Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friends with cats: a visitor's guide

Or what to expect when visiting cat people.

(Hint: There is a reason for the phrases "cats rule, dogs drool" and "dogs have owners; cats have servants.")

For those who don't have cats or who have never crashed at a cat person's house, everything mentioned in the "Living with Cats -- House Guest Edition" video is all true.

(My favorite bit was the drawer with all the lint rollers. FTR, I keep a lint roller in just about every room of our house -- and always have spares.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Whatever happened to jingles?

One of the funniest moments of this year's Academy Awards ceremony (at least to me) was when Neil Patrick Harris sang "He won an Oscar, bum ba-dum bum bum bum bum," to the tune of the Farmers Insurance jingle, after J.K. Simmons, Farmers pitchman, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Proof that jingles work, or at least are memorable -- or more memorable than commercials without jingles.

And yet despite research showing the effectiveness, or memorability, of jingles, few brands today employ them.

Indeed, try to think of a commercial you've seen in the last year that featured a jingle. [I'll give you a minute.]


The only brand the spouse and I could think of, in addition to Farmers, was Nationwide, yet another insurance company, which not only uses a jingle but quarterback and funnyman Peyton Manning to sing it. [Chicken parm you taste so good...]

Actually, while Googling "famous jingles" I came across State Farm's "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." Yet another insurance company!

But is anyone, other than insurance companies, using jingles*?

Back when the spouse and I were kids, and then teenagers, it seems every big brand had a memorable jingle. And everyone knew and sang them.

Fun jingle fact: Did you know that Randy Newman co-wrote, with Barry Manilow, those catchy Dr. Pepper jingles from the 1970s, "The Most Original Soft Drink Ever" and "Be a Pepper"? 

Commercials also had much more memorable spoken hooks. "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature"; "Calgon, take me away!"; and "Ancient Chinese secret" (also Calgon) are three that immediately spring to mind. And apparently they spring to a lot of other people's minds as well, as when you type "ancient" into Google the first suggestion that immediately pops up is "ancient Chinese secret." And when you type in "Calgon," "Calgon take me away" immediately pops up as the first suggestion.

*If you think of something, let me know via a Comment.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

And now for some more '80s dance music

Sometimes I miss the 1980s, or at least the dance music.

Remember WLIR? Remember all the great alternative music they played, all the New Wave and Techno stuff coming out of the UK (and the US)?

Remember "Lawn Chairs" from Our Daughters Wedding?

Lawn chairs are everywhere
They're everywhere
My mind describes them to me
Only to me-ee

And Lene Lovich singing "New Toy"?

I want a new toy (oh-ee-oh)
To keep my head expanding.
I want a new toy (oh-ee-oh)
Nothing too demanding.

And I just loved "Soft Core" from Maurice and the Cliches.

She's got a birthmark that looks just like a staple.
She's from New Jersey.
She wants to be an actress.

And does anyone else remember the Hilary song "Drop Your Pants"?

Don't leave me for another.
You've got no plan to live with mother.
Don't take your feet from my basket.
My peaches are pleasing and always in season.

Now it's your turn. What somewhat obscure 1980s Techno or New Wave song do you fondly remember?

P.S. Click on the "1980s" label (below) to hear more great '80s songs.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Got Peeps?

I guess it was only a matter of time before someone came out with marshmallow-flavored milk. After all, we Americans have been enjoying marshmallows with milk in our cereal -- from Kaboom to Lucky Charms to Franken Berry and Boo Berry, to name just a few -- for decades.

But this is not just any marshmallow-flavored milk, people. This is Peeps-flavored marshmallow milk. And it's only available for Easter.*

[Click on the photo to enlarge it.]

What I find particularly amusing about Prairie Farms Peeps-flavored milk is that it is marketed as Reduced Fat -- and nutritious!

Indeed, just check out the sidebar on the right of the Prairie Farms' Peeps milk landing page (above), which proudly states:
Our Farm families work hard every day caring for their animals and the land so that we can bring you fresh, great-tasting, wholesome and nutritious dairy products. Produced with no artificial growth hormones, you can take comfort in knowing the milk that comes from our farms is produced with integrity and care.
I'm not a scientist, but I do know a thing or two about nutrition and healthy eating. And I'm pretty sure no one would associate the words wholesome and nutritious with Peeps or marshmallow- or egg nog-flavored milk. Not with 37 grams of sugar and 320 mg of sodium, and artificial colors and flavors. And that's just the Peeps Marshmallow Milk. (The Peeps Easter Egg Nog has 40 grams of sugar in a cup.)

Also, when I last checked (about 10 seconds ago), eggnog was a Christmas beverage, typically made with brandy, rum, or bourbon. Is that really want you want to be giving your kid for breakfast, parents?

Maybe they have a different definition of wholesome and nutritious in the Midwest.

Anyway, what do you all think of Peeps Marshmallow Milk? Let me know via a Comment.

*And only in the Midwest... for now.