So the last time I used the time machine things didn’t go so well. Let’s see if it goes better this time.


Me: “It worked! …again! Welcome, 1990’s Man, to the year 2011!”

1990’s Man: “Whatever, dude. So what’s everyone crying about?”

Me: “Oh, another bookstore went out of business this week.”

1990’s Man: “Man, that’s totally bogus.”

Me: “Uh, yeah. Bogus. Say…you didn’t just watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, did you?”

1990’s Man: “Yes! On VHS! How did you know?”

Me: “Oh, no reason.”

1990’s Man: “Still, it IS bogus that even after 20 years the little bookstores are being run out of town by those evil big-box stores! When will it end?”

Me: “Uhm…”

1990’s Man: “The next thing you know there’ll be nothing but chains everywhere!”

Me: “Yeah, about that…”

1990’s Man: “It just makes me mad, is all. I wonder if we go far enough into the future if we could see a day when the big-box stores themselves go out of business! I bet people would be cheering on that undoubtedly righteous day!”

Me: “Ok! Well it’s time to get you home…”

1990’s Man: “But there’s still so much for me to learn! Is there a Blockbuster around? I’ve gotta return this VHS tape.”

Me: “Bye!!”


Ok, this time travel stuff is more complicated than I thought. I may have to work on this some more before we try it again.



Me: “It worked! Welcome, 1950’s Man, to the year 2011!”

1950’s Man: “Please, my father is Mr. Man. Just call me 1950’s. So what’s the future like?”

Me: “Well, I just ordered a pizza & my computer told me the name of the person who’s making it!”

1950’s Man: “…”

Me: “…so…like, if you look here you can see that the quality check is currently underway…”

1950’s Man: “I…uhm…I have to go back to my own time now.”

Me: “Wait! Don’t you want to know the exact minute she put the pizza in the oven?? Come back!”

Well, that could have gone better. We’ll try again soon with someone from a hipper era. Stay tuned.

Merry Christmas, Internet! Did Santa leave you a letter
this morning? He left us one but,
well, I don’t know. It seemed a little odd. Maybe it’s just me.
What do you think?

Ho ho ho! Did you know that
Santa spelled backwards is Atnas? Don’t tell anyone that, I’ve
submitted a trademark for it but it hasn’t been approved yet. Wait,
where was I? Oh, yes. How are you, sweet little
Been good all year? What? Oh, that? The Elves switched to a
web-based database this year. There’s been some problems retrieving
certain fields so all I have access to is your URL, little girl.
But don’t worry, I still know exactly what you want! According to
this you want season 2 of The Wire on DVD. Oh,
wait. No…that’s the bestseller list. I think I clicked the wrong
link. I just need to…uhm…wait… I TOLD them there was nothing
wrong with the magic list! I said “what’s wrong with magic?” and
they said “trust us” and I said “no” but they said… Wait. Here we
go! I finally got it. System update? What does that mean? Oh, frack
me, it’s rebooting! :sigh: Ok. Forget it. Santa’s going on
‘Shuffle’ mode. You get the first thing I grab and that’ll be that.
Whatever, you’ll like it because I’m Santa and Santa is always
right. Ciao! -S. Claus

So that’s the note he
left. I guess it explains why Samantha got a waffle iron that makes
waffles in the shape of Texas.

It’s not really a problem. She likes
waffles a lot and as far as I know she’s pretty fond of Texas. I
mean, I’m just assuming. That’s what this expression means, right?
She’s looked like that for the last 2 hours so I think that’s a
good sign.

Another satisfied

Ah, cat food. Where would we be without it? Knee-high in hungry cats, I’d wager. If that thought frightens you, then you’d better thank God for inventing cat food commercials! Without these gems, who knows where we’d be today?

Early cat food ads were all pretty similar. Here’s a fairly standard outing:

It may not look like much, but these ads laid the groundwork for all their followers. It contains all the essential elements of a good cat food commercial.

  • A catchy jingle
  • Shots of cats
  • At least one moment that makes you stop and say “What the hell was that!?”

Point number 3 came in the form of this wonderful flash frame at 17 seconds in:


And it works! Just follow these 3 simple steps and you can’t go wrong. Sadly, by the 1970’s cat food commercials had lost their way. This ad only follows ONE of the three rules!

What were they thinking!? No jingle? No WTF moment? A 1/3 ratio is not going to cut it, guys!

I’m assuming that the resulting drop in cat food sales is what led to all the economic problems and gas rationing of the 70’s.

Luckily, a wise man named Shelton “Shelly” Palmer was simultaneously working on a plan to combat this terrible problem. After many years in the lab, Palmer’s hard work yielded fruition!

Palmer, hard at work

He had provided America, nay the world, with a wonderful new gift! It was a song that would change human history forever.

The world would never be the same.

This ad had it all. You may be asking “Well it has a cat and a jingle, but where’s the ‘what the hell?’ moment?” Perhaps this is hard for you to understand, sitting safely here in the year 2010, but trust me, to a viewer in the 70’s that entire commercial was the ‘what the hell?’ moment. It was groundbreaking.

The importance of this song can not be overemphasized. When my daughter was born in 2007, I was given the chance to spend the first 30 minutes of her life with just the two of us. Realizing the importance of this moment, I used that time to teach her the Meow-Mix song.

Meow meow meow meow…

I think it’s safe to attribute all her future success to this one excellent plan.

[EDIT: Apparently my wife didn’t know this story yet. I could have sworn I’d told her…]

Anyway, back to the commercials.

The problem with the Meow-Mix song is that, being perfect, it killed humanity’s desire to write more cat food jingles. Challenging perfection is like spitting at God. Who would dare? This caused a major problem in the cat food ad world. Without a jingle the best anyone could hope for was a 66% success rate!

The 9 Lives brand tried to pump up the two-thirds they still had by creating the finicky, jerky cat named Morris.

Having lost the ability to use jingles, ad agencies figured that making the ‘WTF’ moments as strange as possible was the only way to go.

Hark! The sea winds bring a message.

Some of these are hard to understand outside of their time period. I’m guessing that the rampant cocaine use of the 1980’s is what made this seem like a good idea in 1988.

Although I do wonder how a Morris presidency would have handled Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. I’m guessing that it would have involved ‘savory stew’ in some way.

At this point, cat food commercials struggled to come up with anything new at all! Heck just look at the last 3 seconds of this Morris ad:



It ends with the exact same slurp as that 60’s commercial we started with! The sound is the same and everything! Cat food commercials had truly run out of things to say. Was this to be the end of quality cat food commercials?

Thankfully, Hollywood was ready to save the day with a new invention: computer animation.

OMG, we can use this technology to make TV ADs!

This opened up a whole new world for advertisers. Mainly, the magical world of ‘More!’ Take a look at this Friskies video.

I get the feeling that this ad was directed by a talking Build-a-Bear toy that simply said “More!’ when you squeezed its tummy.

More Turkeys!

More Cows!

More Cat Terror!

More…uh… Ok, I got nuthin’ here

I am pleased to see a return to music, although it isn’t exactly the catchiest jingle ever recorded. You won’t catch me singing this one anytime soon:

Exciting your cat

Day and night

With endless enchantment

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it sure sounds like a good start towards getting a claw embedded in your leg. Have you ever “excited a cat” and had it end well?

I’m also unclear what they mean by the ending tag-line “Feed the Senses.” Honestly, I’m really only interested in feeding the mouth part of the cat, if that’s ok. But maybe I’m not the target market. After all, what do I know about cat food commercials anyway?

~ ~ ~

In conclusion, cat food commercials peaked with the Meow Mix song in the 1970’s and have been struggling ever since. Who will next reclaim that magic? It’s been almost 40 years, surely someone will be able to do it soon? Why, it may even be you! *

* Footnote: No, it will not be you. Sorry.

Samantha had her 3rd birthday last week.


This meant a fun party. Cake. Toys. Excitement! It also means it’s time for the annual doctor’s visit!

Wait. What?

Luckily, this trip didn’t include any shots. It did include the traditional yearly pamphlet that I love so much:

Milestones: Your Child’s 3rd Year

During the 3rd year, your child:

  • is eager and energetic
  • completes simple puzzles
  • can cut a piece of paper into a silhouette of Walter Cronkite
  • can draw a square
  • begins to appreciate Adam West’s Batman on a more ironic level
  • starts to memorize numbers, particularly those on credit cards
  • can pour liquid from a pitcher directly onto the floor
  • begins to swing arms like an adult when she walks *
  • starts doing your taxes, but inevitably forgets deductions, costing you thousands of dollars

~  ~  ~

That’s not the entire list, but those are the highlights. The rest is mostly filler.

* I swear to you, this one is real.

J. J. Abrams did a right pretty job with his Star Trek reboot film last year. I figured that since it went so well he clearly must be working on a ‘Next Generation’ reboot as we speak! I’m sure it’s inevitable, so why not now?

Your perfect logic humbles me

I started to think about how young the cast of J.J.’s Star Trek was and I realized that a Next-Gen reboot would probably get the same treatment. That being the case, I figure that Jude Law is the only real choice to play Jean-Luc Picard. (I mean, right, duh?) I was going to go and photoshop up a bald Jude Law for you but then Google informed me that the internet had already done it!


How much more proof do you need? J.J. has already cast Jude Law for a ‘Star Trek the Next Generation’ movie! But let’s not forget the fun that youthful Anton Yelchin brought to last year’s film. How to replicate that success?

I lack emotions, but will still warm your heart

Why, with a Michael Cera ‘Data,’ of course! You can’t tell me that this image won’t haunt your dreams tonight! (Uhm, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?)

But this presents a problem. If the whole cast is 20-somethings, what do we do about Wesley Crusher? Well, you are very bad at problem solving, aren’t you!? This is really no problem at all.

Warp factor 4, Mr. Crusher! …
Uh, Mr. Crusher?

I’m sure you can imagine the rest of the cast yourself. But what about the Big E? What will the Enterprise look like in this new movie? Actually, not that different at all!

Just a bit more flare

Trust me. It’s really fantastic behind that lens flare. Totally amazing.

Those are the big points. The rest of the script pretty much writes itself at that point. I’m sure you don’t need me to explain it all to you. Oh, but there is one more thing I forgot about. This movie really needs to have a big-name star that kind of hangs in the background, giving invaluable advice that the main characters remember later at a critical point.

That character simply must be Mr. Mot. And the actor?

Don’t worry, everything is going to be just fine

Let us all take a moment to consider that wonderful workplace invention, the cubicle

Artist Representation

The wide expanse of sandy walls give endless possibilities for artistic expression. What will you hang in your cubicle? What (management approved) photos will represent you to your coworkers? Why do questions in essays always come in threes?

Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m just here to brag about my own awesome cubicle, so get with the program. Here we go!


I’d assumed this sort of thing would be commonplace in corporate-America, but you’d be shocked if you knew how many questions I’ve gotten about this. What is that? Why is there a chicken on your wall? Is there someone else here I can talk to?

Honestly, people. It’s just a rooster. A framed, stern-looking rooster. The real question is why don’t YOU have one in your cubicle? People are so strange.

Face it. My baby is better than yours.

It’s hard to tell here, but this baby photo is big. It’s over 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall. It’s also hung where anyone walking into our department is pretty much forced to see it.

In other words, I make the whole office cooler just by existing. Strangely, no one has congratulated me on this yet.


Oh, I forgot to mention before, but the chicken photo was an anniversary gift from my wife. (She really gets me.) This Delorean was also from her. It’s laminated and everything. This poster also reinforces the old adage: You can’t go wrong with vector art. Case in point:

Safety First!

No, I don’t own this because I love safety. I have it because that’s me! I bet you didn’t know that vector art was based on real people, did you? Well, it is. I was praised for my revolutionary ‘hand on knee’ pose in this one. I really brought out the emotion of ‘caution,’ I think.

Thanks to me, everyone in the building now knows how to handle  spilled coffee. I like to think it’s one of the many small things that make me so important to the company.

Gold Record Prop

If you had to make a gold record prop for a video shoot, you wouldn’t throw it away, right? The text on that card reads:

Weezer is sort of cool. But really not. But that’s what makes them cool, you see, so really they are.

But don’t actually SAY they’re cool like I’ve just done or you’ll ruin the whole thing! They have to be un-cool in order to remain, well…you know.

This little puzzle has destroyed some of the greatest minds of our time, so don’t spend too long thinking about it.

In fact, you’re probably better off if you just pretend I never brought it up at all.

That’s the kind of thing they put on real gold records, right?

You may also notice that the record is signed by “Wendell the Bird.” I don’t have time to explain the complicated art of prop-making to you, but trust me, it’s a science.

Well, that’s the quick tour. Join me next week when we ask the question: What the hell is this thing?

Seriously. If you know please tell me.

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