Saturday, April 18, 2009

Controversial Burger King commercial is nothing short of successful

Well, Burger King went and got a bunch of people mad by releasing a commercial featuring SpongeBob Squarepants about the chain's fantabulous kids meals.

Go ahead and give it a look. Go ahead and head to the bottom of this post to see the absolutely mind-numbingly bizarre extended version of the commercial. Is it appropriate for children? Absolutely not. Is it funny as hell? Definitely. Hey, Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" was funny when it was released, and a slightly sanitized version of the original is also a hoot.

Of course, you've got groups all over the place riled up about that television commercial. Here in beautiful Arkansas, KTHV (a CBS affiliate in Little Rock) has asked viewers what they think of the commercial. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood started a petition drive asking people to demand that the ads be pulled.

My wife tells me that the commercial has, in fact, been pulled. I can't find anything out there on these here Interwebs to confirm that, other than a story claiming Burger King has denied the television commercial is aimed at children and that the company is developing a different SpongeBob ad to air during kids' shows.

Here at Casa de Hawg we reacted with our usual "uh, OK" attitude when we saw the commercial, rewound it on our DVR and called out eight-year-old daughter to watch it. She has, after all, gotten a kick out of that "Baby Got Back" song since she originally heard it at the end of Shrek several years ago (remember the Donkey character singing it about his dragon girlfriend?)

Where, by the way, was the outrage when that song was used in Shrek? There was a show directly aimed at children and was roughly as controversial as the SpongeBob ad. Odd.

Still, I'd argue this commercial has been very successful. Why? People sure as heck have talked about it a lot and that just increases Burger King's visibility. There are times when bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. This may be one of those times.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't mess with Texas

Things seem to get odder every day in this great republic.

The latest bit of oddness involves a story I read on CNN in which Texas Gov. Rick Perry said secession is possible. That's right -- the governor of Texas, while addressing an angry "tea party crowd" in Austin on Wednesday -- said his state might one day get fed up and secede from the Union should the federal government not change its ways.

Of course, Perry didn't suggest such a possibility is likely, but he did say such a thing could come to pass. That's a hell of a notion folks.

When you add to that notion a tongue-in-cheek column in WorldNetDaily column in which none other than the great Chuck Norris suggested he may run for president of Texas, you've got a heck of a hypothetical scenario, don't you? Just imagine waking up one morning, opening up the newspaper and reading that Texas had seceded from the Union and had elected Walker, Texas Ranger as its president.

Incredible, huh? Would the newly-liberated country still be called Texas or would her people switch the name of the new republic to The Nation of Awesome (and insist that it always be printed in a bold font)? What impact would an independent Texas have on the rest of the nation? Would more states follow suit and declare their independence? Would other states join The Nation of Awesome and form a new confederacy or would some states declare independence and form their own sovereign countries (if so, my vote for the new name of Arkansas is Hawgland)? Would Norris and his military start attacking and annexing states on the Texas borders? The possibilities are endless.

If Texas secedes and elects Norris as president, I might have to abandon my beloved Arkansas and go help out The Nation of Awesome. Of course, any government led by Norris would have at least two cabinet positions dedicated to maintaining law and order in extreme and entertaining ways. I'm not sure who would be picked to be the Secretary of Kicking Ass, but I'd want the title of Secretary of Taking Names. Yes, we could run around The Nation of Awesome kicking ass and taking names and that activity would, no doubt, keep us very busy.

Seriously, however, I do love the state of Texas and regard it as second on only my native Arkansas as the best state in the union. My wife and I both have a lot of family down there and Texas is, well, different. How different? Back in 2001, the popular thing for states to do was to ban smoking in whatever areas were deemed "public." What were they arguing over in Texas at the time? Whether it should be against the law for passengers to drink alcohol in moving cars.

And, just go look at some businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I've often noticed that some of them will have both a Texas flag and a U.S. flag out front -- every now and again, you'll notice the Texas flag is just a little bit larger and is flown just a bit higher than the United States one.

Of course, I doubt Texas will secede from the Union. That was tried by a few states in the South once upon a time and things didn't turn out too well for the rebels. Of course, with the U.S. military out policing the world...

Still, news out of Texas is often fun. The little CNN item about secession is no exception.

A bit of an apology

You good folks may have noticed a lot of paid posts as of late. For some reason, I've been getting sent a lot of opportunities to take those and I'm not good about turning down money. I'm sure my good fortune won't last long, so please be patient.

Before you know it, I'll be back to the same old rotten posts that I've always written.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Man gives The Hawg a speeding ticket

For those of you who haven't visited the beautiful South, let me warn y'all of something -- small towns love setting up speed traps so that outsiders are forced to shell out some revenue.

What's the definition of an outsider in a small town? Someone who grew up outside of a two-county area seems to be a rule of thumb.

Sadly, I forgot that rule as I was heading up to Batesville, Ark., today to give one of my awe-inspiring presentations (well, it wasn't exactly awe inspiring, but everyone seemed to have a good time and I was able to fill up about 40 minutes on my given topics with little problem). Now, Batesville is about two hours away from my beautiful city of Benton, and there's a little town called Pleasant Plains (population 267) tucked away on U.S. 167 just south of Batesville.

I found out today that there's a very good place in Pleasant Plains where state troopers like to hide and catch unwary speeders. Folks, I didn't notice the trooper until he roared up behind me, turned his lights on and started waving me over to the shoulder. Had I been on my home turf in Saline County rather than driving through Independence County, I would have known where the cops were hidden.

So I got clocked at 70 MPH in a 55 MPH zone and I've got a nice, fat ticket to show for it (the fine will run about $175, I'm told). Damn. I haven't had a speeding ticket since 1991, so perhaps it was just time for me to get one. The upsetting part about this is that my wife got a speeding ticket a few months ago and I teased her without mercy over that.

She's been exacting revenge today and I deserve it. However, I did point out to her that "speedy" is certainly not an appropriate nickname for a woman to give her husband. She told me to "get my mind out of the gutter," but she knows I'm right.

I also regret not using a couple of choice excuses on the State Trooper:

"Well, officer, a bee flew in my window and landed on my accelerator. I was trying to mash him with my foot."

"I was going so fast because I was trying to get away from you. My wife ran off with a state trooper last week and I thought he was trying to return her to me!"

Maybe next time.

By the way, "mash" is one of my favorite words that rural Arkansans tend to use. To pronounce it correctly, you got to throw a "y" in there so it sounds like "maysh." Give it a try. It's fun.

Update -- Bob is upset

Heh, heh, ho, heh and triple-heh. The other day, good old Bob -- proprietor of the painstakingly named Bob's Blog -- left some comments over here and got attacked. Evidently, he thought people were being too mean to him so now he's now sulking about it over on his blog.

Apparently, Bob doesn't want to come over here and play any more. He wants to rant on his own turf where he can control the content and not have to deal with people who disagree with him -- to ridicule posts he doesn't like in a forum where he can shut off all comments challenging his skewed view of the world. That's a shame as his poorly-constructed and personal attacks (all based on laughably false assumptions) in my comments section provided scads of amusement. Come on back, Bob. I thought we were friends now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why is Fox News hiding the truth?

One of the fellows in my office just loves to watch Fox News during lunch.

I was watching some news with him when Fox told us to stay tuned as the truth of Area 51 would finally be told! How could I resist sticking around to watch the fun? After all, we all know that the government has been hiding space aliens in Area 51 since the 1950s. That's common knowledge.

Yeah, I've seen the truth about Area 51 revealed in countless movies, including that fine bit of film that always seems to be on television somewhere -- Independence Day (in which the Fresh Prince and that guy from Jurassic Park fight off an alien invasion).

So we hung around waiting to learn the truth of Area 51 when the Fox types came back and started interviewing a former employee of the facility. Yes, we were excited. At long last, the truth would be told!

The former Area 51 employee said that all of the activity can be attributed to a top-secret aircraft. Go ahead and take a look. Take a look at the sad little report in which a former Area 51 employee shares his secrets.

What? Airplanes? Government airplanes based in the Nevada desert were causing all that commotion? We're supposed to believe that? Seriously?

It is well known that aliens have invaded the top levels of government and are out to conquer this planet for -- well, I don't know what they want from us earthlings. Those aliens are sneaky and they're certainly up to no good. That much is clear.

I'm disappointed in Fox for hiding the truth so shamelessly. Fox News has been shooting for credibility for years and I'm sad to say the network has missed the boat with this "alien UFOs are really airplanes" story.

Perhaps the folks over at Fox could learn a lesson or two from that pillar of journalism ethics, the Weekly World News. That fine publication has been revealing the truth for years. Just take a look at these photos of aliens -- courtesy of the Weekly World News -- that I've scattered throughout this post.

That's photographic proof, folks. What's more, the Weekly World News actually wrote and printed detailed accounts of how aliens were directing national and state elections all over the country. If someone bothers to write something down and sell it at every grocery store checkout stand in the nation, it must be true, right?

Aliens have been slowly moving against this great nation (and world, if you want to get technical about it) for decades. The fearless journalists at the Weekly World News get it, but the folks at Fox News do not. That's just a shame.

Want to know a bigger shame? Want to know more proof of this alien-run conspiracy? You'll notice that the Weekly World News -- once as common as sin -- has been reduced to a lowly Internet publication. Why? Why would that be?

The space aliens wanted it that way, that's why. Perhaps the good people at Fox News are afraid the aliens will shut them down, too. Perhaps they're afraid that Raygar (the one I'm told is the alien mastermind) will use his atomic-powered death disruptor® on them. Perhaps they've been promised control over a U.S. state (maybe Nevada or Oklahoma) if they play ball with the invading aliens.

I don't know why the Fox News team is perfectly willing to air the white-washed, government version of what really happened at Area 51 as the truth, frankly. But the fact remains that Fox News has let all of us earthlings down. When those moon men and Martians attack the planet, Fox will share part of the blame.

All of this reminds me of the brilliant rantings of one Reverend Dallas Masterson, a fellow who spread the truth around Fayetteville when I was in law school at the University of Arkansas. It wasn't uncommon to see his literature exposing the dastardly plans of those aliens posted near campus (particularly on telephone poles near bars on Dickson Street, oddly enough).

Masterson's warning were put tossed aside by people who will -- one day -- wish they had heeded his warning before it was too late. Masterson hasn't been heard from in years. Perhaps the aliens nabbed him before someone took him seriously.

Want to hear some of Masterson's fevered wisdom for yourself, do you? Back around 1991, he did howl away on this track by the famed rock n' roll combo, Before I Fall. He knew the truth. It's sad that Fox doesn't (or doesn't want to admit it, at least).

What about Bob?

Have a look at the comment section, folks! Apparently, some fellow named Bob has taken exception to the fact that I, The Hawg, have made light of Barack Obama with this humble little post.

Apparently, taking a couple of shots at a sitting U.S. president is verboten. Unless, of course, that president happens to be one that Bob doesn't like.

Well, phooey on that.

This one's for you, Bob. Enjoy it, ace!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Did everyone have a good Easter?

Well, another Easter has come and gone.

That makes 40 of them for me now and that seems like a pretty big number. Apparently, such thoughts occur to a man who is about to turn 40-years-old. A few friends of mine who have hit that magical age told me this would happen and they were right. It sucks.

I hope everyone had a great time with the holiday. An increasing number of people don't observe Easter, of course, but the holiday still holds quite a bit of meaning for a lot of us. It is, after all, the holiday that does define Christianity and ought to be played up a lot more than it is. Christmas is the dominant Christian holiday, to be sure, and that's somewhat of a shame.

I grew up Baptist, but my wife and I turned renegade years ago by joining the Methodist faith. While out driving today, I saw a sign in front of a Baptist church here in Benton, Ark., that pretty much pegged where we ought to be focusing our attention on Easter (that sign, of course, is pictured here).

I never much cared for the legalism that was common in Baptist churches I've attended over the years. There are times, however, when they'll sum something up perfectly in just a few words. Often, those bits of wisdom are posted on lighted signs near busy roads. There are times they are eye-rollingly bad, times when they're an absolute hoot and times when they are right on target.

You've got to give them credit -- the on target messages make the rest of them forgivable.

I tend to think of my Baptist roots on Easter as I learned what I know about religion at the First United Baptist Church of Benton. While my knowledge of Christianity was refined and sharpened through hours of comparative religions classes at Hendrix College (a Methodist institution, by the way) and I'm less worried about being right than trying to live well, my outlook was shaped by those Southern Baptists who used to holler at me on Sunday morning.

The Bible I carry with me to church is the same Army green one that was presented to me at the First Baptist Church back in 1977, in fact. The leather bound cover has more than a few tears in it and the edges of the pages are more than a bit faded. It's showing its age, to be sure, but I've lugged that Revised Standard Edition along with me through childhood, college and law school, two marriages, two children and more moves than I can remember easily. I think I'll keep it around for awhile.

That old Bible, see, is familiar and I do love the familiar. Easter has always been one of those holidays that celebrates the familiar. I spend it with my family, hear the same story of the Resurrection, deal with getting stubborn children who'd rather play with their new toys and eat candy than deal with church and dread the start of the week.

The only change, really, is that I used to be the stubborn kid who wanted to duck church on Easter and hated putting on dress clothes and heading to church. Now I'm the parent who has to deal with unruly kids. My mom and dad have more patience than I realized. Another change is that I now dread heading to work rather than going to school. I really should have enjoyed those school days a bit more. Perhaps my children will. I somehow doubt it.

This Easter was familiar, of course, but there were some unique things about it that are worth mentioning. The most significant thing is that our children managed to dye Easter eggs without fighting. That's right -- they were able to stay near each other for close to an hour without bickering. That's worth mentioning.

Speaking of the kids, they put a set of bunny ears on Winston, our 140-pound Boxer-Rottweiler mix. Once again, Winston proved that he's a good sport. He did look miserable until they were taken off, however.

Also, it rained all day long. I can't remember an Easter that wasn't sunny. Ideally, Easter should be sunny and warm, but we had no such luck here in central Arkansas this year.

Finally, my wife made the best lemon icebox pie on the planet. That woman can cook like nobody's business. I'm a fan of just about any citrus based pie, and that one she made to day blows everything else out of the water. We're going to buy a new refrigerator in a few weeks and I've about decided that we need to get one that's large enough to store plenty of those things.

See, I saw a refrigerator that is the greatest thing ever because it's got the ability to make shaved ice. Who wouldn't want such a refrigerator on a hot summer day? Just grab some syrup, put the shave ice thingie to work and you've got instant refreshment. So what if the refrigerator with the ability to crank out that treat costs $1,800 (a significant number when you never use credit to purchase anything, by the way)? If there's another refrigerator that gives my wife the space to store up plenty of those dandy pies, I can do without the shave ice making machine.

At any rate, I hope everyone had a great Easter. Hopefully I won't be mired in self reflection when Easter rolls around next year.