LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A ban on new fast-food restaurants in poor Los Angeles neighborhoods has made headlines around the world, but residents say they don't plan to give up their cheeseburgers, fried chicken and tacos anytime soon.
The moratorium, which was passed in July, was intended to fight obesity in low-income communities of America's second-largest city where healthy food is hard to find.
The move is trend-setting California's latest salvo in an expanding war on the fast-food industry, which is bracing for copycat maneuvers around the United States that could threaten growth.
But residents are skeptical that such laws will have much impact in Los Angeles' low-income and minority neighborhoods, which are already blanketed with cheap and easy-to-find meals at chains such as McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Domino's Pizza.
"It's stupid. It's our body, we choose what we put in it," Tonya Owens, a 45-year-old nurse assistant told Reuters.
But it's for your own good. Ungrateful poor people!
I'll say again, though: maybe red and yellow scare you, maybe you don't like clowns, maybe plastic chairs make you itch. But a Big Mac has 540 calories. That's not very much. Especially compared to this, or even just a Double-Double at In-N-Out, which would be the last thing in the world any proud Californian would boycott or ban from opening in his hometown. What's the difference? That McDonald's hasn't been humiliated and browbeaten into enough concessions to pallid chicken wraps and nonfat yogurt parfaits? That In-N-Out, with its cookie-cutter store plans and un-PC Bible verses printed on paper cups and faux 40s nostalgia wall art, is somehow more "pure"? Or that the trend simply hasn't caught up to it yet?
I tell you, I dread that day. Because some hope remains as long as In-N-Out remains open.
Okay, so... this is the vaunted "Seinfeld" ad campaign Microsoft is launching?
Seriously: this is not any kind of new tactic for Microsoft's advertising. All the TV ads I can remember for Windows and Microsoft in the last few years have all been nebulous, grandiose, and full of vague promises of awesomeness with a befuddling lack of specifics. Clever, sure: the ads where someone acting out his dreams gets overlaid by white lines that illustrate the full-scale realization of those dreams were always well-done and genuinely inspiring. But the message was always: Microsoft is good. Not Here is a cool feature of Windows, or Here is a piece of software that Jimmy can use to turn his lemonade stand into a global drink brand. Just something more like If you succeed, there's probably a Microsoft product somewhere in your career trajectory. Which I guess is a fine message to send, but only if your primary interest in Microsoft has to do with their stock price. Otherwise, they might as well be telling you: Ubiquity means never having to ask who makes your tools.
This ad is more of the same sort of stuff. Microsoft is going to do cool vague things. Uh, okay. They've been saying that since 1995. And, well, I guess they've delivered. Delivered lots of cool vague things. Somewhat cool, but mostly vague.
Apple's ads—particuarly the iPhone ads—are a stark contrast, in that all they do is show you features. Sure, the demos might be tarted-up and unrealistic; but they're so simple in concept that nobody else in the industry could have come up with them. No sweeping visual metaphors. No blaring music or lifestyle fantasies. No chocolate sauce pouring over shiny phones or armies of phone company employees following you around. Just some guy going "Hey, look what this thing can do".
I'm not saying that method is inherently better—I mean, it's not like Apple doesn't do nebulous vague brand-oriented advertising (we've got seven years of iPod ads to tell us that). But is anybody going to buy more Microsoft products because Bill Gates slyly shook his ass in the parking lot?
Hey, remember the SoloTrek, that personal helicopter/ducted fan thing that flew noisily around all the geek blogs back around 2002? Sure looked like it had potential; apparently it ate itself a few years ago. Looks like the self-inflicted damage was only due to the testbed safety measures themselves backfiring, but one can only imagine what else could have gone wrong in the real world. Those could have been power lines just as easily.
Well, some Germans appear to be making their own go at it. Definitely looks a lot more substantial, but damn—only 20 minutes?
Nevertheless, I love that people are so passionate about projects like this that they're willing to sink in so much of their own funding with little to no hope that it'll ever see market viability...
Following an improbable series of linkages, starting from a story in last month's Road & Track about Carroll Shelby and his Terlingua Ranch in southwestern Texas and the Mustang he'd just built, and the circuitous road that the R&T editors took through the Texas mountains toward the border to find his legendary chili-cookoff ranch and drive the car, in the process passing through Marfa, Texas (where the James Dean movie Giant was filmed, and, later, the Kevin Costner movie Fandango was overlaid on top of it with references back to Giant and its filming locations for good measure), I found myself watching Fandango last night.
It's a fairly silly little 80s movie, with a shoestring budget (1985 Dallas stands in gamely for 1971 Dallas) and a 30-year-old Costner playing an 18-year-old newlygrad; but it's fun. People have apparently put in a decent amount of effort in tracking the filming locations, in particular the filming venue for the climactic scene where the group of "Groovers" dig up "Dom" (a well-disguised point of rocks just north of the Rio Grande 10 miles west of Lajitas, with Ranch Road 170 carefully cropped out of every shot).
But I'm here to tell you this: nobody is going to push an out-of-gas mid-century Cadillac from the location of the McLean Massacre (just outside of Elkhart, Texas) to Marfa in one night. Seriously.