29 Mar

Nick Punto is CLEARLY underrated

When it comes to getting rid of individuals who end up landing on a different team and then winning a championship, there is no better example of this "success" than your Minnesota professional sports teams.

Tony Dungy

Kevin Garnett

Mike Tomlin

A.J. Pierzynski

Brian Billick

et al...

And the latest one to add to the list, clearly, will be.............. Nick Punto. Yes, I said it. Ol' Nicky is the hidden gem, well, at least that's what one website says. Check out the following from athlete.com

Nick Punto?  

That's right... under status it says "Very Good." Don't think about it for longer than 3 seconds, or your head will burst. Fight the urge -- don't let your brain TRY and figure this one out, or you'll go crazy.

They said "Very Good."

Um, I understand Gardy (nickname for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire) loved this guy for whatever reason and was basically a Punto apologist, so that must have been where this particular website got its official status label. That, or the fact that Punto hasn't been sent down to the minors for any length of time to try and fix that .237 batting average over the last 4 years. Or perhaps it's because he was included with 3 others as "The Piranhas" and heaven knows you can't easily get rid of anyone with a nickname... you've got to pay them!!!

I mean, the athlete.com website must be run by Nick Punto or something. I mean, give me a reason how you can call someone "Very Good" when they sign a contract with a contending team (St. Louis Cardinals) for a mere $700,000. (Athlete.com must not have updated their records yet, as he no longer plays for the Minnesota Twins -- as if that's the only thing that needs updating!) When was he EVER very good?

So that's what this gripe is about. Just the fact that you find something on the web, and give reference to it, doesn't mean it's right. There's a thing about "credible source"... clearly, this one isn't it. Any slap-happy can create their own website and tout anything they want. But this goes beyond anything that is believable. Vegetarian Piranha Blog... eat your heart out with this one!

"Oh Schoms, you're just jealous that you aren't a professional." - Yeah, you're right. :::rolling eyes:::

"He wouldn't be on a professional baseball team if he wasn't good" - Damn are you naive! Be objective for the first time in your life! There's guys waiting in the minors batting close to .300 with nearly as good defensive skills just wanting a chance to breathe major-league baseball air making jack-squat while this hunyuik steals over $10,000,000 over the last 3 years from the Twins. (and I know that's the fault of the Twins). Remember, even on a team of professionals, there's still one "worst player." Ol' Nicky would that that player, though his past salary would say otherwise.

So clearly, because he was paid so much, and because athlete.com says he's very good, chalk this up as another mistake of a Minnesota professional sports organization. Add Nick Punto to the list of major impactful players that will likely go on winning a championship after we let him go. We'll look back at this and shake our heads, sulking "Why, oh why did we let him go?"

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20 Mar

Where do I start with this song?

First off, sorry about the delay in getting a new Gripe together -- it's almost worthy of it's own gripe!

By now you might have heard the song. It's the biggest viral video out there as of today -- the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black.

Now everyone's got their comments on how bad the song is, and I think it's bad too. But, instead of just giving it the broad "slap across the face" like so many people do, I'm going to dissect, breakdown if you will, the song and its background.

First off, a little background on the video. The singer is an 8th grade girl. Her parents apparently wanted her to gain the experience of what it's like to produce her own song. So they allegedly paid $2,000 to hire a company (Ark Music Factory) to write and record a song as well as produce a video. The girl had two songs to choose from, one being a love song and the other being a song about life as a teenager. Since Rebecca wasn't in love yet, she chose the latter. So here are my observations of the song/video in the order that I noticed them:

  • Monotone melody - I think the first 29 notes of the song are all the same -- all note "C". I'm not kidding. It's north of 20 for sure. And that's not the only place this happens. This is a regular occurrence within the song -- I think every verse starts the same way. Pure genius work at hand on this one. The writers at Ark should be embarrassed. My daughter came up with better notes playing on my electric keyboard at the age of 3. Plus, to boot, it sounds so damn nasally.
  • Autotune - Yes, just when you thought you couldn't get enough of it from the likes of Cher, Madonna or your favorite crappy West-Side/East-Side rapper, this song is Autotuned to death. When you get to the refrain, the word "Friday" sounds more like "Fry-ye-dayy" -- to the point where it's undoubtedly noticeable and absolutely annoying.
  • Lyrics - I hate to use the cliche "Sounds like a 3rd grader wrote it", but that couldn't be more true here. The following are some of the lyrics
    1) "Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs, gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal"
    Gotta? Last time I heard that used was in songs such as "In a Gadda Da Vida." But then it continues...

    2) "Gotta get down to the bus stop, gotta catch my bus, I see my friends"
    So nice of them to change it up at the end. I can tell the writers had burned the midnight oil writing this one. But I'll give them a little credit... it's simply highlighting what a typical teenager may go through during the day.

    3) "Partyin’, partyin’, fun, fun, fun, fun"
    Really? This is the best bridge you could come up with? Honestly, my 6-year old daughter was relating to that when she listened to the song.... 6 YEAR OLD! Is this your target audience? Fun fun fun fun? 8th grade? Come on. I'd expect this type of crap on Radio Disney. Plus, she uses the word "si-en" in place of the word "sitting." In case you have a hard time imagining how it sounds, think of how you'd say the word "sit" and leave off the "t" and then add an "in" at the end. Ugh.

    4) "We-we-we so excited, we so excited, we gonna have a ball today"
    No, that is not a typo, and yup, you're right, there's no helping verb either. "We gonna." Major FAIL. And not only are the lyrics sung this way, they actually appear in the video!

  • Video - Ok, this is where Ark gets some credit. It looks like the video was professionally done. Not just some homemade video with a couple of cheesy effects... but rather something that looks like some time was put into it. Panoramic camera shots, traveling in the car, etc. But there were a couple of things that seemed a little suspect:
    1) We all know singers are lip-synching the song in videos. With Rebecca though, it's almost like she didn't want to be there. In many shots, her lips hardly moved, but then in some other shots, there's the reaction from her like her friends we're calling out "Hey, come on Rebecca, let's go [have some fun]!" which is fine.
    2) How many 8th graders are able to drive? As they're kickin' in the backseat, trippin' on some fiddy-cent, my mind's thinking of what's going to happen when they're in high school. I sure hope she isn't going to date the driver from the video. After all, you remember Steve, the high-school senior, who was thinking about dating Becky, the sophomore back when you were in high-school. Isn't that Taboo? Oh the ridicule they'd face! And to the driver of the car in the video.. how the hell can you see? Your hair is covering your eyes! Here's $20 -- head on down to Supercuts.
    3) Where the hell did the teenage boy get that nice convertible? Geez, I'm not saying everybody has to grow up owning a junker as the first car, but a convertible seems excessive. "Um, dad, I'm thinking I want either an "I" class or a "L" class." LOL
    4) What city's law enforcement group would allow 3 teenage girls to sit on top of the convertible seat while literally driving down the freeway? That's what they have in the video! Put your damn seat belt on! Teenagers never listen.
    5) Lastly, maybe I'm not down with the times, but what parents regularly open their house on Fridays to loads of teenagers? I mean, I'm not saying they can't have the occasional birthday party, but I thought "hanging out" meant meeting at the mall or something.
  • Educational - For those of you with horrible short and long-term memories, you'll never forget the days of the week, thanks to this song. They let you know that today is Thursday and then the next day is Friday and the day after that is Saturday and then Sunday. They should have this on Sesame Street!
  • Variety - You get your mix of fake Autotune singing, party crowd participation (cheering "Yeahhh!") and since the production crew loves the look of their own faces, they made sure they got in a little of their own rapping as well. Fo' Shizzle!

    Look, this video and song could have been something. Actually, with more than 25 million hits at the time of this writing, you could argue that is has already been something, just not for the right reasons. If they would have left her voice alone, and let her write her own words, Rebecca would not be subject to the extreme negative criticism she's taking on today. Ark should be ashamed to have writers with no imagination. Get your grammar skills in order! It's no wonder kids are getting dumber and dumber.

    The sad part about this was that the song made it to #35 on i-Tunes (as of Friday... I haven't got an update on this as of today) IN A MATTER OF DAYS SINCE ITS RELEASE. We clearly can't be in a recession anymore with how many people are gobbling this up. If only I had that much disposable income to impulse-buy something just because everyone else is, just for the sake of having it.

    Rebecca was most recently on Good Morning America. She was asked to sing a bit of the National Anthem or some patriotic song, and she did a good job -- she actually does have a voice. Nothing that will win American Idol, but miles above what is demonstrated in the video - mainly because it doesn't have the nasally sound like in the video. But the few things that she's got going for her is that she is now deemed the female Justin Bieber, so she'll have many eyes looking at her. Her name is publicly known, so it might open the door for possibly some smaller recording contracts. Plus, she didn't have a stuck-up attitude during the interview, and when asked if the negative publicity made her sad, instead of giving the politically-correct, ignorant answer of "No, it doesn't bother me at all," she did say that a lot of them did indeed make her sad, but that she was tough and would get past it.

    I truly hope that she does get another chance to show her talents with another video. This time, don't leave the writing up to the producer. Take the old-fashioned advice "If you want something done right, do it yourself." And, there's "gotta" be another recording company out there that won't scramble your voice... let us hear your voice! Good luck, Rebecca!
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06 Mar

A punny commercial that quickly wears thin

It's sometimes important and beneficial to put humor in commercials. Done correctly, it gives a reason to remember a commercial -- even on a product for which you have no interest. After all, Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" commercials have withstood the test of time and are talked about at family Thanksgiving get-togethers and water-coolers!

Puns within commercials is one way to do insert some humor into commericals, but it's hard to pull off without someone rolling their eyes, because puns are usually lame. And nothing tries pulling this off more than U.S. Bank's latest commercial on their Rate Reduction Loan. Have you heard it on the radio yet? It touts a declining interest rate for good payment history:

Idiot Lady 1: "... you look great, did you lose rate?"

Ok, cute so far. Kinda fun, quick pun: rate = weight. It would be kinda funny if they just left it here and touted the benefits of the Rate Reduction Loan. But no, U.S. Bank is clearly a risk-taker:

Idiot Lady 2: "... come to think of it, my husband could stand to lose 10-15%"

Oh for the love... why does it have to be the husband that has to lose weight? Oh yeah, that's right, because if it was the wife that had to lose weight, we'd have every women's radical group up in arms about "female weight stereotypes in today's society." Therefore, let's just say the guy needs to lose weight... yeah, they won't care. Plus, why do they need to make a joke about weight? In this sensitive society we live in, I'm surprised that NAAFA (National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance) hasn't raised bloody hell yet.

But it goes on...

Idiot Lady 1: "Look at you! You've lost rate!"

Alright, that does it. You've already used that one before... twice! I just haven't typed out all the damn puns in this blog. Damn, even David Letterman doesn't beat his jokes into the ground this badly! Just stop the damn commercial now... but oh, no... we could only wish. U.S. Bank clearly thinks it's cute to abuse the pun:

Idiot Lady 2: "Yup, I'm a lean, mean, rate-loss machine!"

That's it. Not only is it not even remotely funny anymore, but now you've got a 0% chance of me ever thinking about getting OR referring your product. You've pushed all my buttons to a point where I'm now officially going to turn the channel when I hear it again.

Hey U.S. Bank, I've got a rate pun for you: How about I kick you in the nuts, you can fly a kite, and take your commercial [under]writers with you. It only took one time hearing your commercial, and now I'm already sick of it.

I know I already said I would turn the channel if I heard it again. But because I can't remember EVERY pun line they use in there exactly, I only listed the ones I remembered. Therefore, I might try and record it if I can, JUST so I can make sure I put every stupid quote in this blog. Plus, for those that haven't heard it yet, you will be able to hear how terrible it is. We'll see if I can get a copy of it...

Categories: Gripe Read More

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