Simon Cowell Says My Blog Is Self-Indulgent

Is it it wrong if I find myself crying while Danny Gokee sings with Lionel Richie?

If so, I don’t care.

If you live long enough, the cool becomes kitsch — and then it becomes cool again.

That’s worth getting emotional over.

See? Just look at my girl Paula Abdul dancing & singing along. She knows what I’m talking about. Hell, just look at Paula’s career, for that matter.

Plus, there was Rubin Studdard — my first American Idol love. The Velvet Teddy Bear. Too bad he didn’t record what he sang on the show.

So add tears of regret to those of nostalgia.

And then you add in my 6 year old niece who’s a huge Danny Gokee fan. She even got to see him recently at the Milwaukee bash. Well, as Maddie will be (un)happy to inform you, she didn’t see him, she saw his bus. But still…

It’s one thing when my own kids rock out to AI and music, but when even littler kids do it too? Especially your sister’s kids, because then I can remember my sister and the where & when of our shared musical loves, from sing-alongs to dance clubs, from sneaking her under-age-ass in at the bars in my college days to karaoke a month ago… Oh, it’s all so Lion-King-circle-of-life.

How cool to feel all the full circle moments.

And now I just realized I didn’t record the damn show. Poop. On a stick, no less.

So just let me cry, OK?

I Am *Not* My Demographic (Not That You’d Know What To Do With It)

I was watching last Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice and aside from the actual show happenings — which very much depend upon what I have to say today, though — little foam-flecks appeared at the side of my mouth. And I got that gleam in my eye that made hubby brace himself for the rant to follow. Why? Because the stupid executives from all® laundry detergent/Sun Products Corporation were idiots. Or maybe they were edited to sound like idiots. I can’t say for sure…

But when asked what their demographic was, they said “women over the age of 25.”

That’s not a demographic, people. That’s not even an answer to a math question on averages — mean, median or mode. That’s a swath so wide any marketing instructor worth her salt will smack you with your rolled-up assignment. And I think executives must be at least that high(ly educated) to get on any corporate ride.

When further pressed by the group of celebrities (who I swear had popping eyeballs to match my own frustrated amazement), the executives would only elaborate that the “viral” video used to “promote & brand the product” should appeal to their consumer, said “women 25 years old and older,” who “had children” but were “not (necessarily, I guess?) mothers” or married. So, if I’m to be kind, they maybe were saying that these women had children but don’t identify as “mothers” or don’t wish to be typecast as “mothers only”? Hell, I don’t know.

Still, what a weak bag of crap to hand teams assigned to a promotional project.

No wonder both teams failed in the executive’s eyes.

I seriously thought Melissa’s team, Athena, did a great spot — up until the midgets little people were swearing and the one walked off, anyway.

Anyway, the all® executives instructed teams to create a viral video for (an ill-defined segment of) women.

“Viral videos for women” is a stupid point all by itself.

Speaking not only with my vagina (my over 25 year old vagina, which has delivered children that I raise and so I do identify, in part, as a mom), but as a marketer, I can tell you the activity of “viral videos” is a male hobby. Women may enjoy a really good video, but we don’t have the time — and we don’t care enough to make the time to search for, watch, and relentlessly pass along at even the adorable talking cat video.

(Just one of the dozens my husband has shown me this week; which is like 10% of what he and his bother send back & forth, and maybe 1% of the volume of what either of them watches in any given week.)

How many videos do you watch and send in a week — and how does that compare to the number of videos your menfolk watch & pass? If I ask you to watch the all® laundry detergent videos “officially” made by Joan & Melissa Rivers to promote all® small & mighty® — will you? Are you going to pass any on? (If there weren’t any charity donations involved, would you?)

For the most part, we women “talk” & “shop” on the internet, and videos (along with the creation of LOLcats and other Photoshop “events”) are pull-my-finger, channel surfing time wasters that we don’t participate in.

What a surprise; women & men doing what they do in the real world, on the internet. Huh. Who knew?

I did.

And as if all of this weren’t insane enough… Then the all® execs who say that the promotional pieces are supposed to appeal to women (25 and over, with children) — and Trump who agrees with them, ushering in the dual firing action — add yet another tier on this wedding cake of idiocy. They have a man (a childless gay man) rate & assign a viral weight to the videos. Yeah, Perez Hilton knows his viruses virals, but he said he had no idea if the videos would appeal to women &/or the supposed demographic. *

WTF?

But before I get lost into any more details of Celebrity Apprentice, let me say that in general I don’t think anyone marketing understands what the hell they are doing.

Take TV — especially the dreaded Friday night slots of death. Now we hear that The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse may both have or are about to get the ax. We all know Friday night television viewing has a lower viewing audience; only the uncool, exhausted, broke, and likely parenting and so we have no social lives of our own among us (myself included) are home to watch. (And we admit it.) We all know this — there’s a frickin’ Wiki page about it for Christ’s sake. So stop expecting “must see TV” numbers on a Friday night, will ya, stooopid tv execs?

Now if you can’t understand what a grade schooler knows, please, audition for Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader and leave the biz.

At least leave the biz.

But you don’t. And because you can’t understand this simple fact of American life and how it affects your livelihood, it’s no wonder you’ve managed to kill off the longest-running scripted program in broadcasting history.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t understand me.

I’m 44 year old woman, but I am a HUGE fan of Chelsea Lately and I get my news from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Did you know that? No, of course not. You think I’m a 24 to possibly 34 year old woman, probably a hipster; but you’re wrong. And it will only get worse as I’m (too) quickly entering the über-ignored yet fastest-growing segment of the American market.

Now what.

I don’t have — never have had — a Nielsen box (excluding that one time two times in college with one Ms S. Nielson — but we did watch some TV together…), so maybe you need to readjust your box assignments. If you did you’d see that my info wouldn’t be some anomaly but that your demographic numbers skew much higher/older than you thought, more accurately reflecting the reality of American’s viewing habits.

But you’d still ignore us. I don’t know why you do; but you do.

* By the way, I find it really odd that he made no effort to even pretend to know what women like — shouldn’t he know his own readership? There’s lots of women at his site. And I assume they, as well as Perez, wash their clothes.

Dancing With The Stars, My Age Is Showing

Watching Dancing tonight, the results show, I saw Hall & Oates perform one of the songs from my glory days, Maneater.

Now the interesting thing, the thing is not just that I feel old because I watch the show with my kids, but because I’ve seen Hall & Oats perform live, in concerts. And I thought I’d already seen the duo’s life cycle.

But I was wrong.

The first time I’d seen the band I was 19 or 20. It was at the great party on the lake, Summerfest — back in the day when the old stage had true general seating. Not some general seating (like today on ‘the hill’, with partially obstructed views, vs. the ticket seats closer to the stage), but all the seats were general seats.

The only price you paid was your general admission to the fest (and the food and drink bill — which was no small thing, but still cheaper than it is today). The true fans, those dedicated to the principal of the fest and music, would arrive in a group at the festival park before the gates opened, and at 10 A.M., when the gates opened, rush the main stage.

There you’d scrounge for and stake-out the best seats you could get. You had to be a group because in order to keep you seats, at least a pair of you would need to sit, lounge and/or lay upon the old wooden plank seating from 10 in the morning until 7 P.M. or so when the opening act would begin their performance.

You’d guard in shifts, with other members checking back in either to take their shift at seat saving or to bring you wine coolers, beers & real brats (not the grey hotdogs many try to pass-off as bratwurst). I personally loved my seat saving duties. Despite the great number of other seat savers (and the scavengers who tried to poach seats) and music occasionally billowing by from one of the other stages, it was one of the more quiet places on the lake to actually have a conversation. Conversation, sunlight, wine coolers, music, lake breezes… What’s not to like? Oh yeah, and the inevitable run-in with old friends who spotted you on your concert seating stake-out. (Remaining in place, letting others come to you, has always been one of the best ways to be found.)

Anyway, the first time I saw Hall & Oats was at Milwaukee’s Summerfest — they were just approaching their biggest days and as a college student on the cutting edge of music at the time, it was freakin’ fantastic. Being slightly drunk on beverages, the feeling of cool night lake air caressing hot sunburned skin, the intoxicating mix of old and new friends (and lovers), and youth was topped-off by awesome music & dancing on the wooden plank benches as we scream-sung the lyrics. Hall & Oats was on fire and so was I.

But just a few short years later, or so it seemed to me, Hall & Oats was once again back at Summerfest — but this time, at one of the smaller music stages. I still went to see them & had a fantastic time. But it was a stage demotion, symbolic of their loss of cool status — and my own. No longer were any of us on fire… Smoldering, maybe; but not on fire.

I noted it, this temporary ‘hot’ status in pop culture, and how it mirrored my own fleeting popularity in our youth obsessed culture. I didn’t like it; but I accepted that this was how others would see us. They were wrong; but let them move along with their fads & fancies.

Flash forward to now. A few weeks ago, Hall & Oates appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (yes, I am old; but I’m also cool enough to have intelligence and good taste, thankyouverymuch). Their appearance may have seemed a slice of retro kitschy goodness to many — a big “Howdy” to gods from the 80’s, a decade now so “vintage” that it’s back “in” again — but to me, it was a fond remembrance. Not just of my glory days, but of my “they’re wrong, they don’t know what they’re doing” thoughts. Seeing them with Stewart wasn’t a nod from a current pop culture collegiate deity to gods that once were; it was, at least, mutual recognition of one another’s cool factor — with neither’s being over with.

Seeing the duo’s performance on Dancing tonight, with that hot Karina Smirnoff in a flaming red jumpsuit and black leg warmers, I realized that I may no longer look as hot as she did — but I once wore those leg warmers, those heels, and mesmerized audiences grooving to Maneater. My audience was smaller, my moves less professional; but by boobs were bigger and I was entertaining and cool to those who watched. Like Hall & Oates, I may not be the looker I once was, but I’m not dead. Or irrelevant.

I hope to keep seeing more of them; because, boys, every time you go away you take a piece of me with you.

Down With Love: Retro Movie Film Review (Squared)

If you dare to modernize the classic Doris Day and Rock Hudson sex comedies, as Down With Love does, you’d better do a pretty damn fine job of it. Today’s audience is a bit different from the audience of the 50’s & 60’s ~ we’d like to say we are more sophisticated, but really, we are more smuttified.

In a jaded world like ours, if you expect us to believe in silly games where identities are hidden with a mere accent or hairstyle change, or, more difficult yet, believe in the concept of love, well, you are going to have to suspend our beliefs with pretty little distractions, or better yet, overt sexual content.

This movie begins with plenty of retro fluff, from the old Twentieth Century Fox logo & the kitschy opening credits, & continues with wonderful set decoration & fabulous fashions. (Lots of that retro girlie pink!)

And the soundtrack is full of greats such as Xavier Cugat & Count Basie.

So far, so good, for the pretty little distractions. Now how does it deliver on the sex games?

No longer are movie goers (or renters) titillated by the old standard coy dialogues used in classics like Pillow Talk. Nope, we want, we crave something a little more direct nowadays.

Down With Love hears our world-weary, sex-bleary cries, & delivers a clever phone scene of it’s own — complete with corny dialogue, mind you, but filled with delightful eye-candy as well. As the couple talks, the split screen shows sexual entendres that surpass the coy dialogue & engages the viewer. (It’s twice as fun when you try to imagine Doris & Rock!)

Combining frolicking fun with the fantastic fashions of the times — without the fake film morality (as if no one was having sex in the 50s & 60s!). This is the way we modern girls prefer to remember the past. (Groan free, not moan free lol)

Enter the plot, which raises the question “Can women have it all, as men do?” — without beating you over the head with it.

Renee Zellweger plays novelist Barbra Novak, who has written the ‘feminist’ best-seller Down With Love, encouraging women to stand up for themselves in the boardroom & to have sex a la carte, and in general, be in charge of relationships, not prey to them. Ewan McGregor plays Catcher Block, general play-boy & rogue, who is the love interest in this game of chase. David Hyde Pierce plays Catcher’s magazine editor, and Sarah Paulson is Barbra’s book editor, and naturally, they have their own chase going on.

But who is chased, who is caught, it is all worth the viewing, and I won’t ruin it here for you.

Get a copy, and lie on the couch, and become enchanted with the past, as charming as we’d like to think it was.

PS For those adored the movie, take a weird trip to see it acted out with Barbies!

Friday the 13th Contest Is A Killer Heh Heh

Collectors’ Quest and Mezco have teamed-up for a thrilling Friday the 13th Contest.

Up for grabs:

The Jason 3.75 inch Toy Fair 2009 Limited Edition Produced exclusively for the 2009 New York Toy Fair, he comes with his trademark machete and removable Glow In The Dark mask.

Cinema Of Fear Friday the 13th 2009 Remake 7in Figure The legendary slasher of Camp Crystal Lake strikes again in the all new Friday the 13th film. The Jason Voorhees figure is crafted with incredible detail, full articulation, & comes with an array of weapons used in the film.

I can’t win because I’m a staff writer — but there’s no reason why you can’t win! Here’s how to enter the random drawing:

1. Sign up to collectorsquest.com to receive one entry in the drawing. (And be sure to make me your buddy — I’m Poptart.)

2. Upload a collection and you will receive 5 entries. Present CQ members must upload a new collection for entry.

3. Drawing will be held on March 14th and winner announced thereafter.

Good luck!

Memories Of Messy Marvin

Among the Messy Marvin ads, I found this cup:

Perhaps the Messy Marvin cup brings back memories for you. Heaven knows I was too mature to drink from a Messy Marvin cup (but wapatui from a dorm garbage can was fine). I do remember the print ads and commercials; they were everywhere.

Hi, my name’s Messy Marvin.

I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought home thick, rich, yummy Hershey’s Syrup in the no mess squeeze bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best chocolate milk I’d ever had. But I wasn’t making a mess. It’s fun, too. I just pull the cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills.

Now Mom’s happy and so am I.

My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there’s hope.

Look for a quick shot of a very young Tracey Gold in the second commercial in this video collection:

This ad campaign pretty much rendered any kid — even a ‘college kid’ — a Messy Marvin to anyone older; thanks, Hershey’s.

And yes, the child actor who played Messy Marvin was the same kid who played Ralphie in A Christmas StoryPeter Billingsley. Which makes the Ovaltine decoder ring storyline ironic.

Apparently Billingsley too felt some disappointment with the ring; it’s not one of the film’s props that he saved. According to SFGate’s The Poop interview, Billingsley kept the BB gun, the bunny suit and the slate board.

I wonder if he kept any Messy Marvin mementos?

Gimme Back That Filet-o-Fish

Not since “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun” have I enjoyed singing along with a McDonald’s commercial so much, so many kudos to Arnold Worldwide for the latest Filet-o-Fish commercial. Here are the lyrics, so you can sing along with the video which follows:

Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
What if it was you
hanging up on this wall?
If you were in that sandwich
you wouldn’t be laughing at all!

Normally McDonald’s falls so far behind the trend curve that they become not fun & kitschy but irrelevant (leaving Burger King to reign over kitsch & cool) but this time the decade delay in mocking Billy Bass works. Not just because you’ll find a dozen of these plastic mounted wall fish thrown back into the consumerism pond via thrift shops, but because of the incredible music & lyrics.

The music is not, as rumored to be, by the band Holy Fuck. However, if you are looking for 6 minutes and 26 seconds of similar sounding retro Casio Keyboard nostalgia (with a bit more heat & noise from the mutated rhythm), then get Casio Bossa Nova. I totally enjoyed it myself; but it’s not the music in the commercial.

Determined to find out who it was behind the fab song in the McDonald’s ad, I got on the phone with the folks at Arnold Worldwide — who, by the way, answer the phone with the perplexing, “Good afternoon, Arnold,” which prompted me to respond, “My name is not Arnold.”

Anyway, Arnold Worldwide didn’t write the tune or the lyrics, but they still get my kudos because they hired the folks who created it: Pulse Music.

So thanks, Pulse Music. I’m off to get a Filet-o-Fish. Humming & singing Gimme back that filet-o-fish all the way.

PS My dog especially loves it when I sing the “ahh!” at the end.

“My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly leaving me with an earworm.”

I spotted this retro doll, a promotional piece for Libby’s foods, at an antique store.

It reminded me of the following:

1) I am getting really old because more and more stuff from my time is now entering the “collectible” category and being sold in antique stores (if not, yet, actually as antiques).

2) I have a friend whose nickname is Libby; it’s a shortened form of her online user ID “Libertine”. I am forever singing, “When it’s got Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label, you will like it like it like it on your table table table,” to her. It’s especially a hoot if you wiggle your eyebrows during the “you will like it like it like it on your table table table” part of the lyric.

3) When you reference “online user ID” in conjunction with “retro 70’s” stuff, your brain hurts a little.

4) No matter what you put in your brain, if there’s a jingle in there, it will over power it all and come out victorious. My brain is a poor cocoon — the Libby’s jingle goes in like larva, but it never enters the pupa stage and morphs into a beautiful butterfly, leaving me with an earworm.

5) Funny thing about recalling jingles, no matter how many times the earworm loops, no matter how many times you find yourself singing it aloud, you suddenly wonder if the version you are singing is the accurate version…

I searched the Internet for a video of the old Libby’s commercial; but none had that jingle.

I wouldn’t call all this a waste of time, an hour later I have these two gems to share with you:

First, a 1960’s commercial in which Libby’s makes up a “Sloppy Joe” dance craze to peddle product:

I’m too young to remember that one; but I’m betting if there were any of those t-shirts etc. still around in an antique store I’d want one. Bad.

I vaguely recall this Libby’s canned vegetables ad with Tony Randal:

I don’t recall these 70’s ads for Libbyland dinners…

But then, we weren’t allowed to have TV dinners, so maybe I had no dietary connection to leave a lasting promotional imprint… Those folding tray/boxes are completely fascinating!

The Verrry Interesting Laugh-In Lunch Box

Growing up, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was on too late for me to stay up & watch; it began airing in 1968 when I was just four. But hearing my parents talk about the show, I wanted to see it in the worst way. So eventually my whining bore fruit; mom sent me to bed with my younger sister, but as she tucked me in she whispered in my ear, “Just pretend to sleep — I’ll come back and sneak you out past your sleeping sister before the show starts.” I was so excited!

But that must have been too much excitement for me because mother found me passed-out, sound asleep, when she came back for me — but my little sis was awake and she got to watch the show! Drat! Just another reason for a little girl to dislike her little sister.

As the show ran until 1973, I eventually grew old enough to stay up and watch it — not that I understood most of it. Laugh-In was a show built on political humor and sexual innuendo; not something your average kid knows. Well, I understood enough to know there was naughty stuff… and most of the cultural comments were even further over my head. But Arte Johnson was wacky enough for me to genuinely giggle at.

All of this came flooding back when I spotted this old Laugh-In lunch box at a local antique mall this past weekend.

It was a delight to spot — but I carefully replaced it up on it’s lofty spot on a shelf when I spotted the $125 price tag. (Which, apparently, is not out of the norm for such retro Laugh-In lunch boxes.)

But what really makes this find noteworthy is the fact that Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was not a television show for kids — so why make kids’ lunch boxes?

I mean kids didn’t understand the show — and by the time they would have, wouldn’t they be too old for lunch boxes with thermoses? I can imagine the beating 16 year olds took for toting mom’s PB&J in a lunch box.

So just who were these lunch boxes with “Sock it to me” on them marketed to? Kids who, like me, wanted to watch the show because their parents thought it was cool? Parents, who wanted their kids to look cool?

Well, it seems to me that in the late 60’s to early 70’s parents didn’t push their kids to look like mini-adults like they do today… And while there weren’t the same judgments & finger pointing at parents for kids having risqué knowledge (hey, back then we kids traveled in cars without seat belts, even riding on those backseat ‘shelves’ under the rear windows, and we kept our parents company in taverns without any finger or tongue wagging), parents hadn’t yet given into the permissiveness of letting the children dictate to them, especially about adult things. We sat in taverns because parents wanted to go, we rode in the car that way because no laws yet forbade it, and we got Disney and Muppet stuff because we were kids.

It was just that sort of upbringing which makes me covet such a lunch box. It’s familiar & nostalgic, but it was never mine because I was too young — now that I’m older, I want it bad.