May 3, 2017

Hello again from 2017. I realize that a lot of time has passed since my last post and I am now debating whether to keep paying for this site or not. Am I really a blogger? Do I have time to write every couple of days about what’s going on with my Mail Art group, or what products I keep finding that have deceptive packaging (the latest being Oreo cookies), or my gripes about Donald Trump (and I have PLENTY of those!) The truth is, I find myself busy every single day…mostly entering my weekly mail art exchanges… but also reading political articles online, listening to new (and old) music, watching a handful of favorite TV shows and series on Netflix, or admiring artworks by the incredibly talented new artists that abound online. I also love swooning over recipes, art techniques, beautiful quilts, fantastic photographs of Europe, and so many other things that interest me. I use Pinterest most frequently for all those things. So, do I have time to devote to writing? I think I don’t, really….as much as I like the idea of jotting ideas down as they occur to me. I write occasional notes or post links on Facebook and that seems enough to keep up with close friends and family. I don’t Tweet, or post anything on Instagram (except I do look at a few friends’ and family’s artwork), and all those other social apps I pretty much ignore, so perhaps the little that I do is enough to remain “socially active”??

I’m going to ponder all this while I figure out whether I want to pay another $18.00 to keep this blog site going. If you’re reading this, assume that I decided to hold onto it.

Love, Beau

One more deceptive ad AND packaging

I think the worst of all these TV commercials is the fairly new one for Gorton’s Simply Bake Haddock (and Tilapia).  Having been bombarded on the airwaves by ads for these two new fish products, looking absolutely delicious, juicy, good portion size, yummy sounding flavorings, I was extremely disappointed with the haddock that I got for David and me one night about two months ago.  The box that the two filets come in is about 10-11 inches long, automatically making you think you’d get a pretty decent size portion.  When you take the two individual cooking bags out of the freezer, they feel fairly substantial and are about nine inches long.  I didnt really try to feel the fish inside.

I put them on a cooking tray and baked them both exactly as the instructions said to.  When they were done, the bags were all puffed up with steam and the fish smelled delicious.  I slid them off of the baking tray and carefully cut open one end of the bag.  Imagine my surprise when I slid the fish onto David’s plate, only to see a VERY small portion. It was a piece from the tail end of the filet, about an eigth of an inch at the tippy tail and tapering up to barely a half-inch thick in the fleshy part of the fish.  The whole portion was smaller than the palm of my hand and triangular in shape.  I’m guessing the total cooked weight was about 2.5 ounces.  The outside package said that the total weight of both fish is 9 oz., so each should be 4.5 oz., right?  Not a chance!  This was a four-bite portion of fish, barely enough to feed a 10-year old.  I quickly opened the second package to see if the first was a fluke, and it was exactly the same as the first!!

While the fish is DELICIOUS, it only makes you wanting for about double the amount you get.  You’ll be glad to know, however, that I called Gorton’s the very next day (their main processing plant is here in Gloucester, MA!) and I very strongly expressed my disappointment in a product that they had been blitzing the airwaves with.  They apologized and said they’d pass the info to the proper channels and offered to send me a coupon for any of their products.  I tried the tilapia a few weeks later (using the coupon) and again found a smaller than average portion, although nominally larger than the haddock.  Im not sure where Gorton’s is hiding that 9 ounces, but it sure isn’t in the cooked portions!!  So…. buyer beware!  Below is a photo of the fish in the advertisements and in your grocer’s freezer… looking VERY substantial on a plate with veggies on it, too!  What you see is definitely NOT what you get!!!  Shame on Gorton’s !!!

Gorton's haddock.. way smaller than package photo

Gorton’s, the country’s largest fish processor, dropped the ball on this product! Actual portion is barely enough to feed a child, let alone a fish-loving adult!

Another deceptive ad…this time, granola bars!

Phooey on Kellogg's for making us think there is a bigger bar than the actual one!

This package is a little over six inches long. With the crimped ends taking about an inch of that length, you’d expect the bar to be about 5 inches long, yes? See photo 2 for the actual size!

Grrr to Kellogg's for making us think we're going to get a much bigger bar than we do!
Notice how the actual granola bar is just a smidge over HALF the length of the wrapper!

Special K 90-Calorie honey nut bars are one of my ‘truth in packaging’ gripes.  This one involves a MUCH bigger package compared to the actual size of the bar.  Check out the two photos below and you’ll see what I mean.  The package is a little over six inches long.  Allowing one inch for the crimping on each end, the remaining enclosure should be a little over five inches.  With that said, I was expecting a bar that was close to 5″ long.  Take a look at the second picture to see how small the bar is in relation to the package!!  Come on, Kellogg’s, either give us a bigger bar in that package, or shrink the wrapper to fit tightly around the REAL size of the bar!!!  Pfffft on you for trying to deceive us!!!

Jimmy Dean’s Breakfast sandwich – truth in advertising?

Okay… this is one of the TV ads that REALLY ticks me off! The TV advertisement for Jimmy Dean shows a woman eating their low-calorie english muffin/sausage/egg/cheese sandwich, and the way they have filmed it makes you think that the sandwich is much bigger than it really is. I finally was able to take a few photos of the actual TV commercial (thank you, DVR) and will show you what I mean. The woman taking the bite of the sandwich has her long-fingered hands stretched out extremely wide while holding the muffin, giving the first illusion that the sandwich is bigger than it actually is. When she goes to take a bite, you can clearly see that the muffin is MUCH bigger than a standard english muffin (and the actual sandwiches in the purchased package). In the photo, it extends way farther than where her mouth ends, looking more the size of a Whopper from Burger King than a puny engish muffin sandwich. I am convinced that they made the advertisement muffin much bigger than it actually is (maybe using the sandwich-sized Thomas’ muffins?), so as to give you the impression that you will be getting a BIG breakfast – not a rather small actual one. The only other possible explanation for the muffin looking so big is that the actress taking the bite of the sandwich has a freakishly small head and an even smaller mouth! What do you think? Is Jimmy Dean deceiving us with the advertisements for this breakfast sandwich? I say YES… and it makes me MAD!

Truth in Advertising?

One of several deceptive images for this sandwich… to me, this looks like the muffin is really big on a dessert/salad sized plate!

Truth in Advertising?

How big is the english muffin sandwich?

Truth in Advertising??  Really?
Notice how the sandwich covers nearly the breadth of her face!!

Welcome to Beau’s Ink!

Okay, most of you know that I am terrible at all these newfangled social sites and much prefer living my life the old-fashioned way, by writing personal notes, making the occasional phone call or sending emails to stay in touch with my wonderful friends and family.  But…. for many months now I have been thinking that I needed a place to moan and groan about everyday things that really tick me off.  For instance, I have deduced that the packaging industry is out to get us all….nearly everything I open, whether it’s a container of yogurt or a box of crackers, either tears, bends, spills or in some other way ruins the very container that was meant to CONTAIN the product….  I will have several discussions about this topic as time goes on, but for now, start making a list of some of the things you’ve tried to open unsuccessfully and that got your blood pressure agitated.  Take pictures of the resulting messes, too.  I’m sure I will have quite a few of those eventually.

I also want to use this space to talk about my re-discovery of my love for making art.  For a couple of years now, I have been tinkering half-heartedly with different mediums… fabrics, yarns, buttons, collages, Sharpie markers on ATC’s (Artists Trading Cards – 2-1/2 x 3-1/2″ baseball card-sized tradeable cards).  I was never satisfied with what I produced with those materials and faded in and out of trying new things.  Then, last October (2015), I discovered a website for Mail Artists called Mail Me Some Art – a group of wonderful, creative men and women who exchange mostly postcards and ATCs, but occasionally mini books and sometimes envelopes.  I got very excited when I saw some of the amazing posts of the artists’ creations and I immediately joined.  They have several exchanges every month, each hosted by a different artist who decides what the theme is.  When I joined, the first still-open exchange theme was “Dots and Stripes”.  My imagination went wild and I rushed to buy some blank 4 x 6 postcards at my local A.C. Moore’s (art/craft supplies) and a large set of Sharpie Ultra-fine markets!  I went to town making the maximum FOUR postcards and mailed them to the host.  A couple of weeks later, I received my four postcards from four different artists.  They were fantastic!  Each was a completely different style from mine, and each technique was unlike anything I had ever seen.  I was HOOKED!!  I quickly entered a few more exchanges and was even more thrilled with what I received in return.

Additionally, I began to correspond with a couple of the ladies whose work the hosts had sent me randomly and we discussed our techniques and interests and, over the next six or seven months, I became friends with some and have wonderful talks in emails about our lives, our backgrounds, and mostly our love of art.  Now I enter nearly every exchange and this keeps me busy for hours every day… I’m not only mastering some techniques I had never tried, but am drawing and painting with watercolors and using markers, India inks, and experimenting with all of them.  I’m working on my calligraphy again and am, when not working on a postcard exchange, experimenting with all manner of art mediums and techniques.  My most recent success has been playing with India inks and then dropping drops of 91% alcohol onto them while they’re still wet.  The most amazing things happen to the colors!  New designs appear out of nowhere and suggest flowers or faces or suns and moons and other shapes that lend themselves to embellishments with gel pens or Sharpies or Micron black pens.  A whole new world has opened up since I’ve tried mixing these two mediums.

I’m going to try and upload some of my postcards to this site so you can see some of the themed exchanges I entered.  If any of you are interested in this group, their website is:   Please take a look.  There are not only my own entries but hundreds of others from the many talented members of the group!  Let me know what you think!

Stay tuned!