Friday, December 21, 2007

Made from the best design on earth

This has got to be the stupidest business decision I've seen in a while:
I can spot a Snapple in a deli fridge among all the other finely-designed, colorfully-labeled bottles: I can do a quick scan for that weird sun that shows up in the iced teas, or the checkered or otherwise patterned cap, or, of course, the angled logo — but, unfortunately, it looks like all those recognizable traits and quick identifiers (for me at least) will soon be gone. In their place, a very slick look will replace this idiosyncratic brand, blurring the distinction between it and all those other nondescript bottles. Sigh.

The old Snapple labels were what my good friend Mario would refer to as a "hot mess". The bottles were ridiculous looking -- every one of them. Snapple was the Ben and Jerry's of sugar water....but B+J's cartons still look exactly as folksy and handdrawn as they have for years. And that was part of what made you actually think you were drinking something resembling a fruit-stand fresh drink blend....and not something mixed in a vat off the Turnpike. The new labels look exactly like the latter image. This blandness is the deathknell of the identifiable brand.

I predict racks of Snapple will be greatly reduced, or altogether gone from bodega shelves, in 5 years. It's that bad a miscalculation.

(Brand New: Twenty Degrees of Separation)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recession Special

When you read stories like this.....(go on, read it, I'll wait) can't help but agree with my good friend Dr. Grey:

I mean, here's an issue that would mostly be ignored by the political establishment. And if it was addressed, the Republicans would offer huge tax breaks to some ConAgra backed supermarket to bulldoze a couple of blocks of fix-me-up townhouses and build a big box grocery version of the vomit inducing Atlantic Center. Democrats, on the other hand, faced with the same problem would spend gazillions of dollars on academic studies and then decide to open a "community center" with a big mural and cooking classes -- and bulletproof glass and no funding in a couple of years. Both would be seen as abject failures.

Now I realize Bloomie's a capitalist through and through. That could be a bad thing -- but on many issues he seems to be thinking about everybody's economic best interests. The poorer citizens can open businesses. The neighbors of poorer communities get produce without having to spend the precious commodity of time to procure it. The only folks who don't profit from this -- are supermarkets.

I mean -- think about it. Actually helping two distinct groups of constituents with one stone....without involving big business or big government. It's kind of amazing.

Free hot dogs on inauguration day would only be the beginning.

(pic from this guy's flickr stream)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Without Further Comment #18 (Chance for Confusion edition)

(Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Subject

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not Like This Post is Going to Help Any

Results of the Blog Readability Test:

    Records I Buy: High School Level
    Random Access Babble: High School Level

    Gothamist: Junior High Level

    Staying West: Elementary School Level

    Drunken Stepfather: Genius level

(Drunken Stepfather is totally NSFW, by the way)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stop the Insanity

Here in New York, we don't really feel like we have much sway in the election. The city and the state are so blue, what we do doesn't seem to matter. We're watching Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania holding our breaths, hoping they do the right thing.

But there is something we can do to affect November 2008, and we need to start doing it now.

Can we, collectively, this time, at least make it easy for those all important swing states to do the right thing? Can we, all together now, agree to not nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate?

If Clinton does become the candidate, the likelihood of another Kerry or Gore type narrow defeat seems all too real. That, by the way, would be the best case scenario. The likelihood of all out landslide by something like the Huckabee/Thompson ticket seems almost assured.

Plenty of people like Hillary. I actually think she'd make a fantastic president and would be a great "first woman Commander in Chief." And, I wish, like most things in life, you could just vote with your gut and be morally pure and actaully go into the voting booth and choose the person who you think would do the best job.

Unfortunately, this is primary politics and not Oscar balloting -- it's not a meritocracy.

The choice of candidate this time needs to be completely overshadowed by electability. It's either the Democrats come up with a candidate who can win the electoral college, or we're on the fast track for 12 straight years of Republican rule. Now, the cult of "electability" got the Dems into trouble before -- that's why we were stuck with Kerry as a candidate in 2004. However, I'd say the crop of '08 is a little stronger than '04, more polished and spitshined. This time, we're not going for "blandness" (as seemed to be Kerry's biggest advantage versus the presumed frontrunner, Howard Dean).

What this is all leading up are these numbers:

H. Clinton     Favorable Unfavorable

    Republicans    11%     84%
    Democrats      79%     13%

B. Obama
    Republicans    37%     35%
    Democrats      57%     18%

The democrat numbers are just in there for reference and balance. The thing to look at are the Republican numbers. Republicans are shaky right now -- their party as clearly lost it's way -- not all registered Republicans are going to vote down party lines. But, by looking at these numbers, you can tell they're sure as hell not going to vote for Hil, either. More than 4 out of 5 registered Republicans have made up their mind -- they have an unfavorable view of Clinton -- and will definitely not cross party lines to vote for her.

But, Barack -- one third don't like him (fair enough, one third of Americans still think Bush is doing a superlative job), one third like him and one third are ambivalent. Up to two thirds of Republicans are at least open to voting for Obama. I'd much prefer my chances with those numbers going into November '08.

Here's what it all comes down to: Hillary is simply too polarizing to play in the flyover states. Regardless of what you think about her, or what she would stand for, I think ending Republican control of the executive at this point in history trumps all other concerns. And I'm not saying Obama should be the candidate -- I'm just saying Hillary shoudn't be.

Most Americans are good people and want to do the right thing -- let's make it easy for them to do the right thing this time.

December Updata

So, for the past few weeks I've had two posts I've been working on, neither of which I can seem to finish. One is called "Fuck San Francisco", the other is called "Fuck the Writers" (those being the striking writers, if you couldn't guess). They're really gonna be great screeds, I promise. Unfortunately, finishing them....or even making them coherent has been difficult. So, I've decided that maybe I just shouldn't be "fucking" anybody for the time being (too Gawkerish, maybe?). Need to get back on a positive note. So instead let me tell you about something I genuinely like and won't be snarky about:




Fuck. Can't do it.