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Monday, July 23, 2012

Alkaline Water with a Twist of Electrocution

Several weeks ago, it was found that GlaxoSmithKline had to shell out over $3 billion as a penalty for a drug fraud scandal involving their asthma medication Advair.  In short, they were encouraging medical professionals to push the brand "off-label", meaning to present it as an alternative solution to a problem not associated with its intended use.  Of course, a few billion dollars is bus token money for a giant like GSK, but the message had been sent by the Feds -- loud and clear.

Sorta.

Along comes Duracell, famous for two things -- their coppertop alkaline batteries, and NOT owning commercials with a drum-slamming bad-assed anamatronic bunny.  Nonetheless, clever marketing always finds a way to shine through the darkest of clouds, and the folks at Duracell has proven the point ad nauseam -- by actually suggesting their batteries help create an alkaline water that, when ingested, normalize your pH levels from very acidic to more alkaline and healthy.

"As easy as dropping ice cubes into a glass of water, the best batteries in the world become the best dietary tool in history!", stated Kermit Brasbals, Director of Worldwide marketing for Proctor and Gamble, Duracell's parent company.  "It really works! I've been on the CopperTopDiet for seven weeks now, and I feel great!"

The advertising campaign was intended for a January unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, but was pushed to just a couple of weeks ago at the JenniLee Billowbutt Health and Nutritional Luncheon and Tupperware Show in Encino, California.

"Like, omigawd! My son Zane has, like, 50 million toys and I throw Duracells out alllllllllllllll the time. Now, I can reuse the batteries for my water? I'm sooooooooooooooooooooo there!" exclaimed one mom who chose to remain anonymous.  Another woman tried a sample of what she described as "powered water" and claimed to feel a slight tingle.  Brabals quickly noted that the sensation was NOT slight electrocution, as suspected by a few, but in fact the Duracell battery "re-imagining" the water to a delicious, alkaline state of being by way of "pure magic".

However, a leading expert form a nondescript consumer watchdog group nobody has ever heard of until a second ago claims it all to be an elaborate hoax.  "It's bunk. It's all about the dollars and it's dangerous!", claims Stuart S. of Knee Socks, a group of militant Aspergers know-it-alls.  "They don't know anything!  Have you ever been in the military? Have you?  What's the capital of Ethiopia? Do you know that? My grandfather was a Holocaust survivor!"

Yet, the trend seems to be catching on. At a recent street fair in Kansas City, the Duracell "Fountain of Youth" kiosk was alive with health crazies quite literally bathing themselves from a 25 foot fountain showering them with CopperTop water.  When authorities shut down the fountain, due to the severe drought conditions currently gripping KC as well as much of the country,  there were unconfirmed reports of some drenched participants shooting lightning from their hands at the law enforcement officials.

Braasbals denied such an occurrence at the event, citing "propaganda" from the nutrition industry bent on failing Duracell's quest for proper health, before enveloping himself in an electrostatic cocoon and floating away.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mamma Mia!!! Pasta Fazul!!!

I own Sicilian blood from my father's side, so there's already some built-in DNA hating on mainland Italia. But, surprisingly, the above cartoon has got NOTHING to do with any predisposed genes the future Baby Brandon acquired at conception.  It wasn't even penciled purely as a joke.

It was designed for revenge, and -- if all goes according to the ways of backwards Italy -- shall be launched into action around Monday afternoon L.A. time.

A friend is trying to make her way into the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome.  The rules are simple enough: put together a paragraph or two about how your design would help change the world, and couple it with an illustration (or photograph) of said design.  If they like it, you move to the next round, with the Grand Prize being a full scholarship and the requisite life in Rome.  She called upon my illustrative skills to help her meet the deadline of Sunday.  By Saturday at 3pm Pacific time, her selection had been uploaded with 12-24 hours to spare.

Or was it???

First thing's first: In proper Italian fashion, the website wasn't at all clear as to the "exact" deadline of the contest.... just, "Sunday".  In addition, she found the process of uploading her material incomprehensible and ultimately self-defeating (another Italian trait).  As of Sunday evening, she STILL has no clue as to whether her offering had been successfully uploaded.

And yes, she speaks and reads fluent Italian.

Quite a few of the contestants had submitted what amounted to pure garbage (very Italian, depending on your point of view as to what constitutes "garbage").  How about bringing back '50's style fashion? Brilliant.  And while you're at it, why not go all the way by diving into your dad's garage and busting out that 1958 Philco tube TV and that creaky pair of wooden skis.  Yes... hitting up Mammoth with two planks of lumber strapped to your feet will DEFINITELY change your life -- for the worse. Or, how about a multi-colored scarf that Jerry Garcia just wiped his ass with?  Certainly, it would change the world by calling into... ummm.... by recognizing the plight of..... errrr..... ah fuck it!  It's a tie dyed piece of fabric a Skittles mass murderer might proudly don.

But Cassandra's idea was choice.  I'd think she'd have a great chance of moving forward, if only she knew if her "submission" moved forward??  She'll find out Monday morning via phone if Luigi the webmaster spilled his stale chianti on the server whilst in the midst of a spaghetti battle with his fork.
If she misses out due to their server disregarding her upload (since, naturally, spaghetti can NEVER be the culprit), then the cartoon will be launched.

Not much of a retaliatory strike,  but at least it'll place a wicked smile on her face. For a brief moment, vengeance shall be hers...  and for this cartoonist, that's good enough.




Monday, July 9, 2012

Water is Free... For a Price.

A dear friend of mine recently relocated to Philadelphia, land of Philly Cheese Steaks, baseball fans who feed their kids beer on national television, and a bell that doesn't work.   I've always had an interest with the Upper East Coast (or, as SoCal natives like to call the region: New York). Yet, I'm concerned about my friend.  Certainly, Philly offers some unique challenges to a transplanted Angelino.

Check that: a transplanted Angelino Raw Food Health Freak.

She WON'T eat meat. She WON'T touch anything non-organically grown. She doesn't even drink store-bought water (plastic leeches dangerous toxins into the liquid).  It's true -- she travels out of her way to fill up her glass jugs with "special" water from a "special" shop, apparently christened appropriate to guzzle by the World Health Organization (well, not really).  This aqua ain't cheap, either.  Nor is Whole Foods Market where she used to shop for her food, as well as the myriad of minerals, vitamins, and supplements she'd cover that food with in a manner similar to how the French utilize sauce. I might be 100% wrong here, but phonetic thinking suggests Philadelphia not placing high on the list of places a superhealth fanatic can comfortably reside.

Case in point: I'd ask for a glass of water... what follows is a Rube Goldberg scenario I REALLY should have caught on video before her departure: grab glass, reposition massive ceramic container of water to find spigot, pour water into glass, add Himalayan salt into glass, sprinkle diatomaceous earth into glass, recite ancient Hindu chant of the Water God (not really), wave glowing rock over glass to transfer positive energy into water (again, not really), and serve.  It's... just... WATER!

Brita -- bad!  Arrowhead -- bad!  City water -- are you kidding me?  Another crack like that, and I'm kicking you out!

When did water become the most lucrative commodity on planet Earth????  I remember the days when we had Arrowhead, Sparklettes, tap water, and that's it!  I drank tap water for the first 20+ years of my life (and don't drink it now only because I'm not keen on its taste), and I still only have two eyes and no unnecessary appendages growing from my neck.  This is not dissimilar to those disinfectant commercials that warn, quite sternly, the perils of an unclean kitchen and dining area.  Of course, if they were true, every homeless person who's even mauled on day old food in a back alley would be dead right now.

Poisons, insecticides, mercury, fluoride, the list goes on and on, and everything causes cancer.  Well, if EVERYTHING is dangerous for you, and you must now reside within a nutrition prison of your own making merely to survive, then what's the point?  Have a little fun. Eat a taco from time to time. Grab a Big Gulp and chug it for old time's sake -- when you were a kid and none of this mattered. Remember the saying, "A little dirt doesn't hurt"? Grab a mouthful. Not the diatomaceous stuff that resembles cremated human ash, but good ol' fashioned backyard earthworm tarmac. Yum!

After all, according to the "superhealth code", everyone unclean and inorganic will soon be dead anyhow, right?  So, you may as well enjoy life while there's still residents of this planet left to enjoy life with.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Rumi Ruse, Posers Lose



I love L.A. ... aside from the earthquakes, Hollywood moshers, Prius congestion, CamryDriver, jaywalkers on their cellphones holding their baby, dime-a-dozen fake blondes with their spotlight ambitions, and the ever present "I'm a brain surgeon, but I'd give it all up tomorrow so I can ACT" dream-chasers.  Really, a great place to live. I'd live no where else.

Of course, considering I HAVEN'T lived anywhere else, my opinion is slightly skewed.

Yet, there is one thing about Los Angeles that should be a negative, but isn't.  It's those damn yoga chicks scurrying around, unintentionally whacking you with their oversized rolled mats as they pass you donned in the latest $100 pants from Lululemon, perfect hair, bejeweled iPhone, and Half Caff Latte.  These are what I call the SPGers, or "Spectacular Pants Goddesses".  For them, yoga is less about the discipline, and more about a fashion statement.  When they hit the yoga studio, in their small mind it's high school all over again, and they're the numero uno "don't look at me you freak" hot shit chick.  The world of yoga (at least, here in L.A.), there are three sects of yoga person -- the True Believers (frazzled hair, no make-up, crap clothes, all about the yoga and nothing else... arm pit hair optional); the Moderates (stylish but not consumed by it, serious about yoga, takes care of their appearance); and the SPGers (fashionistas, high drama, owns a small dog, always on cell phone, high school was the zenith of their life... and they're 27!).  Like the squeaky wheel, the two extremes dominate -- the true Believers with their Patchouli stench, and the SPGers with their visual stench -- leaving the Mods the dominant but shadowed yoga society, which to them is most likely just fine.

But nature always has a countermeasure, always a cure, to any disease or virus.  In the case of the SPGers, it's the "Guru".  Certainly, there are real, salt-of-the-earth individuals who HAVE been to India, HAVE extensively studied, and ARE masters of the discipline. What I'm speaking of here are the fake-o's, the ones so desperate for attention and purpose they literally re-invent themselves into what can only be described as a demigod.  They quote Rumi. They chant. They dress (and smell) the part. They own a SAG card. And the SPGs gobble them up like fresh kill to a hungry pack of wolves, for the SPGers are searching for purpose as well, something to latch on to and exclaim "this is what I'M all about".  As an unusual sort of mini ecosystem, the Guru and the SPG tribe inhabit the same occupied space and co-exist together, one in desperate need of the other, incapable of survival without the partnership.

The SPGers trek with the Guru as he's booted from studio to studio (since he hasn't a clue what he's doing), spewing venom about the former en route to their future target.  And all the while, the Guru rakes in the bank. He has shirts,  booklets, CDs, yoga retreats, every item designed to rip every penny from every SPGer who blindly follows him.  In the end, many ultimately lose their connection with the demigod (usually when they find they're not the only follower he's having sex with), and head off to worship the latest Yoga Guru to hit the town.

Which, of course, gives them plenty of time to reload their bank account.