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Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,
[This column was originally published on 9.9.17, not quite one year ago. Due to the fact I'm currently dealing with an intense case of physical and mental fatigue, the primary side effect of the treatment that I'm receiving for a health problem, I'm reposting one of my "greatest hits."
Abducted (Part 2), which is what you should be reading, exists. However, it's a bit of a mess and I'm not letting it loose in the world till it gets its act together.
Anyways... When I pulled up this long, rambling piece for a fresh look I was struck by the fact that a year later:
Marie stills shills for the Nutrisystem people and is still performing in Vegas.
Purple Journalism is more pervasive than ever.
Celebs are still obsessed with the Donald.
Iconoclasm is still on the loose in the land of the free.
ISIS, although they've had a bad year, are still slaughtering innocents in the name of God.
Donnie still is not, never has been, and never will be -- a little bit rock 'n' roll.]
Gentlereaders, humbug alert: I'm only kidding. I wish Ms. Osmond, whom I'm sure is a very nice person, nothing but the best, but those damn Nutrisystem commercials make me crazy. More on that in just a sec'.
My dear Stickies, this letter is primarily addressed to my gentlereaders. However, it may be of some use to those of you, that like myself, are historically minded. A sort of zeitgeist snapshot if you please.
Deceptive headlines that turn out to be clickbait have gone mainstream. I'm not talking obvious clickbait, that nowadays is anywhere and everywhere, I'm talking about headlines on mainstream sites that that turn out to be clickbait, but you don't know that until you click on the headline.
On the FOX news website recently was the following headline, "Madonna Leaves America." I assumed this meant that she, unlike many of her colleagues who promised to do the same thing if the Donald was elected, was showing the courage of her convictions.
Or, perhaps the Secret Service took her announcement at the Pussycat Hat Protest, that she had been thinking about blowing up the White House, seriously, and had been harassing her. Nope, just clickbait. Turns out she's headed there for the time being to work on a movie and make "new music."
However, I highly recommend the article, it includes a must-see self-portrait. Ms. Madonna's creation is on a par with her best musical efforts.
Anyway, Ms. Madonna has parlayed (in my semi-humble opinion) limited artistic ability into mega-stardom by being a world-class exhibitionist. Is it too much to hope that an old fart (who is rapidly turning into a poster geezer for arthritis) might parlay his limited artistic ability into some dough by perpetrating a humbug or two?
For the sake of clarity, I must take into account that this may be read by one of my great-grandstickies long after I, or Ms. Osmond for that matter, are long dead. Also, I must assume, although I have my doubts, that it's at least theoretically possible that there are Earthlings, currently vertical and breathing, that haven't been subjected to one of these ubiquitous commercials.
I'm probably being overly cautious because I have it on good authority that a hologram of Ms. Osmond has not only been created, the programming and technology that powers it are regularly updated. Ms. Osmond -- like Elvis Presley and George Bailey -- could be worth more dead than alive, and shilling for Nutrisystem in perpetuity.
[Pray, enlighten us cranky one, why are you picking on this beautiful all American mother of eight kids, five of 'em adopted? asks Dana. Marie-Louise is wearing a certain smile and almost purring. She denies it but when it comes to other women she's about 50% feline. Iggy's in bed as it's a school night.]
I'm not picking on her, well, not exactly. It's those commercials, those damn commercials. I watch almost no broadcast/basic cable TV, mostly I monitor, at random, the alleged news channels.
Incidentally, did you know Al Sharpton, Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley, taxes are for evil capitalists, not me, and a founding member of the International Union of Professional Perpetually Protesting Protestors & Perpetual Victims Of This, That, and the Other Thing (IUPPPP&PVOTTOT) has his own TV show?
Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah, Nutrisystem commercials. I don't believe it's possible to watch the talking lamp for more than ten minutes without encountering:
Marie Osmond: "It's time to take control with Nutrisystem."
Announcer: "Introducing new Lean 13, from Nutrisystem. Lose up to 13 pounds and 7 inches in your first month. Lose weight FAST. Money back guarantee.
Marie Osmond: "I'm Marie and I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem.
At this point, we see the obligatory before and after pictures. Before is Ms. Osmond in a baggy purple top and denim jacket with a deer in the headlights sort of expression. After is Ms. Osmond in a form-fitting cocktail dress, hand on hips and smiling, her perfect teeth framed by preternaturally plump lips.
These are just the high points, but you get the idea. Now, the thing is...
[Waitwaitwait, I repeat, why are you picking on this beautiful all American mother of eight kids, five of 'em adopted? You're just jealous because she's a kabillionaire with a hit Las Vegas show and you're just a wannabe writer with arthritis and a Texas-sized prostate gland.]
The thing is, well, it's a three-for actually. America noticed, about a minute ago, that there are statues of dead people, most of whom almost nobody gave a damn about (the statues or the dead people) until a sudden outbreak of iconoclasm.
In the Middle East ISIS, fired up by demented mullahs, revels in this sort of thing. In America, politically correct types, fired up by the Infotainment Industrial Complex (left and right division), revel in this sort of thing.
[What on Earth has that got to do with...]
Well...nothing really, but it's been really bugging me. Sorry, I feel much better now.
Oh, anyway, first, America has real problems that need to be addressed. We have devolved to the point where there's one minute of advertising for every two minutes of infotainment (half of 'em Nutrisystem commercials!) on the talking lamp. This in spite of the fact most folks pay through the nose for the only locally available cable company or have to sign a contract for satellite TV that only a Harvard Law School grad could make sense of.
As I said, real problems.
Third, the Nutrisystem system is a barely legal scam. Click on this headline, Drop 50 Now: Nutrisystem's Advertising Backed By Shoddy Science.
Fourth: you may have noticed...
[You said it was a three-for...]
Bonus: you may have noticed the tiny messages that flash rapidly on and off at the bottom of the screen when Ms. Osmond is urging you to give the Lean 13 dealy a shot. Access the commercial via YouTube and hit pause every time the tiny message changes. This serves two purposes. Not only will you encounter some interesting facts, you'll develop your hand-eye coordination. The tiny messages pop up and vanish very quickly.
Most importantly, while Marie may, or may not, be a little bit country. Donnie is not, never has been, and never will be, a little bit rock n' roll.
However, banality does have its compensations. While Donnie's unlikely to ever be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (but who knows? Ms. Madonna was), copies of he and his sister are on display at the Las Vegas location of Madame Tussauds. Poppa loves you.
Have an OK day.
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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer