Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Only 40th?

The freecreditreportdotcom guy makes the list of America's 50 Most Loathsome People.


You smell something?

Sales are down for department store beauty brands and the biggest loser is fragrance. "'The most pressing concerns for the fragrance category are not only the loss of users, but decreasing frequency of usage....It is important that the industry find new ways to engage consumers.'" Et voila.

I'm not sure though. What do you do when the use of your product is seen as unprofessional? Or even harmful?

Blagojevich seems to be auditioning for the job of talk show host

No one loves a crazy, chatty, allegedly corrupt Dem more than Fox News Channel and so far, I think the Illinois governor has appeared on four separate FNC shows. Is he hurting his case? Or is he looking further ahead? Impeachment is a given but the criminal trial will be a different matter. Prison time or not, he's going to need a new career path and why shouldn't he consider television? Former governor Mike Huckabee has a show. Former federal inmate Martha Stewart has a show. As Greta constantly reminded everyone last night, she, like the governor, is a lawyer and she has a show. Blagojevich's big hair and unwrinkled face is as remarkable as Geraldo's and Rivera has a show. Strange, compelling, able to keep talking through tough situations -- Blagojevich is perfect for TV.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The best thing we can do for the Dallas Academy girls basketball team is to move along

All this attention seems more demeaning than the original defeat.

Jason Garrett, "Hard Knocks" and giving Stefan Fatsis his due

Last August, when Fatsis reviewed the HBO series about Cowboys training camp, he wrote: "The most compelling stories, naturally, involve people you've never heard of—veterans on the verge of getting released, rookies struggling to adjust, blowhard coaches taking their jobs way too seriously....We want the speechifying, Princeton-educated Garrett brothers, both offensive coaches, to be drowned in a training-room ice tub." That seemed weird to me at the time. Jason Garrett was so golden.

But wow. Fatsis was on it, right? Because a year after entertaining two head coaching offers, Garrett is now everyone's favorite joke and John Czarnecki thinks it's because of a perception created and fostered by Terrell Owens, the player so beloved by Hard Knocks cameras: "back to the Rams and where T.O. flexed his influence. During the search process, columnists and writers for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch started revealing flaws in Garrett's résumé....when the subject came to players, it was voiced that Garrett had a difficult time coaching black players. That is such a ridiculous assertion, but it gained so much steam in St. Louis that the fans accepted it as fact. On the day that Garrett thought he had a shot at becoming the head coach, the final paragraph in a Post-Dispatch news story was that hundreds of fans called the team's ticket office to complain about a Garrett hiring."

When Hard Knocks spent so much time showing T.O. running then, minutes later, followed it with footage of Garrett's elderly father running, the conflict was already there. HBO was already taking T.O.'s side.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No wonder Mickey Drexler was in such a good mood

Remember about a week ago at that Financo event when Burt Tansky pretty much got his ass handed to him by the J.Crew CEO? "The world is not about overpriced designer goods anymore," Drexler said and that made me sad for Neiman's. Maybe even wistful. Yeah. The whole thing was just brutal.

Now it's easy to see why Mickey Drexler was so sure about his company's direction. Aren't they the big Inauguration Day winners? Yes they are!

Praising Page Six's judgment

We get our photo of Rashida Dati. Yay.

Prepare to see a lot of Aretha hats in Dallas

The bowtie design is a hit: the "$179 inaugural hat was designed, produced and sold to the Queen of Soul by Mr. Song Millinery, a family-owned business on Woodward Avenue just south of W. Grand Boulevard, a couple of blocks from the Fisher Building. Starting minutes after Franklin finished her distinctive rendition of 'My County ‘Tis of Thee' Tuesday, the store’s phones started ringing. By this afternoon, they had sold hundreds of hats. A store they work with in Dallas had sold 500 more."

See though, you may need to be nicknamed queen of something to really carry that off. But we should all be happy that hats have been rescued from the unfortunate past.

That got me thinking that inaugural outfits are sort of like Super Bowl commercials. Everybody notices. Everybody has to comment. Except that advertisers embrace the outrageous and some creative teams even seem OK with infamy. Things are much tougher for first ladies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A "display of wealth via giant breast augmentations"

The Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball. Yay! Times and parties are always better when people prefer fake boobs to fake poverty.

"Steelers bars are the visible cultural artifact of a kind of economic diaspora"

Sometimes those downtown revitalization efforts just don't work: "People in those bars are the refugees who looked at high taxes, union dominance and lousy schools and voted with their feet."

I think the sports stadium lesson might apply to casinos and even city-owned convention center hotels. Pure distraction. It's a way to avoid the hard, thankless work of fixing the DISD and encouraging economic growth south of downtown.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Questioning Page Six's judgment

The NYPost runs an item about the French Justice Minister's mysterious pregnancy -- "My private life is complicated" -- and the accompanying photo features the dumpy, balding suspected father. No photo of her. Wouldn't you say she's more camera-friendly? I mean, much more?

Will Suze Orman kill the restaurant industry?

When Suze Orman appeared on "Oprah" last week -- castigating audience members for their stupid, stupid, out-of-control stupid spending -- she recommended three little baby steps to take towards living within a budget: 1) go a day without spending any money 2) go a week without using credit cards and 3) go a month without eating at restaurants.

It was this last item that made the audience gasp. Or maybe that was just me. I didn't realize that almost half of our food budget is spent in restaurants so she has a point. It's still a harsh demand to make on working parents. And on people who live in tiny city apartments. And on people who have long commutes. And on people who like cappuccino. And on people who make excuses.

Also, it would be terrible for the 10% of Texans who work in food service.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"I’m trying to put the sense of hope and excitement with Obama in a glass"

A handy guide to inaugural ball beverage sponsors and a wonderful collection of unfortunate quotes from hapless bartenders: "There’s nothing more American than cherry pie." Since the Peace Ball can't iron out their rum donation and sounds completely dull, and the Creative Coalition Ball -- Elvis Costello! -- is sponsored by Pepsi, the outlook is bleak. Best to stay home and quietly mix a pitcher of martinis. Made without Noilly Prat.

It's time for Fortnight

Neiman Marcus is "'looking for all kinds of ideas that are not price-driven' to lure shoppers to its high-priced stores - including stepped-up service and special events" says CEO Tansky. Quick! Bring back Fortnight! Bring it back to downtown Dallas. Now. Please.

After all Stanley Marcus "created Fortnight to offset the pre-Christmas sales slump." And he believed that “Fortnight was a cultural event as well as a marketing event....I was very insistent about bringing in folk art, music, dancers, paintings and other things that we wouldn’t sell but that would help educate.” So much glamour. So much good will. Please.

Oh. Maybe it doesn't square with Tanksy's belief that "'the rich don't want to look rich anymore - it isn't cool or chic.'" I don't know about that though. Some of the guys at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction last night were very openly, very publicly throwing around great gobs of money. To those gentlemen, I say: well done. And: helloooo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's talk about shopping!

I'm excited that everyone else is so excited by Orla Kiely's Target line. Stuff leaves me cold though. Probably because I actually remember the 70s.

Oh. I get it now.

I shouldn't have done a baseball post right after worrying that I blog like a guy, huh?

The Rangers are like a one-team development league for franchises who, you know, care about winning

I don't blame Michael Young for wanting a trade. He seems like such a good guy and watching that fame whore/clubhouse cloud Mark Teixeira sign for gazillions must have been galling. But if Young ends up with the Red Sox, I cannot wish him well.

I throw like a girl

But evidently blog like a guy. And not just any guy: Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor famous for " playing diverse and idiosyncratic characters" and whose most recent role was that of a priest who may or may not have had an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

I've failed so completely, haven't I?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bring back the grim

Only days after declaring that "escape from reality (which is what the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2008 were all about) is over," Ellisblog goes Pollyanna on us. Wingsuits. Football talk. Oh bitter irony! A genuine disservice.

As bad as escapes from reality are, you know what's worse? Depression Lust. Especially all those predictions that we will, in the face of joblessness and financial hardship, find some sort of profound bliss. Priorities will be corrected. Everyone will be nicer. Even furniture design will improve!

I don't know what you're supposed to do if you feel like your priorities were already in order. And only people who've had the opportunity to become totally bored by expensive things talk up the joy of humble things. It's so "What Do The Simple Folk Do?" isn't it? Does staged empathy -- even well-done Dennis Haysbert staged empathy -- make me feel better? Are logoless Hermes shopping bags a sign of shared values? Such confusing times. I feel uninformed without a bleak and gloomy Ellisblog.

The most beautiful fashion ads will not appear in fashion magazines, will not feature fashion model

Gymnast Nastia Liukin for Max Azria.

Friday, January 09, 2009

"It's the hangout for the celeb-crazy Disney set"

It's a tough time for retailers and I don't wish failure on any of them. But I don't know what to think about BeTween Scene : a "brightly colored shop for 6- to 12-year-olds, outfitted with Guitar Hero, Xbox 360, purses made out of Jonas Brothers magazine covers and paparazzi-ready mannequins that look dressed by Hollywood-stylist Rachel Zoe.... 'Our customer lives in the Park Cities, they go to school around here,' [owner Mary Kubera] says, while assisting after-school shoppers at her Inwood Village shop. 'And shopping is what they like to do.'"

I guess they better start doing more of it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I know!

Let's you and me rent a tanker, fill it with crude and let the thing set in the ocean for, like, 10 months. We'll make millions! No? Well. Then. Let's put on a show! My dad has a barn.

Details, details

Probably it should have been noted who, among these unemployed people, had a nice severance package. Probably you can guess. I can't help thinking that for "truck drivers, secretaries and everybody" -- nice! -- these stories might seem odd and unhelpful.

A history of drinking

I love, love, love how this simple little article about Fernet-Branca -- made with rhubarb! -- becomes a story of Sousa, the Marine Band and the importance of a good beat. That's the way it is with old cocktail names, which are always more elegant than "Sex on the Beach" and often less predictable than "Appletini."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Waterford isn't made in Waterford? What?

I thought they made everything there in Ireland but now I feel a little less bad that they filed for bankruptcy: "Much of the business has now shifted offshore, where it employs 5,800 people, including 1,500 people at a plant in Jakarta, Indonesia....The majority of its crystal production has been handed to Eastern European subcontractors." Still sad. Only maybe the brand -- look, if stuff was being made in Indonesia, it's about as good as something you'd pick up at Target -- had already been devalued.