Archive for April, 2009

bad ads for deliciousness

I love Snickers candy bars.   Yes, I love many a chocolate bar, ’tis true.  I go through phases where different ones are my favorite; sometimes it’s Twix, then $100,000 Bar (please note I refuse to call it “100 Grand” as it has no ring to it - “hundred thousand dollar bar” is perfect), then maybe M’n'M’s or Mounds, but Snickers is a consistent fave, a go-to chocolate bar that really is the bomb and definitely satisfies.  The new Snickers billboard ad campaign, without mincing words, sucks.

These advertisements, billboards mostly, consist of bewildering, puzzling, made-up words supposed to indicate that Snickers bars hit the spot and, well, satisfy.  These inscrutable words are showcased in the same font and frame as “SNICKERS” is on the bar itself - how clever.  ?!?   I find myself consistently puzzled and read the “word” aloud hoping to enunciate out some meaning.  Nine times out of ten it remains a mystery and the one time I do understand it, I’m disappointed.

Who came up with this awful ad idea?  I can’t help but think that brainiac should be fired immediately and fired hard.    Frankly, aren’t Snickers so delicious and so woven into the fabric of American consumer society as to be omnipresent that they need no advertising at all?  Maybe it’s just me.

early morbidity

You may have noticed an overarching preoccupation of mine with death.  When I was four years old I had the realization that we will all one day die.  Being only four you could suppose this epiphany frightened me, but it had quite the opposite effect.  I felt comforted by the idea that everything is temporary and saw how we are all in this together, us humans.   Everyone who is alive goes on this journey called life.  (No, I’m sure you’re right, my four-year-old thoughts were hardly so eloquent or lucid, but it’s a feeling I’ve since worded.)

Dying and everything about it has been a fascination of mine since then, I guess.   In re-examining things I like and have liked throughout my life, I have found many roots and reinforcing influences, the above-referenced realization being the first.

So the other morning NPR’s On Point had a program about poetry and committing entire poems to memory.  I knew I had to have at least one memorized poem rattling around in me noggin.  (Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies doesn’t count, though I do know it by heart.  “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs, B is for Basil assaulted by bears…”)  Rinsing conditioner through my hair I mentally sifted through pages.  Excluding “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and William Carlos Williams’  “This Is Just to Say”  and “The Red Wheelbarrow” did I know any other poems by heart?

Suddenly I remembered one of the poems my mother would read to me from this book called “One Hundred Famous Poems.”  It’s one of my absolute favorites ever, and looking back, I see how it’s quite morbid and sad, yet empowering.  I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember.  It’s called Solitude, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has troubles enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air,
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Morbid may not be exactly the word I was going for, but… acceptance?  To me this poem speaks to my personality.  This isn’t to say that no one ever wants to hear or see me be sad or that my friends will turn and go anytime I need an ear.  Far from it.  But I do my best overall to not focus on the sad and negative side of things.  Bright side, right?  When speaking about circumstances I’m dealing with directly, like my cancer, I will do my best not to bitch and moan.  I naturally gravitate towards seeing beyond the problem.  That’s all.  Well, that and I try to remain aware that everyone’s personal experience is theirs alone and to respect that.

april 8 - really?

I already ranted about this, but what is wrong with people up here in New England? (I say this will all due respect as I feel, having lived here 20+ years that I am a New Englander now, albeit a Southern one….) The forecast today said to expect it no warmer than 45 degrees, TOPS, and possibly showers later in the afternoon.

When I left for work it was 36 degrees. Why did I see so many businessmen walk by hugging themselves as they leaned into the wind - again - and were clearly cold. Just because it’s April doesn’t make 36 degrees any warmer. It’s still just above freezing, my fellow worker bees. You can’t will the temp to go up by defying the forecast and underdressing.

Maybe they already packed up their winter clothing and they don’t want to dig it out and stink of mothballs. First of all, this is New England. Don’t pack up your winter togs till May. Secondly, do people still use mothballs? yeeeech, so nasty.