Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Which I Mourn Not Only The Future Of Television Advertising, But A Grizzly And A Really Good Place For Dinner (We Are Nothing If Not Eclectic)

I feel as if it's been a while since I've had a good Brain Cleanse, although I have to admit that I've not been shy about just flinging forth most of my Cerebral Bother at Whomever Is In Its Line Of Fire. My Inner Curmudgeon is pretty much Out, brought to the fore by job stress, omnipresent political ads, clueless dog owner neighbors who, since they cannot control the one yappy dog they already own, have naturellement purchased another, and an ongoing feud with my hair.

But, since it would be Selfish Of Me not to keep you informed, dear readers, let's see what's left for me to nudge out of my grey matter's nooks and crannies.

One continual source of irritation and confusion to me is the commercials for Cialis. You know the ones: a married couple of a certain age are performing a rather mundane household chore like laundry or painting or meal prep. Suddenly, they happen to catch each other's gaze or touch each other's hand. They smile a bit knowingly. The narrator intones: "An everyday moment can turn romantic at a moment's notice." Then, the confines of the house move away magically and they are transformed into an outdoor scene like a beach, forest, or waterfall's edge. The couple are sitting together, caressing. The narrator continues, "With Cialis, you can be ready anytime the moment is right." Okay, how many of you, really, equate outdoors with sex? What was the thought process here, and who did the marketing research for this campaign, The United States Department of the Interior? The U.S. National Parks Service? Smokey the Bear? I don't know about you, but making love at the beach or in the woods presents a set of issues that...well, are not optimal (sand, pine needles, dirt, leaves, etc. Ouch. ). And exactly what kind of exhibitionists are these Middle-Agers anyway that they can't just Do It in the house? Weirdos.

I'll be brief with this one and try not to rant overmuch here about the First Christmas Commercial appearing on OCTOBER 8TH. Which, for those of you scoring at home, is before even HALLOWEEN. The winner this year is KMart, who was hawking their layaway program. (And no, they do not get a pass because technically "layaway" is, by nature, an early Christmas shopping program. There were obvious Christmassy things in the commercial. Verboten!) To say that I was/still am outraged is to vastly understate it. That opened the floodgates, and we have since been deluged with "Holiday Season" ads from eleventy thousand retailers. I received this morning with my Sunday Plain Dealer the Toys *R* Us Big Christmas Toy Book. Pardon me while I projectile vomit all over everything in protest.

On a sad note, my Cleveland Metroparks Zoo recently announced the death of one of its grizzly bears. We had two male grizzlies at our zoo, a father and son, and the one who died, the parent, had been ill for a while. He had already lived a long 35 years, reaching well beyond the uppermost end of the average life cycle of a grizzly in captivity. I mention this story mainly because of the names of these two grizzlies, which I think are absolutely perfect. Please pause a moment with me to mourn the loss of Lester and to wish the best for his son, Warren.

Also sad for me, but in a different way is the loss of Bar Symon, owned by Cleveland's own Iron Chef, Michael Symon. Rick and I liked this nearby restaurant where I could get an incredible marrow bone appetizer, perfect with an ice cold vodka martini. We didn't have to drive into downtown Cleveland or wait forever for a table to get Cheffy Food. Now it's closed--it was in a dying strip mall in a so-so location--and we're back to the Dinner Conundrum every Friday night. (Quick story: Once, a particularly cute waiter at Bar Symon was dancing to the music between table-waiting for most of our dinner stay. He was really getting into it, busting some serious moves. When we left, I sought him out and tucked a couple bucks into his apron. "Thanks for making my dinner so enjoyable," I told him. He laughed and said, "Hey, you're welcome! I'll be here all week!")

And so will I. Please show your appreciation in the usual way. Thank you. Thank you very much. ;-)


  1. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Marrow Bone Appetizer sounds like where you get in the express lane for mad cow disease. Never mind.

  2. Always love your little roundups, Nance. Sorry about the sad news convey in this one though. Lester and Warren--very nice. Bone marrow appetizer ... now that's intriguing. (BTW, I have a new friend in Cleveland, Michael Ruhlman. I share a bit on my blog today.)

    My husband's cousins have a cousins' party each Christmas. The cousins take turns hosting. This year we're hosting and they wanted to know the planned date before Halloween. Good grief. Of course, I've purposely delayed, but will be making the calls this week. Sometimes I wish we had Thanksgiving in early October like our Canadian friends, but then I know that the Christmas push would start then! Ugh.


  3. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Not only is that bad, but the day before Halloween I walk into the superwalmart by chestnut commons and to my surprise, plop right in the middle of the entrance to the food center a CHRISTMAS TREE was placed, all decorated and waiting for Santa. RIP Lester though how sad.

  4. Oh I got you all beat with early Christmas displays. I went to the local Home Depot (in Tucson where it snows regularly every 6 years) in SEPTEMBER (admittedly late in the month) and they had a huge fake tree/decorating display. I guess living in the desert we need to put up those plastic things to get us in the mood.

  5. Dean--I even had a student complain about stores in the area already set up for Christmas. It's getting ridiculous. How's the weather in Tucson? I'm looking out toward the SW when we relocate in a few years.

    Anonymous2--That's what you get for shopping at WalMart! (Sorry, couldn't resist....) And I hope we get a new grizzly soon at the Zoo. I love those huge bears. Their heads alone are as big as I am.

    Shirley--hi! Oh, Ruhlman is a food god, believe me. And Symon's bone marrow is lovely, with a bit of salsa verde and some pickled onions for balance. Very harmonious. Canadian Thanksgiving isn't as big of a deal as the US holiday, from what I can gather. (At least that is what my Canadian Connexions tell me.)


  6. Having lost a parent in the last few years, and definitely not being over it, I wonder how hard it is for poor Warren. Bleh. I wonder how animals feel about their parents once they've reached adulthood? We like to joke that our dog, Genevieve, talks all of the time about her Mommy and remembers fondly drinking from her boo-boos. Doesn't that sound like something a dog would remember fondly?

    Christmas...last year, we saw our first Christmas decorations, complete with Santa, before Halloween. I hate that. Will you hate me if I confess to buying my first Christmas gifts in October as well? I have to mail them, and we're not rich, so I find that spreading out the buying and then the shipping helps in the budgeting department.

    I'm sorry about your restaurant. We lost a favorite local place several months ago as well. They didn't have anything so wonderful as waiters that bust a move, but they had amazing fondue, really good hamburgers, cheese plates, and roast chicken, and waiters that spoke French, which I find charming in a French restaurant. Esp handy since my daughter takes French.

    Don't ruin my fantasies about Cialis. I remember those days in my 20s when outdoors would have been an AWESOME place, and I would like to think that when my daughter grows up and moves out, outdoors might become viable again. I know. Crazy dreamer.

  7. And don't worry, NorCal is safe for tourism. Not only because of inhibitions, but also because outside isn't really that great a place to do it. Still. People in their 40's and 50's getting busy in nature is probably not what anyone wants to see.

  8. Those Cialis commercials crack me up. At least they got out of the bathtubs, though. I imagine it's pretty difficult to get it on in two separate bathtubs. Or even in the same bathtub, for that matter. Especially for people of a certain age.

    I like the Enzyte commercials. You know, the ones with smiling Bob? They're so subtle.

  9. Siren--I've remarked on the questionable wisdom of marketing Sex Pills by using separate porcelain/cast iron bathtubs in a previous post. (DUH, right?) The Smiling Bob campaign is at least a bit more subtle than if they had used, say, Smiling Dick. At least they spared us that indignity.

    On another note, remember the other Sex Pill commercial that showed the guy throwing a FOOTBALL through a TIRE SWING? Wow. Real subtle, that.

    J@jj--I have to confess being so confused by your comment.... We always used the term "boo boo" for a wound or injury, as in "Did you fall off your bike and get a boo boo?" Imagine my Mental Distress as I remember the millions of times my own mother (and then me, to my children) saying, "Let Mommy kiss that boo boo and make it all better." Yikes.

    On another subject, I adore restaurant cheese plates, and that is one thing we don't have around here; no one has embraced that particular offering. Rick hates strong cheeses, and they are my favourite kind. So, when we zip up to Canada, if there is a place that offers a cheese plate for one, I'm all over it. (It took me YEARS to get his palate cultured to BRIE, for heaven's sake.)


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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