Monthly Archives: July 2012

BAD IDEA Jeans…

During the time I lived in Switzerland, I was exposed to this hilarious BAD IDEA Jeans commercial from H&M (first video clip shown below).  The unexpected, hilarious setup and slogan became something of a mental ‘earworm’ for me and when I came back stateside soon thereafter I frequently added ‘jeans’ in expressing my opinion about any bad idea scenario.

(For example, someone named Jones from a suicidal religious cult hands you a plastic cup of grape Kool-Aide to drink = “BAD IDEA Jeans”)

So here’s the commercial I knew:  H&M’s Rocky Jeans: BAD IDEA Jeans (early-to-mid 1990s)

So fast forward about a decade…It wasn’t until my second husband (of immense TV and comedy knowledge) caught on to my bad idea…JEANS!… expressions and asked if I was referring to the SNL skit, one of his favorites that featured the star cast of Phil Hartman, Bob Odenkirk, Kevin Nealon, David Spade and Mike Myers.

Here’s the commercial he was referring to:  Saturday Night Live – Bad Idea Jeans (Season 16)  [Due to copyright isssues, I can only refer you to a separate URL address rather than embedding it directly in this post.]

However, I was completely unaware of any similarities between my awesome H&M commercial and this alleged SNL skit and responded hotly that it must have been a parody of the original European commercial.  (The cartoon bubble above my head probably read: “like, I like totally saw it in Europe and -like – you know, it’s just, like, way cooler over there..”)

But after some deep Wiki research (LOL), we concluded that the SNL skit appeared during the 1990-1991 Season 16 of Saturday Night Live and that….helas, my ueber-cool Euro commercial could not have debuted in the movie theaters there for me to see before the summer of 1991. Given that it appears that they were both conceived independently at around the same time – no inferiority short straw findings turned up in my investigation of their originality and coolness.

But which one do you find funnier?  Please let me know in your comments as an unofficial poll to determine which commercial is: 1) funnier, 2) more memorable?  Thanks in advance and enjoy these two cultural takes on humor in branding!!

Kids in the Hall – Try It NOW! – YouTube

Kids in the Hall – Try It NOW! – YouTube.

Classic sketch.  I am reminded of it every time I try to resolve IT problems around the house.  Enjoy!!

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Why smart women read romance novels

Originally posted: 07/12/2012 1:09 pm on the Huffington Post by Anne Browning Walker.

When I first started reading romance novels as a teenager, I squirreled them away. I hid the covers behind book jackets or splayed my hands artfully across them so that no one would know what I was reading. I felt ashamed. But why?

Smart girls don’t read romance novels, I heard.

Well, I grew up and discovered that someone lied. This stereotype may have resulted from the enduring misconceptions about romance novels thanks to tropes that went out of style nearly 30 years ago. In these “bodice-rippers,” heroes captured heroines against their will. The women succumbed to heroes in barely-disguised rape scenes. But just as the role of women in society has changed over the past 30 years, so have romance novels. These types of romances went out of fashion along with leisure suits and acid-washed jeans. Now, I’ll admit this trope sometimes creeps back in (ahem, 50 Shades of Grey), but most romances today feature strong, smart, savvy women. And smart romance characters attract smart romance readers.

Take The Cinderella Deal by one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie. In this novel, based on the well-known marriage-of-convenience plot, Daisy initially conforms to Linc’s rigid expectations; however, she breaks free and grows as an artist as the two resolve their problems. Meanwhile, Linc, too, opens up to the world around him and learns how to compromise. It pulls from the classic fairy tale, but Daisy acts as her own fairy godmother, transforming herself into someone more beautiful on the inside. And, like the glass slipper, the things she leaves behind (her paintings, her warmth, her neighborliness) make Linc realize her talent and how she has changed his life for the better. Ultimately, the love Daisy and Linc attain comes as a result of personal achievement and growth.

In Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, which takes place in 1821, hieroglyphics expert Daphne comes into her own and learns that female intelligence and sexual desire are, in fact, normal–not wrong. Daphne does not fall in love with Rupert because of his looks (that’s why she lusts after him), but rather because of his acceptance of and enthusiasm for her prodigious intellect and healthy sexuality.

In JD Robb’s futuristic In Death series, murder cop Eve Dallas and reformed criminal now owner of the world Roarke battle personal demons from the past; however, each helps the other heal the emotional scars of childhood (while teaming up to solve murders).

In my new book The Booby Trap, both Bambi Benson and Trip Whitley make rash assumptions about each other. Yet when forces compel them to spend time together, not only do they discover these first impressions were wrong, but they also advance professionally thanks to their growing love and respect for each other.

Rather than ignoring the existence of love in our lives, these romances celebrate how the best love helps us to grow. Modern romance novels (for the most part) insist that the love between two people be to both of their benefit. In my own relationships, I don’t want to gain my power at the expense of my partner. Working together ought to enhance our power. I see this paradigm echoed back to me in high-profile relationships: celebrity couples like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, seem to choose work schedules that balance family and career duties between partners. Bill Clinton, after his presidency, has vociferously supported his wife’s run for the Senate, President, and her tenure as Secretary of State. Closer to home, friends have alternated years doing legal clerkships or pursuing advanced degrees. And I see that paradigm echoed back to me in the modern romance novels that I read and write.
Another reason given to avoid the genre is that they don’t challenge your brain. Romance novels feature archetypal characters, occasionally contrived plots, and predictable endings. But, wait…bookstores are full of sci-fi novels, fantasy novels, and mystery novels that check each one of these boxes. Yet other genre fiction readers, instead of being characterized as simpleminded or unwilling to challenge themselves, are often stereotyped as smart. So what gives?

Oh yeah! It’s the sex.

A talk radio show host essentially called women who use birth control “sluts.” State Legislatures suspended people for saying “vagina” on the floor. Current legislation proposes to deny expectant mothers access to testing that would help ensure their health and the health of their fetuses. Our society feels threatened by women having sex.

Romance novels present the opposite view. Authors use sex scenes to present a healthy activity shared by two consenting adults who (in the end, if not at the moment) fall in love with each other. Heroines are sexually satisfied during each encounter. There’s a safe space to explore your fantasies and figure out what turns you on. Nothing dumb about that.

By the way, smart girls not only read romance novels, they write them! Two of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie and Lauren Willig, hold PhDs. Carly Phillips practiced law. They’ve attended the best schools in the world, including Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and Duke (that’s me!).

So go ahead. If you’re still feeling a little embarrassed, download a romance onto your e-reader. Aside from your blushing, you might discover a passion for a whole new genre. As it turns out, smart women read romance, too.

Anne Browning Walker is the author of the upcoming romance novel, The Booby Trap[Pixel Entertainment, September 2012].

Another Gem from TED Talks, “Susan Cain: The power of introverts”

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Our world prizes extroverts — but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.