The White Shoe Irregular:
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This Space for Rent

Bit and Bitter

[Bit and Bitter are Ryan "bits and pieces of codswallop" Hamilton and Ryan "festering canker of bitterness" Honaker]

This Bit and Bitter is brought to you by Tucks Medicated Pads.

In the spirit of, well, everything, we at Bit and Bitter are going to try to turn every aspect of our column into a revenue source. Let's face it, our humor columns just don't pay well. And they're not very funny. That self-deprecating remark was brought to you by the friendly folks at Haagen-Dazs, who would like to remind you that nothing cures depression like a pint of Double Chocolate Fudge.

Movie theaters have become the most recent group to foist excessive advertisement on an unsuspecting, paying audience. The word "foist" is brought to you by the New World Thesaurus. Because $7.50 is obviously not enough to pay for the enjoyment of fine cinematic fare like Battlefield Earth, Snow Day, and Ernest Made Another Movie — Heaven Help Us All, theaters are having to supplement their income by forcing us to watch Old Navy and Coke ads. We were OK when they started advertising for the concession stands. We were even OK when they started advertising for personal loan desk next to the concession stands. But when they started to allow ABC to advertise Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, we had to draw the line. That is exactly the kind of crap we are trying to escape by going to the movies. Does ABC really think that this is the right venue for them? "Shouldn't you be home watching TV right now? Regis misses you." Then several couples get up from their seats and guiltily shuffle out of the theater muttering, "Sorry, Regis." Every mention of "Regis" in this article is brought to you by Regis, Bride of Satan. Have you seen your Regis today?

The most blatant underwriting offenders are in the sports world. It started with logos on the uniforms and quickly led to stadiums being named after airlines and office supply retailers. It's only a matter of time before the Vikings are playing in the Massengil Dome. Everything in sports is sponsored now, from the opening kick-off to the nine iron that Tiger Woods uses to beat jeering fans to death before pushing their limp and lifeless bodies into a water hazard. This character assassination is brought to you by Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction.

It isn't surprising that America has become so hooked on underwriting. We are programmed from childhood to accept this gratuitous form of advertising as normal. Most of you are probably familiar with the PBS program Sesame Street, unless you are from Canada, in which case you are probably familiar with beer. Canada is brought to you by beer. Not an episode of Sesame Street ends without the audience being told that the program had been brought to them by two letters and a number. The Alphabet Syndicate bought the struggling program in the 60s, when, after numerous vowel drug busts, and the outing of N's torrid affair with the governor of Montana, they decided that they needed a permanent source of good PR. The National Numbers Union was added to the program after the Watergate fallout, when it was discovered that Richard Nixon had used numbers. The International Punctuation Guild has tried for years to cut a deal with Sesame Street in order to have an influence on the youth of America, but producers insist that a show brought to you by a semi-colon would just be stupid. This article brought to you by ;