It's Super Bowl Weekend! This year is Super Bowl XLIX which I believe stands for "Super Bowl Extra Licks" in reference to the Buffalo dip bowl. Many North American households are preparing for the big game tomorrow, as Velveeta shareholders gather at private parties where they watch online as their processed cheese stock goes up to "just paid off the cottage" levels.
This year's Super Bowl competitors are "The Blue Team," and "The Other Blue Team," where, for a few hours this coming Sunday, the two sides will, in a rough-and-tumble manner, pass a mottled, possibly under-inflated oddly-shaped ball back and forth on a field segmented with various lines and numbers with the goal of accumulating the most points. How these points are determined I am not sure, because I spent my high school years getting felt up under the bleachers rather than watching the game. But I will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday because: a.) snacks wrapped with cheese; b.) Super Bowl commercials; c.) snacks dipped in cheese.
Super Bowl commercials are big business. The Super Bowl half-time show is important, yes, but Katy Perry won't come onto the field until hours into the proceedings, but who cares when you can watch women's equality get set back 50 years within the first 15 minutes? Also, puppies.
The advertising community is watching, too. Commercial broadcast time during Sportsball Adventure Day costs something akin to the National Gross Product of developing nations, but who gives a shit, because we want to sell hamburgers. And that's just the production cost. This year's commercials feature Kim Kardashian, Pierce Brosnan, and a series of anmals who I'm sure don't come cheap or work without all-white dressing rooms. So here you go: some of the best commercials running during this year's Super Bowl XLIX.
But let's start with the one that won't run:
Go Daddy pulled this commercial last minute after test audiences said "No; Just, NO." (That or the ads producer's partner vowed to withhold "extras"; it's unclear.) At any rate, you won't see it on TV, but you can see it here. It's decidedly ugh but realistic, because people are cold, and sorry - puppies are a commodity in a huge industry.
Still mad? Budweiser will fix that. I like to pretend this puppy is the one that got dumped by the cold bitch in the previous clip.
What are they selling? Fresh fruit? Lingerie? Hose adapters, or ice shaving tools? Is this for Home Depot? I can't tell and there's a naked woman walking around and no one seems concerned. What is happening here? Oh yes; meat food.
I will vouch for this commercial and the validity of the word/premise "hangry" because I was once so hungry during a road trip to Buffalo that...wait. I just checked the calendar and I actually can't talk about it until the judge renders her decision. A hint: You can turn a Taco Bell bathroom into a makeshift confession booth/peep show.
I unapologetically love Kim Kardashian because yeah, sure, she can be vapid and self-centred but I love people with passion and she does vapid and self-centred passionately. In this data-piece, she pokes fun at herself and I am at the point in my life where there is more track behind me than ahead, so if a stunning woman with no clear or remarkable skill-set is famous due to a sex-tape catalyst, my "give-a-fuck" trunk is empty.
Oh! A commercial for the men! Quelle surprise! During a 100% male sporting event on a television station run mostly by penis-havers and produced by men. Dove shows us here that some men are dads and they're so awesome at it that only smelling like "Tropical Thunder Jungle" or "Steel Leather" or "Sperm Man Scratch-Balls Testoster-Run" could improve their setting on the Man-o-meter. Look at these guys; they're amazing dads. Crap; I hate this. I wish I had one of those hugging-dads. Seriously, do all dads hug this much? What about the dads who just grunt and ask you to make them French fries, or pick them up some smokes?
WHAT IS THIS LIQUID IN MY EYE HOLES I HATE YOU DOVE YOU BASTARDS
Just gonna say this: If you hit your partner, you're an asshole of the highest order, who should be punished in ways my mostly anti-violence viewpoint cannot reconcile. I hope you fall in a hole full of bears who have poisonous snakes for arms. I hope those bears are really, really hungry and have not even heard of a Snickers bar, you prick.
(Disclaimer: I own several bras, all in a colour I choose to call "champagne." My partner calls them "old white lady flesh-colour" and says when I wear them I resemble the cloth underbody of a gender-less doll, but whom I love anyway because he never complains if I order take-out three nights running and there is almost literally never any clean laundry, and he calls my stretch marks "bad-ass." Make THAT sexy to the masses, Victoria, because I would watch the shit outta that fashion show.)
Pierce Brosnan is not James Bond. And for this we are glad, because if Pierce Brosnan were James Bond, we would have no Pierce Brosnan and that's a world I don't know I want to live in. I think there's a car in here somewhere but I'm thinking about what I'd ask Pierce to do with me in a wintry cabin. I also imagine he LOVES flesh-colour bras and stretch marks.
McDonald's will invite random customers to "pay with love." I've done a lot worse for a lot less in a McDonalds restaurant.
This commercial kicks ass #LikeAGirl.*
*fully, and in a most awesome and admirable fashion
Presented without comment. Wait, comment: Slow clap, Ultraviolet. Slooooow clap.
Yesterday came news of Target closing its 133 Canadian locations. Then, only a few hours later, SONY announced it would be yet another retailer clearing its shelves. While SONY stores may not have had the same mass appeal Target did, the news is no less important, as more Canadian workers will now head to the unemployment lines with weeks of a potentially soul crushing job-hunt ahead of them. The news is grim, and as more and more retailers shut their doors – for whatever reason – it is safe to say the face of shopping in Canada - and the world- is changing.
If you are a Canadian old enough to drink, you are old enough to remember shopping at Zellers. Perhaps you even bought your first pair of jeans there, or your first box of “Flirt” purple hair rinse, or fancy new maxi pads with something called "wings." Maybe you ate French fries with gravy inside a Zellers at "The Skillet" restaurant with your girlfriends on Saturday afternoons, where the waitresses hated you openly but you didn't care. Why would you? You had a new box of purple hair rinse and a basket of greasy French fries, and some wings were keeping you confident. You were with your people, flawed as you all were, and this here - this cracked brown vinyl booth in the heart of a discount department store- was the Mothership.
Things change, and people with it. We now prefer to do a large percentage of our shopping online, where we don’t have to compete with crowds or tired salesclerks or low-inventory levels. Anything from new cars to tubes of toothpaste are available 24 hours a day with delivery options ranging from seven-day ground to instant cannon fire. Price comparisons are made at the touch of a button or the flick of an app, no longer from chatting with neighbours about what they saw marked down the last time they were out.
My memories of the mall consist more of who I was with than what I bought. There is no better place for "people watching" than at the mall, and some of the strongest characters in my life are people whose names I'll never know. There was "Mutton-chop Guy" who ran the shoe repair kiosk. He never made eye contact, even with those patronizing his booth. In my book, his back-story contains a long-dead wife and children who never phone. And there was "Crazy Annie," because as a teenager raised in the glorious pre-PC 80s, we said such things amongst ourselves without hesitation. Annie stood at the lotto booth inside the Zellers entrance six days a week - there was no Sunday shopping then; we were forced to spend time with something called "family" - despite having a stool where she could perch.
I live in the same town where I was born and I saw her years ago. She walked with a white cane and then not at all; and while I have always had a heavy feeling at the names we whispered, they came to surface in a great lump when I saw her pushed in a wheelchair. This was the reward for trading scratch-off tickets to too-young teenagers she was too milky-eyed to ID as such. Wrinkled paper dollars, handed to her, one at a time for hours every Saturday, and she never sat down. Now she sat in a wheelchair. And I feel like shit and feeling like shit makes me feel even shittier, because whose story is this? It only partially belongs to me. The rest of the story is hers and that of a long-dead discount department store.
I don't think "Brian" in Online Customer Support Services will ever be a memory or a lesson about judging others for my teenager.
Soon Target will go, and the loss of the big red dot means more than a smaller market in cheap paper towels and affordable kids shoes. It marks the beginning of the end for brick-and-mortar retailers, and by extension the loss of a meeting place for suburban teenagers looking for an afternoon of window shopping and greasy French fries. There will be no conspiring in the aisles. No perfume testing with a gaggle of friends. No smoking in the bathroom. All the goods will be marked down and sold, and while the loss of Target may not have the cultural implications the loss of a Canadian retailer like Zellers did, it means loss of jobs and income and a history that will never happen. We'll rush in at the first sign of liquidation mark-downs and fight, first over unmatched bedding sets and then over industrial shelving and store lighting in the last fading days of a retailer. We'll root through forgotten cans of soup and bottles of nail polish like we're picking the last bits of meat from a dead dinosaur.
Target will go back the U.S. and maybe someone else will try. Or, perhaps retailers will be leery of outrageous lease costs and supply chain issues and "plan-o-gram" bullshit and everything will conflate in a giant bubble of "fuck it" and we'll all just stay home and click-here-to-add-to-cart instead.
Got a baby? I bet they cry. I know they do, because that's their job.
Sometimes they cry a lot, and sometimes for seemingly no reason. You'd think that most people would understand this, but even I wasn't aware until I had my second baby. Because Baby Number 1? She didn't cry. Like ever. One time, she made a sound that I thought was a cry, but no. It was a squeaky toy under the couch cushion. That baby was awesome and glorious and so easy! But she was a curse, also, because being spoiled by her temperament was a huge slap in the face come time for Baby Number 2 - or, as we called him affectionately- "Scream in a Diaper."
This baby cried long and loud and the noise didn't stop until the minute he turned 85 (this is a projected date). When he cried, we did what we could, which was comfort him however he wanted, because my ex and I aren't assholes. But some people don't pick their babies up when they cry and if you don't believe that, come with me to Walmart on a Saturday morning. We can hang out in the yogurt aisle where it is apparently more important to choose between Vanilla Greek Non-Fat and Lime Coconut Sugar-Free than prevent hearing loss in perfect strangers innocently looking for canned cinnamon buns.
I understand that you can't always get to your baby immediately and there's nothing wrong with seeing if whatever the problem is will work itself out in a few minutes. But when it escalates to ear-splitting levels, do something. DO SOMETHING NOW. Because if there's anything worse than the sound of my own baby crying, it's the sound of your baby crying.
People don't always know what the crying is about, but since 1998 - and the meteoric rise of the internet - Western civilization needs to know the answer for every problem - real or received - right now. Nothing is off-limits to scientists or savvy entrepreneurs, who've invented everything from battery operated marshmallow roasting sticks to diapers that analyze a baby's urine.
Baby cry analyzers are surely on their way to market, but we don't need this, and here's why: they sound complicated and stupid and almost entirety pointless, as well as expensive. I'm going to save science a whole lot of money here, and supply you with your own printable list of why your baby is probably crying. I call it:
Step-by-Step Checklist to (Hopefully) Stop the Tears
*Note: If you're dealing with colic, just skip to step four. Also, Godspeed, good woman.
Step One: This is the most important step, and the one that will end most crying - PICK THE BABY UP.
Do not rock his carseat with your foot, do not say "shhhh...shhhh" while shaking his stroller, do not ignore baby while everyone else in the canned foods aisle plots your death, do not ignore the baby. Babies cry because they can't talk and if they could they'd be saying "Pick me up, you lazy bastard!" Picking up the baby will automatically alert you as to whether or not the baby feels too warm, or too cool, or if their tiny arm was stuck inside their onesie in a twisted configuration. It also enables you to look closely for teething issues or other discomforts. Attend to discomfort accordingly.
Step One solved almost all of my son's tears. It still does, although at a decade in and 75 pounds in, it's getting a bit harder to do a hip-carry.
Step Two: Baby still crying? We've got this! Take a deep breath and check diaper for uncomfortable levels of stuff often found in diapers. Rectify.
Step Three: Still crying? It's okay; it happens. Try offering baby food of some sort. A boob, a bottle, a Philly Cheese Steak if that's what they're into. Whatever. Give nourishment. Continue rocking movement while administering food and love.
Step Four: Secure baby in approved car seat and get in the fucking car. Drive around for a bit. If after a hundred miles the baby is still crying, re-route GPS to a.) your Mom's house; b.) the doctor; c.) Tijuana, where they have really good tequila.
So there you have it. Call me a Luddite if you will, but I think that science sometimes makes life more complicated with its crazy inventions and "progress." (Except for blenders; if you think I'm smashing my ice for a frozen blueberry vodka lemonade manually, you're sniffing glue.) If scientists insist on putting time and resources into machinery which will help to explain the great mysteries of parenting, I would ask them to consider creating a machine which would actually serve some purpose. How about a special pair of glasses that can decipher why my teenager rolls her eyes?