I’m Still Not Going To Eat Their Pizza 

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Adding Shaquille O’Neal to their board is a great move for Papa John’s, but I dearly hope it doesn’t lead to ads with Peyton Manning calling Shaq “Papa”.

Previously in Papa John’s news: Poor, Put-Upon John Schnatter

I Don’t Get Out of Bed to Stare at Ads for Less Than $10,000 a Day

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Today in creepy, awful advertising: PreShow.

It’s an app that lets you earn free movie tickets for watching 15 to 20 minutes of branded content on your phone…The company has developed a way to track your gaze to make sure you’re actually looking at the PreShow commercial…If you look away for too long, or leave your seat, the ad automatically pauses and you’ll get a red border around your screen.

On the one hand, with movie tickets costing around $10 each, this would be paying a pretty decent wage of $20 to $30 per hour to watch ads. On the other hand, this is much, much too close to “A Clockwork Orange” to not be sickening.

Joy Milne Can Smell Parkinson’s Disease 

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Joy Milne can smell Parkinson’s. That’s very weird, but it could also lead to better care and treatments.

My Kind of Holiday 

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Last Saturday was some sort of “National Puppy Day”, so The Atlantic created a collection of very good dogs.

High Ten!

Fun With a Gratuitous Photo Booth

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

On a recent ramble through Las Vegas, I found myself in the surreal Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.1 This is apparently the highest grossing mall in America by sales per square foot, but the retail collection occupies a place of dread in my mind. Its dim lighting and second-story faux facades combine with the bizarrely sky-painted ceiling to warp reality in almost Daliesque fashion.

Photo of the Forum Shops mall
This is a deeply weird place to shop, or even just exist for an hour.
[Photo credit: Simon Property Group]

Are you inside? Are you outside? Would you like to dine inside inside at Trevi, the Italian restaurant next to a paltry attempt at a Romanesque fountain, or outside inside to really soak in the lack of sun beaming down through the “clouds”?

Naturally, this mall featured a photo booth placed outside of a meatball restaurant. While I did not eat at Carmine’s, upon noticing their contraption, I was more than willing to take advantage of it. It paid off in spades.

Photo of me using the machine
Perhaps in sympathy to their hosts, the Carmine’s sign lacks an apostrophe.2
[Photo credit: T. Arment]

As you can guess from the Facebook and Twitter logos seen on the front, this machine is intended to aid customers in spreading the word about the restaurant via social media. You can do it “for FREE!”, no less, which is surely the highest price anyone would pay for this. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a meal after which I felt the need to send a digital postcard to my friends, but to each their own.

Wanting to see just how strange this would be, I took a photo, then punched in my own email address to receive a copy. I thought it best not to subject anyone else to this exercise in stupidity and data collection. Though the on-screen keyboard malfunctioned repeatedly, I eventually convinced it to send my picture. My task complete, I stepped away so that literally no one else could use, or even notice, the machine. I pulled out my iPhone to check my email, but there was nothing. I checked my spam filters, but still, bupkis. Feeling defeated and not just a little claustrophobic, I decided to move on and out of the mall.

Several hours later, however, I received an email from myself. With the subject line “I’m at Carmine’s Vegas!”, it indicated that “a friend” had sent me a uPostcard.

Success! My photo had arrived, in glorious, 800×600, framed, PNG-not-JPG glory. Here it is:

My dumb face
This photograph accurately captures what it feels like to be at the Forum Shops.

As you can see, I have been dubbed a “Spaghetti fanatic”.3 Shockingly, despite the unrequested title I’ve had bestowed upon me, this postcard design actually isn’t awful. While it seems completely unrelated to the restaurant outside of which it sits, with a smiling face, better alignment, and a lack of derrieres in the background, it could at least produce an acceptable reproduction of being at the mall.

However, this is not actually what a recipient will see. Instead, when the emailed link is clicked, this is the hideous train wreck you’ll be shown.

A real train wreck of a design.

From the words being shoved in my mouth via a misaligned dialogue bubble to the sprinkle of social media droppings including the just-about-to-be-defunct Google+, it’s all stomach-churning. So it is that I can say this for Carmine’s: Whether you eat the food or just use their unnecessary photo booth, one way or another, you’re not going to leave hungry.


  1. No apostrophe, though there certainly should be one, ridiculous explanations aside. ↩︎

  2. The restaurant’s name is a possessive “Carmine’s”, and the horizontal signs include an apostrophe. ↩︎

  3. The business cards are due back from the printer any day now. ↩︎

Creatures of Habit 

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Ron and Diana Watson have had the same meal almost 5,000 times, and not even a heart attack has deterred them from visiting Texas Roadhouse 6 days a week.

Sound Bites 

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Here is a collection of dogs being interviewed.

Please enjoy.

They Had 15 Minutes to Kill 

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Before Google+ shuts down permanently on April 2nd, its content is being preserved. I know what you’re thinking: “Google+ was still around?”. It was indeed.

Their Time Has Come 

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Andrew Mearns is making a case for a beautiful future of bat dogs in the major leagues

People Who Like Brian Regan Also Bought Tickets To See Brian Regan

Friday, March 15th, 2019

I’m on the mailing list for a few Boston-area entertainment venues, which sometimes provides early access to shows and concerts. Last fall, I used this perk to purchase tickets for a show by comedian Brian Regan. While I’ve seen his stand-up specials on TV, I should note that I’ve never actually seen him live at a ticketed event.

And yet, on September 20th, the very day after I purchased tickets to see Brian Regan, I received this email:

In my best Brian Regan “Dumb Guy” voice

“HEY! HEY, YOU! We’ve got Brian Regan tickets on sale tomorrow! Open this email to learn more!”

“Hey, there’s a show we think you might be interested in! Perhaps you’ve heard of…Brian Regan?”

“We actually know you’ve heard of him, because yesterday, you bought tickets to see him. And when you did, we added you to our Brian Regan mailing list!

Hey, look at that! You actually bought tickets to see this very show!”

“Well anyway, we just wanted to let you know that tickets for this show go on sale tomorrow! So if you want to buy tickets to that show you already bought tickets for, they go on sale in the morning.”

“We figured you wouldn’t want to miss it, since you’re such a big fan of Brian Regan!”

Get your shit together, Ticketmaster.