Vegas After

I have no idea what’s going on.

I also have no idea how to approach this post. I mentioned last week that I was going to capture my thoughts before going to Vegas and then write something up upon returning about my thoughts after Vegas but that idea seems laughable now; I can’t remember my thoughts before and I have no idea what I’m thinking now.

I keep hearing slot machines dinging in Do, Re, Mi’s and chips clacking in my hands. Everything else is a blur.

I know I arrived in Las Vegas. This fact is concrete. But when I think back to walking into the casino and finding my group of friends at the blackjack tables this seems like something that happened maybe forty years ago. And possibly to someone else.

I know I did things like pack enough socks and various t-shirts but I’m not even sure when my bag finally made it to the room and when I unpacked last night around 90% of my clothes were unworn. My favorite was the shaving cream I brought.  That didn’t exactly make it out of its travel pouch. In fact, upon looking at my packing in reverse, I think I could have gotten on the plane with a stick of deodorant and a three-pack of boxers and nothing would have been different.

There’s a long list of things that I expected to happen that didn’t. Sleep, for instance, was iffy. The first night I spent catching cat-naps next to various slot machines due to a missing room key and a security guard who insisted on doing his job way too well. There was a nap in there somewhere that afternoon after I finally got back upstairs and then a meal, but these are hazy. And that meal, it’s worth noting, is the only thing I can recall eating. And it wasn’t a steak. Eating a nice steak was one of many things I had on my list of things to do that never materialized along, apparently, with shaving.

I did buy a pack of gum at one point. This still makes me laugh. I always carry around gum but at one point I, despite having a full pack in my pocket already, purchased a second pack. There are maybe two or three of you out there who understand the significance of this. Casinos don’t sell gum. Gum is like kryptonite to them. I, as mentioned, always like to have a pack on me and so I’ve come up against this lack of casino gum tons of times over the course of my gambling career. Ask for a pack of gum at a casino and it’s like you’re asking about some mythical beast that the villagers are too terrified to speak of out loud. Gum, it would seem, can do so much bad shit at a casino in the hands of someone who wants to do bad shit at a casino that it’s contraband in gaming establishments. From gumming up slot machines to gumming up chips to gumming up cards to gumming up god knows what, enough individuals with enough sticks of gum could bring Las Vegas to its knees. No casino will stock gum in any of its shops. Sufficed to say when I pulled a fresh pack out of my pocket I stood there for a long moment wondering when in the hell I had entered a non-casino store.

I still haven’t pieced that together.

One other thing that sticks out in my head is that I played the card game War. At a casino. For money. Having that game at a casino is literally a joke in the movie “Vegas Vacation” and playing it was the most mindless activity I’ve ever participated in. Two cards, high card wins, ties result in a war. Wow.

Other than that all I know is that I played craps, because our table got on such a hot streak that they had to close it down when we colored out at the end, and I know I had a ton of fun.

That’s about it for cohesive thoughts.

Oh, and here’s are the two pictures that were in my phone.

A man dressed as a muppet:

And a blurry shot of the skyline:

I’d say that was successful first trip to Las Vegas.

Vegas Before

This coming weekend I will be traveling to Las Vegas. I have only been to this city as a youth. I remember enjoying the video games and white tigers on one trip, and I remember wanting to drink and gamble on the other trip but not being able to stand for ten seconds anywhere near a slot machine without being told to get my underage body out of the gaming area.

Thus, this trip will be my long overdue first official visit to the city of Las Vegas.

I have decided to put together some of my thoughts and expectations about the upcoming trip for today’s post and then deconstruct how these measured up to reality in one of next week’s post.

So, first, thoughts: I have no thoughts. I can’t keep a thought in my head I’m so giddy with excitement. I went to Disney World with my family a few months ago and I enjoyed that thoroughly but in my head Las Vegas is like the Disney World you go to with your drinking buddies, which is ever so much better. The comparison is apt as the hopping-up-and-down excitement I experience whenever I think about the upcoming trip is very similar to what my little nieces and nephews must have experienced on many sleepless nights leading up to our family going to Disney World. It’s akin to the night before Christmas. It’s a type of excitement that you don’t stumble onto very often as an adult. As a child you get to look forward to completely irresponsible fun, no one expects you to plan anything or pay for anything. You’re six. Fun just happens and Santa just brings you gifts.

As an adult you’re responsible for too much. You have to plan the fun, you have to plan the travel, you have to be Santa. I guess that’s the thought I come away with. Las Vegas is letting me recapture the thoughtless, weightless giddyness of a kid before Christmas as there is an unspoken pact that, while there, nobody is allowed to give a good sweet god damn about anything. Budgets, personal well-being, sanity. All of these things are somehow not in our domain; responsibility for them will be left with the city of Las Vegas…or the valet…or somebody. Nobody cares.

Now as for expectations? This gets confusing. I have been to Atlantic City a number of times over the past few years and I find it impossible not to use this as a baseline for what to expect even though I’m well aware that this is ludicrous. In Atlantic City you pick a casino and it becomes your bunker. The fact that most of my trips down there are over the winter where it’s below freezing outside compound this notion. You don’t go wandering around much. You might take a stroll on the boardwalk, but that’s if you’re over on that side of town. More often than not I’m at the marina and I honestly couldn’t tell you what anything over there looks like if it doesn’t represent the possibility of a huge cash payout. And hitting the pool? If you tell someone on an Atlantic City trip that you’re thinking of hitting the pool, the only thing that comes to mind is that you’re striking some sort of deal with the mafia. Not because that makes a lick of sense, but because the idea that you might actually be going to the pool is so absurd that some other idea must replace it. And since you’re in New Jersey…

In Las Vegas I think people go “outside” and maybe even gamble by the pool with a tropical drink in hand.

I think.

Since this is about my expectations we’ll run with that idea.

In Las Vegas people go outside. And these people are beautiful and the water is blue and you can walk from casino to casino to casino and eat perfectly cooked steaks and never lose a dime. But Lights are always cold, the scotch is never less than thirty years old and both are always served a waitress who looks like the girl next door and who calls you “Darling” with the perfect mix of flirtatiousness and friendliness. None of the casino chips are cracked or falling apart, they’re all perfectly modeled clay and metal and they feel like a wonderful weight while cupped in the palm of your hand. The dealers all speak English and the pit-bosses all correct your craps wagers with humbled good nature. You never feel sorry for the old people gambling there, they all look like Peter Graves (god bless) and none of them carry around oxygen tanks or call out their bets using the combination of a hole in their throat and a vibrating box. The bings and bongs from the slot machines are in perfect harmony, the felt at the craps table is perfectly taut and nobody ever goes to bed at night with regrets because in Las Vegas nobody ever goes to bed at all.

Those are my expectations.

Expect a mess of gibberish scrawled on a cocktail napkin next Tuesday when we see how reality matches up.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

While daydreaming about possible trips, and planning some definite trips, for this spring and summer I stumbled across this.

No idea why Google makes me chuckle so, but for some reason they have my number.

If you search Google Maps  for directions on how to get from LA to Honolulu this pops up:

If you click on the following you can see the entire screen.

Google suggests you drive up to Washington State for some reason and then kayak to Hawaii. You can’t even leave in your kayak from LA.

Because that would be crazy.

I Need Nominations

So over at Completely Novel they have an award up for the best author blogs on the web.

I’d like to make the final cut, but I need your help.

Please go over to this website, scroll down a bit and fill in my name, my website and how you found out about me into the three input fields.

You can click this button as an alternative option to clicking the forty other places I’ve given you to click on things:

You have to sign up in order to nominate someone but that will take all of one easy minute. I really appreciate this and you can win some prizes just for nominating and voting. But we’re not at the voting stage yet. Hopefully I’ll get to that round.

So, to recap:

1) Click here

2) Start to fill out the fields with your favorite author’s name (me) and URL (http://josephdevon.com). It will prompt you before submitting this to sign up so…

3) Sign up

4) Bask in the glory of having helped out an artist in need

Thanks!

Batman Villians I Want to See

Ever since the first Micheal Keaton film it’s become a parlor game of sorts to pick and choose favorite actors to play favorite Batman bad guys. And with the success of The Dark Knight and the rather inventive handling of the franchise by Christopher Nolan this game is more fun than ever.

Add to that the near-definite sequel in the works and I had to write down some thoughts on this myself. Below are three of my picks for villains and the actors who should play them.

Some words of warning, though. My Batman background is all over the place, consisting of a fair amount of the animated cartoon from my childhood, way too much of the campy Adam West vehicle, all the movies and a good bit of research done on my cell phone to settle moronic arguments while out at the bar with friends. There’s also very little regard to matching up an actor’s look with the look of the villain here and a lot more of me fleshing out what each bad guy means to me and why a certain actor could knock the role out of the park.

So be it. Here we go.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis as The Penguin

I know. The Penguin is short and hunched over while Daniel Day-Lewis is roughly seventeen feet tall. But hear me out.

I have considered the Penguin, for much of my life, to be the single most boring Batman bad guy going. I used to hate him. He doesn’t do anything, he’s just a villain who dresses funny. He has no core, no premise. His umbrellas are stupid. I never found it entertaining.

Upon revisiting him recently, though, it occurred to me that his normalcy is his premise. So that if you play it right, the fun thing about the Penguin is that he has no idea he’s the Penguin. What the Danny DeVito incarnation got wrong was that Mr. Devito made him in-your-face disgusting. I can remember him eating a raw fish or something and snarling at the camera.

But the Penguin doesn’t think he’s a monster. He thinks he’s normal, and that is a wonderful trait for his external self, while a bit of a problem for his internal self.

As for the outside of him, well the Penguin doesn’t think he’s deformed. In fact he possesses a rather admirable self-esteem. He carries himself well, dresses properly, grooms impeccably. He doesn’t think of himself as a monster, he think he looks like George Clooney playing James Bond. The man believes he’s suave as all hell and, frankly, carries this off so well he winds up with a perfectly composed aura about him.

On the other hand he’s monstrous inside, a sociopath who never flinches at killing or crime because it doesn’t occur to him to flinch at such things. This is the part I used to find boring. He was always just sort of there but never had any real reasoning behind his criminal nature. You don’t get the relish for killing that some of his compatriots have. But, as I mentioned, if used in the right way this lack of motivation becomes fascinating because it shows basically no emotional connection to the outside world. And, just like his bent exterior, he doesn’t have the first clue that this isn’t normal. For him it’s all perfectly run of the mill. You or I get up, drink coffee, go to work and that is normal. He gets up, drinks coffee, stabs someone who gets in his way and for him that is normal.  The Joker? The Scarecrow? The Riddler? You get the idea that maybe they know that something ain’t right in their heads. But the Penguin always seems mystified that he has to hang out with idiot criminals in order to find people with similar goals in life. He doesn’t quite get that he’s a criminal, he thinks he’s perfectly fine but that this Batman creep insists on hounding him for being himself and doing nothing wrong.

Now, who plays beautiful monsters better than Mr. Lewis? Who plays characters with absolutely zero morals who think they’re perfection better than Daniel Day? Who brought us Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood?” Who brought us Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in “Gangs of New York?”

Daniel Day-Lewis, that’s who.

Drainage, Eli my boy. Drainage.

2. Geoffrey Rush as Mr. Freeze

I realize the odds of getting a reboot for anything remotely touching the abominable “Batman and Robin” are slim, but that’s a shame because Mr. Freeze is probably one of the better villains going. At least the version I know from the Animated Series is, which, as it turns out, was an Emmy winning episode. Go childhood!

Now, I have no idea what the Arnold Schwarzenegger incarnation existed of in “Batman and Robin.” When that movie is on I try not to do things like listen or open my eyes. However the version of Mr. Freeze I know revolves around a doctor losing his wife. And really that’s what the actor needs to capture more than anything.

The story is simple. A brilliant man’s wife contracts a terminal illness. He knows, in his heart, that he can save her but that he’ll lose her long before he can come up with a cure so his first step is to cryogenically freeze her to buy some time. To do so he takes a few liberties at the company currently employing him and at this point things begin to escalate. On one side you have a man faced with the loss of his soul mate trying to do anything he can to stop time, on the other you have a kind of dick-head boss who, understandably, doesn’t like the fact that he’s being embezzled from so that these experiments can continue and, not so understandably, freaks out after Mr. Freeze surrenders and throws him into table full of chemicals then leaves him to die.

If you know anything about comic books you know that being thrown into a chemical vat and left for dead means that you will not only live, but will receive super powers. Thus is born Mr. Freeze, who can…you know freeze stuff…although his inner workings were already in place. You don’t really even need the superpower part so much. What you need is a man turned criminal because he knows he is the only person that can save his wife’s life while everyone else like his boss, the police and Batman are  just drains on what little time he has left. The fun of this story is watching someone with such a good heart slowly become the worst villain in Gotham because he starts to justify all of his actions as excusable since the end result is life for his wife.

To play this part you need a lot. You need brilliance, Freeze is no slouch in the science department. You need frailty, his complete and utter lack of ability to deal with loss is his driving point. And you need someone who can portray a love this strong convincingly. I was at a loss for who could fill this slot until I remembered Geoffrey Rush in “Quills’ as the Marquis de Sade. Brilliant, obsessive, yet somehow touching and believable as a love interest. Albeit a seriously f*&#Ed up love interest there, but I think he could play it normal.Well…normal-ish.  This is a Batman villain after all.

And the fact that Mr. Rush is maybe a little too old to be playing super-villians (though he does make a fine pirate) is actually a plus here. Mr. Freeze is a married man of many years losing his wife, not some schoolboy who loses a crush to the local bully. We’re talking about someone forced to look forward at a future that is devoid of everything that gave him life in the past.  We’re talking about a husband losing his foundation.

A little age on that role would be welcome in my mind.

3. Steve Buscemi as the Riddler

Actually the picture-perfect Riddler actor is no longer with us. He passed away in 1978. But we’ll come back to that.

First a quick rundown of the Riddler.

The Riddler is a genius. Aren’t they all. The fun thing about the Riddler, though, is that he thinks he has to be THE genius, that he has to always be THE genius and that anything else is proof that maybe he isn’t as smart as he thinks. Which is to say that he’s a very smart man utterly crippled with insecurities that don’t allow him to give himself the benefit of the doubt or forgive his own mistakes.

He engages with Batman, and anyone else he views as a contender, in elaborate mind games and puzzles. Usually a loved one’s life is at stake if his victim can’t solve his riddles. But he doesn’t do this to entertain himself like the Joker, he does this to prove via perfectly crafted encounters that he is, flat-out, the smartest person in the room. If he can lead someone around by their emotions, always be one step ahead of them and finally crush them doing nothing but plan and plan and plan then he will know, in his heart, that he was the smarter person. If he fails, though, then that other person is the smarter one and he has nothing left because there is nothing to life but being THE genius. The Riddler doesn’t exactly see himself as well rounded. It’s be smarter than the world or be useless. Personality doesn’t win him any points.

When he’s at his best he drags others down into this horrible state of mind. If your loved ones are going to die unless you solve a series of unsolvable riddles, it’d be pretty hard to do anything but blame yourself for not being smart enough when you inevitably fail.

When he’s at his worst, though, this guy is his own downfall. Because nobody could possibly pull off what he demands from himself. The very nature of reality dictates that things will go wrong here and there, but for him it’s not things going wrong, it’s him being wrong. Trap didn’t spring properly? That’s his fault. Random unforeseen factor messed things up? That’s his fault. Elaborate plan that needed perfectly predicted reactions from his enemies to work didn’t go off without a hitch? It’s his fault. Rainstorm got in the way? His fault. Act of god? His fault. Any and every tiny little detail that didn’t work flawlessly? All. His. Fault.

And the more he sees himself as failing, the more elaborate his plans have to become because the level of proof he needs that he’s not stupid rises by that much.

We had an actor that could have done absolute wonders with this part.

His name was John Cazale, though you probably know him as Fredo Corleone.

He brought us the always scrambling, always failing, always inadequate Fredo. What this man could have done with the Riddler makes me giddy.

But he passed away in 1978.

That’s okay because we have Steve Buscemi. From the, “I’m in control here so why isn’t anyone listening to me?!” Mr. Pink in “Resevoir Dogs” to the, “I’m in control here so why isn’t anyone listening to me oh my god what are you doing with that wood chipper?!” Carl Showalter in “Fargo,” Buscemi does some great things with characters who just want the entire world to see that they’re the smartest person in the room.

And who self-destruct trying to prove that simple fact.

Part Four is Done

I have no idea what they are doing or why they are doing it, but for some reason a group of men are absolutely demolishing the street in front of my building. And they’re using a jackhammer. And it starts very early and it goes all day. Also today they did something that screwed up the water lines on my block and I had no water and then I had brown water.

It has been a weird week and now I am insane.

However, since the only way I can not listen to a jackhammer is to put my headphones on and turn up some music nice and loud, and since the only place to listen to my headphones is my desk, I have been pounding away at the keyboard.

Today alone was a 7,000 word day.

Granted my book now revolves around all of my main characters being murdered by jackhammers but I’m sure that’ll all work itself out in the rewrites.

It is currently quiet and I am going to not type anything for awhile and enjoy the fact that the hardest section of the book is finished, there are only a few parts left, some of those are really kind of interim parts and I think that I have passed over to the point where this will seem more like rolling a boulder downhill than up.

The Google Search Game

I’ve chatted about Google here and there on this site, but recently I’ve discovered a whole new game to play with my favorite search engine. I can’t really take any credit for this, it’s starting to pop up in more and more places. It seems the kids these days have been doing this for awhile now with their hair and their rap music, but it’s new to me.

Basically the game consists of entering in a few words into the Google search bar and then seeing what things the suggested auto-fill searches say.

The first two I saw were, “Why does my boyfriend?” and, “Why does my girlfriend?”

I think we’ve all asked these questions at one point or another.

Why indeed?

See, the real beauty of this game is that it combines the neuroses and collective insanity of every search made on Google and then suggests the sum total of all of our fears.

It confirms our beliefs about certainly sparkly vampires.

As well as certain seriously wacko, yet catchy-as-hell, pixie singers.

Some of the better ones come about with the simplest of questions. “Why?” for example, reveals our deep seated racial misconceptions…as well as our deep seated desires to own Canadian people.

A lot of these, I have to imagine, are quotes or lyrics or references to things I’m just not cool enough to get. I have no other way to explain the raven question in both “Why?” and “Why is?”

Another fun aspect of this is that it will change over time as people collectively freak out about different things and the suggestions follow the trends. I encourage you to find your own and waste your Tuesday trying to get Google to tell you weird weird weird things about our collective unconscious.

I just hope this one never ever changes. Because I’m a giggling six-year-old at heart. And I poop rainbows.

First Art Entry

The first entry to the fan art contest arrived a few weeks ago. I’m really not sure how many entries to expect. We’re still pretty small potatoes here at JD Industries but we’re growing every day and I’m hoping for a nice slew of fan art by the end. Of course there won’t be much for awhile, as is the nature of these things, so I got very excited when the first email with “Contest” in the subject came in.

Then I started chatting with the artist and I realized he is soooooo very not from around here. I’ve mentioned a few times how much I enjoy being able to cobble together readers from all over the world with the internet but it’s one thing to say it and it’s another thing for the first entry for your fan art contest to be from someone who was born in Buenos Aires and now lives in Israel. Who doesn’t speak English. Conversation has been rough but we’ve actually been chatting quite a bit on email.

And, technically, he didn’t paint this expressly for this contest, it was an older work of his but after reading Probability Angels he says that, “Matthew just reminded me of the angel standing with suitcase in hand in my painting, hesitating to take off from his life.”

I’m not entirely sure if this entry fits into the exact rules of the contest but I don’t really care as it’s freaking cool.

The artist is Ruben Cukier and you can visit his site here.

All the rest of you, get cracking. Contest ends April 30th.

5 Products That Should Act More Like Their Commercials

Over the past few years the amount of television that I watch live has dwindled to nearly nothing. A vast majority of my viewing is pre-recorded or on DVD. The result has been a sharp decrease in my exposure to ads.

This changes occasionally when something must be watched live, usually a sporting event, and results in a glut of advertising hitting my brain and me wondering who the hell writes these things and if they’ve ever actually used the products involved.

So here are the top five products that I really wish would act more like the fantastical versions that exist in advertising land.

1. Beer:

We will start with beer, a ubiquitous product whose commercials range from the ludicrous to the absolutely ludicrous.

The standard ad revolves around fun, and how much of it instantly appears when you pop the cap on a bottle of beer. And I agree with this in a generic sense but the kind of fun that gets represented in beer ads is so far from the kind of fun that winds up happening in real life it’s downright shocking. I mean, good times ensue, but it’s like they’re drinking beer in some alternate universe where being drunk means that you get uber-sober and can suddenly play beach volleyball, deliver perfectly timed witticisms to supermodels or pilot a jet-ski like you were born on Planet Watersports.

The people in the ads never seem to think that stealing posters from bus stops, buying an Elite Membership in the Golden Tee Fan Club or walking through the Holland Tunnel are good ideas. All things that actually have occurred amongst the beer drinkers I know.

And that’s only one angle. The other angle beer ads use is the “Look at how distinguished we are,” ploy. These usually involve some silver-haired guy walking around, talking to the camera about how seriously his company takes its malt or something and in the background there are horses, mountains or one of those giant copper vats that are in every beer factory on TV.

Look. You’re beer. You don’t need to do this and nobody is buying it. When I drink your product I wind up passed out at my desk at two in the morning with a half eaten pizza slice on my lap and the Pussycat Dolls Greatest Hits downloading on iTunes. Don’t try and sell me on this “prestigious” crap. And stop with the malt.

The only exceptions here are the Dos Equis ads with The Most Interesting Man in the World.

These are awesome and feature a man who is so cool he has all the adventure the other beer ads promise and yet doesn’t even drink beer, creating a mind-fuck so pure for the viewer that he could then pitch feminine hygiene products and I would buy them.

2. Airlines:

Honestly, this feels like a cheap shot. Do I really even need to say anything? Airline ads show things like people arriving at their destination, unpissed off and on time, with all of their luggage.

Upon actually using an airline none of these things happen. Not even close.

So stop lying and showing me people who are the slightest bit relaxed while they fly. Outside of the sheer terror involved in riding a steel tube ten-thousand feet in the air there’s the added bonus that nothing ever goes remotely the way it’s supposed to causing cascading effects throughout the entire nation if one plane somewhere doesn’t get its windows washed in a timely manner.

As I was once told by the person manning my gate during a day when I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at Newark airport, “It’s a delicate system.”

Yeah. No kidding.


3. All Children’s Cereals:

These are essentially beer ads aimed at six-year-olds. The product is poured, rainbows shoot out of people’s eyes and suddenly everyone is rollerblading through an amusement park with a cartoon spirit guide. Also, usually there’s a fuddy-duddy adult who, after the tremendous force of the cereal is unleashed, winds up with their hair messed up and tied to a chair or something allowing unfettered rollerblading to ensue.

All of which, for a six year old, is pretty much the equivalent of attractive people on jet-skis.


What actually happens when you eat children’s cereal? The milk soaks into the product after roughly two spoonfuls and you wind up with a sugary sludge that Calvin couldn’t choke down causing children to think they’re in an amusement park with a cartoon tiger but really they’re just running up and down the hall with a pot on their head.

Actually that’s sort of a draw the more that I think about it.

Maybe I just miss being six.

4. M Night Shyamalan Movies:

Is there an entertainer whose products look more amazing than M Night’s and yet whose products consistently fail at the levels his do?

I’m sold every time. The mood, the color scheme, the notion that something will be weird and terrifying but ultimately illuminating…probably that guy with the voice in all the movie trailers will be in there saying something cool and then there’s a loud noise and the soundtrack goes quiet as the screen goes blank and something is spelled out in huge glorious letters.

Fucking-A yes I want to see that movie!

And then I see them and they’re crap.

Well the recent ones anyway.

And, yes, this applies to basically ninety-eight percent of movies that come out.

Let’s face it, Hollywood is better at creating trailers than they are at creating movies, but M. Night for me will always be the king. There is something very well crafted about his movies that always gets my hopes up. They have a professional look and feel and you sort of get the idea that he is comfortably in the driver’s seat and taking you exactly where he wants to take you, its just that where he wants to take you is boring and pointless. Meanwhile with someone like Bruckheimer’s movies I get the idea that a feces throwing chimp is in the driver’s seat while Bruckheimer is off somewhere rolling around on a giant pile of money.

For good measure, though, I have to throw Tarantino in here as the absolute exception to this rule. Every time I see a trailer for a new Tarantino movie I think, “Good lord that looks freaking moronic. She’s going to ‘kill bill?’ That’s supposed to get my dander up?” And then I see it and it reaffirms my belief that greatness can exist in my lifetime.

5. Scrubbing Bubbles:

This is it for me. Cream of the crop. The big cheese. I love the scrubbing bubbles, making this the only entry on this list where I don’t want the product to act like the commercials because I think the commercials are ridiculous, but because I hold the product in such high regard that I honestly think there’s a chance that these marvelous creatures could one day come screaming out of my spray-can of bathroom cleaner.

Ever since I was a kid the scrubbing bubbles have held me in thrall and little has changed over the past twenty years. The way they sort of look like bubbles but also don’t, the way their “scrubbing parts” look like bad-ass mustaches, the way they go hurtling into a dirty tub, “Ride of the Valkyries” no doubt blasting in their heads, performing a synchronized dance through the tiles that is half-downhill slalom and half-Charge of the Light Brigade and in their wake there is only glisteningly clean porcelain. I love every moment of it.

And that is so freakishly close to what actually happens when using the product it’s stunning. I’m always amazed at how the liquid that comes out of the spray-can magically poofs up into a foam. And the noises…mmmm…the noises. The fizzing bubble-popping wonder that fills my bathroom letting me know my little friends are hard at work is strangely soothing. And the result? Well eighty percent of the time I forget that I was cleaning my bathroom while I give them their recommended two-minute wait and I come back eight hours later having done nothing but spray them and walk away and my tub is remarkably clean for me having done zero work.

My hat is off to you my beloved friends. You complete me.

Honorable Mention:

Axe Body Spray

I’ve never used it, so maybe putting it on really does make vapid sluts follow you around licking their lips, but I’m pretty sure it just makes you smell like Seaside Heights.

Mucinex:

I’ve never used this product either but its commercials are nothing short of fascinating. They consist of these guys:

This society of green mucus blobs are right now in your lungs leading lives of astonishing complexity and depth. The level of writing that has gone into these boogers is ridiculous, there are back-stories and fleshed out secondary characters and they have night clubs and swing dance night and gyms and commutes to office jobs and family strife and then you remember that they are snot and this product is an expectorant and you feel sort of weird.

Every Infomercial Product Ever Made:

Sadly I’ve never ordered anything off of my TV so I couldn’t include these on the proper list, but we’ll finish off with a nod to them as clearly these are the kings of all ads.