Saturday, June 26, 2004

Ad Disclaimers We Don't Need

Ad disclaimers are becoming nothing more than excuses for lawyers to have jobs. Note this ad for Bud Light. The disclaimer, in case you can't read it, essentially says that there is no such thing as the Bud Light Institute and the research and products it touts in its ads don't really exist.

I can see it now come Christmastime. Ad comes on with Santa Claus coming down the chimney. Disclaimer comes up:


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

That Wacky Britney

so let me get this straight... Britney Spears has to cancel concert dates because of her KNEE?

Lordy sakes! Are her vocal chords down there?

Friday, June 11, 2004


Image courtesy Save Tillie

If you grew up anywhere near Asbury Park, New Jersey, you know this face. You've seen it a million times at the very end of Cookman Avenue, just where it meets Kingsley. The lime-green facade of Palace Amusements was an Asbury Park landmark for years. But the building lay in decay for years, much like the city around it. It had been fifteen years since the place had any life in it. Now, the wrecking ball has lay claim to the 1888-vintage carousel house, the oldest part of the Palace Amusements complex.

But in a meticulous rescue operation, a member of the Save Tillie coalition arranged at his own expense to cut through the concrete around one of the 14'x16' Tillie heads, install 1/4" thick girders around the structure, and has lifted it out of the building facade.

Tillie has been saved and will be restored as a part of new construction on the site. There is also talk of saving some of the other decorative wallwork, perhaps part of the Skooter Ride graphic on the Lake Avenue side of the building, or perhaps the roller coaster cars that are on the Kingsley Avenue side.

Palace Amusements was a frequent recreation destination as a child. I ate my very first slice of real pizza on the site as a wee child. I played the pinball machines for hours, back when arcades had many to choose from. We watched movies, either at the Lyric Theatre right next door, or across the lake in Ocean Grove (Dad got free passes for posting an ad placard in his gas station window). There were other great arcades in the city - Lee's, in the forecourt of Convention Hall, and the Casino Arcade right across the street from the Palace Amusements, but the symbolism of those Tillie heads and those great graphics we'd always pass by in our family sedan will always stay in my memory, long after the building has been demolished.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Brother Ray

I had the pleasure of seeing Ray Charles in concert several times during his lifetime, which sadly has ended today at the age of 73. Mr. Charles' career was a miracle when you consider that he was sighted until the age of 4, when he began the gradual process of blindness.

He took music lessons at a school for the blind, became a pro as a teenager, scored his first big hit records in his mid-20's for Atlantic Records, then became a legend in 1959 upon his move to ABC-Paramount Records which yielded some of his biggest hits, among them "Hit The Road Jack", "One Mint Julep" (an instrumental), "What'd I Say" and "Busted". He also developed a gentler sound featuring strings and backup singers which endeared him to the MOR crowd and made him a fixture on country stations with such other hits as "Georgia On My Mind" and "You Don't Know Me."

Ray Charles performed for world dignitaries and the common man with the same zeal and fervor. He could even poke fun at his image, as was witnessed during a mid-1970's episode of "Saturday Night Live" in which he was given a rare artwork, which when unveiled revealed a torn-out canvas with the attached note "PLEASE DON'T TELL HIM!" (it is said the gag was the work of the late Michael O'Donoghue, and some apocryphal stories cite Stevie Wonder as the victim of the prank). He also recorded a self-effacing ditty with George Jones called "We Didn't See A Thing". And who could forget his advertising turn for Diet Pepsi in the 1980's, surrounded by gorgeous girls and warbling "You've got the right one baby uh-huh!"

In a week where the death of Ronald Reagan has put the country into a reverential mood, let's take a moment and also remember the music and joy that Ray Charles left us with. I'll be pulling out my CD's tonight and singing along as the nation mourns.

(The picture is from the last public appearance of Ray Charles on April 30. He is flanked by Cicely Tyson and Clint Eastwood.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

McCracken: The Blog

PC World Editor and longtime chum Harry McCracken has a tech-related weblog at the PC World site. This is for those of you who feel that once a month isn't nearly enough.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Bush 41 To Take The Plunge

Just read a news item that notes that former president George H.W. Bush will be jumping out of a parachute this weekend to mark his 80th birthday.

Please remember to pack a chute. Two dead presidents in one week is plenty, thank you. (Too bad nobody ever told that to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who not only passed away on the same day, but picked our nation's 50th birthday to do it!)