Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired Swill Drinkers

There are two HUGE beer companies in America: Anheuser Busch (i.e. Budweiser) and Miller-Coors. They are fighting for every piece of the market in this country (and the world, but that's another matter). One way to gain new customers would be to create beers that actually taste good. We can only assume that they've written this idea off as a bad idea. The other way is to come up with all kids of gimmicks on the beer cans and bottles to trick you into thinking that there's something good about a bad beer. I've posted on this subject before and I'll probably do it again.

Such is the case with a recent commercial for Coors Light. The message is that the swill in the bottle still tastes like the swill that it is. However, you can now tell when your swill is cold without ever having to open your case. We all know that beverages in the refrigerator stay cooler when you put a layer of cardboard around them, right? No, but I digress.

Aside from the fact that this is just another lame attempt to get Americans to buy more swill, I wonder what the deaf community thinks about it. Normally I have the closed captions turned off on my TV, but my old set likes to turn them on for me randomly. Take a look at the captions created for this commercial in the following screen shots. Note that these are horrible pictures because you can see me in the reflection of the glass. But they're still hilarious:

Let's get started. The first actual words are from the wife (I assume!) trying to seduce her husband. I believe she asks, "Do you like what you see?" However, the deaf community understands it as, "YOU LIHAT YOE?"

The man doesn't notice his wife and instead is intrigued with the swill (what a moron). He replies with, "Yeah. When did Coors Light get these new windows?" which is concisely translated as "WHEN Coorsht GET THNE!" It's apparently an exclamation in the hearing impaired community...and they left out an "i" in "Coorsht." :)

The wife is not sure what the husband is asking and he reiterates, "Windows." Sadly, the deaf community is left with, "WINDOWHANK Y." Maybe there's some truth here. Is the husband passing up on "HANKY" for watered down beer with windows? Hmmm.

The announcer (or "Annou") comes on and says, "Introducing the new Coors Light..." and the closed caption readers get "INTRODG THE Coors t" --whatever.

Mr. Announcer goes on about the "New Cold Activation Window," otherwise known as the "1d Action WI, HANK Y" which must be shorthand for "WINDOWHANKY."

"Now you can see your beer is cold before..." turns into, "YOU CAE YOURR ISD BEFOOU BUYrs t." Wait a minute. I figured it out. The Closed Caption guy or gal may have had one too many swills. Let this be a lesson to you all. Don't drink and write closed captions for the hearing impaired community!

Mr. Clueless just now realizes there are lit candles in his room. "This is a fire hazard," he notes while putting out a candle with his swill bottle. Which equals, "THIS IFIRE HD." It's an Apple iFire in High Def.

The announcer is back with, "Frost brewed Coors Light," which is flawlessly recorded as "RR FRBREWEDrs Ligrs t." Isn't a Ligr a cross between a lion and a tiger, bred for it's skills in magic?

"The World's Most Refreshing Beer," is reduced to "THRLD'S REGREG BE."

And just so you know. I've seen this commercial several times on the air since I originally recorded it and the closed captions are the same.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stupid Adults Getting in the Way - a TV Post

We watch a little TV in our home with the kids. As parents we keep a close eye on what the kids view and we encourage them to think critically about the shows they enjoy. Subsequently, I've been thinking about some of this stuff for a while and decided to share it with anyone who cares to read it and comment.

Gone are the days when kids programming was limited to Saturday mornings. You can catch kid-geared television 24 hours a day thanks to cable tv, satellite and the interwebs. The two most popular networks for our kids (ages 11, 13 and 16) are Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. I watch all the shows my kids watch, so I have a pretty decent grasp on what's going on--despite the fact that I'm a stupid parent (see below).

Over the past few years, I began to notice some consistent, and somewhat disturbing themes with regards to the shows we watch. Primarily, parents are usually not married or even in the picture. Often when they are, they are portrayed as goofy, stupid and out of touch with reality. "Reality" is a universe where kids are in the center. Parents, if they exist, are usually in the background or getting in the way. Most adults--especially those in any position of authority--are ignorant and/or overly intrusive. Work is not something to aspire to unless it has to do with fulfilling a personal (and in my opinion, selfish) dream. This usually takes the form of fame via television shows, web shows, fashion magazines or being a teen singing sensation. The stars of the shows are often launching real-life singing / teen idol careers at the same time. It's all part of the networks' plans to create a teen/tween marketing windfall.

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron (Nickelodeon)
This show is no longer in production, but it's one we all watched quite a bit and still do thanks to re-runs. Both of Jimmy's parents actually exist in this show and play a significant role. However, Jimmy is MUCH smarter than his parents, who are displayed as being somewhat out of touch. The dad is a hilarious character, but a bit of a buffoon. He has some sort of a boring job and the mother is a stay-at-home-mom. That's a blast from the past compared to other shows, but it's consistent with the theme they seem to be going for.

Spongebob Squarepants (Nickelodeon)
There really are no parents in this program. Spongebob lives on his own, as does his best friend Patrick. They are basically big kids who manage to survive in the world. Patrick is unemployed and lives under a rock. Spongebob and Squidward work at the Krusty Krab. Squidward hates the job and their boss, Mr. Krabs, is obsessed with money. To his credit, Spongebob likes his job and works hard at it. I should point out that we LOVE this show.

iCarly (Nickelodeon)
This show is a guilty pleasure for our family. It's very well produced and quite funny. However, Carly's parents are not in the picture. She lives with her brother who manages to keep a really cool apartment in Seattle by occasionally working on sculptures. Their father decided to leave them on their own rather than take care of them. He expects perfection out of his kids and I guess he just decided it was easier to let them raise each other. Sam is Carly's best friend. We never see her parents and only hear about her mother, who is portrayed as incredibly irresponsible. Freddie is the nerdy boy who lives with his mother. She is portrayed as overprotective and a bit nutty. Miranda Cosgrove, who stars as iCarly, just released a CD with a video that is prominently played on the Nickelodeon networks.

True Jackson, VP (Nickelodeon)
True's fashion sense is so amazing that she got a job as an editor for a leading fashion magazine in the big city. This happens all the time, right? Do people still read magazines? Anyway, it's assumed that she lives at home with both parents. The mother has appeared in at least one episode (or maybe ONLY one), but the father is MIA. Most of the adults in this show are a bit dopey. Keke Palmer (True Jackson) has also launched a singing career with at least one CD.

Sonny With a Chance (Disney)
Sonny stars in a TV show. She spends most of her time on the set, but she DOES live with her mother in an apartment. There is no dad in the picture. The mom (Nancy McKeon from "Facts of Life") seems to be loving and helpful whenever she's called upon--about four episodes according to Demi Lovato (Sonny) also has a musical career. Are you picking up the theme here? Some of you remember The Monkees. It's the show that started all of this.

Hannah Montana (Disney)
Everyone knows about Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus. If you DON'T know about her, congratulations. She's a teen singing sensation (that doesn't assume she is talented) in the show and in real life. She lives with her Achey Breaky dad. There is no mother in the picture. I believe that she died while Hannah was young. Correct me if I'm wrong. I've blogged about her before. In real life she's on her way to gaining respect as an adult by...there's no nice way to say it. Let the pole dancing video speak for itself.

The Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney)
This show is an exception in that the Russo family actually lives together. The parents play an important part in the lives of their kids. Of course, they are all witches and warlocks who have the ability to do just about anything they want and choose to be as normal as possible. It's sort of like Bewithced for those of you who remember. Here's another shocker...Selena Gomez, who plays the main character on the show (Alex Russo) has a singing career of her own. I finally decided that we needed to pull the plug on this show. It wasn't a popular decision at home, but I'll stick with it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really not swearing off all tv. We watch a lot of these shows together and they are all well-produced. Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. I just want to teach my kids to think critically. I firmly believe that once they can do this they will see the world, and their place in it, for what it really is. I'm curious to know what the rest of you think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Real Life Cutters!

I'm sure my kids are sick of hearing me talk about courtesy when it comes to driving. Plus, I've already used up oodles of keystrokes and blog electrons on the subject. In particular, my Stop Driving Like an Idiot post from December of 2007 came to mind the other day when something sad (and yet funny) happened to me.

If you didn't click over to the link (and why bother, really), you only need to read this part:

7. Don't Cut - This goes back to grade school, folks. You don't cut in line just because you can get away with it. Imagine that you're in the check out lane of a grocery store and you see a little space between two people ahead of you. Would you simply shove your way into the space with your cart and ignore the others around you? Sometimes, things happen and you have to find your way onto a lane (see #5). When that happens, use your signal and be considerate.
Well, we were talking about that very subject on Saturday morning in the car and a few hours later we found ourselves approaching the checkout lady at Wal-mart. We were to be the next in line behind someone who was seconds away from leaving. Lo and behold, from out of nowhere an elderly man JUMPED IN LINE AHEAD OF HIS--just like I described in the post a few years ago. He really did it! All we could do was laugh and walk over to the next lane where no one was waiting. I may have made some comment to my wife about it out loud so he could hear me and feel like a tool.

Oh, and I suppose I should point out that I plan on a regular return to blogging. Blogging frees my mind and allows me to record some of the strange things that happen in my life. I welcome your comments and I'll be sure to look some of you up as well. My wife has also promised to jump back into the blogosphere.