Random thoughts, dubious rants, curiosities and worthy citations on the media, politics, marketing, music, inanity, and animals, among other things. Words and pictures and stuff, mostly from south central Wisconsin USA
I heard a radio spot for Bayer AM while driving home tonight. The ad promoted this new version of venerable old Bayer aspirin as a product that is "specially formulated for morning pain, to help you get a jump on your day."
OK, think about that. It helps morning pain and gets you going. Hmmm... I wonder what they put in it that makes it different from plain old Bayer. I have a sneaking suspicion I know what's in it besides aspirin.
From the product website:
New Bayer AM works to relieve the tough pain in the morning that can ruin your whole day. It contains the proven pain relief of Bayer Aspirin for all kinds of pain, from a headache to a backache and an alertness aid that can help you feel awake and ready to start your day. Take back your morning with Bayer AM!
Figure it out yet? They tossed in an "alertness aid."
More from the website...
Active ingredients (in each tablet):
Aspirin 500 mg (NSAID)*. Pain reliever
Caffeine 65 mg. Alertness aid
*nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
Got it. So two of these miracle pills have almost the same amount of aspirin as three regular aspirin tablets, plus they have about half (yes, half!) the caffeine you'd get out of a "Tall" (12oz) from Starbucks. That's your alertness aid... the equivalent of 6oz of decent coffee.
I looked at prices (slow night tonight) and Bayer AM costs about 4 times per dose what regular generic Walgreen's aspirin costs (28 versus 7 cents). But, hey, every dose of Bayer AM gives you the same lift as 6oz of Starbucks. I don't know about you, but I need at least a 24oz Venti to get me moving.
Is this filling a need for consumers? Perhaps it is, in as much as it does save you the trouble of making coffee. It solves "morning pain"and gets you going. Reading further into the website, I found they went ahead and offered up a practical use that I also considered:
for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains associated with a hangover
helps restore mental alertness or wakefulness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness associated with a hangover
also effective for headaches, body aches and pains alone
OK, now we're talking. It's a hangover remedy! If I were the Bayer AM product manager, I'd not be hiding this under a bushel basket. I'd make "hangover remedy" the headline. I'd work it into the radio script at least three times. I mean, c'mon... this is why you are mixing plain old aspirin with caffeine... for people too hung over to make a pot of coffee themselves.
When I was a kid, I knew all the airlines. It was like an obsession. I knew where they flew, where their gates were if they flew out of Chicago O'Hare, and what kind of equipment they used. My mom used to tell me that there were even more railroads than there were airlines, but the airline industry sent them to their graves with but a few old routes and train names to live on in the form of Amtrak.
Recently I was cleaning out my desk and found several frequent flier cards for airlines that have gone away. Many were merged into others while others went bankrupt. In some cases, you can trace the lineage. For example, Wisconsin Central changed it's name to North Central; North Central merged with Southern and Hughes Airwest to become Republic; Republic was taken over by Northwest; Northwest merged into Delta.
It's hard to believe so many of these carriers are gone. I've flown many of them (marked with **). I logged the most miles with TWA and Ozark the hard way -- 300 at a time between Chicago and St. Louis -- while working on the Anheuser-Busch account. But all those miles, including a lot earned during fare wars and triple mile deals, all rolled into American... and I am still burning them off.
How many of these airlines do you remember? And how many have you flown in your past?
Air California (merged into American)
Allegheny (merged with Piedmont and PSA to form US Air)
Aloha (bankrupt) **
America West (merged into US Air) **
American Trans Air (bankrupt) **
Capital (merged into United)
Chicago Air (lost feeder agreement with Midway, ceased operation) **
Empire (merged into Piedmont)
Air Florida (bankrupt)
Hughes Airwest (merged with North Central and Southern to form Republic)
Kiwi (de-certified by FAA... ouch!)
Midway (bankrupt, a few times) **
Mohawk (merged into Allegheny)
Muse Air (taken over by Southwest, renamed TranStar)
National (merged into Pan American)
New York Air (merged into Continental)
North Central (merged with Hughes Airwest and Southern to form Republic) **
Northwest (merged into Delta) **
Ozark (merged into TWA) **
Pan Am (bankrupt, the name was unsuccessfully resurrected four times. FAIL)
People Express (merged into Continental)
Piedmont (merged with Allegheny and PSA to form US Air) **
Presidential Air (bankrupt)
PSA/Pacific Southwest Airlines (merged with Allegheny and Piedmont to form US Air) **
Reno Air (merged into American)
Republic (merged into Northwest) **
Southern (merged with Hughes Airwest and North Central to form Republic)
Texas International (merged into Continental)
Tower Air (bankrupt)
TranStar (short-lived alter ego of Southwest, ceased operation)
Trans World Airlines/TWA (merged into American) **
ValuJet Airways (now operates as AirTran after a horrific crash attributed to lapses in safety practices)
Yay! All my work is turned in for the semester! I plan t get back to writing some stuff worthy of posting here and stop just stringing you along with a bunch of borrowed (yet still worthy) content. But this last month has been a bitch. Yeah, yeah, promises, promises; I know.
Baby chicks are pretty cheap... like $1.25 each. We were in the Tractor Supply store over in Michigan this past weekend, and couldn't help but notice the hundreds of baby chickens they had for sale. Like a city-boy dumb-ass, I was appalled that they would be selling these as an Easter novelty, as I assumed since it was Easter weekend that's the reason they were selling them.
I was mistaken. Apparently you can feed and water these things, keep them at 90 degrees with a heat lamp and they grow into big stupid birds. If, at the end of the summer, foxes, raccoons or other predators don't kill them, you get to! Or not. The fresh eggs are kind of nice too I guess. So for the giant investment of about $30 and some borrowed feeders from a neighboring farmer, we have expanded the menagerie to include some chickens. Alert the media.
My niece Megan and her pal Annie are here this week, and they are pretty excited about this little project. But they aren't nearly as excited as Laverne, Shirley, Bob and Betty, our barn cats. They are totally aware that the chicks are in the granary, and are really hoping someone forgets to latch the door to the otherwise secured location.
I hope they don't get in there, but if they do, as Tom points out, $1.25 per chick is on par with a can of the high-priced cat food and includes some entertainment value for the diner.
Check back in a few months for egg prices or death notices.
In the past several months I've been collecting different politically oriented comment threads from Facebook as well as online editions of various daily newspapers. I've also spent too much time looking at comments left under YouTube videos about California's Proposition 8 vote and its aftermath. Why would I subject myself to this? Simple: research.
The volume of political discourse on the Internet is, practically speaking, immeasurable. From the New York Times to the smallest blog, comment functions and active threads are everywhere. Often absent, however, is a solid showing of civility. That said, I couldn't help but notice that one area that appeared noticeably more civil in tone and decorum was the threads collected from Facebook. The reason appears to be a simple one: You can't be anonymous on Facebook. Even if one person in the comment thread doesn't know many of the others, they all know the host... the person whose Facebook page holds the thread.
I look at it like a cocktail party. Not every guest at the party knows every other guest. Some may not even know the host, if they are guests of guests. But out of respect for the host, it will take some real provoking or pre-existing animosity for one guest to get into a shouting match with another that leads to shouting, f-bombs and maybe a punch or two. It happens, but not often. Facebook is a cocktail party. People, even if they don't all know one another, play nice.
Too be sure,
there are people who are just tools, and they too are on Facebook, behaving badly in the cyber salons of others.. (Talkin' to you, guy whose name
spells a lot like Savid Dims.) But, like at a cocktail party, what would a nice party be without at least one guy who presents himself as an conversational jerk without really even trying.
Unmoderated comment threads on news sites are a lot more like being at an NHL game. A person knows few or no others in the arena, yet can usually tell who is one his side. (The jerseys help. Hockey fans love jerseys. I have five myself... three Blackhawks and two Badgers. I digress.) People will scream obscenities at the top of their lungs, hurl insults at the opposing team's fans, and occasionally instigate or otherwise participate in a brawl. The relative anonymity of a raucous crowd gives cover for being an ass
The majority of comments on any controversial subject of your choosing in, for example, the Chicago Tribune are anonymous. It's so easy to call people crude names, ridicule others' points when you have none to make yourself, and generally act like an uneducated belligerent jerk. As long as people are not required to provide their identity, that's not going to change. And if that doesn't change, one can never really take seriously much about those comments or enter into any productive and informative discourse.
That said, it is nice to know that people who used to have to just yell at their television sets when not muttering to themselves now have a more interactive outlet for their insightful commentary. And they do give people like me something to work with when researching computer-mediated discourse... and the rest of you someone to laugh at.
To be a member of a college fraternity is to have a bunch of friends with weird, stupid, embarrassing, meaningless or otherwise odd nicknames. Some are drug-oriented (Pheno). Some are trait-based ("O" as in obnoxious). Some are just abbreviations (Goldy). Two others attached to my Sig Ep brothers include "The Narl" and "Toast."
Knowing that, maybe you will understand my confusion when offered either Narly head or Toasted head. Whaaaaaaaat?
Oh, we're talking about wine. Like the red stuff in a bottle. Wow. That's totally different.