Yes Song Stars In Chase Credit Card Ad

Have you seen it?  Chase has a new business credit card commercial out for entrepeneurs.  It’s a typical pitch, nothing terribly earth shattering in the presentation except for one disturbing detail – the band Yes apparently authorized Chase to use its classic song I’ve Seen All Good People to plug its new plastic.  I say apparently, because I would guess the band, or at least Chris Squire and Jon Anderson the band members who wrote the song would have had to grant Chase the rights to it for use in an ad campaign.  Permitting Chase to use the song is disturbing enough; Chase using the song to reap financial gain is deplorable and perhaps not the wisest of strategies.

The song is not about profit, rather it has a strong anti-war message which is just as relevant today as it was in early 1971 when the The Yes Album was released.  The lyrics suggest chess as a metaphor for the war then raging in Vietnam and calls for a truce.  The alternative as John Lennon warned in his 1970 anti-war classic Instant Karma! is that continued involvement in war will guarantee negative future returns.

Chase is taking extreme liberties with the message of the song, which could lead to bad karma for the company, a company that already got a loving second chance 25 billion government bailout.

Kneeling Bus

And on request, the driver will lower the bus…to the kneeling position I presume.  I’ve never seen a bus on its knees or put another way, a kneeling bus, as if in prayer.  I guess the driver would have to deflate the front tires, making it a low riding bus.  Another interpretation could be that the driver, like Atlas, has hoisted the bus onto his shoulders prompting terrified passengers to issue a panicked plea for the driver to gently lower the bus.   Gently is key as weightlifters generally throw the weights down in triumph or disgust.

My College Interview

These days there’s a lot of pressure on kids to get into the best schools and the process is complex and stressful:  the SAT, SAT II’s, AP exams, grades, portfolios, recommendations, the essay, college tours and weekend sleepovers in the dorms.  And then there’s the interview.  When I was in high school, I took the ACT and that was it – no interview, no essay, no pressure whatsoever…I don’t even remember applying. I went to the one and only school on my radar screen, a fine state school  with a pretty high acceptance rate.   I should add that I have no regrets about attending, but I often wonder what I would have said about myself in 1981 as a high school senior if an interview had been required.

Interviewer:  So, tell me about yourself.

Me:  What do you want to know?

Interviewer:  Something about you.

Me:  Well, I like cheeze doodles, playing records, hanging out with friends, debating, Saturday Night Live, and the Andy Griffith Show.

Interviewer:  That’s nice, but what about you?  What makes you stand out?

Me:  Oh, I see.  Well, I can bend my thumb all the way to my wrist.  Wanna see?  I can snap really loud with my index finger and thumb.  Not many people can do that.   And I can speak with a British accent.  Cockney, to be exact.  I can chirp like a cricket and make a whistle sound without whistling.  I can whistle with an acorn shell too. I can do a 1 and half off the high dive and can……..

Interviewer:  That’s good.  What has been the most significant life experience for you?

Me:  Well, I guess learning how to tie my shoe, how to tie a tie, how to whistle (that was big), my first fish, my first kiss, first beer (but it was warm and not too good), blowing smoke rings and enhaling without coughing, (can I say that?) MTV…

Interviewer:  I get the picture.  Is there anything else I should know about you?

Me:  Nope.

Interviewer:  Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?

Me:  Is there parking?

A Day in the Life of Ribbie

Here’s a list of stuff I need to do today:

  • grade papers.
  • cook – it’s my turn.
  • watch football.
  • grade more papers.
  • watch more football.
  • read The Master and Margarita if I can wrest it away from my cat.
  • help my daughter study for the SAT II U.S. History exam.
  • grade more papers.
  • prepare lesson for tomorrow night’s class.
  • rake leaves or leave them to blow in the wind – which reminds me of a novel I read in the late 80’s by Richard Brautigan, So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away a novel I loned out to a friend, who must have thought it was a gift because she never returned it.
  • supervise the assembly of a chest with 5 drawers called a Kullen made in Denmark –  designed and sold by the Swedish company Ikea.   Kullen – does that mean chest of drawers in Danish or Swedish?  Actually, according to an entry on Wikipedia, Kullen is the name of a lighthouse equipped with one 1,000 watt light bulb on the coast of Sweden.  So watt’s the connection?  I should add that yesterday my wife, who is a fine carpenter, assembled an Ikea designed Polish made chest of drawers called a Rast.  An internet search of the word rast revealed no connection whatever to furniture. In fact,  the rast is a blood test for allergens, a musical mode in Arabic and a reference to an outsider in the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons.  Perhaps rast is an inside reference for Swedes that no outsider could ever hope to understand.
  • Watch the show Chopped.
  • Watch more football.
  • Watch 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race right after.
  • Watch Iron Chef and more football – flipping between the two.

6 Annoyances

  1. Flipping around with the remote only to find commercials and extreme volume variance.  Thank god for the mute.  I mute all commercials after I’ve heard them once.
  2. The Democrats calling 1 Republican vote evidence of bipartisan support for health care reform.  The Dems don’t even have partisan support.  And the Blue Dogs – tell me, how can they even call themselves Democrats?  They seem to have more in common with the Republicans.
  3. A dumb smart phone.  Mine has virtually no signal strength on the subway lines.  Not only can I not make a call, I can’t read the news, check e-mail or FB – nothing.  So I’m back to lugging a book with me on my morning commute, and frankly I don’t miss the news one bit.
  4. Mike happy T conductors trying to sound like flight attendants or DJs.   Come on, the stops are all prerecorded, just open and close the doors already and let’s get going.   Makes me think of REM’s “Driver 8“:  And the train conductor says “driver 8, take a break, driver 8 take a break, we can reach our destination, but we’re still aways away.”
  5. A hot toasted bagel served with tubs of cold butter on the side.  Dunkin Donuts is guilty of this crime.  I guess that’s why they’re called Dunkin Donuts and not Dunkin Bagels.  What’s worse, they waste so much plastic, serving a knife and a handful of tiny plastic tubs of butter per customer.   It would actually take the worker less time to slap on some butter than it does for them to pack the butter and plastic knife.  Notwithstanding the waste, it’s next to impossible to peel the covers off those tiny tubs.
  6. Artists sampling the classics.  I think it’s a bit of a Royal Scam if the sample is not credited or authorized.  Speaking of the LP by the same name, Kayne West sampled a riff from Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” in his song “Champion“.  Is it a rip-off or a tribute?  I can’t say I’m annoyed at the reference in this contemporary song, but I wonder how Walter Becker and Donald Fagen feel about it?

Ask Your Dr. If Health Care Reform Is Right For You

The House passed a health care reform bill that is some 2,000 odd pages long.  I have to confess that I have not read it all…ok, any of it.  But NO  legislator should make the same confession.  That’s malfeasance in my judgment.  Our federally elected officials are compensated well financially to represent us so the least they can do is stay on top of the leading domestic issue of the day.  Read the bill.  Stay engaged.  Consider this elected officials: you have a generous health care package paid for by your constituents, while many you represent have no health care at all.  Don’t forget that!

Fortunately, the House bill provides a public option, which is absolutely necessary for driving down the cost of insurance by injecting competition into the system.  Why aren’t antitrust laws being enforced?  And I hope the Senate passes a bill that includes a public option too,  but reactionaries (a/k/a the lunatic fringe) are up in arms about it and have launched a full-scale propaganda campaign comparing health care reforms to death camps under Nazi Germany, comparisons so vile that they could only come from deeply rooted feelings of hatred and racism.

And what’s all this about abortion coverage restrictions?  What happened to reproductive rights in this country?  Are we going to sit back and let Bart Simpson, I mean, Bart Stupak, a Democrat, yes a Democrat from Michigan, overturn Roe v. Wade, something even the right tilting Supreme Court has not attempted?  The Senate may include similar provisions making it difficult if not impossible for women to obtain coverage for an abortion procedure, coverage they may now have through private or employee sponsored plans, if those plans participate in the government created exchange, regardless of whether federal funding actually goes to the patient.

Assuming the Senate passes a bill, I think “pro-lifers” and public option supporters will butt heads.  But I would hate to see health care reform hijacked by the abortion debate, which happens to be the special interest of a radical few and doesn’t belong in the health care reform debate. A likely outcome of the bill reconciliation process would be softened language on abortion restrictions and a watered down public option.  In the end, maybe half of the 40 million are so without medical insurance will be able to buy into some kind of health plan to ensure basic needs coverage.

Health care reform is about two things and two things only:  1) a cheaper and more effective delivery system and 2) insuring the millions who are currently uninsured.

Here’s what I would like to see in a bill:

  • No restrictions on abortion procedures.  Women have a right in this country to reproductive freedom.   The issue doesn’t even belong in the debate.
  • A public option to guarantee competition.
  • Anything to promote wellness among patients – exercise, preventative care, good nutrition for example.
  • Incentives for hospitals to “clean up their act” to reduce infection rates.
  • Something to stop the drug companies from advertising on TV.  I’m sick of the
    “ask your doctor if ____________ is right for you”.  Hey, I trust that my doctor knows what’s right for me…but pharmaceutical companies please stop giving out freebies to doctors to promote your drugs.  Just make the drugs and sell them at a reasonable price already.
  • Tort reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits against physicians.  I don’t want a future generation of talent to shrink away from the medical profession for fear of being sued and the reality of paying high liability insurance premiums.  The high cost of med school resulting in years of student loan payments deters too many as it is.

Queen Guinevere Pitches the Palm Pre


My cell phone carrier Sprint offers the Palm Pre as its top smart phone.  I’m thinking to upgrade to it from my quirky Samsung Instinct. However, the Palm Pre commercials have given me pause.

Palm_PreHave you seen them? They began airing during the summer Olympics. Palm’s ad agency apparently raised Queen Guinevere from the dead to pitch the Palm Pre. In these 15-30 second spots, the Queen speaks in hypnotic tones, announcing that “my phone can read my mind…at first it kind of freaked me out”. She then touches the screen, presumably to activate the mind reading app. OhhK……In another spot, the good Queen proclaims that she is having “one of those days when everything just seems to work…bing, bing, bing, like you’re not even trying…just going with the flow.” She moves a couple of apps on the screen to get to what looks like a map, but it’s not clear what the app is – GPS maybe, maybe not. I’ll just call it the go with the flow app. Another is the running late app: “if you are running late, you should really let them know” then she touches the screen and says, “oh wait, you just did”. This is the calendar late notification app. I guess this is a useful app, but why not just call and say you’re running late. The Palm Pre is a phone afterall.

From what I can gather, the Palm Pre has a mind reading app, a go with the flow app and an I’m late app. Apparently it has a handful of other ones too, no doubt just as useful.

Queen Quinevere has not yet convinced me to upgrade. I’m waiting for the instant lottery win app, the go to work for me app, and the time travel app. Until then, I’ll stick with my quirky, but trusty Samsung Instinct.