ton of money (or an equally valuable item) and--AGAINST ALL ODDS--actually did the right thing and returned it.
I first blogged about this exciting and mind-blowing phenomenon two years ago and again later that year. This time, it's a Bangladeshi cabbie in NYC who found $21,000 in his cab and returned it to the rightful owner. This is, of course, exciting stuff. Because 99 percent of cabbies would probably just go on a spending spree with the ill-gotten loot, buying fur coats and fancy cigars, and hitting Atlantic City all mobster-style, am I right? Well, no. Probably not. Like any economic class of people or profession, most would probably return it and a few would probably try to get away with taking it and spending it. I laid out my my beefs with this type of story more thoroughly in this post from March 2008.

Anyway, my point remains the same. Why don't we hear about lawyers or magazine editors or office workers or any other "white collar" employees finding a boatload of money and returning it? I'm sure it happens. My guess is because there's a silent-but-implied idea lurking in these stories that education or money translates into having a superior sense of morals or ethics. (Although I'm not sure the money argument even really works here...I imagine cab drivers, particularly in NYC, that are good at what they do earn a pretty decent wage.) So yes, while it's a heartwarming story (and I'm glad whoever thought it was a smart idea to ride around town with $21,000 in cash got their money back), I'm not really sure it's wise to propagate the concept that a cabbie or McDonald's worker returning what he or she has found is the exception--and not the rule.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My robot girlfriend

Meet Roxxxy. She's just your girl next door, except that she's a bizarre robot sex toy.. er... companion for lonely men with a lot of money.

From the CNET article: "Depending on the personality you choose--"Wild Wendy" or "Frigid Farrah" for instance--Roxxxy may purr a metallic, "That gets me hot!" after you introduce a topic like soccer."

Um, OK. Now, let's get past the whole programming a robot girlfriend to talk dirty and wax poetic on Manchester United for a moment... let's imagine what happens when Roxxxy's "boyfriend" meets a real, live, human woman and brings her home. Only to find his mistress in the closet.

What do you think real life woman would do?

A. Run. Quickly.

B. Shrug her shoulders and say "more fun at the party"

C. Oh silly blogger, no woman would end up in a home belonging to a woman who owns Roxxxy

I think this actually disturbed me more than finding out about Sarah Palin getting a gig with Fox News.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Almost (too) famous

In the past six weeks, Tiger Woods has seen several of his corporate partners end their endorsement contracts with him (AT&T), pull their Tiger-related products (Gatorade) or kill Tiger-focused ad campaigns (Tag Heuer). In their carefully worded news releases, the companies generally opted for language like "no longer the right representative" for our company (Accenture).

Obviously, in marketing-ese, that Accenture quote translates pretty clearly into "apparently slept with about 428 cocktail waitresses and future porn stars, which wasn't exactly what we had in mind for our highest paid endorser." I get that.

What I'm wondering is: What exactly do the good folks at the St. John apparel company mean when they explain that they're scrapping their Angelina Jolie ads because the actress "has overshadowed the brand"?

Because it's not like Jolie was a little-known up-and-comer when they signed her back in 2007. She was already Mrs. Pitt and a tabloid fixture - nay, tabloid hall-of-famer. And, at least according to my marketing textbook, massive, consistent and overwhelmingly positive media exposure isn't usually the kind of thing that compels companies to drop celebrity spokespeople, who were, after all, hired for their ability to generate exposure.

I don't want to start any rumors, but maybe they're getting ahead of the curve in case the world soon discovers that ongoing Angelina-Tiger relationship.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If Gandalf coached the Bengals for this week's game

As I was watching Sunday night's painful Bengals loss to the Jets -- a game best characterized as a good ol' fashioned ass whooping -- I was forced to avert my eyes from the embarrassment and watch the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King on TNT. I would turn back to the Bengals game and shake my head in shame during commercials until the 3rd Quarter, when I couldn't watch any longer and focused my full attention on Frodo. This lead to an inspirational conversations with @armonde on Twitter, which lead me to ask, "how would Gandalf coach the Bengals this week?"

  1. First, as indicated in the tweet above, Gandalf supports a running game. In the mines of Moria when Gandalf forbade the Balrog from crossing the bridge, he made it clear: "You shall not pass!" The great white wizard would never encourage Frodo to recklessly pass the ring to Sam in the face of a sizeable Orc offensive line. Slow and steady wins the race in Gandalf's book, and he knows that if you depend on your most reliable guys, they'll come through for you.
  2. Gandalf doesn't suffer fools on defense. Remember at the walls of Minas Tirith, when he was waving around his staff and telling the soldiers to get their asses back to the wall and not let anyone through. Or, when he knew some unspeakable monster was about to break down the gates, but he told the defenders they would stand their ground regardless? Yeah, Bengals, you need to do that. For serious. 
  3. Gandalf supports trick plays. Remember when he cleverly smuggled his staff into the palace in The Two Towers to remove the curse from Theoden, King of Rohan? Bengals, Gandalf would tell you to use trick plays to "draw out the Jets defense, like poison from a wound!" And, those of us watching the game on the teevee, we'd enjoy that too. God knows, we've suffered enough from Bengals shenanigans in 2010.
Using Gandalf's strategies, I think the Bengals could have a good shot at victory. And that is necessary, because I can't handle another game like Sunday's. Worst case scenario, I'll check to see if Harry Potter is on ABC Family.

Awesome photo above found on Seriously, and awesome photo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year, New View?

I more or less quit making New Year's resolutions a long time ago.* Mostly because I like to spend the week from Christmas to New Year's sleeping as much as humanly possible, and the task of formulating actual goals and objectives for the new year just seems like another big suck on time that should be reserved for napping. Plus, I consider myself a pretty pragmatic person; I'm not one to aim for something that's not likely to come to pass. You don't really feel that wooosh of success when the goal you've achieved is getting your hair cut more than twice a year.

Nevertheless, at some point right before or after a nap over the past week, I considered a New Year's resolution involving my intake of television. But there is, of course, a problem: I can't decide if I should resolve to watch more television or less television this year.

If you're one of the five or six readers of WBB, you've either come here for an update on the whereabouts of Joe Torres of Hey Dude! fame or you know me well enough to know that I work 40+ hours a week and I’m a part-time law student. Strangely, that schedule wouldn't seem to leave much time for television. But I still manage to watch probably 12-15 hours of original programming each week. This is made possible by waking up at 6 a.m. every morning (including most weekends) and the strategic use of lunch breaks. My current TV intake is actually less television than I was watching a year ago…as my responsibilities at school and work ramped up, the volume of television I could consume weekly scaled back. A formerly devout fan of The Hills, I no longer watch any reality TV. (Although I'm hearing pretty great things about this Tool Academy show). I really enjoyed watching Fringe during the first half of the first season, but once I missed a couple of episodes, I felt I was too lost to catch up again. I've heard Curb Your Enthusiasm is amazing, but I've just never made time to watch.

But, if I shaved back a couple of hours of television I'm currently watching, imagine the time I could be using for other things--reading, napping, watching movies. Unfortunately, I can't even begin to think of what I would cut, and I discovered two new shows--The Good Wife and Better off Ted--to love over the break.

Suggestions, folks? What are your must-watch shows? And should I cut back my TV intake in favor of having a more well-rounded life?**

*Yep, I'm pretty much just going to skip acknowledging that this is my first post in well over a year.
** The only right answer to this question is "no."

On spending and saving

This is my very first WBB post (kind of a dream come true for me), so please be gentle.

Two quick consumerism-ish thoughts for you:

1) This seems like as inane a way as any to waste about $177 thou. If you ever see me shelling out six figures for something that doesn't have a doorbell, four tires or a lido deck, please feel free to slap me on the head with a fish - it doesn't even have to be a tuna.

2) I've figured out a great way to save money on a Weber grill. Follow these instructions and see if they work for you:
  • Go to your nearest Home Depot and proceed directly to the "special services" counter.
  • Get in line behind a 70-year-old dude who keeps changing his mind about how many 50-pound bags of sand he wants to buy. And then talks it over with his wife. And changes his mind some more. For like 35 minutes.
  • Have a young woman stand in line behind you. Be sure she's in a rush so that when the 70-year-old dude takes 35 minutes to order his sand, the woman asks to speak with a store manager and then - when the store manager decides not to come to her rescue - she yells that Home Depot has lost her business! and storms out of the store.
  • Proceed to the counter and smile politely as the clerk - without prompting - offers you a 10 percent discount on your grill and accessories as a thank-you for your patience. (On Weber's entry-level propane grill, that's about a $40 savings.)
  • Order the grill and request Home Depot's free grill assembly service. Plan to pick up the assembled grill the next day.
  • Show up the next day and find out that the grill has not been assembled.
  • Smile politely as the clerk - again without prompting - offers to refund another $20 to your credit card for the inconvenience. And then, for some reason, actually refunds $21.95.
Six simple steps and more than $60 in savings. Think of it as my new year's gift to you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

We're back

So, WBB has been on hiatus for well over a year, but we've decided it's time to bring this delightful gift to blogging back. I have no idea how often we'll update, or what we'll talk about, but we've added an awesome new contributor -- one escalator operator.

So here's to 2010 and the awakening of a great beast.
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