Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, Yeah I know it's too soon.

Michael Jackson has died today. He was 50. It came the same day as the beloved Farrah Fawcett. Two pop culture icons in one day. Much like the day both Jim Henson and Sammy Davis Jr. died.

I have to admit that I have a morbid curiosity over the death of notable people. Rock and roll deaths in particular has always fascinated me. One curious quirk is how many rock stars died at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain are some of the more notable ones who died at the age of 27.

Tragic losses for sure. The main tragedy for fans is how much great music was missed by their early deaths. What would Hendrix have been like in the 70's and 80's? Would the Foo Fighters be better if it was new Nirvana albums with major contributions from David Grohl?

Every once in awhile, I speculate who, if death HAD occurred at the age of 27, would it have been a better career move for them? Especially for their legacy.

Michael Jackson always comes to mind. His career after he turned 27 in 1985 had only one major highlight, and that was the album BAD. His life became a freak show of weirdness, bad plastic surgery, creepy kisses, outrageous spending sprees, and shocking allegations of child molestation. Add the bizarre marriage with Lisa Presley and the second marriage that produced two children clearly not of his DNA.

His music output in the last fifteen years is all but forgettable except for some anti-Semite lyrics from his HIStory album.

Because of the accusations of child molestation he spent much of his time outside the USA, and thus hadn't toured in the continental United States since 1989. So, when it came to Michael Jackson, nothing other than tabloid fodder was to occur for him for the rest of his life. One of the most talented men to ever live was reduced to a joke. There were times I wished he would die and not ruin his legacy any further.

The Martin Bashir interview that aired in 2003 revealed Michael Jackson's life at his Neverland Ranch sealed his fate in my eyes. It showed how Michael never got over the fact he didn't have a normal childhood. He rationalized his behavior with children as being like he was a comrade in arms. I can understand his missing his childhood, I can relate to that, but all of us who had a normal childhood grew out of it by the time we were 16. He spent at least 20 years trying to have a childhood. It didn't help that the kid who was highlighted in the show sued Jackson for child molestation. His second charge.

I believed it this time.

His death is more than sad, especially since it looked like he was making an effort to jump start his career at the age of 50.

His changing appearance alone was embarrassing. He went from being a cute black kid, to a sexy young man, to looking like his sister, to looking like Diana Ross, to looking like Carol Channing in a black wig, to finally looking like the Crypt a black wig.

But I can't help think that if he did die at the age of 27, right after the Jacksons Victory tour, it would have been for the better.

I'm sorry if I offend anyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

They Do This On Purpose...

I'm watching the Fox News Morning show because I like looking at car crashes and they were going on and on about the whole Palin/Letterman dust up. They ended it with the Palin quote "on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who 'joke' about ... sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve".

They declare Sarah Palin the winner of the fight, and move on to the next segment featuring 16 year old Selena Gomez from the Disney Channel. What song did they feel was appropriate to play Selena in on?

"Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. A song about a horny woman calling every man she knows for some quick hot sex to satisfy her carnal needs.

You can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I saw one of those internet ads talking about how to make money. It's a picture of a woman saying she makes $75/an hour while sleeping.

I keep thinking that she's a boring prostitute who makes YOU do all the work.

A Thought.

It has been said that James von Brunn wanted to die not with a whimper but in a blaze of glory, with his boots on.

So, I hope he is whimpering for morphine for his pain while he lies bare foot and dying in the hospital.

I'm not saying he shouldn't get the morphine, I just want him to be exposed for the man he's not.

New Pipe Dreams

I wonder if anyone called him "Chuck". I guess Peppermint Patty never fell under his spell.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It was twenty years ago today...

...Some rolling tanks came out to play

Annoying Trends

I was reading the New York Times on Sunday. They had an interesting article about how some well known brands had changed their logos and trademarks in recent years.

The theme of the article is how many of these corporations are going for a "kinder, gentler" approach to their new logos. Soft colors, lower case letters, and bits of flowery flare are the main features. What bothers me about the trend is how similar all these new logos are to each other. Meant to be empathetic to the plight of the average Americans financial struggles, It comes across as patronizing and dull.

Walmart probably needed to change its logo because of its somewhat negative reputation, and I think they did a good job. The old one was okay but represents the Walmart of low pay, ruthless business techniques, and cheaply made products. The new one seems to be an attempt to make right with their critics. Changes are a coming, so let's start with the logo, add a sun like icon that can be applied to house products. Lighten the blue color to evoke sky and water and people might think you are environmentalists.

Kraft, on the other hand has one of the best known logos in history. Almost up there with Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Ford. As far as I know they haven't been having financial difficulties or controversy that warranted a change in their logo. Regardless, They came up with a bland all lower case corporate logo and a really bizarre icon that looks like an exploding butterfly. What this has to do with food is beyond my limited thinking. The only thing they kept from the old logo is the color blue for the Kraft name and the red from the stylized box, to form a smile, or is it a smirk, that maybe suggests that the exploding butterfly is food gunk, colorful food gunk.

Speaking of color, the new Cheer logo is an improvement over the old in that it does two things that the old one doesn't. One, it evokes what the product does with its swirl of color, suggesting it cleans clothes and keeps the color intact. The gradiated blue looks like water in a front loading washer. The logo is a little feminine but that's the target demographic. The font is a little more distinctive than the others, though I like the old font's compressed lettering a little better.

Stop & Shop had a decent logo going on but the business itself has gone through some confusing changes and acquisitions in the last twenty years. I thought it went out of business with Bradlees.It needed to reintroduce itself to the Northeastern public. The new logo is terrific. The words Stop & Shop is a little dull but the colorful bowls tossed out of the big yellow bowl makes me think of a tossed salad. Since organic, fresh food is a continuing asset for supermarkets, Stop & Shop has the opportunity to break into the "Whole Foods" like market. The logo works for that purpose.

Superfresh is a company I'm unaware of, but the old logo is typical of the 80's trend of making logos as boring as possible. The new one is not quite as dull, It's more corporate than grocery like. It is better, though. It uses two muted colors that evoke water and plants, cleverly using the same shape that suggests on one side, a water drop and the other side, a leaf.

Sysco is the quintessential heartless corporation who is the largest distributor of food in North America. Anyone who has worked in restaurants is familiar with Sysco and its logo is very iconic. The box icon that accompanies it has the Sysco name hidden in it. Now, Sysco maybe thinks it needed to soften their image like Wal-Mart did. They went even softer than WalMart and eliminated their box icon. They softened the blue color, went mostly lowercase and eliminated the serifs, they added a leaf to suggest food but really, Sysco is best known for frozen fried food and canned goods, not fresh vegetables. Ultimately it is unmemorable, dully corporate, and compared to the other logos a cliche. They lost their identity.

QuickChek made an unnecessary lateral move in changing their logo. The old one is solid, the slant and the red line suggests speed. The new one again uses a Trebuchet like font, and a leaf that makes a green "O" into a "Q". I think losing the red bar eliminated their brand identity. I never regarded QuickChek as either evil or lacking an identity to make the change. Their change probably won't inspire a Tropicana like rebellion.

Now, Blackwater IS an evil organization, so evil they eliminated their name from their logo all together. They changed it to the ultimate generic name Xe, which looks like the stock symbol for Xerox or the periodic table symbol for Xenon. Blackwater's old logo looks like a right winger's wet dream of shooting bears in the foot. In reality it's a vigilante group started by a trust fund kid, that helped arm terrorists in South America, convinced the Bush administration to pay them to privatize some military duties, but with an added expense and more disastrous results. They got exposed for what they were and a name change became necessary. The old logo is spooky, like something a survivalist group would come up with. The new one, who knows, I didn't until I read this article. It's hard, corporately dull but maybe they hope they could trick Obama with the name change to continue to use their services. Keep hope alive.

This trend semmed to start when at&t reinvented itself a few years ago as a cellphone service provider. They kept the same color scheme as their old logo but went lowercase because it relates to texting on a cell phone.

Pepsi is guilty of this too, Then again they always change their logo every decade or so. Everyone now feels they have to follow suit which bugs me in that no one wants to stand out from other companies with their new logos. It's like we're only seeing one person's vision for corporate identity. Is the market for graphic designers that small these days?

Shocking image.

My God what is wrong with this family? Look at them! Driving along recklessly doing who knows what. Not a child seat to be found, no seat belts seen, children hanging out the window.

And what do I see? Dear Lord, the father is smoking in the car and the baby is sitting on the mother's lap unrestrained. What kind of family values is this?