Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Heavenly Handful of Cheesy Goodness

Here's a disturbing ad sent to me by Jennifer Berger, Executive Director of About-Face. Go on the image to read this one closely, and be ready to cringe.

I'll let Jennifer speak on this one: "Who in their right mind would buy miniature dolls that fit on your finger? Huh? This ad is worth a close read."

Oh Aston-Drake Galleries! What wonders you do give us!

Nice, Nice Baby

What a nice way to spend a sweltering day in the park.

Much thanks, once again, to my good friends Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue for sending me this picture, one they took of an ice truck they saw in a park on July 4th.

I don't know...there's something a tad disturbing about that snowman.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 7/28/08

J. Crew...the clothes that people just go crazy for!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Get Your Hands Off My Banana

This was on some bananas I bought the other day.

What is it with these annoying stickers? This is the second time in a week my fruit has been violated.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Check Your Guns

A friend of mine, Donna Dunbar-Odom, took this picture at the Bass Pro Shop in Dallas.

Only in Texas.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 7/21/08

What the hell?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Very "Corny"

Here's an image I found at the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks and another one that goes into our Don't "Quote" Me on That section:

It's a good thing "hand-dipped" wasn't put in quotes.
Please visit the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks for more misguided quote fun.

Free Smelling Fun

Here's another contribution from Gallery fan Dave Carvell. It's from a Jimmy John's restaurant on Capitol Street in Charleston, West Virginia:

What exactly are "free smells"? Good thing this wasn't on the ad for the Clown on the toilet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 7/14/08

Here's your Annoying J. Crew Model for this week.

So this is what women do alone in their locker rooms?

How Do You Smell?

Would you like to have smelled this nice on your first date?

If so, perhaps you could have engaged in a little ménage à trois.

Once again, many thanks to that fountain of absurdity, Al Wirtes, for alerting me to this product.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Spastics, Unite!

An ad I found in a comic book.

Why does this guy have a look of pain? It's as if he has urinary tract infection.

Monday, July 7, 2008

When You're Smiling....

This was on a bunch of bananas I bought yesterday. The sticker is fascinating.

Why would the Chiquita company want you to put a sticker on your forehead like you're a complete retard? And why smile?

Think about it, won't you?

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 7/07/08

This week's Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week is from an older catalog. Here you go:

There are several places we could go with this image. First, why the gymnastics? Are they too happy? Second, where is this guy's hand? Is he feeling her up, or might there be something more intrusive (probing?) going on here? Finally, what exactly is "feminine" about this clothing? Him or her?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Larry Harmon, RIP

Yesterday, July 3, Larry Harmon, AKA Bozo the Clown, died of congestive heart failure. Although not the original Bozo, he was perhaps the most well-known of Bozo actors. He was 83 years old.

Many of you familiar with the Gallery of the Absurd know that clowns are one of my favorite targets...and that I think they're pretty damned scary. Still, I liked Bozo and even watched his television show every now and again, just for fun. I know that today is July 4th, and maybe I should feature an weird image or two that highlights the fact that this is Independence day. But in honor of Bozo, I thought I'd present you with a few clown-related advertisements. (If you want your patriotic fix for the day, go see Sammy McCracker.) This isn't meant as a dig at Bozo/Harmon. Far from it. But just think of it as my own twisted homage to this country's most beloved clown....Gallery of the Absurd-style!

The first ad is an oldie but a goodie from the original Gallery of the Absurd. It is from one of the innumerable junk catalogs that I receive in the mail, although now I can't remember which one:
When it comes right down to it, I guess there's really nothing inherently absurd about this. But what a hell of a way to scar your kid for life.

But if you want frightening, here's a more recent advertisement. In spring of 2007, Adobe launched an ad campaign for their new Creative Suite 3. Part of the campaign featured this little bit of psychotic goodness:
The Adobe folk claimed that this clown/jester wasn't a new mascot, but was instead an example of the kind of creativity possible with their updated software. I don't know about you, but if this is the possible outcome of technology, I'll become a Luddite. Go ahead, take a good, long, closer look:
The picture should speak for itself.

And if you think that's disturbing, check this out. Evan Saxton, a fan of the original Gallery of the Absurd, found this sticker on the package of an action figure released when Spawn, the Movie came out:
Pennywise, John Wayne Gacey...violator clown. The circle is complete.

But wait, there's more! Here's a commercial from the fun folks at Sony, advertising their Bravia LCD television not long ago:

A clown running around, causing destruction in a rain of many colors. I don't know about you, but I see the colorful downpour at the end of this commercial as something akin to acid rain...or perhaps even nuclear fallout. Who says clowns aren't evil?

And finally, perhaps the scariest clown-related ad for today. Back in the late 1990s, when McDonald's was trying to sell their Arch Deluxe hamburger (a campaign targeted at a more adult audience), I came across this disturbing bit of marketing and featured it prominently on the Arch Deluxe Hate Page, a former specialty section of the Gallery. On the McDonald's Website they featured instructions for an Arch Deluxe line dance:
This has got to be one of the most unnerving things the McD corporation has ever come up with. Have you checked the children?

Larry Harmon - 1925-2008
Goodnight, sweet prince!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shop 'til You Drop...from Pain!!

Shopping has never hurt so good.

Looks like there's some competition for the S&M Variety Shop.

Again, special thanks to Scott Gilford, the man who brought us the splashing kitty.

Atrocity by Request

Here is an advertisement for Request Jeans found in an issue of Mademoiselle several years ago. What are these people trying to sell us? The Auschwitz look?

Much thanks to About-Face, a Website devoted to combating negative and distorted images of women in the media. I found this ad on their Website a few years ago and featured it in the original Gallery of the Absurd. There's a lot of this crap out there, and the folks at About-Face are diligent in sniffing out offenders. Please take the time to visit their site.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Psychotic University Training

Okay, I'm not entirely convinced this falls under the realm of the Gallery of the Absurd. It's not really a sign, label, or advertisement. But a friend has argued that this is indeed an advertisement--an ad, albeit internal, for our university's office of professional training--and as such, should be featured on the Gallery. So here you are, submitted for your approval: click on the image below:
As you can see from the flyer/ad, my university's training office is offering a session on what to do in case a wacko with a gun shows up on campus. That's fine, I have no problem with that...and even find this useful training. Violence on campuses is no joking matter. But notice the graphics they chose to include on the flyer. Why in the hell would they choose to include an image of a smiling man alongside a notice about training for an "active shooter"? Take a closer look at this guy:
Is he smiling because he has an Uzi hidden somewhere? And if so, where? Is he watching the slaughter and laughing? What's up with this? I'm not sure which is more disturbing: the real dangers out there in our gun-friendly culture, or the fact that my university has hired someone who created an ad like this.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Here's an entry from the original Gallery of the Absurd, and as you might guess, it was one featured prominently on the Clowns Are Scary page. This is a poster I found plastered up in Lafayette, Indiana, when I lived there.

Is it any wonder so many people are disturbed by clowns?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blueberry Bob Welcomes You!

Here's the label off of a carton of blueberries I bought the other day. I'm mesmerized by the figure of Blueberry Bob. He's my new hero.
Dig those crazy pants he has on. Looks like a fig leaf. What might Blueberry Bob be hiding underneath? Something blue and juicy?
By the way, have you noticed another inappropriate, or at least suspicious, usage of quotation marks, something that's becoming a regular of the Gallery of the Absurd? "Texas finest"...are these ironizing quotes? Are they not actually the "finest"? Or are these direct words from someone, comments so groundbreaking and insightful that it just had to be quoted? Perhaps I should create another special section of the Gallery, one devoted to the inappropriate use of quotation marks. We already have "Wine" and bags from Pamida grocery. And maybe I should call it Don't "Quote" Me on That. Yep, that's what I'll do. It's something that my friend Tracey would appreciate.

Oprah, Beckett, and the Triumph of the Human Spirit

Oh, Oprah! We can always count on you for a good chuckle when it comes to your book club. The pimping of Toni Morrison, the catastrophe of Jonathan Franzen, the embarrassment of James Frey, and the colonizing of Cormac McCarthy's fame....What fun-filled mayhem do you have in store now?

Well, if you've seen a recent article on her Website, one titled "Five Books Everyone Should Read at Least Once," by Vince Passaro, you'll know that she (or her evil cohorts) has her eye on that lovable and indefatigable champion of human optimism, Samuel Beckett. Here is what Oprah...uh, I mean Passaro...says about Waiting for Godot, one of the five must-read books in all of human history, according to Oprah's media empire:

"We need to remember that just because we're sad, that doesn't mean we're not also marvelously comical and transcendently courageous."

Is this a description of Beckett's famous existential play, the inside of a Hallmark card, or a blurb from a summer blockbuster movie? Hmmmm....hard to say. Let's see, Beckett wrote such "transcendently" uplifting texts as How It Is, Endgame, Happy Days, Ill Seen Ill Said, Molloy, Malone Dies, and Worstward Ho. Yep, guess Passaro, AKA Oprah's minion, is talking about Beckett alright.

Oh, Oprah, will you ever stop doing those wacky things you do with books?

Much thanks to my friend, Margaret Peña, for alerting me to this little bit of faux literary goodness.
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