Thursday, December 31, 2009


Hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and is excited to ring in the New Year!

I just wanted to thank you all for signing up as a follower of this blog and for reading it--I'm still amazed that there are others besides my husband who do, so many thanks indeed. It means more than you know. My quest to become a published author continues apace. To that end, my New Year's resolution is more frequent blog posts. There. I've stated it publicly.

I have every confidence this commitment will go better than my resolutions in previous years to: learn Italian, exercise every day, read every issue of The New Yorker cover to cover, re-learn Spanish, run a half marathon every month, eat less chocolate and perfect every recipe in The Professional Pastry Chef. Especially that "eat less chocolate" one...I don't know what I was thinking when I avowed that bit of insanity.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

As Seen on TV

The Comas doggies have a Secret Santa. And an ironic one at that.

Yesterday in the mail we received two Snuggies for Dogs. Yes, the blanket coat with sleeves has been such a runaway hit that pooches of every size clamored that one be made especially for them. Readers of this space are familiar with my position on all things Snuggie, so needless to say this Snuggerific present positively tickled me.

What I perhaps love most about the Snuggie for Dogs is the marketing. It’s nothing short of brilliant.

First, right there on the front of the box, the copywriting addresses dogs, noting in big bubble print that the Snuggie “keeps you warm and your paws free!” Finally a company selling things made in China is addressing its canine audience in a straightforward fashion. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve strolled the aisles of my neighborhood pet store with our pups only to walk out with them grumbling about how nothing caught their eye. Why? Because no one took them seriously enough as consumers to market directly to them. The Snuggie for Dogs silences that complaint once and for all.

Second, The Snuggie for Dogs addresses that age-old issue of dogs not being able to have their paws free to engage in everyday doggie activities. You know, like backgammon.

Or channel surfing.

After reading all about the advertised promises on the box, our pup couldn’t wait to try his Snuggie on. The adjustable hook & loop Velcro tabs in the back indeed provided the perfect fit, just as the box said.

Now, our pup’s paws are free to put his own shoes on.

Surf the Internet.

Read the newspaper.

Practice his short game.

Make eggs.

Our puppy’s life has been made all the more full by his new blanket coat with sleeves! Snuggie sender, reveal yourself!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Morning Call

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post for some important breaking news: Retailers' profit margins for the holiday shopping season are now seen as coming in better than expected. This comes as a surprise to many on the Street who were expecting all peddlers of plastics and playthings to limp through December like a three-legged My Pretty Pony. But this morning's Littlest Pet Shop Indicator changed all that.

The closely watched Littlest Pet Shop Indicator has served as a barometer for consumers' shopping habits since....well, since this morning. But that's not the point, the point is that the LPS Indicator started flashing green at about 7 a.m., effectively changing the tenor of trading overseas.

Indeed, the LPS Indicator is confirming that retailers are keeping inventories lean--so lean in fact that the remaining stock on their shelves is selling at premium prices. With nearly two weeks left before Christmas, that means that what toys are left and available for purchase are getting pricier by the day.

One woman in New York City told this reporter that she wanted to purchase the Littlest Pet Shop Tail Waggin Fitness Club Playset for her niece. This item, which normally sells in the $30-$40 range, cannot be found on store shelves anywhere--brick and mortar or virtual. Sure, there's the Daycare Playset available for purchase, but it's blue and her niece doesn't like blue. Not only that, but the Daycare Playset only has one level. What fun is that? One level to "walk" your littlest pet shop pets around? C'mon, Hasbro, that's not fun. Two levels is fun! Two levels of glorious molded two-tone pink plastic--nothing's more fun that that! But get this, everyone is sold out of the Waggin Fitness Club. Wait, beckons, come here, look...I'll sell you the Waggin Fitness Club for $80. Eighty freekin' dollars?! The New York City woman cannot believe it. Buy within the next 10 minutes and guarantee delivery by Dec. 24, Amazon coos. The New York City woman refuses, positively refuses to pay double for this toy. Forget it! There are only two left. Your niece loves pink, Amazon helpfully reminds. Do you really want to show up without a gift? On Christmas? For your three-year-old princess niece? UNPRINTABLE WORD UNPRINTABLE WORD UNPRINTABLE WORD!!!!!

Sorry, this reporter got caught up in her man-on-the-street interview.

The LPS Indicator is heralded as a better predictor of consumer behavior than the Lipstick Indicator, the Underwear Index or even the Hemline Length Indicator, and Wall Street is abuzz with the LPS's latest reading. Jim Cramer screamed about it. Maria Bartiromo stated the obvious about it. And a nameless, unidentifiable Bloomberg reporter interviewed three experts about the LPS, its history and ramifications...effectively draining any interest viewers had in said Indicator.

With only one-half hour before the market's open, expect retailers to trade higher and this season to be the one that gives "pay to play" new meaning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Flooding the Zone

I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you’ve heard about Tiger Woods's recent troubles. It’s like sitting in front of a bag of chips or a package of Oreos—you can’t just read one story about this ongoing wreck. There’s the New York Post’s splashy coverage, complete with trademark headline puns. There’s the gossipy screeches of TMZ. And there’s the various and sundry online links and analyses that are sprouting up like so many lost balls at Bethpage Black (sorry, couldn’t resist).

But what I find so funny is that much like Tiger’s drives (last lame analogy, I promise), this story has such loft, such carrying power, that even legitimate news outlets can’t ignore it any longer. And they’re all starting to cover it in their own fashion, which is to say, lamely.

The Wall Street Journal chimed in today with the expected corporate survey: which of Tiger’s endorsements have dropped him (none), which are withholding their televised ads (all) and which are retooling their Tigerific products. And here we get to the hard news hook: Gatorade, the Journal reports, is discontinuing its Tiger Focus sports drink. As if this should be a surprise. Gatorade Tiger Focus? You mean it's still around? Were we honestly to believe that Gatorade happened upon that magical ratio of high fructose corn syrup and water that actually improved concentration? I’m not sure which of Gatorade’s marketing assumptions were more off the mark: Presuming that consumers would buy its “Focus” drink, or its weird commercial cartoon campaign designed to appeal to toddlers, a demographic known for, if nothing else, its insatiable quest for improved concentration.

Time, with its own take on Tigergate, offered up a column comparing “attention controllers” like Tiger and “attention seekers” like the couple that crashed the President’s state dinner. It was wordy. It was analytical. It was a snore fest.

Finally, The New York Times, churned out a below-the-fold story today that captured the culture of the moment so perfectly, so succinctly, so….predictably. Its take? Today’s adulterer’s text message is the Digital Lipstick On The Collar. Get it? You know how actual lipstick on a collar was a sure sign of philandering? Well, see, the text message is digital and can leave a mark just like old fashioned lipstick! Leave it to the Times to declare a trend years after the fact. Bravo Gray Lady. Bravo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reality Bites

This is what our reality show-addled society has spawned: a Congressional hearing devoted to a couple of no-name celebrity wannabes who crashed the President’s party.

It was bound to come to this. Reality programming stopped passing the drool test a long time ago. Survivor, Top Chef, old seasons of Project Runway—they’re all good stuff, great stuff, in fact. But production of such shows with premise—and in the case of Top & Project, talent—fell by the wayside in favor of Brett Michael’s misogynistic skank fest and Sharon Osborne’s trashy televised “tutelage,” not to mention the incessant documentation of freakish fertility stories—predictably followed by a family’s sloppy unraveling.

Reality programming not only resuscitated Flavor Flav’s “career,” it also upchucked a series of shows that successively circled the drain with greater intensity, which, in turn, lowered our national IQ by another 20 points. With reality TV, we got to watch wife swapping, bachelors date, bachelorettes date and nannies discipline unruly children. We were given a voyeur’s view into celebrity “rehab,” hoarders’ messy homes and struggles with weight loss. P. Diddy made a band. Then he made another band. Those were so good, he made two more bands. And now, he’s making his band. I know, it’s totally novel. Completely new. Never been done. Thank you reality TV.

And, lest we forget, there’s the glimmering franchise that is The Housewives. Orange County, Atlanta, New York and even Jersey served up their embarrassing members of the so-called upper class. The shows were such hits that Washington D.C. is going to showcase its own attention-seeking housewife horrors.

Which brings me back to the House hearing slated for tomorrow that will really take a tough look at these reality-TV party crashers. If our elected officials are worth their salt even a bit, they’ll decide that trashy reality television is a threat to our national security—or, at the very least, our national taste—and ban it altogether.

I doubt it, though. If reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that it begets more reality TV. So don’t be surprised if you see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Boehner on their own show soon. Diddy, after all, needs a new band.