Monthly Archives: April 2012

Letters from women in Santa Fe, New Mexico: “A Testimonial” by Sparrow

A Testimonial
by Sparrow

I have lived in this city
25 years
and all that time
I have dropped things.
I’ve dropped
letters from women
in Santa Fe, N.M.,
the keys to my house,
books by
Jacques Prevert.
And all this time,
the people of this
city, have pointed
to me, and said,
“Hey!” “Sir!” “You!
You dropped something!”
and then I’ve picked it up.
You have watched
over me all these
and I’ve waited till
now to thank you.

From The United States of Poetry episode “The Land and the People.”
Copyright Washington Square Arts, 1995.

2B2 by Lambchop

The official video for Lambchop’s 2B2, shot by Zack Spiger, featuring live footage from Lambchop’s Spring 2012 tour of Europe. And this bonus: Lambchop’s frontman Kurt Wagner on Yo La Tengo, the Monkees, JAMC, and more in a Pitchfork interview. Wow.

Lore lore: This week’s Lore news

LoreLore Repor: Our latest name to go live, Lore, launched this week, and the reception has been tremendous. Students now have a first-rate tool with an inspired and inspiring name to help them create and manage the 21st Century education experience, in college and beyond.

Here is a round-up of Lore reviews with excerpts.

Northwestern Business Review: Can Lore Revolutionize Education Through Social Networking?

The concept of the social network has revolutionized the job search, personal photography, and the way people share music. The founders of Lore, formerly known as Coursekit, are hoping that the way that students interact, with teachers and among themselves, is social networking’s latest disruptive innovation.

…Lore is a social network, and as such, its aim is to facilitate a conversation that goes beyond the classroom. With a course “stream” similar to a Facebook “wall”, Lore encourages students to share information related to the course that might not fit into a lecture. More specifically, students can post videos, articles, and study tips to the stream so that educators can capitalize on the sharing that is so deeply embedded in social networks. Lore imagines that these contributions would then be recorded to comprise one’s online profile, which they hope would follow students throughout their academic careers.

In an era when qualifying academic progress has gripped the educational community, a Lore profile could become a method by which both students and institutions measure progress in a substantive way. Academic achievements such as research papers and lab reports could likewise be made available to the public as potential credentials for graduate programs or potential employers. Lore, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other recent Internet sensations, is thus branding itself as a platform that gives individuals the opportunity to build their own brand.

PandoDaily: Coursekit is Now Lore: Rebrand Reflects Expansion Beyond College Courses, With New Investment from Peter Thiel

Coursekit is dead; long live Lore.

Launched in the middle of the Fall semester last year, academic social network Coursekit is already in use at more than 600 colleges. And even in its early days, Coursekit co-founder Joseph Cohen noticed adoption wasn’t limited to just college classes.

Belly dancing instructors use Coursekit. Bible study groups use Coursekit. General Assembly uses Coursekit. NYU professor Aswath Damodaran used Coursekit to teach his class to 3,000 people around the world. College students use Coursekit to continue engaging with classmates over the course material after the semester ends. People have thrown together hacks to use the site for things it wasn’t designed for.

Any smart founder knows what to do when that happens. You embrace it.

BetaBeat: Coursekit Is Now Lore; Peter Thiel Invests

In a brief phone conversation, Mr. Cohen told Betabeat that his team had come to feel the name “Coursekit” was too confining. He and his cofounders started the company while in school, as a way for professors to better manage their courses and for students to connect outside of the classroom. But since then, they’ve covered a lot of ground–they’ve dropped out, they’re at $6 million in venture funding and in 600 institutions–and along the way, their thinking has evolved. “Our vision is to be a platform for learning in whatever form,” whether a course-specific study group or broader school community, Cohen explained.

“We don’t think there are many inspiring brands in the area, and we want to be that,” he explained. “We’re looking to build a big company here, and we felt that our name was limiting.”

So why Lore? Well, there are the practical aspects: “It’s short, simple, sweet, but we could also fill it with meaning because not that many people use the word very often.” But the term also has bigger implications: “Lore means knowledge shared between people, which is what we do.”

Despite the name change and the seeming broadening of focus, Cohen refused to reveal any upcoming alterations to the offering itself: “As of today, we’re not announcing any product changes.” That said, “you should expect things to get better and bigger and evolve over time.”

Forbes: PayPal, Facebook Investor, Peter Thiel, Buys Stake in Lore

Joseph Cohen, Lore’s co-founder and CEO, said “As a name, Lore gives us freedom to grow, and reflects our belief that learning is about connecting people. We aim to build a lasting brand that inspires a spirit of learning.”

…According to Thiel’s statement, “The Internet is reshaping how people learn, and Lore is one of the companies making that happen. My course at Stanford is using Lore and we can see dynamics changing already.”

In an interview with Cohen, I learned that Thiel has about 250 to 300 students in his class and Lore lets students submit their assignments, lets Thiel see what students are discussing, and helps him with grading.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Coursekit changes name and logo

Its new logo consists of the product name arranged in a square formation within a red circle. “We love this mark because it has power through combining fundamental elements and represents our belief in changing norms — a square peg in a round hole,” the website reads.

…”We want to build a company that inspires the spirit of learning,” Cohen said, adding that the name change is “a long-term move.”

Cohen also noted the word Lore was “more abstract” and “it is not commonly used, so we get to inject our own meaning into it.”

See also our original Lore announcement post and the Lore Case Study.

A Fine Ending: 1950s movie end titles

Film end titles from the 1950s

A composite of 1950s American, Italian and French movie end title screenshots from one of our favorite websites, The Movie Title Stills Collection, created by the most excellent designer Christian Annyas. Here are the film titles, from left-to-right, top-to-bottom:

  1. FINE: Il Cammino Della Speranza (1950)
  2. THE END: Human Desire (1954)
  3. FINE: Non c’è pace tra gli ulivi (1950)
  4. The End: Big Heat (1953)
  5. FINE: Grido (1957)
  6. THE END: Desk Set (1957)
  7. FINE: Un Maledetto Imbroglio (1959)
  8. The End: It Happened To Jane (1959)
  9. FINE: Un Americano a Roma (1954)
  10. The End: Teacher’s Pet (1958)
  11. FIN: Bob le Flambeur (1955)
  12. The End: His Kind of Woman (1951)
  13. FINE: Guardie e Ladri (1951)
  14. THE END: From Here To Eternity (1953)
  15. FINE: La Grand Guerra (1959)
  16. the end: 12 Angry Men (1957)
  17. Fine: Le Notti di Cabiria (1957)
  18. THE END: Not As A Stranger (1955)

To END this silly dialectic with one last FINE, here is a quick video of the end title sequence of Un Americano a Roma (1954), which I found after I had already begun contrasting the title languages:

For a related post, see: The End (1991) by Ed Ruscha.

I Can Be Your Monday June 4th, 1962 No. 296 Issue of The New York Mirror

Editor’s Note: The following text is a dramatic retelling of actual events it is based on painting lore, hearsay, a BFA, a few assorted books and television.

One morning in 1962 curator, art historian and critic Henry Geldzahler and Andy Warhol were having breakfast. Warhol was basking in his new found success over an order of dry wheat toast and black coffee. Geldzahler looked up from his newspaper and said: “Andy, You know you can’t just paint happy flowers for the rest of your life” Andy wiped his mouth with a stiff cloth napkin, squinted and replied “I can’t?” Geldzahler insisted “No you can’t, you need to start paint what’s going on in the world.” Andy sheepishly replied, “Going on, what’s going on?” Geldzahler picked up his newspaper wagging his index finger instructively at to the front page “This is what’s going on Andy, tragedy, agony and disaster.”

The tattered remnant of the Monday June 4th 1962 Volume 37, No. 296 of the New York Mirror pictured below is the actual newspaper Geldzahler presented to Warhol that morning, and which Warhol with great acumen rendered that afternoon. Besides being one of the most incredible paintings I have ever seen (yes it is in fact a painting not a silkscreen, and under close scrutiny this is truly one of those painters’ paintings we hear so much about), I admire Warhol’s ability to listen to his friend’s suggestion. But Warhol’s true brilliance is in his decision not only to follow the spirit of his mentor’s suggestion–i.e. paint more dramatically charged subject matter, but the fact that he literally follows thorough in rendering exactly what he was handed. This act demonstrates not only a profound suspension of ego (most painters/artists like to call the shots) and an incredible willingness to accept constructive criticism, but a good measure of personal courage as well, for through this painting (experience), Warhol might have been confronting, reliving and re-feeling the “accidental” death of his father when he was 13.

Death and disaster. Warhol would focused on this theme for the next year (Red Car Crash, Purple Jumping Man, and Orange Disaster). And if you would like the “official story” behind the Death and Disaster series, view this clip from PBS’s American Masters.

Image Credit: Andy Warhol, 129 Die In Jet (Plane Crash), 1962, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 254×183cm, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

The arts as means of insight into collective purposes

“As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes.”
~Marshall McLuhan

Vladimir Mayakovsky: The jutting cheekbones of the ocean charted on a dish of jelly

Vladimir Mayakovsky - portrait - book

Left: Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1924, by Alexander Rodchenko. Right: The Collected Poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky, translated by Dorian Rottenberg, USSR, 1972.

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893–1930) was the leading poet of Russian Revolution of 1917 and of the early Soviet period. He was, “an individualist and a rebel against established taste and standards, one of the founders of Russian Futurism movement. Originally Mayakovsky planned to become an artist. His early poems have strong painterly visions and sequences in many of his works recall film techniques. Mayakovsky was deeply concerned with the problem of death throughout his life, and in 1930, troubled by critics and disappointment in love, he shot himself with a pocket pistol.” (Authors’ Calendar)

Mayakovsky is often associated with the Soviet regime, and has been in and out of favor because of that, though he did become disillusioned with the Soviet cause by the end of his life. He is not by any means my favorite Russian poet of the era, and I mainly wanted an excuse to post the image of that cool book cover above, but here’s an early Mayakovsky poem from 1913 that I quite like:

What About You?

I splashed some colours from a tubler
and smeared the drab world with emotion.
I charted on a dish of jelly
the jutting cheekbones of the ocean.
Upon the scales of a tin salmon
I read the calls of lips yet mute.
And you,
could you have played a nocturne
with just a drainpipe for a flute?

Source: Ubuweb has a free download of The Collected Poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky, my source for the book cover image and the poem.

Caine’s Arcade and the joy of creative play

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick: A 9 year old boy – who built an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto part store – is about to have the best day of his life.

“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.”
~Albert Einstein

You’ve probably heard by now the story of Caine Monroy, which began with an exuberantly creative 9 year old boy and his chance encounter with a kindred spirit, blossomed into an act of love, and went viral thanks to the 11-minute video above. Andy Isaacson wrote a great story about the Caine’s Arcade phenomenon in this week’s New Yorker, The Perfect Moment Goes Perfectly Viral, which is a must-read. It tells the whole amazing story, which is almost as much about the 37 year old struggling filmmaker playing in his artistic medium as it is about young Caine playing in his.

I find this story very inspiring, and a wonderful tonic to the glut of bad news we hear about every day. And it got me thinking afresh about the role of inspiration, joy, and creative play in our work here at Zinzin and in our everyday lives.

In our Manifesto (#13) we ask the question, When Was The Last Time You Enjoyed Naming?, and go on to say that the naming process, “should be engaging, thought-provoking, cathartic, stimulating, argumentative, enlightening, and just plain fun. You are creating a name that ideally will function as a very concise poem and catch fire out in the wider world. It’s a rush.” This belief is at the core of who we are at Zinzin, and Caine’s Arcade is a perfect example. We believe that what matters most is the capacity and willingness to perceive poetry and art in the words and life all around us. It’s not about “skills,” it’s about sensibility, and sensitivity. If you have it, you know it can’t be turned off. There is no down time, nor would you ever want there to be.

There is so much rich language  all around us–past, present and future–that it’s simply the funnest thing in the world to play with it, mold it, break it down and rejigger it. This is the art of naming. This is the joy of creation and discovery applied to the real world task of creating brands. We strive to live in an inspired state all the time, because inspiration is joyful, and inspiration is addictive. This is what Caine Monroy embodies for me with every fiber of his being, and this is where all great art–and names–comes from. No wonder he almost always has such a big grin on his face–he’s only nine, but he already knows the secret of happiness. Let’s hope he stays “forever young,” for, as Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I think Caine Monroy has a great chance to hold onto that spirit of creative joy, and Mullick’s wonderful little film will always be there to remind him of it.

Pile Up Gawking Slack-Jawed and Rubbernecked: Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) by Monte Hellman

James Taylor is The Driver, Warren Oates is G.T.O, Laurie Bird is The Girl, Harry Dean Stanton is The Oklahoma Hitchhiker (as H.D. Stanton) and Dennis ‘Beach Boy’ Wilson is The Mechanic! Monte Hellman directs this 1971 bunch of small town car freaks chasing me across two states, make that three states. Pink slips for cars where to? DC? Then on down to Florida. Florida? Yes Florida. Color me gone, baby. Check out the rear end. This man is on something officer and may very well want to suck us up his tail pipe. And all they think about is cars, them small town car freaks. Are you trying to blow my mind in the far-out world of the high-speed scene! SFX: screeching careening tires and dueling approaching colliding car horns. Yes it is truly a mess, a muddle, a pickle, a befuddle, a heap, a botch, a blunder, a bust, a ruin, a fumble, a bumble, a snafu, a goof, and an utter shambles of a film, but what a glorious mess it is. And like any good wreck this 19 car pile up is bound to leave you gawking slack-jawed and rubbernecked. In fact Hellman’s Blacktop and Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny (2003) would make wonderful drive-in double feature. Here is an excerpt from the Criterion Collection synopsis:

“…Yet no summary can do justice to the existential punch of Two-Lane Blacktop. Maverick director Monte Hellman’s stripped-down narrative, gorgeous widescreen compositions, and sophisticated look at American male obsession make this one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema, and possibly the greatest road movie ever made.”

Tire by Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, Tire, 1962, Oil on canvas, 68 x 58″ (172.7 x 147.3 cm). A nice soul mate for Rauschenberg’s Automobile Tire Print.

Great scientists are artists too

“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are artists as well.”
~Albert Einstein

Big Noise From Winnetka by The Bobcats

“Big Noise from Winnetka” was co-written by drummer Ray Bauduc and composer, bass player, and elite whistler Bob Haggart. It was first recorded in 1938. There is a lovely twist to the arrangement at around the 1:48 mark.

Stop Press: Garry Winogrand’s SFMOMA Retrospective To Open March 2013

Save this date: March 09, 2013. We are happy to learn that the San Francisco Museum of Art will be launching a major Garry Winogrand retrospective next year. Winogrand’s work has been the subject of several posts here recently, including a reflection on his last retrospective in Los Angeles 25 years ago and an incredible interview. We can hardly wait to see how SFMOMA & Leo Rubinfien curates Winogrand’s “prodigious body” of work. Here is the announcement from the SFMOMA website:

This retrospective, organized by SFMOMA under the direction of photographer and writer Leo Rubinfien, is the first major touring exhibition and catalogue in 25 years dedicated to the work of (1928-1984). Despite being widely recognized as one of the preeminent American photographers of the 20th century, Winogrand has to date been inadequately published and incompletely explored by critics and art historians. Postponing the editing of his prodigious body of work and then coming abruptly to the end of his life, he completed only five modest books, which contain just a fraction of his total work and merely suggest his great importance to the history of photography. The curatorial research undertaken for this project has made possible the first exhibition and catalogue that reveal to the public the full breadth of Winogrand’s oeuvre — a jubilant, epic portrait of America that is Whitmanesque in its ambition to encompass the whole of the nation’s life. One of the principal artists in any medium of the eruptive 1960s, Winogrand combines a sense of the hope and buoyancy of American life after World War II with a powerful anxiety, presenting America shining with possibility while also threatening to spin out of control.

Source: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art | Photo Credit: Statue of Liberty Ferry, New York 1971 © Estate of Garry Winogrand

Lore. Born April 23, 2012.


Zinzin is very proud to announce the birth today of our newest name: Lore, a re-branding of the online education and learning management service Coursekit. Lore is knowledge acquired through education or experience, shared between people and passed down across generations. Literally the body of knowledge, especially of a traditional, anecdotal, or popular nature, on a particular subject. Learning, knowledge, or erudition that transcends book learning. That which is known about a specific subject or situation: data, fact (used in plural), information, intelligence, knowledge. A body of traditional beliefs and notions accumulated about a particular subject: folklore, legend, myth, mythology, mythos, tradition. That which is known; the sum of what has been perceived, discovered, or inferred: information, knowledge, wisdom.

Lore starts with word-of-mouth, it ends with common wisdom. And lore isn’t just about ancient history. It can also be contemporary: film lore, music lore, sports lore. Whatever lore you’re talking about, it’s clear that people need and love their lore. And soon all college students and professors will too. Lore is the perfect name for a company that is changing the game of managing higher education, from courses to a sharing of knowledge between professors and students, and from student to student. Think of it as a powerful social network for learning.

And speaking of love, it is no coincidence that Lore is only one letter removed from Love. You can see this graphically in the fantastic Lore logo, with its echoes of the famous Robert Indiana LOVE painting (1966) and subsequent sculptures (beginning 1970). The LOVE series is nearly as iconic as Milton Glaser’s I(heart)NY logo, and a great way to at least subconsciously connect the service Lore provides with a feeling of love. The students and professors already using Lore certainly love it, but it also taps into the higher aspirations of love of learning, love of knowledge, and love of sharing knowledge. There’s a whole lotta’ love behind Lore.

Lore is the perfect name for this transformational company and service. It stakes its claim as the the one to beat in this growing market, and while competitors may offer alternate ways to exchange educational information, only one can ever facilitate the exchange of lore. More than information, more than data, more than the functional tools and building blocks of college education today, Lore can become the go-to network for the exchange of  knowledge, a very powerful idea.

Welcome to the world, Lore.

(Here is our case study for Lore.)

Milton Glaser: Embrace the Failure

This is a great video talk by veteran designer Milton Glaser from 2011, created by students from Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication. The theme of the talk is “Fear of failure,” its causes and consequences.

Fear of failure. It’s a phrase that requires a little thought. I also have a sense that unless you analyze both the nature of fear and the nature of failure, you won’t come to any agreement about the consequences of fear. When I talk to students, about the distinction between professionalism and personal development, I very often put it this way: In professional life, you must discover a kind of identity for yourself, that becomes a sort of trademark, a way of working that is distinctive that people can recognize. The reason for this is that the path to financial success and notoriety is by having something that no-one else has. It’s kind of like a brand, one of my most despised words.

This is funny. I get where Glaser is coming from, and share the skepticism of branding that many people have, which of course is based on bad branding. Marty Neumeier has a good article on the AIGA website, Who’s Afraid of the Big Brand Wolf?, which analyzes several “irrational fears” of branding and brands and offers up the thought experiment of replacing branding with a new world, existing or made-up, and the futility of such an attempt. But let’s get back to our Milton.

So what you do in life in order to be professional is you develop your brand, your way of working, your attitude, that is understandable to others. In most cases, it turns out to be something fairly narrow, like ‘this person really knows how to draw cocker spaniels,’ or ‘this person is very good with typography directed in a more feminine way,” or whatever the particular attribute is, and then you discover you have something to offer that is better than other people have or at least more distinctive. And what you do with that is you become a specialist, and people call you to get more of what you have become adept at doing. So if you do anything and become celebrated for it, people will send you more of that. And for the rest of your life, quite possibly, you will have that characteristic, people will continue to ask you for what you have already done and succeeded at. This is the way to professional accomplishment–you have to demonstrate that you know something unique that you can repeat over and over and over until ultimately you lose interest in it. The consequence of specialization and success is that it hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn’t aid in your development.

This is a profound insight, and bears repeating: specialization and success hurts you in the long run because it hinders your further development, as an artist, writer, thinker, or namer. Success leads you to coast, coasting leads to stasis and predictability, predictability leads to boredom and, ultimately, the loss of the audience that came with the initial success. Yes, we all crave success, but the only way to keep developing, and thus insure continued success over the  long haul, is to be willing to to take great risks at all times, even when the result lead to…you guessed it…failure:

The truth of the matter is that understanding development comes from failure. People begin to get better when they fail, they move towards failure, they discover something as a result of failing, they fail again, they discover something else, they fail again, they discover something else. So the model for personal development is antithetical to the model for professional success. As a result of that, I believe that Picasso as a model is the most useful model you can have in terms of your artistic interests, because whenever Picasso learned how to do something he abandoned it, and as a result of that, in terms of his development as an artist, the results were extraordinary. It is the opposite of what happens in the typecasting for professional accomplishment.

But moving on from that particular idea to the idea of fear of failure, which is an inhibiting characteristic. One question is, What are you afraid of? Is it the condemnation of others? If you do something and it is inadequate is the criticism of critics and other experts and even your friends and relatives, that embarrasses you, that makes you unwilling to go forward? Of course there’s also in professional life, the fear is, that you won’t get any more work, because visible failure is a detriment, people think–and perhaps correctly–that you don’t know what you’re doing. So, there is that inhibiting factor. Another one that may be more profound, and more interesting, is our own self-criticism.

A characteristic of artistic education is for people to tell you that you’re a genius. And that you’re an artistic genius, and that you’re a creative genius, and so everybody gets this idea, if they go to art school, that they’re really a genius. Sadly, it isn’t true. Genius occurs very rarely. So the real embarrassing issue about failure is your own acknowledgement that you’re not a genius, that you’re not as good as you thought you were. And doing a project that is truly complex and difficult tests your real ability, and since we all have a sensitive ego, alas, within our confident facade, the thing that we most fear in regard to failure, is our own self-acknowledgment that we really don’t exactly know what we’re doing.

There’s only one solution, and it relates to what I was saying earlier: You must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you’re capable of doing, and what you’re not capable of doing. That is the only way to deal with the issue of success and failure because otherwise you simply will never subject yourself to the possibility that you’re not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are. But that is, of course, delusional.

So my advice finally about fear of failure, which is a kind of romantic idea, there’s only one way out: embrace the failure.

This is very astute, and a great analysis of how mediocrity, conformity and predictability prevail in most creative endeavors. Fear of failure, in its myriad forms, leads to a repetition of what you (and others) know you are good at, in order to avoid failure. Professional success reinforces the tendency to do what you are good at and not to risk failure, and gradually anything that may have been interesting in the initial work, idea or dream has been squeezed out. Glaser is right: you have to embrace failure, make it a part of your process, use it to learn from and grow. Don’t focus on the outside pressures, real and powerful though they may be–focus instead on the internal need to try, fail, learn and grow. That’s the only way to develop, in art, in science, or in naming.

Buckminster Fuller said it well: “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence of trial and error experience.  Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

[ Source: Berghs’ Exhibition 11 videos ]

In praise of vintage advertising from mad ad poets

Alcoa / Ford Falcon ad - 1960

This Alcoa ad, which appeared in April 2, 1960 edition of The New Yorker, proves the point that they don’t write ’em like they used to. Not a value judgement, just an observation. Our age is too cynical for such flights of poetic fancy. We obsess over the Mad Men depiction of that era, but this is the real deal, the kind of ads those mad, closet-poet ad men were actually churning out way back then. Take a closer look at this inspired ad copy:

Drive doughtily to salty Fort Lauderdale…(Falcon’s grille is aluminum)

Let it rain, let it snow, let salted streets splash and briny breezes blow! Corrosion’s passé with the aluminum grille and brightwork of your new Ford Falcon. Anodizing is the reason–an Alcoa process that makes aluminum sapphire-hard and sapphire bright. To preserve this royal sparkle year after shining year, merely wash down occasionally with plebeian soap and water.

Elsewhere in the Falcon–in engine and transmission, to be precise–strong Alcoa Aluminum alloys trim off the pounds while adding speed and mileage. Look for aluminum in your next car. Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh 19, Pa.

Alcoa Aluminum…for lasting Gleam and Go!

Obviously, whoever wrote this was a poet, trying to make ends meet as an adman by day. It’s also likely that this anonymous scribe (or, likely, team of scribes) never set foot in a South LA sweatshop that actually anodized aluminum (I have), or his metaphors might have tended more toward Dante than Tiffany. And in case you were wondering, doughtily is the adverb form of doughty, pronounced “dou-tee,” meaning brave, bold, intrepid, fearless, dauntless. Not a common word today, and perhaps no more common in 1960, but what a great rhetorical flourish to combine it with “drive,” “salty,” and “Fort Lauderdale”–to create this poetic gem of a headline: Drive doughtily to salty Fort Lauderdale… Now that’s copywriting with lasting Gleam and Go!

Come On Home Baby by Hubert Sumlin & Sunnyland Slim

From The American Folk Blues Festival. Germany, 1964–(Little) Hubert Sumlin on Guitar, Sunnyland Slim on Piano and Willie Dixon on Bass.

Focus on the brand positioning

From the Naming & Branding Manifesto, number 12: The key is to focus on the positioning of your brand, and then look for names that best support that positioning, being careful not to filter out potential naming directions or, conversely, to allow anything and everything through.

Saving face, or Downton Abbey-normal

For U.K. charity Changing Faces, that advertising agency DDB and director Jim Wheedon produced this public service commercial about “Leo,” a facially disfigured man sitting alone in his car, in the rain, listening to opera no less, who voyeuristically watches a beautiful woman (Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame) come home laden with groceries. In typical horror-movie style, the sinister-looking man walks up to the house and knocks on the door with a Gothic door-knocker.

What happens next? Let’s just say the typical viewer’s prejudicial expectations are nicely thwarted. It’s a great PSA, but I’m a sucker for anything that turns stereotypes and expectations upside-down. Or upside-Downton, in this case.

(Sources: and Advertising Age)

The arts as a key to life, not a useless frill

“Amidst the attention given to the sciences as how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered ‘useless,’ will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously.”
~John Maeda, RISD President, via The universe will fly like a bird