Rise of the Planet of the Cats


As I have always suspected, the Internet of Everything is a massive Rube Goldberg-style conspiracy by cats to get more milk.  This process seems overly complicated, but perhaps that’s why cats on the Internet seem to be so grumpy.

In the future, humans who lack pouring skills will be relegated to giving orders to coffee makers and telling our cars when to look for parking spaces.  I’m not sure how exactly this serves our feline overlords, but at least it means I’ll have coffee and a place to park after the Siamese Apocalypse.

Relative risk


At the Grocery Boy, Jr. near my house (the one with the premium ice that will be less than $1.00 until sometime in 2114), there’s a sign behind the counter advertising cigarette prices. At the top of the sign, there is a statement:

Dare to Compare!

Now, I’m the cautious type. I wear my seat belt. I’ve almost completed my 53rd consecutive year of not skydiving.  Never once have I tugged on Superman’s cape, spit into the wind, pulled the mask* off Clayton Moore (that old Lone Ranger guy), and I wouldn’t think of messing around with Jim. (Disclaimer: I only know one Jim, and he’s far, far away.)

But I do compare things. Truth be told, I’m something of an elitist. Not that I think I’m better than other people in general (I have ample evidence to the contrary). But I believe strongly that people and products can be better than other people and products in individual categories of human endeavor.

However, apparently this behavior carries some sort of unstated danger, particularly when it comes to prices. It’s a subtle risk, though. I have only recently been able to discern exactly what sort of danger I place myself in when I contrast the relative cost of two things. To wit:

  • If the prices here are lower than elsewhere, my lack of thrift exposes me to general public ridicule if I leave without making a purchase, possibly impairing my sense of self-esteem. (Disclaimer: No, it doesn’t. If your sense of self-esteem is ever impacted by the opinions of others, please consult your dictionary for the new and improved definition of “self”.)
  • If the prices here are higher than elsewhere, I face the fiscal imperative to shop elsewhere, which exposes me to hazards such as the apparently drunk texter I passed on the road last night while enroute to elsewhere.
  • If the prices here are the same as elsewhere, I am inevitably forced to confront the possibility of price collusion by certain elements of Big Convenience Store, and its deleterious effects on our capitalist economy.

These are real risks, with potentially devastating consequences.  (If you don’t think so, consider the terrifying double-dog dare.)  And yet, except at public schools, we are willing to expose our children to comparison and competition on a daily basis, in some cases (see video) actively encouraging children to evaluate their relative cuteness, often to the detriment of their understanding of the temporal relationship between raisins and grapes.  I weep for future generations.  (Disclaimer: No, I don’t.)

As I was leaving, I noticed a sign in front of the store:

Your search for the
FRIENDLIEST store on Earth
ends here

I get it now. I can’t afford to compare the friendliness of stores. I wouldn’t dare.

* I also would not pull off the dark sunglasses he wore after Big Lone Ranger sued to make him stop wearing the mask at supermarket openings.

(Disclaimer: I have been looking for a reason to post this AT&T commercial, which I consider to be the greatest commercial of all time. Or would if I wasn’t scared to rank the greatness of commercials.)

Break time’s up

While watching TV this evening, I happened upon a commercial that really caught my attention.

Like most people, I am constantly pressed for time.  (Disclaimer: I don’t have a wife and children and a lawn and other things to legitimately consume my time.  No, I am pressed for time because I waste time on things like watching TV commercials and writing about watching TV commercials.)  So whenever I see a new time-saving invention, I immediately perk up.

Like most of you, one of the things that makes me late for appointments, causes me to miss deadlines, and contributes to the half-completed projects in my life is eating candy bars.  Candy bars are a huge time suck, what with the biting* and the chewing and the swallowing.  Who has time for that?

Thankfully, the efficiency experts at Kit Kat are looking out for you.  In their own words, “Now you can take a Kit Kat break, even when you don’t have time for a break!”  The secret: Cut a Kit Kat bar into 16 pieces, wrap each piece individually, and put them in a bag.  And voila!  Kit Kat Minis!  “Poppable, bite-size minis that let you make break time anytime!”

In the modern cutthroat world of business, break time has been shown to be most effective for morale and productivity when it is doled out a dozen seconds at a time,  far too little time for a modern Three Musketeers bar, let alone the Charleston Chews of our parents’ generation.  Studies have shown that up to 93.25% of candy-eating time is spent eating the last 15/16ths of a candy bar.  I myself have had to rush to meetings because I squandered precious seconds eating the last 15/16ths of a fun-size Snickers.  But thanks to Kit-Kat Minis, now I have time to learn a new language, exercise more, and pick up 16 times as many candy wrappers before I run the vacuum cleaner!  (Disclaimer: I have someone come in to run the vacuum cleaner for me.)

Having said that, now it’s back to watching TV.  Time’s a-wastin’!

* One of greatest lines of dialogue in the history of television is this line from Doctor Who: “Biting is excellent.  It’s like kissing, only there’s a winner.” 

† Is a full-size Snickers bar 3 times as much fun?  Or does all the extra nougat and peanuts somehow detract from the total fun quotient?

Something to ad?

Advertising is hard.  You have to find that balance between blatantly lying and saying things which don’t sell products.

I thought about this today as I saw a commercial for Kay Jewelers.  Their slogan as far back as I can remember is “Every kiss begins with Kay”.  A cute little play on words in English.  But how does Kay advertise on, say, Univision?  They can’t do a straight translation, “Cada beso comienza con Kay”.  Because it doesn’t.  In Spanish, every kiss begins with “b”.  And if you advertise that way, you take the company name out of the slogan, and end up with a spelling lesson, which has been shown to be 63% less effective at selling jewelry.

The current Subaru ad campaign insists that “love” is what makes a Subaru a Subaru.  This just makes me think of an auto factory in Japan staffed entirely by sweaty, underpaid Care Bears.

The Syfy Channel’s slogan is “Imagine Greater”.  I’m sure someone in Marketing got an award for thinking that one up.  It sounds all imaginative and great and stuff.  Unfortunately, when you tack it onto the ending credits, you get this: “Next on Syfy — Ghost Hunters.  Imagine greater.”  By the time I’m done imagining things greater than another fake ghost show, it’s already time for Ghost Hunters International.