Alex Chesbro's Blog

In the News of WTF…

April 29, 2009
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I read a lot of news.  Washington Post, NYT, Colbert Report, the good stuff.  I have a saying, “learn something new every day,” and I try to stick by that, whether it be a new German word, or determining the Red Shift of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB).  Like, a few days ago, a GRB was detected that happened over 13.1 BILLION YEARS AGO.  At that point, the universe was only like 600 million or so years old, and the only planets that existed were maybe some gas giants; there weren’t enough heavy elements to create harder, earth-like planted at that time.  But I digress…

Obviously, I come across some weird shit.  Weird, ginger-head shit.  Some of it’s just off-the-wall ridiculous.  But some of it is comically serious.  This article borders on taking the gold for today.    Really? No, really?  Because pork is “outlawed” in Judaism and Islam, the term “Swine Flu” is OFFENSIVE?  No, no, I’m sorry, that’s not how it works. Maybe if the name were “Delicious bacon-wrapped influenza,” they’d have some case, but as it stands, this is patently retarded.  Rename it “Mexican Flu” they say.  Hey dickwads, you think by naming something after Mexicans is going to make anything better?  It’s like taking “Ebola” as offensive, since it denigrates the sanctity of the Ebola River and naming it “Africa’s Dark Curse.” See, that just doesn’t work.

Another story that rattled my bones was this one.  Ok, that’s a good law to have: Don’t fuck animals.  Not because it can lead to sexual crimes on humans, but because it’s just straight fucked up.  Florida is one of the 16 (soon to be 15) states that don’t have a law against porking (PUN) animals.  However, read down a little bit.  The law won’t apply to veterinarians.  That’s kinda screwed up.  I think it’d be funny if there were this rash of vets just banging the shit out of family pets. The local news does a little investigative reporting, and these are all people who are sex offenders, or something of that sort.  But they’re within the law!!  SCANDAL!  (Imagine this conversation: “Well, I’m going to have to do some surgery on Fido.  *under breath* With my dick.”

So yeah, my day is pretty much WTF right about now.  I could use something that would make it FTW.

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Suggestions, Suggestions

April 29, 2009
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As I contemplate my future, I can’t help but contemplate my past. Why? Because it stares me right in the face whenever I log into Facebook.  Nobu had a good comment on Ari’s post a few days back, about keeping in ‘contact’ with people you might normally not hear from until your 10 year reunion.  

I remember when Facebook first came out.  I was a sophomore at American University.  At that point, not a whole lot of people were on it, as it was just for students.  “How fucking cool!” I remember saying.  It was a way to connect with people from classes, get the homework, post some incriminating pictures…you know, the good stuff.  Then, as more and more schools were added, people from High School started popping up.  Now, this isn’t a bad thing.  I know these people.  But, if it were not for Facebook, I would never be in any sort of contact with them, because I just wouldn’t want to.  But that’s not the most troubling thing.

The most troubling thing started happening just a few months ago.  Maybe longer, but with the new site redesigns, they’re more prominent.  

Those.  Suggestions.

With all the “friends,” come all their “likes.”  You can become a “Fan” of something as mundane as God, or Summer.  Now, Facebook has a ton of metadata with which to work.  It’ll hone your user data to pinpoint certain ads to you, things like that.  My question is, why the fuck can’t they do that with the Suggestions?  Every morning, it’s the same thing.  “Here’s some new suggestions we shat in your direction.”  Summer, God, New Years, Oswego, Harborfest, Ice cream, the list just goes on.

I’m sorry, I’m ranting.  I don’t like these suggestions.  When I think of suggestions, I think of constructive criticism.  Not useless crap. I wish Facebook was Old Facebook.  OG Facebook.


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Old And New

April 27, 2009
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I’ve decided to mock up some old stuff from Miami, and some new stuff from boredom.  

Liquid Paper: Everyone Makes Mistakes

My goal here is to show, well, the headline.  Everyone makes mistakes, duh.  The German people of the 1930s.  The American people of the early 2000s.  Humanity circa 2000 B.C.  I’m taking suggestions for more “mistakes,” but they have to be a) humorous once applied to the page, and b) huge.

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And then there was the assignment to write copy like the great Tate museum ads.  If I remember correctly, our job was to write about one major piece of work, but I can’t be certain.  All I know is I offended Catholics everywhere.  So my goal was met, more or less.

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And for those of you who don’t know the sculpture (you should learn more…)….

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Update:  Here’s another “Tate” ad for the Art Institute of Chicago.  I hate Cy Twombly

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Monday Music Mania!

April 20, 2009
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So it’s Monday.  I’ve got no ambition to do anything right now, so I hope it shows in my prose.

The Virgins:

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If I had to describe the type of music The Virgins play, I could do it.  Think of a mature Strokes.  Or think if the Strokes and Jet had an affair and the Strokes got pregnant, but since the Strokes were having an affair with Paolo Nuttini on the side, and also cheated with the upstrokes of Vampire Weekend, and somewhere in there would be the bastard love-child named The Virgins.  It’s good music.  I’d usually label something like this as NYC-post-punk-garage-rock, but the stylings are a little more produced than something like that.  “Rich Girls” is their big hit, it seems, and it’s alright.  I’m more a fan of “She’s Expensive,” or “Hey Hey Girl,” but every song on this album is a treat unto itself.  Grade: B+, only because I think they lyrics could use more punch, and the album lacks some kind of total power or driving force.

Lilly Allen: It’s Not Me, It’s You

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I haven’t had a chance to listen to this all the way through, but on first skip throughs, it’s a solid album.  It’s catchy, for sure, but I can’t recommend it beyond something to play at either a party, or to set your iTunes to shuffle and enjoy a song that pops up.  It might not be good to listen to all the way, through, but that’s probably just because it’s not really my kind of music.  For those of you who love English accents, don’t mind over-produced beats, and dig chick music, this is for you.  For those of you who like Kate Nash, this isn’t for you. Grade: C

We Are Hunted

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Holy shit, this is my new favorite toy.  This is Billboard for the digital generation.  Hell, this blows Billboard out of the water, and has the possibility of changing the way we rank music forever.  It scours message boards, social networks, and other interactive social media and aggregates what the people are saying, and ranks the songs based on what’s being said.  

To quote: “We Are Hunted aggregates music based on semantic elements like positive sentiment, expression, and advocacy across social networks, forums, music blogs, torrents, P2P networks, and — yes of course — TwitterTwitter reviews. The end result is 99 songs that the social web has proclaimed worthy of listening to.”

It’s grabbing info from a ton of places.  Especially considering Twitter, that seems it’d be a lot of information.  Whatever their algorithm, it sure works.  It’s a great place to discover new music.  I really, really hope, with all my heart, that this site takes off and kicks Billboard’s ass.  Billboard is just the stank from the old generation of music, and it’s time to move on to something that’s more user-defined.  Isn’t that what we’re all looking for anyway?  Grade: A++

Update:::

One Night Only: Started a Fire

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I just got this album after reading about it in March’s issue of Interview Magazine.  Started in 2003, One Night Only’s name was supposed to last, well, one night only.  It was the name they came up with for a one-night gig.  And it stuck, and lucky us.  I generally shy away from Indie rock, because most Indie rock blows more than a truck stop hooker on a Friday night.  I think these guys would too, except that for one addition: a keyboard player who actually knows how to play his instrument.

There’s some 1st and 3rd wave ska upbeat guitars.  Some post-punk strumming.  1960s drumbeats.  1990s synth-keyboards.  Catchy vocals: “You and me, equality, that’s how it should be, you and me.”  “You and Me” is the song used in the London 2012 Olympics viral video.  

This is a great album.  I can’t stress enough how…upbeat this album is in comparison to some other “Indie Rock” out there.  This makes Indie Rock look like the shit you get your friends together in your basement for.  

Grade: A


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Talk To My Ass

April 16, 2009
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Sometimes there are people in the music business who shouldn’t be:

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You know, “Swangin‘” T-Pain, any rapper with the prefix lil, and Steven Seagal.

Yes, that’s right.  Steven I -Will-Kick-Your-Ass Seagal.  Apparently he has a floundering music career to bolster his drowning acting career.

I decided to check this shit out.  And what I found couldn’t be labelled “bad” in the common sense.  But, I was hungover at that point, so anything would have sounded good.  “Girl it’s Alright” looked to be the big track to watch out for, so I opened the video on his website and prepared myself for some stereophonic homicide.  What I heard, well, it surprised me.  Ever listened to Eric Clapton?  Ever listen to autistic children?  Ever fantasize about awkward-looking Asian women walking seductively through your Dojo?

Steven Seagal has.  And does.

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What I was made to hear was the most white-bread, unimaginative blues rock that has ever been called blues rock, or even blues.  Or rock.  Or music.  Imagine an overweight, talentless guitar player trying to pick out songs on “thousands” of guitars.

Take a look at the pictures, too.  In the ones of him sitting down, there’s a motherfucking GUN next to him.  That says to me, “if you don’t like my music, I’ll kill you.”  Well, kill me then, because I feel like I’m already dead.  Death would be a welcome release from listening to your yellow-fever rock ‘n’ roll.

He got his first guitar at the age of 12 and it took him this long, with apparently unnecessary goading from his mother to “let the world hear his music.”  Thanks mom, now we have to put up with this shit.  So then in 2004, Seagal released his stellar freshman album, “Songs from the Crystal Cave.” Wait a hot second.  Crystal Cave?  I remember that from somewhere.  Oh yes!  It was a video game! I was fuckin’ amazing at that game.  How dare he try to steal the semi-innocent parts of my childhood.

Now he’s got a new release out, and it’s “critically acclaimed.”  I’m sure what he means to say on his website is that “critics have talked about it,” and “not favorably.”  The title of the disc is “Mojo Priest.”  Asians have lost their mojo, and it’s up to the Mojo Priest, Steven Seagal, to get it back to them.  Anyway, the track listing is a joke in itself.  We have “Love Doctor,” followed by “Alligator Ass.”  Drop by the “BBQ,” and take the “Slow Boat to China,” only to “Dust My Broom,” while Seagal reminds you “My Time is Numbered.”  And please, “Talk to my Ass.”  

Yes.  There is a track titled “Talk to my Ass.”  Why?  Because that’s where Seagal talks out of.  Therefore it’s only logical that we should reply to where we hear sounds coming from.  Please, Steve, waddle your chins back to the D-List Celebrity Ladder, ok?  Please?  If you don’t do it for me, consider doing it for Music.  She’s taking a beating these days.


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CP+B are bitin’ the pillow…

April 15, 2009
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…hard.

Well, ok, that’s their standard position, but they’re in a bit of a bind at the moment.  Earlier today, they (by they, I mean Burger King at this point) was forced to pull the ad for their new make-you-fatter-while-tasting-like-sweet-bland-“mexican-sauce-burger.  The ad drew controversy, especially from Mexicans, because it depicted a Hispanic (mexican, I assume) dressed as a wrestler, wearing the Mexican flag as a cape.  On top of that, he was short.  Midget short.  His prospective roommate was a tall, lanky American cowboy, complete with ass-less chaps (jeans underneath) who helped him reach the top shelf.  Controversy anyone?  Just add 1/3 cups Frat Boy Humor.  

THEN there’s the whole Sponge Bob, square butts jackassary.  With the inclusion of Sponge Bob (with the blessing from Nickelodeon), they are, in my opinion, directly advertising to children.  I didn’t think you could actually do that.  Although that might be cigarettes.  Although, this is fast food, and it’s just as dangerous.  Anyfuckingfatassways, just read the link.  

Frat Boy Humor has worked for the CP+B and Burger King partnership in the past, the present, and I’m sure, in the future.  It’s part of what makes BK, well, BK.  But it’s got its limits, and hopefully Crispin has found it.  So much for being Creativity’s agency of the year.  Pffffffft.

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Grey (Bag) Ladies and their hangers-on

April 14, 2009
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Many thanks to George Parker over at AdScam for picking up on a linked story I posted in the comments.  The story, without going into too much detail, basically says that newspapers are still king.  That’s hard to believe, really, since so many papers have been folding as of late.  But if you follow the statistics in the story, Mr. Langeveld says that when it comes down to it, statistically, only 3% of newspaper reading is done online.  I believe it, but I don’t.  I still pick up the paper, and when I’m done, I either recycle it (yay recycle), or I leave it somewhere where someone else might pick it up.  In Washington, DC, it was commonplace to leave the Post Express on the seat of the Metro when you were done with it.  I read many 2nd or 3rd or 4th-hand Expresses that way.  However, I can’t read a 2nd hand link from Digg.  I have to click on it myself.  

So why is print dying?  To be honest, I don’t know.  It’s the bane of the newspaper industry, and it pinches the seams of the advertising industry.  There will always be Interview Magazine , Esquire, and other high-society rags to bring in the big ad dollars from LV or Gucci.  But the downtown competition to Nordstroms?  Might get lost in all the sell-offs….


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Why are people stupid these days?

April 14, 2009
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Just a quick note.  Over at AdAge is a story on the UniLever CMO, Simon Clift, “throwing down the social-media gauntlet.”

At the bottom, there are 5 new rules for marketing. The 1st one sticks out to me the most: 

“Listening to consumers is more important than talking at them. As Mr. Clift said, “We may be ahead of our competitors, but we’re most definitely behind consumers.” The consumer is not a moron, she’s the person defining your brand.”

Wait a second.  I’ve heard this before. Ohhhhyes, it’s from “Ogilvy on Advertising,” published in (my copy) 1985.  Now, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t a “New Rule.”  In fact, it’s older than Ogilvy’s words.  So, if this is a new rule that we should all follow…WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU ALL BEEN DOING?

Sorry, I’m just…*speechless*

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The Enfati-fuckup.

April 14, 2009
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Dude. You didn’t.  You bought a Dell.  Oh, no.

I’m sure you’ve heard.  Enfatico is no more.  Or maybe you haven’t heard of them.  Because they didn’t produce a single piece of work!  Ok, that may be a lie, because they trotted out some swill in India, but that shit ain’t gonna fly in the good ole U S of A.  No, sir.  

You don’t build an advertising agency in order just to serve one clients needs.  What a terrible way to do business.  Sure, it sounds good on paper: “Hey, how about we make this company, just to do ads for Dell, then they don’t need to worry about any other agencies mucking through the shit?”  “Oh hey, that sounds like a great idea..”  That must have been what went down.

Instead, after only 16 months, and almost 1,000 people later, Young and Rubicam is swallowing the toxic debt that is Enfatico.  For those of you who aren’t adver-biz savvy, let me explain this in terms of the Economic Crisis of Doom (2009 redux).  WPP is the United States government- it watches over all the banks and lenders, like Ogilvy, Y+R, Grey, etc.  One of the investment banks, Enfatico, took on bad debt.  They thought they could cover the margins, but after multiple successive fiscal quarters of posting no profits, their assets were deemed illiquid.  Being the noble steed WPP is, they decided that Enfatico was “too big to fail,” and sucked up the illiquid assets to spread across their debt sheet.  By having Y+R take in Enfatico, WPP may be able to possible lower its deb ratio and climb back into the black.

Now, all this news about Enfatico finally hitting the fan is old news.  Well, it’s old news if you read AdScam.  George Parker called this a few months ago, and last month, I concluded that Y+R would take them in, base solely on the fact that Y+R and Enfatico are in the same office in Miami Beach.  Go me.  Anyway, this should be a lesson to anyone looking to start their own agency, or for any holdings company that thinks they can get ahead by creating crap.  

The average gestation for an ad campaign is around 3 months.  It was 16 months, before the Adamo shit ever came out from Enfatico.  And even then, they mucked it up by not wanting to pay for the website rights.  Anyway, much more of the full story at AdScam.  And it’s also a great place to stay ahead of the curve for ad news.  AdAge is literally a day behind…


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Easter Weekend

April 13, 2009
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Took a charter flight to London.  Landed at Heathrow.  Took a cab to the city center. Don’t let people lie to you; hostels are for the ugly.  I’m staying in Home House, the most beautiful hotel in the world.  Called a friend from school who was selling hash, but she wasn’t in.  Met a couple of Brits who want to take me to, of all places, American Street.  I flirted a bit at the Virgin megastore, buy some CDs, then followed some girls with pink hair.  I take one girl in the place, and we dry hump on the dance floor.  We cab it back to Home House, I strip her clothes off, I suck her toes, we fuck.  I hung out for 4 or 5 days.  Met the world’s biggest DJ, Paul Oakenfeld.  Kept missing the Changing of the Guard.  Wrote my mom a postcard that I never sent.  Bought some hash from an Italian junkie who was trying to sell me a stolen bike.  Smoked a lot of hash that had too much tobacco in it.  Saw the Tate.  Saw Big Ben.  Ate a lot of weird English food.  It rained alot, it was expensive, and I’m jonesing….

So, I split for Amsterdam.  The Dutch all know English, so I didn’t have to speak any Dutch.  I cruise the Red Light District.  Visit a sex show.  Visit a sex museum.  Smoke a lot of hash.  I met a Dutch TV actress, and we drank absinthe in a bar named Absinthe.  The museums were ok, I guess.  Lots of Van Goghs, and the Vermeers were intense.  Wandered around.  Bought a lot of pastries, ate some intense waffles.  Bought some coke and went to the Red Light District.  I found some blonde with big tits that reminded me or Lara.  I gave her a hundred Euros.  In the end, she pulls me out, and I come on her tits, even though I’m wearing a rubber.  Afterwards, we make small talk about AIDS, her Moroccan pimp, and herself.  I wake to the sound of a wino singing.  It’s 8am and hot as blazes….

I wander the Champs Elysees.  Climb the Eiffel Tower for only 7 Euros.  Get the hang of the Metro, took it everywhere.  Went to a Ford model party and hooked up with a Romanian model named Karina.  She chugs my cock at the Marriot Champs-Elysees, which is good.  We played billiards, went shopping.  I think she gave me mono.  Drove a Ferrari that belonged to a member of the Saudi Royal Family.  Made out with a Dutch model in front of the Louvre.  Saw the Arch de Triomphe and almost became road-kill crossing the street…

“Oakie” invites me to Dublin, so I catch an Aer Lingus flight and stay at the Morrison.  Dublin rocks like you can’t imagine.  Oakenfold lets me spin some discs with him.  Irish girls are as small as leprechauns.  I swap hickies with a drunk woman.  After groping me, she strips for me in the bathroom of the club.  Sneak into the Guinness Factory and steal some stout that’s so good it makes my dick go hard…

I fly to Barcelona, which was a low-rent bust.  Too many fat American tourists.  Too many lame meat markets.  I dropped acid at the Sagrada Familia.  Which was a trip to say the least.  Cruise up the coast to Museo Gala Dali, but had no more acid.  Sucked.  Some girl from American called me on my cell, so I let her listen to the church bells.  Canta Cruz is beautiful, but there’s no girls here, just old hippies…

So, I went to Switzerland, where I, ironically, couldn’t find anyone that could give me the time.  Took the Glacier Express up to the Schildthorn, which is beautiful in a way I can’t describe…

Euro Pass into Italy and end up in Venice, where I meet a hot girl; looks like Rachel Leigh Cook.  Speaks better English than I do.  She’s living for a year on only 5 Euros a day.  We Gondola around, buy some masks. She thinks I’m a Capitalist, but my hotel room costs more than her entire trip.  But she doesn’t mind when I pay the bills.  I ditch her and hook up with a couple who obviously want a 3some.  Too much tension there, but the doofus offers to drive me to Rome, and offer I jump at.  Traffic is bad, and we’re stopped for hours without moving.  The wife turns out to be a freak.  The guy starts to wig out on me. It’s like a Polanski film…

We stop for a while in Florence, where I see some big dome.  A bomb goes off, and I lose the weird couple, which is probable for the better.  

Ended up in Rome, which is big and hot and dirty.  It was just like LA, but with ruins.  I went to the Vatican, which is ridiculously opulent.  Stood for 2 hours to get into the Sistine Chapel, which, now that it’s been cleaned, looks fake.  I meet 2 underage Italian girls who I try to talk into fucking each other while I jack off onto them.  Bored, I buy them some ice cream instead.  My hotel has a gym, so I work out.  I run into some guy from American who says he knows me.  I’m sure that he’s a fag, so I lose him.  I try to fart and instead shit my pants.  Back into my hotel room, I masturbate and have a pain in my groin.  That night, I dream about a beautiful woman, stretching her lean body.  She asks me if I like it and I tell her she can clean fish with it.  I don’t know what that means, but I wake well-rested, masturbate in the shower, and check out…

I make my way back to London and hang out in Picadilly Circus.  Hmm.  Palakon.  I swap shirts with some upper-crusty Cambridge chick.  Hers was an Agnes B., mine a Costume Nationale.  She acts stuffy and prudish, but underneath, she’s really wild.  The next day, I drop some acid and get lost in the subway for a full day and can’t find my way out.  I meet a cute girl who lets me jack off onto her as long as I don’t get cum on her coat.  We get stoned while listening to her Michael Jackson albums.  The next morning, I wake up talking to my self.  I have a big bump on my head from flailing in my sleep.  I get my stuff and barely make my plane back to the US…

I no longer know who I am and feel like the ghost of a total stranger.


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