The Ink is Black, the Page is White, Togther we Learn … Nothing

northamEnduring a completely unexpected blowback of opprobrium from his constituents, and, well, just about everybody else in America for his inclusion on his yearbook page of a photo of a white dude in blackface posing next to another (presumably) white dude wearing a KKK costume, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia has defiantly resisted calls for his resignation. Sure, this offensive photo didn’t appear in his high-school yearbook when it could have been chalked up to youthful indiscretion, but rather a yearbook when he was in med school at the age of 25. But, so what – wasn’t it OK a million years ago (say, mid-1980s) to poke harmless fun at that other race without being a real racist? I mean, it’s not like Ralph went to a party dressed as Michael Jackson with black shoe polish smeared on his face.

Hey, Ralph agrees the photo is kinda offensive, y’know, in a harmless sense. But in any event, he says neither of the clowns captured in the picture is him. (Yes, it begs the question, “why put that picture – of all the possible pictures you could choose – on your yearbook page…. when you were 25 and not 8?”)

But, given the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, might we not at least try to help the Guv identify the real culprit in blackface. Might it well be one of these bigots?

bface

Deceit at 30,000 Feet

Pfizer, the maker of an eczema drug called Eucrisa has been running TV ads for their “steroid free” ointment that supposedly reverses those painful, crusty patches on the skin.

Actors presumably in remission from eczema are shown consorting in near-contact with others, confident that no one will recoil in fear and disgust at unsightly blemishes. Eczema is not contagious, but I bet Pfizer has done loads of research that shows most people nevertheless consider it a skin disease akin to leprosy – hence the up-close-and-personal touch.

One vignette in the TV ad shows a flight attendant with a barely-noticeable blotch on her wrist hoisting a carry-on bag into an overhead bin. Later she hands a pair of clip-on wings to a carefree child – suggesting that her eczema plague has been reduced to a malady less threatening than cooties. Happiness, right?

That makes sense. To quote Don Draper, “Advertising is based on one thing – happiness.”

It follows then that one thing advertising is not based on is unhappiness. And what could engender more unhappiness than climbing aboard a plane today with its close-cropped seats overflowing with stinky humanity? How does Pfizer stage this tender on-board scene without upsetting viewers who hate flying more than discovering the toilet in the bus station lavatory has no seat?

They pretend airline travel has flipped back in time to pre-deregulation days when airplanes were commonly less than half-full, overhead binds offered copious space, and no one actually occupied a middle seat. Hell, in this Eucrisa ad, there are no more than 10 passengers on a plane that holds 50.

The only plane today that might have so many open seats is a one-way charter flight to Iraq (with a Star of David on the tail) that first does a fly-by past a Syrian anti-aircraft missile base.

Fuck you Spectrum

speculum

Like millions, I set my ass in front of the TV to watch at least a couple quarters of the Stupor Bowl. As my setup is in the basement (and I live in an area of the US that is fast rivaling Siberia for its exposure to boner-chilling “polar vortices”), I flipped on a little electric space heater which blew a circuit breaker just as the game was about to commence. Off went the TV.

I unplugged the heater, reset the breaker and turned on the TV – and was greeted with a MSDOS-like message from Spectrum on the otherwise blank screen about a download that had to complete before I could resume watching what I pay through the nose for every month.

  • Did I have an option to postpone the download? No.
  • Did Spectrum offer an estimate of how long it would take their critical update to complete? No.
  • Did the update have to run through 12 fucking stages? Oh yeah.

As the Spectrum ads featuring monsters says, “satellite bad.” What they forgot to mention: “Spectrum worse.”

Fuck you, Spectrum!

A Wonderful Word

Xoloitzcuintli – a hairless breed of dog.

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