What was your favorite Superbowl Ad?

One word to describe Superbowl XLI Commercials this year…..

Disappointing.

Terrible.

Ridiculous.

Dumb.

Ok – so there are more words.  So my question is which ad agency got the ax? Someone certainly had to lose their job over this atrocity! I mean the only company that came out looking decent was once again Budweiser! They were on the violent side (think rock, paper, scissors! – and the fist bump is out/let’s slap each other on the face!), but they reached their target audience – mainly men whose humor lies with the slap-stick comedy.

Then you had Frito-Lay and Coke utilizing Black History month and the fact that for the first time in history, two black coaches were opposing each other in the Superbowl. So they added “today” in their history books.  They were nice commercials, which I believe would reach out to their target audiences.  They were tasteful and appealing commercials, yet will that make the black community run to the markets to purchase their products? Most likely they already are. But their main objective, in my opinion, was getting their name out there – brand recognition – and letting America know they support Black History. Not a bad idea.

GoDaddy.com – another stupid commercial – did anyone catch the OCC  though rating the dancer! I had to rewind a few times to be sure it was them! I am sure there were other “celebrities” in the commercial, but again, personally I thought the commercial was a flop. But it is all about brand recognition and even though they have been airing commercials during the Superbowl for the past 2 years, it put their name out there once again – to remind people they are still out there.

Doritos – only two commercials. I liked the first one! I thought it was creative – I may be biased since I love Doritos, but what the heck, I say it was one of my favorite commercials. I liked how the “novice” described the character’s traits with words that would describe the chip. I thought it was ingenious. I liked it. And thought it was funny in a corny way!  The other commercial was just dumb – the one with the cashier getting all worked up over the different flavor Doritos the customer was purchasing.

But the commercial that actually had me laughing out loud – and I like to do that – was the Blockbuster Total Access – the one with the bunnies trying to access the site with the mouse! At first I thought they were giving it CPR! When I realized what they were trying to do, I laughed! That commercial was great – really creative. Even though mouse and mouse have been linked before, it was done in a way that was comical and kept the viewers interest. This commercial would appeal to mainly the movie watchers that love the animated flicks such as “Over the Hedge”.  Ingenious.

Pizza Hut – dud.

CareerBuilders.com – so so. I thought it was Survivor meets LOST – perhaps that is what they were going for. I thought it was creative enough, but at first watch, it just seemed annoying.

Most of the commercials did that for me. While watching the ads, I was extremely disappointed. A lot of critics say they were overly violent. Maybe I am already desensitized, but I didn’t think there was anything terrible regarding that. I thought the heart association commercial was appropriate – it was clearly a man dressed as a heart with villain type characters attacking him. I think we can all distinguish against “superhero” action vs. real life violence. All in all I thought that public announcement – I won’t even call it a commercial – was effective.

But like I stated previously, most of the commercials were a big DISAPPOINTMENT – lacking creativity and appeal. Better luck next year!

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Happy Halloween!

Let me start off by explaining that I am very grateful I have a roof over my head that houses my family. We have heat, running water and electricity.  We enjoy the benefits of health insurance, dental coverage (to an extent) and we do not have any severe disabilities.

I b!tch moan and groan about bills and the cost of gas, but all in all we are lucky that I am able to put food on my table and my family doesn’t have many needs that go unmet. They have clothes, toys and friends. We’re good.

So why this post?

Why the ranting? and the raving?

I will tell you:

I live in a community that has all of the above and then some. I am not jealous (well maybe a little green 😉 ). JK. Put aside the kidding, I am happy for these individuals and I do not wish them any discord. What bothers me is the town officials and the school board and the teachers all think we are privileged like the others.

We are not. The majority of us are not.

With this said, school supply shopping can put a dent in my budget. I would like to have taken advantage of sales and shopped during the summer for supplies. But my daughter’s supply list was just made available to us this past week.  A few days later, I go supply shopping.  I go to the major chain of stores, Office Depot, Staples, Target even CVS. Guess what! Nothing is left! Everyone went shopping in the middle of July! I don’t blame them. If I had the opportunity to take advantage of all the sales, I would have done so as well.  Now I could have taken a gander as to what my children would need, but you see there is a problem with that! The teachers want things to be color coded.

That is right!

Math needs to be green.

Social Studies needs to be red, etc.

You get the point. They need a 1 inch binder, no make it a 2 inch binder, or is it a 1.5 inch binder. They need colored composition notebooks to match – along with folders as well. So you see I couldn’t just pick up anything – I had to wait and see what demands they made first. Did I mention they are particular over soft cover, hard cover, plastic or what-have-you type binders! I kid you not.

So the stores are wiped out! And now my son comes home with his list from the first day of school! His is not too bad, but had I known what he would need I could have saved about $100. Now I have to pay top dollar and scout all over for these supplies, as the stores are barren!

It is ridiculous.

And to top things off – not only did school supplies reach the shelves early July (right after school let out!) but the stores are now stocked for Halloween! Enjoy your holiday!

A Tangle in the Vine

I was anxiously awaiting Labor Day.

We all were.

We even discussed it at the wedding!

But we hit into a snag.

Big Ant #1 will take off on Friday and run around NJ looking at different wholesale markets.

Can we find someone to supply us with 30 bushels of tomatoes?

The lady we normally get our tomatoes from for the past 8 years informed us on Wednesday that due to the weather she will be unable to accommodate our request!

FRI

71°F 21°C
62°F 16°C

SAT

70°F 21°C
67°F 19°C

SUN

75°F 23°C
66°F 18°C

This is the weather forecast for the weekend! Nice huh! But we are prepared – we have tents and we always make due no matter what.

But the weather was horrendous the past few days. That is what did the crop in. So now we sit in limbo wondering what to do.  OK Ant – we are counting on you! – no pressure! 🙂

A Mixture of Pleasure and Annoyance!

If you know me personally, you know that I am dissatisfied with my living conditions.

I live on 1/4 acre of property and my house is set back 40-45 feet from the road – leaving not much land behind my house. I have enough side property, but being a nature lover – I would like more. My family thinks I have a ton of property. My lot is 100 X 100.  I grew up living on a 40 X 100 piece of property, so by that standard, yes I do have plenty!

My neighbors have more – like twice as much! They have plenty of room to put an in-ground pool and patio, waterfalls, etc. Yes, I live in a neighborhood where people make tons of money. However, we don’t! I am lucky I meet my mortgage payments and my monthly bills. I exaggerate; my point is that I am not well-to-do, nor do I wish to be. I like being who I am with my values set the way they are…but…I just want a teensy bit more property!

A few years ago, a man came knocking at my door informing me that he is representing a client who wishes to sell the vacant land ajdacent to mine. I disregard his offer, but take his card anyway. He tells me the price they want to for it (extremely cheap for this area especially for a 60 X 120 lot).  I could build a pool he says! I look at him like he is nuts! For this vacant land is to the side of my front yard! Who puts a pool in the FRONT yard?

I tell my husband – he seems interested. He wants to build a 3-car garage with a workshop upstairs.  Can we do it? He only wants the property if we can get the permits to do this type of construction. I do some legwork and find out that it has 2 front yards (being a corner property); therefore, any construction must be set back 40 feet from the road! It is also zoned, neighborhood business which means I can’t have any dwelling closer than 5 feet to the property line! I tell my husband he can build a 15 foot garage! Deep. Wide. Whatever!  Now you know that just won’t do!

He has me do some more research – my town planning department is not too helpful. They tell me I have to own the property, put in for a variance and then they will let me know if my husband’s wish can come true! I try to explain to the brain-dead woman behind the counter that I am not going to spend – tens of thousands of dollars on a piece of land that will be rendered useless. I don’t have that type of money.  She informs (the brain-dead) me that this is the policy take it or leave it.

My husband is not happy.  Weeks go by, I see a man walking the perimeter of the property and he is talking excitedly on his cell phone. My husband is convinced these people cannot do anything with the land therefore is dumping it to the poor soul who is stupid enough to purchase it.  I am concerned about a Dairy Barn (for those who do not know – it is a drive-up store where no parking is necessary and you get your dairy needs in an instant) being constructed there.  Friends and family are assuring us that no other business can build there because they will need ample parking spaces to provide for their customers/clients. I am soothed somewhat by that notion. That is until I saw how excited this man was.

I call my husband at work! “Listen, who cares if we can’t build the garage.  Think of how nice and pretty we can make that lot.  I can have my garden I always wanted, we can fence in a section for Wolf (our dog), we can PREVENT anyone else from buying it.” He thinks it over and says “Make an offer.” My heart pounds, I am ecstatic!

Long story short! I am outbid! By $24,000. Damn bastards!  I had everything going for me, but some land developer scoffed it up. This was 3 years ago, and my husband and I are still mourning over our loss. If only we jumped on the deal as soon as the man knocked on my door, I would be enjoying my front yard! But, we need to build a bridge and get over it though!

Fast forward to the present.  A few weeks ago I saw a For Sale sign on the land.  I call the number.  The woman is trying to tell me that it is a house for sale. I am arguing that it is land. We go back and forth.  She is yelling at me now. So I take a deep breath and say, “I am standing right in front of my house! It is the property right next door. Either I am blind or there is NO HOUSE there!” She then proceeds to say “oh that sign is there in error. It is for the house down the block – we will have that removed immediately.” I am so irate. First, she was nasty. Second, the land is NOT for sale.

But it gets my husband and I thinking.  What is going on with it? Who buys it and doesn’t build on it? My husband is smirking because he believes he was right – you cannot build on it for one reason or another – but they are building on smaller lots around here – so what is the deal? 

There is trash everywhere, it is disgusting. So my husband elicits the help of our teenage son and they clean it out.  Brave souls. I won’t even tell you what they found. Suffice it to say, it is an empty lot, which happens to be a dumping zone for all sorts of items used in sordid activities.

We’re tired of seeing this next to our home all the time.  Today, I finally decide to call the town and find out who owns it. I call the assessors office, they give me the name.  They tell me to call the Tax Reciever’s office to find out where the bill goes, since there is no dwelling on the property. I find that out as well.  I then proceed to call the Planning Dept. and they tell me that there are no plans on file. I take that to mean they never tried to submit anything to develop the area.  Therefore no variance or permits were sought out. What are these people doing with the property and why?

I need to find out and make them an offer! I will offer them $5000 less the asking price of the previous owners! They will laugh at me I am sure, but what do I have to lose?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Ok – 2/9 of us think this is a good idea so for the two of us – here it is

  1. Big A – Aunt F’s famous potato salad, beer and wine
  2. EG – host house, providing scenic view, I believe hot dogs, hamburgers, rolls and general beverages, napkins, plates and utensils and cups! Oh and ice! Anything I missed?
  3. DJ – AS PER HER EMAIL SHE HAS TO SLEEP ON IT! ME THINKS SHE IS RIP VAN WINKLE – WE HAVEN’T HEARD BACK YET!
  4. EE – AKA W2M – still thinking  (contemplating the marinated beef tips – not 100% committed on that.)
  5. TV – cole slaw, beer because T drank all of Em’s! and some form of dessert!
  6. MT – marinated loin of pork & chocolate covered fruit – won’t it melt;mind your business – sounds good, so shut up. (sorry my multiple personalities acting up!)
  7. AJ – cannot attend
  8. KA – chicken sate!
  9. RJ – chocolate cake, macaroni salad, italian bread and wine coolers/malt beverages

Ok we really need the others to play along!

It’s funny how things suddenly attract your attention

I read the newspaper everyday.

I pour myself a cup of coffee and I sit at my kitchen table and read the paper cover to cover – even the sports, business and lifestyle sections.

I am also on the Internet often.  I log on in the morning and I don't shut the computer down until I turn in at night.

But I find it very coincidental that whatever I happen to be learning in class during a particular week, there is a headline pertaining to the like in the newspaper or on-line.

One week we're discussing things being banned for obscenity and I read about the Gossip Girls series. 

Another week, it is about sex trafficking and I read Andrew Vachss article in the Parade magazine.

Another week, we are looking at violence and the use of porn and the Duke Lacrosse Scandal unfolds. 

This week for example is the controversy with Geico upset over the trademark infringement in which a local auto insurance rival depicts their gecko as road kill.  Don't believe me?  Read it here!

Now, I don't think this is an infringement but what do I really know about business law?  Very little is my answer.  However, here are my thoughts. Geico is known for their little green lizard.  This other company is just competing against Geico but instead of naming the company they are using their mascot.  I do not think anybody is going to mistaken their company for Geico.  But Geico has a responsibility to defend their trademark.  If they let this go, they may risk losing their trademark rights. It is up to Geico to go after other companies who use their trademark, win or lose; Geico has that responsibility to protect their precious lizard!

Now, had I not been taking this class I think I would have skimmed reading these articles and not have thought twice about it.  At least I would not have had an idea the significance they hold. But it sure seems like coincidence that they appear the same week we are covering said topics!

(To review the above topics in bold see my entire blog)

I’m Confused – Am I Alone?

While researching my local zoning laws regarding Sexually Oriented Businesses, I came across quite a few interesting sites that I would like to post about. I will not bombard my readers with all of it at once; I will do that a little at a time!

What caught my eye and attention at this particular time was this government website. It is from the Department of City Planning in New York City.  Although, the article itself seems to be somewhat outdated, by 10-15 years; I would like to bring your attention to Impacts Found and Regulations in Other Localities section in the article. It clearly states that jurisdictions with these establishments who have done studies report negative secondary impacts on their community. This completely goes against what we have heard in one of our lectures just a few weeks ago.  I recall hearing that areas with high concentration of adult businesses report less rape.  I guess it all depends on who does the studies and what their agenda is. This is one of many reasons why I don’t trust them! (studies)

In the meantime, I will continue to navigate this and other websites to see exactly what the zoning laws are.  According to the page above, at the time of publishing, NYC did not distinguish adult video stores from mainstream video stores in regards to zoning permits.  I am curious to find out if that has changed. I am also aware that then Mayor, Rudy Guliani, cleaned up the Times Square Red Light District.  I am not sure if it was due to this study or if it was already underway at that time.

Now my question is – if these studies show secondary negative affects, why isn’t that enough to shut them down? Are the rights of these “entrepreneurs” more important than our rights to protect our children and property? It brings to mind the argument of the rights of prisoners and their privacy, etc v. our rights as law abiding citizens to protect ourselves and the vulnerable. But that is another argument for another day and perhaps another class!

I suggest reading Jessie’s posts about her personal story. I wish her and her community much luck. [My community had a swinger’s club right down the road – it was shut down, before my husband and I knew it was there (not that we would have attended). My point is that some communities appear tolerant and others do not.  I think they were cited for other violations: fire code, liquor license, etc. – not necessarily being adult oriented business – but naturally that was their/community leader’s biggest concern.]