Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fair and Balanced, No Doubt....

Watch rant-free Mayor Richard Daley on YouTube

City teams with Google Chicago on new promotional channel

At Google's Chicago headquarters

Web surfers looking for details about Mayor Richard Daley will end up seeing the longtime Chicago leader just as he wants to be seen—if they hit on his new YouTube channel. (The equivalent of watching an infomercial about 'Mr. Juicer' to find info about blenders)

The site leaves out the mayor's flashes of anger and verbal stumbling often featured on local news sites (and...ya' know the reason it's featured on news sites? because....wait for it... His anger and verbal stumbling ACTUALLY FUCKING HAPPEN!!!) —and some YouTube locations that don't bear his name.

Daley announced the channel Monday, calling it "an opportunity to talk to residents directly," (...by feeding them propaganda and not hearing feedback) at the Loop headquarters of Google Chicago, his partner (lapdog) in creating and running the site. It will promote Chicago across the globe, he said. (as seen through the eyes of a politician)

"I guess it promotes me," (The HELL you say!!!) he added later when asked about the political edge the site might provide. "Yes, I'm the mayor of the City of Chicago (and, thank God for that), and it promotes Chicago."Asked whether the site would include videos that were critical of him, he responded, "We'll see, I don't know yet." (yeah, I think we do. The answer is 'no'.)

Some of the 23 videos on the site feature Daley meeting with out-of-town dignitaries and business leaders or announcing initiatives (you know, the 'real stuff') . In one, he jokes around in his office with local personality (Local personality? Isn't that everyone in the area?) Billy Dec, co-host of NBC's "24/7 Chicago: Secrets of the City."

In another, a pre-election Barack Obama praises the mayor. (the HELL you say!!!! Part II)

Obama talks about the improvements in the city since he moved there in 1985, saying they show "astonishing leadership that this man has shown over two decades. ... He is an outstanding mayor." (....and, yet, we don't question Obama's judgement....hm. Might need to keep an eye open there.)

But it leaves out unscripted moments, when Daley mangles the English language much like his father before him (wait! He had a daddy who was mayor!?! Back up...baaaack up) and when he spars with reporters or political foes. (foes. yeah. Right. "Foe's" are defined as people who actually are realistic competition)

One video not on the site, but available elsewhere on YouTube, shows him berating several aldermen for opposing a tax increase to fund the CTA. (I'm sure that'll make its way onto the site. Give it time.)

Since President Bill Clinton first held televised town hall meetings, contemporary politicians have sought new ways to bypass the often-critical (dead on) coverage of the mainstream media and speak directly to voters.

When asked if he was trying to do the same, Daley said he is the only public official in Illinois to hold "a press conference three or four times a week." (wow. Talk about setting the standards skyward! Public officials in Illinois are SO open with their constituents!)

Jim Lecinski, managing director of Google's central region, said no taxpayer dollars were used to create the site, and Daley said it did not involve spending taxpayer funds. (that was big of him)

But some of the videos up on the site were made with city money for the Chicago Works cable-TV channels. They were originally produced to be aired on the city's municipal access channel, not for the mayor's Web site, said Jacquelyn Heard, the mayor's press secretary. (oh, I see. At least, he was half-telling the truth....that's a step in the right direction)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things are Fatnastic.....

Sardonic News Conglomerate Special Report for AYCTE blog....

2 million enjoy free breakfast at Denny's
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

Some day, when Josh Richardson finally finds a job, he'll pay for a meal at Denny's.

But in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, the unemployed medical assistant from Greenville, S.C., waited 40 minutes in near-freezing temperatures outside a Denny's restaurant for a free Grand Slam breakfast. Roughly 2 million other Americans lined up at local Denny's for the too-good-to-pass-up deal. (okay, folks. I might get shit for this, but.....I grew up on welfare, food stamps, gov't cheese, free lunch plans, second-hand thrift shops, CETA, JTPA and every other program on the planet. I wuz po'. There is no way in hell, if I'm a single male, I stand in freezing temps for 40 minutes to save $5.99 (before tax) on a breakfast. It's all very nice to get a restaurant meal, but, not under those conditions, kidz. Fuck that action.

Did a price check for y'all:
Aldi supermarkets sell eggs at a cost of $1.49/dozen Bacon @ $2.49, Brown N. Serve sausage @ .99 cents, milk @ $1.99/gallon...do the math - that's just under $7 (before tax)....and, you'll get at least three breaksfasts out of those groceries.....so....$2.33 a meal....stay indoors unless you got a family of three or more. Which, in all probability, should have been the promo anyway - free meals for families)

"It's definitely a blessing," says Richardson, 35, who has been out of work since May. "I've put in applications everywhere — Wal-Mart, Kmart. I haven't heard nothin'." (hard to believe, isn't it? He's probably the only person applying there, too.)

With the economy in a tailspin, Denny's shook up the restaurant industry — if not the nation — Tuesday by doing something no family dining chain had done before: giving out free meals coast-to-coast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The promotion was briefly halted and rain checks given out at a St. Louis Denny's when parking lot traffic nearly cut access to a freeway artery. Most sites averaged hour waits on what's usually the week's slowest day. (Gee, I wish I would have gone now. This all sounds awesome)

Denny's was out to prove that it can play with the big boys in its business, and to get back on consumer radar. The chain that once owned breakfast — only to lose to McDonald's - gave away a Grand Slam breakfast to anyone who showed up at all but two of its 1,550 restaurants nationwide. No strings. (this shows that they can play with the big boys by giving away their product and services to the poor and unemployed?)

The entire promotion — including food, labor and airing an ad on Sunday's Super Bowl — cost Denny's about $5 million. "We're re-acquainting America with Denny's," says CEO Nelson Marchioli. "We've never been thanked this much — and folks are saying they'll come back." (oh, my Lord, that is such bullshit. I remember being in theater and giving away free tickets for previews. After the shows, every single person, without fail, said, they'd be back and bring friends. Never. Fucking. Happened.....notta.)

"I'm very grateful," said Jennifer Haslam, who waited in line more than an hour in Newark, Del., with son Joshua, 2. "That was four eggs that I didn't have to use of mine." Her family lives on her husband's take-home pay of $400 a week. "I'll be honest. I just paid my rent. I had $10 to my name, and that went to gas." (This is just friggin' sad. Counting my blessings.....counting my blessings....counting my blessings....)

Denny's didn't do this just out of the goodness of its corporate heart, however. (the HELL you say!) The low-budget family dining chain did it because its franchise sales at sites open at least a year were down 7.2% last quarter at a time the hobbled economy ought to be giving it an opportunity to nudge the market-share needle.

In tough times, many consumers are willing to trade down to restaurants such as Denny's. If value chains such as Wal-Mart and McDonald's can make hay in a bum economy (did they actually use the term 'bum'? Wow. Nice) , why not Denny's?

Ah, but people love free stuff, particularly when money's tight. Few know that better than Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. "Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside — or, at least, we don't see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free." (thanks, Doc. Do you moonlight at the 'Academy of the Bleeding Obvious'?)

Customers had their own reasons for trekking to Denny's, but more often than not, it was tied to value:

• Matt Skeadas, 28, brought the East Valley High School basketball team — 20 boys — from Van Nuys to the Denny's in North Hollywood. "We decided it would be a good team-bonding event." (Way to get the message, Matt)

• Landon Bennett of Cape Coral, Fla., started his day early at a Perkins Family Restaurant for a regularly scheduled Bible study. But the group just got coffee there, then moved on to Denny's in North Fort Myers. "You reap what you sow," he says. And Denny's, he adds, "is going to reap rewards." (...and Perkins, the devil's puppet, is fucked.)

•Class study. Sociology teacher David Burke of Red Lion Christian Academy in Bear, Del., took his class to Denny's to observe how advertising and media have an impact on human behavior. And to eat, of course. "We're going to spend a whole class tomorrow talking about it," he says. (Here's how the class discussion will go: Teacher: "How do ads and media impact human behavior, class?" - Student: "They tell people where free stuff is.....then, people go there." - bell rings. Class over.)

• Four seniors from Ulysses S. Grant High School showed up at Denny's in North Hollywood at 5:23 a.m. for free breakfast. All ordered Grand Slams and free ice water, then left for school without tipping. "It's just one day," says waitress Laura Martinez, taking the fact that she got stiffed in stride. (....whilst maintaining an eerily calm demeanor, eyes glazed over, whistling "Bringing in the Sheaths" and loading her 12-gauge....)

Most guests, however, left generous tips. (....this makes little logical sense to me. Am I missing something? If one can afford a generous tip....I'll shut up)

McDonald's, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos in the past year. Panera's free coffee and food sampling promo was last week.

"I'd rather give something away than discount it," says Ron Shaich, Panera's CEO. "If I've got something that I think is wonderful, I want to get it into the mouths of my customers." (EXCUSE ME?!?! Might wanna re-word that, Ron)

Consumer response to the promotion has been all Denny's could hope for. Besides guests at restaurants on Tuesday, the Denny's website has had 40 million hits since the Super Bowl ad aired.

"We've had a lot of fun today (let's ask the wait staff if they agree with that.)," Marchioli says, exhaling a small sigh of relief.

Then, he quietly admits the one thing that almost every customer — and business executive — wonders about the promotion. (if you're that concerned, pay for the meal...)

Did Denny's really lose its burnt-orange shirt on it?

Marchioli is silent for a moment. He hedges. Then he concedes: If you factor in the profits from all of Tuesday's drink orders — which are far more profitable than food orders — "we'll do better than break even." (Wait! The drinks weren't included!??! What the fuck? So, you wait in line for 40 minutes in sub-zero weather and have to buy a 90% marked up $1.50 coffee? People, people, people......sigh)

And, yes, he just may do it again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doesn't David Wygant Live In Southern California?

Noone from the SNC was in Santa Barbara on January 22nd. We checked.

Man arrested for indecent exposure in La Playa Stadium parking lot

Paper towels, moisturizer and a "Barely Legal" pornography magazine were three pieces of the incriminating evidence police used to arrest a man for masturbating in a City College parking lot. (That's some fine police work there, Wiggum)The Santa Barbara Police Department stepped in on the Campus Security's investigation on Thursday, Jan. 22, to arrest a middle-aged male later identified as Harold Hall. (Campus police obviously couldn't put a decent case up with that circumstantial piddling amount of evidence) During fall semester, three reports of indecent exposure on campus have been reported. (Only three? You call this a college campus?)This is the second arrest that has been made, the first being a bagger from Von's,(how'd ya like to be a bagger at Von's and have this vague description put in the story? Perv got a name?) according to Paula Congleton, a City College softball coach. A city college student and softball player discovered Hall at 11 a.m. in the La Playa east parking lot, facing the stadium. (No shit)While retrieving books from her car parked next to his, she saw him in the driver's seat, committing the lewd act with his shorts down.(Hey, it was in the privacy of his own car! What's the problem?)When she left the parking lot at 12:30 p.m. the student saw the man still in his car, and recorded the license plate number. (Man, this guy is a machine. I'm done in like 2 minutes.)She then called Congleton, her coach, who in turn notified the security office. Security Supervisor Eric Fricke (Barney Fife or Garr-inside joke) responded to the call, arriving in the parking lot at approximately 12:45. He found the vehicle described to him, blocking it in to prevent the man from leaving. (Good move, Starsky)Fricke questioned Hall, who eventually caved in to the evidence-beyond that of his masturbation accessories in the car, there was an eyewitness to the act. (Masturbation accessories?Take the fun out of it a bit more why don't ya?)Having first falsely identified himself with a credit card under the name of "Michael Hall", the suspect confessed to Fricke that this was his first time doing anything like this. (Somehow I doubt this)He also told Fricke that he couldn't do it at home because he has roommates, (never stopped me)according to the report. Santa Barbara Police Officer Dave Williams came to campus to make the arrest, after the student positively identified Hall. "It was her word against his, so she had to be one hundred percent sure," (I'd like to think I could probably remember who I saw wanking off two feet from my fucking CAR) Congleton said. "And she was." (Really?)At the time of publication, The Channels has not received a response from the Santa Barbara Police Department for further information on Hall's arrest. (We caught him red handed! cymbal crash)