Category Archives: media

Worst. Song. Ever.

Want me out of your house? Play Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

I will go running into the street screaming, holding my hands over my ears.

It seems that a remake of “The Bodyguard” is on tap; hopefully, the offensive tune will not be included.

Some people say Houston’s rendition of the Dolly Parton song was a virtuoso turn, a ground-breaking recording that’s among the best vocal performances ever. It was described as a magnificent tour-de-force. I’d rather listen to tapes of paint being scraped from the hull of a ship.

Much has been made of the use of music as a torture device. Play “I Will Always Love You” and I’m breaking. Immediately. What do you want to know? Please just make it stop.

I decided to only include a link to the song rather than embed the video. This is so it does not accidentally begin playing while you are viewing this website. No need to thank me.

I am including Dolly Parton’s version of the song, which is very is beautiful — and X fans might like to listen to John Doe’s rendition, which is playing on the jukebox in the movie.

iKnow What iWant

Hey, look -- I'm on an iPad!I got this up morning and there was an iPad sitting on the table. Woo-hoo! An iPad! Rather than the the usual routine of emptying the dishwasher and making sandwiches, I couldn’t keep my hands off the iPad. Oh, gorgeous and sleek iPad! I love you…

Ours was to be just a brief encounter; turns out my wife borrowed it from work for a client meeting. But, oh it was so… perfect. And then the stupidity of Motorola’s Super Bowl commercial struck me hard.

Yeah, I’m old enough to remember Apple’s 1984 spot. And I get what Motorola is trying to say, that we are all mindless sheep who bleat “Apple.” But there’s a flaw here: Apple products are genuinely good. I don’t want an iPad because it has an Apple logo, I want it because it’s well made.

Instead of just focusing on what the Xoom does well, Motorola couldn’t resit taking a shot at Apple. Sorry Motorola. I just don’t believe that the iPad sucks — or that everyone has one. Or that the people who use them are lemmings.

Don’t agree with me? Then imagine how absurd it would be if Microsoft made the same commercial, except for their Zune music player. Funny, right? You’ve never used a Zune — or for that matter, you’ve probably never even seen one or known anyone who uses one. And you’d never dream of buying one.

I rest my case.

Five Things I Learned Watching the Super Bowl

Everybody else is writing about the Super Bowl, so why not me? Here is my obligatory post-game analysis:

  1. Aaron Rodgers is as cool as a cucumber. The Packers quarterback is the kind of guy I’d want landing my plane in the Hudson River or performing brain surgery on me.
  2. H.L. Mencken was right. He said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” There were countless examples of this last night, but the absurd Sam Elliot intros and the abridged Declaration of Independence jump right out at me.
  3. I hate halftime shows. During the season, halftime is 12-15 minutes. Super Bowl halftime should be the same length — subjecting the teams to the same conditions they play under during the year. And the Black Eyed Peas are an idea that works better in the studio than on a stage.
  4. Christina Aguilera is an abomination. Nuff said.
  5. There is no Super Bowl of advertising. The quality of TV creative through the year is so consistently good that many of the commercials seemed ordinary. That said, this Carmax spot made me feel like a geek at a robot convention:

Everybody’s Heard About the Bird

The first thing you learn in broadcasting is to watch your mouth around microphones. Don’t be the guy who drops an F-bomb on the air– or worse, has an embarrassing conversation recorded in the other room. Just assume that every mic is always open and you’ll never get in trouble.

A new rule has been added: beware of widescreen. Things that used to be off camera are now on camera, as Houston news anchor Owen Conflenti found out when he flipped the bird at somebody:

About the Weather

The dogs have no complaints.

Stick your head outside. That low rumble you hear is not a plow approaching or snow shifting on the roof, it’s the sound of people complaining

I don’t know if there’s more meteorologist bashing than usual lately, but during these dreadful weeks in the height of winter it reaches a fever pitch.

So why all the weatherman bashing? Because we’ve been programmed to expect accuracy.

For years, local TV has promised that their guy is the smartest, most experienced, and best at forecasting the weather. Nobody knows your weather better than he does. And along with his merry team of meteorologists, he will protect you and your family from weather related death and mayhem.

Please refer to EXHIBIT A.

This makes the meteorologists a little uncomfortable. They will be the first to tell you that predicting the weather is not an exact science, and that there are many variables that can influence what happens.

The public doesn’t really get this, so conventional wisdom holds that they’re wrong all the time.

There’s a reason they call it a forecast and not a promise.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Full Metal Jacket. The North Pole is a cold, cold place.

The Nutmeg State

Fox 23 wants you to keep an eye on the spice rack this holiday season — not because you could run out of something you need to bake Christmas cookies, but because your kids may be stealing the nutmeg to get themselves baked.

Last week the station breathlessly reported that teens were snorting, eating, and smoking nutmeg for a pungent and powerful high. The evidence of this behavior? They saw some videos on YouTube.

The story is a carbon copy of the vodka eyeballing piece they did in June, except the YouTube clips of kids holding vodka bottles up to their eyes are much funnier.

While not shy about suggesting this is a big and dangerous problem, the station said they couldn’t find a single instance of someone being treated at a local hospital for ingesting nutmeg.

When I worked in TV, it was my job to make sensationalistic promos for news stories. It was sorely disappointing when our news department did well-thought out and reasonable stories about important topics — instead of ridiculous scare pieces about non-issues like nutmeg smoking.

I’m not in favor of irresponsible journalism, it’s just that the crazier the story, the more fun it was to do the promo. And it was easier! I would have had a field day with this nutmeg thing.

But what do I know? Kids do crazy things. My advice is to go home tonight and give them a big hug — and while you’re hugging them see if you smell nutmeg. If you do, for God’s sake, lock that stuff up somewhere safe.

Beating the Crowd

I’ve written before about how much I hated skipping out of ball games early as a kid. What was I gonna do, tell my father we couldn’t leave?

Me? I never leave early. Like on November 14 in Buffalo, even though only 14 seconds remained, there was still  a chance the Bills could lose. Many other fans were racing for the exit, but I would not budge until seeing Detroit’s failed on-side kick attempt. The Bills have fought out numerous nail biters this season, most of them ending in heartbreaking fashion.

I think the Boston Bruins tackle the whole leaving early thing perfectly in this commercial, part of their terrific Hockey Rules campaign. I can never remember which you do if a bear attacks — pretend you’re dead or climb a tree?

Spot On

Who knew that Pomplamoose could arouse such feelings in people?

The duo — best known for their quirky covers of pop songs on YouTube — were alternately praised and damned in the local blogosphere Tuesday for appearing in some car commercials. Jeff Wilkin at the Gazette said “Yay,” while Times Union man-about-town Kevin Marshall cried out “Nay.”

There’s no denying that the cutesy couple are almost annoyingly appealing — and the Huyundai spots are so cloyingly sweet that they make your teeth hurt. It’s like cotton candy dipped in maple syrup and drizzled with hot fudge.

Huyundai shrewdly hooked its wagon to an internet sensation, and regardless of the debates over its artistic merit, it will work. And by work, I mean make people pay attention to the commercials. Does “I love Pomplamoose, “ translate into “I love Huyundai?” Yes, sometimes it does.

But if you think selling a song to a car company is selling out, you’ll really hate this:

I don’t give a hoot about youth hockey or Subarus, but using that Pogues song makes me sit up and take notice. Sneaky? Sure. Playing the Pogues says owning a Subaru makes you cool and edgy, and driving it will turn every day into St. Patrick’s Day — except maybe with hockey instead of drunken carousing.

They should have snuck in a shot of Pogues lead singer Shane MacGowan. Now that’s a guy with hockey teeth.

The Amish and Me

It was the greatest idea ever: the Amish spot.

I used to do the advertising for a TV station, and one day, like a bolt out the blue, came an inspired idea for a commercial for our mobile web service. It went like this:

An Amish man is fixing a fence when two children run up.

“Brother Jakob! Please tell us what the weather will be tomorrow.”

He scratches his beard thoughtfully and looks off to the horizon.

“Rainy in the morning, children… but we shall be blessed with a very fine afternoon.”

The kids run off into the field. One says to the other, “Sarah, how does Jakob always know the weather.”

She looks up to the sky. “It is a gift Amos. Truly a gift.”

Meanwhile, Jakob glances around furtively. Once he sees he’s alone, he pulls an iPhone from his pocket, pushes a button and Bob Kovachick’s forecast appears on the screen. Hilarious, right?

My boss liked it, but wondered if it might be offensive to the Amish. “The Amish? Ha! It’s not like they’ll see it on TV, is it?”

Anyway, I left my job before getting the spot done.

It all came back to me a couple of weeks ago I was driving in Montgomery County and found myself in a another world. There were children walking barefoot down the road, men passing by on carriages, women hanging laundry…. I was in the middle of an Amish community.

And I felt guilty.

It bothered me that I was so ready — eager, even — to exploit these folks to peddle my wares. It just felt so wrong; call it a sudden attack on conscience. I would never have dreamed of using a racial joke to sell something — so why was it OK to make fun of these people?

I drove slowly away, humbled, chastened even. They’ll never know it, but they taught me a lesson.