Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Got Back

I used to travel frequently along I-85 between Charlotte, NC (my hometown) and Spartanburg, SC. Driving along the interstate, as I was just northeast of Spartanburg, I would always notice the Peachoid Water Tower in Gaffney, SC, a giant watersphere shaped and painted to look like a real peach. However, I always thought it looked like something else. As the Peachoid begins to become visible just over the horizon, it appears more like a giant ass.

I guess in it's own way, this watersphere is a kind of sign or advertisement, and therefore fair game for The Gallery of the Absurd. Hail to the giant buttpeach!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Love You, You Love Beer

Summer means fun, and nothing says "fun" like that lovable purple dinosaur, Barney. Here we can see Barney stocking up for good times: Pepsi, ice cream cones, a Super Tanker fountain drink, and cases upon cases of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.

Brought to you by your local PBS affiliate and your friends at AA.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 06/29/09

This week's Annoying J. Crew Model is like the old Certs commercial...it's two, two, two dorks in one! The first dork, sporting a "secret wash lightweight shirt"--what's so secret about the washing?--has his eyes closed, for some reason, with his arms folded and a goofy look on his face:

In the very same catalog, just three pages later, is an older man with his arms folded, leaning slightly to his right, and with his legs placed in a relaxed position...exactly like his younger compatriot. Is this his father? Might this be some form of fashion time travel? Has J. Crew decided to tap into the full potential of the space-time continuum?

Tuck in your shirttail, dude!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Pretty" Dumb

The quoted "doing it" has me wondering if these are tomatoes you really want to put in your mouth.


Thanks again to the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, the place to go for vine-ripened punctuation fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

Most men worry about their oceanfront real estate...few consider the backyard:

What disturbs me most about this ad is the "As Seen on TV" headline. Think about it.

And why is "sex appeal" in quotes?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Still Frightening...with Only Half the Calories

Here's the business card of a strangely named clown, SugarFree:

I'm not exactly sure what "clown to your party" means. Is "clown" being used here as a verb, and is it an appropriate usage? Does the phrase reveal any hidden, and perhaps nefarious, links between hip hop and the clowning world? Is SugarFree trying to coin a phrase, and thereby make her/his place in clowndom?

I would definitely go with the two hour party. More face painting for your buck.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

...and So Does Quizno's

My earlier entry on Burger King reminds me of another commercial that I've been meaning to cite. This one also involves something long, doughy, and disturbing:

I'm not sure which is weirder: Burger King's seven-inch lover or the fact that this guy "got burned." Notice where he looks when he says that.

Burger King Blows

As if the creepy King and square butt dancers weren't disturbing enough, Burger King has recently unleashed another ad campaign...and this one leaves even less to the imagination:

I'm sure you get where this message is going.

As I observed in a previous Gallery entry, there are apparently many in marketing who believe that full-lipped, bright red-lipsticked, open-mouthed women seem to sell products. I wonder if they're "frustrated" in any way?

Much thanks to Tantra Flower, who alerted me to this ad. Maybe I should send her a bottle of "Flame" cologne as a thank you gift.

Drunken A-holes

Here's something I featured in the original Gallery of the Absurd:

If they ever merge with the AA Liquor Market, the possibilities would be endless!

Years ago, Tony Damata alerted me to this liquor store in Salem, Massachusetts. Let's everyone thank him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy, once wrote, "All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Apparently here in the U.S., all a family needs for happiness is a warm gun. So if you're in Orlando, FL, instead of taking your kiddies to Disney World or Universal Studios, take them to Shooting Sports, located across from the Wet 'n Wild! Nothing says family happiness more than a fully automatic machine gun.

This reminds me of the "welcoming" billboard I saw along the North Carolina coast earlier this month.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hickey Smoked

When making out with your meat goes horribly wrong:

A big Gallery thanks to Nick Zachariasen who found this appetizing advertisement at a Hy-Vee grocery in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheez Trek

We bought a box of Cheez-It snacks this weekend, and this was on the back of the box:

This struck me as very sad. I can just imagine Trekkies sitting around late at night, watching reruns of the various Star Trek series, binging on snack foods, and fantasizing what they might look like as Federation officers. What's even sadder is that they would want to "transform" themselves into a Trek character and transmit their image via "a galaxy of online communications."

Remember, as the box says, actual transformations will vary.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 06/22/09

Here's another annoying J. Crew model who obviously needs more to eat. She reminds me of a previous model, who was also going for that emaciated homeless look.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there. Here are a few advertisements that are sure to make this day special.

This one is for the Eagle's Nest Restaurant in Cypress, CA. Why did they chose to use the same man in the two father/son images? Does this guy have a second family on the side?


Here is something I found on the blog Random Banter. It's from a Macy's Father's Day flyer. What kind of message does this send about fatherhood?


Finally, another gem from the folks who brought you the "journey diamond" Mother's Day ad. This one is also irritatingly unrealistic. I get the connection between the text, "every moment spent together," and the image of the watch. But as with the Mother's Day ad, there is a weird discrepancy between the "tender" message and the consumable item. If your son can afford a timepiece like this, shouldn't you look into what he's been doing after school?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lick My Cinnamon

This morning my daughter was watching something on Nickelodeon, Disney, or some other irritating channel whose sponsors prey on the attention span of kids, and this commercial came on:

There's something a little weird about creatures licking--and eating--each other on children's programming.

Manscaping the Coast

Today's Gallery entry is dedicated to my good friend, and current Louisiana resident, Jackie:

Her comments on "manscaping" and beach sand are delicious drops of wisdom. Visit her on Facebook, and tell her I said hello.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Making It Hap'n with the Cap'n

In a previous entry in the Gallery of the Absurd, I wondered about the possible double entendre found on a box of Cap'n Crunch. Today, I'd like to revisit that line of thought.

Here's the front of a Cap'n Crunch box from several years ago. It asks for you to "make it happen" with the Cap'n. Hmmmm.....

Now here is a Cap'n Crunch box I recently found in the grocery store. The appeal on the front is for the Cap'n to "crunch-a-tize" you. Also, notice where the Cap'n is holding his spoon and what appears to be bursts coming from that area.

Parents, do you know what your kids are eating for breakfast?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tickle My Elmo

Here's something I featured in the original Gallery of the Absurd, part of an ad for a "Tickle My Elmo" t-shirt that I found in some crappy catalog.

As if this product wasn't creepy enough, take a closer look at this guy's face:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smiley Miley and Her "Special Friend"

A couple of months ago, I posted a scan of a box of Hannah Montana Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and I pointed out that not only was there something disturbing about eating Miley Cyrus-related products, but that the microphone on the package looked a tad phallic. Avid Gallery watcher Pink commented on that entry and alerted me to an even weirder Hannah food product:

The package says that the gummies are "Guitar & Microphone Shapes!"--glad they stuck the exclamation point in there, for otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the full effect--but it seems to me there's a something a little penile going on.

All for only 99¢. And some of you thought that Miley was the pop cultural equivalent of an overpriced call girl.

Thanks, Pink, for helping us to laugh at Miley Cyrus...again, and again, and again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Inané

Reasons to Hate McDonald's

In the original Gallery of the Absurd, I had a feature section (along with the "Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week" and "Clowns are Scary" pages) called the "Arch Deluxe Hate Page," which later evolved into a more general anti-McDonald's section. It included links to a variety of McDonald's-oriented advertisements and signs, but what spawned the feature was the introduction of the Arch Deluxe burger. On the feature's opening page, I had stated the following:

What is going on here? I'm watching television, and I see Ronald McDonald in a series of "adult" situations (I'm sure the McD corporation could have taken this "adult" thing further). This is to announce a new food item geared toward a mature population. This is how the McDonald's FAQ site [link no longer available] describes this new monstrosity: "A quarter pound of beef, with lettuce pieces, tomatoes, cheese, onions, ketchup, and special 'Chef' or 'Arch' sauce which seems to be a mix of dijon mustard and mayonaisse [sic]. Also available with peppered bacon, this new sandwich is served on a 'bakery fresh' potato flour roll."

Does this sound like just another hamburger to you? Is this another attempt at foisting something akin to the imbecility of the "McDLT" on everyone? And just what is "Chef" sauce anyway? And why does the FAQ place "bakery fresh" in quotations? Does this satanic product announce the beginning of a new fascist (or Republican) regime?

Since I've brought the Gallery back as a blog, I haven't formalized any kind of anti-McDonald's feature (although I have included a number of McDonald's-related ads...see below). But recently, I've been seeing commercials for the new McCafé, and my reaction to these have been very similar to my reaction to the Arch Deluxe. So I think it's about time to bring back a popular feature of the original Gallery, one that generated a dedicated following as well as its share of hate mail. I'll call it "Reasons to Hate McDonald's."

And the first official entry in this feature is--you guessed it--ads for the new McCafé.
Now you don't have to go to Starbucks to be served by disgruntled and disaffected youth.

And here is the idiotic commercial they are airing right now:

Wow, an acute accent really can make a difference and change the way you see something. So I guess it's okay to call McDonald's new marketing ploy asininé, grotesqué, offensivé, laughablé, contemptiblé, execrablé, loathsomé, obscené, perversé, detestablé, and especially repulsivé.

By the way, here are some of the other McDonald's-related entries I've already posted in the Gallery of the Absurd:

If you find any annoying McDonald's ads, labels, or signs, send me an email and let me know about them. Your efforts and all-American diligence could be featured in this very gallery!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Frenchin' Dolls

Keeping in the spirit of today's Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week, here's a little bit of stomach-wrenching kiddie goodness:

A closeup of the description, so you can savor every drop.

Making it wet and sloppy, and all for only $199! And remember, the clothes are removable!

Thanks to Rusty for sending me this atrocity (don't know in what catalog he found this). It made me weep.

Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week - 06/15/09

Now that school is out for the summer and those little urchins are going to be running all over the place, I thought I'd feature kids in this installment of the Annoying J. Crew Model of the Week.

Those who follow the Gallery know that my particular irritation at J. Crew's use of kids in their catalogs is nothing new--see, for instance, postings for 9/15/08, 1/5/09, and 3/9/09--and this week's entry does nothing to change that. Looking at these images, sometimes I feel that Gap Kids might not be such an evil idea after all, comparatively speaking.

Ahhhhh.....aren't they cute? Don't you just want to run up to them, pinch their cheeks, give them a big hug, move to a planned and gated community, and make them part of an aspiring, upper-middle-class, Anglo-tinged, Pleasant Valley Sunday lifestyle?

Why are the kiddies in the bottom picture shushing the camera? And why does the girl on top have her leg up? Is she an offspring of some J. Crew flamingo model?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Drive By Shooter

The Gallery at the Beach...finale

Leaving Topsail Island, one of the first signs you'll see is for Shooter's Choice, a gun seller and shooting range located just south in Wilmington. This picture is a little blurry, since I took it while driving by in the car.
Nothing says "Thank you for visiting, and please come again" more than a giant picture of someone pointing a gun directly at you.

Sand 'n' Signs

The Gallery at the Beach (cont.)

Today I'll feature a series of business signs you can find at Topsail Beach. Good times!

Here's one for the One Stop Bait and Tackle. There's nothing inherently strange about this business, since it makes sense that you'd get your fresh seafood at the same place where you can find your bait. But I think that this sign works against anything appetizing about a snow crab dinner.
Mmmmmmm....blood worms make a wonderful side dish.

This is a furniture outlet down near the beach. I'm sure they have great deals--because after all, "your outdoor living begins here"--but I find this an unfortunate name. Would you want your business associated, even inadvertently, with dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane?

I guess there's something endearing about this obvious, and I assume intentional, misspelling. It's sort of fun. Foot references are always hip.

Here's one for a restaurant on the island that caters to the Happy Days-loving crowd. A couple of things bug me about this sign. First, what exactly is that weird jukebox creature thing? Also, what kind of fare is considered "50s style fun food"? Whatever it is, I hope it doesn't involve Potsie.

At first glance, this sign is ridiculous. Most people, I think, would find $7.99 towels a tad more than the advertised price limits. However, in very small type (especially small when seen from the road) the words "selected sections" can be found under the advertised $5.99. Still, it's rather deceptive.
Oh, and don't forget the free hermit crab. I wonder if it comes with blood worms?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Name Game

The Gallery at the Beach (cont.)

As at most beaches, almost every house on Topsail Island has it's own name. Most of these are quaint references to the sea, tide, wind, tranquility, etc., and pleasant in their own way. But some stand out for one reason or another, and here are a few that caught my attention.

I'm not sure why there is an apostrophe on this sign, or at least why there is one placed where it is. Is the owner singular, and does he/she refer to him/herself in an objective way with a definite article?

I guess the owner of this condo was going for a defiant feminist feel. But shouldn't it be something like "grrrls" or "grrrlz"? And why are there quotes around the name? No other home that I've seen here places their name in quotes on its sign, and I'm wondering why this one does. Is it actually an anti-feminist statement cleverly utilizing the ironizing quotes?


The Bland family has a long history on Topsail Island, and there are several things or places around here named after them. But there's just something about this sign that strikes me as wrong. Don't you want to go to a beach that has a little excitement to it, or at least one that is memorable?


Friday, June 12, 2009

Aisle-Land Fun

The Gallery at the Beach (cont.)

Whenever I go out of town, especially to a small town or vacation spot, I like to visit the local grocery stores to see what kind of interesting items they have that aren't on the shelves of my grocer at home. At the beach, this includes going to the discount stores such as Family Dollar and Dollar General and seeing what kind of stuff they have. At times, I wonder how long some of the packages have been on their shelves...and where they get this stuff.

Take these items, for example. What caught my attention about Prairie Belt Smoked Sausages is this 1950s-looking kid on the label. How exactly is this boy linked to the sausages? Is he Prairie Belt's mascot? Does his excitement for chicken and pork packed in chicken stock defy explanation? He reminds me of Happy Boy.


Family Pantry is a brand carried by Family Dollar, and many of their packages try to look somewhat like the more popular name brands. On this box of Honey Grahams, their "unique" touch is the happy bear on the front. Should we make something of the fact that he's playing with something thick, sticky, and dripping between his legs...and that he's got such an elated look on his face?


I always like to see how smaller manufacturers brand their products. Take Bud's Best, for example. What apparently distinguishes their brand of cookies from others is the image of Bud on the front (or at least an image I assume to be Bud).

Look at that happy face and his open, welcoming arms. I'm sure with a mascot like this, the chocolate chips would just have to be real. Bud wouldn't let us down, would he?


Some people at the beach like to head out for some active night life, what the 1970s disco band, Heatwave, called "boogie nights." Others like to head out to the stores for Boogie Wipes:

And you know you'll have unmitigated fun with this product. Just look at the "oo" in "Boogie."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From Da Bronx to Da Beach

The Gallery at the Beach (cont.)

Here's something I found lying around the house where we're staying (along with the various magazines).  It's a flyer/menu for a relatively new business in the area, the New York Corner Deli.  In a place where everything is ocean this and surf that, here is a place with almost no mention of the beach, and the only images on the flyer are of New York icons.  Fuckin' A!

Their slogan: "From da Bronx to da beach."  The "das" tell me that this place must be authentic. 

Magazine Browsing Fun

The Gallery at the Beach (cont.)

What do you do at the beach when it's raining outside, or when you've been out in the hot sun for too long?  You sit around and read!  I always bring books on vacation, but this week I've also been looking through the various reading material (mostly older magazines) lying around the house we're renting.  Some have ads that I would like to share with you.

The first is an advertisement from a Cosmopolitan.  I normally find Jessica Simpson annoying, but there's something about this ad that adds another layer or two to my annoyance. Her ditsy  blond expression is actually rivaled, if not surpassed, by the ditsy blond expression of the guy she's with.

Also, there's something about the expression on her face that reminds me of a big annoyance from years past, Jenny McCarthy.


The next two images are from different ads I found in another magazine marketed to women. What is more, they are just two pages apart; you see one, you turn the page, and then the other is staring you in the face.  Try to get beyond the disturbing fact that the cat is sniffing his own paw--I know, sort of difficult to do--and look at the pose of the feline figure below:
Now look at the Midol woman sitting on her couch:
Their postures are very similar, sitting on couches with their right hands at their faces and their left hands between their legs.  Weird, almost like some sort of harmonic convergence.  Are the editors of this magazine pointing out the functionary similarities between Fresh Step and Midol?  Are they making some kind of gendered statement?

Below is an advertisement I found in a freebie fisherman's publication.  There are a lot of ads for fishing supplies and boat chartering businesses, obviously, but this one really stood out from all the rest.  I wasn't aware that fish spanking was such a popular fetish. 
I wonder if they provide any fishy bondage gear to complete the experience?

This was the newspaper where I found the fish spanking ad, the Fisherman's Post:
I wonder if this dude has been spanking his fish...

Changing LINKS