Friday, October 03, 2008

Random Observations and Trivial Events


Looking for interesting blogs dealing with writing, I came across a website that features something called a Pen Name Generator. You type in your name, indicate what gender you are, and after you submit the information it somehow generates a pen name for you. According to this gizmo, my pen name should be Jon Stall, which sounds to me like slang for a stopped-up toilet.


Advertisers have figured out that they can no longer get away with advertising some products like they did in 1958. Remember all those old-time ads that featured women who apparently did nothing but sit at home and worry about whether their husband's collars were white enough, or if their floors had any waxy buildup? Those commercials made it appear that all women cared about was (1) housework and (2) pleasing hubby, and advertisers have figured out that nowadays that approach won't get them anywhere, because women -- if they ever were really that way, which I doubt -- aren't like that anymore. They have lots of interests besides housework.

So, if we can change an advertising stereotype concerning women, why can't we change the one which portrays all men as sports-obsessed TV junkies? I swear, every other commercial I see, especially in the fall, is about how guys will do anything -- lie to their wives, neglect their kids, spend more money than they should -- for the ability to park their butts in a chair, eat snacks and drink beer with "the guys," and watch televised sports from early Saturday morning to late Sunday night. I even heard a new AT&T cell phone ad on radio today, featuring a guy whose cruel wife was forcing him to quit watching TV sports to spend time in the park with her and the kids. But, alas!, his new AT&T phone connected with the Internet, so (whew!) he was able to spend all that time in the park checking on scores while he pretended to play with the kids.

Stop it. Just stop it. Yes, there are no doubt some absolutely maniacal, sports-crazed doofuses out there, like there are crazed doofuses of many different stripes, but I don't know any guys who worship sports above all else, do you? I do know guys -- myself included -- who will watch a game or two that interests them, but they have a lot more going on in their lives besides sports. If you can quit with the ads showing women falling in love with their vacuum cleaners, please quit with the sports addict ads.


At least three or four nights a week, Mrs. Muley and I try to take our two sheltie dogs for a walk. Our smallest one loves to hike his leg and leave his calling card on the curb about every 50 feet, while our larger dog waits to do his duty in a little patch of grass by a fence. Before he does, however, he must sniff vigorously like a bloodhound along the length of the patch, lingering longer on some smells than others.

It finally hit me the other night -- my dogs are just as connected to their world as I am to mine. When they're out on a walk, what they're basically doing is communicating with other dogs -- both sending and receiving messages. What I think of as doing a lot of time-consuming sniffing is really the same thing I do when I get to work each morning and fire up the computer. My dogs are checking their e-mail from the day before. And they never get spammed.


Visiting my local big box bookstore the other day, I couldn't help but notice a large table near the entrance filled with books relating to the upcoming Presidential election. There were books by Obama and McCain, books about Obama and McCain, books about how either the Democrats or Republicans are idiots, and books about how the country should vote one way or the other or risk bringing terrible destruction down on everyone.

My thought was -- I know publishers are always trying to make a buck, but is anybody buying these things? I mean, I've got to think that in this particular campaign, there are very few truly "undecided" voters who might need the information in one of these books to help them know which lever to pull in November. Most people, I'm betting, have known for quite some time which candidate they're voting for, and would rather spend their book budget on something else, like a good mystery or graphic novel, or maybe one of those hundreds of books with cute photos of puppies and kittens.


sarahgrace said...

I must say, I'm one of the few people who have not yet decided who they are voting for. I have a good idea, but I still feel like I'll be voting for the lesser of two evils, and don't feel like I'd be confident enough to say I voted for so and so and this why. All that to say- I can't imagine buying one of those books to help me decide, I'd (also) much rather spend my money and time reading Twilight. ;-)

R said...

I am there with you on that. I have no idea why anyone would be undecided. I saw some people being interviewed on the news and they actually WERE undecided but would wait until the next debate to make the final decision. What it tells me is that real issues don't matter to them.

Muley said...

It seems to me like both candidates are trying to appear as fiscally conservative moderate progressives. I don't think either one is showing his total true colors, so maybe a book would help flesh them out a bit. Or maybe it would just make the reader almost catatonic with boredom to where they were in a deep coma come election day.

Sarah: It's a stupid question, but I must ask: Just how much do you like Twilight? And do you enjoy it for the love story, the vampire angle, or both?

R: As in most Presidential elections these days, I think the issues take a back seat to personalities and prejudices. But I may just be too jaded when it comes to politics. I should stick to watching for signs of peace in the Middle East.