Is It "Rip-offs" or "Rips-Off"?

Is anyone else as sick as I am of the past weekend's tsunami-like marketing of the Simpson's movie? I've seen promo through the years--hell, I had two small boys during all of the Star Wars movies--but this is ridiculous.

We tried to watch "The Last Samurai" on telly yesterday afternoon and about 3 minutes into each segment (following Simpson's movie trailer commercials), the entire bottom of the screen was plastered with popup marketing. Who are these geniuses? It was impossible to read the subtitles with Homer Simpson chasing a donut across the lower one-third of the picture.

Which brings me to another sore point today.

Who remembers real cable? You know, those "dark side" stations that had no commercials... because our monthly cable bills PAID for commercial-free television. That was the bargain the stations struck up with us. We didn't have to subscribe, but we could if we didn't want to be bothered by marketing. There was an alternative: antennae. All of the major networks--and some minor ones as well--could be viewed without cable and those who couldn't afford a monthly bill didn't have to subscribe. Now we have no such choice. If we want television we have to subscribe to cable. And I don't trust this all-inclusive media crap, either. I'm not sure it's good for us to get our TV, internet, land phone, cell phone, car radio, home radio, teleporter, holodeck and toilet paper dispenser wrapped up in one corporation.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that television isn't a necessity, it's a luxury. Well, perhaps in some parts of the country this is true, but in Tornado Alley TV is not a luxury, it's a life line. If not for that I would happily discontinue the cable service and use our TV only for movies. I lived like that for four years in the 90s. Didn't hurt me a bit. In fact I had a bumper sticker on my car that read, "Kill Your TV". I liked not watching television in the evenings after work and on the weekends. It gave me more time to sit in sidewalk cafes, drink beer and laugh with friends. But that was when there were only two adults in the house and I lived in California and Denver.

While I'm on the subject of television, what about these?
  • MTV: Do you remember when it actually had something to do with music?
  • AMC: Do you remember when it actually played movie classics?
  • The popup ads during TV shows and movies: They started out small, tucked into the bottom right corner, but now they take up half the screen and are accompanied by sound.
  • "Blond Bimbos and their vain, pathetic men" shows like The Girls Next Door and Dr. 90210
  • Celebrity "reality" shows: Don't even get me started.
  • Celebrity anything. I'm so effin' sick of celebrities and celebrity gossip. Who really gives a rat's ass?
My non-TV beef today is with le Consulat Général de France à Houston. For the past several months Lauren has been working out the details of a trip to Houston to get her visa to study in France for the next school term. Of course, governments never make it easy (or cheap) to take care of matters having to do with paperwork and she had to be there at a certain time, on a certain day, with certain documents. Houston is a good 450 miles from us and the Consulate demanded that she show up in person for her interview. Nothing could be done through the mail or over phone or FAX. But:
  • Neither of our cars would make the trip and come back in one piece
  • Nettl and Lauren, if they drove, would have to rent a car
  • They would have to spend two nights in a motel
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Time off from work
They finally found out that because Lauren's 18, Nettl didn't have to be there with her, so Lauren decided to fly down on her own. We told her we would pay for the entire trip, including food and transportation by making the payments on her credit card for her. So Lauren flew to Houston on Sunday morning and checked into her room. Today was the day of her interview with the Consulate. She had to take a cab, which cost $30 each way and her appointment wasn't even an appointment. It was the typical "take your check, fill out form, stamp this, here's your sticker" deal. $600+ for a 5-minute blow job. Like we can afford that! We'll be paying 6 months or more for that 5 minutes.

And then there are new issues with "the Ex". He pops up every now and again, just like a cold sore. Nettl's blood pressure doesn't need his crap and I don't care if he's reading this. Her life may not mean anything to you, but it does to me, so leave her alone.

(No, I don't know who that guy is.)


  1. I have a problem with the caliber of TV, too.

    Ain't bureaucracy grand?

    Exes should move to Texas and leave us gals alone!

  2. TV: a device used in-house to suck the life out of you.

    Really enjoy your blog.


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