Category Archives: idiot box

The Creepy Anthropomorphic Drug ads for women trend

Has anyone been following the latest trend for women’s health product advertisements? It’s downright creepy. Admittedly my sample size is small but these ads play quite a bit on television in the US (East Coast). First of all, there’s “Mybetriq”, which is a drug that allegedly helps women control overactive bladder conditions. In these commercials, we are subjected to a cute little animated bladder creature. It’s not mean or anything, but very insistent, torturing a woman by interrupting her garden parties, her bowling games, and other relationships and activities.

No bowling for YOU!

Pssst.. we need to go.. NOW!

It’s not MY fault.. I don’t wanna be a MEAN lil’ bladder…

The creep factor is fairly high here.. she acknowledges the bladder beast as a being.. with rudimentary intelligence and needs, giving in to its demands with a suffering sigh. Even weirder, when she decides to “take charge” of her condition and consult a doctor (presumably a urologist), when he’s lecturing her, the bladder beast is in the room, sitting next to her, nodding along with the conversation. Like the bladder beast is included in the conversation. Ohhhh, creepy. Later, they are seen walking together, hand in hand, on the beach, looking at a beautiful sunset together. The implication is.. what? Happy Romance? Resignation? A new form of detente between bladder and human being? We don’t get the epilogue for this commercial.

My next sample is even weirder and more disturbing. This is a commercial for “Viberzi”, which is apparently a medication for women with frequently upset tummies. In THIS commercial, we don’t see an animation– instead the ailment is played by an actress in a nude colored body suit with intestines screen printed on the front. THIS ailment is a real bully. She cancels her victim’s plans FOR her, texting her regrets because she’s staying home with problem diarrhea. This Problem Diarrhea monster follows her around, doing things similar to the Bladder Beast from the Mybetriq commercial, ruining her plans, canceling things in advance, generally making her life miserable. Apparently she is doomed to living a lonely life. That is, until she, too, gets the courage to talk to HER doctor (presumably a gastroenterology expert).

Once again, the ailment monster is PRESENT, NODDING ALONG, during the medical consult.

In closing, ma’am, I have to ask, who’s your hot diarrhea friend? Is she single?

Going out? Nah, we’ll scotch that plan.. who’s in charge here? I am. Say it after me…

Once AGAIN, very similar ending here.. they walk on the beach, all happy now, but not holding hands (that might be too creepy). Later, as the victim is sparking with a young beau in a diner, Problem Diarrhea appears to approve of the man, as if giving her Problem Diarrhea blessing. Happy Ending, if you’ll excuse the obvious pun.

Aside from the very similar structure for both drug commercials, it’s the “intelligent ailment” thing that I find the creepiest. I can only speak for me, I NEVER have a conversation with my bladder or bowels. I know the ad companies here are probably shooting for something cute and socializing, but honestly, I don’t care for talking, thinking, anthropomorphic diseases. That’s a little too weird for my liking. But hey, I’m not a gal, who knows?

Right now, I’m giving these kind of commercials the creepy Burger King award.


Discworld on Youtube

I’m an off again on again fan of Discworld by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett, who sadly left us last year. One of the problems with living on the right side of the Atlantic Ocean is that you sometimes aren’t in the know about what gets produced for British Television, although that is changing quickly with the advent of BBC America. So I am totally not hip about some cultural artifacts that our British cousins enjoy that we may never hear of. Just yesterday I heard of a few from the realm of Discworld, Terry Pratchett’s universe featuring a flat disc shaped world supported on the backs of four giant elephants on the back of a giant tortoise that sails through space. Do I need to explain this? Of course not. Anyway, apparently there are a few locations where one can find BBC (I expect) adaptions of Discworld novels, for internet viewing. I had no idea this existed, I’m not sure what the limitations are, and I kind of feel bad about sharing it, but shucks, I figure they’ll be shut down soon enough. Let’s party!

GOING POSTAL (TV mini series, 2010, based on the 33rd Discworld novel of the same name)

first of several links.

HOGFATHER the 20th novel in the Discworld series (another mini series, this time by Sky One, aired in 2006 at Christmas time, appropriately).

part 1 of 4.

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC, the first novel in the Discworld series of course! (Another special from Sky One, in 2008)
part 1 of unknown parts.

So, that is what I know of for now. I hear tell there are to animated films floating around in the aetherverse, but they have eluded me so far.

I know what I’ll be bingewatching shortly.

If the links are broken at some point, don’t kvetch. They come and go on Youtube, for obvious reasons.

Watch AMERICAN SCARY on Snagfilms.. right now!

Do the names Vampira, Elvira, Count Gore De Vol, Joe Bob Briggs, Zacharly, Sir Graves Ghastly, and Ghoulardi mean something to you? What? They do? They you probably are part of that slice of Americana that grew up Horror Movie hosts playing on Friday nights on your local UHF channel. I know I did. My favorite was Washington DC’s own Count Gore De Vol, courtesy of local UHF channel 20. The good count (Dick Dyzel) is still active today, albeit on a web broadcast. These were the intrepid guides to the world of bad horror films– the Creature Features, the Midnight Movie shows, etc. that played on most local television stations in most major markets for most of the 70s and 80s on broadcast television. Subsequently, they were banished to the nether hells of basic cable, where they live, and mostly thrive, today.

What delighted me as a kid wasn’t the movies so much– they were all Grade Z and below stuff- safely in the public domain, and thus eligible for broadcast. What I liked was the antics of the host, who was usually someone from daytime who was dragooned into working the horror show gig for some extra cash. There was a nascent art form there, and many local hosts were great at it.

Arguably the first American Horror Show TV host was “Vampira”, aka Finnish actress Maila Nurmi. She was a hostess for a local Los Angeles station for a relatively short period of time (1954-1955) but her impact was enormous, and she spawned many imitators, including (as she maintains)
Elvira, Mistress of the dark.

Television was more fragile then, so a lot of the recordings associated with the early films have dissolved into ruin. There are still a few recordings out there, and SnagFilms just released a historical documentary on the subject, which you can view for free. Just click on Vampira’s face,below.

click to view American Scary

Click to view AMERICAN SCARY on SnagFilms.



Back in 1990, there really wasn’t an internet per se. Computers were in their infancy and just starting to talk to each other in a really useful way. This would become the internet. However, there was a great background of work already done on the notion of information retrieval and non-linear sequencing of text, dating back to 1945. HYPERLAND was conceived of by Douglas Adams (of hitchhiker’s guide fame) and filmed by him for the BBC. Tom Baker, Doctor Who #4 and a previous collaborator of Adams in those days stars as a sort of intelligent software agent who is assuming the role of .. well, something between GOOGLE and WIKIPEDIA, only more charming. Hyperland takes the viewer (voiced by Douglas Adams himself) through their first steps of hypertext data retrieval and hyperlinking.. only the terms are slightly different. Remember, this was before most of us had computers in our homes.. and the internet was mostly just dial up BBSs at this stage. So Adams takes a very “oh gee whiz” bewildered tone for things you and I take for granted today. With all that said it’s an ingenious little movie, very clever and witty in its approach about the foundations of the modern browser-based internet. Worth a look!

Ancient Robot Commercials for The Sci-Fi Channel

No, I refuse to use the term “Syfi”, thank you very much.  I feel my intelligence draining whenever I see that term.

The following is a series of promos that the OLD Sci-Fi Channel used for “Robot Week” many years ago. Starring Robot from Lost in Space and Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet.

Joe Bodolai

Joe Bodolai

Joe Bodolai, from his blog

Joe Bodolai was a writer, television producer and comedian. He wrote for SNL in the post-Jean Domanian years and actually saw the script that came back with her writing “Make it funnier” at the top. His SNL experience is nicely chronicled on BlogTalkRadio.  After SNL he went to Canada and produced THE KIDS IN THE HALL for Lorne Michaels. For a while, things went well for him. He moved to LA and he tried to represent Canadian comedians (successfully for the most part). Things stopped happening for him, and he spiraled downward into alcoholism and depression. He chronicled his life and his decision to kill himself on his own blog on WordPress.

If you have a moment, read this post.  It’s fairly breezily written and attempts to keep the subject light, but it is clear that Bodolai was in a lot of pain and just didn’t want to live any more.  It’s incredibly poignant to read the following bullet points under the heading “Things I Regret”:

  • My inability to conquer my alcoholism
  • The things I did because of it
  • Leaving Canada
  • Moving to Los Angeles
  • Not fighting harder or making a better deal to stay with The Comedy Network I helped create
  • Not being able to live up to the helping hand so many wonderful people offered me
  • The hurt I caused in my family, friends, and maybe even strangers.
  • That I am no longer able to withstand any more of life’s pain
  • Most of all, the pain I have caused and am now causing my sons and the love of my life, my ex-wife Bianca, my love and connection with her is infinite
  • The fact I will never get to repay the love and generosity you all deserve
  •  Lisa.

Seriously.  Take the time to read it.   I don’t normally dwell on the morbid on this blog, but there was something about the way that Bodolai chronicled the disappointments in his life that stuck with me after reading it.  Was it exhibitionism?  Was it ego?  Make up your own mind.  It’s a good read.

One week after his long, rambling and chatty blogging suicide note, Bodolai checked in to a hotel and prepared a lethal cocktail of Gatorade and Anti-Freeze.  That had to be a painful way to go.

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Terminix enlists the help of Lovecraftian Monsters for their television ads

No fooling!  It would appear that the venerable exterminator company has enlisted the assistance of the elder gods in preparing television commercials.


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Limited Time Run of selected MST3K episodes on HULU

Ohhh, giddy as a schoolgirl., the growing archive of old TV series on the web, will be running selected episodes of the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 show.  MST3K is a favorite of mine– it beats buying the gazillion DVD boxed sets in my book.


Click to go to the MST3K HULU page

So far, they appear to be running:

The Starfighters
Season 6 : Ep. 12   (1:32:10)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Secret Agent Super Dragon (season 5, episode 4)

Secret Agent Super Dragon

Season 5 : Ep. 4   (1:31:56)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Monster A-Go-Go (season 4, episode 21)

Monster A-Go-Go

Season 4 : Ep. 21   (1:32:06)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Rebel Set (season 4, episode 19)
The Rebel SetSeason 4 : Ep. 19   (1:32:04)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Giant Gila Monster (season 4, episode 2)

The Giant Gila Monster
Season 4 : Ep. 2   (1:31:56)

Click the MST3K logo to go to the HULU page.

New Prisoner Series on A&E

the Prisoner original logo

Prisoner, original show log

A nameless man wakes up, his face dirty from being in the sand.  He looks up to see a man in archaic clothing stumbling down a hill, clearly being chased by vague, dark figures.

And so the new version of AMC’s THE PRISONER begins.

I have waxed enthusiastic about the New Prisoner mini-series on A&E before in this journal, mostly because I was excited to see what changes would be wrought on the excellent, creepy premise of the original BBC show from the 1960s, featuring the signature performance of Mr. Patrick McGoohan.   The older series established the roadmap for the newer one, and I expected it to be loaded with allegory, surrealism, science fiction and a touch of the parent show’s dry wit.  The newer show boasts some excellent leads– James Caviezel as “Number 6” and Ian McKellen taking on the role of the oily “Number 2” for the entire run of the mini-series (different from the original, which had a new Number 2 each week).

I finally had opportunity to view “Arrival” last night and came away vaguely dissatisfied.  The two shows are quite dissimilar in many respects.  The Cold War backdrop of the original show has been largely discarded.  The new show’s underlying themes appear to be perceptions of privacy, the mutable nature of reality, and the role of the individual in a capitalistic society.  That’s at first blush.  I give credit where it is due– Nick Hurran’s version of the Village is more voyeuristic, more secretive and monolithic than the older series appears to be (from what I recall).  The Village (or more correctly, those that are in authority in the Village) appear to be unassailable in their power.  Side by side with this is the notion that what the main character is seeing may or may not be real at any given moment.   Mutable reality is displayed on several occasions– where Number 6 has flashbacks that might not be real, where a shared experience one day is not present the next, etc. Either the Village is so supremely powerful it can change reality as we know it, or Number 6’s perception of reality is ‘off’.

Running throughout the narrative is the personality of Number 6, a paranoid and defiant individual whose personality traits have not improved by finding himself in the Village.   Immediately, he finds himself at odds with Number Two, played with blithe confidence by Sir Ian McKellan.   The first episode runs its course, and we are subjected to flashback, flash forward, flashback, flash forward.. ad infinitum.  Clearly Nick Hurran has attended a few classes at the LOST school of warped reality filming.  This is where I started to grow dissatisfied with the show.. again and again we are pounded by a sequence of images.  Again, and again and again… as if the director is trying to shout at us: “Hey look!  It’s an anchor in the desert!  That can’t be real!  it HAS to mean something important, YES????”

I am only one episode in to this series, but I am already missing the whimsy, wit and style of the older incarnation, plus the supremely poised performance of Patrick McGoohan.  I liked Jim Caviezel in the Passion, but find him strangely less than compelling here.  There is nothing “there” to root for, to associate with, in this Number 6.  He is a cypher, a blank, an empty vessel.  I suspect his character would have been greatly improved by adding more and different flashback sequences that explain him more effectively, rather than one key element of his past playing again and again and again.

In short, I’m still going to watch but I’m holding out for improvement.  The older series holds a place in my psyche that this series will not supplant– and even that is based upon the rosy lenses of nostalgia.  When AMC offered up the old series for free on streaming vid, I took a look at it.  For the most part, it’s still quite good, but shorter than I recall (only 17 episodes total!), naive in parts and downright BAD in others.  So maybe I’m holding a phantom up to the mirror here.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will improve.

Holy Cow! It’s the Room Store Lady!

If you live around the DC/Baltimore area, you’re familiar with the prolific work of one Kristen Swanson, also known as “The Room Store Lady“. A friend of mine who ponders such things often did a little research on Ms. Swanson’s body of work, as he appears to, erm, fascinated by her antics pimping furniture. It turns out he has made a discovery.. a dark, dark discovery.. Apparently Miss Swanson has ventured out of her oh-so-sweet hapless persona as the Room Store’s furniture pimp for a little indie cinema.

Here she is in Tamed, a short Youtube film loosely based upon The Taming of the Shrew. In it, Miss Swanson prances around wearing about as much as one might expect on an average European beach in summer time (and a dog collar). The juxtaposition between sweet, goofy Miss Swanson from the Door Store commercials and this… erm.. level of sophistication is a real eye-opener. It’s a MATURE themed video, but doesn’t show overt nudity or sexual acts. Just adult talk. And thongs.

God bless the internetz.. nobody is safe. 😀


  • Part TWO of TAMED, where Miss Swanson sheds her outfit, but remains concealed through the use of clever camera angles and props placement.  That might be NSFW.

Battlestar Galactica Episode Episode 306 "Torn"

A very accurate model of a Cylon Centurion at ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to be a Cylon

Anne Saunders has really outdone herself. Who’s Anne Saunders? The writer on TORN, the latest episode in BSG.


(Intercut with commentary COPYRIGHT SCI FI CHANNEL 2006)

Baltar remains a prisoner within the Cylon fleet, alive only because his captors believe that he can lead them to a new home: Earth. Indeed, hoping to find the mythical planet for himself, Baltar has pinpointed a nebula that might have been a navigation point for the thirteenth tribe on their ancient journey to Earth. The Cylons send a base ship to investigate. Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, Gaeta deciphers Baltar’s abandoned research notes and also locates the nebula. Eager to resume the quest for Earth, Roslin orders Adama to explore it.

An outstanding performance by James Callis last week. For the first time, we can actually SEE into the Cylon mindset, if only as a glimmer. We learn of “Forward Projection”, the way the Cylons view the universe. We even get introduced to a NEW sort of Cylon, “the Hybrid”, a sort of Cyborg construct that guides the ships and operates everything on it. Somehow, I doubt this is one of the human seeming Cylon “other Five” that are left over from the 12 base models. In fact, I can’t understand why a Cylon that does this task even has to look human? Where are the design specs on this model?

VERY interesting comments made by Baltar this episode. His lucid daydreams with “fantasy Six” are becoming suspicious. We know that medically, Baltar looks human, doesn’t have a chip in his head, and for all intents and purposes, IS a human. Yet.. he “forward projects” just like any skin job.. or at least something that is like it. Caprica 6, Baltar’s old flame from the early series, seems to have soured of Baltar. I wish we could see if “fantasy Baltar” is still in her head nowadays.

My take on this: I don’t think Gaius is a Cylon. It’s just too obvious.

Back on the Galactica, things are falling apart with Tigh and Starbuck.. and what happened to Anders???

Col. Tigh is also at loose ends because Helo has unofficially replaced him as Adama’s right-hand man. Tigh and Starbuck — both angry, traumatized survivors of the occupation — soon join forces, deriding everyone who didn’t suffer as they did and insinuating that their comrades are too weak-minded to resist the Cylons. They don’t suspect how far Adama is willing to go to win them back to his side.

Adama (senior) handles this very well indeed, in a very poignant show. I predict Saul will continue a downward slope, but Starbuck will eventually redeem herself.

And for the best part of the show…

Having reached the nebula, the Cylon scout ship transmits back a garbled distress call. It has been infected with a virus that kills all Cylon life. Horrified, the Cylons realize that they can’t even resurrect their dying comrades, because the virus will then be transmitted to the rest of their fleet. They don’t know what to do until Baltar volunteers to investigate. By hunting down the virus’s source aboard the dying ship, he’ll either prove his worth to the Cylons or die of the infection — proving that he’s a Cylon himself.

The virus seems to eminate from a piece of space junk left by the original humans who went to Earth. It appears to have been infected as a trap. Baltar refuses to mention this when he gets back, trying to keep a very weak ace up his sleeve. Unfortunately, Caprica 6 is reviewing the pictures and notices the piece of space junk, but doesn’t say anything. I wonder why? To protect Baltar? Somehow I doubt it…

Anyway, great show.. far better than COLLABORATORS, and connecting directly to next episode, where the Humans discover the virus. What to do, what to do?

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Fall Shows of interest

Due to the advent of DVR/TIVO, I actually do manage to catch a TV show from time to time, usually late at night. These are the shows that look even remotely interesting to me at this stage.

(NBC) Heroes: A plague(?) causes an outbreak of a condition that simulates superpowers. The hype, advertising and pilot are all very cheesey– the characterization looks lame and the dialogue needs improvement. The premise is very interesting, however, and I will give it a shot.

(CBS) Jericho: An unspecified event, some kind of nuclear explosion perhaps, isolates the citizens of a small town in Kansas.. literally isolates.. as in a giant bubble or something. Is the town now in a statis bubble or something? Great premise. Really hokey teasers and trailers.

(SciFi) Battlestar Galactica: The best dramatic show on television returns this October! The SCI FI network is broadcasting short “webisodes” to get the audience (who has been patiently waiting for about 8 months now) back into the flow of things with tihis critically acclaimed show. SF took a huge risk in having such a huge air gap between seasons; from what I’ve seen it will be worth it.

Psych: a man who was intensely trained from birth to take advantage of his photographic memory starts solving crimes for the police as an act of altruism. The police find his uncanny ability to solve crimes just a tad too suspicious. So he decides to pretend he is a “psychic detective” instead, and now the cops think he is a genius. Haven’t seen it yet, don’t know much more than this, but I love that premise.

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Wow, this bit sure went wrong for Carl Monday

bullet rocket


I’ve become something of a fan of Cleveland’s Investigative Reporter Carl Monday after hearing about him on my favorite podcast, NOWHERE IN MULBERRY.

In this VIDEO BIT, Carl tries to spill the beans on sexual predators masturbating in the local public libary.

Watch the crazy hijinks ensue when Carl tries to turn in the guy to his parents and the perp’s enraged dad nearly beats Carl’s brains in!

Yikes, Carl Monday! I bet you didn’t see that one coming!

Brush with.. well, not with greatness per se..

bullet rocket

Guilty Pleasures

I admit it; every once in a while Drey actually catches the sadly hilarious WIFE SWAP on ABC.. and I sometimes sit in with her. or we used to, before it got fairly obvious that the show was scripting the outcome a little too heavily.

I know, I know. UnReality TV is total crap, and “Wife Swap” is really bottom feeder material, about as bad as it gets. The thing is, you have to understand how unintentionally hilarious all this stuff gets. Train wrecks have their own special aura, don’t you agree? Think I’m overstating the point? Check out the most famous participant on Wife Swap, DARK SIDED HILLBILLY WOMAN!

Unfortunately, you can’t find prime material like Dark Sided every day of the week, and the show’s premise is gradually losing it’s appeal. One episode we DID catch last year was “The Hippy Mom from Virginia swapping places with the Materialist Mom from Rhode Island”. This was one of the few that I caught, and the ONLY one where I felt any empathy towards the participants. First of all, the premise was obviously artificial– take the mom from an eco-friendly, liberal “hippy” home near Richmond, transplant her to the palatial house of a materialistic family in Rhode Island, and take the mom from Rhode Island to live for a couple weeks at the “commune” down in Richmond. Hilarity ensues, yes?

Well, I ended up feeling pretty sorry for everyone involved, and some degree of empathy for the “hippy” family.. they looked out of their depth, innocent and blown away by their noveau-riche, foul-mouthed contemporaries from Rhode Island. I kind of mentally shrugged, and that was that.

Turns out there was a small sequel of sorts. Drey called me on her way back from the Virginia Rennaissance Faire last night, chirping excitedly about bumping into… none other than “Ash and Sienna”, the hippy couple from that episode of Wife Swap!! Go figure!

Ash and Sienna, Hippie victims of Wife Swap

Audrey approached Ash (right, photo above) and asked him if he was that guy from the show, and actually struck up a friendly conversation (they were both very nice). Turns out the show was about as manipulative as we thought it was. The show producers “shopped around” for a “leftist, eco-friendly” couple using Craigs’ List. They edited the show to make Ash and Sienna’s point of view sound ridiculous and trivial. They edited out the teenaged boy (of the Rhode Island family) relentlessly calling Sienna a c*nt to her face, among other, far ruder responses.

None of this is surprising, we all knew it was set up, but it’s great to get it confirmed.

Monkeys, the danged MONKEYS…

bullet rocket

I don’t have the power because I have the monkeys, no, I have the power because I’ll let the monkeys out

– Obscure KIDS IN THE HALL skit

And if you think MONKEY SWARMS are that critical element missing from your miniatures games, and I know I do…


Megaminiatures has been offering up some fantastic bulk deals lately. One thing I have to get is this new MONKEY SWARM for 9.99 USD. I have no ideas WHAT I’ll do with a monkey swarm (yet) but it’s too funny to pass up.