Disney displays the lighter side of The Force

Heaven and Mrs. CollateralDamage know I do not like a lot of Disney stuff – early movies, Pixar and their overall marketing expertise are pretty much the entire list. This display of posters past and present for their "Star Wars Weekends” probably falls into the last category. Even I who avoid The Mouse like it was carrying Aporkalypse Fever was thoroughly bemused by these. (BTW, Mrs. CD and CD Jr. had a total blast at this last year.)

vader trooper 3_2006   1_20072_2007 vader2

My son continues to make me smarter

A post from my other blog, The Ministry of Culture:

The Buddha’s parents tried to shield their son from all the evils of the world. I know exactly how they felt.

My son is 12 and already knows that history is filled with ugly bits. I walked him across the field where Pickett’s Charge took place and tried to get him to imagine what it was like to be under fire the whole way, watching your friends be hit and hoping you weren’t next. He knows about persecutions – of the Indians, of the Blacks, the Irish, the Jews, and everyone else. We have talked about war and poverty and starvation and cancer and homelessness and slavery. He already has a heart that leaps to defend others who are being picked on, even as it is hesitant to defend himself.

Mostly he has known about the ugly bits as a general concept, not a specific incident. Through 6th grade that’s how history gets taught in school. There was a lot of emphasis on heroes and heroines – he wrote a report and acted the part of Louis Braille in 4th grade. Once you hit 7th grade, though, it’s time for the real stuff to be known. The first novel assigned this year was about a black child growing up in the South in the ‘30s. The second one was about a Jewish child growing up in Germany at the same time. Then, thankfully, came Tom Sawyer. But another teacher assigned a research paper. The holocaust – any aspect of it or just a general overview. Because of his friends and his family he chooses to write about the pink triangles – homosexuals in the concentration camps…. (more)

Scariest halloween costume ever?

CollateralDamage Jr. went out like this on Friday. The reaction was the same everywhere — a very rueful chuckle.

Hello, treasury department.

Hello, treasury department.

OMG

OMG

PS: It was all his idea.

My son’s first rant about air travel!!!!

The Whatchamacallit (a.k.a. CollateralDamage Jr.) writes about the heckish return from Orlando on United in
The plane of a million delays. A nice headline that plays off Disney’s Year of A Million Dreams theme which is only fitting as he and Mrs. CD had just visited Mouse Land.

and then over the intercom spoke, “Attention flight 1502 passengers, there is a slight wheater delay due to lighting near the ramps, this should clear up in just one minute,” we sat there for 15, 20 minutes, maybe even half an hour. Then, storm cleared up, and we could board, when we found out the flight attendants had left the plane. we sat in the gate, for another ten minutes. When all the passengers finally got on board, the pilot discovered a minor mechanical issue, which took up 20 minutes to half an hour. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like over one hour.

It gets funnier and worse. It was so bad that Mrs. CD is giving up her allegiance to United. I haven’t had the heart to tell her that I don’t think any of the airlines is doing service any better these days.

An Expose of the Baby-Industrial Complex

This story I wrote years ago about how marketers prey upon the self-inflicted fears of new parents has been getting a lot of traffic of late, so I thought I’d give it a plug.

FIRST, LET’S DISPENSE WITH any pretense of objectivity, I am a paranoid, first-time parent. As I write this, my son Greg is playing quietly and contentedly in his room. At one year old, he coos, takes tentative steps, laughs, screams like the devil’s on his tail when he wants to, beats his arm in time to music (at least as well as his father), and in general seems to thoroughly enjoy his life.That’s why I’m convinced he’s autistic.

Either that or it’s another neurological malady no one will notice until it’s far too late. Yesterday he was scratching at a bug bite, and I instantly knew it was lyme disease. Today he is crying more than usual, which means he is undoubtedly suffering from the first horrible arthritic symptoms of the disease.

I am not alone in this private hell. My wife has diagnosed nearly as many ailments as I have. Her biggest fear seems to be breathing stoppage. Not choking, just immediate, independent cessation, sort of like spontaneous human combustion of the lungs. This is what exposure to too many warnings about sudden infant death syndrome will do to you.

All of which makes us only slightly less rational than any of the other new parents we know. It also makes us the perfect marks for the Baby Industrial Complex (BIC), whose motto seems to be: If You Scare Them, They Will Spend. The BIC’s ad campaigns have refined this application of guilt and fear to a fine art. Their message: You are a bad parent. Your child is going to die a horrible death unless you buy our products.

You can read the rest here if you want.

(BTW, just so you can gauge the accuracy of my predictions: Greg is fine and finishes sixth grade this month. Well, at least I think he’s fine — there’s always the chance he has … )

Patriots & Red Sox are ruining my kid

This is so sad. He’s 11 and he thinks this is how it goes — your teams win. All the time. He doesn’t know what’s out there waiting… the heartbreak. C’mon guys, for the sake of my son’s future you’ve got to start losing. Won’t someone think of the children?

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

You read it here first: Media, Pentagon getting their ideas from me & CD jr.

From The NY Daily News: CIVIL WAR REENACTMENT – IN BAGHDAD?

Where did they come up with this one? The Multi-National Corps-Iraq press desk sent out a release today about a new operation targeting insurgents in Baghdad, which succeeded killing two insurgents and locating a cache of “artillery rounds, mortars, cell phones, weapons, propaganda, ammunition magazines and other bomb-making materials.” The clever name of this mission? Operation Bull Run.

From CD in February 2006: The Iraq Civil War, or Operation Bull Run

Last Sunday, Secretary of State Rice made the TV rounds and dismissed an “impending” civil war. And, technically, she’s right: It’s not impending if it’s already here. Her comments sound like Gen. Westmoreland’s December 1967 dismissal of the North Vietnamese’s ability to launch an offensive anywhere in South Vietnam. The following month the North launched the Tet offensive everywhere in South Vietnam.

Two points for the Pentagon to keep in mind:

  1. It was a JOKE.
  2. There have been two previous battles of Bull Run. We lost ’em both.

Y’know, Tom Lehrer once said that irony died when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh Tom, if only you’d been right.

(Mad props to Flagrancy To Reason for finding this.)

From Wired: How to Take Money From Kids: Sell Toys Both Physical and Virtual

Webkinz kick-started a trend in children’s gaming that ties virtual environments to real-world merchandise. Online games for kids aren’t new. Sierra Online had tot-focused games in the early ’90s, and Neopets proved a hot product six years ago with a similar concept. But the unprecedented success of Webkinz is inspiring everyone from Barbie to Disney to get children invested in both the digital and the physical.

From TheWhatchamacallit: Neopets a neoscam?

The NC Mall was the final blow though. Needing to use real money, to buy virtual items on a kids site? It should not be! I am going to write a twelve paragraph letter to neopets on this subject, after seeing how few people actually realize neopets is being taken over!

From Reuters: Program Reveals Where Wikipedia Entrees Come From

A new tracing program that reveals where Wikipedia entries come from is stirring up controversy. People using FBI and CIA computers edited entries on such topics as the “Iraq war” and the prison at “Guantanamo Bay,” presenting a conflict of interest for the nonprofit online encyclopedia, according to a company spokesperson.

From today’s New York Times: Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits

Collateral Damage: See here & here.

Collateral Damage: Today’s sarcasm is tomorrow’s news.

Is Neopets a “Neoscam”?

The Whatchamacallit thinks so and he’s the family expert on the topic. He’s very unhappy about changes to his beloved site since Viacom purchased it.

Thats right, VIACOM BOUGHT NEOPETS! Ever since, neopets has been going down hill. The idea of neopets is a free tamagotchi, a website, that wouldn’t charge you, for anything. a site that would bring joy and happyness through out the world, and would have cybunnys fluttering down the rainbow over neopia central and…

My boy’s first rant. I couldn’t be happier.

Holding meetings in 2nd Life is boring, why not hold them in Runescape?

‘Sry boss, this goblin LV 5 just attacked me, I’ll be a bit late’ crazy87654321 said on his way to the business meeting.

Over at TheWhatchamacallit CollateralDamageJr. out funnies his dad. I am sooooo proud.

Collateral Damage Jr. strikes again!

Two posts from over at TheWatchamacallit:

  1. Go Jesus: You really have to read it to appreciate it and watch the accompanying video. I am so going to hell.
  2. Nick Stinks: “Hey everyone, I just tried out  Nick.com’s tomogotchi wannabe site. It really stinks. You cant actually compose mail to go to your friends, It doesn’t actually give you privileges, and I can’t quite figure out any use for it. If you were thinking of signing up, don’t, unless you want them to controll everything you do there.”

Nickelodoeon, you have an unhappy customer.

I met Mike Rowe and you didn’t … Nyah nyah.

So I was at the ANA’s annual conference last week which is why no posts in a while. This year’s was held in Orlando which made Mrs. Collateral Damage and CD jr. very happy as they piggy backed on to go visit the local Mouse emporium. Sure, I got to interview the CEO and CMO of Procter & Gamble and the CMO of Charles Schwab and the marketing boss for Clorox but more importantly I SHOOK HANDS WITH MIKE ROWE. Mr. R, host of the incredibly great and gross TV show “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery, emcee’d the Marketer of The Year Awards for Brandweek. His timing was dead on and he was funny as ever, except when he had to do a couple of scripted bits, but that wasn’t his fault. It was more than a wee bit odd to have this chronicler of the down-and-very-dirty and real speaking infront of a group of people who who would really like it if their work was mistaken for authentic … but hey that’s what irony is all about isn’t it?

OuchFor those of you who care, here is a picture of me at registration for the ANA. All journalists had a barcode tattooed on to them. For what it’s worth the UPC for journalists does start with a 666.