Monday, August 31, 2009

First! Day! of! Classes!

Today is the first day of classes at my university, and the campus is abuzz with excitement. In fact, this enthusiasm can be seen in abundance of exclamation marks that currently litter our campus.

I'm not sure why they do this.

A few weeks ago, our recreation center began putting out a variety of signs advertising membership, and in every case they use an exclamation mark.

Perhaps they think this will emphasize their point and/or get people psyched up about the rec center.

What this says to me is a lack of understanding of basic punctuation, something that an educational institution should avoid.

I don't know...punch passes and corporate memberships just don't cry out for this level of excitement.

But I've come to expect things like this. Check out other "educated" decisions our university has made such as the water tower typo, the active shooter training program and its warped sense of diversity. Perhaps I should spend the rest of the day humming our alma mater...and punctuating each line!

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 8/31/09

Your Annoying J. Crew Model for the week of August 31st:

Here is another in what seems like a long line of pencil-thin and potentially nutrition-challenged J. Crew models. As my friend Rebecca has observed, these gals are concave.

To compound the annoyance, she has that waif look, something resembling nouveau homeless.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Freak Show Revisited

Hey look, kids! Our ol' friend Disturbo the Clown is back!

Yep, I was out walking the dog this morning and I saw this sign on our town square, letting us know that the Ticoliny du Sarousch is back in Commerce, TX. It was here last fall, and apparently their visit is becoming an annual event. But unlike last year's promotional poster, the image of the acrobat isn't centered on the clown's crotch.

And I see that, like last year, they're providing "a special surprise for the kids," which I still find slightly suspect.
But Disturbo the Clown wouldn't mean any harm...would he?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big Bone Lick

When in beautiful northern Kentucky, visit Big Bone Lick State Park, won't you?

The immature, sophomoric side of me will be snickering all morning about this Gallery entry.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Together Alone

As I've noted before in the Gallery--see past entries for the grammatically-challenged Texas Beach Club and the freaky constipated Taco Boy--there seems to be a disproportionately large number of stupid and/or senseless billboards along Interstate 30 between Dallas and Commerce, TX. Here is another in the series:

What strikes me about this advertisement for a "low cost divorce" is that it shows the silhouette of a family that appears cohesive and together. If they're trying to sell divorce lawyers, shouldn't at least one of the silhouette parents be standing off to the side? And shouldn't one of the silhouette kids be acting out their frustrations?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Sivilized Sign

Since school is starting up all across the country--and along with that, many students will soon be introduced to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn--I thought that today's entry would be particularly appealing.

Here is a sign from a Huck's Food and Fuel in Salem, Illinois.

As an American literature professor, every time I teach Huckleberry Finn I argue for the tragedy and darkness found in this text. Far from a mere children's or adolescent novel, as some might teach it, this book is downright depressing at times.

But I don't think anything in the novel is as frightening and disturbing as this gas station's image of Huck. In the words of Huckleberry Finn, this sign most give me the fantods.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Master Bates

I've been featuring a lot of brand new images lately. It's about time I dip into my batch from the original Gallery of the Absurd for a little something different.

Here's a Holiday Inn advertisement from several years ago:

Perhaps they were planning on changing their name to the Bates Motel.

Much thanks to Andy Duke for reminding us of Hitchcock.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting a Quality Universit Education

My university can do some dumb things. In the past I've featured examples of their absurdities in the Gallery, such as the psychotic active shooter training program and my school's misguided concept of diversity. Now this ineptness finds its way into our university branding.

They have recently repainted the water tower near the campus, and this is the result:

Outside of the fact that someone apparently doesn't know how to spell, I'm sure that our Marketing and Communications department is not only upset at this egregious typo, but that this isn't even our university's current logo.

And remember, friends, Texas is the land of "no child left behind"!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spicing Your Tenders

Here's a sign I found at a Golden Chick fast food joint:

I wonder if "spicing your tenders" is a euphemism for something? Hmmm.....

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 8/24/09

I present to you, the Annoying J. Crew Model for the week of August 24th.

Today...the pensive J. Crew model.

I wonder what kind of dust balls are rolling around in that little head?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Here's another picture that stalwart Gallery fan, Nick Zachariasen, sent in:

It's another in what is becoming a series of Nick's life images South Dakota, this one in the city of Vermillion. Apparently, the owner of this property, which had been the location of a Chinese restaurant (the building burned down), thought that a smiley face sign would bring in the buyers. If you were in the market to open a 1970s memorabilia store, perhaps this would work, but otherwise...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Jumbo Size Balls

This is from a package of cotton balls we got at Wal-Mart.

Do you have the cojones to use the "jumbo size balls"?

At least it doesn't say on the package that the jumbo balls are sterile.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lube Me Up

When K-Y Jelly won't do the trick, you can always turn to Dura Lube!

And in the form of an air freshener, no less.

Maybe it's just the sophomoric side of me, but I've always found anything with the word "lube" in its title kind of funny. Check out other Gallery entries such as "Lube Help Wanted" and "Super Lube."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Taco Boy

Along I-30 in northeast Texas, between Dallas and Commerce, there are a number of "curious" billboards. I'm not sure what it is about this stretch of highway, but it seems to breed advertising weirdness. A few months ago I posted an image of the grammatically challenged Texas Beach Club sign, and now there's this one:

Why feature this freaky kid on your billboard to advertise your product? Isn't the point to attract the customers?

He looks like the love child of Spanky from the Little Rascals and face lift maven, Joan Rivers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, Baby

My good friend and dedicated Gallery scout, Janine, found this frightening item in a variety store in Arlington, VA. This is truly creepy. Looks like they're hanging the babies.

And as if allusions to infanticide wasn't enough, they can't even spell correctly.

Mama, don't let your babys grow up to be kitschy plastic dolls.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spinning a Yarn

Here are a couple of yarn labels that caught my attention:

This one forsakes subliminal packaging and slaps you in the face with its message. You love this yarn, you love this yarn, you love this yarn...

Nothing says homespun warmth like the word "corntastic." Go ahead, say it: "corntastic." Doesn't that make you feel better?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Freaky Liquor Boy

This is a sign from an old liquor store in Commerce, TX, that is no longer in business.

What I find disturbing about this is the little liquor boy mascot featured on the sign. Who in the hell thought that a freaky image like this would bring in the customers? Maybe that's why they're no longer in business.

He seems like a frightening apparition you would see before your eyes after you are stinking drunk.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 8/17/09

Your Annoying J. Crew Model for the week of August 17th.

Here is another in a series of disturbingly skinny J. Crew models. I know there are some women who are naturally thin, but J. Crew seems to feature a disproportionately large number of these skeletons. And what kind of message does that send?

For a more realistic message on women's body image, please visit the website, About-Face. Tell them the Gallery of the Absurd sent you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Biking" for Grammar

For those of you who aren't entirely "sure" what you're "riding," this sign is for you.

Thanks to the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotes for providing this image.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stop Stopping

Sometimes, stopping is the hardest part.

Someone sent this to me a while back, but I've lost the contact information. Whoever you are, a big hexagonal thanks from The Gallery of the Absurd!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Batman Forever

Here's a page from a recent freebie flyer we got in the mail. As you can see, it's advertising a blowout sale at a manufactured home dealer, Long Tide Homes.

The thing that brought my attention to this ad was the fact that Batman was making an appearance at the sale.

This is the same Batman, complete with the black power salute, that has been showing up all over the place in northeast Texas this year. See the Gallery entries for February 8th and May 19th.

Batman! Fighting the injustices of high prices so that you, concerned citizen, can more easily consume!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Like Cheesses

I like cheese, and I like Mexican food. But I wonder what "cheessesy" Mexican food tastes like?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Hair)Cutting the Rug

In centuries past, it used to be that barbers, in addition to cutting hair, also functioned as a kind of surgeon and even dentist.

In our contemporary world, they now double as dance instructors.

Much thanks to the "Your Scene" web page for the L.A. Times, where I found this image.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Disturbing Fun

I'm sure many of you have seen the recent series of Dave & Buster's commercials, where mini-me versions of people, called "fun," long to party down at the restaurant. This is where fun becomes truly disturbing.

The saddest part about this commercial is that someone had to script the dorky dance by the guy in yellow.

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad McWorld

Here's part of a recent Happy Meal box, where little Ronald is asking you to celebrate with him in his McWorld. To me, that has a kind of "come stay with me at Neverland" feel to it.

Even more depressing is the fact that on the box they're touting 30 years of "happiness." I'm sure that childhood obesity and poor nutrition are something to celebrate.

But the coup de grĂ¢ce on the box is little Ronald himself. I've seen many disturbing incarnations of the hamburger clown, but there's something about this one that sends chills up my spine.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bad Touch

To complement the theme of this week's Annoying J. Crew Model, here's another image submitted for your approval.

This is the sign of a daycare center in Bariloche, Argentina.

Would you send your kids there?

A big Gallery thanks to John Coit who alerted me to this curiosity.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 8/10/09

Your Annoying J. Crew Model for the week of August 10th.

There's something about the use of children in J. Crew's catalogs that I find disturbing. Many times they're used not to sell kids' clothing, but as window-dressing and as backdrops, something that gives the adult clothes they're trying to sell a "homey" or intimate feel. At best, this practice is annoying.... worst, might we say, perhaps even pedophilic?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Butting In

Since yesterday's Gallery entry emphasized asses, I thought that this would be appropriate for today. I guess there's nothing inadvertently absurd about this product, since the folks at Blue Q, the manufacturer, intended it to be kitschy. Still, the packaging warrants examination (click on the images to see more detail).

Why are the statements "Nothing smells like a cat butt" and "Hang the butt where it stinks" in quotes? Will we find them in Bartlett's?

Supposedly, this air freshener masks unpleasant odors in your car. I find it interesting the examples they give. "Spilled beverages," okay. But why single out hamburger? Doesn't anyone go to Taco Bell or Arby's? Would this air freshener work in the car of Subway's darling, Jared Fogel?

The cat butt quiz is funny, especially if you consider what it's really all about. It's asking you to tell which ass belongs to which pussy. Think about it, won't you?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rear Window

Who needs or when you can turn to an advertisement like this?

I guess it all depends on how you make yourself available.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Are You My Hole?

Here's another picture from Pierre, South Dakota that Nick Zachariasen sent to me. It's of a Hardee's sign advertising their new biscuit holes. I had never heard of biscuit holes before, and it just sounded too weirdly funky to ignore.

Maybe some of you think that there's nothing unusual about biscuit holes--if we have donut holes, why not biscuit holes?--and perhaps it isn't inherently strange. But check out this commercial:

I rest my case.

Crabalocker Fishwife

Happy Friday morning from the Gallery of the Absurd!

Here's something found by friend and Gallery watcher, Nick Zachariasen, in a Pierre, South Dakota store:

This apparently is a "creative learning" item that, according to its label, is one of the company's "educational toys that make learning fun!" Not too sure what is so educational about this thing...especially given the fact that it's difficult to figure out just what the hell this thing is! Can you guess what creature is featured on this toy?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Leave It to Beaver

How well do you know your beaver?

I'm not sure where this sign was found. Unfortunately, I've lost the information on the person who sent this to me. If you recognize the picture, please contact me.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 8/3/09

I've been away for awhile, so I haven't been able to update the Gallery. But now I'm back, baby, and for my first entry since returning, I present to you your Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week for 8/3/09:

This dude looks like he's going for the Albert Camus look. What existential angst!

If we're lucky, maybe he'll soon take a trip in a fast convertible.
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