Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Running Gag

If you question the power of advertising, why do I still feel compelled to yell “Go, O.J., Go!” whenever I see someone running frantically to catch a bus, cab, plane, etc.?

O.J. Simpson (yes, THAT O.J. Simpson) starred in an ad for the car rental company Hertz in the 1970s. In the ad, Simpson is running recklessly through an airport jumping every obstacle as he tries to catch a departing airplane. Encouraging onlookers yell, “Go, O.J., Go!

For years since, whenever I saw someone running chaotically in a public setting, I felt like yelling, “Go, O.J., Go!” More times than not, I actually did yell it. Surprisingly, no one ever bloodied my nose. They were in too much of a hurry, I guess.

Anyway, just last week, probably three decades after that commercial last aired, I see a young guy running like a madman down Louisville’s Main Street. My first thought? “Go, O.J., Go!” This time, I contained myself. Being born long after the commercial, the guy couldn’t have possibly appreciated my cutting-edge humor.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t block the thought. I’m not making any promises for the next time someone blazes past me, either.

With O.J.s’ reprehensible behavior, Hertz has long since ended its relationship with him. Unfortunately, as far as the commercial goes, I’m having a harder time letting go.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Olympic Spirit

Being in peak physical condition myself, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my recent trip to Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., where I got to compare notes with Olympians Anne Cribbs, Kim Carlisle and Peggy Fleming.

Cribbs and Carlisle were both Olympic swimmers. Fleming is the iconic Olympic figure skater. Cribbs (1960 in Rome) and Fleming (1968 in Grenoble, France) won gold medals. Unfortunately, despite making the Olympic team, Carlisle didn’t get to compete in the Games because of the 1980 U.S. Olympic boycott.

I am a highly decorated athlete myself, having won participation trophies over the years in both softball and bowling. So it was only natural that the four of us would gather in a local gym to swap training and nutrition tips.

OK. That didn’t happen. But I really did get to spend some time with all three between bites of my pasta and meat sauce.

Among other things, these Olympians are involved with promoting the 2009 National Senior Games, which will be held Aug. 1-15 at Stanford. The games are being sponsored by my company, Humana. More than 14,000 athletes ages 50 and above are expected to participate. The games are really personification of the idea of lifelong fitness and aging gracefully - something the Olympians know a lot about.

In fact, they say “once an Olympian, always an Olympian.” If only the same could be said for pitchers in the B division of the Salem softball league.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Just In

As I mentioned when I launched this blog, I never run out of opinions. So it should come as no surprise that I have even more to say about some of my previous topics. And away we go.

  • First, I recently noticed that my favorite insurance company, State Farm, is running commercials staring basketball phenomenon LeBron James. What do they have in common? Both specialize in rejections. Seriously, State Farm, I need a new roof. What does LeBron need? Another Bentley? How about sending a little bit of LeBron's pocket change my way?
  • Speaking of a phenomenon, the Snuggie simply refuses to die. It’s hard for me to pick out the dumbest part Snuggie folklore. However, if pressed, I would have to say it’s the video of people at a football game wearing Snuggies. That’s as unlikely as the return of the dinosaurs, right? Wrong. I swear I saw a woman wearing a Snuggie at my son’s basketball practice. She didn't even appear to have escaped from an institution. For more about the Snuggie phenomenon, click here.
  • Here’s my political observation of the day: How come Democrats want to raise your taxes, but they can’t seem to pay their own? Are you listening Tom Daschle?
  • Finally, my good friend Todd Tucker is about to release his latest book, Atomic America. As usual, I can’t seem to drum up any interest from the Courier-Journal about his story. If Todd would only consent to having octuplets, I think we’d be on to something. In the meantime, you can preview his book here.