The Greatest Internet Ad Ever

…is the one that pulls you in to enjoy every morsel.

Will it sell product? Who knows? Who cares? As long as it isn’t a pain in the neck.

This is the Intelligent Portable Flexible Massager. It might as well be Beats by Dre, but who knows?

Oh, wait. I got that wrong. It’s the Intelligent Flexible Neck Massager. But as you will see, the exact placement of words doesn’t really provide any structure to this advertising salad.

“Air Sac Neck Guard Fit“ sounds like a military strike force physical training regimen. “Sir yes Sir! I’m gonna be Air Sac Neck Guard Fit!” And good to know that it can touch the skin in the burden-free manner to which I’ve become accustomed.

Wait… if the ring traction increases, won’t that increase the burden? Also, if it is “one-click start, easy to operate,” then why does the remote control have four buttons? ? At least we can appreciate the ergonomic neck curve…


Honestly, if your neck is shaped like that, it’s hard to figure out what *is* comfortable to wear. And the color in this photo makes it look more like a robotic artificial octopus tentacle.

“You are getting very sleeeeeeeeeepy”

I would like to know how many one-star reviews it got from people who tried to use it without first taking it out of the box. Or failing to wet their neck afore using it.

Sorry, but for guys my age, “leakage protection” is an entirely different thing. However, I am pleased to see the manufacturer taking seriously the need to extend protection to the neck of the ballon.


To be fair, the needles are probably less of a danger than the 42° lightning that jolts you from the tentacle suckers. (Please tell me that’s Celsius)

Oh, thank God.

Are the robot tentacle suckers strong enough to attach to my waist? And am I secretly a little disappointed that it wasn’t spelled “waste?”

Apparently, if you are a blue-collar laborer, this device really does nothing for you.

To be honest, that last panel reads more like a bad translation from some post-Soviet Slavic language:

WARNING: Not an actual language.

You probably won’t be disappointed, as it comes in white, pink, and menacing-octopus red.

“Thigh massage — Stay away from muscle legs.” Again, sounds best when channeled by one of the Festrunk brothers.

The only kind of Strength I identify with is “Old Man Strength.” Also, “Seven hours, perpetually.” That’s like “Guaranteed to always work, a full 15 percent of the time!”

Well, I for one feel a lot better that the claim of “Perspicacious” is being backed up by (checks notes) a verified quality of perspicacity. Also, does it take 15 minutes to boot up? Is it running Windows 95?

Side note: Producer Hugh Padgham’s greatest contribution to The Police was convincing Sting to change the title of the song from “Perspicacity” to “Synchronicity.”

“Class, your assignment today is to use the following vocabulary words in a paragraph: assuagement, quandaries, neurasthenia, recollection, and salubrious.”

Beware the man who offers sultry cupping, as it may just be a ploy for manipulation. (And don’t forget to use today’s vocabulary words.)

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The Facebook control you didn’t know you were missing

Facebook needs one simple button.

It seems that every few weeks now, we run across some article or other about the angst within the walls of Facebook, about how it can fix some problem or another.

I mean, when you blanket the globe, there are inevitably going to be kinks in the fabric you have to iron out. Smooth and pleasurable experiences keep people coming back for more, and the business model requires the site to be as sticky as possible. Everything from the tones and textures of the notifications, to the layout, to the names of the options you have — all are tested and re-tested to make the place as open and engaging as possible.

Even the algorithm.
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The Social Media Outhouse

This is not an essay about American foreign policy.

This is not an essay about racism.

This is not an essay about what is proper in social discourse.

I will tend to ignore comments about the above, because this is instead about how the White House has made an Outhouse out of social media — and by extension, mainstream media.

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A little less social

I deactivated my Facebook account.

Just got too tired of people yelling at each other over misunderstandings, and failure-to-try-to-understand ings. Then I got weary of making them angry, by not siding with them quickly enough against the latest and greatest existential threat since at least 1:15 this afternoon.

I got exhausted, being a voice for reason and perspective in a wind tunnel that accelerates emotion and blows it back in your face.

I need a break.

If you need me for anything (and Lord knows you really don’t,) you know where to find me.

Try not to wallow in fear. It’s how they control you.

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Five Years Talking

Obviously, I have been talking for much longer than that.

However, today marks five years being a spokesman for Alabama Power.

That’s an odd sort of thing to remember, as it did not involve a massive employment change, or promotion. If you’d like, you could consider it a “battlefield promotion” of sorts.

I was dubbed a company spokesperson at 11:32 a.m. – squarely between two enormous storm systems that struck Alabama on April 27, 2011.

I remember self-deploying to the office at 5 a.m., when I realized we had seven counties with tornado warnings, and 35,000 customers without service. I even stopped in a parking lot on the way, to avoid a coming gust front of more than 90 miles-an-hour.

The deadly wave hit around 3 that afternoon, and continued for hours. With my “promotion” in hand, I suddenly had more leeway with what I could tweet from the @AlabamaPower account, how I could engage, and how to use it to get intelligence. We assured whole neighborhoods, we got pictures directly from the heart of the carnage – and we also shared images of coming recovery and hope.

Who knows what I will be doing five years from now? Probably looking back at ten years after. Because it was that kind of day.

It is rather odd how the days that define us the most can remain so clear, vivid and detailed in our memory.

almost midnightI will be doing more talking in the coming weeks.

And after more than eight sporadic years, I will be doing less talking here.

At some point, this site and archive will be coming down. It’s time to mothball these essays, and figure out what they are and what they mean and what value they might still hold.

Of all the acclaim, I was proudest of something my mother said: “I like how what you write there seems timeless.”

Maybe what passes for my wit and wisdom will retain some of that value, and I can salvage it into something else. A different project, different product, different format.

I have several presentations to wrap up this week, and some conference work. So I don’t know how much longer this Razr will stay sharp.

But it has been one hell of a ride, hasn’t it?

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When Personalization Becomes Impersonal

impersonalIn my daily work, I end up on the receiving end of many solicitations. Often I am not the person they really want to reach, and more often than not what they are pitching has little relevance to my business or my industry.

Sometimes, those pitches are the source of very unintentional humor.

In this case, I will do my best to protect the less-than-innocent.  If you have gotten the same pitch, you might recognize it. Please don’t out them in the comments, but I am very curious to see if you see what I found…

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What Questlove, Nate Silver and Andy Dick taught me about viral headlines

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