Monday, June 30, 2008

Scoopy Is It

Submitted for your approval: another entry in the Clowns Are Scary portion of the Gallery of the Absurd. Scoopy's, bringing fear and trembling to little boys and girls for generations!

There's just a small step between this guy and Pennywise. Be afraid....Be very afraid....

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 6/30/08

When in Morocco, be sure to bring your wardrobe from the J. Crew Collection.

Nothing says "I care about other cultures" more than an understated, yet chic, yellow dress. I'm sure that is what what this guerrab (or water man, according to the "Inside Secret" note in the upper left part of the page) is thinking.

Actually, the guy's hat is pretty cool. Perhaps she could make this an accessory...a future item in the J. Crew Collection?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting It Up Has Never Sucked So Much

If you're like me--and I know you are--you're really sick of all of the erectile dysfunction and male enhancement drug commercials on television. I have nothing against products like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, since I am aware that they can help men with legitimate health issues. (Although I think it's a dirty shame that so much money and energy have been thrown at these kind of drugs, and research into less "sexy" illnesses are relatively slow in getting researchers' and the FDA's serious attention...but then again, the people who have most of the power are guys, right?) But there are just some places that I don't want to go with these commercials.

Take, for instance, the insipid Viva Viagra ad campaign, especially the commercials where a bunch of guys are sitting around singing about their pharmaceutically-induced erections. Do we really have to be a witness to these embarrassing episodes of "male bonding"? I'm sure you've already had the displeasure of seeing at least one of these, but if you haven't, then take a soggy gander:

And this isn't even the worst one. A "Viva Viagra" commercial that leaves me feeling even more oily is the "Nashville" one, where a bunch of rednecks are sitting around hunkering down on a country version of the ad song. You can probably find that one, and all of the other weaselly Viagra commercials, at the Viagra video page.

Ladies and gentlemen, please let me apologize for my sex. I'm so ashamed.

Spaced Out

Ah, youth! What joy it must be for kids to get a new Star Wars toy.

Look at the face on this kid! Do you think he's related to Grandpa Sol?

Once again, a special thanks to my wonderful friend, Al Wirtes, for scaring the bejesus out of me with this kid's picture.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dry Your Little Guy

I have no idea what this sticker means, but it's message bemuses me nonetheless...especially the "inflammable liquid" part.

Many thanks to Uldis Balodis for sending this to me, a good guy with a dry sense of the humor.

Let's Give 'em a Hand

Here's the cover of a disturbing advertising brochure I featured on the original Gallery of the Absurd. Nothing brings back precious memories like a collection of disembodied hands and feet.

That's one butt-ugly baby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crap! It's John McEnroe.

For the past year of so, the Kellogg company has been using John McEnroe in an ad campaign for their All-Bran cereal. If you've seen any of these commercials on TV, you know what I'm talking about: McEnroe comes up to people who are apparently blocked up, and he extols the wonders of All-Bran cereal and how it's made his life "regular." Now don't get me wrong, I like John McEnroe, and I've appreciated his ironic presence in various pop cultural outlets over the past several years (one of my favorites is his appearance in episode 5 from the sixth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "The Freak Book"). Still, there's just something disturbing about any links between McEnroe and my bowels.

I remember when they first inaugurated this "All-Bran Day 10-Day Challenge" campaign. On Yahoo you could find an ad banner with his bouncing disembodied head--and disembodied McEnroe heads advertising bran are always funny--telling you about the bunghole challenge.

As if all of this weren't disturbing enough, on the All-Bran Day 10 Club's official Website, McEnroe shared some of his own experiences on All-Bran as a path to a clean life. Among his 10-day disclosures are these:
  • Day 2: "Who knew No. 2 could feel this good."
  • Day 3: "Personally, I feel better when I let it all out."
  • Day 5: "In this case, out is the right call."

I don't believe McEnroe's own tips and inspirations are still up on the site anymore, but visit the All-Bran Day 10 Club to see how others are free to move about the cabin.

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

Once again, my good friend Al Wirtes provides me with some frightening Gallery goodness. This one is from a recent Toscano catalog for a lawn ornament called "The Dweller Below."

I guess this was a crackerjack attempt by the artist, Liam Manchester, to shelter other children from a condition that apparently he suffered from as a kid: a debilitating fear of the boogeyman. And what better way to do that than this lawn sculpture.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are You Persuaded?

My friend Elise Flanagan sent me this curious product. The front of the bag itself isn't really strange. Although I do wonder what "beyond good" really is...perhaps something involving drug-like ingredients?

The real gem comes in what's on the back of the bag. Uncle Ray--and for some reason, images of a chubby but psychologically disturbed relative came to mind as I typed that--apparently includes mini-narratives on the back of his bags of chips. I'm not sure what to make of this, other than an overwhelming need to share personal stories when no one asks. Do you think that an unhealthy, overweight guy shoving chips in his pie hole really cares about the life and times of Uncle Ray?

Click on the image above to read Uncle Ray's narrative. And while you're at it, take a good long look at his picture. Does this guy ooze persuasiveness?

And Our Water Also Has Fluoride!

I teach at a university in a rural part of Texas, and believe it or not, this wonderful sign is displayed above all of the water fountains in my department's building.

Ain't it great to live in Northeast Texas!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Secret, Shameful Life of Mr. Peanut.

I found this in a can of Planters Peanuts.

As if a smiling peanut with a monocle isn't freaky enough.

I'm not sure if I'd want to see that part of Mr. Peanut that lies beyond my awareness. Would you?

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 6/23/08

Here's this week's Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week. It's from an older catalog, but still just as annoying as ever. What the hell is this guy doing sitting out in the street reading a paper? Doesn't he see that car coming up in the background?

Maybe he's friends with the Annoying J. Crew Model from a couple of weeks ago, the guy who was out in the street riding his stationary bike.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spankin' Good Food

Here's a picture of a sign from a bar near my former home in Lafayette, IN. Handspanked....I'm turned on already.

I wonder if they know about the S&M Variety Shop?

Smells Like (Teen) Spirit

I'm sure we're all used to the many ways in which religion is processed and packaged to sell us anything from underwear to wars on terror. But I would be remiss if I didn't bring to your attention the sorely overlooked market involving our olfactory senses.

Ah, yes! I couldn't think of a better way of expressing my beliefs than dangling this little baby from my car's rear view mirror. Nothing says piety better than that!

And what's with the "Keep away from children" caveat on the back of the package? Didn't Jesus ask everyone to come to him as children?

Sharks, Bears, and Brats, Oh My!

This is the guarantee from the back of the package of Pelican Product's MityLite flashlight. I guess that shark bites, bear attacks, and children under five years old all present comparable dangers. If you're a parent, you know this may indeed be true.

Also, I really wonder about keeping that "O" ring greased. Sounds like a euphemism for something sordid.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

From a package of cheap diapers. Isn't there something about the happy balloon that looks like a sperm?

And why does the face smile when wet? Shouldn't it frown? Also, I'm not sure I'd want the smiley faces on my kids' butts.

That's What Chums Are For

The fact that this is a coffee creamer isn't really that funny, but the product name is so damned weird I just had to showcase it. I'm not sure I want to put something with the word "chum" in my mouth.

Special thanks to Gallery fan Scott Gilford who sent this package to me.

Pizza Face

This is an image from a pizza box that someone sent me.

This is so frightening I'm not sure what to say. The coloring is what really disturbs me. Makes him look like a clown. Maybe I should feature him in the Clowns Are Scary page?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spud Boy

Nothing says delicious like a food item offering itself for our use, all willing and ready to be consumed.

Mmmmmmm. My mouth is watering just looking at that slab of butter melting in his head.

Stumpy Floater, Your Friend

The packaging isn't really weird, but I just like the term "Stumpy Foater." Go ahead, say it with me: "Stumpy Floater."

Wasn't Stumpy Floater one of the very early members of The Little Rascals cast?

Come Shop at the S&M

When you're in North Carolina, please visit the S&M Variety Shop, a small community general store and a place where all your dreams come true.

No I'm not kidding, this really is a general store. By the way, that's me, thrilled as can be, standing in front.

As Opposed to a FAKE Fourth of July?

Sammy McCracker: what America is REALLY all about.

Special thanks to my friend, Al Wirtes, who wants us all to recognize the "REAL" aspect of Sammy's product. Capital letters do make the difference in meaning, don't they?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid...

Soylent Green is made from people!

Special thanks to Brian Donahue and Tracey McHenry, kindred souls who also suspect that McD's represents our contemporary Brave New World.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where Is Your Mystery Spot Located?

Another gem from Michigan. This is part of a brochure I found the last time I was up there.

If it's so world famous, why is it still a mystery?

Freud and Your Sandwich

Remember, especially on those lonely nights, this "can be used over and over."

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 6/16/08

Okay, stop with the Ashton Kutcher grooming tips. You would think that this no-shave look went out with the 1980s. Guess some things just refuse to die.

And how cute and multicultural. We are the world! J. Crew does really think about each and every one of us.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Step by Step

You can't watch just one.

Much thanks to Janine Chiappa McKenna, who found this sign in the Hunan Palace, located on Vermont Ave. in Washington, D.C. When in that neighborhood, stop by and enjoy a meal. And tell them the Gallery of the Absurd sent you!

One Stop Shopping

It's not there anymore, but here's a sign that until recently stood at a shopping center off Highway 308 in Farmersville, TX.

Much thanks to my friend, Mike Odom, for enlightening me on NE Texas culture.

You know, the thing that gets me about this sign isn't so much the fact that guns, donuts, and pizza are all given equal billing (although the word "guns" is definitely bigger). It's the "terrier" part that makes me wonder. Here is what Mike has to say: "Not sure whether 'wash a terrier' is a dog grooming salon or a crazy misspelling of 'washateria.'" Which do you believe, Mr. and Ms. Blogger?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stand by Your MacMan

Here's something from several years ago. This is a different kind of advertisement, one that's part of a uniform.

This picture comes from my friend, Al Wirtes (that's him on the right), who found this dude in the Hard Rock McDonalds, across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe on Ontario Street in Chicago. My question here is this: why is he MacMan if he's working at a McDonalds? What is he, more Scottish? Looks it to me.


The possibilities of immature comments here are endless...

I wonder, though, if this is just artificially flavored or is there anything natural about the taste? And if the former, how do they do it?

Funky Little Shack

Retro look, funky doo, handmixer: the perfect spokesperson for tofu.

Much thanks to my bro-in-law, Paul Siegfried, for keeping me up to date on the food industry. He found this in some ad for tofu.


Eggs with smiley faces. How sweet.

Thanks to an old Gallery fan, Chris Moyer, who found this on a bucket of boiled eggs in Texas. Mmmmmm.....bucket.

What's for Dinner?

When in northern Michigan, please visit The Yeck.

Does the name says it all? I don't know, since I've never stopped in. Have you, dear blog reader?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Flags, More Fun, You Die!

I don't know about you, but there's something about the latest Six Flags ad campaign that scares me. First off, I'm a little unnerved by this guy's disembodied head screaming at us on the TV screen. (And for me, at least, there's something about disembodied floating heads in advertising that is inherently unsettling.)

But perhaps what is even more disturbing are the potential cultural messages underlying this advertisement. Is it just me, or might there be a bit of racism embedded in these Six Flags commercials? Judge for yourself. Here are a couple of recent Six Flag commercials I found on YouTube:

There's just something wrong here. The monosyllabic loud utterances (as if it were Tourette syndrome), the lack of verbal agility, and the frighteningly simplistic look on this guy's face just send the wrong message. Might we have here the inkling of a stereotype? It's almost as if I expect this dude to yell "You die, Joe!" at any minute. Why, in a commercial like this, use an Asian face to yell this stuff? This is not really a matter of political correctness; it's one of stupidity.

Of course, it's not as if Six Flags doesn't have a history of using certain social communities in a "funny" way to sell their product. Remember the old guy from their commercials a few years ago?

The aged, Asian Americans....I can't wait to see who Six Flags showcases next year! Perhaps the homeless?

Soo Boy So Bad

Part of a pamphlet on the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

For me, it's the heartwarming image of Soo Boy that makes this such a magical trip worth taking.

When in the Upper Peninsula, pay Soo Boy a visit, won't you?

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Bacon, and Spam!

McDonald's, watch out! The competition is creeping up on you.

I'd like to thank Kyle T. for bringing our attention to more Spam products.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Clowns Are Still Scary

Clowns Are Scary

From the people that brought you Shnookums & Meat. This is an older product from Franco-American that is no longer around, I think. What a loss. Bringing the psychologically disturbing world of Barnum and Bailey right to your dinner table!

Believe it or not, when I featured this image in the original Gallery of the Absurd, it inspired the the first and only Official Circus-O's Homepage, something created and maintained by a guy named Jon Abbott. The cultural implications of this event were staggering, and it still gives me the willies just thinking about it. I wonder whatever happened to Mr. Abbot and his madcap romp on the Web?

Badda Bing

Guess if you want to mask your actually intentions, this is one way of doing it.

Thanks to Edward J. Pelegrino, webmaster of the Site du Jour of the Day, for sending me this pert and bouncy bit of goodness.

Everett's Coop

C. Everett eat his eggs. I found this on the inside of a carton of eggs I bought.

From Reagan's Surgeon General to shiller of that incredible, edible orb. Egg-cellent!

Polly Want a Punchline?

Honda has a new ad campaign going on right now for their 2008 Element. This is a series of commercials and print ads that are supposed to be both cute and clever (I guess). And because nature and a variety of animal images are involved in the campaign, the Honda motor company can evoke two current much-valued, yet potentially contradictory, buyer impulses: the desire to drive a rugged outdoorsy set of wheels that can go anywhere and the desire to own an eco-friendly vehicle. (Even the name, "Element," conjures images of goodness, greenness, and the natural world.)

Like the car or no, there are some of their ads that make me wonder. Like the one below. This is a print version of a video ad (that can be found on their Website) that just doesn't jibe. I know that the gist of this exchange between the parrot and the Element is supposed to be that the latter actually has a 270-watt stereo, which the parrot obviously does not. But if the car is the one who is speaking first in each of these panels, and the parrot is only parroting what the car says, and nothing more, then why is he silent in the last panel? Isn't a parrot going to parrot whatever is said to it, regardless of logic and believability? Why can't the parrot ask the Element--before the Element asks the parrot--if it has the 270-watt stereo, to which the car could answer, "Well certainly, my fine feathered friend...and potential buyer reading this ad!"? Of course the parrot doesn't have the stereo, but isn't there a more clever way to make this point in an purportedly clever ad? Maybe I'm just thinking about this too much, but the ad just doesn't work for me.

Still, cool car.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

...Plus, No MSG!

Here's another fun entry from the original Gallery of the Absurd:

Notice there's no "meat" in this product. I wonder if there's any "Shnookum."
Changing LINKS