Monday, March 26, 2012

Quaker Larry Has Work Done

In the pursuit of a politically correct Utopia, Quaker Larry has been the most recent spokeslogo to get an image makeover.

You must know Larry -  his double-chinned, chubby-cheeked visage has adorned Quaker Oats products for 125 years.

          OLD LARRY..........................PHOTSHOPPED LARRY

It seems that the smarties at PepsiCo in their quest to fix what ain't broken have slimmed Larry down, broadened his shoulders, and shortened his flowing locks. At least they were bold enough to keep the smarmy smirk.

I always thought that pudgy Larry looked like a fat Alec Baldwin, circa his "rude thoughtless pig" rant era and that was always good enough for me, so why the change?

Obscure Old Larry's hair above with your fingers and then tell me that he doesn't bear a striking resemblance to World's Greatest Dad, Alec Baldwin.

I've always suspected that anyone gulping down bowls of that cementitious goop would never have a chance of approaching Larry's girth, anyway and would likely spend most of their day on the toilet or hovering around the vomitorium, but I'm sure the change to Larry's image came from those who like to blame obesity on everything, but the cause.

Sadly, Larry is just the latest in a long string a logos, caricatures, and corporate identities to fall victim to the whims of political correctness.  In a world where it was deemed necessary to make over Aunt Jemima, the Jolly Green Giant, the Hamburglar, and Tony the Tiger, I suspect that the Pillsbury Doughboy will soon need a nip and tuck.

Oh, the humanity!

Monday, March 19, 2012

All Fire(d) Up

Do you recall that great environmental lesson that natural forest fires are a necessary evil, occurring to rid the forest of old life to make way for new? The same argument can be made with respect to the economy, or more precisely, employment.

When Steve Jobs returned to the helm of Apple in 1997, he carried with him a very big axe, chopping 3 000 employees from the payroll and transforming Apple from a computer company to an engineering, technology support, and retail giant.  At the end of the day, this transformation resulted in the creation of the world’s most valuable public company, still growing and enjoying soaring employment levels.

You could argue that Apple’s resurgence is a microcosm of what needs to occur with our economy, as a whole; a purging of “old world” jobs to make way for the jobs of tomorrow.  But those jobs of tomorrow are now at our doorstep and will soon seek other shores should we fail to act. Governments forced to keep antiquated companies on life support with our tax dollars ultimately do us all a disservice when those dollars cannot be deployed in the creation of new jobs. The problem with many governments is that they try to do both and when that fails (as it’s doomed to) they will attempt to "pad their stats" by hiring more public employees.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that 10 of the 15 richest counties in America are now in the Washington D.C. area. I guess if you can’t use tax dollars to create jobs, you might as well put some of those dollars in your own pocket.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Earning Interest at the DNA Databank

Effective October 12th, anyone convicted of a felony or penal law misdemeanor in the state of New York will have to provide a sample for the state's DNA databank.
Calling DNA a “state-of-the-art mechanism to find the truth”, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law on Monday and my hands are still raw from applauding.
Of course, the collection of DNA samples from John Q. Public has always been harangued as an invasion of privacy by civil libertarians and their ilk, often spouting arguments based on the DNA profiles ending up in the wrong hands.
What if, they argue, you were turned down for a job because your prospective employer found out you had the “lazy” gene? Or you were denied coverage because your insurance company determined you were at risk for diabetes? The problem with these arguments is that there is never any consideration given to how employers or insurance companies would gain access your DNA profile. Are they stealing it? Or are we expected to believe that law enforcement agencies (i.e. the government) would share or perhaps sell profiles? This, of course, is rubbish, but what trumps any civil libertarian’s contention is the fact that DNA exponentially revolutionizes society’s ability to solve crimes, to ensnare the guilty, and exonerate the innocent and this far outweighs the potential detriments decried by the conspiracy theory kooks.
Unfortunately, the media does a poor job at extolling the virtues of DNA evidence. There has been thousands of decades-old cold case crimes solved since the advent DNA profiling. Every time this occurs, it should be trumpeted on newscasts and boldly printed on the front pages of our dailies – all caps, no punctuation, sans serif.
Envision if you will the day when a swab of saliva is taken at birth. Twenty-five years later, if that DNA turns up at a crime scene on a wad of chewed gum, a comb, or a discarded coffee cup, someone’s “got some ‘splainin’ to do.”  I imagine that under these circumstances, all crime investigations would then have a place to start, rather than the all too often heard, “no leads” scenario.
The war on crime was declared decades ago.  It’s a shame that many jurisdictions continue to fight it with one hand tied behind their backs.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Hollywood's Moral Compass Still Broken

Nothing speaks louder to the distorted values in Tinseltown than the circumstances that followed the death of pop icon, Whitney Houston.

Apparently while readying herself for a pre-Grammy party, the ex-diva drowned in a fourth floor bathtub at the Beverly Hilton.  A couple of short hours later, guests began to arrive for the party at the same hotel with Miss Houston’s corpse laying a few floors above. One trusts that there were likely some awkward moments among guests, but the large majority of them reveled and glammed for the cameras well into the night while Houston’s body was ostensibly whisked away.

Praise should go to Larry King for publicly declaring that the entire event should have been cancelled. It’s tragic that none of the other triple-A-listers shared in his decorum. This shouldn’t surprise us, however, after all the “biz” in showbiz stands for business and it’s a business that has always pushed the vulnerable to states of excess often fueled by drugs and alcohol.

We won’t know for some time what other factors contributed to Houston’s apparent drowning as God only knows why toxicology reports of the stars take months to produce, but after years of substance abuse, no one will be astonished when Houston’s blood work comes back as a veritable witch’s brew of chemicals, alcohol, and prescription drugs.

What is surprising, however, is how quickly Houston’s peers decided that a fitting tribute would be to party a few short hours after her death.

Perhaps if Hollywood stars, their handlers, promoters, and those who benefit from their stardom had some values that came close to matching our own, we’d have fewer tragedies like Houston's. It's doubtlful that will happen though; they'll all be too occupied fighting over who gets to portray her in the upcoming movie.