November 8th, 2009


Strange Days In West Michigan

Windows Open, Heat Off

Yup. It was nearly 70°F here in the countryside. During the middle of the night, around 4am, it was just about 32°F and the heavy cold fog made it nearly impossible to see past the back deck or the trees in the front yard. Been very hazy all day, but otherwise many bouts of bright and sunshiny weather -- and warm.

I think we had November in October and are having October in November. In other words, typical West Michigan.

Bad Politics

Meanwhile, the national health care debate has resulted in a compromised bill from the House that threatens Democratic support and a Senate whose Republican majority isn't interested in either playing the game or looking up from their playbook to see what the word compromise might possibly mean or do for their constituencies. Improvement if it actually passes and is signed? No doubt. Is it real national health care? Probably not.

Michigan managed to finally get a budget, albeit a month late, but even now there are problems with the money and school budgets are likely to implode. But that's nothing compared to the machinations that are just starting regarding the 2010 elections. See, term limits are going to attack the Michigan State House, Senate, Governor and Attorney General. So in a little over a year the state will be run by people who largely don't know how state government works. Joy. Oh, and Michigan will probably lose a Congressman in the 2010 Census. Can't wait. It's not like Michigan gets back a dollar of spending for every dollar paid in federal taxes. But that's not a problem, because it's not like Michigan's economy is in the dumps even compared to the national average. Oh wait... damn.

We Are Nowhere Close To Having The Best Health Care System In The World

Hard to work on choosing/adjusting health care plans for next year when the system you need to look at online needs a new PIN number -- and the phone number you have to call is only available M-F 9-5. So much for moving the work of choosing health care plans off of work time. And what's up with having to guess what your health is going to be for next year in order to "choose wisely"? Assuming, of course, you are eligible for any choices or even any heath care at all. Uh-huh, being inconvenienced is the good outcome in this problem.

In Short...

Yeah, the weather was pretty today.

Dr. Phil

Recycling An Ad Still Doesn't Make It Right

The Artificial World

We often talk, with books and movies, about requiring a "willing suspension of disbelief." Without it, the story fails and we are left floundering.

With advertising, I suppose one could say there's something similar. Or at least a requirement that we are "willing to go along with the ridiculous logic of the ad world." (grin) Having said that, though, an ad can fail when the ad breaks its own logic, especially at the end. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, a betrayal. As far as the ad agency is concerned, my thoughts always drift to "what were you thinking?" Even ad logic has to have its own rules.

This isn't so much a rant against a TV ad, as a nag. This ad annoyed me when it first came out -- and lately it's been recycled and shown again. A lot. I'm not sure if the corporation is being cheap or devoting itself to laying off more people on Madison Avenue by not buying new ads. It's not as if the corporation can't afford it.

The McDonald's Dollar Menu

In this commercial, this Guy goes around trying to find what he can buy with a single one dollar bill. Of course, in suitable ad world logic we aren't going to worry about silly little things like sales taxes (where applicable), because we're dealing with one lonely sacred dollar bill -- and not change in the pocket or under the sofa cushions.

Of course, Guy's attempts to spend his dollar are fruitless. At the travel agency, the agent gives him a little stick-on palm tree gratis -- "it's yours." The taxicab driver merely tells Guy to "get out." However, at your local neighborhood friendly McDonald's, he is told that a dollar can buy one of several great and satisfying tastes, such as a McDouble double cheeseburger, or a chicken sandwich or small fries or small drink. That's all fine.

But... we end seeing Guy enjoying a whole McDonald's meal. Possibly the McDouble sandwich and fries and drink. Wait a cotton picking second here! That would be three dollars spent (plus sales taxes where applicable), not one dollar.

And that annoys me. Because if we were spending three dollars, we probably still couldn't get anywhere with the travel agent, but you might get somewhere in some city in a cab. And there'd be a choice of three dollar meals and Happy Meals, etc. to choose from.

But not one dollar.

Not The End Of The World

Sorry if you hoping for a great scandal driven rant here, but like I said -- this one nags at me. So I'm nagging back. Doesn't make me really feel any better, but the next time the commercial comes on I'll be able to say "Ri-iiight" or "Up yours" and maybe I will feel a little snug.

Or maybe he traded in that valuable free stick-on palm tree. You think it's worth two dollars?

Dr. Phil