Archive - September, 2011

Ads With Friends

Full Disclosure: I love playing Words With Friends but I’m not paying for the ad-free version.  This isn’t because I’m cheap (I’m actually more frivolous than I should be) it’s because the free version makes you look at a little advertisement between turns.

These ads are as bad, or worse, than the ones on Facebook.  They are so bad that I will often waste a turn by playing an inferior word so that I can see what terrible vision pops up next.

If I purchased the ad-free version, I’d miss out on half the fun of the game.  These ads are few of my faves:

Gold Mystery Bags!

I admit that when I saw this ad I did wonder, “What could possibly be in the Gold Mystery Bag?” and then  “What could be so rare that it is only available for one day?”

Then I got the ad for three consecutive days.

If it really is “worth it’s weight in gold” then I can only imagine that the bag might be filled with cotton candy …which could be tempting if we knew how big the bag was.

I may not know what IS in the bag, but I can guarantee what isn’t in there… Gold.

Only Girls Games

This ad starts off confusing and then gets creepy the more you think about it.

Are these games only FOR girls, or are they games that ONLY girls are allowed to play?

Are these scenes from 1 game or are there 6 different games?

Seems like the “Cake Game” or “Popstar Game” might not be as fun as “Eat The Face Off The Guy In The Playboy Shirt Game”… and a lot less wholesome.

If they ARE games that only girls are allowed to play it’s a shame, because that horse looks like he knows how to have a good time.

Anicent Rule

If you thought the “one weird old tip” to obey was old, wait till you get a load of the “Anicent Rule”.

How old is this 1 discovery?  So old that people hadn’t yet discovered how to spell the word “Ancient”.

I’m just glad that a kindly mom discovered it before someone looking to make money did!

Lower My Billz!

The crazy thing about the Fed slashing interest rates AGAIN is that this time they appear to have done it through some sort of computer generated aerobics program.

This could brings immediate relief to the thousands of us hoping to lower our interest rate AND cholesterol levels.

It really seems like Michelle Obama’s anti-burger campaign has finally found its footing within the Federal reserve.


If you’ve ever woken up wondering if you were hung over, or pregnant, or both, the folks at GreyStripe have just the thing to help your phone figure it out for you!

As “professional” as the app looks on the phone, I still don’t trust the giant, red, DOWNLOAD NOW! command badge.

Is it possible that our health care crisis could be alleviated by a free ad-based app? Downloading the iTriage may be the only way to find out.

 She Lost 35Lbs

No “she” didn’t.  It’s not even close to being the same woman in both pictures!

I’m thinking that they were hoping the light green “weight loss arrows” would distract us from looking at their eyebrows… or their noses… or their eyes… or…


Seriously, look behind the “After Girl” and you’ll see the yellow sleeve and arm of the “Before Girl”.

Indian Bride Makeover

The only way that this isn’t the most racist thing I’ve seen since an unfortunate childhood episode of Bugs Bunny is if this is a game for little girls in India… like the way “American Girl Doll Makeover” would be appropriate for little girls in America.

Since the copy isn’t written in Hindi or Urdu, and I was at a Church in America when I got this, I’m assuming that it’s just bigotry for fun… you know, like that show Outsourced.

I’d choose to believe the best about the developers, but it’s hard to when they named their company GAMENUTT.

If you have a words with friends ad that we should see, post it in the comment section!  Also… your commentary on the ad would be a nice addition.

When Adventureland Stinks

Have you ever considered just how powerful the Walt Disney corporation is?  On a truly global scale, they play a major role in shaping cultural attitudes and values at a level that not even public education can compete with.  For instance:

They have their own pronunciation of the word “Caribbean” and they’ve convinced you to use it.

When you look at a world map, or talk about taking a luxury cruise, you pronounce Caribbean the way the British Empire intended when they ruled the earth; you say it with the emphasis on the RIBB portion on the word.  You say “Ca-RIBB-ian”.

But the minute you set foot in a Disney Theme Park or movie theater you immediately begin pronouncing it like the name of the Disney ride; with an emphasis on the BE-IN part of the word.  You say “Care-A-BE-IN.”

While there is no official pronunciation of the word in a real world context (it can vary from Island to Island) there absolutely IS a correct pronunciation of the word in the Disney context.

If you don’t believe me, try announcing to your friends that you’re headed over to ride the “Pirates of the Ca-RIBB-ian” and watch what happens; people snap their heads around to identify the “idiot foreigner” who, quite probably, also has no idea that $9 is a reasonable price for a churro.

The ability to create an artificial environment of agreement where agreement does not naturally exist is a true demonstration of power.

Despite their considerable power I will tell you what Disney can’t do.


Everybody Hurts… Sometimes they admit it.

REM broke up yesterday.  As a band that operated in near precision against convention they were an American original.  I first heard them on a mix tape in the fall of my final year in Jr. High. That tape was given to me by a guy named Chuck.

Chuck was different from anybody I’d ever met.

His clothing was strange and his mannerisms were completely out of the ordinary.  In 6th grade terms, Chuck was weird.

The weirdest thing about Chuck was that he was always talking about his thoughts and his feelings.  I learned this when we both got into trouble at school.  We spent two consecutive recess periods standing against a wall while the other kids played.

This wasn’t a big punishment for Chuck because he didn’t like sports all that much.

Normally you were allowed to stand with your back against the playground wall; watching everybody else have their 20 minutes of fun.  We both had to stand facing the wall because Chuck kept talking to me.

They’d unwittingly played right into his hands.

Facing away from the “recess lady” there was no way she could see him talking. Faced up against a cinder block wall, I found Chuck’s talking became quite welcome.

Chuck would say things like, “I’m afflicted with a touch of melancholy this morning.” and “Sometimes a sack lunch can leave you feeling a little empty.”

He liked books by Shel Silverstein.

He didn’t even pretend not to cry when the teacher was reading Where The Red Fern Grows.

While we were standing on the wall that afternoon he said, “Did you know that most comic book characters are picked on as children? Some grow up to be heroes, others become villains…

I’ll probably turn out to be a villain.”

Chuck asked questions about God that made adults nervous …and we attended a Christian school.

One Monday our teacher asked us if anyone wanted to share something that happened at church over the weekend.  Chuck raised his hand and matter-of-factly stated that he’d been, “compelled by the Holy Ghost to speak in an angelic tongue.”

After that he disappeared and I didn’t see him again for almost two years.  I assumed he’s been sent away for blasphemy and when he wandered back into my 8th grade homeroom his appearance suggested that he’d at least been to purgatory.

He had somehow managed to find a balance between the letter of the school dress code and the spirit of Siouxsie and the Banshees… not that any of us knew anything about Siouxsie.

His Peechee Folder was scrawled with lyrical confessions:

“I feel I’m on the cross again baby…”

“I am so afraid, of living in oblivion.”

“Love will tear us apart, again”

It was 1986,  I played sports, wore Bugle Boys, and listened to Van Halen.  I don’t know why, but Chuck walked in and started talking to me like we were still standing against that wall.  Over the next five years he regaled me about the difference between art and commerce, love and lust, even faith and religion.

When I told him that I liked Motley Crue, He told me that I should listen to REM.  Then he gave me a tape filled with music that no one in their right mind could comprehend or explain.  A week later he explained it to me, and I comprehended it.

By the time we graduated, my Case Logic cassette briefcase was filled with albums by Depeche Mode, Love and Rockets, Echo and the Bunnymen, and New Order.

It was music that was as vulnerable as he was.

I don’t know that I was nice to Chuck.  I didn’t not like him, but I also didn’t go out of my way to make sure he was included.  It isn’t heroic to say that I was nicer to him than life was.

During lunch period, some jerk announced that he was “a fruit”.  He responded by pointing at a girl across the room and saying, “If you knew anything about me you’d know that I yearn for her.”

Who says stuff like that?
Honest guys do.

His dad died of a connective tissue disease before he graduated.

Who makes it through school in the face of that?
Courageous guys do.

After a year in college I lost touch with Chuck.  We bumped into each other on Facebook a couple years ago.  He’s still an original; blazing an honest, courageous, unique trail in pursuit of life, God, and the mysteries that can be found In Between Days.

REM and Chuck have a lot in common that way.  Their honesty and courage blended with a rare vulnerability that I’ve always respected regardless of where they stood on “the issues”.

Whenever I hear REM perform “Everybody Hurts” I think about Chuck and the power that comes from a fearless vulnerability.

Anybody can do what it takes to fit in, and some people can act weird just to stand out, but only the truly courageous have the honesty to move with precision against convention by being themselves.

In the years between High School and today I learned the spiritual and moral value of honesty, courage, and vulnerability.  In that, I’m grateful for REM and grateful to Chuck. Both of them touched my life in ways that changed it for the better.

Whether they knew it or not.

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