Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quote of the day

For one of the world's handsomest, manliest men, this probably seemed true: "Statistics show that there are more women in the world than anything else. Except insects."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Are you telling me there won't be cocktail recipes?

Yesterday I bought Body + Soul just to see if Martha Stewart Apprentice winner Dawna really did end up working there. And sure enough, she pops up on page 50 to answer questions about her own everyday diet: "They asked me about my beverage choices. 'Mostly water. A few cups of green tea a day. An occasional decaf soy latte. And lots of herbal tea: I love dandelion especially.'"

Immediately I regretted that Jim hadn't won.

Oh well. That's all in the cancelled past. Now: on to Celebrity Duets!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

From the city of famous oilmen. Like Perot, Hicks and Cuban.

If you're like me, when you want a fresh and unexpected take on the Dallas fashion scene, you turn immediately to the New York Times. And as you'd hope, they totally avoid the cliches:

"Texas style is not all cowboy boots and big hair. Just ask Brian Bolke and Shelly Musselman, the proprietors of Forty Five Ten, a ranch-size but boutique-minded clothing-and-home-furnishings store."

I really don't understand why some people hate the Times. It's not like the paper's tone is condescending or predictable or anything.

Still, when I read that "Even the oil-rich need to tighten their belts sometimes," I have to wonder. Do Times fashion writers ever read the business section? Because oil is sorta doing OK right now. And Dallas has always been home to plenty of wealthy people who made their money in business not oil. Besides, the rich here never tighten their belts. They just go off-shore.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Every time you don't buy a house, someone in Ft Worth cries

Home sales drop so no one needs all that Pottery Barn furniture anymore.

It has to be that, right? It can't be a style thing, right? "'[I]n mid-July, we believed that the softness we were seeing was specific to the execution of our Pottery Barn summer merchandising strategy,' Lester said in a statement. 'Today, however, after five weeks in home with our new Pottery Barn fall catalog, we believe there is a greater macro-economic issue also affecting this business.'"

Cling to the macro. It makes things so much scarier for a struggling competitor like, oh, Pier 1. But the good news: "sales at stores open at least a year, have gone up for...Pottery Barn the second quarter...Pottery Barn Kids' increased by 8.1 percent, up from a 4.1 percent jump last year."

Pier 1, your response? Well, OK then.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Aw, they're calling it "Cuddleweave"

In what AdAge calls a "neck-and-neck" race -- really AdAge: do you see the missed opportunity there? -- diaper manufacturers keep trying to win over the breeders with the same old new-and-improved product innovations.

Well, innovate all you want. If it's true that retailers often sell diapers as a loss leader, then price is still the most important feature here, isn't it? And what more can you do with a diaper? Doesn't it say something that Kimberly-Clark's most recent diaper-selling success wasn't a diaper at all but SunSignals, sunburn-sensing skin patches that were included in each pack of swim pants?

So good luck with all the new stuff. Sounds like it will dramatically improve the quality of life for mom and baby alike. As long as it's cheap.

Carrying on without Robert Best: how? why? what's the use?

As you can imagine, I'm clutching my Malibu Barbie -- and her super mellow best-friend Malibu PJ -- just a little more tightly this morning. A reality show world without my favorite Mattel designer is too cruel to contemplate.

But I am thankful for one thing. I feel blessed that my mom had enough confidence to discipline me when I was young. This has, I've now decided, spared me the grownup ordeals of a neck tat and heroin addiction. Seriously. Could Jeffrey be any more fucked up? And is there anything more tiresome than someone who uses their own sad personal history as an excuse to be a jerk? The world is full of Jeffreys and it's not compelling or even fresh to see them on TV. What would be great is to see Jeffrey fail spectacularly. I'd feel bad for his mother but the Greeks understood the importance of catharsis.

Looking on the bright side: yay! Robert Best is reunited with Barbie!

Unfortunately the Dallas Morning News theater critic will not be present

I think when the stage-play version of this article hits the Dallas Summer Musicals, the part of Tribune will be played by Belo. And CLTV and the WB will be replaced by CueCat and TXCN, respectively. Gotta play to the locals.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Know your audience

If your target includes private jet owners who make $9 million a year, this is for you. Highlights: they're not nearly as boozy as you'd think and they don't open their own mail. So you know, cut it out with that dimensional mailer shit.

Well now there's a new angle

Next time an awkward silence threatens to spoil an important gathering, get the conversation going again with this simple question: could you, in a court of law, identify a photo of your own naked crotch?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Does this boot-mark make my ass look big?

The new Radio Shack guy sure does like his old KMart buddies. Happens. But when your employer says of your departure, "There are no plans to fill her positions," that has to sting a little, right?


Is it uneventful in here or is it just me? It's me, isn't it?

I KNEW it.

In my defense, it really is too hot to work up a decent opinion about anything. And I don't know how to keep going when I can't think, when there's no ad news and when the world allows both Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline to launch recording careers.

So I don't know. This might just suck for awhile. I'll try to work through it. And I'll always remember that the most important thing is not to get discouraged.

I just went gay all of a sudden

Being able to quote old movies is only the beginning.

But instead of asking if there are enough gay characters on TV, maybe we should instead consider if there are enough non-demeaning gay characters on TV. And by "characters," I of course mean real people. Sometimes all too real. Or maybe all these questions are simply irrelevant.

Now if you're asking whether or not gay characters make commercials more watchable, the answer is -- wait, let me think about that for 35 seconds -- yes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The immeasureable damage wrought by Bloomberg Television

When I can't sleep I usually like to watch Bloomberg TV because it's live and the screen -- with a ticker, news crawl, quotes, clock and talking head -- can sometimes hypnotize me. And that feels like sleep. But if you're under 40, I don't recommend it. Between the overly earnest commercial for erectile dysfunction treatments and the age-concealing lipstick infomercial (apparently for all the thin-lipped Republican women MAC has just pissed off) -- and yeah, there could be a brilliant correlation in there somewhere but I really don't want to think about it -- you can start to feel a little insecure. And that can only lead to one thing: the Home Shopping Network.

Damn you, Bloomberg!

I'm this close to running NotBillable blind items

Alison was sweet and always looked like the underfed little sister of Jayne Mansfield but her EW interview seems oddly ungracious. Enough so, anyway, to make you wonder who could have planted today's Gatecrasher blind item.

Calling Dr Bombay

Amid all the bad news at Bombay Co, the new CEO manages to find a silver-plated lining: "So far, he's found that Bombay 'has leadership positions' in several product lines, especially occasional tables, jewelry boxes and decorative accessories."

Well, that's something. Right? No?


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson? Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson? TITO ORTIZ AND JENNA JAMESON?

Welcome to the End Times!

Aerin Lauder thinks you need to moisturize, clean your desk

Why aren't you buying Estee Lauder anymore? Is it Aerin Lauder? She creep you out? Yeah, thought so. I mean, talk about your off-putting ubiquity. Just when you assumed that Oscars dress ruined her, she shows up in Domino magazine last month telling you how to organize your office. Antique chairs -- practical!

So when the CEO William Lauder says, "'what we do best: creating excitement for our brands and products,'" I'm a little confused. Aerin's publicity people do an impressive job but, you know, it's not working.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

But the acoustics are so much better in my bedroom

This idea amuses me, even if things can go slightly awry:

Jont Whittington is "offering to play your living room - for free. His tour will hopscotch private homes that have signed up as venues through his Web site, 'It's a cross between a house party and a gig,' he told us. Except the tour got off to a rocky start in Boston Friday, when the young hostess neglected to invite anyone but herself. 'I think she hoped it would turn into a date,' says a pal. Mr. Whittington now politely requests an audience of at least 40."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Good times with the former Mrs Xavier Cugat

The Geico Charo spot? I could watch it all day long.

Shit. Another Barbie post.

Since there is little love for Robert Best on the internets lately -- so very little love -- I feel compelled to stick up for the boy. First, never forget: silkstones. C'mon! Without the talent and vision of Robert Best, I'd have to fill my shelves with books or something.

But for true fashion insight, there's Diane von Furstenberg (or Mrs. Barry Diller when addressing all social correspondence. Does that fuck with your mind? Mine too!). Observe how she goes totally Lloyd Benson while judging Robert Best's Jackie O design:

"On the runway...we had an interesting dialogue with all the judges, with the exception of Diane, saying ‘Jackie would never wear this!’...Robert, to his credit, said with sincerity, ‘Well, I believe she would have. Jackie is a serious fashion icon, and I understand her and her point of view, and I really did this for her!’ [Judges:] ‘Well we don’t—it’s not very believable.’ Diane said, ‘Well, you know something? I knew Jackie, and I knew her very well. And she would wear this.’"

So there. Barbie guy apparently does know what he's doing. And the re-sale value of my collection is safe. Whew!

ADDED: Yeah, I just used Benson's old JFK reference to characterize a modern-day designer's defense of a Jacqueline Kennedy image-update. Questions? Concerns?

Fun for the whole Omnicom family

First Martha Stewart, then Dennis Kozlowski. Now John Wren receives the decidedly unpleasant Chris Byron treatment. If you can't make it through the long sentences and buyback definitions, here are my notes:

"conglomerateur's bag of tricks"

"bog of financial razzle-dazzle"

and: "desperate gambler on a losing streak."

Somehow, I feel all this could have been avoided if Wren had just returned a phonecall.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Amazon knows us better than we know ourselves

Funny/har-har or funny/scary?

Looking out across the night time

Arnold creates the Department of Human Nature "to focus on how human nature and the environment affect people's choices in a time-crunched and information-loaded world."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bob Arum shocked to learn that Mr Gorbachev tore down that wall

Professional boxing has many problems: sketchy personalities, questionable decisions, and what has to be the oddest promotional strategies known to man. Why would you use Soviet-era political rhetoric to sell an upcoming heavyweight fight? Especially when your target demo may not be old enough to remember? Especially when both fighters are, as it turns out, Americans:

"Maskaev can't understand or accept the theme that Bob Arum, Rahman's promoter, has taken with regard to the match. 'I don't understand why Rahman's team is saying this is the last line of defense for America,' Maskaev said. 'I'm an American citizen, too. I'm a resident of Staten Island. If I win, then an American will hold the title.'"

August sucks, doesn't it?

Even if you're well-adjusted, air-conditioned and high on life, isn't August always the worst month of the year?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A most unhelpful article

Slate tries to explain why I don't have a Mac TV in my living room: "most homes are consolidating around a two-hub model. A PC (or Mac) with some multimedia features anchors the home office, while a TV with some computerized gear—think TiVo, not desktop computer—owns the living room. Tech marketers talk about the '2-foot interface' of the PC versus the '10-foot interface' of the TV. When you use a computer, you want to lean forward and engage with the thing, typing and clicking and multitasking. When you watch Lost, you want to sit back and put your feet up on the couch."

I first heard that reasoning 8 years ago and I still don't think it's quite right. Don't Slate writers have laptops or iPods? Aren't they--hey, what's this? Boxers. In the cushions of my Barcalounger. Huh. What was I talking about? Right. I don't always use my computer like a workstation, I don't always watch TV passively and Slate's article just didn't seem all that informative.

That's former boxer and nightclub singer Mitch Albom

I'm kinda sick of Mitch Albom and it's not just because he tends to punch up his columns with things that never, in fact, happened. But Starbucks likes him: "Beginning Oct. 3, a week after the book becomes available in traditional retail stores, Starbucks will begin selling 'For One More Day' at stores nationwide. Albom will make appearances at stores in eight cities...and take part in a video conversation that will be available online. On Oct. 26, Starbucks will host customer-led discussion groups at 25 stores nationwide."

Maybe that makes sense. Albom has come to represent a certain spirit of community involvement and charity that fits with the Starbucks image. Also, Albom's writing can be the perfect antidote for overcaffeination. Still, you have to wonder: will all the kids like him?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Not the baseball player, the friendly one

Since no other topic is really making my socks roll up and down (I don't even know what that means), let's take a moment to meet Dallas copywriter Will Clarke, king of all he surveys. Or at least, author of several favorably reviewed, soon-to-be-made-into-a-movie books. Yay!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's only good writing if it re-inforces my feelings of moral superiority

I don't see how anyone can possibly rank the top business writers without at least giving honorable mention to Chris Byron. A mastery of the language, always a solid command of the facts -- truly, who else could have delivered such a shocking and powerful crotch-kick to Revlon's Ron Perelman:

"This is a performance the world has seen more than once from the Ronster, who might want to ask himself why he tends to become publicly entangled in diverting and ultimately destructive relationships with women at precisely the moments when his attention should be focused most intensely on the management of his business affairs.

"Maybe Perelman should consider bringing the subject up with his newest arm piece, a standard-issue looker named Anna Chapman, who materialized at his side this spring, mere weeks after his fourth marriage, to actress Ellen Barkin, fell apart.

"As it happens, his new gal turns out to be a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of panic disorders....Unfortunately, there may not be enough time left for Dr. Chapman to help Rutting Ron rid himself of his libidinous demons. This time around, the warnings about Revlon look real."

Then it gets better! See the genius? Business writing like that could almost make a Star magazine editor envious. Yeah, that's more like it.

"EDS employees have been through several years of nearly continuous job cuts."

It's always the same story out of Plano. But I can't help feeling this latest Dallas Morning News article was at least partially written by George Orwell: "With sales on the rise, Electronic Data Systems Corp. is taking the opportunity to accelerate job cuts."

UPDATE: OK. Now they're just fucking with us. Starbucks jumps on the Orwellian bandwagon and blames recent poor sales on the popularity of their summer drinks. That's right. Sales are down because of too many sales. Read it and see if your head doesn't explode.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lady In The Downward Career Arc

Before Mel Gibson shared his world views with us this past weekend, didn't it seem like M. Night Shyamalan was fast becoming Hollywood's favorite guy to savage? Is everyone pissed that Shyamalan still lives in Pennsylvania? Are they jealous about that Amex spot? Hard to tell, but I like this, a very different take on Shyamalan's new movie: "Better to fail gloriously than succeed at something plenty of others can do."

(I know. It can be so disorienting to follow a link only to find the exact same Blogger template. But sometimes it simply can't be helped. See?)

Robert Best: reaching out, making friends

Via BPR comes proof that Mattel's designer is, aside from being cute as a button, so quotable: "Barbie rocks my world. She’s awesome. One thing I have found interesting working on Barbie is how many opinions people have about her. She can be a love or hate thing for people. You hear how she’s caused people to have eating disorders. I think those people are whiners and they should shut the fuck up. Stop blaming a doll for your problems. It’s amazing that she’s a fashion icon and a legend. I think I’ve reached more people designing for Barbie than I ever did when I was working in high fashion."

He's exactly right. Which may prove that Barbie's still a successful brand. At least among non-eating-disorder-affected women and gay men.