Miss me much?


Ok, so I’ve been gone for a while! I “get” the sarcasm in your comments! It’s just that I’ve been kind of busy lately. Maintaining a blog is work!

Since late November I’ve been getting a lot of attention on my Daddle review. I don’t think it’s my best, but it has been cited repeatedly. I suspect it’s popular because it’s short …something I should take to heart.

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger!


Where has the time gone? Beats me! But it certainly has flown by. Will do my best to improve…..after Halloween.

Duncan Hines Dumps Moms!


Incredible Middles Cupcakes, courtesy Duncan Hines

So much for dear old Mom! Mother’s Day has barely passed by and Duncan Hines announces a new advertising campaign that will, for the first time, not feature the heartwarming scene of a mom in her kitchen, lovingly baking and frosting a cake for her adorable kids. As reported recently by Andrew Adam Newman in The New York Times, this new campaign will focus instead on “adult sensibilities”! This new campaign’s catch phrase is “The possibilities are endless with a box of Duncan Hines Decadent cake mix” and the spot ends with the exhortation to “Bake on”!

Wow! Wow! Wow! Duncan Hines has surged to the front of the barricades of the Rainbow-Sexual-Equality Revolution? Warm and fuzzy family values cast aside for a world where endless adult, decadent possibilities reign? Are we just talkin’ cake mix here? Or is this the politics of inclusion?

To be fair, Mark L. Schiller, the president of the Duncan Hines grocery division, describes this new campaign as a move from a “demographic target” of mothers and children to a “psychographic target of people who love to bake – including men who love to bake and young singles who love to bake.” Personally, I have no quibble about broadening the focus here. The right to cake mix should be shared by all.

Yet, what psychographic target is more compelling than a mom (or two moms, or two dads, or one dad) in a kitchen lovingly baking heart-warming goodies for the family? Doesn’t dismissing moms (of all sexes and persuasions) as mere “demographics” miss the point?

What is more loving than a warm cupcake?

The Middletons Hit A Fashion Home Run!


Courtesy of BBC.com.uk

Perfection!

Not only was the bride beautiful, her dress was breathtaking!
Pipa, her sister-bridesmaid-train carrier,  was beautiful as well.
Who wouldn’t want to wear these dresses?
Courtesy of squidoo.com

If you have to wear a hat, it might as well be a blueberry waffle! Some call it a "fascinator", I call it ridiculous!

I apologize for my snarky comments about Kate’s choice of head wear.  Admittedly it does show the girl has a sense of humor….but a silly hat is a silly hat, and open to ridicule. Only the Pope and the current Queen of England can get away with wearing silly hats without a sense of irony.

So here’s to you on your day, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, great-great-great granddaughter of coal miners and laborers!  You may come from “common” stock but your fashion sense and poise is anything but common.
The Royals look dowdy in comparison to the glossy, picture perfect Middletons.
Let’s hope that this Kate has substance as well as flair!

With this ring, I do…..oh, nevermind!


Where is Wills' Ring?

Royal Wedding Wool Gloves by Donna Wilson

So here we are,  with just hours to go before the Royal Wedding, our alarm clocks already carefully set to wake us in the pre-dawn hours so we can tune in to all the mind-numbing media blah blah…and the mesmerizing goofy-pompous pageantry!

One bit of Royal Wedding trivia I find somewhat memorable is that Prince Wills has chosen not to wear a wedding ring.

According to “The Daily Mail” web site, Kate understands and accepts this decision.

Of course, when you are marrying the probable future King of England, a commoner probably has few pre-nuptial bargaining chips. It’s not like she hasn’t signed a rock solid pre-nuptial agreement that guarantees her banishment perhaps  to the Orkney Islands should she  not turn out to be the “perfect queen-wife”.

Also, one of the main benefits of marrying a Royal is the huge amount of serious bling that comes with the job. I mean, this is really serious, serious jewelry…..tiaras, crowns,  even maces! It’s not like a girl is going to say to her fiancé: “If you don’t wear a ring…..I won’t either!” She’d have to be a total idiot to give that up….right?

When she made the one ring deal I am not sure she knew that her ring was going to be, according to the Daily Mail article,  cast from a lump of Welsh gold that was owned by the groom’s family.  This lump of Welsh gold business sounds sort of romantic but also sort of pedestrian.

First of all, she could have used the moment she was told about the lump of Welsh gold to say something like:

“Oooh! Honey! That’s so romantic! Lets have two rings made out of that one lump of Welsh gold!”
I suspect she might secretly be disappointed that her wedding ring won’t have once belonged to Queen Victoria or even Wallis Simpson (who certainly knew her bling).  A lump of Welsh gold just doesn’t have the provenance, the gravitas or the historic import of something truly antique and rare .
The one thing totally in Prince William’s favor is that unlike most men, he can hardly put one past an unsuspecting sweet young thing he may meet at an office Christmas party. When you get married in Westminster Abbey before millions of people, who will believe it when you say:
 “Who me? No Babe,  I’m not married!”

INTERVIEW WITH AMAZON PARODY WRITER TIMOTHY POTEET


W) Hi Tim! Thank you for taking time from your busy daily schedule to discuss your work! I am a big fan of yours!

TP) Hello. I never tire of hearing from fans.  I’m delighted to be discussing my work with you and can only imagine how honored you must feel to actually be conversing with me! 

 W) Oh, yes! I am so, so very honored. First let me ask, your Amazon profile lists you as “Timothy Poteet” and “Timboliah Pants on Fiyah.”  Which is your real name? If you don’t have a real name, do you have a favorite fake one?

 TP)  Many people assume that “Timboliah Pants on Fiyah” is my ‘real name’ citing it as more ‘believable’ than “Timothy Poteet.”  My birth certificate says “Timothy Poteet.”  As for favorite fake names: “Rick”, “Dalequan” and “Mahmoud”.

 W) So, you would prefer to be called “Rick”or “Mahmoud?” For simplicity, may I call you “Tim”?  You may call me “Wandrwoman” or “Dalequan”. 

TP)  Being a fan of simplicity, I once tried to follow the lead of the artist formerly known as Prince by changing my name to a symbol.   It was basically an upside down exclamation point followed by the symbol for the British Pound Sterling all encased in an ellipse.   I abandoned the moniker though after the first time I tried to order a pizza.

W)  Zzzzzzzz. Let’s move on. Your first Amazon reviews date back to May, 2009. In fact, on May 22, 2009 you wrote your first three reviews: Three Wolf Moon T-ShirtTuscan Whole Milk,  and  The Platinum and Diamond Ring.  This is quite impressive, to write three reviews (one a Haiku) on your first “outing”.  Do you remember anything about this day? Were you home sick, or something like that? Can you discuss your original creative intent and inspiration? 

TP)  On that day, I read my first Amazon reviews ever.  The Three Wolf Moon shirt  and it’s outrageously funny parody reviews had been featured in an online news blurb.  I checked it out and thought, yes… I think I’ll spend some time doing this.   I was at work that day, (surfing the web on my lunch break if my boss is reading this).  As for the Haiku, I believe it was just a little flair inspired by the fact that I had worn a full traditional Kabuki dance costume to work that day.   I had intended to perform an interpretive dance in the lunchroom, but got sidetracked with the Amazon reviews and the rest as they say is history. 

W) So, you “claim” that your knowledge of Kabuki dance inspired your Haiku? I would like to quote it here:

A Haiku about Tuscan Whole Milk
Washing down doughnuts,
Unexpectedly I found,
Nectar of the gods!

 I find your assertion troubling….that you were inspired by Kabuki. Although Haiku is a traditional Japanese literary form, neither dairy products nor doughnuts are traditional Japanese foods. Nectar of the gods is not Japanese either. How do you explain this?

TP)  Well, I don’t actually have any formal knowledge of Kabuki.  I got the suit at a garage sale.  When I perform in it, I basically just put on some Enya music and I hop about with a real serious look on my face while waving my arms around dramatically.  Mostly the audience doesn’t question the authenticity of my performance.  In fact, they generally seem to try to avoid making eye contact with me.

W) Do you have any creative techniques to assist you when you write Haiku? For instance do you use your fingers to count out the number of syllables? Some Haiku writers find finger counting very helpful as well as relaxing.

TP)  No.  That’s really weird! 

W) I see. I am weird.  Did you actually ever purchase the 
Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt?  Did it change your life? How?

 TP) Indeed I did purchase the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt (sleeveless).   Amazon has somehow re-assigned the ASIN# to a pair of ladies shoes now, but my review (edited to reflect the bizarre shoe conversion) still stands.  Has it changed my life?  No.  Has it brought intense feelings of sexual longing to the women who encounter me wearing it?  Quite likely. The shirt is badass.  Can I say badass here? Anyhoo, it’s a sweet shirt.

 W) You can say anything you want on this blog. You may even say “badass”,  just not more than twice, please.
By the way, are you wearing the shirt now?

I suddenly feel this strange and powerful attraction…

TP)  Yes, I am wearing the shirt.   ONLY the shirt.

W) Cough. I notice very few AVP (Amazon Verified Purchase) badges attached to your reviews. Does this mean you are reviewing items that you do not own? Do you agree that these “fake” reviews are cheating honest customers and you should go to prison? A Yes/No answer only, please.

 TP) On the advice of counsel, (my buddy Earl) I’d like to assert my fifth amendment right to not answer that question.

 W) OK, let’s move on to your Kazoo review. Do you really recommend the Grover-Trophy Metal Kazoo (Standard) over the Grover-Trophy Plastic Kazoo (Standard)? Can you really play “Afternoon Delight” on the kazoo? What about “Stairway to Heaven”? Do you play any other instruments? Why?

 TP) Great questions. I do indeed really recommend the Grover-Trophy Metal Kazoo (Standard) over the Grover-Trophy Plastic Kazoo (Standard).  I understand that not everyone can afford the upgrade, but for those who are well-heeled enough to spend the extra dollar and some change, they won’t be disappointed. I can play “Afternoon Delight” and I can wail out a kazoo version of “Stairway to Heaven” that is guaranteed to have everyone within earshot holding a lit Bic lighter up in the air to acknowledge the awesomeness.  I do play other instruments.  I play the guitar.  I would venture to say that I play it better than the person reading this interview right now. Yes, I’m talking to you.  Why?   Why would I want to keep all this awesomeness bottled up on the inside?

 W) On August 13, 2009 you reviewed Redneck Trucker Hat and then you disappeared from sight until October 29th 2009 when you penned your masterpiece, Parent Child Testing Device. What was happening during this fallow period? Were you training, honing your skills, writing draft after draft? Please speak about your creative inspiration and motivation during this time.

 TP) Yeah this question comes up a lot in interviews.   After Redneck Trucker Hat  I just felt like I needed to take a couple of months off…recharge the batteries…  I spent those first few weeks in total silence meditating and chanting in an ashram in Paducah, Kentucky.  That’s right I said chanting in total silence.  Don’t question it.   After I slipped out of the ashram without paying my bar tab, I spent the next couple of weeks enjoying my new-found state of enlightenment.  I would walk the streets of Dayton, OH and mingle with the mendicants, the hobos, and the less fortunate. Often, I would even refrain from spitting on them.  Those were heady times.

Throughout this entire period I refused to contemplate review writing under any circumstances.  I would get the occasional fan who would reach out and beg for my next review, but I rejected their pleas unmercifully. I went to bed on October 28th content with the idea that I may never write another review unless a truly worthy product presented itself.

 The next day I went into the office… summoned my secretary on the intercom and asked her to come in and take dictation for what would become the Parent Child Testing Product,  my current magnum opus. OK, I don’t have a secretary.  I demanded that a female colleague take dictation. She told me that I could stuff my dictation up my own rectum.  Still in a negotiating mood, I acquiesced to her objections but made a counter-offer… “Well, how about getting me a cup of coffee?”   So I got my own coffee and wrote down my own review.  That’s just how I roll… self-sufficient you might say.

W)  Question 7. Parent Child Testing Device  is without question, your masterpiece. It has attracted over 415 positive votes. Not only does it make me laugh every time I read it, I hate your guts because I didn’t write it myself.  Why do you think this review is so successful, while say, the Redneck Trucker Hat review received only 2 votes? How did you find this product to review? What was your inspiration? Why is the item no longer available? Do you think Amazon hates you and is doing this to punish you? Do you think there should be a ‘Reviewer Amazon Testing Device’?

TP)  I notice that you cleverly labeled this Question 7, however closer examination reveals that within question 7 are more questions than the current Certified Public Accountant exam contains. Don’t let that happen again or this interview is OVER… got it? What was the question?

 W)  Sorry for the numbering malfunction! Allow me to rephrase my question. Why do you think your Parent Child Testing Device  review is considered to be your masterpiece?

TP)  Well, it is difficult for me to say what makes that one review resonate with the masses more than my other efforts.  I guess maybe to put it in technical terms, it sucked less than the others.

W) Once again, you are being overly modest! In my opinion, this review is extremely funny because it parodies the essentials of the most successful “straight” review.

 W) I have noticed that your more recent reviews are veering towards the risqué! In fact, some of them are outright smutty. Why is this so?

 TP) I don’t know that there is a reason for that. Maybe there are just more risqué products on the market in today’s world.  Back in the golden era of review writing you could busy yourself with Frisbees, hula hoops, pong, Dan Fogelberg songs…these days, its dildos and genital jewelry.

 W) So, you review these sexual products merely because they are available on Amazon? You are not trying to shock your loyal readership?

TP) Maybe subconsciously I was hoping to broaden my fan base to include a new demographic.  The ‘kinky chick’ demographic.

 W) What other criteria, besides trying to attract ‘kinky chicks’ , do you use to select what you review?

TP) I like to write about something that strikes me as incongruous.  You learn as you go that some of the most benign products will have people who pop up and rabidly attack you for mocking their Holy Grail product with a parody review.   The sunscreen crowd was a surprisingly surly bunch.

 W) Ah yes, your infamous review of Badger Sunscreen SPF 30! You took enormous artistic license and misrepresented the product’s fundamental intent. It’s not really a sunscreen for badgers, is it? You took a lot of heat for this! Any regrets?

TP)  None!

W) One positive result of your Badger Sunscreen SPF 30  review is that you have been deified by the small rodent community. Not many Amazon reviewers can claim this.

 TP)  Right, I may be the only reviewer deified by small rodents.  Interestingly, there is a fellow reviewer who got belligerent with me in the comments section to my review of the Cum-thru Penis Plug who is rumored to have been vilified by the gerbil community but that is not something I really like to think about.  (I feel a little bit naughty mentioning the name of that product… I hope there are no children or elderly folks reading this???)

 W) I believe my only readers are children and elderly folks. I wouldn’t worry about it though, they enjoy smut-talk. What are your favorite reviews that you wrote?

 TP) I do find that sometimes the ones I think are the best only get a “yeah…so?” reception from the review critics.  I did know that I had penned something special when I finished Parent Child Testing Product.  I loved Badger SunscreenYodeling Pickle is special.  I think the one on How to Avoid Large Ships  is pretty funny but people aren’t loving it for some reason… What-evuh!  I have one on the UK Amazon called Sex Bell  that I think is pretty funny.

 W) What are your favorite reviews you didn’t write?

 TP) I like the Poe spoof review of Tuscan Milk.  And there are several other Tuscan Milk reviews that brought me to tears.  I like some of McBowler Pimp’s reviews.  I like so many Wandrwoman reviews I couldn’t even pick one.

W) Ooh! Really? (Blushes, flips hair, bats eyelashes)

 W) Final Question: Do you have any plans to review more inflatable turkey products?

 TP) All turkey products, either inflatable, wearable or both… are subject to review.

W) Thank you Tim! This has been truly enlightening! ~

Legendary Amazon Product Tests Our Understanding


Few products ever offered for sale on Amazon are more defiantly mysterious than the legendary The Parent Child Testing Device.  Shrouded in the mists of ambiguity and inscrutability, The Parent Child Testing Device to this very day defies logic and plausible description.  Although no longer available for sale on the Amazon site, the collective cultural memory of this astounding product lives on forever through fable, folk song and product reviews.

The product image appeared to be a tribal headdress, perhaps the sculpted bust of a giant monster insect wearing a Shogun helmet, or perhaps it was something else entirely?  Who could truly say exactly what it was,  as there was no product description provided!  Amazon customers are completely used to insufficient or unhelpful product descriptions but in this case even a few words would have helped!

 The title of the product, Parent Child Testing Device,  is simultaneously so logical and practical and yet imbued with a dark undercurrent of uncertainty and anxiety. What could be more stressful than the mutual testing of parents and children?

The price was perhaps the most shocking aspect of all!
 The Parent Child Testing Device was offered at  multi-pack discount pricing normally reserved for office supplies and grocery products, and yet this was no inexpensive product. 
-10 Pack for $15,000 and 15 Pack for $25,000.
Only the 15 pack was available, the 10 was out of stock. 

So, we ask ourselves the following perhaps unanswerable questions:
-What was Amazon trying to tell us?
-What was this product trying to tell us?
-Did we really need all 15?

Only the most secure, intuitive and imaginative a reviewer would or could venture to explain the true essence of this fundamentally mysterious product.

One brave soul, Timothy Poteet, came close. 
His review of The Parent Child Testing Device is our featured Parody Review of The Day.

Pia We Hardly Knew Ye!


Its been 5 days since Pia Toscano was voted off American Idol and I am still terribly upset (oh ok, let’s say somewhat peeved) by the results.

Too Talented To Be American Idol?

Two weeks earlier, the amazingly crazy-talented Casey Abrams had to be saved by the judges in order to stay in the contest. Sure American Idol is a mediocre show at best, but why do the really talented contestants have to be voted off so early in the process? Are we so committed to mediocrity that we need to devour our best efforts to maintain the depths of our status quo? Are we fundamentally unable to accurately assess talent or quality? Is this the true nature of fame?

Let’s take Pia, for instance. Not only can the girl really sing, she is beautiful and poised. Not only that, Pia and I graduated from the same high school at different times! No wonder she has my vote! As far as I’m concerned, everyone else (except maybe Casey) should go home and Pia should be crowned American Idol right now.

So, what’s wrong with her? She’s a 22-year-old Italian American Princess from Howard Beach, NY? She’s a makeup artist? She’s beautiful? She’s talented? She doesn’t move around the stage as much as the judges would like? She is somewhat shy?

Shyness should have nothing to do with the voting. David Cook, last year’s winner spent at least 7/8ths of the competition looking like a deer caught in the headlights of a Mack truck!

So what gives?

Perhaps we should defer to a secondary definition of the word  “idol” as “something visible but without substance.”

That would at least make sense.

In a dither about what to get for Will and Kate!


Will and Kate Secret Members of Tea Party!!!!

 While I am waiting for my invitation to arrive, I’ve been searching for the perfect wedding present for darling Prince William and his lovely fiance Kate.

The wedding is April 29th, and all the press and publicity is really getting me psyched for the event.  I have a dress and wide-brimmed hat picked out. 

 I just can’t find the right gift.

I checked out the “Official Royal Wedding 2011:” web site.  Absolutely no help in gift selection! In fact there was a request to contribute to something called “The Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund.”  Where’s the fun in that?

I’ve been searching Amazon for suggestions.

Have found a few within my certainly ample budget of $19.99 (US).

"Bed Hog" His and Hers Matching Pillowcases $19.99

What says “Newlyweds” better than his and her’s matching pillowcases?
Especially ones that say “Bed Hog”!
Imagine the yucks these will provide their first night together!
Priceless!

Twilight Moon “Always There” His and Hers Matching Ring Set $19.99

 There is NOTHING more romantic than the “Twilight” series!
These beautiful matching rings are just perfect!
And check out the inside of the ring box:
“I will always be there for you too”!
Could you just die?

The King’s Speech Blue Ray DVD $19.99

Let’s face it, honeymoons can get boring, especially if there is rain. A really classy present would be this recent Oscar winner based on a true story of a recent King of England. I am sure Will will find the history fascinating and Kate will love the period costumes. Not sure if they have Blue Ray in England, but its a wedding present so might as well pony up for the best.

 

If any of you have suggestions for the perfect wedding gift for Will and Kate, please let me know!

There are only a few weeks left before the big day.

 

Amazon Vine: Looking a Gift Horse In The Mouth


Yesterday, the fourth Thursday in the month, was Amazon Vine selection day. I am a lucky member of the Amazon Vine program. As an Amazon Vine Voice, I am entitled to select about 4 free items a month that, in return, I have promised to review.

Amazon bills this program as “The Exclusive Club of Influential Amazon Voices” and while “influential” is not exactly a word I would use to describe myself, I suppose “exclusive” is correct as membership is by invitation only. I have only been a member for about three months and as a newbie, I have found the program to be  oddly idiosyncratic, stiffly bureaucratic, and yet strangely pleasurable and often amusing. 

 Getting the free stuff is the least of it.  I minimize this even though the “getting” is the arduous part. The free stuff is parceled out twice a month. The first is the third Thursday of the month.

This is when a “targeted” list of products is made available to the Vine Voice member exactly at 12 noon PST. Usually, you are allowed to pick two items. At this moment, a virtual starter gun is shot and a free for all, product grab begins. There are certain techniques for gaining access to the Vine site as soon as it opens (clicking F5 repeatedly), quick scanning of the list of items (start from the bottom of the list, that’s where the non-book products are), grabbing the item as rapidly as possible (especially when the “Only 5…4…3 left” countdown sign is flashing).

 “Targeted” is meaningless, or so it seems to me, even though Amazon claims to select these items “based upon your purchase and review history on Amazon.com.” When I first joined Vine, I filled out a survey which asked me for my preferences in various categories of books and other products. I have never requested, purchased or reviewed baby products or child or teen oriented books yet last week’s “targeted” list included baby diapers and children’s and teen’s books.

That’s ok. I really don’t mind. There is plenty of other items to interest me. I’m in it for the writing, and for the experience…..mostly.

My targeted  list last week had 15 items. What did I pick?

Oreo peanut butter cookies and a pair of scissors.

 

Oreo Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Cookies

Scotch Brand Precision Scissors

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One of the immutable laws of Amazon Vine is that a member must have reviewed at least 75% of one’s total past Vine selection before receiving more free product to review. That means that in order to be able to receive more products a week later in the “whatever’s left” newsletter, I had about two days to write my reviews.
 
I liked the scissors, but the cookies….not so much. Here are my reviews.
(Note the negative vote on the scissors review awarded to multiple consecutive reviews by a fellow Vine Voice reviewer in order to receive better review placement😦 )
 
So, this brings us to yesterday’s “whatever’s left” newsletter where “all available inventory from the past two newsletters” is offered. Again, one is allowed to pick two items but only if more than 75% of past picks have already been reviewed.

Luckily, I was able to be at my computer exactly at 3 pm EDT. I clicked on the link, entered my password and the newsletter opened up. I started scrolling through about 400 items.

Mostly books. Page after page of books. I love books and the program is set up for book reviewers but I don’t usually review books. I review mostly non-book items. In the Vine program the non-book items are the first to go.

 I dashed to the bottom of the list, page 29. Nope, all these items were already gone. Page 28, nope! Page 27, nope! Page 26, nope!

Shucks! The Bluetooth mouse and the water filtration pitcher were already gone.  

Hmmm….what to do? I began to feel slightly feverish. The clock was ticking and products were quickly disappearing from the list.

As far as I am concerned, I review for pleasure. I can only write about things that interest me in some way, good or bad.  Also, I am not going to grab something for the sake of it…..an iPad cover when I don’t own an iPad or a computer cable or a homeopathic flu remedy, for instance.

Ok, time to re-consider the situation. I took a deep breath and selected two books:

The Paris Wife: A Novel, by Paula Mclain
Mobile DNA: Finding Treasure in Junk by Haig H Kazazian

They should arrive sometime next week.
I have a lot of reading to do!

For an excellent analysis and description of the Amazon Vine Program check out Ana Mardoll’s post: ARCs for Free: Amazon Vine and the Vine Voices