The Peloton Ad: My Take

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the “controversial” Peloton ad which a bunch of strangers using the soapbox that is Twitter have labeled “sexist.”

In case you haven’t, here it is (for as long as they keep in on YouTube).

I’ve read the opinions and articles on this ad. I’ve watched it a few times for the sake of this blog post. The analysis from the court of public opinion has ranged from a husband who bought the bike for his wife because he is obsessed with keeping her in shape to a husband that is abusive toward her.

Yeesh. The vitriol! I’m absolutely amazed by how many people turned out to be relationship experts and knew their status and history after watching a 30-second spot. In fact, the actor who plays the husband recently spoke out and is now worried about how the backlash from every Tom, Dick and Harry may be damaging his career.

Meanwhile, the actress who played the wife got a gig for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin as a way to poke back at how the Peloton ad was perceived by the Twitterverse (or if you’ve been blogging for 15 years like me, the blogosphere).

At this point, another opinion about this doesn’t really make much of a difference because the consensus is that she’s more or less in a blink-if-you’re-in-danger relationship and she needs to workout – or else.

But I’m going to give you mine anyway. And because the ad has already been chastised and labeled as wrong, I’m going to look beyond the surface and try to put a positive light on it because hey, what else should I be doing on a Saturday night, right?

First, let’s be honest. At a starting price of over $2,000 (not including membership), this is not a cheap gift. Granted, the ad does depict them as affluent and not necessarily concerned about the cost but maybe, just maybe, she actually wanted the bike, hence her surprise.

It sounds silly, I know. But why would she want it? Perhaps she lives in a town where inclement weather is commonplace – the ad does show it snowing in one scene. Or perhaps she tried spin classes and it turns out she’s not a fan of being in a hot, sweaty, trainer-yelling-in-your-face environment. Honestly, I don’t care much for gyms either because the scenery never changes whether you’re on the stationary bike or treadmill. I’d rather be outside breathing fresh air and logging actual miles riding to the beach and back which is possible year-round where I live.

Then there’s the new GritCycle gym that just opened up in a shopping complex down the street from us. The place is so packed that we can hardly find parking if we just want to go for a tea. I wouldn’t want to deal with that, either.

Another criticism of the ad was that she doesn’t look like she needs to lose weight, hence the theory about hubby making her do the workouts. While I was never a fan of fitness ads depicting thin people trying to be thin, it’s not always about what you see on the surface.

Near the end of the spot, where she documents her progress throughout by shooting video selfies, she looks into the camera and says, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me. Thank you.”

As you may have read in my previous posts, over a year ago my wife was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had a nephrectomy on October 2018. The road to recovery after any surgery, let alone one where they removed two organs and the fat pocket surrounding them, is not an easy one and getting back into the swing of things can prove to be difficult.

One of the things all of her –ologists recommended was being less sedentary once her recovery was complete – and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Last August, we paid for the annual parking pass for our local park so that I can aid in her recovery by either walking or cycling with her around the park or neighboring nature center trails.

To see her now, logging up to 5 miles either on foot or riding the saddle, you would never know that I took a week vacation last year to sleep next to her in a lounge chair while she slept on the couch – her stitches prevented her from climbing in and out of bed – to help her get up and sit down whenever she needed it. She’s now cancer-free and getting her doctor-recommended dose of exercise. Because of everything she’s gone through, she’s also the strongest woman I know. Let’s not even talk about her difficult pregnancy.

Although you would never know by her appearance, perhaps Peloton Wife falls into a similar category and her daily workouts are her way of proving to everyone that she’s not only on the road to recovery but getting stronger by the day – even when she begrudgingly wakes up at 6 am to work out (believe me, my wife and I have been there). Recovery takes strength and determination, both of which are shown in the ad.

And there you have it. I just spent a good amount of time analyzing a commercial that in today’s viral-obsessed world nobody will even care about in a week. But my point was that we don’t always know the backstory nor should we pretend to. This was just a way of, based on my personal experience, shedding a different light on what so many saw as a negative depiction of a relationship.

Because if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

RIP Stephen Hillenburg

I named my blog Holographic Meatloaf when I couldn’t think of anything else and because I’m a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants. The domain was available and I went for it.

Years later, even if I don’t blog as much as I used to, I keep it named to honor the show that made me laugh from its inception.

And today, the world got news that the creator of the show, Stephen Hillenburg, passed away at 57 after a battle with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It’s a sad day for fans everywhere. While the show had to evolve with the times (HD and whatnot), the classic episodes will always be some of the funniest and craziest shit I’ve ever seen. Next to The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants is the most quotable show that still has a daily impact on my life.

Ann and I started watching from the beginning in 1999 and when our son came along, he eventually began watching and still loves it — and the memes it has since spawned (he’s a teenager now).

And with a blog named after Plankton’s favorite (or not) meal, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the show’s creator.

Thank you, Stephen Hillenburg, for your gift to the world. You will be missed.

The Simpsons Quotes in Daily Life, Vol. 2

In keeping things current with my blog, I’m continuing my series of entries that I started in…uh, November 2017. Maybe I should really stick with that, huh?

Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, this series of posts covers quotes from The Simpsons that have made their way into the daily lives of  La Familia Moreno. Pretty simple.

So here we go with Volume 2!

1. The Royal Sampler

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Situation: When Homer’s birthmark leads The Stonecutters to believe he is “the chosen one,” they do anything to appease him including rigging their poker game by telling him he as a Royal Sampler. In reality, it’s a hand of cards that wouldn’t win anything.

Family Usage: Quite a different connotation. We use it to describe a mish-mash of anything from groceries to food ordered at a restaurant.

Me (looking at groceries on the conveyor belt): Man. Cat litter, muffins, and ant spray. That’s quite the Royal Sampler.

2. That dog has a puffy tail! Here puff!

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Situation: Homer’s attention quickly shifts from his doppelganger, Guy Incognito, who was just thrown out of Moe’s because Moe thought it was Homer in disguise.

Family Usage: We all use this one because we’re all guilty of being distracted during conversation and will blurt it immediately whenever any of us drifts off-course when explaining something. Works especially well with teenagers.

3. You just keep right on driving.

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Situation: When Homer sees an ad for a free tramampoline trampopoline trampoline, he picks it up and decides to open Homerland. Too many kids get hurt and he tries to return it to its original owner, Krusty, who pulls out a shotgun and says, “You just keep right on driving.”

Family Usage: Admittedly, I like second-hand stuff and I find a lot of it around the neighborhood. Some of it has turned out to be a really nice like my Craftsman-style lounge chair which we still have. But if something looks like total crap and I point it out to the family, they will throw this one right in my face.

Me: Wow, look at that old TV!

Ann (pointing at the road ahead): You just keep right on driving.

4. Mmmmmm, nah.

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Situation: In “Lisa the Skeptic,” when all of Springfield is waiting for sunset and the impending Judgment Day, Ned Flanders asks Reverend Lovejoy if they should sing some hymns while they wait for The Second Coming. His response: “Mmmmmm, nah.”

Family Usage: It’s a favorite and used whenever someone really wants to emphasize that we shouldn’t do something.

Ann: So should we clean up the backyard a little bit more today?

Me: Mmmmmm, nah.

Side note: Writers are known for basing characters on people they knew in real life. I would love to know if that’s the case with Reverend Lovejoy since some of his behaviors, like the one listed above, are so un-Christian to say the least.

“I never thought I’d have to do this again,” as he pours gasoline down the aisles of his church (key word: again).

“Damn Flanders!” after a call from Ned forces him to wreck his toy trains.

Giving Ned advice: “Ned, have you considered any of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.”

On the Bible: “Have you ever read this thing? Technically, we’re not allowed to use the bathroom.”

“Oh mercy, he’s the real deal!” when speaking of The Leader of The Movementarians. He also throws his collar on the ground and stomps it.

I love Reverend Timothy Lovejoy.

5. Says you, woman.

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Situation: Bart’s reply to Marge when she says his back-talking sets a bad example.

Family Usage: My not-so-serious reply to Ann when she tells me something I’m hesitant about.

Ann: You know, that backyard really could use some cleaning up.

Me: Says you, woman!

(We’ll have been married 25 years in June. Don’t judge.)

That’s a wrap on this volume. Come back in, oh, six months for the next batch!

The Simpsons Quotes in Daily Life, Vol. 1

I follow a few Facebook fan pages that are dedicated to The Simpsons and the other day, they were asking what everybody’s favorite quotes were.

It was then that I realized that not only were some of them my favorites but also used in the daily life of my family. (And believe it or not, Ann absolutely hated The Simpsons when I first met her.)

Granted I don’t watch many of the new episodes because the show seems to have lost its luster and goofy innocence over the years, and I’m a proud owner of Seasons 1-8 on DVD – the only seasons that matter in their entirety with a few episodes from Seasons 10-12 being just okay.

So it’s come to this: I’m compiling a list of quotes from the show that we seem to use on a daily basis or when the situation allows/is perfect for them. And for the next few days (or as more are added), I’ll be posting them here in an effort to keep me away from my iPad and sinking into Candy Crush Saga oblivion.

I actually bought more lives and power-ups the other day. Hey, it was a Black Friday sale and 86% off. LEAVE ME ALONE.

Ahem. Here are the first five quotes from the list which are in no particular order of preference.

1. Sweet merciful crap!

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Situation: Homer’s reaction to seeing his car decorated with assorted creatures from the sea. A fellow blogger has also taken a shine to this quote over the years.

Family Usage: Pretty much the same kind of situation or if, say, we wake up to a pile of shredded paper towels that a little black kitten we all know and love tore up while we were sleeping.

2. Uh-oh, something’s gonna die.

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Situation: John’s reaction when he sees Homer, dressed in hunting gear, arrive at Cockamamies to pick up Bart.

Family Usage: This one comes in handy whenever Anthony says he’s going to do something outlandish like attach his GoPro to something and shoot a video as he skateboards.

3. Remember, we’re in the Itchy lot.

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Situation: When the family arrives at Itchy and Scratchy Land, where nothing can possib-lie go wrong, Homer reminds them in which lot they parked. There’s only two and both are equally huge. Thank goodness for the signs.

Family Usage: On the rare occasion when we go to Disneyland, this quote will make itself known and it’s still funny because it’s true. By the way, they are adding even more parking in an effort to accommodate the upcoming Star Wars Land. Talk about too many people.

4. I can’t believe you don’t shut up!

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Situation: Apu’s interjection to Homer when he keeps giving him romance advice.

Family Usage: Too many: when one of the cats keeps caterwauling for no reason, whenever Donald Trump is on TV blathering about the NFL or some other piece of legislation he’s introducing that will get shot down, etc. This one comes in handy.

5. Like, you know, whatever.

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Situation: In an effort to leave the old Lisa Simpson behind and be accepted by the cool kids while at The Flandereses vacation home, Lisa tries to change her style and adopt new vernacular.

Family Usage: We tend to use this in more of a dismissive yet agreeable way.

Ann: Does spaghetti sound good for dinner?

Me: Like, you know, whatever.

And that’s the first five of who knows how many. I’ll keep adding them to my list in Evernote and posting them here. Stay tuned!

Baby, You’re A Star

Sunday was a nice, blustery day so we decided to get out of the house and do a little bit of shopping – mostly window-wishing – at the local outlet.

As is the case with most outlets these days, the walkways are riddled with independent vendors trying to push their wares to anybody that passes. I had heard it said that these guys are the modern-day equivalent of pop-up ads and it’s true: they just keep pestering you.

But one booth wasn’t selling tennis shoe polish, laser-etched iPhone cases or fidget spinners (and I swear if I hear my kid say that one more time, I’ll scream). And unlike most of the booths, it was unmanned when we passed it.

What they were selling was a Hollywood dream to make it big in television and movies. It was a casting agency that specialized in recruiting children and teens for studios like Nickelodeon, Disney, etc. or so they say.

And it wasn’t until we were ready to leave when we were approached by the person who was running the booth. Apparently she thought we looked like a bunch of pigeons as she walked up to us, taking particular interest in Anthony.

She first asked if we were local. I confirmed her suspicion. Then the spiel began about how she was looking for teens age whatever-to-whatever to cast for shows on the aforementioned networks. That’s when I started to grin and then dropped the mic on her.

“Nah, that’s okay. I used to do background acting and…”

At the mention of “background acting” I swear that woman left a puff of smoke behind her and disappeared faster than Usain Bolt in the 100m dash.

Why is that?

There are a few reasons for her to not take interest in me or Anthony.

First, casting agencies in general. When you’re selling Hollywood to some slack-jawed yokel that doesn’t know any better, they will of course shovel out whatever it takes to make their kid a star. And that’s the problem: legit agencies will NEVER ask for money up front, and you can bet that this one was going to ask me for my wallet in order to get Anthony a few headshots that would be stuffed into an album of hundreds of others that already got bilked and still haven’t been cast for anything. For my casting file, my headshot was taken with a digital camera at the agency. That’s all they need especially if it’s only non-union background work. Speaking parts require SAG-AFTRA union membership and that costs money, something that you pay directly to the union and not the agency. Only then will you make decent money. Until then it’s minimum wage, baby. Except may for the monetary bumps for exposure to smoke, water, or the studio using your car in the background as well. Living the Hollywood dream? Hardly.

Second, I’ve seen what kids have to go through in this industry. For adults, it’s no big deal other than hustling for more jobs during your downtime between shots and there is a lot of downtime. For kids, however, it means having their parents on location with them, going to the on-set “school” between shots, and just long days that nobody that young should be put through. There’s never guarantee of when the production will wrap and if they have another shoot the next morning or get a callback for the current one, it’s a lot of stress for parents and kids. Kids also get hungry and antsy. This is why they are so hard to work with. It’s a miserable existence and a life I would never wish on any child. Believe me, it’s nothing like what you see on the screen or social media.

I can say quite confidently that those last two paragraphs are exactly what went through the mind of this woman as she ran away from me. She knew I had an inside track about the industry and didn’t even want to mess with me.

So sorry, kid. You’re not going to be the next big thing.

But you’ll always be our star.

Photo May 07, 5 28 41 PM