In what may be the funniest accidental merging of two worlds since Perfect Strangers, News.com reports that Turbo Tax is helping would be taxpayers blow off some steam with some hot sex chat. Seems as though a little phone number misprint is sending users looking to file their state tax returns to a number reserved for intimate encounters.
"I thought it was going to take me to India, and then I got...this," he said. "I thought I dialed the wrong number. They don't usually talk to you like that at a tax operation."
I spent $75 at the local H&R Block and was only able to get my tax preparer to put his hand on my thigh. Next time I am going to light some candles, open some wine, and get down to business with TurboTax.
Thanks to JennyG and some others for passing on that Wal-Mart ad with the classic "Wal-Mart has everything I need. No diggity" line. Rather than posting here, I am suggesting that you head over to Ad-Rag and check it out there. These guys run a great site FULL of tons of great ads. Yah, they charge...but it is only 2 bucks and you get your money's worth real quick.
I am going to abandon hosted typepad for install myself word-press sometime in the next week or two. This will likely cause links to old things that you stumble across to break, and if I have such an honor as to be part of your feed, you will need to update. I will do my best to keep it easy.
This stuff never gets old. Nothing is better than when a giant company makes an attempt to be cool with their marketing, only to do something that is completely moronic causing the very audience it is chasing to mock them. One of my favorite examples of this is a Wal-Mart commercial I saw some weeks back that contained a fake family made up of some wildly talented African American actors who were working hard to show us that not only do black people shop at Wal-Mart, but it is very cool to do so. In an attempt to gain some street cred, the Bentonville company has one of the actors use the line "Wal-Mart has everything I need. No diggity." I am not making this up. (incidentally, if anyone has this clip...PLEASE send it to me).
Clearly this is not an isolated incident as evidenced today when I headed over to Page2 on ESPN.com. I instantly was hit with a great McDonalds ad that can be seen below. Although I firmly believe that McDonalds is not advocating hot man on sandwich action, it is quite obvious that they did not do their homework on urban slang. If they had, it is likely that they would have realized "I'd Hit It" is not exactly the catch phrase to use when selling fast food.
It is 10:34 pm on a normal Saturday night here in Boston. Normal except for the fact that the universe as we know it is coming to an end. Well ok, maybe it is just another New England snowstorm - but according to the weather reports on the local news, this folks, is the end of the world.
I have spent the past 26 years in New England and one thing that I have gotten used to, is that each winter it snows. A lot. That's life in the northeast, and I have learned to live with it. Granted it can be an inconvenience at times, but I have never been stuck for days anywhere. Nor have I ever lost any small children in giant snow drifts, had to shovel my way out of a third story window, or had to snowshoe to the local high school gym for shelter. At worst, I have had to shovel my car out. Maybe once or twice I had to cancel some plans, and once I even backed into a snowdrift and had to push my car out. But somehow I have managed to live through it all. I don't want make light of the weather's effects completely because I am sure that every time there is a snowstorm in New England, some people die, and that is sad - but let's get some perspective here.
That being said, it is really hard to take these god damned local weather reports seriously. It is a fucking blizzard. It sucks. But for Christ's sake....do we need a 2 hour special on CBS called "The First Alert Doppler Extreme Team Report"? I shit you not, that is exactly what is on right now and it consists of about 4 or 5 different reporters in 4 or 5 different locations around the state, each with the same report. "Man Ted, it is REALLY snowing here in [insert city]. I mean, it is REALLY snowing". Wow. Thank god for WBZ news, I was just about to go out for a jog and I didn't even think to look out the WINDOW.
In Boston, there is ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox (probably like most cities) and each station's weather promo and setup is more ridiculous than the last.
Fox 25 - Fox is normally head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to making a huge deal out of a minor issue, but as of this writing they are showing Mad TV while all of the other stations are in full freak out mode. I think this is why i love Fox local news.
CBS 4 - WBZ takes the cake for sensationalism when it comes to weather reporting in Boston. Fox takes that prize for everything else. Their 2 hour special tonight and the "First Alert Doppler Extreme Team" is beyond absurd.
NBC 7 - Hands down the winner in the over the top, intense, graphics department. Where they lack on "the sky is falling" sensationalism, they make up ground in intense graphics and whooshing sounds. Their "Storm Force" graphic is quite effective when it comes to creating panic, and more importantly informing us that they are reporting on why you should panic "in full force".
ABC 5 - "STORM TRAK 5" is run of the mill. Except for the spelling. Would it kill you to put the "c" in "track"? Weather isn't cool, and dropping the "c" doesn't make it any cooler. Check out this ridiculous promo for local channel 5. Brilliant.
We all get it. It's snowing. All I am really able do tonight is to sit inside and watch tv, so please don't ruin that for me too with constant weather updates about how much snow is falling - it's all I have tonight. Just show me some crappy made for tv movie and let me ride this one out in peace.
I finally installed the downloadable version of Movable Type last night. I am a pretty tech savvy person and this one was a bear. For something that is not terribly complicated (or shouldn't be), it was awful. The main culprit is the documentation. It was full of double negatives and nested steps that seemed out of order (or at least were in a non linear order) and left out loads of information such as full directory structure for a correct install. I guess MT has a vested interest in making this as difficult as possible. For every person that can install the downloadable version, that is one less person that will fork over the $4.95/month for the hosted version. Why not just charge a nominal fee (say $9.95) to download the personal version and make some clearer god damn documentation.
Oh, and one more complaint. Dunkin Donuts needs more counter space. How many times, and at how many different Dunkin Donuts have I had to yell my order from the third row of a small sea of people crowded around a 2 foot opening only to get my order and have it be completely wrong?
I recently relocated from Grafton, Mass out to Waltham, Mass to be closer to my office and to the Boston area in general. The move was what I expected it would be - long and tiring, but I am rewarded daily with a brilliant 2 mile commute (down from the previous distance of 33 miles each way). As per the normal routine when moving, I had to hook up my utilities before I headed east. NStar for electric was a snap, Keyspan for gas was simple and then came (queue screeching brake, skipping record player, breaking glass sounds...etc) the cable hookup. Unlike in Grafton where Charter was the only choice, Waltham offered a choice between the giant company with a horrible reputation (Comcast) and the slightly less giant company with the slightly less horrible reputation and slightly better prices (RCN). For these reasons I chose RCN.
Let me just say that assuming that what I have heard about Comcast is true, that it is the worst out there, I really feel awful for Comcast customers. I really can't imagine anyone being worse than RCN. They are just deplorable.
I have lived long enough and moved enough to know that the standards by which one judges cable company customer service are completely different than that by which you judge say, the electric company. Let's say that you receive a level of service from the electric company that might make you want to sue said electric company and vow to move to a water wheel powered home. This same level of service coming from your local cable provider would generally be looked at as relatively decent. You would probably leave feeling ok. A friend of mine likened dealing with the cable companies to being date raped. His point was, that although it is totally dirty and wrong, you somewhat feel responsible for inviting them into your home to begin with and quite often you just deal with it and move on. A harsh analogy I know, but it fits surprisingly well here.
Without going into all of the boring details of why RCN sucks so badly, my point is as follows. We need far more competition in the cable industry. And we as customers need to fight back where and when we can, and choose alternatives in hopes that these companies will improve their service if they begin to lose customers. Companies like RCN don't need to provide good service, they just need to be slightly less shitty than the other guy (when there is another guy). The cable companies can mistreat you because they know your options to go elsewhere are limited, and in some cases don't even exist. Exercise the other options when they are out there. Don't sit and deal with bad service.
currently represents 22 blogs that together generate 9 million monthly
pageviews. In addition to the group of Gawker Media blogs, that stable
includes BlueLemur, 2WallsWebzine, and CelebCourthouse. However, with
new applicants applying regularly and some existing member sites opting
to reclassify themselves, BURST! expects the number of blogs on its
network to change on a weekly basis. (more...)
I was posting the below paragraph in a comments section on Brand Autopsy, and I figured it was meaty enough to be a post here. Shame on Brand Autopsy for skewering viral marketing company BzzAgent for it's recent troubles with one Black and Decker/Folgers coffee campaign gone awry. Place the blame where it belongs. With the product manufacturer. I am growing weary of traditional marketers lashing out at the word-of-mouth armies simply because their products didn't hold up in real world testing, and that old school ad agencies are having their lunch money taken by small viral upstarts.
The thing I love most about word of mouth marketing, and in particular companies like BzzAgent, is that it brings some accountability to the manufacturer of the product. Anyone can take some glossy photos of a crappy coffee maker and launch a 10 million dollar ad campaign that shows up on every street corner. But a company like BzzAgent (although they clearly take the fall in some cases) does a great service to consumers by getting real products out to real people for real honest feedback. Don't blame the viral marketing company because the BzzAgents staged their own mini Boston Coffee Party. Blame Black and Decker for producing an inferior product and Folgers for blindly getting behind it. In the interest of full disclosure, I recently became a BzzAgent and look forward to participating in some campaigns and providing honest feedback on the products I get a chance to test and use. Beware traditional marketers. Beware product manufacturers. This will be the future of advertising and marketing, and I look forward to the day when companies like BzzAgent begin to influence a change in the level of quality we see in our every day consumer products.