Greeting Card Hell - NBC Chicago
Ben’s Breakfast Blog

Greeting Card Hell



    * People like this rooted for Adam Lambert.

    * If you're not getting your 14-year-old a bikini wax, you are a bad parent.

    Police find a missing 555-pound 14-year-old.  Was it really that tough?  Follow the trail of Cheeto dust or just use Google Earth and look for the thing that looks like a beached whale wayyyy inland.

    * Your job may suck, but at least you don't have maggot larvae dropping on you from the ceiling.

    * Even in a recession, 79% of women would be willing to splurge on something to cheer themselves up.  Just like a woman.  Am I right? (tap, tap) Is this thing on?  Don't get me started on woman drivers...

    * Now available: The baby bottle that heats milk on its own.  Ugh, babies these days are so pampered.  When I was a kid, my parents heated milk the old fashioned way - by giving me a lighter and some kindling.

    * After a string of robberies, a Serbian bakery fought back big time... with a poster of Chuck Norris.  Of course, the robberies stopped cold.  (Obligatory link.)

    This Vanity Fair interview with SNL wallflower Abby Elliott isn't terribly interesting.  (Neither is she, for that matter.)  But what IS interesting is the automatically generated "related links."  (Gee, how could a boring interview with Abby Elliott ever generate a link to an article titled "Why Women Aren't Funny"?)

    What can you learn from your parents' marriage?  Personally, I've learned that marriage will end your ability to smile and turn you into a soulless shell of a human, roaming the same house but rarely speaking and refusing to acknowledge the crippling disaster your relationship has become.

    Celebrate your parents' epic disaster with a little mood music.

    3 Wolf T-shirt Update!  After we blew the lid off the 3 Wolf T-shirt phenomenon earlier this month, sales of this bad boy have skyrocketed 2,300%.

    * I shoulda been a judge.  Seems hot lady lawyers are prancing around in nearly nothing these days.  Man, everywhere I work, women are totally clothed all the time.  This is unacceptable.

    * The top 5 crimes of crummy managers.  (#2 - Not hiring scads of available single ladies for the benefit of the otherwise sheltered lads of the office.)

    * Because the world doesn't have enough things to hate: The Bazooka Joe Movie.

    * I bet you were sitting around hoping someone would dig up a clip of a weird little kid lip synching to a song he barely knows while spinning around and eventually grabbing a Wii controller.  Rejoice, my blog minions.  Dreams come true.

    1:50 p.m. - Give birth. 
    4:30 p.m. - Get married.

    * Here's that Jimmy Kimmel rant where he (shockingly) tells the truth about how every network is going to ruthlessly kill their newborn shows within a few weeks or months.  (NSFW language.)

    * Today I bought birthday cards for two of my siblings and a Father's Day card (because you can only wander the card aisle so many times before your eyeballs dry up and explode into powder).  Is there anything more haphazard than greeting card shopping?  Cards can be broken down into five categories...

    + Little Kid Cards - These feature enormous photos of cartoon characters on the front.  Depending on how much you're willing to spend, you can get a legit star like Batman or a poor man's 'toon like a Number Three that just happens to have eyes and a smile.  Ultimately, you're buying a card for a little kid.  He's not going to appreciate it (and he probably won't be able to read it), so you're buying this more to score points with the parents than anything else.

    + Boring Cards -While most cards attempt to be entertaining, there's a large subset that just aim for straight shooting.  "A mother's love is special."  Way to bring home the sentiment, Hallmark.  "I am so thankful for a grandfather like you."  Oh, you can just feel the emotions pouring out.  "We are thinking of you in this difficult time."  Really?  If you're thinking of me, why couldn't you write that on the card instead of having it pre-printed?  Boring cards will always have flowers printed on them.  Always.

    Raunchy Cards - If you are to believe the greeting card aisle, every father loves fishing, beer and TV.  Every middle-aged woman's body is rapidly falling apart.  Every adult male wants to open a card with a bikini girl on it.  (Which would be true, if there were some sort of payoff on the inside.)  I cringe for the givers and the recipients of such cards.  Is your relationship that shallow that your buddy's birthday deserves a printed fart joke?  Is your girlfriend so boy-crazy that she wants a card with a picture of a lubed-up construction worker on the front?  Most importantly, are you so lacking dignity that you're willing to take this card to the checkout line, blow $74 (or however much a stamp costs these days) to mail it, and then sit back for the reaction from your fellow high school dropout?  If these cards appeal to you, it's probably more for the pictures than the words because you are a backwoods caveman who has yet to master written language.

    + Gimmick Cards - Oh, neat!  This card plays music when it opens!  And it costs twice as much as a regular card!  This will really wow 'em!  A great idea for anyone who finds simple pictures too subtle.  And if you struggle with coming up with your own words for that daunting empty left side of the card, a talking/singing card is perfect.  After its initial opening, the card will become so annoying, the recipient will never open it again.  So even if you fill the left side of the card with total drivel, it's likely to be read just once.

    This category also includes cards purposely glued together as some sort of practical joke.  (They're the ones your fellow customers ripped open, unable to get the joke.)  And you have the cards with mylar "mirrors" on the inside, pop-up cards or greetings that appear to be one thing, until you open the card to find that the context of the original picture has changed.  Do people laugh out loud at these hijinks or do they just shrug their shoulders and cast them aside for something, anything more entertaining?

    Legitimately Useful Cards - Somewhere in that stack of 4,000 awful, repulsive cards, there are maybe a half-dozen that you wouldn't be ashamed to give to someone you love.  If you can sift through several hundred soul-deadening, unfunny, morally reprehensible greeting cards, you may be lucky enough to find a winner.  And when you do, you will be so grateful to escape, you will hardly notice that it costs $2-4.  Considering your friend will actually look at this card for a grand total of 30 seconds, that works out to about $480/hr.

    Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, kids!  The blog returns Tuesday morning.

    To comment, click the blog title and scroll down.  E-mail: ben.bowman(AT)

    See Ben improvise with Whiskey Rebellion this Sunday @ 8 p.m. in the iO Theater's Cabaret.