WOODY: Beware of the asterisk when it comes to reading ads

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The asterisk has become the fine-print of modern advertising .*
(* Based on no scientific study, just what I've sorta noticed here lately.)

For example:
A new car is advertised at a Special Fully Loaded* price of $15,000.
(*Excluding motor, transmission, tires and floor mats.)

A hair-restoration company posts a photo of a handsome young rake with wavy locks and promises, "You too can look like this!"*
(*With a wig.)

A mortgage company will give you a home-equity loan and you "get to live in your house forever."*
(*Or until Tuesday.)

If you'll work out on this exercise machine, the manufactures vows, "You will look like Pamela Anderson!"*
(*Yuk! Have you seen Pamela Anderson lately?)

A photo of a sultry model carries a caption saying that if you use a certain brand of cologne she'll "go for you."*
(*Yeah -- with Mace.)

If you feed your dog this brand of chow, he'll wolf it down like the one in the TV commercial.*
(*Assuming that he, like the mutt in the commercial, hasn't been fed for three weeks.)

You can order live* aquarium fish by mail.
(*dead.)

This diet will make you so trim that you can fit into the bathing suit you wore in high school.*
(*If you borrowed it from Mama Cass.)

A complete dinner at this seafood restaurant will cost you only $9.99.*
(*Seafood not included.)

Enroll in this internet college and you can earn an advanced degree* in six weeks.
(*In worm farming.)

Take advantage of this Book Club's "exciting introductory membership offer" and receive four free books.*
(*Plus four more every month that you'll forget to return and get stuck paying for.)

Switch banks and get no-strings-attached* free checking.
(*Some strings attached.)
Use this coupon and get a complimentary meal at any participating restaurant.*
(*In Mongolia.)
At Honest Abe's, no collateral* is required for a personal loan.
(*Besides your first-born.)

Plant this pot of Miracle Tomatoes and you'll have bushels of delicious, vine-ripened tomatoes all summer long.*
(*And while you're at it, plant some Magic Beans in your backyard and a giant beanstalk will grow overnight and a guy named Jack will climb it and slay a giant and steal his gold.)

We'll cash your payroll check for free!*
(*And keep most of the dough)

Sign up now and receive an all-expense-paid Florida vacation.*
(*Travel, lodging and food not included.)

Make $5,000 a month working at home!*
(*Must be able to operate a counterfeit-printing press.)

Learn a second language* in just one week.
(*Pig-snay Latin-snay.)

Enroll now and get free unlimited calling.*
(*Offer not good inside known Solar System.)

Every one* of these examples is completely ** true.
(*a couple)
(**sort of)

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advertising, asterisk, fine print, larry woody
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