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Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Lame is… western Michigan

This was the logo and tagline for a tourism campaign launched in 2000 by a certain city in Michigan. God bless ’em.

Sounds like hell

Picking on a tourism effort by Kalamazoo is like picking on differently abled children, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Lame is… part three

Ah, another press release, and I’m sure they wouldn’t bother unless it was about something very important. How ’bout the lead on this one? That’s what we journalists call a “zinger.” Or something stupid like that.

Yeah, don’t waste your money. Instead, “plan to surprise your pet.” Like that takes planning.

Once again, this first appeared on Lame is… in 2001.

You better believe it!
This Valentine’s Day, Say it With Kibbles
Iams Survey Reveals Pets are America’s True Sweethearts
DAYTON, Ohio, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Don’t waste your money on chocolates and flowers this Valentine’s Day.
Instead, devote your attention to the one creature in your life who gives you unconditional love every day of the year &mdash your pet.
You won’t be alone. In a Good for Life® survey conducted by The Iams Company, pet owners across the country revealed that they had special Valentine’s plans for their pets:
•41 percent of pet owners plan to give their pets a special food treat
•19 percent will shower an extra amount of love and attention on their four-legged friends
•16 percent plan to surprise their pets with a special Valentine’s Day toy
“This Valentine’s Day, you won’t be the only one to whisper those three little words to a furry friend,” said Lara Strazdin, manager of communications, The Iams Company. “In fact, our survey showed that 91 percent of pet owners have said ‘I love you’ to their pet.”

Monday, January 10, 2005


Lame is… part two

This is the kind of garbage that PR people get paid to write and distribute every day of the week. Whenever I got upset about my job at the ad agency, I would read a few of these and remember that things could always be worse. In this case, I was thankful that I didn’t have to a) design menstruation-themed web sites for teen girls, b) write about those web sites as if they were good things or c) carry a business card that says “Vice President, Global Feminine Care Strategic Planning.”

I think this press release is from 2000, and it became part of Lame is… in early 2001.

Ms. Period Face
Teen Girls Have a New Place to Hangout
Always, Tampax and Alldays Launch BeingGirl.com
A New Website Designed By and For Teenage Girls
CINCINNATI, July 26 /PRNewswire/ — BeingGirl.com, a new website for teenage girls is being launched today by Always pads, Tampax tampons, Alldays pantiliners, and Always wipes. The site creates an entertaining place for teens….
The development of BeingGirl.com was driven by an advisory board of teenage girls…. The site offers more than 500 articles on serious topics the teens have said they would like to learn more about…. Just as important, they said they would also like to have fun on-line. To address that, Ms. Period Face and screen savers like the Super Femmes and dancing tampons, as well as having e-mail greetings available, provide light-hearted entertainment.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to women’s health, this site offers information and connections that can help teen girls make important decisions that will positively impact their lives,” said Tom Handley, P&G vice president, Global Feminine Care Strategic Planning….

Friday, December 31, 2004


I’d rather buy from … A.J. ?

A.J. Richard of P.C. Richard Fame Dead at 95

Obviously, “A.J. Richard” was no kind of name for an appliance store. But P.C. Richard … now, that’s a name.

Thursday, October 7, 2004


A revolting development

After a little more than two months in San Jose, I was finally getting used to the noise of low-flying jets in the neighborhood, but I was still pleased to hear a news report that the completion of a runway extension project at SJC “should also lead to a decrease in noise for residents under the landing path.”

Later when I read the airport’s press release myself, I noticed a detail that had escaped me earlier: With construction finished, the air traffic pattern would now return to its original position — just west of where it’s been for the last five months.

The upshot of this is that the planes I used to see flying low a few blocks away are now flying low right down my street. It’s a whole new world of airplane noise.

On the bright side, my visit to the SJC website turned me on to a very cool web tool. With AirportMonitor, you can watch the radar tracks of the planes going over my house (though they’re subject to a 10-minute delay). If that doesn’t fascinate you for some reason, the same system is available for Boston Logan, Newark, JFK, and others. While the origin/destination info on the planes always seems to be blank (for security reasons, one presumes), you can still see the heading, altitude, and aircraft type. It’s neat to see how airport traffic flows over the hills and around the bay, while high-altitude through traffic sails down the coast.

Thanks to this magnificent technology, I was able to figure out just how low the neighborhood planes fly. Answer: about 700 feet, which is low enough to make the bottom of a jet look very large.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Ah…now I get it

I guess I’ve known about RSS for a little while, but it was one of those technologies that solved a problem I didn’t have. In case you’re not hip to it, RSS is a scheme to deliver web content to other people and sites without delivering the whole site around it. (As with many such abbreviations, not everyone can agree on what it stands for, and nobody really cares. But “really simple syndication” makes good sense.) When you see Yahoo! headlines on some fool’s personal page, that’s RSS at work: Fool creates a little place for headlines to go on his page, and Yahoo! delivers them there whenever you visit, and takes care of updating them. If you want to include feeds on your site like baseball scores or the latest coverage from the Scott Peterson trial, RSS is great. But so what?

Here’s what: RSS readers. If you’re interested in keeping current on something without having to go and check on it every few minutes, RSS kicks ass.

Let’s say I’m looking for an apartment, because I am. I want to know about any two-bedroom cat-accepting place in Willow Glen as soon as it gets posted on craigslist, but I don’t want to go to the site every 15 minutes. Enter a program called NewsYouCanUse, one of many news readers available. I give it the RSS address corresponding to my craigslist search, then forget it. NYCU just sits quietly in the menu bar, checking craigslist every 15 minutes for me. If a match comes up, it gives me an audible alert, and the menu icon changes color. Blue means a new listing somewhere in the South Bay, and red indicates a new listing in my preferred neighborhood.

Is this such a fresh concept? Not really. I know the Windows world, especially, is full of geegaws that exploit RSS. But when something like this really fills a serious need, like finding a freaking apartment, it’s cool as hell.

Saturday, June 19, 2004


That heavenly coffee

For three years now, I’ve been complimenting Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee for retaining the World Trade Center as part of the skyline pictured on their cans. Hats off to them for not jumping to change their decades-old design for fear of offending someone. After all, they didn’t destroy the towers, and the can design is a classic.

Well, everything has to come to an end, I suppose. I just now read that the cans are changing. Sigh.


This fish is starting to stink

Got the new Phish record the other day, and while this is a preliminary assessment, I don’t think this review is too far off the mark:

If my band had just released this CD, I’d probably want to break up, too.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


What a coincidence!

And I have a cure for an illiterate president! I’ll tell you about it in November.


Yahoo! Weather: When you absolutely, positively need to know the temperature within 40 or 50 degrees

Wherever you are tonight, bundle up!

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