Nov 3, 2008
A further criticism
What is it with all of these erectile dysfunction medication commercials using swing dancing as a metaphor for fucking? Guy gets urge, makes eyes at old lady, then the two of them suggestively engage in a lame living room tango. What's sexy about this? I know you can't show the actual act of coitus -- particularly because they're always old people -- but this just seems like a really archaic and uninspired way of saying, "These two geezers are about to get their bone on." And I frankly don't applaud the spontaneity that says the old lady should be up for it when grandpa comes over all hot and heavy while she's wearing her house sweater and lounge pants. If you're doing it that seldom, it seems like all the more reason to gussy up. Tell Daddy and his union suit to go make themselves comfortable while you put on something pretty. Seriously.
posted by Mary Forrest at 10:08 PM | Back to Monoblog
Oct 9, 2007
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Audrey and I just got back in from a walk. There was a package at my door. Well, there were two. One was The Boatniks on DVD. The other was a black knit turtleneck sweater dress I ordered. I tried it on in the guest bedroom. It reminded me of a charcoal grey knit turtleneck sweater dress I bought and wore around this time of year eleven years ago. But the charcoal grey one fit better. The one that just arrived is probably going back.
Someone nearby is playing ABBA loud enough for me to recognize and sing along. Which reminds me that I just spent the weekend celebrating my older sister's nuptials to her lovely Swedish groom Paul. After the wedding, there were 15 or 20 Swedes (and two American crashers) in my hotel room, playing ABBA on my iTunes playlist and eventually getting security involved. And yesterday, there were as many Swedes lounging poolside at my parents' house, looking perfect in their bathing costumes and wondering if Encinitas is officially paradise.
I was so exhausted, I could barely keep my eyes open driving home from San Diego last night. Like I had to talk myself into not taking extra long blinks, even when I was only a mile or two away from my apartment. That fatigue has stretched on into today. I can barely tell what day of the week it is. Or what hour of the day. It's all chapped lips, sore neck, crooked posture, and indecisive eyeshadow today. I'm looking at this as the painful process required before renewal can begin. Digging in deep to peel off my dragon skin.
Oh. On Friday, I went to San Diego to change my hair again.
I let my stylist take pictures of my breasts for a collection of photographs he is going to be mounting in the salon to raise money for breast cancer research. At least I think that's what the story was. So if you walk into a hair salon in San Diego and see a bunch of boobs on the wall, two of them might be mine. Let's find a cure already. I'm eventually going to have too much self-respect and/or shame to continue this kind of activism.
Labels: commercials, photos
posted by Mary Forrest at 6:34 PM | Back to Monoblog
Oct 3, 2007
Carbonara isn't just a bacon thing.
This Quizno's Chicken Carbonara Sub commercial is offensive to me. There is nothing carbonara about this sandwich. It even has mushrooms on it. Will people just eat anything if you give it a name that sounds like it comes from a restaurant you've never been to? And on the other side of that, will anyone ever really buy these Cafe Express Steamers and not be afraid to eat what's in them?
P.S. Yes. This is my first actual post in quite some time. I can only imagine your disappointment.
posted by Mary Forrest at 11:55 PM | Back to Monoblog
Apr 24, 2007
ad astra per aspera
I fell into a pit of distraction. And then I stayed in it. Because getting out of it required an explanation, and I was very, very busy.
More 3rd Street than Hollywood.
The day I took Kerstin to the airport to return her to England, we were on our way to lunch and we crossed Robertson and 3rd right in front of Samuel L. Jackson in a slick Mercedes . I later joked that I should have taken his license plate number and accused him of having hit us. Soon after, we lamented not having pitched him the idea we had about a remake of Scarface starring him.
Last week, Jessie and I went to Canter's late in the night, and Fairuza Balk strode in. And last night at the Arclight, Everybody Loves Raymond's mother was having dinner a table or two away. Samuel L. Jackson wins this round.
"I'm gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge."
I saw the Grindhouse double feature a couple of weeks ago. I didn't think Death Proof was very good. Planet Terror was pretty entertaining, but -- having just seen Hot Fuzz last night -- I conclude that if you're going to effect a genre homage, Hot Fuzz is the way to do it. Grindhouse is not. Add to that how ineffectually Grindhouse was marketed and I'm not terribly surprised it's been doing so poorly. Although you should see it just for the parody trailers. Especially the one by the guys who made Hot Fuzz.
I really need an Aeron chair.
Work has been pulling all-nighters out of me multiple times a week for weeks on end. I take secret pleasure in the fact that I can still do it. But that doesn't ameliorate the actual stressful effects. Knowing you have to be up for one night is one thing. Knowing you have to be up for three nights straight is somewhat more defeating. But a paycheck is a paycheck, and it's welcome, and it has made a number of new outfits possible. So I shake hands with the devil and agree to his terms, knowing full well he doesn't exist. I win!
You can't out-Forrest the Forrest.
I take notes when I'm at the movies. I take notes when I'm at comedy shows. I take notes when I'm in the middle of an actual conversation with a live person and I'm the one talking. I write a lot of shit down, but I don't do as much with it as I plan to. And I dont' always remember what I meant by what I wrote down in reading it later. I also write in the dark a lot and am often unable to decipher my penmanship. Moleskine notebooks are expensive. I waste them a lot.
I know the little jingles to certain commercials, because I watch the same network nearly all the time, and I hear the same commercials again and again. Activia. Caduet. 21st Century Insurance. Some commercial for gastric bypass surgery. Some commercial for anti-depressants. The NBA. I wonder sometimes about all that brain space and what other things it could be used for. And I just learned that Connecticut is the nutmeg state. I wonder when that will come in handy, knowing full well that it eventually will.
There is a lot of art I'm not making.
ad astra per alia porci
posted by Mary Forrest at 10:47 AM | Back to Monoblog
Feb 16, 2007
Sally Field is pimping Boniva, an osteoporosis-prevention medicine that positions itself as being better than other similar medicines because you only have to take it once a month. Sally was just saying that her girlfriend told her that she has to set aside time once every day to take her osteoporosis medication, so when she learned about the once-monthly regimen of Boniva, she was like, "I can handle that."
I hate being lied to. Especially by people who are being paid to try and trick me into thinking they're sincere and real. Nothing about Sally's story rings true. Her "friend" never seems to have a name. And frankly, how does Sally tolerate a whiner who thinks taking a pill once a day is too time-consuming to be endured? How about the time this friend wastes talking about how much time it takes? It's not a very powerful marketing message. Not being a hunchback is much more compelling than having thirty extra seconds every day. And I'm also assuming that if you're old enough to be worried about being a hunchback, you're probably taking other pills every day, too. You know, the pills that keep your heart from stopping willy nilly. And the pills to keep your sciatica from flaring up. And the pills to keep your trick knee from going tricky. So just throw your osteoporosis pill in with all the others. Amortizing the pill-taking time across all of these other medications makes it virtually negligible. Unless osteoporosis medication comes in a really complicated bottle. In which case, I suggest to the makers of Boniva that designing a bottle that's more like a Zip-Loc bag might also be a nice way to go, product development-wise.
Sally Field, don't drink coffee into the camera and tell me you care about your friends and their bones. I don't buy it for a minute. And I'm pretty sure that's not your kitchen either.
posted by Mary Forrest at 1:21 PM | Back to Monoblog
Feb 13, 2007
You and Your Water
Dexatrim Max2O (that 2 should be subscripted, but go jump in a lake, will you?) runs these spots on television encouraging you to sprinkle this stuff in your drinking water and thereby become thin and energetic and wonderful all around. "Gives me and my water a boost!" says one chipper young fellow before taking an enthusiastic draught from his water bottle. And the voiceover instructs you to "max out your water" with Dexatrim Max2O. It may be inappropriately old world of me, but this only makes me think of urine.
I vaguely remember an interview on, I think, This American Life but certainly an NPR program. It was a Jewish fellow who is famous for something now. I don't remember what. He may be a musician. He and his sister visited Israel when he was a boy, and their knowledge of Hebrew was sometimes jeered at because of how formal their diction was. He gave an example of excusing himself to use the restroom and saying something essentially to the effect of begging someone's leave so that he might go make water. I think. I really don't remember this memory well enough to recount it, I'm realizing.
Anyway, so I know of this phrase "to make water," and I know that it was once said to mean "to go pee pee." And as a result, hearing about your water or my water or even someone being described as "a comedienne of the first water" (as was just done on a page of Henry Miller I read last night) generally makes me cringe. I'm evolved enough to know that this is my problem and not Dexatrim's or Henry Miller's for that matter. But I'm self-centered enough to complain about it publicly. So there you go.
You and your water go do what you need to, but please don't do it near me. I have a thing about other people's pee.
Labels: commercials, photos
posted by Mary Forrest at 3:24 PM | Back to Monoblog
Feb 5, 2007
Wraith Pinned to Commercial Success
I am a fan of Of Montreal, but I was so disappointed when -- a few months back -- I heard their song Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games in an Outback Steakhouse commercial. Not only did they license the song to that awful restaurant, they even recorded an original version of the song with new Outback Steakhouse lyrics. Leaving me to seethe. The only positive spin I can put on it is that in the original song, the lyrics "Let's go Outback tonight" are supplanted by the lyrics "Let's pretend we don't exist," which may be a comment of its own.
Obviously, I've forgiven them. I went to see them last week, and I didn't boo or anything. They're still one of the feel-goodiest bands there is, and their outfits rule. I just hate that hearing that groovy little bass line should ever make me think of a Bloomin' Onion instead of an acid trip.
posted by Mary Forrest at 8:25 PM | Back to Monoblog
Jan 24, 2007
"You gave Jenny the huggies?"
I just saw a heartbreaking commercial for Pedigree dog food. The visual is of dogs behind fences in a shelter. The voiceover is in the first person. A dog saying, "I know how to sit, how to fetch, and how to roll over. What I don't know is how I ended up in here. But I know that I am a good dog. And I just want to go home." These sweet dog faces with their big wet eyes. Of course I just want to bring them all home and put them in my bed. Then what was the dog's voice says, "When you buy Pedigree we make a donation to help shelter dogs find loving homes. The Pedigree adoption drive. Help us help dogs." And there's this bleak, one-note-at-a-time guitar music being plucked in the background. It sure made me want to run out the door with paper currency fanned out of my fist and find all of those dogs and put shirts on them and hug them and hug them and hug them. I can picture myself slow dancing with one of the bigger ones. You know how you can put their paws on your shoulders and...well, I'm getting ahead of myself. I don't have a fistful of money. I don't have a yard. And I haven't done my hair yet. How could I possibly leave the house.
And then Jenny from The Muppets Take Manhattan was playing a bitchy mom in a courtroom scene on Judging Amy. Long gone are the baseball t-shirts and the early '80s running shorts. Replaced by a smart bobbed hairdo and what looks like pink bouclé. Long gone. I know that I am a good dog. And I just want to go home.
Labels: commercials, The Muppets Take Manhattan
posted by Mary Forrest at 1:17 PM | Back to Monoblog
Aug 29, 2006
Overheard on television
I caught a bit of a commercial for psoriasisconnect.com, and there were a number of apparent psoriasis-sufferers offering testimonials about why it's so great to have psoriasisconnect.com as a resource. Like how great it was to be able to communicate with other people suffering from the same condition. How awesome it was to be able to find doctors quickly and read up on new therapies. And then one guy cited this as a reason for visiting this powerful and helpful web site: "I learned to answer questions like, 'Daddy, what's all over your legs?'"
I didn't make that up.
posted by Mary Forrest at 12:57 AM | Back to Monoblog
Dec 21, 2005
I realize my blog is turning into a Food Network play-by-play, but that's what happens in my house near the holidays if there's no James Bond or A Christmas Story marathon to be found.
And just now I saw a commercial for Kraft Crumbles, and they've repurposed that EMF song Unbelievable so that it goes, "You're CRUM-believable." It's the end of the world. And I never got to do it in an airplane.
posted by Mary Forrest at 8:27 PM | Back to Monoblog
Jul 23, 2005
For the Sake of Comparison
Carlos Mencia is not funny. At all. That Baja California Starburst commercial where the mariachis get crushed in the guy's teeth, however, is.
posted by Mary Forrest at 12:33 AM | Back to Monoblog
Jul 7, 2005
When my mother wants me to have things -- mail, a copy of Entertainment Weekly, batteries, a bottle of vitamins -- she leaves them on the dresser in the guest bedroom of her house. So that when I come to visit, I will see them and put them in my bag. I haven't been visiting all that much recently, but the second to last time I was there -- which was just before leaving on my New York trip -- I went upstairs and found that she had left me a book called Blissful Detox with the subhead "Over 100 Simply Delicious Cleansing Recipes." My mother makes no secret of her concern for my digestive health. It's just like in that laxative commercial when the mother asks the daughter about her regularity while they're sitting on a plane. I used to think that commercial was stupid. But then it turned into a blueprint for living. For me.
posted by Mary Forrest at 11:28 PM | Back to Monoblog
Jun 28, 2005
Is being less fat really such a laudable accomplishmment?
When I was in New York a couple of weeks ago, I saw Jared on the street. Jared, the Subway guy. The former fatso who tries to interest me in puny six-inch sub sandwiches by comparing them to actual fast food and pretending it isn't a case of apples and oranges. Forget apples and oranges. It's apples and turds, as far as I'm concerned. You just can't compare them. Is anyone surprised that a crispy chicken sandwich has more fat in it than a cold chicken sub without mayo or cheese? Maybe you would also be stunned to learn that a cheesecake has more fat in it than a string bean. And furthermore that eating a turkey leg is more fattening than eating a housefly. Oh, the hours I could fill with interesting facts you would apparently react to quizzically.
So I passed Jared on the sidewalk of Lexington Avenue, and he looked much as he does on television. Maybe shorter than I expected. But certainly no better dressed. I'm reminded of it because I just saw a Subway commercial he's in, and I find his face so unappealing. His teeth look capped or veneered, and his lips are too big and rosy and wrinkled. I just want someone to give him a pinkieful of balm. Wrinkly, full lips are just gross to look at. And he has 'em. And frankly, he's not so very thin. I realize he's not as fat as he used to be, but I'd hardly say he has a cute body. I'm just surprised that his story appeals to America at all. America is usually so fickle. So ready to abandon a once-beloved celebrity for putting on weight or beginning to show evidence of sun damage. So short-tempered when it comes to age and infirmity and carbo-loading. Why would the America that wanted Kate Winslet to skip a crumpet or two get behind this only slightly less tubby Jared and take his advice on foodstuffs? I wonder what portion of Subway's clientele wanders in actually believing they're going to board a train and go somewhere.
posted by Mary Forrest at 12:16 AM | Back to Monoblog
May 23, 2005
I wonder if anyone actually joins the Army or the Marines after watching one of these gay commercial spots.
posted by Mary Forrest at 7:14 PM | Back to Monoblog
May 5, 2005
There is a commercial making the rounds right now with Melissa Paull playing a girl who says she's not a smoker because she only smokes occasionally and doesn't actually buy her own cigarettes. It's all done in voiceover with the action being her smoking outside a bar, smoking outside the office, brushing her teeth in the office bathroom, et cetera. And the zinger at the end is something to the effect of, "Admit it. You're a smoker." Or "Face it. You're a smoker." And I realized that when I watch this, it does not have the impact on me that I'm assuming it's intended to. I'm assuming it's intended to stigmatize even casual smoking behavior and make people who bum the occasional fag feel self-conscious of the fact that they are among the loathsome ranks of the ACTUAL smokers of the world. But when I watch it, I instead think, "Hm. I guess you're right. I guess I AM a smoker. Maybe I should invest in a good lighter and start having cigarettes delivered to my home by mail. All this occasionally not having the right implements on hand when I feel like lighting up is for the birds." The next time it's on, I'll check the notices to see if it's actually an advert for the tobacco lobby. Because if it is, I'd have to say, they're pretty smart over there. And I would expect this to be an early entry in a wave of fake PSAs from manufacturers who must resort to subversive tactics to convert a sale. "Face it. You live near a nuclear power plant." "Wise up. You have a membership at an adult video rental." "Let's be honest here. You are living on convenience food and breath mints and trying to make ends meet by selling the prorated remaining portion of your gym membership on craigslist."
posted by Mary Forrest at 10:50 AM | Back to Monoblog
Apr 12, 2005
I'm just here to observe.
This Adrien Brody Diet Coke commercial is a mystery to me. We see Adrien Brody sitting on the front steps of a New York apartment building, opening a can of Diet Coke and letting a series of weird pearly bubbles out into the atmosphere. Offscreen, we hear a youthful voice call out, "Brody!" Then, post-sip, we see him stepping large down the sidewalk in a throwback suit with a questionably exposed chest, drinking his coke and apparently lighting the town on fire. But wait. Since when did Oscar®-winning actor Adrien Brody (in shiny white sneakers, no less -- not cool) become a symbol of the funk lifestyle? And are we meant to believe he drives a hydraulic-enhanced sedan? Or that anyone he knows does? The theme of the advert is "Bounce." But I'm lost. Thirsty. And maybe I'll drink a Diet Coke because of that. But lost just the same.
And what's going on with the Internet these days? Have you noticed how it keeps not working?
posted by Mary Forrest at 11:49 PM | Back to Monoblog
Mar 2, 2005
Laughter. Like Medicine.
Last night at Largo, Paul F. Tompkins had a bit to say about the Oscars and about Sean Penn and his apparent humorlessness in taking offense on Jude Law's behalf to what Chris Rock said about how many movies he was in last year. I was sorry I hadn't actually gotten to watch the show, because some amount of the jokes may have been lost on me, and that is a grave concern of mine. My powers of inference and extrapolation are considerable, thankfully. So I doubt I was ever entirely left in the dust, but there's really no way of knowing at this point. Tonight I watched The Daily Show and heard Jon Stewart lampooning the same incident, and I got to see Sean Penn's actual "performance," followed by Jon Stewart's epilogue to the incident, which went something like this: "Penn added, 'And while we're at it, Mr. Youngman, I would not like to take your wife, as I already have one. And, Mr. Seinfeld, regarding your query, in re: The Deal with Airplane Peanuts, the answer is economies of scale render it fiscally imprudent to distribute them in larger packaging. Let's get to the nominees.'" And that amused me greatly and also made me think that, despite his acting talents and impressive head of hair, Sean Penn must just be no fun at all to live with. I wonder what would happen if he ever happened on to a televisation of a celebrity roast. I'll bet there would be tears and broken things very soon after.
My friend Adam sent me a very well-written and thoughtfully-reasoned assessment of the show, too. And all of this just compounds in force and focuses like a laser on my sense of inadequacy at having not bothered to watch or form any opinions of my own. Sometimes I miss things. And, yet, I managed to watch Equilibrium in its entirety. Yes, I was working the whole time, but it's not like I didn't look up ever. Christian Bale is awfully distracting. Even when he's fulfilling the gargantuan cliché of experiencing an enormous welling-up of emotion at the first hearing of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I mean, yeah, it was the Fourth Movement, but it was right at the beginning of it. Not anywhere near the Ode to Joy. No one cries at that opening part.
Anyway, at least I managed to not see The Counting Crows at all. You have no idea how much I go out of my way to not be exposed to them.
So, yeah, the PFT Show was awesome as usual. I wonder what I would say in the event that it ever wasn't any good, but my imagination just isn't that keen. My friend Tom and I were talking today and couldn't remember how it was that Paul got off on an interesting tangent regarding skeletons just before the show wrapped up -- right before Danny Boy and the excellent reference to 1995's Se7en, a.k.a. Seven (alternative spelling). But Tom felt that the declaration, "Skeletons, you take the cake," was the topper.
And before we left, I gave Martín an opportunity to defend his assertion that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy to Wayne Federman, as Wayne and I had just been discussing the comparative superiority of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (the Star Wars: prefixes are implied) a couple of nights before. But it was just as I suspected. Even Martín is enough of a grown-up now to admit that Return of the Jedi can be his favorite without actually being the best. Everyone knows the death of the franchise started with that movie. I invite your dissension on this topic, should you find that it inexplicably exists.
Coincidentally, while we were driving to Largo, I asked Martín if he ever feels like a grown-up these days, and we had a short chat about that phenomenon. As I often feel as clueless and flailing as I did in high school, and, aside from having my own bank account and a private residence and stuff, it amazes me on a daily basis that I'm allowed to do anything unsupervised. I'm better today in many ways than I was when I was a youngster, but in many ways I am shockingly the same. And I wish every meal came with a toy.
Labels: Adam, comedy, commercials, Paul F. Tompkins, Star Wars
posted by Mary Forrest at 2:06 AM | Back to Monoblog
Feb 20, 2005
Ex Post Facto
So, I saw that commercial again. The one that prompted me to write this entry. And I've discovered that the actual list of items (that were actually scrolling up from the bottom, even though when I said that part, I thought I was making it up, because I nearly never look at the t.v. while I'm listening to it) was much funnier than the fake ones I made up.
All Serious Injuries
Slip & Fall
Wrongful Death Cases
Back, Neck & Head Injuries
Nursing Home Neglect
Well, okay. I came up with "Irony," and that was pretty good. But I thought "Brain Damage" and "Dog Bites" were also very amusing. Especially because of their proximity to each other. And when you go to the web site for lawyersgroup.com, it turns out it isn't even a law office. It's an advertising service for lawyers who litigate personal injury cases, and the web site promises a dramatic increase in caseload on the basis of commercials like this one. One of the bullets on the home page, enumerating the things this company offers, is "Advertising Strategies to Reach Injury Victims." I think I appreciate the matter-of-fact way in which this service is just the Internet's answer to ambulance-chasing. Lawyers are dicks. Except for all the ones I know, who are actually decent and wonderful people.
posted by Mary Forrest at 6:51 AM | Back to Monoblog
Jan 14, 2005
The Rain in Spain
Martín and I went to The Improv tonight to catch Paul F. Tompkins and Andy Kindler and David Cross and surprising bits of coolness from Jonah Ray and Eddie Pepitone. Martín was under the weather, and I was sort of similarly, but when we commit to a night of comedy, it's written in stone.
Martín has finished moving in, and in case you didn't hear it from me personally, his new apartment is quite literally a block away from mine. Even on the same street, no less. It's the nearest we've ever lived to one another since the commencement of our friendship, more than eight years ago. I predict that we will be going to countless shows around town from now on. And that he will overprotectively demand to drive my car home while I pretend to be drunker than I actually am. Score. I also predict that we will grow to despise each other some time within the next three to six months. The price of proximity.
I have nothing important to say. Except that listening to movies in Japanese makes me feel closer to myself than listening to movies in any other language. I was watching that movie -- I think it's called Escaped Convict Baby -- with Skeet Ulrich and Gary Oldman in it before it was time to go out tonight, and I realized that the loop of The Sea Is Watching, even when I couldn't really look at the subtitles or remember how to translate the dialogue, was a much better film. If only because it reminded me what good nigiri tastes like and what wonderful liqueurs you can buy at Japanese 7-11s. How I do miss my Violet Fizz. And my Cobra- and News-brand whiskeys. Cheap cheap cheap and with a reasonable likeness of Dick Tracy on the label of at least one of those. Mild Seven cigarettes. Popeye magazine. Everything seems so ridiculous when you actually write it down. How I do reminisce about the year when I was fifteen. I guess I would rather hear people talking in Japanese through an accidental party line than watch a movie with lame American dialogue in it. Baby Boom was on the other night. I didn't watch it at all. But if I did, I would have scoffed at Diane Keaton's belted suits, and then I would have wished she was talking in Nihongo. I miss my sweet Yokosuka. I really do. Pay for me to spend an afternoon in the train station outside the Naval base, and I will be your friend for life. Seriously. I will provide a string quartet for your wedding. I will cook exotic meals for you. I will go to Melrose with you and truthfully tell you what you should and shouldn't buy. This is an investment in your future. Jessie went to Paul's web site recently and found her way to the links list, where she stumbled onto http://www.engrish.com, an Internet destination that has been among my favorites since at least early 1998 or 1999. Just saying that makes me feel like an old woman in a wheelchair. The fact that I was using the Internet back when it was new and many people did not understand it is just further proof that I have no business buying the new Franz Ferdinand CD. I shouldn't be allowed to buy any music that postdates Linda Ronstadt (who is dead now, right?). It's not a question of age. It's a question of prolonged sentience. And I have been technologically aware for far too long. Anyway, that web site also makes me want to go back to that special place where everyone spits on the ground and an apple costs like ten bucks. Ah, me -- the magic of my youth.
There's a C2 (that's the new bullshit Coca-cola lower-carb soda) commercial with Queen's I Want to Break Free acting as soundtrack. This reminds me of Beulah's tutelage that Germany uses Queen songs as advertising soundtrack for everything. Apparently, the song needn't even have any narrative relationship to the commercial. Germans just feel like spending money when Queen songs are involved. I guess I feel the same way. But I won't spend any money on C2. I'd rather buy a fancy vodka.
Beulah leaves tomorrow for her expansive East Coast trip. She's all stressed out because she has to accompany a busload of eighth-graders to various important educational spots, including the presidental inauguration. I'm sure it will be awesome, and she will be awesome. And if you are a mutual friend of ours living in the D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, or other major historical U.S. city area and you know Beulah's cell phone number, by all means, start punching those numbers. She's coming to town, and there isn't a moment to lose! If you don't have her cell phone number, you probably feel like a huge jerk right now. And rightfully so. Hint: It's not (888) 2-GOOD-4U, but it might as well be.
I'm always hoping I'll be brilliant when I start writing. But I'm often disappointed. And tonight, I'm going to play a few PlayStation2 games to cleanse my palate of that sensation. You're already sleeping. So what difference does it make?
Labels: comedy, commercials, Paul F. Tompkins, photos
posted by Mary Forrest at 3:57 AM | Back to Monoblog
Jun 15, 2004
The Killing Moon
Does anyone in the world stay up as late as I do? And I had junk to post, too. But it's so late now that I don't think I shall bother. The same thing happened last night. And the night before. I never even bothered to write about the sunshine or the belly-baring or the bed collapsing in the middle of the night while I slept. And what of the swim? And the militant raw food place? What of all the ideas? And the picture-taking? And the tuna sandwiches I never made? What of all the hopes and the expectations and the fulfillments and the failures? Yes, well, it's always quite a list with me. Here are some things that remain true: I despise Doug Stanhope. Gas costs a lot of money. The Mobil on Magnolia and Mast has the nicest bathroom I have ever seen in a gas station. Generosity isn't free. And neither is being able to hold your liquor. Sunlight makes my nose itch. Dancing is groovy. But only when it's groovy. The drive is long, but the road remains the same. I like to play the violin.
The last time I had a first-time-in-a-long-time swim with short hair after years and years of long, long hair, I was eleven, and it was Guam, and I was at the pool with my little sister. I had just cut off a good three feet of hair that day. And I was anxious to see what it felt like to glide through the water without getting entangled in the kelplike tendrils that used to come up under my arms and bind me to frustration. Sitting poolside while Beulah splashed about, some utterly forgettable Marine sat down beside me and started hitting on me. He asked if my husband was on a ship. I said, "No." But the subtext of that was, "I am eleven years-old you perverted pervert." It was not the last time that a fellow would mistake Beulah for my daughter, but the other story involves less perviness and more Holstein-cow-printed seat covers. Gross.
Could the commercials for the Girls Gone Wild videos be any less enticing? The synthesized steel drum soundtrack loop only further affirms for me how much I really, really hate Doug Stanhope.
Which reminds me, I also can't stand the pants off of Matt Pinfield. He is such a revoltingly inept interviewer he nearly made me hate the Beastie Boys tonight. And I LOVE the Beastie Boys. Why are some untalented people not starving to death in a ditch somewhere?
The girls dancing in the commercial for the Girls Gone Wild video make me think of that movie The Accused. That would be a good way to sell those videos: if they promised that one out of three of the hotties you see shaking it in that classic dancefloor sexual palsy will get gangraped before the tape ends. They're asking for it, right?
After the Girls Gone Wild video infomercial ended, an informercial for one of those motorized geriatric scooter places came on. Classic.
P.S. Happy birthday, Pants.
posted by Mary Forrest at 5:29 AM | Back to Monoblog
Jun 1, 2004
Let me just start this out by saying that my face is tingling with anger at the fact that I had finished this post and was pleased with it and then went to post it and found that nearly everything I'd written had been cut off. I have tried to recreate it, but I am so tired of having to assure you that I am better at this than I appear. What I wrote the first time around will live on ghostlike in my memory, a taunting reminder that what you will now read is a mere shade -- ersatz.
But on with it.
I had lunch at the Hotel Bel-Air today with Adam and Scott, who wanted to thank me for designing his web site when he was running for elected office (he won). He really didn't owe me anything; I was happy to do it. But the lunch was nice just the same. Lovely company in a terribly beautiful setting. We walked by the little Swan Lake they have there. It was idyllic and sunny and tranquil. It hardly feels like Los Angeles. Until you see all the embarrassingly swanky cars in the lot. And Joe Millionaire was sitting at the table beside us. I have no patience for such things.
As a surefire means of eclipsing the tattered remnants of a month that might have ended without much glory, Martín and I went to see the Paul F. Tompkins Show, and -- like magic -- all that was wrong in the world was set right again. I cannot venture far enough into the depths of the superlative to craft a compliment that would do this man justice. He is the awesomest. He and Michael Penn did a rendition of the Talking Heads' Psycho Killer that you should kill yourself for having missed. Seriously. Right now. Get your affairs in order and get on with it. He even worked an homage to the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun into the opening number, and that, too, was several magnitudes more excellent than anything you could possibly have seen or done today. Why oh why did you go to that barbecue where at least three different people brought crockpots with some gross bean dish simmering in them? Why did you let your girlfriend talk you into shampooing the carpets on THIS NIGHT? Why did you waste the day memorializing our fallen soldiers? They can't hear you. And frankly they're not altogether impressed with the fact that you don't think about them at all during the other 364 days of the year. Sure, you have a static decal of the ol' stars and stripes stuck to the window in your Toyota truck's camper shell, but were you really "saluting" it by spending most of the day skirfing? Maybe you just hate yourself. I can't let that be my problem. And I don't actually have any power to compel you in this, but my strongly-worded suggestion stands. You cheated yourself tonight, and for that you deserve to be punished. By you, because the cruel irony will teach you a sterner lesson. I was going to play good cop-bad cop and tell you that you deserve better than the Paul F. Tompkins-free world you are living in, but the more I think about your behavior tonight, the more convinced I am that you don't. A foolish person might see the PFT and wish that everyone in the world could be that funny or that talented or that smart. And another foolish person might call that person a communist.
Martín also finally gave me my birthday present. He had left it in the trunk of his car all this time. We joked that it was a puppy. That reminds me of the time my cousin gave me a brown paper bag that was stapled shut and instructed me to give it to my younger sister. I stuck it in my car and forgot about it for weeks. When I finally remembered, we hesitated before opening the bag, thinking, "What if it's a bag of cheese?" But then we remembered that our cousin is Chinese and not likely to enjoy dairy products. It turned out to be a wetsuit. Which doesn't make for much of a story.
So that's how I spent the last day in May. My birthday month. The only month that doesn't require abbreviation. I also finished up some work, did a little tidying, and looked at hundreds of items on eBay. And while all of that was going on, I let Quiz Show play on the television. And it occurred to me that that film is an uncanny allegory for that whole scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison and the ensuing public relations nightmare. If you need me to explain myself, I will. But you will have to ask me to, and that will be embarrassing for you.
Labels: Adam, comedy, commercials, Paul F. Tompkins, photos
posted by Mary Forrest at 2:55 AM | Back to Monoblog
Feb 17, 2004
I saw another guy I know on an H&R Block commercial last night. This time it was a guy named Brian who I went out with about a year and a half ago. One more such sighting and I'll begin to wonder if H&R Block is toying with me. Perhaps they've never gotten over the fact that I started to file my taxes online with them a couple of years ago and never finished, choosing instead to file with my own tax software. I just used their site to file an extension, but it was nothing personal.
posted by Mary Forrest at 9:26 AM | Back to Monoblog
Nov 24, 2003
"I've got a feeling."
I was adrift at the PFT, tonight. A little too much wine. A little too much Monday. Very little appetite. Painful twisting posture, straining to see the stage antics. When they all got together to sing the Beatles -- even Robyn Hitchcock, Brian Unger, and Jack Black -- I was happy to hear it but not entirely there. Although special thanks go out to the cute guy in front of Damiano's who checked me out from head to toe and back again. Somehow, it does wonders for the self-esteem to be sized up like so much meat.
Everybody had a hard year
Everybody had a good time
Everybody had a wet dream
Everybody saw the sun shine
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
Check...check...check...and check. Feel like asking about number three? I knew you would. My eyes hurt. From all the things that eyes do. I don't know if I have ever been so tired. Is it so great an effort to be whatever it is that I am? I haven't trained for this. And yet, I have.
Everybody had a good year
Everybody let their hair down
Everybody pulled their socks up
Everybody put their foot down
I really want to let loose and tear it all apart. Without fear of the sweat. I want to do all that is impractical and out of character. I want to open up. I want to vomit up all the fear and guilt and self-restraint. I want to purge my ears of the voices that only cause me to feel like less than I am. I want to take it all with me. I want to quit faking it all the damned time.
All these years I've been wandering around
wondering how come nobody told me
All that I was looking for was somebody
who looked like you
My mother called this evening to check in on me and to tell me that -- apparently as a result of having watched something on the Ellen DeGeneres Show -- she thought I should get into comedy after all. Stand-up. She was giving me her blessing to tell stories about how funny she is. In fact, something she said on the phone made me laugh, and she advised me to write it down. And she reminded me that many people think I'm funny, bless her heart. I said she would rue this day. That if I ever took my life to the stage, everyone in my family would be injured and mortified. But apparently success acts as a lure, like the glistening of gemstones in a pirate's cove. Or the Holy Grail in that crevice as the earth is cracking up and you can al...most...reach...it. She's willing to risk it. For the 401(k).
Labels: commercials, Paul F. Tompkins
posted by Mary Forrest at 11:51 PM | Back to Monoblog