A Curious Collection of Super Bowl Commercials

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Amazing Super Bowl tonight.  A nailbiter until the very last moment when the Giants claimed the ring and the Lombardi trophy.  But, sad to say,  I found the journey to that last moment rather disconcerting.

It’s no secret that many watch the big game for the commercials.  From coast to coast, viewers gather to see what amazing, not to mention pricey, creations the ad agencies have concocted to wow America while the players take a breather.  Today we did indeed witness some clever moments that will no doubt be discussed around America’s water coolers tomorrow, but what I found disconcerting, and I hope others did, too, was what wasn’t represented.

Most notably, our nation’s ailing economy seemed to be on display in the limited number of companies that shelled out the big bucks for those coveted Super Bowl minutes.  It would appear that only one beer company could afford those slots, but even more jarring were the lack of car companies who could.  The game seemed like one giant commecial — wall to wall — for the company the cynics among us now refer to as “Government Motors.”  It’s amazing what an entity can purchase when it has a bottomless bailout (taxpayer) slush fund at its disposal for commercial time, and the game tonight proved the ultimate showcase for such excess.

The capper was a dark and endless tearjerker presented by thought-he-was-a-conservative Clint Eastwood, a treatise that lamented (and I paraphrase here) the fact that we are hurting, but because we’re America we all got together to do the right thing and bail out a car company and turn it over to the government and the unions, because, you see, “it’s half-time in America.”  Really?  Aside from a shameful rip-off of President Reagan’s iconic “morning in America,” I don’t remember being asked to “do the right thing” and turn over my tax money for a government/union take over of a private corporation.  Let me say, as well, that I would be royally furious right now if I were the powers-that-be at Ford Motor Company — a car company that refused the bailout — which was bashed by name in one of the Government Motors spots.  As a taxpayer, and an American, I’m royally furious for them — and for myself.

Other than that, many thanks to the Giants and the Patriots for a great game, and may we all be thankful that though commercial time was dominated by the left’s propoganda, at least this year the president did not interrupt the festivities with one of his customary Super Bowl campaign lectures.  Count our blessings for that, and have a nice night.


Obama Praises Dog Torturer Michael Vick

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So let’s get this straight.  The leader of the free world and the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces took a break from transforming America to praise the Philadelphia Eagles for offering a “second chance” to an NFL quarterback who electrocuted and tortured dogs in the name of fun and profit.  In other words, Barack Obama praised the Philadelphia Eagles for offering quarterback Michael Vick a second opportunity to toss the pigskin around and win cheers and adulation from Barack Obama.

As one dog lover of my acquaintance remarked upon hearing this latest bit of conscience-less drivel from the leader of the free world and the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, “Is he doing everything he can to alienate every pocket of the United States population?” Yes he is, my friend, because, you see, this man, out of touch as he is and viewing his own dog as nothing but a photo-op prop, has no idea how devoted we Americans tend to be to the canine species (it’s a safe bet he has never seen “Old Yeller”). And I say, keep up the good work, leader of the free world and commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces!

Indeed I hope all the animal-welfare folks who voted for this clown are listening, and I pray they keep their memories sharp.  This is just more evidence of a severely damaged human being.  We already know Vick falls into that category (given what he did – and what he would still be doing had he not been caught), and now Obama proudly proclaims his own place beside a man he essentially proclaims a hero. Let those of us who care about dogs and other small animals make a pact to keep all animals away from Obama and Vick – and that includes you, Obama girls! Keep your Bo away from daddy (easy to do, if you just make sure there are no cameras around whenever Bo is about).

Pathetic Efforts to Rehabilitate Michael Vick’s Rep

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Once again, I log on to my computer and see the smiling face of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, celebrated by mainstream internet homepages and sport media outlets working in concert to erase all memory of Vick’s recent past as a vicious killer of dogs. There he is: vaunted gladiator of the gridiron. Athlete. Warrior. Hero.

Different words come to my mind, however: “permanent record.” Join the Ku Klux Klan…permanent record. Molest a child…permanent record. Leave a woman to drown in a car that falls off a bridge without notifying authorities…sorry, permanent record. No rep rehab for you! The same applies to the decision quarterback Vick made years back to spent his leisure time torturing dogs and seeing them torn apart by other tortured dogs. Permanent record. No question.

Once his illegal leisure activities came to light, Vick went to prison for a time. And now, short attention spans abounding, football fans and sports media hacks have forgiven Vick his crimes — that word “forgive” playing a major role in the familiar story of a man’s ability to throw a football trumping a moral compass. Sorry. It will always be permanent-record territory to me. And I’m not alone in this. Some months back, for instance, Dennis Miller took a call from a young woman on his radio show who insisted in a sweet, sugary tone that Dennis must forgive Michael Vick in the name of Christian goodness. With his usual eloquence, Dennis said (and I echoed with far less eloquence): No way!

What this caller failed to recognize is that it is not Dennis’ place…or mine…or yours…or ESPN’s…to forgive Michael Vick. He didn’t hurt Dennis. He didn’t hurt me. Or any of us. No, he hurt animals we call our “best friends,” animals that had no choice but to endure his torture. He hurt animals I love – dogs – in the most vicious, most heinous, ways possible, without remorse, without contrition. We have heard a feeble “sorry” or two from him in the name of forced repentance and career salvation, but no heartfelt condemnation of dog fighting, no effort to prevent and/or end the suffering of other animals enduring atrocities identical to those he himself once perpetrated. It’s the dogs who need to do the forgiving. And they’re not talking.

So, no, I won’t forgive Michael Vick. It’s not my place. But it is my place to choose a side in battles of right and wrong, good and evil. One look at my resume, highlighted by decades of writings about dogs, children and the link between the abuse of animals and children, and it’s no secret which side I choose.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick moves on, reveling once more, with the help of a complicit media, in his glory as football hero, Super Bowl contender, role model. But I haven’t moved on. And I won’t. And I hope all who love dogs, even those who also happen to love the Eagles, will never forget the permanent record.

An Addiction to Photo Shoots

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January 4, 2010 | Comments

I knew it was coming. But I still was not prepared. I went to pick up my mail today after being away in California for the last week-and-a-half, and there it was. Innocently I lifted it from the stack of magazines and catalogs that had been held for me, and from my throat came a guttural, purely involuntary, groan, a roar, summoning, without my conscious consent, the spirit of mama Grizzly. Kind of embarrassing when you consider I get my mail at the post office, but some responses can’t be helped.

You’ve seen it by now, too, I’m sure: the January 2010 issue of Golf Digest, boasting that tragically embarrassing, posed image of the President and his mentor, Tiger Woods, both looking so earnest, so driven, so bonded in their shared mission.

Of course Tiger has his own problems right now, but to be fair, we expect to see him on the cover of a golf magazine that went to press months ago, even if the timing is, shall we say, unfortunate. What bothered me was the President’s mug once again found on the cover of a magazine – especially a magazine in my mailbox.

This goes beyond mere over-exposure. The man is downright addicted to the camera lens. Given the fact that in the midst of the attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing — where all we got from our fearless leader were smiling images of him golfing, snorkeling and enjoying the paradise that is Hawaii – the man’s constant mugging is obviously taking a heavy toll on his job performance, as well as the safety and security of our nation and our children.

Though I am not an addiction counselor, I speak with some authority on the consequences of photo-shoot addiction. Having myself been involved behind the camera in countless photo shoots back in my magazine days, and more recently when collecting images for my books, I can tell you, they take time. Lots of time. Whole days, sometimes, for that single perfect shot.

So now I’m wondering, just how much of his valuable time is this President spending at these endless photo shoots of his? We see him on just about every cover of every publication out there – if not the cover, then in some elaborate multi-page spread inside, often with multiple poses, multiple costume changes, multiple backdrops. He is everywhere: Time and Newsweek, of course (practically on a weekly basis, since they are part of the President’s official PR machine), as well as, among far too many others, Us, People, Esquire, Men’s Vogue (which for some unknown reason also made its way into my mailbox and elicited that same involuntary mom-Grizzly growl), that magazine with a shirtless him on the cover, Food Network Magazine…and, of course, GQ, which he was spotted carrying with him as he stepped into a limousine a few weeks back. And now Golf Digest, where we find him crouching on the course with the newly beleaguered Tiger Woods standing over him. According to the cute cover blurbs and the blubbering, slobbering article within, the two are mentoring each other in the art of golf and the art of life. Just adorable.

Once we’re done swooning, let’s try and count up the hours this President is logging in front of the camera, any camera, every camera. We might forgive the First Lady her own penchant for the camera, as she ostensibly has a little more time to devote to showcasing her arms for the cover of Prevention, or assuming the perfect pout and posture of a demure, 50s-era teenager for Glamour as she did this month (wince).

But the President: Just picture him posing like a supermodel for a fawning fashion photographer who urges him to look more manly or god-like or powerful or concerned, waiting patiently as the assistants, between poses, adjust the lights, the silver umbrellas, his wardrobe, his makeup. I don’t think he get that whole concept of “unbecoming of the office of the President of the United States.”

And while he’s not getting it, terrorists are sneaking in, regular Americans and airline passengers are taking on the responsibilities of national security, and our troops are waiting, worrying, knowing that their Commander-in-Chief does not have their backs. Even if he did, the demands of the photo studio would still take precedence. Priorities, you know.

My own priorities in tow, I will be making a small symbolic gesture of my own: cancelling my family’s subscription to Golf Digest. It’s not much, I know, but we didn’t sign up to be members of the President’s fan club, and we resent Golf Digest assuming we did. Of course you would think that if the powers-that-be at the magazine are actually golfers, they would understand that if the man they chose to grace their January cover has his way, fewer and fewer people will even be able to afford to play golf, let alone subscribe to Golf Digest. Brilliant move, guys. Consider me cancelled.

Betsy Siino | Comments

The High Standards of the NFL

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October 16, 2009 | Comments

Well, National Football League, you sure dodged the bullet this time. To think that rabid conservative Rush Limbaugh almost got through your vaunted gates to become part (minority) owner of the St. Louis Rams.

You have claimed, NFL, that you had nothing to do with the decision to ban Rush from your ranks. You didn’t have to. Your minions of sports and so-called mainstream reporters, assisted in the field by the many media personalities and political folks who have made playing of the race card a sport all its own, made sure Rush never even made it to the starting gate.

I certainly understand your position here. You can’t allow your illustrious band of owners, let alone the NFL organization at large, to be infiltrated by the likes of a man who reveres the U.S. Constitution; who supports opportunity for all Americans, regardless of color or athletic ability; and who absolutely adores the sport of football. Besides, Rush made all those awful comments about slavery, right? Well, not really. Even the mainstream media and your sports’ reporters have admitted that. But it’s Rush, so they can say whatever they want. You understand. We understand, too.

So now you can rest easy. Your reputation and high moral standards have been preserved – for the moment, at least, if not for all time.

You can now turn your attentions to applying the same tough vetting process to whoever does become the new owner of the Rams. We know that you and yours – the team owners, Jesse Jackson, ESPN, Al Sharpton, the United States Congress, ABC, NBC, the White House, MSNBC, all the usual suspects – we know you’ll be demanding that whomever you ultimately choose will meet the same high standards you have applied to the likes of, to name only a few, Michael Vick, O.J. Simpson, the party-boat Minnesota Vikings, and the many who have been welcomed back into your fold after beating, stabbing, shooting, and hitting-and-running. We know you have your — and their – reputations and high standards to uphold. Good luck with that, and again, congrats.

Betsy Siino | Comments