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feb 2nd 2009
Maybe I'm looking back on the past with rose-colored glasses. Maybe I'm forgetting all the crappy ads that ran in past years. But didn't we get much better Super Bowl ads in the old days? Iconic ads like the Apple/MacIntosh "1984" ad, Mean Joe Green tossing the kid his jersey in exchange for a Coke, or the ad that launched Pepsi's new look/logo with Cindy Crawford? These were all iconic ads that often launched a company's entire ad campaign for the next year or longer. Even the Budweiser Frogs and the "Wassup!" guys - as annoying as they became - were fantastic ads when they launched.

But this year, as it's been for the last few years, I'm disappointed. A bunch of moderately entertaining ads. Some boring. One or two flashes of brilliance (check out the Career Builder ad for that). Actually you can check out all of the Super Bowl XLIII ads below and be disappointed for yourself.

But to give you something that's even worse than this year's lame crop Super Bowl ads, I've got a few of my favorite all-time local TV ads to share with you...

This Is It Furniture
These are some of the worst commercials ever. And I've loved them ever since I first saw them in college. They've been running these ads in Champaign, Illinois for at least a decade, and it's kinda depressing to have seen this guy drag his kids into the commercials to act as over the top as he does. He always shouts "Downer! Downer! Downer!" and you always get a free onion. Seriously - they have free onions for customers at the store. Don't ask me why.

Eagle Man Insurance
This is a great Chicagoland treasure from 1993. Possibly the worst commercial of all time - not just for the awful acting. Not just for the terrible 80's mall-hair on the girls. Not just for the guy in an eagle costume who looks like he's going to take a dump on the roof of the car. Somehow the sum of the ad is even more horrendous than its hilariously miserable parts.

More Bad Local Ads
If you enjoyed those, be sure to check out this guy's list of the 50 Greatest Local TV Commercials. Some truly great crap.

Europe Has It Right
I'll leave you by changing gears from bad ads to one good one. This commercial would never fly in the states, but it might just be one of the funniest and most effective messages you could come up with for the product.
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

jan 29th 2009

Super Bowl Weekend is right around the corner, so to get us in that testosterone-fueled mood, today's Noon Lunch Whistle for Theme Thursday was all Man Songs... that would be songs with "man" in the title. Here's what you requested:

Van Halen - Van Halen - Ice Cream Man Van Halen - Ice Cream Man
Styx - Pieces of Eight - Blue Collar Man Styx - Blue Collar Man
Alice In Chains - Facelift - Man In the Box Alice In Chains - Man in the Box
Rush - Rush - Working Man Rush - Working Man
Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Man On the Silver Mountain Rainbow - Man on the Silver Mountain
Soundgarden - Superunknown - Spoonman Soundgarden - Spoonman
Heart - Dreamboat Annie - Magic Man Heart - Magic Man
Metallica - Metallica - Enter Sandman Metallica - Enter Sandman
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd - Simple Man Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

jan 28th 2009
Had an idea for another band name last night... Fistful of Crotch.

It would probably have to be a metal band. And with a name like that they'd probably have a hard time getting their albums carried in Wal-Mart stores.

But they'd be huge in Europe.
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

jan 21st 2009
I need to thank my wife.

Today at work, we had a catered banquet to recognize service milestones (5, 10, 25 years, etc.) for several people in our radio group. It's something that happens every year, traditionally at our annual staff Holiday Party. This year however, like many companies across the country, our Holiday Party was canceled due to budget constraints in the tough economy. I understand. While a night of dinner and drinks with co-workers is nice, it's better to know that we work for a company that values keeping personnel over keeping parties when it comes to budget time.

In that spirit of valuing employees (or employee-owners as we're called in this ESOP company), it was decided that those celebrating service milestones should still be recognized during an in-office event. So at 11am, the announcement was made over the intercom system in our building that food was available in our conference room. The table had been made-over, with formal silver platters of hors d'oeuvres, warming dishes filled with stuffed portobello mushrooms, and at the end of the table, a gentleman sauteeing and serving sliced beef tenderloin. It was a complete transformation. As one co-worker put it, "Who's getting married in the conference room?"

So in addition to the amazing beef and the fantastic stuffed potato skins, I picked up a few small items of unknown content that had been wrapped in bacon and skewered with a toothpick. Turns out they are my new all-time favorite hors d'oeuvres: bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and bacon-wrapped olives. Crispy, crunchy, juicy, uber-flavorful morsels of salty, bite-sized heaven. And as I was going back for seconds, I realized that ten years ago, I never would have tried them.

I used to be a picky eater. Some might say that I still am. It used to be that if a meal wasn't clearly defined as to what it was, what was in it, and if I knew that I liked it - I'd turn my nose up at it. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Chef Boyardee.

But having been with my wife for the past eight and a half years has definitely broadened my horizions. Knowing even before our first date that she was a vegetarian forced me to work outside my comfort zone. No easy steaks or burgers on the grill, no meatballs or ground beef in the spaghetti sauce, no hot dogs or Chicken Helper. I can still eat this stuff, but when I'm cooking for both of us I need to think outside the butcher's department.

The first time I cooked a meal for Sarah at my old apartment in Champaign, Illinois, during the summer of 2000, I found myself sauteeing portobello mushrooms for a pasta sauce. I don't know that I'd ever seen a portobello mushroom, let alone eaten or cooked one before. It was grand experimentation, tossing in whatever herbs and spices seemed to make sense from my meager spice rack. It worked well enough - she's still with me in 2009 anyway. And I discovered that my old repulsion toward mushrooms may have been misplaced.

Over the next couple years, more foods I never would have touched before started creeping into my diet. Broccoli. Pesto sauce on pasta. Hummus and pita chips. Indian food. Mediterranean tapas. I found myself watching Food Network with Sarah. Then No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel. Then more recently Top Chef on Bravo, my mouth watering over dishes I've never had, prepared in ways I'd never imagined, with ingredients I've sometimes never heard of. And I want more.

So a thank you to my wife. Without whom, I'd probably still be passing over the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and maybe at best picking apart the bacon from the olive and brushing them off to eat separately.

Of course I can still always go for some mac & cheese.
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

jan 14th 2009
Every once in a while I come up with great band names and album titles. I'm not in a band... at least right now. I do play drums, but haven't officially been in a band since 1998.

Over the years, I've come up with a few band names that I hold in reserve just in case I do end up forming another band some day...
Yesterday, Roxanne, John, and I were sitting in our shared office talking about the fact that Ross had come in early that morning to cover for Len who left early because he felt "pukey." I quickly recognized a new band name:

Feeling Pukey

Self-titled debut album, "Feeling Pukey," features on its cover what becomes the band's mascot, Pukey - a cartoon kid with a nauseous look on his face - being poked Pillsbury Doughboy-style by a huge finger. Plush "Pukey" dolls are huge sellers at our concerts. Our high-end t-shirts feature an embroidered Pukey character made of different materials - fleece, leather, faux fur,etc. - allowing fans to enjoy Feeling Pukey any time they want.
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

jan 2nd 2009
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Which means it's all downhill from here... but who cares? The first 2009 songs of 2009 are your requests... love getting off the beaten path with your requests. Keep 'em coming!
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

dec 22nd 2008
Toga! Toga!

Finally recovered from the Xmas Bash... WOW! Had a great time, and I hope everyone who came to the party did too.

Otis was awesome, and I think the Vic Ferrari guys did a great job as his backing band (the "White Knights") on such late notice since Otis's band got snowed in and couldn't make it to the party.

Be looking for more (and more and more and more) photos from the bash to keep showing up in our Photo galleries. Joe already uploaded some of the ones he took, and I'll get my pics up later today... then we've got the hundreds that our professional photog took at the party. Prepare to enjoy the backstage pics from the sexy pillow fight girls...

See you next year at our 11th Xmas Bash...
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

dec 12th 2008
One week until Xmas Bash... togas... Otis, My Man!

It's exciting and stressful setting up the whole party and getting everything organized... can't wait until it's here.

Meanwhile, enjoy this clip from Animal House to get you in the mood.

posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post

dec 10th 2008

Hey! Welcome to the new

The whole WAPL staff will be blogging soon, so keep checking back for more stories, links, and random ramblings from each of us.

Hope you're enjoying the new site.
posted by: Road Show at 12:00 am Comment On This Post