What's that smell? It's just Tom, driving around listening to commercials

I don't use my car's air conditioner. You're welcome. I just figure that if I choose to live in the desert, I know it's going to be hot, so I might as well get used to it. Maybe I could sell my carbon credits to Al Gore and turn around and give the money to John McCain's campaign. He's our favorite son, you know, and he's short on cash. (The kind of thinking displayed in this paragraph is the result of driving around without an air conditioner.)

I sometimes listen to CDs. I'm sticking with CDs for another year or two just to make sure that this iPod thing isn't just a fad. Because it's the summer, you can't leave a bunch of CDs just lying around on the front seat. (And how many different times have I learned that particular lesson?) So I'll have one in the CD player, and I'll go back and forth between it and the radio. I'll play the one CD for a couple of days or so until I become sufficiently tired of it to make me go to the trunk to get another one out.

Actually, I've been listening to this one CD, James Morrison's Undiscovered, off and on for much of the summer. He's a soulful white-guy singer-songwriter in the mold of John Mayer, Jason Mraz and James Blunt, and the CD is spectacular; I highly recommend it. It's got this one song, "The Pieces Don't Fit Any More," that's positively haunting. Anybody who's ever broken up with a guy or a girl or a mechanic or a barber or a rec-league basketball team will find it most poignant.

When I'm not listening to the CD, I'll listen to the radio, mostly right-wing crackpot talk radio or even-more-crackpot sports-talk radio. That stuff can't help but make you feel superior.

Lately, I've been paying attention to the commercials and, as Slim Pickens said in Blazing Saddles: I am depressed. It's amazing, some of the products and services that are being hawked on the radio, and even more so, the way they're being marketed.

I know that I'm full of crap from time to time (I'll wait), but I'm absolutely amazed at how these radio-commercial people do their writing. I understand that you've got 30 or 60 seconds to grab somebody's attention, sell a product and then leave the listener hungry, anxious or seeking revenge, depending on the product. But some of the commercials I hear leave me screaming at the car radio, which is already overheated from not having any air conditioning.

For example, the velvety voice of Tina Naughton comes on and says, "The reports are in, and they think this could be one of Tucson's hottest summers ever."

Oh really? And exactly what reports are those? The ones compiled by an 8-year-old who realizes that Tucson's hot in the summer? Exactly what meteorological phenomena will point to one summer being hotter than any other?

To be fair, as it turns out, we did almost break the record for consecutive 100-degree days, and the monsoon came late, but it's been almost nonstop rain since, and it's been wetter than usual. What about those reports?

Then there's the one for the strip joint that invites you to "come party with Tucson's prettiest ladies." In the interest of full disclosure, I've never been in a bar of any kind, let alone the strip variety, but I have to be skeptical.

I won't go into the use of the term "ladies," because I'm sure that all of those women are just using that job to pay their way through college, after which they'll become social workers. But "prettiest ladies"? I can't be sure, but I'm betting that Tucson's prettiest ladies probably work someplace else. Of course, if the women are naked, and the patrons are drunk, you're not going to get much of an argument over the "prettiest ladies" statement at the source.

I despise the one with the guy who says, "I got popped for DUI and I was charged with 10 different crimes. (The lawyer) got all of the counts dismissed, and I didn't even have to go to court."

First of all, I'll bet your parents are proud, unless, of course, you killed them while driving drunk. Why is this being advertised? I'm waiting for the follow-up commercial where the guy says that his brush with the law has convinced him to change his ways, but the truth is probably that when he realized he could endanger people's lives and then avoid any responsibility simply by giving a lawyer some money, he probably went out that night, got plastered and then drove home drunk.

But that's not as bad as the one for the radar detector that's touted as being "illegal in eight states." I can just hear Delbert out there saying, "Wow, we're lucky it's not illegal in all 53."

The makers of this product will even pay your speeding ticket if you get popped while using the device. About two-thirds of the way through the commercial, the hyper voice says, "Of course, we don't condone reckless driving." Wrong. They not only condone it; they promote it, and they're selling it.

I hope they get crashed into by the drunk-ass dude from the previous commercial.

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