A Copywriter’s Blog
Not a Top 10 Post Ben Levy 30, December

I swear to zombie jeebus- we finish 364 days of the year and all of a sudden every blog in the world starts ejaculating “Top 10″ lists like some kind of countdown bukkake. Well not here. This is a New Year post that does not have the words “Top 10″ anywhere in it.

What? What do you mean I already wrote it twice? Stop lying, you liar. Why you gotta lie so much?

I get that New Years is a time for reflection. You look back, you look forward, then you shake it all about or something. I’ve never really gotten into that. Mostly because from there it’s a short jump to making resolutions. And those always sound ridiculous.

If New Years is a time when you try to stop and reset your life, go for it. I would love to see some sort of stats on the number of people who break their resolutions every year, but I recognize that for some it offers an opportunity to really tell yourself that you’re going to start some kind of change in your life now. In italics, even. And that’s awesome. I’m all for change. Just like the president.

But I think a lot of people who fail in their resolutions just give up. “Oh well, have to wait another year before I try that again”. And that’s what I hate about resolutions. It’s too easy to fail at them. And we seem to have developed this idea that once it’s done, you have to wait a while before you try again.

I used to be the world’s worst procrastinator. Now I’m just one of the Top 10*. But my point is that I’ve tried to stop waiting for the right time to do stuff. Screw that. Do whatever you’re gonna do today. Or at least seriously consider starting it.

My ‘resolution’, if you want to call it that, is the same every year: do better then the year before. It’s fairly vague, I know. The thing is, I also make that resolution every month, and at the start of a lot of my weeks as well. I don’t always achieve it, but I think I come out better for trying.

I am sure as hell not telling you to be like me. I think you’ve read enough of this blog by now to know what a terrible idea that would be. I’m just saying I think a cool resolution might be to pick a second resolution on June 1, 2010. Why wait for 2011?

Speaking of which, I am so damn excited for 2010, you guys. I just know this is the year the future brings me a flying car- I just know it.

*3 times! Damnit, those words are like the swine flu of the blogosphere.

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I could just go ahead and talk to each of you individually, but that’s too much effort. So instead, I’m going to write it all here, and I’ll just direct you to this post. You know who you are. You’re the ones having babies.

As of this writing I have three- no wait, four- no SIX friends and co-workers who are either expecting or have popped a kid in the last six months. What. The. Hell?

Never mind the fact that now all you’re going to talk about is how the kid can sit up straight. (A trick I’ve been doing for years, I might add.) Never mind the fact that you’re about to be effectively cut off from normal society for somewhere from the next 6 months to the next 16 years. (Who am I supposed to go drink with?) No, what really bothers me is that you clearly, never once, not for one second, considered how OLD you are making me feel.

Do you realize what you’re doing to me? Have you even thought about the ramifications of this at all? Sure, sure, it’s your kid. But I wind up in the baby aisles of department stores debating with The Wife over what 3-inch jumper is more adorable for your spawn. I’m talking her down from some biological ledge, explaining that just because you had one does not mean we have to have one now. I’m nodding sagely with you while we discuss the financial hardships of being responsible for a living being who effectively charges your bank account $3.86 per poop, discovered by adding the cost of diapers and formula and dividing by eliminatory frequency.

This is adult old-person behavior, and it’s your fault it’s happening. You and that physical embodiment of your biological coupling. Couldn’t you keep it in your pants for a few more years?

Although that part where you figured out the Cost per Crap was pretty low-brow. And hilarious. Cost per Crap…heh…

Price per Poop.

Benjamins per Bombs.

Expenditure per Excretion.

Ok, I’m feeling suitably immature now. I might make it through this with my inner-child intact, provided that from here on out you all space your offspring out a little. At this rate pregnancy seems more contagious than swine flu.

(Congratulations to all my procreating friends and co-workers. And if any of you will still let me within a 500 meter radius of your family after this post, I’ll be more than happy to come hang out with you and your kids. It gives me a great excuse to play with baby toys.)

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What I Want For Xmas Ben Levy 25, December

I hope all the Christmas-celebrating BrokenJPG readers got just what they wanted this year. For the record, next year, I want one of these:

How awesome is that thing? I bet the dog would love it. Plus, according to wikipedia, you can make a really cool shirt out of it.

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You Want Me To Do What? Ben Levy 20, December

For those who don’t live near the Northeastern United States, we had some snow this weekend. Those who do live near the Northeastern United States will note that I said “some” snow. Not THE WORST BLIZZARD IN HISTORY OH G-D WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Which was more or less how CNN and the Weather Channel reported the event. This is particularly humorous to those of us who have seen and driven in real snow. The kind that has the words “lake effect” preceding it. But I digress.

The Wife and I adopted our dog when we lived in Florida. And while we don’t know her entire history, we assume certain things about her life. One of those things is that she has only ever lived in an equatorial climate. If she’s anything like the rest of Florida, she feels 60 degrees is scarf weather and snow is a myth told to frighten children.

The first time we took the dog out in the snow, you could still see the grass. She decided this white stuff was more or less “wet”, and proceeded to basically ignore it.

The second time we took her out, a few hours later, there were about 4 inches on the ground. Her expression was the textbook definition of WTF.

I understand that -from the dog’s point of view- I was asking her to walk outside into the middle of a swirling, frigid, apocalypse and take a shit. I tried to be sympathetic. If the Almighty came down right after all four horsemen had ridden past my front door and casually requested that I mosey on outside and water the nearest bush while the scorched earth crumbled around me, I would probably balk as well. And I have to assume, as far as Mia was concerned, that this was more or less the situation being presented.

But damnit, if she peed in the house I was going to start googling Vietnamese soup recipes.

Mia is a schnauzer-daschund. In her, this mix produced an animal that was slightly longer of body than of leg. To put it bluntly, she’s a low-rider. And her eliminatory processes take place about an inch off the ground. We were about to walk out into a wet, shifting mass of cold that was going to be up her butt before she even bent down. She walked outside, looked at the unbroken hills and valleys of white that were practically at eye-level, and cowered next to the door. Fine. We’ll try again later.

This scene was more or less repeated, with slight variations, for the next 8 hours. I knew what was going to happen. Eventually, the dog would become so desperate that she would go in the snow. Once that happened a few times, she’d figure out that the world was not in fact ending, and we could settle into a normal (if somewhat colder) routine. All I really had to do was wait until she couldn’t hold it.

Which, based off my bullshit calculations and the last time she actually did her business, was going to be at 4 o’clock. In the morning.

By midnight, we’d reached about 8 inches of snow, and I gave up. “Vietnamese Soup” I muttered at her as I went to bed.

Where I was awakened, at approximately 4:15 in the morning, by a crying dog in my face. We went out. Operation Uno was a success. Operation Dos refused to commit. I tried very hard not to cry as I crawled back into bed at 4:30am. I knew what was coming next.

The whimpering and kibble breathe in my face at 6:30am was basically dog for “On the bright side, you were right.”

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George Lucas Is Really Trying Ben Levy 18, December

Longtime readers know I am not always a fan of George Lucas. While the original Star Wars trilogy is directly responsible for at least 55% of my unbridled joy as a child, what he’s done with the property (and practically every other one he owns) since then has been painful almost without exception.

However, I posted this a while back on another Friday Feature. It almost made me fall in love with Star Wars again. I also said:

I will accept your apology, Mr. Lucas, on one of two conditions:
1. You make a game that actually plays like this
2.You let somebody else make a movie that looks like this

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the possible fulfillment of Option 1:

The first Force Unleashed game was an almost perfect yin and yang of suck and earth shattering awesome. If they fix even half the things that were wrong with with the last one, this one will be incredible.

And since they just hit me across the face with the best use of a rancor since the Empire Strikes Back, I’m willing to believe it just might happen.

I think we need to stop this right now. I’ll admit I’ve done it in the past, but I resolve here and now to turn over a new leaf, and I urge you to join with me. Let’s resolve to stop being egotistical and infantile, and never post one again. I speak of course, of the intentionally ambiguous passive aggressive status message.

I see them, the “So pissed right now, everything sucks” and the “Can’t wait for things to get better” messages.

When I did it, it was called an away message, and we had to type them on computers that weren’t meant to leave the desks they stood on and received their interwebs through a cable attached to a wall. (I also walked uphill to class both ways, in the snow. But that was because I went to school at Syracuse University where the phrase “higher education” was a reference to the local topography) These days such messages exist on all the mybook-facetweet-waveapps. And they’re all still bullshit.

The idea that a desperate and generally-worded cry for attention will generate any useful discourse is laughable. We all know the author of “I hate everyone” is just sitting at their keyboard, fingers poised, BEGGING for someone to ask what it’s in reference to. Woe is them. All is pain and agony and suffering and if someone would just ASK them what’s wrong they would tell all of it, a sordid tale of horror and sadness about how they missed the end of Gossip Girls last night.

If you’re twelve, this behavior is understandable. After all, at twelve all IS really pain and agony and suffering and it’s your job to be horribly miscommunicative and a total ass. So carry on.

But if your voice no longer cracks when you talk to girls, your years of carefully crafted generic angst are past you, my friend. From now on, If you’ve got something to say, say it. If you really need to talk to someone right now, message them in some fashion. Directly.

This is the future. We live in it. There are multiple options for direct communication. I can think of few worse ways to initiate a dialogue in our post-modern dystopia then leaving an oblique message for a virtual passerby. It is science fact that we have shrinking attention-spans and a growing avoidance of reading. I am an advertising copywriter. The truth of what I say is writ in salty tears upon my keyboard.

So I don’t want to see anymore “this isn’t what I wanted” and “when will this day end“.

I don’t want to read about how you “finally understand what this song’s deep and emo-riffic lyrics mean“.

Stop informing me that you “wish [Fictional Character X] would come and take me away“. [Fictional Character X] will never come into your life and make it all wonderful, just like he did to [Fictional Character Y]. Because they’re a work of FICTION. And if [Fictional Character X] did exist? They would probably consider you a whiney sycophant.

I hereby resolve to do my status bitching out in the open, as a man, and I hope you’ll join me. (You women can join me in being a man too. This is the future, you can do that here.) If you want someone to tell you your goldfish is in a better place now, just put “RIP Goldie, we’ll miss you“. If you’re having a bad day, admit that it’s because you were too dumb to save your blog post, and now you have to retype it from scratch. Do it. Be direct, or be quiet.

And lastly, stop telling me, and the entire world, that “everyone has someone but me“. Oh it’s a straightforward, unambiguous complaint, I won’t argue with that. But you’ll stop being alone when your away messages demonstrate more interesting aspects of your personal life than desperation. In fact, you don’t even have to wait that long. If you’re upset because all your friends are getting married and you don’t have a date, be proactive. You can order brides from Russia now. Get out your Visa and solve the problem.

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Friday Feature: Classic Ben Levy 11, December

The simplest way to be funny is to point out the one thing everyone’s thinking, but no one’s admitting to. (I said the simplest, not the easiest)

If all went according to plan, I’m back from CA. However, I’m preparing this post now because A) this video is great, and B) I anticipate ass-kicking jet lag. See you Monday for your regularly scheduled BrokenJPG.

INAPPROPRIATELY NAMED UPDATE: I’m alive! Decent, worthwhile content will begin again on Monday.

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Hi, you’ve reached BrokenJPG Ben Levy 7, December

Ben’s not here right now. He and The Wife are on a well-earned vacation.

Well, The Wife earned it. She saves the lives of infants. He spends all day trying to write ads that convince overweight middle-aged women that their whites aren’t white enough and could be a full 3% whiter if they bought this fancy new detergent that smells like six more kinds of wildflowers than that other one. Or something.

Point is, there’s no big post today. In fact, this was written a week ago, and posted itself automatically. At least I hope it did. If it didn’t, you’ll just think I’m lazy, not incompetent, so it’ll all work out in the end.

Friday Features should be going up as normal.

If you simply must read something on the site, might I recommend a short story? I wrote it myself.

If that’s not enough for you, why not stroll through the archives? This link claims to have the best stuff, but it might be lying. You’ll have to read it to be sure.

Also, it’s the holidays. You should buy this shirt. For a little extra “jingle” in your “balls”.

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Seen this cat yet? Ben Levy 4, December

It’s an hour from Wednesday (see update), and this damn thing has 3.9 mill views. It was only posted about 6 weeks ago. What the hell is it with the internet and cats? Is it a conspiracy? Do cats run the Illuminati?

If you never hear from me again, assume the answer is yes.

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