Archives for posts with tag: advertising

A couple of days ago: I realize that there’s this intense, loud silence full of energy coming from the porch. (All you parents of kids old enough to get into mischief know what I’m talking about!) I go out there, and my first thought is someone had the biggest and neatest poop I’ve ever seen. One long black rope coiled around and around on itself.

Yeah. It’s a black snake curled up on the floor, playing dead while Delilah watches over it. If any part of it moves just a little bit, my cat puts a paw out and the snake plays dead again. Over and over and over and over. (I didn’t think to snap a picture until after the fact.)

I felt for the snake, but not enough to actually touch it. A planter, a magazine, and a quick run out the screen door gave the snake his freedom and deprived Delilah of her “playmate”.

Delilah

Delilah

OBESIGENIC: a term coined to suggest that in today’s [Western] society, many things increase one’s chances for overweight or obesity, including availability of fast foods, increased stress, toxic environments, decreased sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle. I came across this word in my reading recently. It doesn’t remove the responsibility from an individual, but it doesn’t make it any easier, either.

Then I came across “smell-o-vision”. It’s not for real yet, but it’s coming. Domino’s Pizza is testing a version of it out in Brazil. Currently, special [pizza] scented ink is used on select rental DVDs, and by the time the movie is over, the player has heated up the ink so that when the user ejects the DVD, it smells like pizza and the printing on top of the disc suggests that a pizza would taste great with the next movie. Not so subliminal advertising. (Heck, Barnes & Noble already sends the smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies every so often through its Cafe and store.) I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before they figure out how to do it during the movie. (Hey, I suddenly feel like a pizza! Hit pause so we can order it. Thirty minutes later: hit pause again so we can pay the driver and dish out the chow. Yes! Now, back to the movie …)

It feels like we live in a war zone. On one side, the advertising and all the companies behind it trying to sell us something, no matter that it’s better for their pockets than our health (be it medical, psychological, or financial health that we’re talking about). On the other side, the individual. Or, the individual consumer if you prefer. We all know what advertising is trying to do. Many of us say we think for ourselves and ads don’t affect us. But big business spends big bucks on advertising … a big argument that advertising does affect us. It’s said that knowledge is power – but is our knowledge affected by advertising that has skewed the facts to sell something?

I worked as a grant writer when I first came to Florida. Given enough time and creativity, I can take the same set of statistics (numerical “facts”) and use that set to prove two facts that are the polar opposites of each other – i.e., mental illness is increasing and mental illness is decreasing. Why would I be surprised to find out that advertising does the same thing?

bumper sticker I had to take a picture of - car belongs to a mathemetician

bumper sticker I had to take a picture of – car belongs to a mathematician

Enough of the rant. I am feeling pleasantly relaxed smelling the rose scent wafting around my home, courtesy of Cheryl and her Haus of Scents (sorry, couldn’t resist the juxtaposition with the above rant). Let’s go to the dog park. I was there last week when a dad came in with two young boys (probably 6 and 8) and a dog. This guy is truly a dad. The lesson started with coming into the park, and how one door needs to be closed before the other one can be opened (to keep dogs from escaping). Then, it was time to teach a new chore to the younger boy. Yep, picking up the poop after the dog does his business. That little boy was so grossed out by the thought of picking up the steaming fresh poo … I looked the other way to hide my extreme amusement. Later, the dad commented that he was killing two birds with one stone by having his boys run after the dog. I told him it looked like he was actually killing three birds and wished him a pleasant evening.

I wish the same for you.

 

 

 

 

 

So I had a meeting with the trustee and a bankruptcy court judge at the end of June. My lawyer had me go in and listen to the kinds of questions the judge was asking. It was enlightening, and made me feel a bit better about my filing, even though I’m working on NOT comparing myself to others.

The first question was something about one of a woman’s bank accounts – I didn’t hear the actual question because I’d just walked in. Her answer was that it was in her name only and it only had about $10,000 in it, seeming to imply that it should be exempt from ?? Then there was the couple who had 3 cars and didn’t want to give any of them up – and we’re not talking about clunkers. The last case before mine was a couple who filed bankruptcy because they couldn’t make the payments on their $4000 boat … but they wanted to keep the boat. The judge asked if they’d be willing to make payments to keep it, and they said they’d filed in the first place because they couldn’t make payments, but couldn’t they just keep the boat? It was the husband’s only form of entertainment, said the woman. He was pretty sure it was seaworthy, but it had been in his garage for a year so… said the man.

I am totally impressed that I didn’t guffaw out loud!

Then it was my turn. I was all set for questions about my violin and since I’m a professional violinist aren’t the instruments worth thousands of dollars … I know most are, but mine is one I’ve played on since the beginning of high school and is worth less than the $500 carbon fiber bow I bought a couple of years ago. I had the websites bookmarked on my phone to prove it.

Nope. I was asked 2 questions … “You play violin in the Sarasota Orchestra?” and “What was the amount of your last tax refund?” That’s it. That’s why I had to find a ride to Tampa and spend a morning traveling. I’m choosing to think of it as a good sign – that there’s really nothing to question because I have nothing.

Since filing for bankruptcy, my e-mail has erupted with a plethora of credit card offers (BAD CREDIT? NO PROBLEM!), quick loans (INSTANT APPROVAL! DEPOSITED STRAIGHT TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WITHIN MINUTES!), and refinance offers (2.5% NO HASSLES) … it’s the financial equivalent of grapefruit and cabbage soup diets, or whatever the latest fad diet is.

We live in a fucked up world.

I know that I do not have to respond to  these offers (in fact, I delete them without opening), just as I do not have to pay attention to the advertising trying to get me to go to McDonald’s and buy a supersized meal. But there’s a reason so many billions of dollars are spent on advertising – it works. It helps that I do not have cable or satellite tv or whatever the latest innovation is. My television is so old that it has a VHS player in it – meaning that without the converter box that I never bothered to hook up, I get nothing but static.

I came across a statistic in a medical update that said “84% of 3.4 billion food ads featured on children’s websites promoted products that had high concentrations of fat, sugar, and/or sodium, according to a study  in the journal Pediatric Obesity.” I read something like that, and the numbers just blow my mind. Since I can’t afford to buy a private island to live on away from all this craziness or go to outer space and find my own planet, I’ve decided that I’m going to concentrate on treating everything trying to get me to consume MORE, MORE, MORE! as being the thoughts of an enormous “monkey mind” that I need to just notice and let go without attaching to them. Lessons in meditation.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

 

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