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Test Pattern: Multi-link ... Wednesday?

Hybrid dogs, a parking game, personalized ketchup, what color is your personality, and amazing art done in the dust of dirty cars.

Multi-link Wednesday

The and another upcoming trip have shoved my usual weekly random link day to Wednesday this week. I'll be back again mid-next week, but after that, Labor Day will jolt things around again. Craziness. Anyway, keep sending in your favorite random links. I went with all reader-submitted links this time around, and they're all fun.

. No, not dirty pictures in the "risque" sense of the word, instead, masterpiece-like art drawn on dirty cars. So much better than the typical "WASH ME!" Thanks to Crystal for the amazing link!

• I'm a sucker for weird online personality tests. bases its diagnosis of you based on colors you choose. (Thanks to Ginger for the link!)

• I still remember the dread I felt when preparing for the parallel-parking part of my driver's license test, so no wonder I had trouble with this . Very cute, though. (Krissy provided the link, as did Lisa!)

• My best friend is getting married in January, and I'm suddenly discovering just how many varieties of wedding favors are out there. Here's one I hadn't thought of: . (They give equal opportunity to mustard, too.) Gail (not me) gets credit for the link!

• Sure, you've heard of the (Chihuahua-Pug cross), but do you know the (Chihuahua-Yorkshire Terrier mix)? Reader Jeremy says "All dogs go to heaven — well I’m not sure about that, but I do know where to find a . ... It’s fun to go through them all, some are very cute, others should never have been cross pollinated, or whatever. One of the best parts is the names." Who let the dogs out, indeed.

And the winners are...

Today's Test Pattern was just too exciting to be posted at the regular URL. Read all about the winners and losers of our . Join the regular column Wednesday for a Multi-link Wednesday, to make up for the one I missed Monday.

Revisiting our creepy commercial friends of years past

Tuesday's the day: We'll honor (dishonor?) the commercials you chose as your favorite and least favorite of the year. For now, let's take a look back at some of the classic favorites. I've been striving to include mostly commercials that haven't been discussed in past years to keep the discussion fresh, but it's time to revisit some old favorites.

The most legendary commercial from my three summers of organizing this contest? Oh, you know it. won the worst-commercial honor the very first year of the contest, and it never fails that he’s nominated again and again ever since. He can’t win again, though, partially because I’m so grossed out by just writing about him. Even reading your sometimes-TOO-descriptive emails about him make me shiver. Here’s one example:

“I hate, hate, HATE that Lamisil ad where the nasty little creature bends the toenail up and then starts scrabbling at the nailbed. It gives me nightmares and is one of the most disgusting ads out there today. Serious shivers! I don’t have nail fungus, but I’d rather let my toes rot off than ever buy that product just because of the ad!”    --Erin

Another ad that still comes in for plenty of mention is one we discussed to death last year: Employee Johnson smacks on some Raisin Bran Crunch too loudly to know he’s being fired. You’re split in your opinion of Johnson, some enjoy the ongoing series, but many more hate the ads, citing it as just one commercial of many that thinks consumers can be attracted by the noise of eating.

“Possibly the most annoying ad on TV today, or ever, is the Raisin Bran Crunch commercial with the guy eating in his cubicle at work. This drives me crazy every time I see it. Can’t he eat at home? Why is he so rude as to keep eating when his boss is talking to him? Why does his boss only try to talk to him first thing in the morning? Why doesn’t he tell him to put his spoon down and listen?!? Why not fire the kid at the end of the day when he’s presumably done with breakfast? So aggravating.”    --Brian

If there is a ruler of the bad-commercial universe, it has to be the plastic-headed Burger King. One would think it is tougher to wrest this title away from fast-food competition Ronald McDonald, but your emails don’t lie.

“I can’t stand all those ads with the Burger King guy with the enormous plastic head. The latest one for the ‘Meatnormous’ sandwich not only sounds disgusting with layers and layers of meat, but it has that stupid king in it. Whoever came up with using him in ads should be fired!”    --Julie

As far as good ads go, they’re rare, but the Citibank identity-theft ads won in 2004, and they’re still out there, and still beloved. Am I the only one who took a while to figure out what the commercials were trying to convey? I get it now—the person who stole someone’s identity is heard over scenes of the person whose identity was stolen—but the first time I saw them, I was confused. Most of you weren’t, apparently.

“The best commercials are the identity theft commercials from Citi. Two old ladies talking about buying motorcycles and how fast they go. The old fat guy on the sofa with the little girls’ voice talking about a shopping spree and singing “Unbreak My Heart. “ I crack up every time.”    --Lauren

In 2005, the best ad was clear almost from day one. Readers loved the ad, in which frames captured images from the commercial, and then appeared to break out as photographs. It’s tough to explain, but fun as anything to watch. I don’t think those ads are on any more, but HP is still playing with technology in commercials and still earning raves.

HP has done it again with their new ad campaign. These new ads stand the “repeat viewing” test, as I have seen them all day today. The guy (who turns out to be Jay-Z) is talking about what he does with his computer, and his hand motions turn into animations, etc. It’s really great to watch.”  --Stephen

Another popular ad last year was GE’s dancing (computer-generated) elephant. Although some folks didn’t remember what the prancing pachyderm was advertising, he was almost universally loved. He’s still dancing into your hearts, apparently, judging from this summer’s mail.

“I hope it’s not too late to mention that I love the General Electric commercial called “Dancin’ Elephant” in which the little elephant dances in the jungle to “Singin’ in the Rain”. I just smile automatically every time”. –Louis

“Frames” was a big favorite in 2005, but it was tougher to pick the worst ad that year. Finally, the Tampax ad, in which a young woman plugs a hole in a leaky boat with a handy-dandy tampon, was voted the worst. Every year, you send in plenty of comments on feminine protection ads and others for personal products. Some are appalled by such ads when they take a smart-alecky tone, some are squeamish that such products are advertised at all.

“As a woman, I know what to do about my “feminine issues” so these ads are not informing me about anything new; they’re just disgusting me.”    --Alice

But others believe that the more openness about what were once hidden issues, the better.

“I know the Tampax commercial was a worst last year, but I don’t understand the anger at tampon and kotex ads. Maybe it’s because I’m younger, but I think it’s awesome that these ads are more honest about the product and actually show them. … Get a grip, all women deal with having a period, so we should open about it and the items needed for it. Stop pretending it’s so bad and taboo to talk about it.”

Another personal product commercial had readers running for the remote in 2005. It’s Pepto-Bismol’s horrible diarrhea danceline. And apparently not only is that ad still around, it’s ruining another form of music.

“The new rap version of the Pepto ad is just disgusting! I didn’t think those ads could get any worse, but oh was I wrong.”    --Ann

Remember to tune in tomorrow for the announcement of our winner and loser for 2006. Even if you can see the honorees coming like a blinding headache that's been applied directly to your forehead, it’s going to be fun to make it official.