Friday, September 26, 2008

I am waiting for knotty pine paneling to make its comeback

If Mad Men can get people thinking about the credenza again, why can't Betty's kitchen at least make knotty pine paneling socially acceptable: "[Production Designer Dan] Bishop is responsible for creating that vibe in the Draper kitchen, Weiner says. 'We talked about knotty pine because we all remembered it.' Mixed with plaid wallpaper? 'When I saw it, I thought it had the perfect match of tradition, taste and a little bit of flair that gave the room at times joy and at times a somberness,' says Weiner."

I'll admit it. I have very happy memories of pine-paneled rooms and I chose my house almost solely because its den has the original knotty pine wainscoting. I kept it! I don't care! Because, to my mind, this is just tragic.

Let's go to the Fair

Remember: if we get separated, meet me at Big Tex.

"'There will always be rich people'"

But ye may not always have expensive clothes. "Even Miuccia Prada, whose show is one of the highlights of Milan for its theatricality and design influence, seemed to be stepping more carefully." Maybe Faith Popcorn is right.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Chesapeake is paying more money on advertising...but also gaining more clout as the go-to company for large leases"

A really good look at advertising efforts among area natural gas companies. There are two reasons I'm interested in this. First, it's instructive that Chesapeake dumped Tommy Lee Jones so fast. Second, Chesapeake's newest spot, which I can't find online, is very facty -- very nuts-and-bolts informational -- and they actually explain the term "frac'ing." And that gave me a little Battlestar Galactica giggle.

"$4 lattes have become a symbol of the small luxuries people can no longer afford"

Does that sound right? It's a throwaway line in NYPost's report on the Starbucks-Wieden & Kennedy split but it seems backwards to me. Wouldn't a $4 latte be what Faith Popcorn calls a "small indulgence?" Or is Holly Sanders saying that Starbucks has failed at that? And if you're paying $4, may I recommend the Starbucks drive-thru at Belt Line and I-30? Only $3.83. Hey! Adds up. And! It's surrounded by gas stations where you can fill up for less than you'll pay in Dallas. Shortage or not.

The more Merrill Hoge criticizes Vince Young, the more I think Mack Brown is a managerial genius

Soft baby? Really? Well. If all this is true, it kinda makes Coach look even better -- that he helped keep this guy focused enough to win a national championship. See also: Cedric Benson, Ricky Williams.

Although Coach Brown doesn't kick Oklahoma's ass often enough and I can't quite forgive him for choosing Simms over Applewhite, he has a certain way of maximizing the talent of crazy young people.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For "many men camouflage is less about invisibility than fashion."

New deer-hunting camouflage is computer-designed to fool deer's unique eyesight. But will it catch on: "no matter how carefully the patterns have been computed, no matter how precisely the new hunter’s digital camouflage is calibrated to deer’s vision, there remains one large uncertainty: Will hunters wear overalls covered with pixelated squares that look like computer-generated abstract art? Or will they stick with their traditional preference...? Getting soldiers, at least the male ones, to switch to digital camouflage wasn’t easy....Some soldiers hung on to the old-fashioned designs because of what Dr. O’Neill called the C.D.I. factor: Chicks Dig It."

More important: how will these new patterns coordinate with camo beer cans?

How's that whole movie investment thing working out for Dove?

There's something pathetic about Meg Ryan dredging up her ex-husband's infidelities in order to promote a very bad movie. And The Women is very bad. Kate Coe has neatly compiled the reviews as well as the problems -- which should have been obvious, I think -- with remaking a classic.

But it's important to remember that this wouldn't be happening if not for Unilever's Dove: "Eventually, [director Diane] English secured $16 million (peanuts for a star-studded feature film) with help from...from Dove, which tied the movie to its global 'Campaign for Real Beauty' promotion."

So. Why does a Dove "Real Beauty" promotional vehicle star a woman who's most famous these days for a weirdly unnatural face? Make sense to you?

"Problem is even the yokels are buying this stuff up."

Stupid, stupid yokels! Buying up all the cheap, China-made Target crap that's clearly intended for far more sophisticated buyers. The very nerve!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have you bought any of Denny Hamlin's stuff yet?

I missed out on the fax machine and the bocce ball set but, as of this writing, bidding is still open on the clock. Yes! The one from the FedEx commercial! Although. Maybe I should save my money because the typewriter, rubber cement and the brake pads are coming up. Also: good to see his feedback is 100% positive.

See? You're starting to agree with me, aren't you? NASCAR promotions are funny.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"We’re shifting from bling and flash to no-logo apparel and accessories"

Faith Popcorn's latest predictions might be bad news for Pharrell Williams. But this seems more like wishful thinking: "Luxury consumers don’t want fashion that screams luxury; it’s ‘irresponsible’ during a recession, but they want something durable and worth the splurge."

[via Racked]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"We are not stupid."

Then why does your new website -- aimed at female sports fans -- sound stupid? "The site's content will be organized around newsy blog posts, with regular offerings in the areas of fashion, travel, food, media and 'swags' -- sports wives and girlfriends. It will also feature what [founder Erica] Boeke calls a 'fantasy league lite,' in which participants can accrue points not only by picking winning teams but by correctly answering quiz questions such as 'Will Jessica show up at the Dallas game?' But there will only be so much of that kind of stuff, says Boeke: 'I don't want to be the TMZ of the sports world.'"

I'm a little bored by Boeke's concept and by "how she thinks women prefer to think about sports -- with the emphasis on personality and drama rather than on statistics, records, best-of-all-time lists, etc." I mean, that's a total cliche, right? What's the movie line about liking baseball? And isn't the personal drama thing already the formula for all Olympic coverage?

I'd rather just read Deadspin. But, to be fair, maybe that's because they too dispense with the statistics in order to play up the drama.

Poisoning 6000 infants

CNN: "More than 6,200 babies have been sickened by the tainted milk powder, said Li Changjiang, China's director of quarantine and inspection, up from about 1,200 on Tuesday. More than 1,300 infants are hospitalized. The illnesses include malnutrition, kidney stones and acute renal failure.... Li said Wednesday that the powder has also been shipped to five other nations, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Yemen, Chad and Burundi." Apparently, raw milk had been mixed with melamine, the same chemical that last year was found in shipments of pet food, killing dogs and cats here and resulting in a $24 million settlement.

Be sure to read the last five sentences in that CNN report. It tells you everything you need to know about China's quality control and environmental standards.

It somehow reminded me of this: "Oil prices have made some imports prohibitively expensive, far outweighing the advantages of cheap production costs in China." And this: "ZAP’s vehicles are currently manufactured in China, but...the costs of logistics for ZAP have risen in recent years, particularly to ship vehicles from California to the East Coast. A Kentucky manufacturing plant would help reduce that cost." I don't know what any of this means or if it's good or bad but I do think about it all whenever I'm in a Target. It makes me kinda immune to the hype.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"'It was quite an institution, and Charlie's the last punk rocker'"

Bar of Soap, now closed.

Of course, Bar of Soap played a unique -- and, it could be argued, instrumental -- role in the history of ad blogging. Let's review.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"But around 1 pm the tent was largely empty"

Sears at Fashion Week. It's not the combination of "low-priced retailers and Fashion Week" that's pathetic here. It's the utter lack of imagination. The profound half-assery of simply putting up a tent and doing little more than have LL Cool J sign autographs.

It makes Target's temporary Bullseye Bodegas look all the more amazing. There's an actual concept and the attention to detail -- the crates in front of refrigerator cases, for instance -- really is breathtaking.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The most important opinion of the day: Bennett on Zoe

From Project Rungay's Q&A with Laura Bennett:

"What was Rachel Zoe like?
She had a person doing her hair the whole time. I think her critique was OK. She knows about clothes.
She doesn’t know how to dress people.
She does if they’re going to a 70s party."

Bravo-on-Bravo violence! Delicious! I have to admit, that NYTimes Zoe profile was fascinating -- she's the genius who first saw trips to Starbucks as a business opportunity and masterfully used the paparazzi as her own personal PR machine. At the same time, she actually refers to sunglasses as "sunnies."

All these years later, it's an Absolutely Fabulous character come to life.

"Despite the similar getups they were not in fact there as a couple"

Look closely at this photo and you can just make out the presence of Jeff Gordon and Pharrell Williams.