Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More commercials that annoy me

I was casting about this snowy, icy morn here in the environs of our nation’s capital for something, anything to write about. A couple of things came to mind: how my natural, contrarian instincts as a reporter have me leaning a smidge to the right now that the left is in charge of the government, how drawn-in eyebrows kinda-sorta skeeve me out, a review of Grand Torino or the upcoming beat-down the Arizona Cardinals are going to suffer Sunday.

All were rejected for various reasons although, I will say, Grand Torino is one of the best films I’ve seen in a very, very long while.

And then, as if by magic, I noticed a piece of paper on my desk with a few brief notes scribbled on its surface. It was a note I’d written myself a few weeks ago about two commercials that were then, and still are, annoying me for various reasons.

Neither rises to Billy Mays levels of outrage (don’t even get me started on the Sham-Wow guy and his stupid headset microphone) but, because of their somewhat skewed points-of-view, I can remain silent no longer.

First up, the less annoying series of commercials from the railroads’ mouthpiece, Freight Rail Works. Basically, in all of this organization’s ads, it touts the fact a freight train can move “one ton of freight 436 miles on one gallon of fuel.” According to, this claim is not only true, but many railroads exceed this stat.

Fine, I’m now all warm and fuzzy for our nation’s railroad industry. The problem is a train is never, ever, going to haul just one ton of freight. A normal train (again, according to their commercials) can take 280 trucks off the road. If each of these trucks’ cargo weighs in around 35 tons, well, you’ve got yourself a 10,000-ton train that’ll burn 10,000 gallons of diesel on that same 436-mile journey.

Probably still better than a fleet of 18-wheelers, but not quite so warm and fuzzy as what the folks at Freight Rail Works would like us to think.

The commercial by a group advertising as “Federal Loan Modification” or, as its Web site calls it, “Federal Loan Modification Law Center,” really annoys me because of one statement:

“The government is not going to help you out. Don’t let them take your home.”

If you can’t pay your bills and your home is foreclosed on, there probably will be a sheriff’s deputy there to help you on your way to the cardboard box of your choice. But, it’s not like the government is actually taking your house. That rather unsavory task is left to your bank or mortgage company.

But don’t worry FLM is there to make sure this won't happen to you. According to its Web site, “We believe in honesty and integrity first and foremost and we urge homeowners to be aware of unscrupulous companies claiming to magically save your home when in reality they are only interested in purchasing it at a reduced price.”

The problem is, except for the FAQ and the Contact Us links, most of the links on the site don’t work, and most of the information in the FAQ deals with pre-foreclosure sales and short sales of your house.

I think the best advice they give is the second part of the statement above: “Don’t let them take your home.”

Running Update
After proudly showing off my beautiful new Sauconys in this space Monday, did you really think I wouldn't take them out for a spin that evening.

After bundling up, but strangely (read stupidly) still wearing shorts despite the freezing temps, I braved the darkened sidewalks of Arlington for a 2-mile run. OK, a 2-mile run with some walking thrown in for good measure (but still more running than walking). Except for a small mishap at the very beginning - the dogtag chain with my building key attached decided right that very moment was a good time to break - and some wicked bad cramps in my left calf, I came through OK.

The shoes protected my knees and I was only a little sore yesterday. All things considered it was a good if humble start. I say humble because I still remember being able to run thre miles in a sub 20-minute time.

Seeing as how the weather is for shit today, I may hit the treadmill in my building’s fitness center. To show how serious I am about this, as much as I hate running I really hate running on a treadmill.


Zipcode said...

How about the Free Credit Report dot com - that freaking song gets stuck in my head all the time.

Sham Wow guy though - ha totally agree.

FoggyDew said...

Zip - even worse: "At Eastern Motors, you job's your credit..." try getting that out of your head.

LiLu said...

Oh, how I wish I hadn't read those last two comments... thanks for that, guys.

I always used to get the worst calf spasms/cramps while running. Eat extra potassium to help... lots o ba-nay-nays!

JoLee said...

Good job on running! For someone who has broken her foot three times and dislocated her hip in a riding accident, running and I don't get along so well.

Worst commercial ever: Saaavve by zeeeeeeero... that one makes me want to throw the remote through the flat screen!

FoggyDew said...

LiLu - So solly about the jingles. I'd forgotten about the ba nay nay thing. Perhaps this week when I shop.

JoLee - One word: Owwwww. You broke your foot three times. My advice, stop doing whatever it is you're doing when you break it. That might solve your problem.

Fearless in Toronto said...

Keep up the good work! I am living vicariously through your exercise...

FoggyDew said...

Fearless - Thanks, doing my best. Is living vicariously through someone else's exercise like paying someone to pray for you?

Zipcode said...

omg Eastern Motors -- they always play that commercial late at night too when you are trying to chill out before bed, then that song is stuck in your head.

I dig the guy dressed up as an Indian Chief singing it though!

Oh yeah and good luck with the running, I am back into the swing of it too.