Video Digest: October 20, 2006

Nature vs. nasty: Great white sharks, early in the morning; Giselle's hump and how young girls can emulate it; Tab, the soda that improves your mind; Salems, the cigarettes that soften your look; The history of technology taking over our lives, and a sign that cats will soon rule the planet.

Tuesday at 4 a.m., a clatter awakes me from sleep. In the dark of my living room, I find my cat batting around a small lump—a scrunchie, perhaps, or one of those glitter balls I bought at the pet store. I pick up the lump, which is when the lump moves. I’m sorry, let’s repeat that: IT MOVES. I turn on the light to find a tiny mouse, no larger than a silver dollar. Before I can react, the cat spears the mouse with one claw and begins gnawing on it like a buffalo wing. What did I do? I went back to bed. Jesus, I was tired. Moral of the story? You can’t fight nature. And mice go better with a tasty blue-cheese dressing!

Speaking of natural predators: Not so long ago, the Monterrey Bay Aquarium acquired a white shark, which you can (kind of) watch via the site’s live webcam. I think I saw the big guy a couple of times, although the music hypnotized me into doing vinyasa yoga. Personally, I prefer the sea otter portion of the site—I suggest the “sea otter antics” video for maximum cuteness (Spoiler alert: There are penguins, too!)—but thanks to a Metafilter post, I did find some awesome great white shark action on YouTube. Imagine watching this at 4 a.m. in your living room.

There’s nothing natural about today’s media images. With all the retouching, young girls probably don’t know that Giselle Bundchen is a 4’8” hunchback. Thankfully, this Dove Evolution commercial nicely demystifies the beautification process. Moms everywhere breathe a sigh of relief. Third-grade girls everywhere teach themselves Photoshop.

Much has been written about Dove’s progressive “Real Curves” campaign, which promotes healthy body images. For a look at how far we’ve come, check out this Tab commercial from the ‘70s. Amazingly, the catchphrase “Be a mind-sticker” never caught on, although it did fare better than Tab’s original motto, “Poison yourself with this nasty diet cola.”

When it comes to pushing product, nature is always a good selling point. Everyone wants to be outdoors, playing on a swinging rope with a handsome stranger instead of living their stupid, putrid, boring life. Fortunately, Salem cigarettes “breathe in fresh air with every puff.” That must be why that crazy woman smoking Salems always smells so deliciously of a pine forest.

Eventually, nature will be overtaken by technology, and our jobs will be done by robots, which means I can finally get back to watching Days of Our Lives. To witness the evolution, watch this brief history of computers, as seen through old TV ads. The list was assembled by PC World. My favorite may be the following. One reason: Shatner. Also: “Under $300!” Take that, PS3 fans.

So you can’t fight nature. Or maybe you can fight nature. What do I care? My soaps are on. Here is a cat on a treadmill, soundtrack provided by Joe Esposito and the theme song from The Karate Kid. This is old, but (sigh) aren’t we all?

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