Ask Your Doctor If Poizona Is Right for You

It’s probably a demographic thing, but I seem to watch the kind of TV show only people over 80 watch, judging by the commercials they air. None are aimed at young people under, say, fifty, hoping to sell them hip-hop fashions, murderous video games, strange flavored beer or coffee, earphones, gadgets you can tweet with.

No, on my programs I get incessant ads for grab bars in the bathroom, hospital style beds, jewelry that can summon the ambulance, home break-in surveillance services and, of course, ads damming candidates for threatening to raise taxes or cut my Social Security, Medicare, and prescription drug subsidy.

But the number one category of ad is for those pills themselves. And no matter what they purport to cure or palliate, the ads are all as identical as political attack ads.

Video: The most beautiful and fit 40-year-olds in the world are pretending to be 70 or older. He is ruggedly handsome in an outdoor shirt of the sort candidates don to show they are manly men. She is drop dead gorgeous, incredibly shapely with bedroom eyes, but a hint of upscale mom, accentuated by casual fashions suitable for a stroll around Martha Stewart’s herb garden. They walk hand in hand.

Audio: (in soothing, trustworthy tones) You’ve been side by side in all kinds of weather practically forever. But lately she’s no longer the insatiable tigress you remember and you’re not exactly standing tall in the saddle, if you get my drift. Also, every muscle and joint in your body aches and you can’t remember your children’s’ names or where you live.

You could simply be getting a little older but it might be UH, unsightly hangnails caused by skin as dry as the Kalahari. Ask your doctor if Poizona is right for you. One little deeply-tanned tablet a day and you could be moist again.

Video: They loll in a hammock-for-two, overlooking a beach unpolluted by another soul. They stand by their tent gazing into a soft-focus Denali or Yosemite paradise also blissfully free of other life forms.

Audio: (speaking really fast) Like all pills ever invented, Poizona will probably damage your liver. Tell your doctor if you are an alcoholic, IV drug user, have ever had a prescription for anything or eat food grown with the aid of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, dirt or water. Poizona users have reported thoughts of suicide, homicide, matricide and alien abduction. Some people have experienced mild symptoms of headache, nausea, vomiting, bleeding from the eyes, cancer, sudden heart stoppage and strokes so severe they sit in a chair and drool for the rest of their lives.

Video: He may do something macho like cast a rod while she demurely picks up seashells until a look passes between them and we cut to crashing waves like those that accompanied Burt and Deborah consummating their forbidden passion in “From Here to Eternity.”

Audio: If you think you might have UH, tell your doctor about Poizona and start living life to the fullest. With Poizona, you and old what’s-her-name, can be as close again as she claims you once were. Bring back the days of wine and roses. Well, okay, the days of Ensure and hypoallergenic lichen.

What’s Up with WhatsApp?

It’s missing an apostrophe for one thing, but who’s counting?

Warning! Some math will be involved in the following paragraphs. Or numbers anyway. Large numbers with dollar signs fore and lots of zeroes aft.

By now you’ve heard that a five year old company with 55 employees named WhatsApp  has been bought by Facebook for $19 billion.

Wow, that’s amazing. Who knew Facebook had $19 billion. For what? Letting people share pictures of their vacation or the fact that their dog has got the mange? So what does WhatsApp do that’s worth $19 billion? Cure cancer? Stop climate change? Eliminate poverty?

No, apparently it lets people send text and videos and pictures of their mangy dog to others who have subscribed to WhatsApp for 99 cents a year. But get this! It hasn’t got ads getting in the way of your shared narcissism.  A breakthrough.

The valuation of $19 billion (roughly the same as the market cap of Macys, Michelin, Chipotle, Autozone, Kellogg, Kroger or Sherwin-Williams) means each of the 55 employees is worth $345 million – equal to four Bill Clinton’s or one Beyonce. (By way of comparison, the net worth of the average American is $38,000) Not that the dough will be shared equally by all WhatsApp employees. This isn’t a communist country, you know. It’s more like Russia where a few oligarchs control all the wealth. Except here they are cyberarchs.

The WSJ quotes another Valley Boy cyberarch who has devised a way to store data online (you know, so tweets about your dog’s mange or pictures of it can be preserved forever). On hearing of the deal, he was crestfallen since he is about to go public for a puny $2 billion. “It makes you depressed if you’re not selling at $20 billion.”

Whoa! If that’s depression, what should minimum wage workers who Wal-Mart and Republican congressmen are teaming up to stiff  be feeling? Or 15 or 20 million un- and underemployed people? I’d tell you, but I don’t want Mark Zuckerberg’s mother to wash my mouth out with imported French-milled soap. Besides, Kurt Vonnegut described our present dystopia in 1952’s “Player Piano” complete with techno haves and everybody else. Check it out.

Not that I’m a Luddite. Yet. I believe technology has the power to create a utopia for all of us. Just as soon as the 1000 gigawatt brains of the cyberarchs are devoted to something more useful than Candy Crush, Facebook, or WhatsApp. Like eliminating cancer, poverty, climate change or even the dog’s mange.

Not in My Frack Yard

Pity the poor PR man.

In Texas there’s been a recent embarrassment. Bartonville is a Dallas suburb where the wealthy relax on their hobby horse farms posing as hobby cowpokes. But some of these J.R. wannabes have had their idyll disturbed by the local water utility’s plan to build an immense 15-story water tower. They’ve sued to stop the project on the grounds that it would create ”a noise nuisance and traffic hazard” according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.

Turns out all that water is needed not for the drinking and bathing needs of the population of 1600, but because of the increasing number of hydraulic fracking wells being drilled in the vicinity. There goes the neighborhood, as they say.

An anti-fracking protest in oil besotted Texas is already news, but it gets better. Or worse, if you are doing PR for the oil industry, because one of the plaintiff’s is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil. Oops.

To be fair, Tillerson (his lawyer actually), clams his objection is not to the fracking, the traffic, the noise but because the tower would be an eyesore reducing the property value of his 83 acre horse farm and 18 acre homestead.

Well, maybe it is all aesthetic and economic concerns motivating Tillerson, but one can’t help suspecting he and his neighbors don’t mind fracking, drilling and refining so long as they take place where less wealthy people live. People whose property hasn’t got much value to lose and whose health is worth risking in order to make Exxon Mobil a buck.

But we already know that. This is the same XOM that was responsible for despoiling Alaska with the Valdez spill. It has also been fined $105 million recently for polluting ground water in New York and $236 million for doing the same in New Hampshire. It has illegally pumped 10 million pounds of pollutants into the air over the largest refinery in the United States near Houston. And the attorney general of Pennsylvania is investigating the spilling of 57,000 gallons of fracking pollutants in his state where a study has found 115 of 141 wells near fracking sites have been contaminated with methane.

Not a peep from Tillerson about aesthetic or property value issues in Alaska, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Houston, however. Only about eyesores in his Bartonville backyard. You can’t be too careful of your property’s value when you’re scraping by on a paltry $40 million a year. You may want to stick to Perrier or Evian, too. Maybe even for the horses.