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Does this ad work for you?

If you are a Christian, does this Vineyard Fellowship ad work for you?

The same design can also be seen on billboards. I get the appeal of trying to break stereotypes about what religious institutions and individuals are like — but this doesn’t strike me as appealing to the sacred at all.

It looks like an ad for a cell phone company.

If your opinions differ, though, I’d like to hear them.

Happy Passover!

My all-time favorite kosher food ad:

And for those of you who are simply interested in high-quality food, kosher or not, may I recommend Wild Idea Buffalo: meat from buffalo that live grass-fed, unconfined lives and never hear a discouraging word until the day they are humanely slaughtered. (Does anyone else find “harvested” even more disturbing than “slaughtered”? Sometimes euphemisms are a lot worse than the actual word they are intended to replace. I ordered some last week and was very impressed with the pastrami.

(No, I am not getting any kickbacks from either or Wild Idea Buffalo. As delighted as I would be to have free bison brisket and crates of macaroons and matzoh delivered to my door, I’m only sharing the ad for its humor value, and the buffalo recommendation as a solution for those who, like me, need red meat in their diet but can’t stomach, as it were, factory-farming practices.)

Spam I am

I get an amazing amount of spam on this blog — really, the spamosphere greatly overestimates my influence with the American reading public, I fear. Many of them are just long links to sites where one can acquire porn or drugs, but some actually attempt to look like a real comment of someone delurking. This one, I simply adored; it came with a link to some (probably designer-fake) Ugg boots:

I all joking aside enjoyed reading your blog and frame it both educational and interesting. I hot pants be unwavering to bookmark it and secure in it as large as I can.

Yes, all writers have a dream, and mine is to have a readership that is both hot pants and unwavering!

I have been schooled

… in the matter of prematurely declaring anything the “Most X Ever.” Because something else will surely come along that’s even X-ier, sometimes sooner than you think. You liked Igor, the coroner’s assistant? Check out the Demon Sheep!

(Also, do watch Rachel Maddow’s commentary. She’s so much more polite than I am — I can think of a lot of ways to pronounce the acronym “FCINO” besides the refined “fa-SEE-no” that she chose!)



Most amazing political ad ever

In the epic discussion of rudeness on the blog, a number of people mentioned changes in the political/media culture as responsible for a degradation of public discourse. I don’t allow partisan politics on that site, but talking about general trends is fine, and I agreed with many of the commenters.

In that spirit, may I present the most remarkable political smear ad of all time. Yes, it is real; it’s for the coroner’s seat in New Orleans:


I’ll let you pause for a moment to take that in.

I majored in theater as an undergraduate. You know the actor who played Igor probably got his theater degree at Louisiana State or some such, dreamed of playing Mister Mistoffolees on tour, maybe getting to do the one-man version of “Santaland Diaries” someday, or even Shakespeare … I hope for his sake that his hopes and dreams were already crushed before this happened. It sounds harsh of me, I know, but I am cruel only to be kind.

Did I misinterpret …?

Like all bloggers, I get a lot of spam, and I check my spam folder when it’s not too full, to make sure that no legitimate comments got shunted over there. One of the most recent varieties has been these really horrible, sub-Borscht-belt jokes, maybe the kinds of jokes a preschooler would like (if you are the parent of a preschooler, feel free to correct me on this). Things like, “What do young dogs sleep in when they go camping? Pup tents!” or “Why don’t fish play tennis? They are afraid of getting caught in the net!”

A couple of days ago, I got one that read: “What does it mean when the Post Office’s flag is flying at half-mast? They’re hiring!”

Am I missing something here, or is that a workplace-homicide joke? Because I can’t come up with any other way to make sense of it. The phrase was definitely half-mast, not half-staff, the latter of which would be 1) the proper way to refer to a halfway-up-the-pole flag on land, and 2) a poor-quality pun on “staff” meaning both “pole” and “workforce.”

What am I not getting? Or am I getting it?

Annals of bad typography

Tired? Run-down? Not enough energy for all the family, work, and community obligations of the holiday season? Shaw’s Supermarket knows exactly how you feel:


You can find this graphic on their website, but it awesomely came up in a commercial last night during either “Parks and Recreation” or “The Office.” Reinforced Michael Scott’s statement that “Christmas isn’t about Santa, or Jesus — it’s about the workplace” in an oblique sort of way.

(Don’t even ask me why I’m still watching “The Office.” Just feeling too listless last night to turn the TV off after “Parks & Rec,” I guess.)

Annals of salesmanship

A few days ago, Mr. Improbable posted the following dialogue to his Facebook page (I’m reformatting it for easier reading):

Phone call received here 1 minutes ago:
Me: Hello, Improbable Research.
Caller: Hi Marc, this is ___ from ___. How ya doing today?
Me: Fine
Caller: Blah blah blah
Me: Do you have any idea who we are or what we do?
Caller: No.
Me: Well, it’s been… nice talking with you. Please put us on your “Don’t Call” list, if you have enough information to do even that.
Me: [hangs up the phone]

A few minutes later, he added this comment:

And now I’ve gotten an email from the man who telephoned. The email says:

Hello Marc,

Thank you so much for time on the phone! I found it very useful to know more about your company, and in the future will do research on the people and companies that I call so I don’t have to get responses like yours.

Rest assured you will not receive another email or phone call from us.

Warm regards,

I have to say, I think that was rather well-handled all around.

Happy birthday to me

And what is the very first e-mail in my inbox this morning, this morning of my 42nd birthday during which I shall make my second triumphant appearance on the “Today Show”?

A witty e-card from Amazing Genius Science Girl?
A supportive note from the ConductMom?
A sexy love poem from Mr. Improbable?
A “You go, girl!” message from the Fabulous Bureaucrats?

No. It is THIS, from

“Save 32% at on ‘How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame’ by Pamela Redmond Satran.”

THANKS, Ama-freakin’-zon-dot-com. Happy birthday to you, too.

And honey, I do not have to pass for fabulous.