January 27, 2009

Let kids have dogs. Two of them. With worms. They're healthy.

Dr. Weinstock goes even further. “Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,” he said. He and Dr. Elliott pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases. Also helpful, he said, is to “let kids have two dogs and a cat,” which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.

More here.

January 22, 2009

Democracy is brilliant!

I'm too late to the party to post about the "Oaf of Office" flub. Or about the Instant the Earth Stood Still. Or to give my opinion on the the dress. So let me give my opinion on some other design efforts. Many advertisement in the New York Times alluded to the Inauguration, some more tasteful and inventive than others.

An A goes to Tiffany. The ad is classy, non-partisan, with minimal text and an image that actually relates to the products Tiffany sells.


An AB goes to Pepsi -- the ad is great, if a little hopey-dopey, but the borrowing of the Obama logo is a bit too much.


A B for effort goes to Wrigley.


Movado doesn't really make an effort to forge a connection between text and image.

Which is still better than J&R's attempt at being all Woodstocky.


A failing grade goes to the self-centered ad by Audi.



And an F also goes to J. Crew. For this:
If you present yourself as a chic-yet-affordable brand, you better ensure that the products that get you worldwide exposure and demand are actually for purchase.

January 20, 2009

Baby don't you cry...

Is there anything to add? Happy Inauguration Day!



January 17, 2009

Word of the Year #2

So, rather disappointingly, bailout made the race. Some of the more interesting words that also received recognition:

Winner in the category "most creative" (and my favorite):
  • recombobulation area: An area at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee in which passengers that have just passed through security screening can get their clothes and belongings back in order.


Winner in the category most outrageous:
  • terrorist fist jab: A knuckle-to-knuckle fist bump, or “dap,” traditionally performed between two black people as a sign of friendship, celebration or agreement. It was called the “terrorist fist jab” by the newscaster E. D. Hill, formerly of Fox News [don't forget to mention whose fists she was talking about!]

Runner-ups:
  • body-snarking: Posting pictures and commenting negatively on the bodies of the people in them. [I don't quite see why the word is outrageous, it seems rather appropriate to me]
  • fish pedicure: A cosmetic procedure in which fish eat the dead skin off the feet. [ditto]

  • baby mama: From a man’s point of view, a woman to whom he is not married and who is the mother of his child. [ditto; additionally, one wonders whey there is no reference to the movie Baby Mama, in which the word refers to a surrogacy pregnancy initiated by an unmarried business woman]
Winner in the category "most likely to succeed":
  • shovel-ready: Used to describe infrastructure projects that can be started quickly when funds become available.
Ready for more? Nominate the Word of the Decade.

January 11, 2009

yes, i can

You know that your campaign slogan was successful when you see it adopted by a pharmaceutical company in an ad for arthritis drugs. (Well, that, and if you win, of course.)

January 04, 2009

Obama wins!

“The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2008" made it to No. 13 on the NYT bestseller list.

Attention, typomaniacs! The non-ironic use of exclamation points in news headlines seems to have been phased out sometime after World War II (“Japan Surrenders, End of War!”); by the time American withdrawal from Vietnam began in January 1973 (“Vietnam Peace Pacts Signed; America’s Longest War Halts”), the headline writers sounded almost as tired as the country. The practice of using apostrophes in some names in all-uppercase headlines (“Truman Relieves M’Arthur of All His Posts,” “Final Vote Condemns M’Carthy, 67-22”) hung on until 1999, when the paper’s stylebook began mandating that if a typeface lacked a lowercase “c,” one should be created electronically on the computer. As for recent momentous events, here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another century and a half to see the elegantly minimalist headline from Nov. 5, 2008 — “Obama” — preserved between hard covers.

Elegantly minimalist? I found it oddly lacking in information and would certainly have preferred something like "Obama wins." And I wouldn't even have minded an exclamation mark.

"Mâche ado about something"

What a horrible pun. But at least it did make me look up the meaning of mâche. According to the OED, the word is "probably shortened" from pomache, itself related to the Latin word pomum (fruit). I couldn't find an explanation for the English term Lamb's Lettuce. In German, it is known as Feldsalat (field salad) or, in some regions, as Nüsschen- or Nüssli-Salat (little nut salad). Quite a versatile little green.

January 03, 2009

videos (and words?) of the year

Salon.com presents "The year in viral video" -- thereby not only giving me an opportunity to mention the Shiba Inu puppy sensation, but also to point to another candidate for Word of the Year.

As the offline world began to stumble, and layoffs, stock market crashes and economic crises dominated the news, we found hope in a basket full of puppies. Ustream.tv made 2008 a milestone year for user-generated live video. Puppies, live! We (and everyone else) obsessed over the baby Shiba Inus as they cuddled, snored, woke up and cuddled some more. The original litter is growing up, and most of the puppies have been sold to new owners, but the frenzy prompted more puppy cams. ... Below is a compilation video of classic Shiba Inu puppy cam moments.



January 02, 2009

verbless promise


Good Housekeeping has changed the design (and the wording) of its seal of approval. Which do you think is the better promise?