Wednesday, June 11, 2008


You know, I started writing this blog on Notepad. I stepped away from the computer to make a phonecall. When I came back, the computer had restarted and lost all of that which I had written. So this is the second draft. It was already an angry post, and now it is going to be angrier.

I need to start this off by explaining to you that the other day, we had to go out and get a part of a lamp that had shattered during a tumble. As I realized that the place that we had to go to was called RIVERSIDE LIGHTING, the blood began to shoot through some well lubricated synapse trails in my head. In order for you to understand, gentle reader, how I flew off the handle, I have to backtrack ever so slightly.

When I drive or bike around this town, I am constantly watching the cars. Sometimes in order to preserve my life, and other times simply because I like them. However, there is something seriously wrong on the road that I have noticed for years. What I have noticed is that there are high ranking zombie executives at all major auto corporations. This is a crisis and it needs to be stopped. Zombies, you say? How can it be? Please tell me more. Well here is my evidence in no particular order: Suburban, Avalanche, Safari, Dakota, Aerostar, Yukon, Matrix, Navigator, Solstice, Vibe, Equinox, Matrix, Achieva, Highlander and more. My conclusion is that only a zombie is a suit would let any of these mediocre names catch a sign-off. The are cars for God's sake. They represent something! They are the second most important purchases people make. Their first is their house. If I was in the market, it would be the first most important purchase, because I can't afford a house. You know what? It is great that they don't name houses. Read on. Sometimes I am at a
light behind a vehicle with the blandest most milquetoast name on it and it is all
I can do from unstrapping my seatbelt and walking up to the consumer's window and asking them if they know their vehicle sucks up the styles and coloring of other vehicles like so much automotive tofu. But hey, we need our cars, and we are willing to compromise with the names of our vehicles to get what we need.

Still, when talking about the Neon, the chairman of Chrysler Corporation Robert Lutz said, "There's an old saying in Detroit: 'Good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two.' We refuse to accept that." He had embedded in that statement a double buckshot load of mediocrity. The Neon sold millions and was discoed after about 10 years and its replacement was the Caliber. I am convinced that Robert Lutz who is now at GM, is eating the brains of the dead as he now takes credit for such cars as the Sky and the Solstice.

I think about the Whirlpool dishwasher in my kitchen. Why Whirlpool? That is bland-o. Why not FILTH VORTEX? Well I'll tell you why. These zombie suits have figured in their decomposing minds that they should name things that we need with the blandest of names so that we don't get scared. In some board meeting, they decided to call the Whirlpool just that because they didn't want to frighten or disturb a suburban housewife with a name with teeth. A name like FILTH VORTEX that basically states to put your dishes in and pray that they don't get sucked down the same hole that the grease and funk from the previous meal is going.

Let me also interject here that I took a call last week for some new auto insurance. 5-0 clocked me snapping the sound barrier last year and I'll be damned if I am taking their little "back to drivers ed" test for a better rate, so my rates are going up. I am in the market for some new insurance. I took a call from an agent who talked a pretty good deal. She is going to save me all sorts of cash it sounds like. I hung up the horn ready to seal the deal. But in retrospect, I have reservations. What the hell is a STATE FARM? It sounds like some sort of institution for people with Olympic levels of insanity. It sounds like a place where you wear a straight-jacket. If you can't wrap your brain around my insanity plea, wrap it around a lot of chickens. Wrap it around feathers in the air and a lot of clucking, because that is the default definition. Whatever the case is, it isn't half as interesting sounding as AAA. I have no idea what AAA is an acronym for. I do know that they do everything that the State Mental Farm does for a little bit more, but their name at least has teeth. AAA can be said A-A-A. It can also be said as, "triple A." And of course, when they raise your insurance rates on you for putting the wind gods in check, you can call them ass, ass, ass. Whatever the case is, State Farm lost on name alone.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I am not buying into this mediocrity. I have lived enough of it.

And so I was losing it. I was sitting there, having the hot blood of rage blast through these well lubricated channels in my brain as I processed RIVERSIDE LIGHTING. As I pulled it together, the logic was presented to me that RIVERSIDE LIGHTING made a lot of sense. It was on the side of the river, and these people peddle lighting. But in my mind (and apparently rather loudly out my mouth) I made it clear that there was no heart in a name like RIVERSIDE LIGHTING. I suggested HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN. Now that is the name of a store. If all of the lightbulbs in my house were fresh and I had no reason whatsoever to think of anything Edisonian, I would still make a beeline to HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN just to see what was going on. And I would probably buy something there, just to have a receipt that said HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN on it.

The long and short of it is that RIVERSIDE LIGHTING didn't have the part needed for the aforementioned lamp. Furthermore, if the place had been called HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN I'd bet the sleepy kid who helped us would have tried something, anything to make it work.

Sometime the notion that I am positing right now doesn't apply. In downtown Santa Cruz there is a little coffee shop called BADASS COFFEE. Well, I think that is a creative name. I throw the word "badass" around all the time. But unfortunately, their coffee sucks. It tastes like ass if you must know the truth. Hey...waitasec.

And so I have been considering all of this. It seems to me that if it is a product that we as Americans need, it is going to have a boring name. But if it happens to be something we don't need? Then the creativity kicks in. Energy drinks, movie titles, fast food, certain types of clothing and more, they all get the fun treatment. Until it is in a complacent position and it is going to get purchased anyway. An example of this head-bowing and being be-knighted with the mediocrity wand is Starbucks. Now they have Pike's Place served all day from all locations. What happened to the other flavors? In order to keep the masses from totally rioting as a result of this downshift, they still brew their more creatively titled coffees first thing in the AM. Whatever, I am done with
Starbucks. I go to Peets now or I brew my own. Peets still mixes it up and when I am at home, I can call the coffee I brew whatever I want to.

As I have been thinking this through, I have come to my conclusion that seals the deal. I took a walk and didn't speak to a soul for hours as I pondered what the most useless thing is that people buy. I thought about it long and I thought about it longer. Then it struck me. People invest billions of dollars into porn. Is there really a use for that stuff? I mean seriously? In all honesty, it is for a
few functions, all of them could be handled differently. One would be masturbation. The second would be to "get her in the mood," and the third? I don't know. Perhaps shock value. I read once about a guy who liked to watch porn because he liked to see the looks on people's faces at these intense moments of honesty, but I think he was lying and I digress. The point being that if you do a cursory search of porn titles, you will find some creative stuff. Crude, yes. Vulgar? Definitely. Offensive? Oh indeed. But the stuff is creative. In fairness, I didn't name energy drinks, fast food places or movie titles, and that way, I dodge the bullet for having to name porn movie titles as well.

The thought that the zombies would like us to buy is that they know their market. If I am not buying a Sky, it is because I am not the market. There is a market out there for the Sky. There is a person who is going to lose sleep tonight, because they want to buy a Sky. I am not that person. I would counter that person likes a Sky by default. I would also counter that if the Sky were named something along the lines of THE BLACKENING that I might lose sleep too.

And before I go any further with this, I really need to change the title of this Blog. It is rather bland, I must be getting complacent. Que no?