Tag Archives: TV

Commercials Then and Now

My husband and I view a television program for a grand total of 63 seconds before a carrot chorus line high-kicks across the screen. Then an older couple, whose idea of a good time has deteriorated to shivering in separate bathtubs, teeter on a cliff’s edge.

One ad (guess which one) strikes me as mildly funny. I chuckle.

“You’ve seen that a hundred times.” Hubby rolls his eyes.

“I have?” I prod my memory. Zero recall.

“You never pay attention to commercials.” He makes this sound downright un-American.

I resent the slam on my patriotism. Plus, he’s dead wrong. I remember lots of commercials — except they belong to a different era.

Decades ago, Captain Kangaroo lauded Wonder Bread, which built strong bodies 12 ways. Captain K. always celebrated my birthday with a big cake. He reminded me to say my prayers. So, when the Captain told me to ask Mom to buy Wonder Bread, I did. But Mom said it was expensive. Gasp! How could she flout the wisdom of Captain Kangaroo?

She gave in, however, to lovable hucksters who taught thousands of children — including my husband and me — to spell “Nestlé” before they could spell their own names. Danny, a ventriloquist dummy, sang, “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestlé’s makes the very best—” and Farfel the dog chimed in, “Choc’-late!” with a loud snap of his jaws. Good stuff.

Even black-and-white TV couldn’t diminish the Ali Baba richness of Kenner’s Sparkle Paints. Not only would Sparkle Paints pictures glitterize and glamorize my room, they would magically protect me from arithmetic, besides bringing about world peace.

I received Kenner’s Sparkle Paints as a gift! But my attempts — plops, glops, and slops of paint — resembled nothing on TV. Since Russian Premier Nikita Krushchev still banged his shoe on podiums and yelled during other commercials, Sparkle Paints didn’t accomplish world peace, either.

Although now a child cynic, I still enjoyed commercial jingles, including Speedy the Alka-Seltzer® mascot’s “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is.” And I, along with a gazillion other schoolchildren, wished we were Oscar Mayer wieners.

Medical commercials, however, caused me concern. I didn’t know what Preparation H® treated, but it had to be life-threatening because when I asked Dad, he didn’t want to talk about it.

Some commercials embarrassed me. I wished Mr. Whipple and his friends, who squeezed Charmin toilet paper in public, would disappear.

Nowadays, though, with Victoria’s Secret models joining the TV carrot chorus line and Vagisil/Viagra enthusiasts telling me much, much more than I want to know, I tend to veg, remembering only commercials of yesteryear.

Never thought I’d say this, but Mr. Whipple, I really miss you.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite commercial? Your un-favorite?

A Ballgame-aholic Confesses All

My name is Rachael, and I’m a ballgame-aholic.

Football, baseball and basketball rivet me to the small screen.

But Mom raised me with a Midwestern work ethic, scoffing at grown men wearing silly clothes who played with balls and sticks. When she hid the newspaper’s sport section and dispatched Dad’s recliner to the roof, we kids got the message.

My husband’s family, though equally industrious, considered viewing ballgames valid — and Indiana University basketball sacred.

Consequently, Steve requires fewer rationalizations than I, but he sometimes borrows from my vast collection.

Our favorite: we accuse each other of working too hard, then prescribe couch-potato bliss as a mutual health measure. “A little R & R will keep our blood pressures down.”

If this fails to stem coulda-shouldas, we add respectability with semi-productive activities that don’t detract from the loafing so essential to sports viewing.

We count our money.

Okay, that sufficed for three seconds. What next?

  • I clip coupons, which borders on constructive. However, I’ll lose the coupons in my black-hole handbag, only to have them magically reappear in an underwear drawer — one day  after they expire.sockscrazy
  • We fold Hubby’s brown and black socks. He does this on autopilot, and I rarely bother to separate the two, so we can focus on the game.
  • My husband polishes shoes. If the score is tied in final quarter, the difference between black and brown also escapes him. But my flip-flops look really shiny.
  • Dead-heading plants qualifies as a mildly useful ballgame pastime unless I translate the teams’ picking off passes to picking off flowers. I enjoy getting carried away, but my bald plants do not.
  • Manicures, pedicures and ear-hair-trimming sessions also work — with a similar warning.
  • Steve and I sort through cassette tapes and vinyl albums. We cannot part with any, resulting in pleasant diligence without actually accomplishing anything.
  • We made jelly — once. With all the washing, sieving, and stirring, this pastime lurks perilously close to true fruit-fulness. But if we, mesmerized by attempts to steal home plate, do not add enough pectin or sugar, we risk producing 47 jars of thin, pucker-y grape ice cream sauce.

steverachaelsportsOur best rationalization? Steve and I snuggle, cheering our teams on, snarling at referees, consoling and/or celebrating with hugs, smooches and buttery popcorn.

After 41-plus years of viewing ballgames together, we know how to do quality time. And it’s the best ballgame-watching rationalization ever.

Okay, what’s your favorite excuse?