Monday, December 12, 2016



American TV commercials for prescription drugs are interesting and terrifying. FDA regulations demand when a named product is touted for a certain condition it must include  ALL possible side effects.

I think this is a good thing. For Americans. Because their pharmaceutical industry is HUGE. 

I don't mean to belittle those drug companies as what I'm sure they are doing is aimed at helping people. [And of course, making lots of money.]

But that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with the subject.

These drugs invariably have names that include an X, Y or Z and may go something like this:

ZYGGYX can alleviate that aggravating pain in the neck you get from coworkers, neighbours, relatives, collection agencies, the late pizza delivery guy, your dog pooping on the kitchen floor.

WARNING: possible side effects include dizziness, sobriety, sleepiness, awareness, blurry vision, 20/20 vision, depression, happiness, hirsuteness, baldness, stupidity, intelligence.

DO NOT TAKE: if you have a heartbeat or no heartbeat, or, if a woman, if you have zero or more children, or plan to  have children at a future time. If you are a man, simply do not take. Do not even open a bottle. Best not to watch the commercial.

Not to be taken by anyone under or over 50. Not to be administered to animals, fish, or vegetables.

Oh, and do not operate machinery. Or drive.

I think that's a pretty thorough list.  

Wouldn't it be nice to have medicine that doesn't cause any side effects at all?

Other commercials:

There are those where sound is enough. You really don't need the visuals.

"Oh Steve, oh Steve, oh Steve..."  Makes me smile. What's it for again? Or that resonant truck-driver-he-man-cowboy voice, "Guts, Glory, Ram." No mistaking that product.

Other commercials have no voice, don't need a voice, but they're easy on the eyes. Matthew McConaughey and those Lincoln commercials. I can picture him saying, "Alright alright alright."

There is also a commercial that catches the attention of children and pets.

In the family room, the two year old child was lining up little cars [her latest fascination] and the dog was  chewing on a doggy toothbrush. Both ignored the TV.

Then a commercial came on, a take-out coffee cup with sexy legs and long eyelashes dancing the tango with a moustachioed pink doughnut. Child and dog both popped to attention and watched. I wondered what was going through their minds at the time.

The commentary  spoken by a voice with a bad accent announced: "Bad breath isn't sexy, fresh breath is." Didn't mean anything to either of them.

TV series:

Murdoch Mysteries – CBC

This was Mom's favourite show. It premiered in 2008 and she watched it faithfully every time it was on. I never watched myself but thought I'd now give it a try. Reruns were on almost continually and I probably could've started  with the 2008 season. But marathon watching  more than 150 one-hour episodes seemed a little daunting, so I began with 2013. [still working my way through early 2016].

Setting is Toronto at the turn of the 19th century. Think Bones meets CSI in 1900. Detective Murdoch is a bit stiff and straightlaced, but has an impressive, inventive mind. His wife, medical examiner Dr. Julia Ogden is more free-spirited and feminist, and also impressive.

The show is well-made, true to its times, involving real history of the day. It also brings in guest characters who lived then: Houdini, Thomas Edison, young Winston Churchill, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilfrid Laurier....

Tackling serious subjects and usually adding comic touches, the show is enjoyable to watch.


The Hateful Eight

written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

[oh, oh, I still haven't gotten over Reservoir Dogs]

Yes, it's a vile, violent movie, with an excess of blood and killing, and filled with, yeah, hateful characters.

Starts pretty tame, characters are quite talky, but I soon felt there was something deeper going on. Most of the hateful, save two or three, were not who they said they were. And after watching more killings, what seemed hundreds of gallons of blood, I realized this was more comedy than tragedy. A parody, even farce.

I summarize it this way: two bounty hunters, a badass female prisoner, a possible sheriff, a Mexican, an Englishman, an old Civil War general, a couple of gunslingers –  are holed up in a bar during a nasty blizzard. All distrust and hate each other. And then there is a twist to the story…

In the end I concluded it was brilliant.

Earworm of the day: protest song from 1969. I think America needs another Woodstock.