Sometimes, Seeing is Even Better than Believing

Lifebuoy shows that real germs are much scarier than consumers might imagine.

Lifebuoy, a soap company, has discovered what may be the most effective way to sell soap. Germs are often represented in promotional materials by cartoonish figures or monsters, with “bad-boy” personalities. But Lifebuoy wanted to show people that they real thing can be much, much worse. By using real objects, they created real cultures as promotional materials to show people in malls in South America how dirty their stuff really is.

The ads, as the video shows, are obviously effective, and super gross. They show real-life bacteria associated with everyday objects like game controllers and phones, and it’s quite disturbing (Kulp). It’s a powerful image, and while it might not make people buy Lifebuoy, maybe more people will wash their hands or sanitize their phones more often. It’s very powerful imagery.

Lifebuoy is good at capturing the public’s attention this way. Recently, in what I think was a more effective display for their brand equity, they used their soap to trace their logo, and it kept bacteria from growing in that area.

The ads are gross, that’s for sure. But they’re also powerful. I don’t think most brands would consider installing giant petri dishes all over the place, but you can’t deny what kind of message it sends. More importantly, this campaign shows germs in their true form, not in the way that we see them in many medicinal and health advertisements today. It’s refreshing, but also meaningful. It has a potential to make a positive, lasting, impression.

Sources Cited:

Kulp, Patrick. “Soap Company Uses Bacteria-coated Billboards to Prove How Dirty Your Stuff Is.” Mashable. Mashable, 01 Dec. 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016. <http://mashable.com/2016/12/02/soap-bacteria-ads/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#I3QOg5I2Qkqx>.

Lifebuoy Magic. Lifebuoy, 12 May 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFCsq05bzhM>.

Powerful Dem Women Want YOU to Join the Girl Club

by Maddie Migis

Emily’s List, a PAC devoted to trying to get pro-choice women democratic candidates elected, just produced a really cool ad. And while yes, PACs aren’t usually the most desirable thing today, this ad is cool. Especially for women.

The point of this video, which you can watch here, is to get women to vote for other women. The video stresses the importance of voting for other women to ensure gender equality. The video also points out that believe-it-or-not,”[y]ou didn’t get here because you’re a woman. You got here because you’re the best person for the job,” says Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (Logan). Women are powerful, and this video does a great job of presenting these powerful women for what they are: forces to be reckoned with.

At the end, an appearance is made by none other than Hillary Clinton, the ultimate #GirlBoss of politics, who re-affirms the message: girls get stuff done. It’s a great, empowering video, showcasing every single Democratic woman in the Senate, and of course, their fearless leader, the pinnacle of female politicians (Logan).

Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s hard to argue the benefits of having strong female role-models in political circles. These women are well-known for their political choices, too, but regardless of their party affiliation, these women can serve as role models across the spectrum for being successful and speaking their minds.

I, of course, love it. I love when other women are empowered by powerful role models such as these Senators (and Hillary). And, after all, the boys can keep “fight club,” because “girl club” is way cooler. After all, “[t]he first rule of girl club is to talk about girl club. Talking is good. It builds community and consensus.”-Tammy Baldwin, Democrat, Wisconsin (Logan).

 

Sources Cited:
Fiorozi, P. (2016, November 3). Clinton, Dem women star in ‘Girl Club’ ad. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/304278-clinton-dem-women-star-in-girl-club-ad

Girl Club by Emily’s List. (2016, November 3). Video [Girl Club]. Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0A6fTN6Jn0: Emily’s List.

Logan, E. (2016, November 3). Get Your Daily Dose of Girl Power With This Awesome New Video from the Democratic Women in Office. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from http://www.glamour.com/story/democratic-women-appear-in-girl-club-video

 

British Army Posts Mediocre Response to Blackface Tweet

Oh the Brits, I love them so. I recently came back from a study abroad to London where I had the best time, and I have very fond memories of both the things I did and the people I met for the most part. But, Brits, like Americans, are human, and they make errors. In this case, the error was made by the British Army.

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The tweet, which reads: “Being a #soldier in the jungle requires a robust sense of humour” with the above image attached. Obviously, by humour (humor, to us Americans), the British Army means the past time of blackface, which people used to find funny until we learned over time how to be decent human beings. Blackface is obviously no longer socially acceptable, and it’s sad that it was ever acceptable in the first place, but the British Army messed up big time on this. Since blackface hasn’t been funny for at least four score years, it’s not surprising that the internet was angry, and lashed out at the British Army appropriately. To the slew of angry responses the British Army received, this was their response:

https://twitter.com/BritishArmy/status/788715021010337792/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The response is a little weak, in my opinion, and, from the backlash, it’s safe to say the internet doesn’t think this is enough either. Directing people back to another place to look at more photos of soldiers in the camouflage, which now, thanks to the British Army’s unsuccessful tweet, just looks like blackface to everyone, probably isn’t the way to go. Now thousands of Irish soldiers, like the man pictured, are likely going to receive backlash too, for wearing blackface. If they don’t receive backlash, it still tarnishes their character. Instead of making their army look brave and courageous while working in the jungle, they’ve made them look silly, if not a bit racist, and haven’t really apologized appropriately either. I still love you though, Great Britain, even though you messed up big time on this one. Send another apology tweet (a better one) and maybe we can still be friends.

References:
Allen, K. (2016, October 20). British Army apologizes for ‘blackface’ tweet. Retrieved October 20, 2016.

Dean, S. (2016, October 19). Wednesday Brit Bash – British Army under fire for racist … Retrieved October 20, 2016, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/19/british-army-under-fire-for-racist-tweet-that-showed-a-soldier-w/

Picture courtesy of the Telegraph.

CoverGirl’s First CoverBoy

CoverGirl, a drugstore beauty staple, has been picking a diverse lineup of women to represent it’s makeup for decades. Beginning with powerful female role models of multiple races and sexual orientations, like Queen Latifah and Ellen, from new up-and coming celebrities, like Zendaya.

But CoverGirl has picked a new “Cover Girl,” aka brand ambassador, and he’s not a girl at all. He’s a 17-year-old high-school student named James Charles, and his beauty skills are unparalleled.

CoverGirl has been trying really hard to reach the millennial marketplace. I can tell because I always see their promoted tweets (for Katy Perry’s lipstick line) on my timeline. They’re absolutely relentless. Katy Perry’s new cosmetics line is minimally packaged and edgy, with cute, kitschy names for her lipstick shades that makes them appealing to young women. But choosing Charles as an ambassador is a whole new kind of genius.

Social media influencers like Charles have a crazy amount of influence with their followers. James Charles has 613k of them. Let alone he’s a male, part of a demographic that’s growing in popularity. Many male makeup influencers have large followings on social media and popular YouTube channels.

By picking James Charles as a “Cover Girl,” CoverGirl makes friends with all the millennials who love the progressive side of the makeup industry, where anyone can rock a smokey eye and a nude lip. Coleman undoubtedly has the skill to play with a major brand, though he’s just 17.

The internet’s reaction to Charles’s new ambassador position has been beaming. The internet loves that a well-deserving (well-liked) male makeup artist gets recognized by a big brand. CoverGirl is asking people to welcome him to the GoverGirl lineup with the hashtag #COVERGIRLJames, and he’s gotten lots of love. Thanks CoverGirl, and thanks James Charles, for your amazing makeup looks, I hope there’s many more to come. And can we talk about his highlight? #SLAY

 

 

Sources Cited:

Allen, K. (2016, October 13). CoverGirl taps YouTube star to be its first CoverBoy. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/21575.aspxSources Cited:

Feldman, J. (2016, October 11). Meet the First Ever Male CoverGirl, James Charles. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cover-girl-boy-james-charles_us_57fbf36ee4b0b6a43034bd60

 

Everyone’s Favorite Female Superhero is Out of the Closet, No One is Surprised.

Wonder Woman is Queer, Duh.

By Maddie Migis

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It has just been announced, by the current head writer of the popular Wonder Woman comic Greg Rucka, that the main character (known both as Wonder Woman and Diana) is queer (Karlan). Bisexual, to be more precise. This move is simply a happy admittance of a very solid backstory and rationale for the character’s LGBT status: she grew up on a planet that consisted of only women. This place is referred to as an “Amazonian Paradise,” of course, with no men (Prudom). The creators of the comic book ascertain that of course, growing up without men, Diana is attracted to women. She’s also attracted to men, however, as bisexuality is not a concept on her home planet, and does not hold a social stigma or any other type of societal penalty.

While some LGBT individuals might wish for this man-less planet full of Amazonian bisexual women, others are just thankful that LGBT characters are finally getting to have a say, in the open, about LGBT people. As a demographic that makes up a huge segment of the market, it’s good that DC Comics is finally thinking about that market. Though Wonder Woman’s identity feels like a perfect, if not logical fit due to her upbringing and heritage, it’s a welcome addition to the comic book universe. Male superheroes and their macho personality traits leave little room for the few female heroes to take charge, let alone be visible. Wonder Woman’s identity is a win not just because she’s a hardcore female hero who could take Superman any day, but because she can now serve as a role model for LGBT youth. Rucka says that they’re not pushing an agenda with this decision, it’s just a fact that has never been publicly acknowledged (Karlan). DC made a great, albeit accidental, move that comes just before the June 2017 release of Wonder Woman’s own movie. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Sources Cited:

Karlan, S. (2016, September 29). DC Comics Writer Confirms Wonder Woman Has Had Relationships With Other Women. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/wonder-woman-is-totally-bisexual-confirms-dc-comics-writer?utm_term=.ofL0eXYw6#.uoAMKj0dr

Prudom, L. (2016, September 29). Wonder Woman is bisexual, and it’s NBD. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from http://mashable.com/2016/09/29/wonder-woman-bisexual-greg-rucka/#1msNFy1jXaqz

Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Clinton’s “Between Two Ferns” Grabs Millennial Attention

With mixed reactions but millions of views, was Hillary’s “Funny Or Die” appearance good or bad for her reputation with young Americans?

By Maddie Migis
@maddiemigis

“Funny or Die,” a popular comedy sketch website that often works with celebrities. Zach Galifianakis is a popular funny boy and sometimes host of the segment “Between two Ferns,” where he awkwardly interviews celebrities in the most deadpan, straight-faced and uncomfortable way possible. This edition of his popular segment was different because it wasn’t just awkward, it was really awkward, cringe-worthy even. So awkward, that Clinton even says, in the interview, “I really regret doing this.” Galifianakis asks Clinton questions that not only infuriate her but also make him look really dumb.

The segment isn’t a total flop, but you could cut the tension with a knife. From the beginning, Clinton feels uncomfortable, like she’s already regretting the interview in its entirety. The questions are so awkward in fact, that Clinton just stares, angrily, at Galifianakis as he continues pelting her with sexist, outdated, and even weird questions. Clinton totally isn’t having it, and it makes you wonder why she agreed to this in the first place. But then again, she totally beats Galifianakis at his own deadpan, awkward game.

It’s definitely a weird segment, and it’s not a huge win for Hillary, but it might help get some love from the millennial demographic she tries so hard to appeal to. To me, she comes off cold and out of touch, but to others, that might not be so. Either way, her campaign is loving the segment, and is tweeting it regularly.

Either way, the video has gotten many millions of views and it has gotten the Internet talking about Clinton. So was it a win for her? Maybe. Was it a win for Zach Galifianakis? Probably not.

Sources Cited:
Kanski, Allison. “Hillary Clinton Looks for Millennial Voters ‘Between Two Ferns'” PR Week. PR Week US, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 22 Sept. 2016. <http://www.prweek.com/article/1409826/hillary-clinton-looks-millennial-voters-between-two-ferns>.

Tweet courtesy of @HillaryClinton

 

My Shadow Experience: Things don’t always go as planned

My shadow, like my study abroad, taught me many things. Flexibility being a main component of not only my trip, but my day. I had set up my shadow experience about three weeks ago with Hilary Clinton’s office abroad. My contact, Guiliana, asked me to be a half-hour early to the event that they were tabling at, a July 4th picnic (on Sunday, July 3rd) for American Democrats abroad.

The picnic was a very festive event. Volunteers transformed Portman Square into a patriotic private space for homesick Americans. After talking to many of the attendees, they feel most homesick around the Fourth of July. And while this picnic isn’t the fireworks and BBQs that we love so well, it had food stalls representing some of America’s most festive foods, face painting, and plenty of stars and stripes. As I walked around while the event was setting up, I noticed there were no Hillary people. I started asking questions. Nobody at the event seemed to know where they were. People knew my contact, Guiliana, well and were very surprised she was late. After a while, there was talk of taking their designated tables and using them for other booths that had actually showed up.

Hillary’s people did actually show up, but almost two hours after the event had started. By this time, I had already posted up shop with the Democrats Abroad UK Women’s Caucus, a brand new segment of Democrats Abroad. The co-founders were exceptionally kind, and very willing to help me with my shadow experience. Their booth was very cute and well-decorated, including a photo booth area encouraging people to take Rosie the Riveter inspired shots. Brimming with volunteers, everyone at the booth was happy to chat with me about what they thought about both American and British political climates. I am happy I found them, and decided to stay with them for the remainder of the event, instead of hanging out with Hillary.

So, while this shadow experience was not what I expected it to be, it did impart a lot of wisdom onto me. First and foremost, it taught me to be flexible. I am a planner at heart, and I can be a little inflexible at times. I like to stick to the plan, but sometimes it’s out of your control. I honestly believe that the Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus taught me more than shadowing with Hillary’s campaign would have. These people were much less politically motivated, and likely less inclined to amend their responses for me. I felt like talking to them warranted honest, frank answers and great lengthy responses. They did not hold back when I asked very politically charged questions.

They also were very kind to explain the process of voting abroad to me. It’s a lot more difficult than I thought, and it’s crazy how little ex-pats are considered when it comes to American politics. Most of the ex-pats at the picnic I spoke to were very well informed about politics, but they feel like the American government doesn’t care about their votes at all. Especially since there’s an electoral college system, their votes kind of just get cast into a void, but they still vote because it’s so important to them to remain involved and feel like they have a say in American issues. This was super enlightening to me, because while I have always voted, many of my friends don’t. It made me realize how important one vote can be, even if it’s not in the US, it makes someone feel like they have a say. British Americans feel sometimes voting isn’t really about who you vote for, but playing a part in politics. Voting is a big way for Americans abroad to stay connected.

Other than these things I observed, this experience also reinforced some of the differences I have noticed about British versus American events. Not only the lateness of the Clinton group was indicative of the lack of distinct scheduling here, it was likely due to an unforeseen reason. Whatever the reason it still was very unprofessional, but lateness happens in London. Between all the traffic jams and tube shutdown, nothing ever goes as planned. Also, the event still had a lot of British people, despite being centered around and mostly run by Americans interested in politics. British people must like American things just as much as former Americans. Especially with the current American political climate, maybe it’s especially interesting to them. Either way, it was certainly and interesting and intriguing experience, despite a few setbacks.

Though my shadow wasn’t what I thought it would be, it ended up being exactly what I wanted it to be. I learned more from Democrats Abroad than I would have learned helping Hillary’s people sign people up for email lists. I am grateful that the Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus was willing to give me the Shadow Experience I needed and impart so much wisdom about both American and British politics. Everyone I talked to at the picnic could not have been nicer or friendlier. I am very thankful for the opportunity to learn about politics abroad.

Reflection #3: Audacity in London

Nothing screams Denton like Audacity. Founded by a UNT grad, Audacity has UNT and Denton totally ingrained in its brand. But how do you make a brand like Audacity, based on its locality and Denton pride, successful in London? I have a few ideas.

audacity

First off, Audacity should stay local. Its originality and uniqueness will appeal to hipsters all across London. Having an IPA from a small brewery in Denton would appeal to people. Many people in London have probably never heard of Denton, and being a town of only 40,000, it makes the brand exceptionally exclusive. I could see bars in Shoreditch selling Bullet Proof Ale and putting a big “Texas” in front of it.

Texas is one of the most recognizable shapes, even abroad. Texas is huge and a southern-most point on the map and automatically recognizable. Some of the locals say are fascinated by my heritage, and some, yes, think we still ride horses to school and wear cowboy hats, but most importantly are exceedingly interested in Texas culture. A beer from Texas would be ultra-rare, therefore exclusive.

To market Audacity, I think the owner, Scott Lindsey, would have to come to London to build relationships. People in pubs are very friendly, I’m sure pub owners would be happy to chat up a Texan brewer. Getting it here would not be an issue, but I have visited Audacity and interviewed Lindsay before. While Audacity is a growing brewery, they just recently came out of the red. They are not looking to totally overwhelm the London market, but remain on tap in only a small number of very hip pubs in London. This way, Audacity not only stays exclusive, being a beer that you can only get in Texas and London, the brewery also doesn’t stretch itself too thin.

I think that only including one beer to export, the Bullet Proof Pale Ale is a great choice. Even places like BrewDog would be interested in having such a neutral, but totally different, beer on its tap. Audacity could consider any hip European city as a place to slowly start expanding internationally, but after seeing London’s love for craft beers, I think this is a great market for Audacity.

London with Mom: My first weekend

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I’ve been in London for a while, so I am sorry I haven’t updated anything sooner than this. London is a busy city, and people here don’t stop for anything, except maybe a pint. I’ve been having so much fun here, and I promise I’ll fill you in on the rest of my trip so far soon. For now, here’s what my mom and I did while we were here!

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We might have had a little bit too much fun in the EuroTunnel…

We arrived Saturday from Paris via Eurostar, which I highly recommend. At about 1:30  we got to our hotel, and tried, but failed to get some very very last minute matinee tickets. After discovering how expensive the few Book of Mormon tickets that were left were, we settled on Matilda for our Covent Garden theatre experience of the evening. We were both so glad that we did! Not only was the musical quintessentially British, the book and movie are two of my all-time childhood favorites. We loved it! From the set to the cast, everything was fun, colorful, and high-energy. I could not recommend this play enough to anyone visiting London. We felt we could have even gotten worse seats than we had (our seats were very decent) but every seat in the Cambridge theater is a good seat. It’s very intimate, if not a little cramped, but absolutely worth it. I highly HIGHLY recommend Matilda.

The set of Matilda could not have been cuter! We had fun making out the words spelled in the many blocks that make up the surrounding set while waiting for the play to start.
The set of Matilda could not have been cuter! We had fun making out the words spelled in the many blocks that make up the surrounding set while waiting for the play to start.

Before the show, we went to a local chippy (Fish and Chips shop) which was meh. We did this only after discovering Dishoom had an hour and twenty minute wait for two people. Ain’t nobody got time for that, Dishoom, we will see you tomorrow.

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The fish was better than the chips, and overall this shop was way too expensive. Not worth your time, but still a fun experience for us!

We don’t remember the name of this chippy, and I don’t really even think it’s worth noting. We didn’t fancy the curry sauce or mushy peas, and the chips were just ok. We both agreed that the fish was delicious, but not entirely worth coming back to. It was quite expensive, probably because of its proximity to Covent Garden. Since this chippy experience, I have found a great place nearby where I am staying in Farringdon called Kerbishers. For six quid you can get a small piece of cod, a massive box of some of the best chips you have ever had, and a sauce of your choice. It has become a staple among the UNT students in my neighborhood. I highly, highly recommend it.

The next day we woke up and enjoyed breakfast in a pub on the Jack Horner corner. It was mediocre, but nice to sit with my mom in a quiet spot. We had just enough time to make it for the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was cool to see the soldiers at first, but afterwards, the soldiers disappeared from site. The whole thing takes a long time, so we didn’t stay for all of it.

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From the changing of the guard we walked through St. James Park and throughly enjoyed the weather and the water fowl. It’s a beautiful park and due to its proximity to Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. From there, we walked around Trafalgar square and saw Big Ben, which was very fun. We then went back to our hotel and freshened up for our tea at Fortunum and Mason, which was absolutely amazing. It could not have been a more perfect mother-daughter outing. Everything from our tea to our service was absolutely perfect. The finger sandwiches were straight-up phenomenal, and I can never say no to a good scone. I could not have been more happy with that experience, and though it was expensive, it was very special. I would recommend that everyone who goes to London splurges on their tea. There are places that do teas for much cheaper, but the fancy hotels and other upscale places like F&M really step up their game. It’s so fun and unlike anything we have in America, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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SO EXCITED for the tea! Look at those towers… we are in mommy/daughter heaven!

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After our tea, we went shopping around Piccadilly Circus, where Fortunum and Mason is located. We then finally, though we were already very full, got to try Dishoom. We split two dishes, the lamb samosas (amazing) and the chicken ruby, also amazing, with a side of roti. We also both had a cocktail, and they were both very delicious as well.

After Dishoom, we were totally full, and thoroughly exhausted. Walking around London is no joke. Throughly worn out, that was about the end of our time in London together. We had so much fun and we really wished that we had booked more time in the UK. One day, I’ll have to bring her and the rest of my loved ones back and be a tour guide, I’ve already learned and experienced so much here!

I miss you Mom! I can’t wait to share all my other adventures with you when I get back.

?Maddie

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Reflection #2: Brits are pretty funny

I didn’t know how much I would like British humor, but I love it. In the UK they aren’t afraid to offend anybody. I gather that Brits aren’t easily offended, especially when someone’s making a joke. They are blunt, brands say what they mean and people eat it up. I don’t always get British humor, just a couple of TV ads have gone over my head. There are some TV ads that really crack me up though, especially this JUST EAT one. If you’re a Backstreet Boys fan, or just want a good laugh, you’ll definitely want to click that link. Other ads really miss the mark when it comes to humor, and that might be because I don’t get it. Making a Peri-Peri wrap sexy? I don’t know if this ad is supposed to be funny, but it really just made me very uncomfortable. I cringe every time it comes on during my favorite TV program here, Dinner Date.

If you haven’t seen Dinner Date yet, it’s a show where one lucky dater gets a choice of five menus, all arranged by potential suitors, be them women or male. From these menus, they pick three, and those three potential suitors make dinner for her or him at their home. Afterwards, and this is definitely the best part, the chosen “dater” picks one of the three for a real date, while others receive a fancy tablecloth set-up, complete with an atrocious looking microwavable meal. If that’s not enough for you, Dinner Date seems to have a very interesting way of showing off British humor in the presenter. We never see her, but there is a very sassy, if not a little too sassy, narrator who talks viewers through the show, making quips about both the daters and their potential suitors. Commenting on everything from the food to their appearance, this narrator is not afraid to throw shade, which is absolutely hilarious at times, but other times, the slang, or her accent, or both, go entirely over my head. If you’ve decided you have to see an episode of this fascinating program but don’t get ITV, you can watch this one guy’s episode, which he so kindly uploaded to YouTube, here.

Other TV I find sometimes misses the mark. I don’t really like British news here, and while I am a huge fan of the BBC World Service and BBC America, BBC One London isn’t the best station here in my opinion. The content can be awkward at times. Especially BBC Breakfast, I find to be totally cringe-worthy sometimes.

Other than that, I feel like the ads here appeal more to my sense of humor here. One thing is for certain, Brits are not afraid to make a statement or go for it when trying to win at a humor appeal. Some commercials and ads are quite bold, but they pay off. I love the ads here, especially the funny ones, and I will continue to watch them and look out for them with fervor until I leave.