a friendly reminder
fake christmas tree?
pick a lane!
fido could teach us
flying over speed humps?
if it involves men...
it's gotta be big
past this gridlock
my scientist
chick flick
the tie is dead
throwing a wrench


If it involves men, subtle won't work
Sacramento Business Journal
April 2, 2004

A good buddy made a woeful groan at a recent dinner with friends.

He wondered aloud about the possible downside of taking pills designed to improve a man's "performance" in the bedroom.

"You could end up with a visit to the emergency room," he said.

It's true. A man could be faced with walking into an ER with his "problem."

Boy, wouldn't that be fun?

"Uh, what do I do?" he'd whisper to the nurse. "An ice pack? A cold shower?"

"Just have a seat," she'd say, waving at other ER wounded in the waiting room. They'd be watching, stifling laughter, even the guy standing in the corner with a green martini olive stuck up his nose.

What we have here is a human guinea-pig scenario for the performance-challenged.

A Levitra TV ad has pulp-faced Mike Ditka, he-man tight end for the Chicago Bears of yore, barking about how Levitra users can "get back into the game."

All this is preceded with a serene scene of a regular guy in his back yard. He's throwing a football at a tire hanging off a tree. If I remember correctly, he misses on his first toss. But he throws it through the tire at the end; then there's a beautiful woman smiling knowingly. Wink-wink, nudgenudge.

You take Levitra, men are supposed to believe, and you'll throw the football through the tire every time!


Most guys are thinking, Hey, how does that pill improve your throwing accuracy? That's amazing!

No, this misguided attempt to sell these special little pills on TV is a far cry from the blunt, fistpounding point needed here.

A football tossed through a hanging tire? That's supposed to mean high performance for a man with a notion? C'mon Levitra, fire your ad folks! This isn't about subtle. Doesn't your research show that most men don't even know what subtlety is?

Levitra honchos, if you use symbolism to sell anything to a man, you gotta hit him over the head with it!

Otherwise, it just won't register. Ask any woman with a boyfriend or husband, she'll back me up on this.

"How about a freight train speeding full-throttle into a tunnel?" you might suggest.

Nah, they used that cliché in grainy black-and-white movies, as code: Oh yeah, loco-motions are hap'nin' now!

"What about a bunch of fireworks going off right after a major kissing event?"

Think again.

You're trying to communicate here. Big impression, no fuzzy messages. Think about footage of a space shuttle blastoff. Or an intercontinental missile firing into the sky. And make sure to include a lot of rumbling and engine noise. Guys like that.

They'd get it.

Well, most of them would.

Gordon Bass has done a public service for men confused about all these part-straighteners in pill form. In the February issue of Wired, Bass reviewed three competing pills by trying them with "a willing lab partner."

Nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

All three, he explains, had drugs designed to enhance performance "by increasing blood flow to mini-me."

Bad news, Ditka. Bass gave Levitra the worst grade of the three, a C. Viagra got a B+. But lesserknown Cialis won his highest praise, fielding an A.

Levitra, said Bass, gave him an "achy, stuffed head" after his road test, during which his lab partner dissed his part in question as a "humpback whale." To the dismay of Bass and presumably his partner, it took a dive after "a couple of hours."

Hey Ditka, looks like an incomplete pass.

After taking Viagra, the pioneer of erectology, Bass says he got red-faced within a half-hour and experienced four hours of "unnatural rigidity." He didn't get any of the blurred vision reported by other Viagra-ites, "or maybe I was just too preoccupied to notice."

Cialis took only 20 minutes to take effect, he says, bringing a 12-hour upside. Twelve hours? He says the French call this "Le Weekend" pill.

Any longer than that, and hopefully there's no waiting at the ER.

Bass deserves applause for sharing his test drives. But all this bold chemistry is still a wee bit worrisome. It's hard enough for the average guy to keep track of all the brands available, let alone how they deliver.

Take my friend at dinner. He's about to turn 40 and he confessed that he didn't even know the names of all these endurance enhancers.

"Viagra, Levitra and Cialis," said his younger wife, not missing a beat.

My friend looked troubled.