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January 18, 2005

American Brandstand


Brand consultancy Agenda every year compiles a chart tracking the number of times brands are mentioned in the lyrics of the top 20 best-selling singles.

They call it "American Brandstand."

Clever, what?

Last year's winner?

Cadillac, with 70 mentions.

The 2004 top 10, in order:

• Cadillac

• Hennessy

• Mercedes

• Rolls Royce

• Gucci

• Jaguar

• Chevrolet

• Cristal

• Bentley

• Maybach

What? No bookofjoe?



Back to the drawing board....

Richard Tomkins, in an extremely amusing column in today's Financial Times, pointed out that brand patter like this isn't insignificant.





has sold like hotcakes since it's become the vehicle of [rap] choice.

The highlight of his piece, though, wasn't his take on how brands can become subverted by acquiring a kind of "negative cachet" should the wrong set take them up.

No, it was his use of a term of art new to me to describe the look of a certain subset of English women who hail from "the desolate south London wasteland."

He wrote, "The female... is known for scraping her hair back into an ultra-tight, skin-tautening ponytail dubbed the Croydon facelift...."

What a great phrase: "the Croydon facelift."

I'm tempted to lose bookofjoe and rechristen this blog "The Croydon Facelift" - that's how much I like the term.

Richard Tomkins, as I've told him previously, is welcome to take over this space


whenever he likes for some guest posting.

Oh, yeah, the word "tautening": get over it.

Maybe he went to a better school than we did.

You don't like it?


Take it up with Tomkins, or whoever taut him.


[via Richard Tomkins and The Financial Times]

January 18, 2005 at 05:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

54° below zero in Embarrass, Minnnesota: 'It gets old after a while'


So said Christine Mackai, town clerk for Embarrass, a community of 691 people in northeast Minnesota, about yesterday's bone-chilling freeze.

Did she say "old" - or "cold?"

'Cause even to this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, –54° seems a bit much.

That still isn't a record for Minnesota, though: that would be –60°, set February 2, 1996 in Tower, about 10 miles north of Embarrass.

Trish Rogers, a waitress at Four Corners, an Embarrass cafe and gas station, said, "Everybody left their cars running. It was pretty much breathtaking when you walked outside."


I have no reason to doubt her.

For joeheads who think in Celsius, –54°F = –48°C.

Still pretty cold, if you ask me.

January 18, 2005 at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: 'Frank Must Die'


Taking a leaf from Bob Hickey's book, a 9-year-old boy's mother launched an eBay auction to help pay for a pricey biopsy on a brain tumor her son David (below) had nicknamed "Frank."


When word got out on the internet street, Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of the Skull Base Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (dare I mention that Cedars is part of the UCLA School of Medicine, my alma mater? Go Bruins! But I digress) said he'd do the procedure for free, Tiffini Dingman-Grover, David's mom, said yesterday.

So I guess you won't be able to bid any more for the bumper sticker saying "Frank Must Die," which would have gone to the auction's winner.

In my opinion, what we see here, and in the case of internet-enabled organ transplants, are nothing other than the first cracks in the ground, heralding an earthquake of titanic magnitude in health care and how it happens, catalyzed and enabled by the internet and the disintermediation of the grand panjandrums who for too long have held our well-being in their overpaid hands.

Wait and see: you ain't seen nuttin' yet.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I did the equivalent of an internet campaign for a dying child; she lived.


I wrote a book about it (above).

Though sales in the U.S. only totaled a few thousand, it's sold over 100,000 copies in its German translation (below).


Just goes to show that it's not just the book, but what the publisher does with it, that makes or breaks a title.

Clearly, my German publisher put a lot more wood behind the arrow.

January 18, 2005 at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack



This small, light, soft, folding portable refrigerator was designed by Yonatan Sadowsky.

Its aim?

"To break the 'refrigeratorness' of the common refrigerator, to deconstruct that old heavy square we all know so well while giving it more character."

The soft insulating cover is a double layer of non-absorbent fabric filled with polyester fibers.


The cover has a door with a zipper.

"Its cooling mechanism uses thermo-electric technology based on the Peltier effect."

A bookofjoe 2005 Design Award winner.


Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: Claes Oldenburg, call your office: your fridge is here.

[via BW and designboom.com]

January 18, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Peacock feather earrings by Audrey Hu


This jewelry designer's website is a rarity in the fashion and accessories world: it's without flash, easy to use, and nice to look at.

The exception that proves the rule, alas.

Ms. Hu is most famous for her peacock feather earrings (above and below), either with ($82) or without ($62)


surrounding sterling silver hoops, accented with semi-precious stones such as peridot or iolite.


Featured in New York, Audrey, and Seventeen magazine - Hilary Duff wore them on the cover of the July '04 issue (above), so you know it's all good, I mean, you won't even have to ask yourself, WWHD? - I must say I like her clean, simple designs a lot.

The only thing I find discordant about her jewelry is how little she charges: I believe she would sell even more of her work if it were priced much higher.

I mean, $62 for something this elegant is absurd.

January 18, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I Do Not Know - by E. M. Cioran


I do not know what is right and what is wrong; what is allowed and what is not; I cannot judge and I cannot praise. There are no valid criteria and no consistent principles in the world. It surprises me that some people still concern themselves with a theory of knowledge. To tell the truth, I couldn't care less about the relativity of knowledge, simply because the world does not deserve to be known. At times I feel as if I had total knowledge, exhausting the content of this world; at other times the world around me does not make any sense. Everything then has a bitter taste, there is in me a devilish, monstrous bitterness that renders even death insipid. I realize now for the first time how hard it is to define this bitterness. It may be that I'm wasting my time trying to establish a theoretical basis for it when in fact it originates in a pretheoretical zone. At this moment I do not believe in anything and I have no hope. All forms and expressions that give life its charm seem to me meaningless. I have no feeling either for the future or for the past, while the present seems to me poison. I do not know whether I am desperate or not, since lack of hope does not automatically imply despair. I could be called anything because I stand to lose nothing. I've lost everything! Flowers are blooming and birds are singing al around me! How distant I am from everything!



January 18, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Leila Arcieri is the love child of Vanessa Williams and Jennifer Aniston


The penny dropped just now,


when I realized why the star of "Wild Things 2,"


currently playing the role of Jamie Foxx's girlfriend,


always seemed to remind me of someone.


Take a look and see if you don't agree.


I mean, I suppose I could be mistaken... but it's not likely.

January 18, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Spandex Sheets


What took 'em so long, is what I want to know?

Wamsutta's just brought out its "Embrace" line of sheets, with Lycra "encapsulated" in the fabric so that "only cotton touches your skin" but the fitted sheet stretches over the bed's corners to keep it tight.

Fits any mattress 12" to 18" tall.

Perhaps, if these sheets work as touted, I'll be able to retire my trusty Sleep-Snugs,


which make any sheet quarter-bouncingly tight, but only at a cost of enormous effort and struggle.

January 18, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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