Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 9: Soda Pop Art Productions

A World of Beverage Choices!

A million graphic designers at a million drawing boards could make one heck of a Picture Bible or create infinite bottles and cans for 133 years of happy fun liquid products.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

Atlanta is home to a few major companies with international reach and historical impact. Among them, Coca-Cola may be the largest and/or oldest. The World of Coca-Cola, the official museum for the 133-year-old drink, houses a plethora of examples from the branding powerhouse’s long history of unique designs and consistent flourishes — that white stripe, that glacially metamorphosing calligraphy, that pervasive red. (Websites disagree on exactly which shade or color code of red or pinkish-red.) Some, especially Atlanta residents may regard Coke as an intrinsic part of the American way of life, but a corporation that size is rarely satisfied to depend on a single nation for all its earnings. Its art reaches across the decades and across multiple borders.

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Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 8: Celebrities Love Coke

Paul Newman Coke!

Frankly, if we send Paul Newman to your store and you still can’t sell any Coke, then what you’ve got there is a failure to communicate.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

Atlanta is home to a few major companies with international reach and historical impact. Among them, Coca-Cola may be the largest and/or oldest. The World of Coca-Cola, the official museum for the 133-year-old drink, contains a selection of artifacts bearing the likenesses of actors and sports stars who either were paid to star in Coke ads or whose tours and activities were sponsored by Coke. When your company has been around long enough for your products to become certified Americana, it’s only a matter of time until famous folks see benefits in doing business with you.

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 6: How Green Was My Giant

Giant + Anne!

Remember, kids: eat all your vegetables — especially the canned ones — and you can grow up big and strong like this vegan colossus.

Everybody loves advertising mascots! Granted, kids may not fully appreciate mascots trying to convince them to eat things they think are terrible. They’ll follow those characters’ extremely short cartoons, but stop short of paying attention to their endorsement. In that sense, the Jolly Green Giant is one of those heroic hucksters who may appeal more to nostalgic adults with broader palates than to kids who don’t understand why they never get to see him stomping on bank robbers. Sure, the Green Giant could use his powers for good rather than for capitalism, but then he’d be taking valuable jobs away from our hard-working police forces. Also, good luck trying to convince him to wear a body-cam.

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Two Notes from Wizard World Chicago 2017

John Barrowman!

Longtime MCC readers will remember our jazz-hands photo op with TV’s John Barrowman from Wizard World Chicago 2016. Somehow this gentleman keeps coming back into our lives again and again…

It’s that time once more! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found much enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. Friday night left us near death by the end of our day, after a few miles’ worth of walking up and down the aisles and hallways, with breaks to go stand in lines of varying lengths and value. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

We’ll be posting our photos ASAP after we get home — including some new jazz hands and, yes, all the cosplay we caught on camera — but will regrettably come up one major actor short of our original hopes.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #23: Times Square for Old Times’ Sake

NY Gifts!

Manhattan nighttime even makes mere souvenir shopping look cooler.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

After our Wicked matinee and dinner, my wife and son were wiped out and done sightseeing for Day Five. I had a bit of energy left and one more errand I wanted to run. Anne was a little uneasy letting me go traipsing alone through the streets of New York City, but I promised I wouldn’t be out all night. My destination was an easy half-mile walk, and gave me an excuse for one last stroll through the electric scenery of Times Square.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #11: Time Yet Again for Times Square

Duffy Square!

The red stairs of Duffy Square: where all the cool vacationers come to sit down and appear in the backgrounds of everyone else’s photos.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Returning to Times Square was inevitable, and not just because our hotel was a few blocks away. All those colossal neon ad campaigns attract tourists like we’re wingless moths, but instead of electrocuting us, they hope to implant latent signals that will one day activate on a time delay and zap our mental processing centers till we agree to empty our wallets and purses in the general direction of the products, goods, or services that previously loomed above us and dominate our vacation slideshows.

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Our 2011 Road Trip #25: Our Last Times Square Parade

New Year's Eve ball!

This New Year’s Eve ball may be retired, but it’s still got enough magic in it to perform random countdowns to nothing in particular. Kids love countdowns.

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

Sooner or later, everyone who can’t afford to live in New York has to leave New York. With a handful of hours left on Day Six, it was our turn to start spreading the news and leave here today. We voted unanimously for one last walk through Times Square — one last chance to immerse ourselves in that vibrant hodgepodge teeming with life and lights and wonder and costumes and tourists needing directions and open-air claustrophobia, often not in that order.

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Our 2011 Road Trip, Part 4: You Can’t Spell Times Square Without “Mess”

Times Square!

The glitz! The glamor! The glory! The ads for washers and insurance and Michael Bay films!

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

After escaping Newark with our lives, we docked our car at scenic Lincoln Harbor in harmless midscale Weehawken and checked in to our unexpectedly swank hotel. Despite the modest AAA three-diamond rating, our room had two flatscreen TVs, a toilet with two different kinds of flushing buttons, gold-toned bathroom fixtures, an anteroom with couch and spacious desk, luxurious non-threadbare blankets, free AT&T Wi-Fi, and an impeccable, fawning staff. We appreciated the amenities, even though we didn’t need ’em ’cause now we were all hardcore. It’s funny, how driving through Newark changes a man.

With our luggage dropped off and our sense of adventure fully stoked, we took a New Jersey Transit bus through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel (which for me was a moment of WHEEEEE! because long dark tunnels are a peculiar source of fun) and disembarked inside the legendary Port Authority, a multi-level labyrinthine nexus of countless bus stops and other mass-transit connections. Depressing, bustling, underlit, and energetic all at once, the Port Authority and its assorted mall-shaped stores would be our transportation hub for the week.

Right this way to our first set of Times Square photos!

First Teaser Pic Leaked for “Ronald vs. Hamburglar: Dawn of Grease”

New52 Hamburglar!

I worked for McDonald’s for twelve years and wouldn’t be who or what I am today without the experience, but the place keeps getting funnier every time I see them try something different.

In the past week the venerable fast food behemoth had announced plans to ditch several superfluous menu items, add a few new superfluous items, test a McDonald’s delivery service, and consider raising its workers’ wages across the board so they’ll have an excuse to double their prices. Today the veil of secrecy was lifted on an upcoming TV project in which the company has paid an ad agency to reboot the Hamburglar for a 21st-century audience, maybe because his copyright was about to expire and Arby’s was ready to make a play for him.

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Random Fun Moments in Comic Book Ads

Kung Fu Sandals!

Source: Incredible Hulk #205, cover-dated November 1976.

Hey, kids! If you’re chasing your dream of becoming a world-class martial artist like Bruce Lee or Jim Kelly or Chuck Norris, you’ll need proper footwear. And what better footwear than used sandals once worn by the great Oriental Fighting Masters? Either they outgrew them, saved up to buy better ones, or died fighting in them, and now they can be yours for just three bucks and a crude outline of your own foot on notebook paper, so we can tell which dead masters wore your size. We’re located up in scenic Connecticut, where all the most renowned sensei live. Send us your allowance today!

Right this way for four more clippings from ye olde times!

Freebies Our Household Will Never Need Again

free calendar

…thank you? I’m not required to treasure it always, am I?

When I was a kid, no one ever warned me about all the free calendars we’d receive in the mail every year. And everyone needs a calendar, right? It’s handy reference material you can nail onto your wall for easy glancing whenever you need to center yourself at a fixed point in time, or for scribbling reminders of important future dates. As an added bonus, the good kind of calendar comes with twelve free mini-posters to liven up your living space and remind you of things you like. While today’s smartphones can duplicate most calendar functions and render them mostly obsolete, they make terrible wall art because of their miniature nature and their resistance to clean nailing.

In my mind, an effective calendar needs to contain enough artistic merit that I’ll want it in my presence for twelve straight months. It helps if its content is somehow related to any of my interests at all. Free calendars, which are nearly always a promotional giveaway in honor of someone’s product that I’m probably not buying, are not consequently never my thing. Exhibit A: the example shown above, which landed in our mailbox today as a token of good will from representatives of certain non-renewable energy concerns. Because all my friends know my name is synonymous with “geek pipeline safety”.

And the non-essentials don’t stop there…

Indiana Ad Campaign Targets Unsuspecting, Hopefully Well-Connected Times Square Tourists

Indiana business ad

There’s more than corn in Indiana! Now we’re gonna have trips to MARS. Your move, Kentucky.

I’m used to seeing other states infiltrating Indiana’s airwaves with their vacation ads. Ohio, Tennessee, and even faraway Florida have been grasping at our wallets for years. Michigan even stepped up their game a while back by hiring the Tim Allen to narrate their radio ads in dulcet, nature-loving tones, mesmerizing us with the possibilities of boating and hiking and exploring the wonders of God’s creation due north of us, all while carefully sidestepping the whole Detroit thing.

This week, Indiana decided to strike back and dream big. Rather than harass our mediocre neighbors, the Powers That Be struck a deal that leapfrogged over Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the northwest corner of New Jersey to target the Big Apple itself. In an even brasher move against the colossus that is New York City, we’re not even bragging about our welcoming tourist trade, our copious sports-related attractions, or our much cheaper downtown parking. Apparently we’re looking for a few good businesses.

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