November 9, 2008 by Colin
The original Contac C television ad. I have to admit, I always hoped that once, just once, the bus would jump the curb and hit Mr. “Oh Yes I DO”
November 4, 2008 by Colin
Ohhh. Woolfie. Forget John King’s 60 inch touch screen with county by county demographic breakdowns. You have that wall of infograph heaven. You’ve come so far from that little book-filled cubby hole, back when you were the correspondent on the Department of Defense beat.
What is it like to work in the chyron and graphics department at CNN on an election night? Is it all Red Bull, Cheetos and Vista crashes?
At least it’s more fun than running the satellite feeds at CBS, where Katie had TWO double enders – one with the McCain campaign director and one with the Obama campaign director – fail with audio whiteouts.
By the way – why is John King so obsessed with comparing Obama results with Kerry results, on a county-by-county basis? There should be a giant disclaimer running along the bottom of his screen:
*please remember: in 2004, the United States was not entering a recession, had not been stuck in a seemingly intractable land war for five years, and had not yet experienced the trampling of civil liberties in the name of a paranoid national security regime.
October 27, 2008 by Colin
Emmett Milbarge. Does that name sound familiar, or am I an exceptionally perceptive fan of Chevy Chase movies?
Emmett Milbarge is the name of a new sales manager making an appearance on tonight’s episode of Chuck, the spoofy espionage drama broadcast on NBC.
It’s also an amalgam of the lead characters from Spies Like Us:
Chevy Chase … Emmett Fitz-Hume
Dan Aykroyd … Austin Millbarge
October 26, 2008 by Colin
It’s time for the economists to rend their garments and seek forgiveness. Econ Journal Watch is preparing a compendium of personal narratives on the subject of preference falsification: that unusual circumstance where scientists, researchers and, of course, economists, express views or attitudes in public that contradict those they hold in private.
In his or her essay, the author should clarify the kind of preference falsification in which he or she has engaged. For example:
- Building models one does not really believe to be useful or relevant.
- Making simplifications that obscure or omit important things.
- Using data one does not really believe in.
- Focusing on the statistical significance of one’s findings while quietly doubting economic significance.
- Engaging in data mining.
- Drawing “policy implications” that one knows are inappropriate or misleading.
- Keeping the discourse “between the 40 yard lines” so as to avoid being outspoken; knowingly eliding fundamental issues.
- Tilting the flavor of policy judgments to make a paper more acceptable to referees, editors, publishers, or funders.
- Disguising one’s methodological or ideological views, such as by omitting revealing activities or publications from one’s vitae.
- For government, institute, or corporate economists: Having to significantly play along with things one does not believe in.
h/t to Marginal Revolution
October 25, 2008 by Colin
Waaassssuuuupppp? With the economy, the war, health care, the stock market ….
(I know I’m cheating by not providing you with quality blog narrative and incisive ideas, but I’m working on a couple of papers. You’ll be impressed when they’re finished)
October 20, 2008 by Colin
Iggy Pop: “As my teeth started to fall out, they paid to replace them …”
Dinah Shore: “Your teeth started to fall out? Eat too much candy?”
Iggy gets interviewed on the Dinah Shore show in 1977, while David Bowie lurks in the background. And yes, he’s totally grooving on the lady.
h/t to Holly
October 20, 2008 by Colin
There are many positive qualities to the tram system in Strasbourg: new trams, wide windows, efficient and predictable schedules, broad green tramways and a simple fare structure.
More remarkable, however, is the inspired effort to weave the network into the spirit of the community.
Artists were commissioned to create static and multimedia installations that warmed the relationship between an infrastructure project and the Strasbourgoeis: custom tickets for the “A” line, stations as a subtle artistic canvas, intentionally manipulated compasses scattered along the system, art incorporated into beams and columns, and a charming and lighthearted project to humanize the otherwise mechanistic station announcements.
Rodolphe Burger, a French composer and musician, created Vox Populi – a series of interstitial melodies, backing tracks and station announcements which were completely enchanting during my stay in Strasbourg this week.
There is little more surprising than hearing a small melody, performed by the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, precede a small child announcing the upcoming stop for La Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme – an institution that defends the rights of young and old throughout Europe.
As Burger told an interviewer in 2001, a hundred people from 4 to 82 recorded station names and standard safety and information messages::
“… Plus de cent personnes ont été enregistrées, pour introduire le maximum de variation dans les voix, les timbres, les accents, etc …
Quand un supporter annonce le stade de la Meinau, quand un professeur célèbre annonce « Université », quand un habitant du quartier de l’Elsau annonce le terminus en poussant une sorte de cri de joie, quand une interprète anglophone du Conseil de l’Europe bute sur la station
« Alt Winmarick », s’excuse (là, apparemment, d’après les échos que j’en ai, lorsque cette annonce tombe, c’est l’hilarité générale dans la rame), etc …”
Burger also referred to the influence of singing and chanting traditions among the Aborigines of Australia and the Navajos of North America – where direction and instruction were communicated through tone, rhythm and personal voice.
“… Ça me fait penser au Chant des pistes de Chatwin, dans lequel il explique comment, chez les aborigènes, la carte et le chant sont liés. C’est présent aussi chez les Navajos. Les chants sont des chemins dans un paysage …”
The key is to create intertwining narratives and story lines, preventing each trip from becoming a routine and numbing experience framed by monotone announcements and mechanical chimes. It certainly works, as I noticed the distinct voices and musical combinations when arriving at each station on the “B” and “E” lines.
While I didn’t have the time – or the inspiration – to look for the other artistic elements on the line, a different report emphasized how the various projects worked together:
” … Il faudrait aussi évoquer les projets affectant l’ensemble de la ligne B : les dessins d’Alain Séchas dans les caissons lumineux des colonnes des stations, les boussoles de Jean-Marie Krauth incrustées dans le sol des vingt-quatre stations et le traitement de l’ambiance sonore des rames par Rodolphe Burger …” (Vacarme)
October 19, 2008 by Colin
Economic shock waves, political unrest, tightening consumer credit, retirement savings at risk, and the looming threat of unemployment.
In these situations, advertisers often retreat to comfort, reassurance and tales of past victory over challenging times.
The latest ad from Hovis, a storied British bread manufacturer, certainly plays upon these themes. Victory in two world wars, the 1966 football championship …
While impressive and emotive on its own, the ad draws considerable influence from an earlier ad, directed by Ridley Scott (yes, that Ridley Scott) in 1973.
Scott’s Boy and His Bike regularly tops polls as the best ad in British history, and was relaunched for a 10 day run in 2006 to celebrate the bakery’s 120th anniversary.
Hovis has the new ad available on their site (but not embedabble). A “making of” featurette is available, and two historians provided insight into the details of the opening outdoor scene for the Daily Mail.
October 19, 2008 by Colin
In the Orlando Weekly, the story of how Billy Mays ended up in a millionaire’s mansion by working his pitch, becoming a master at selling cleaning products and kitchen gimmicks.
“Here’s the big myth. I can tell you this,” he says. “I spend a lot of money. My bills are outrageous. I make great money, but compared to my mortgage? I need $50,000 a month just to crack the nut here. This place is $20,000 a month just to make the mortgage and everything. I do make a lot of money, but I spend a lot of money to help keep up this lifestyle. There’s this big lore about what I make, like, ‘He’s a billionaire!’ But I’m not. Sure, I make over a million dollars.”
… “When I was on the road, when Billy Mays didn’t know that I was famous, I’d be drinking martinis,” he says. “I’d be so hammered the next day and I’d have to go and appear somewhere. But the thing was, any hint of that would come out, I put myself in jeopardy. It looks bad.
“The only thing that can hurt Billy Mays,” he adds, “is Billy Mays.”
October 16, 2008 by Colin
I present a non-smoking sign found in several places in the hallways of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
There are 47 different member nations in the Council, and many of them have found different ways of drawing a cigarette with a circle through it – including some squares.
The guy second from the right looks like he’s going through withdrawal shakes.
And … I swear I see a Barbapapa in one of those signs.
October 15, 2008 by Colin
It’s been a long time since I’ve featured a quote from Scott Feschuk, humorist, former speech writer for Prime Minister Paul Martin and communications consultant. This is from his liveblog of the Canadian election results:
“… 11:15 p.m. I know the Internet is resilient, but I’m not sure it has the power to survive these painful segments when some poor soul from the mainstream media is reduced to reading twitters and tweets and twirps and cockadoodle-doos from that special segment of the illiterate that prefers to communicate in seven-word bursts. Harper bad. Dion bad. Harper badder. No, Dion badderer. Me like eggs!!!!! …”
October 13, 2008 by Colin