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Diatribe Revisited: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 7, 2012, “Diatribe: Is Jack-In-The-Box’s ‘Marry The Bacon’ Campaign Offensive To Those Fighting For Marriage Equality?” still seems a bit offensive to me.

I have no tolerance for people who don’t take marriage seriously.  And, while thousands of couples across the nation fight for and dream of the day that their relationships will be recognized by the government, I think the new marketing campaign from Jack in the Box restaurants is insensitive and offensive.  The following commercial debuted during the Super Bowl and features a man that’s totally in love with bacon.

The commercial is just a part of their new advertising strategy.  They’ve also included a website where visitors can create a virtual bacon baby and buy bacon clothing.

Why aren’t the defenders of “traditional marriage” in an uproar?  Where are Maggie and Brian from NOM and why aren’t they calling for a boycott?  Where’s the outrage from advocates of marriage equality?  Watch the commercial again and let me know your thoughts.  Am I overreacting?  Or is it offensive to you, too?

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Ovation Revisited: Made By Brad.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on January 24, 2014, “Ovation: Made By Brad’” continues to inspire.

fremmerlid-570A couple of years ago, a road trip brought us past an IKEA store.  Not having one near our hometown, we decided to stop and check it out.  We were amazed by the amusement park-like atmosphere as well as some of the seemingly great deals that were found there.  Being careful to not buy more than we could fit into our car, we bought a dresser, a chest of drawers, several kitchen items and quite a few Christmas gifts.  The boxes that contained our new furniture just barely fit into our car and we anxiously hurried home to assemble our purchases.

Although we had been assured said assembly would be easy, it eventually involved two evenings, one bottle of wine and several Advil tablets.  Apparently intended for a universal audience, the simple instructions contained in the packaging consisted only of pictures and graphs … no actual instructions or explanation.  It was quite frustrating.

For Brad Fremmerlid, building IKEA furniture is no problem at all.  The 25-year-old from Edmonton, Canada, has severe autism.  He can’t read or talk but he can understand even the most confusing diagrams, blueprints and pictorial instructions.  Since Brad was a preschooler, his father, Mark, has been bringing home models, Lego kits and other toys for him to build as “therapy for his mind”.  He figures Brad has assembled more than two thousand objects since then.

Eventually, Mark and his wife, Debbie, agreed that it would be much more practical if Brad built someone else’s projects instead of them always buying this for him to put together.  That’s when Mark decided to help his son turn his skill into a business and Made by Brad came to be.  For only ten to twenty dollars, Brad will come to your house and build your furniture in no time at all.

“Everyone tells us we should be charging more, but we’re not really looking for money.  We just want him to have something meaningful to do.” – Mark Fremmerlid.

The Fremmerlid family should be commended for recognizing Brad’s strengths and building on them.  Many families struggle to find meaningful activities for their autistic children as they move through adolescence into adulthood.  Starting this assembly business could be a great solution for Brad.

We’re still using the IKEA furniture that we bought on the road trip … and we still have some extra pieces that we kept because we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do with them.

Have you ever tried to build anything from IKEA?  Would you hire Brad to do it for you?

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe Revisited: “Dance Moms” Abby Lee Miller Is Despicable.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 23, 2012, “Diatribe: ‘Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller Is Despicable” still resurfaces in popularity every time Abby Lee Miller is in the news.

dancemomI admit it.  I’m a long-time viewer of Lifetime Network.  For many years I would turn it on as I went to bed because I could never fall asleep while listening to the news.  For years, I would drift off with The Golden Girls quietly snipping at each other across the bedroom.  Then, for many years after that Will & Grace would help me fall asleep with a smile on my face.  Then they started messing with the time slot at my bedtime.  They aired How I Met Your Mother for a while, which I enjoyed very much.  But then they, abruptly moved it to another time.  It’s become hit-or-miss at bedtime on Lifetime with more misses than hits.  The biggest miss being Dance Moms.

For me, there is absolutely nothing to like about this program.  The dance coach, Abby Lee Miller, is a raving evil know-it-all bitch, the mothers appear to be dumb as stumps but determined to live vicariously through their daughters, and the young dancers (whom I assume are supposed to be “precocious”) are portrayed as spoiled little she-devils in tights.

I tried to watch Dance Moms when it first took over the bedtime time slot, but I couldn’t stand it.  Ever since, I’ve read about it online and I’ve seen a few commercials and concluded that the program is, basically, all about the coach being a despicable witch and the mothers being catty.  Then last Monday’s episode was in the news because Miller made the little girls dance with guns.

We taught our kids that guns are not toys and that “pretending to kill people” was not an appropriate playtime activity.  Miller defended the inclusion of guns in the little girls’ dance routine by citing her previous success and examples of Broadway shows like Chicago that include weapons in famous song-and-dance numbers.  Of course, she overlooked the fact that those performances involved adults who’s mothers didn’t object.  And the fact that hers is not a Broadway show.

In my mind, Abby Lee Miller is a despicable role model for young dancers and, even more so, for young ladies … and their mothers, Dance Moms makes Toddlers & Tiaras look like quality programming, and Lifetime is no longer my bedtime channel of choice.

What do you think about Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller and the use of guns as “props”?

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Ovation Revisited: Freshneck – The “Netflix For Neck Ties”.

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on January 13, 2013, “Ovation: Freshneck – The ‘Netflix For Neck Ties’” remains a popular post at http://www.DiatribesAndOvations.com.

freshneckMy household has always watched a lot of movies.  We always enjoy gathering in front of the television to watch a video together.  Of course, watching at home allows for pauses to get snacks, run to the bathroom or (in my case) just take a break to ask questions about what we’ve just seen.

For years, we rented movies from the local video store.  A trip to the video store was usually quite an adventure.  There were so many choices that it could be overwhelming for the youngest among us to make a selection and we’d be there for hours before a decision was made.  Usually, we’d go home with more movies than we could possibly watch in an evening.  And, of course, if we didn’t bring them back on time we would be charged late fees.

Eventually, we learned about Netflix.  The on-line service allowed us to make a list of videos that we’d like to see and, for a monthly subscription fee, a DVD would be mailed to our house with a pre-paid return envelope for us to use after we watched it.  We’d mail it back, they’d send the next movie on our list, we’d watch it, mail it back, and they’d send another.  There were no late fees, no unexpected charges, and we always had something that we wanted to see waiting for us to watch.  And we never had to leave the house.

We thought it was fantastic.

Finally, someone has figured out a way to use a similar service for men’s fashion accessories.  Freshneck has been called the “Netflix for neck ties” because it utilizes the same basic concept of mailing up to three ties, cufflinks, pocket squares or other items to customers.  Once a customer tires of them, he sends them back to have the next three items on his list shipped out.  Each shipment takes one to three business days to arrive and can be kept for as long as the wearer wants to keep them.  Or they can be worn once and sent back to be exchanged for the next item on the list.

I think this is a great idea and I’m surprised nobody thought of it sooner.  While some might say their success stems in large part from on-line web-based business, Netflix has become an incredibly profitable company.

While shopping at Christmastime, I was reminded of how extraordinarily expensive neckties have become.  A service like this could make a significant difference in the wardrobe budget of any business man, particularly younger men just starting to buy and wear suits.

It will be interesting to see if this catches on.  If the concept of mail order accessories works in men’s wardrobe accessories it will just be a matter of time before it catches on in the world of women’s fashion.

I wonder if there would be a similar market for costume jewelry.

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe Revisited: “Family Stickers” On Your Mini Van Are A Very Bad Idea

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 27, 2012, “Diatribe: ‘Family Stickers’ On Your Mini Van Are A Very Bad Idea” remains one of the blog’s most-read posts.

familycarstickers2In my childhood travels, one of the places that we visited was Wall Drug Store, a tourist attraction located in the town of Wall, South Dakota.  It’s still a huge tourist trap stuffed with every imaginable souvenir and famous for its marketing campaigns including free water for visitors.  Back then, they had a reputation for putting bumper stickers on the cars parked in their parking lot while visitors shopped.  Needless to say, the practice was controversial and didn’t last long.  They still give away bumper stickers but only to visitors that want them.

I’ve never used a bumper sticker on my car but I enjoy reading them on others’.  I worry that they might draw negative attention to my vehicle and, possible, encourage vandalism.  It’s for this reason that I’ve always been troubled when I see “family stickers” on the backs of SUVs and minivans as I travel.  Sure, every parent is proud of their child’s accomplishments and every child loves to be publicly recognized but I think these stickers unintentionally share far too much information.

Take, for example, a soccer mom that’s proud of her three children and wants to tell the world.  She puts sticker on the back of her minivan showing each child, their relative ages (based on size) and their names.  She even includes a dog named Hank.  She also displays a “Proud Parent of Local Elementary School” bumper sticker.

This loving mother has just provided valuable and personal information to every potential predator in the area.  Most children only react negatively to a stranger.  So, if an unknown adult were to approach one of her girls and ask “Hi, Sweetie.  Do you and your little brother still have a Hank?  He still goes to Local Elementary School, right?” she would trust the adult completely.  Possibly enough to get in a car or go for a walk.

Don’t risk your child’s safety by allowing a potential predator to create an illusion of familiarity.  Responsible parents shouldn’t advertise personal information about their children.  If your child can be identified by a stranger, your child is at risk.  Rethink the use of “family stickers”.  Perhaps exchange them for a Wall Drug Store bumper sticker … they’re free.

Copyright © 2012 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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Ovation Revisited: “Star Wars” Flash Mob”

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on October 23, 2012 “Ovation: ‘Star Wars’ Flash Mob” is still found to be interesting by many.

I get a big kick out of Flash Mobs.  There’s something about the unexpected organization that really interests me.  Here’s one that I find particularly interesting.

Have you ever been a part of a Flash Mob?  What was it like?

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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