Thursday, February 24, 2011


There's an amusing article in today's New York Times about Yogi Berra's arrival at the Yankees spring training camp and how former pitching great Ron Guidry has become Yogi's driver, constant companion and sidekick. ( “It’s like I’m the valet,” said Guidry. “Actually, I am the valet.”

With Casey Stengel and Satchel Paige, Berra is one of the most quotable baseball players of all time. For your amusement, here are some of my favorite Yogi-isms.

On the game of baseball:

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."

"How can you think and hit at the same time?"

"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."

"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"It gets late early out there."

"If people don't want to come out to the ball park, nobody's gonna stop 'em."

On life in general:

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there."

"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

"The future ain't what it used to be."

"You can observe a lot by just watching."

And the classics:

"It's like deja-vu all over again."

"I never said most of the things I said."

"It ain't over till it's over."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Marketing 101

Not surprisingly, the airwaves (Do we still call them airwaves, even though we actually get TV via cable, phone lines, or satellite?) this past weekend were full of ads for all sorts of Presidents Day sales. It seemed a particularly good time to rush out and buy a new car, at least according to the commercials.

But I do have to wonder about what the guys who buy the ad spots are thinking some times. One commercial that ran during Hawaii Five-O last night talked about the hot pricing available and advised us to hurry down because "the sale ends February 21st." Well, considering that this ad ran at 10:30 p.m. on February 21st, how many customers did they think they were going to attract?


In a similar "you missed the boat" moment, Dunkin' Donuts continued to run a commercial for its heart-shaped Valentine's Day donuts on the 15th and 16th of February. Nothing says "I love you" like a two-day-old donut!


A radio commercial for a local restaurant proclaims that in February we honor two presidents, Washington and Lincoln. In it, the announcer says that rather than be like Washington "who threw money across the river," we should come down and take advantage of their special lunch and dinner pricing.

The legend that our first President once threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River was told to demonstrate his strength, not that he didn't care about saving money. (For the record, from the website: The Potomac River is over a mile wide and even George Washington was not that good an athlete! Moreover, there were no silver dollars when Washington was a young man. His step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, reported in his memoirs that Washington once threw a piece of slate “about the size and shape of a dollar” across the Rappahanock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Rappahannock River at the site of the Washington family homestead today measures only 250 feet across, a substantial but perhaps not impossible distance to throw.)

I suppose if they were serving cherry pie for dessert, they would tell us to come in and eat it rather than chopping down trees like young George supposedly did.


Finally, what's the deal with the ads for the Cosmopolitan Resort in Las Vegas? Those are the ones that have slinky models wandering the halls with all sorts of animals -- kittens, puppies, bunnies, "was that a goat?" There's an older woman ("I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.") grabbing the butt of a studly young man and other, equally-odd-for-a-commercial visuals.

It looks more like a David Lynch-directed fever-dream from "Twin Peaks" than a commercial for a resort. Clearly, I'm not the intended audience, but I have to ask: Who is?

Friday, February 18, 2011

This and That

We've had a sudden surge of spring-like weather, which is quite welcome after having piles of snow everywhere since the day after Christmas. And while the snow on our front lawn is gone and there are signs that there is still a swimming pool under all that white in the back yard, there are still plenty of piles around.

This did not stop people from doffing their coats and hats yesterday afternoon. I watched numerous kids on their walk home from the high school, almost all wearing light sweaters or sweatshirts and a few even in shirtsleeves. There were some joggers out and even a couple of folks riding bicycles.

We're in for another warm day today, with temps promised to be near 60 degrees. However, it is still February and it was only in the 40s this morning. Despite this, I drove past one brave young lad standing at the school bus stop, clad only in shorts and a t-shirt. Either he generates immense amounts of body heat or was just too stubborn to go back home and get a jacket.


Two articles in U.S. News Weekly had me shaking my head today:
One mentions a Fox News reporter who asked 26 Iowa voters about President Obama's religion. Ten of them incorrectly said he was Muslim.
Another cites a survey of likely Republican primary voters in which 51% of the respondents said that Obama was born abroad and an additional 21% said they were not sure. There is no mention of a follow-up question about how many of these people think Hawaii is a state.


A recent commercial I've seen a few times hawks a pill that is made from fish oil. What I recall from it is that this pill could increase the amount of bad cholesterol, cause upset stomachs, and change the way you taste food. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), I don't remember what the pill is supposed to do.
So, I guess I don't need to ask my doctor if this pill is right for me.

Don't get me started on the other medication they advertise that has possible side effects that include heart attack, stroke and sudden death. The warning continues with something like, "Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of these side effects."
Yes, you can be sure I'm going to call my doctor if I die from using this stuff! I wonder if Verizon and AT&T have coverage in the afterlife?


Once upon a time, we celebrated George Washington's birthday on February 22nd. In the great changeover that moved almost all the national holidays to Mondays (the 4th of July being an exception, because, after all, it wouldn't make much sense to celebrate it on another date), Washington's Birthday morphed into "President's Day" on the third Monday of the month. As such, it is never celebrated on the 22nd. This year, though, we get as close to it as we can.

Even as I am writing this, there is a commercial on the radio for Lowe's that invites us to celebrate President's Day by saving Benjamins and Washingtons. The "Benjamins" presumably are $100 bills, which feature the image of Benjamin Franklin, who, though the Lowe's ad writer seems unaware, was never President of the United States.
In fact, the only Benjamin who was President was Benjamin Harrison, perhaps most notable because he was our 23rd president, having served his single term between our 22nd and 24th Presidents, both of whom were Grover Cleveland. He was also the only "grandson President" in our history; his grandfather was Old Tippecanoe, William Henry Harrison.