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May 16th, 2007


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08:04 am - bits from the commute
000. Why are there larger-than-life construction cereal factory workers cheerfully shoving inordinately gigantic spoonsful of cereal in my face all over South Station? Yes, I understand, it's an advertising campaign, something about the people who work at the magical Post Cereal Factory so proud of their made-in-the-USA cereal that they want to share it with everybody, okay, fine, at least it's not Oompa-Loompas or nothing. Yet I do consider it slightly ill-timed to shove cereal at commuters once they've actually left home and have slogged around on trains a bit.
CEREAL LOOMPA: Hey, look what you coulda had this morning!
COMMUTER: Yeah, whatever. I got people shovin newspapers in my face already, I don't need cereal to go along with it.
CEREAL LOOMPA: Get some today so you can have it tomorrow! I'll also remind you later on this evening when you're going home, in case you're doing the shopping tonight.
COMMUTER: Will you get out of that cereal-shoving pose if I do?
CEREAL LOOMPA: ...no. I'm an advertisement, not an actual person.
COMMUTER: Maybe I should eat the newspapers instead.
I wonder how the people who make the actual cereal feel when they see their media dopplegangers, the blue-collar Central Casting folks dressed up in colorful factory garb that looks like it came straight out of Bob the Builder. Probably the same way I feel when I see or hear phonemonkeys in commercials. The worst was working roadside assistance and waking up to an OnStar ad on the radio. Coming out of a nice dream to hear "Yeah, hi, I'm stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire" over a phone filter, when you're heading over to your job to hear "Yeah, hi, I'm stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire" in your ear for eight-plus hours a day? Oh, yeah. Wonderful encouragement to get outta bed, I tell ya. Might as well go back to sleep! Apparently someone on the radio's doin the work for me today!

001. BotsonNow!, the newpspaper that's bloger-drivin and totaly errer-free, is already trotting out a New York Post-esque "WIN A THOUSAND BUCKS!" game promotion to hopefully drive up circulation. That quickly? I thought you were supposed to do that in your third, maybe fourth month. This soon in the game, you should be offering free Little Orphan Annie Ovaltine Mugs or something.

On the other hand, the promotion helped one of the paper hawkers outside South Station come up with nifty rhymes such as "BostonNow! Win a thou! Read it later, get it now!" I liked his style. Didn't grab a paper, but I liked his style.

010. I am amused by the Davis Times Square news ticker over the Monkeysex Savings Bank (and a tip of the lynch lid to tikva for that one.) It's clearly grabbing headlines off someone's RSS news feed to display in between local announcements and tips on how to report graffiti, but more often than not the headlines it grabs aren't full headlines, more like the sub-headline blurbs which don't often include enough context. For instance, yesterday, one of the messages it displayed in Blue State Square was "FALWELL CHANGED U.S. POLICY." Well, sure, maybe he did. Thanks for sharing, big bright orange sign! It's pretty clear that statement was one of several headlines concerning the reverend's death, such as one out of a cluster of headlines CNN likes to throw up in sidebars next to main stories, but it was so strange to see without context.

Though my all-time favorite sign message was the set of headlines which were displayed in this fashion (and paraphrased to the best of my abilities):

SENATE VOTES DOWN FOO BILL... SENATE TO VOTE ON FOO BILL


Davis Square Orange News Sign! Bringing you next hour's news now!

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:avatrix
Date:May 16th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
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I am looking forward to the universities/colleges all wrapping up their terms. Because then those students begin summer jobs. My favorite of those being when attractive young men and women (to appeal to all comers) stand outside South Station and present me with Free Things. If it is a good Free Thing, I sometimes go across the street and get another Free Thing.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)

now with 75% more AUM!

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I've always been leery about picking up free stuff distributed corporately ever since reading the Illuminatus! trilogy.
[User Picture]
From:avatrix
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)

Re: now with 75% more AUM!

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I am unfamiliar with that trilogy.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)

Re: now with 75% more AUM!

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Brings new life to "I coulda had a V8", doesn't it?
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:kissoflife
Date:May 17th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)

Re: now with 75% more AUM!

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See, but that's how the Reevers came about, eh? Eee, nice-people drugz!
[User Picture]
From:resk
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
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I saw Inland Empire last night. I felt like I had been hit by a train.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Was it a very slow-moving train?
[User Picture]
From:resk
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
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Yes. It took me nearly 3 hours to dislodge myself from its rabbit-headed grasp.
[User Picture]
From:prog
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
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For some reason I initially read "Post Cereal" in the first graf as meaning something like "postmodern", and imagined that the ads were attempting to deconstruct the very notion of cereal itself by getting all up ins and forcing the bleary commuters to question all their cerealy assumptions.

"Monkeysex", yes.

The sign often shows feature story heds that are even less meaningful than that Falwell bit, like "MOTHERS SHARE STORIES" or whatever.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
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Postmodern Cereal would indeed be a wonderful idea. Who wouldn't want to start their day with a heapin' bowlful of Derrid-Os?
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
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I bet you could work that up into a one-minute commercial to put in the next Post-Meridian Radio Players show.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
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I don't know if Cosmo-Flakes could take the competition.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 16th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
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You might think the most relevant news to display on that sign last night would be Jack Connolly winning the special city election, but I didn't see it up there at all.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
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Were the election results updated online last night in realtime? I'm betting Orangey the Orange Sign just grabs RSS headlines periodically, and I'm sure the SomJourn has an RSS feed, but I also bet some local stuff is entered in manually.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
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The Journal's blog was periodically updated last night, but I can't tell you exactly when.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:May 16th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
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I think the Orange Sign was still telling people to go vote, an hour after the polls had closed.
[User Picture]
From:celestial_axis
Date:May 16th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
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The cereal people frighten me...
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From:28bytes
Date:May 16th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
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I'M PRO-FOO AND I VOTE
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From:moneypenny
Date:May 16th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
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You beat me to the punch blogging about the BostonNow pitch, although your knowledge of it is far more complete than my own was until I read your post. I saw only one guy, seeming very indifferent about the whole hawking-papers affair, except that he kept using that bored-half-yell tone of voice that can only be perfected by down-on-their-luck guys being paid pittance as street vendors: "A thousand bucks. A thousand bucks." I thought it was just a completely unrelated idea on his part, a way to get people to slow down long enough to thrust the papers in his hands.
[User Picture]
From:some_kitten
Date:May 16th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Davis News!

000 This is a good excuse to tell you that I saw the unofficial Metro Pay-puh guy at the other entrance to the station the other day. It brought me a smile because I thought he had disappeared with the advent of BostonNow and the battling wars of the person who wants to give me a free paper, except this other person wants to give me a Free Paper.

001 That's Monkeysex FEDERAL Savings Bank to you. Not to be confused with the Monkeysex Savings Bank that only has branches outside 128 and is Entirely Different.
[User Picture]
From:hemlock_martini
Date:May 17th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
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I got nothin' about cereal pushers and sex monkeys, but I saw this and thought of you.

Any relatives in Hammond, Indiana in the 1930's?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 17th, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)
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My father's family lived in Hammond in the 50s, having moved out there from Montclair, NJ. It's not unlikely we had a Crazy Relative out there to begin with. I'll have to ask Dad about why they moved in the first place.

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