Telmetale of Stem or Stone

Happy St. Patrick’s day. Zinzin has a post featuring a video (audio with pictures) of James Joyce Reading Finnegans Wake, from 1929, with the text to follow along. But first, and before you quaff or even lay eyes on your first Guinness of the day, make sure you have a hearty and nutritious breakfast:

Night now!
Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or
stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters
of. Night!

~James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p.216 lines 2-5

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Canada Obscura

Since Halloween is here, it’s time to once again face our fears and contemplate our scary neighbor to the north, Canada. In honor of the Halloweenery that has engulfed North America on this festive Day Before the Day of the Dead, we offer a primer on some of the more esoteric Halloween traditions unique to the land up north:

In Canada people welcome trick-or-treators by placing pumpkins called jack-o’-lanterns in their windows.
Also in Canada it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, enter your home, or even enter your ship.

In Canada people give trick-or-treaters sweets to make sure they are not played a trick on.

Children make Jack-o’-lanterns for hallowe’en.

Dressing up as witches, ghosts and beasts for trick-or-treating is done also.

I know, I know, it sounds like Jabberwocky to us readers in the USofA, and seems to make no sense whatsoever. You’ll just have to trust my sources that in Canada it’s all perfectly logical.

So, a Happy Halloween to you then, eh?

BONUS MATERIAL: As an extra quasi-holiday featurette, I’ve created the following poem, “Canadian Halloween”, from the 69 words quoted above, put into random order using a random number generator:

CANOLA INHALED ANEW
enter witches
they sweets path a In trick-or-treaters trick
as make is people enter make
by your is called Canada

pumpkins people
cat luck and jack-o’-lanterns black
not home your it done in your for hallowe’en
Jack-o’-lanterns Canada
even their for your to Children in played

In Also or on also
placing sure ship up are Dressing welcome
give to a bad beasts
Canada trick-or-treators
ghosts windows cross for

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Get ready for an explosion of branded Internets

Whatever you think about the domain name system, it’s been pretty effective in allowing the World Wide Web to expand so rapidly over the past two decades. And for most companies, “.com” has been THE place to park your brand. But that may all change soon.

ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the non-profit, global coordinator of the Internet’s naming system. ICANN’s global Internet regulators met today in Singapore to “finalize rules for a major expansion of ‘generic top-level domains,’ that will clear the way for new offerings like .law, .coke or .nyc. Sites with those endings are expected to start rolling out late next year.” CNN.com tells the story in Forget .com, here’s .coke:

“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

Now, before you get all excited and start dreaming of registering “.wordlab” or “.snark” domain names, note the “gotcha”:

Crawford thinks dot-brand sites will be a hit with major companies. In addition to marketing benefits, they could help on the security front: HSBC, for example, could tell customers that a purported HSBC site isn’t legitimate unless it ends in .hsbc. And a company like Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) could market products at cellphones.verizon and store locations at losangeles.verizon.

But these benefits don’t come cheaply — or easily. ICANN charges at $185,000 per domain application, which Crawford says typically must include about 150 pages of policy documents.

Technical setup takes another $100,000 or so, he says, and upkeep can cost an additional $100,000 each year.

So there you have it — only “major companies” who can afford the cost and regulatory overhead will be able to buy into this, and the result will likely be more brand clutter and confusion, with new domains like .coke, .pepsi, .verizon, .hsbc flooding the Internet with millions more corporate websites. No longer would users just go to coke.com to find out — wait, why do users go there? — whatever they need to find out, but potentially there might be thousands of separate .coke sites. Any large company could basically build its own Internet now — imagine a self-contained, Chromewashed .google empire. And forget about just one “iCloud” for Apple — they could create a mega-cloud of .apple websites.

In addition to companies, non-profits, NGO’s, citizen groups, artists and any sort of non-corporate entity that can raise the funds could also create its own self-contained micro-Internet. Imagine legions of fans registering .gaga, .bieber, .kanye or .diddy domains for their fanblogs, with all that registration money going directly to the artists instead of GoDaddy. That is, if there’s anyone left who wants to have their own website, when a Facebook page is probably all they need. We’ll see.

It’s enough to make your head spin. And in the not-too-distant future, people will misplace websites and domains the way they misplace car keys. Honey, where did you park my files? Was it at cloud.apple, icloud.apple, app.apple, cloudapp.apple, cumulus-cloud.apple, docs.google, mydocs.google or vault.amazon?

Of course, there will be apps to help you remember where you put your digital life. Oh-yes-there-will-be.apps.

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Celebrating great names: Chardonnay Hooker

I was briefly watching the local news last night, which I rarely do, and I caught a glimpse of this interview during a story about Southern California wildfires:

Chardonnay Hooker

Now that’s a great name! Like a Bond Girl. And kudos to Chardonnay for not being shy about having it and putting herself out there. And good luck battling those wildfires!

For the rest of us who aren’t so lucky namewise, here is a Bond Girl name generator to help spice up our personal nomenclature. My Bond Girl names are Tawnie Small and Yoko Dos, both of which I quite like.

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Welcome to Spyburbia, USA

Telefon“They couldn’t have been spies…Look what she did with the hydrangeas.

Spyburbia, baby — you heard it here first!

How do you fool so many in suburbia for so long? “She said they were from Canada.”

Yes Virginia, there really are spies everywhere, even in your neighborhood. Especially in your neighborhood, most likely. And if they say they’re from a mysterious blank spot on the globe called “Canada”, call the FBI immediately. [In Ordinary Lives, U.S. Sees the Work of Russian Agents]

Anyone remember that ’70s Charles Bronson B-movie classic, Telefon? As Wikipedia reminds us,

During the Cold War of the 1950s, the Soviet Union planted a number of long-term, deep-cover sleeper agents all over the United States, spies so thoroughly brainwashed that even they didn’t know they were agents; they could only be activated by a special code phrase (a line from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” followed by their real given names). Their mission was to sabotage crucial parts of the civil and military infrastructure as a precursor to a possible US/USSR active conflict or war.

I think ol’ Bob Frost was probably one of those secret agents as well. Just look at this video — something just doesn’t look quite right:

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Great Recession stages of grief in songs of “can’t”

The Great Recession of 2008-09 has so scarred us all, it seems fitting to process it culturally through the Stages of Grief. Inspired by this Wordlab Forum punnery that moved me from “quant” to “can’t”, I started thinking of songs whose titles include the word “can’t”, as in Can’t Buy Me Love, in terms of finance and the recent economic meltdown.

So to make all this cant even campier, let’s process our collective trauma over the Great Recession through the Sages of Grief in songs of “can’t”, leading off with an extra stage that sets-up our cultural addiction to the dream of spectacular profits:

1. Addiction — Show me the money!

You Can’t Resist It
Money Can’t Buy It
I Can’t Wait
I Can’t Decide
Can’t Say No
Can’t Stay Away
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Can’t Slow Down
Just Can’t Get Enough
I Can’t Help Myself
I Can’t Quit You Baby
Can’t Live Without You
I Just Can’t Help Believing
I Just Can’t Wait to Be King

2. Shock and disbelief — Housing prices can’t go down!

I Can’t Be Bothered
Can’t Believe It
Can’t Take It In
Can’t Happen Here
I Can’t Tell You Why
I Can’t Explain

3. Denial — It’s just a blip on the way to greater market value.

It Can’t Rain All the Time
Can’t Stop Me
Can’t Tell Me Nothing
You Can’t Take Me
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Rudie Can’t Fail
I Can’t Go For That
Can’t Give Up Now
You Can’t Catch Me
You Can’t Bring Me Down
They Can’t Take That Away From Me

4. Anger — Bernie Madoff did what with my pension?!!!

I Can’t Stand the Rain
Can’t Stand You
U Can’t Touch This
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
I Can’t Outrun You
You Can’t Win
Can’t Stand It
I Can’t Stand It No More

5. Bargaining — Mr. Banker, will you renegotiate my mortgage?

Why Can’t You See
I Can’t Do It Alone
Why Can’t I?

6. Depression — We’re fucked, and soon we’ll be living in mud huts again.

Can’t Get You out of My Head
Can’t Keep It In
Can’t Stand Losing You
Can’t Get Over You
Can’t Cry Anymore
Can’t Go Back
Can’t Go On
Can’t Get There From Here
Can’t Let Go
Can’t Shake It
Can’t Find the Words
Can’t Get It Out of My Head
Can’t Sleep At Night
Can’t Finish What You Started
Can’t Get Out of What I’m Into
I Can’t Do This
Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
Can’t Stop This
Can’t Go Back Now
Can’t Stop the World
Can’t Let Go
Can’t Get Away
A Fire I Can’t Put Out

7. Acceptance — I don’t really even need a house, now that I have an iPad!

This Can’t Be Healthy
Can’t Deny It
I Can’t Deny
Can’t Have It All
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
You Can’t Turn the Tide
You Can’t Stop the Rain
We Can’t Help You
Can’t Be A Cowboy Forever

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Library of Congress acquires entire Twitter archive

Yep, it’s true. See if you can wrap your head around this. The great institution of All Things Worth Saving will now be saving for all eternity the archive of All Things Not Meant To Be Saved: How Tweet It Is!: Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive. Says the LOC:

Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service?  Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.

That’s right.  Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

They go on to list some noteworthy tweets that may be worth remembering in ten thousand years and beyond:

Just a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20), President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620).

At the current rate of 50 million tweets per day, that’s 18,250,000,000 tweets per year, or 3,832,500,000,000 tweets every 210 years, the amount of time since the Library of Congress was founded in 1800. Of course, once everybody on the planet is tweeting hundreds of times per day, along with their household pets, appliances, and spambots, there could be 50 billion tweets per day. So attention LOC librarians: time to sharpen those pencils and roll up your sleeves — you’re about to get real busy chasing stray tweets.

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The history of Ponzi and his infamous scheme

With the arrest last week of Bernard L. Madoff for what amounts to a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, Mental Floss asks the obvious question: just who is this Ponzi, and what exactly was his scheme?

His name was Charles Ponzi, pictured at right, and Mental Floss notes,

Anyone can work a simple swindle, but you have to be a special kind of con man to have your name become synonymous with “fraud.”

Read the article, it’s a great story. At one point near the end, when his great con was unraveling, Ponzi hired a PR flak named William McMasters,

…but the PR man saw through Ponzi’s lies and renounced his client in the press. James Walsh reprints part of McMasters’ slam of Ponzi in his book, You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man. Of Ponzi, McMasters said, “The man is a financial idiot. He can hardly add…He sits with his feet on the desk smoking expensive cigars in a diamond holder and talking complete gibberish about postal coupons.”

Certainly an apt symbol of our own troubled, fraudulent times.

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In God We Trust

On July 30, 1956, the President approved a joint resolution of Congress declaring In God We Trust the national motto of the United States. The words had been used on some American coins before that date but not on all currency, and not without objection. According to a Wikipedia article, Theodore Roosevelt strongly disapproved of the idea of evoking God within the context of a “cheap” political motto. In a letter to William Boldly on November 11, 1907, President Roosevelt wrote: “My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege … it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements.”

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Top Secret Military Operations Named

The New York Times has been accused of leaking top secret sources and methods in the GWOT.

It has long been suspected that the Pentagon taps into Wordlab to find good names for military operations. Some of the potential names for military ops may have been compromised when they were posted on the Internet here.

Others claim that names for military operations are developed by language machines, like the American Military Operation Name Generating Device or the Military Codename Generator.

The best names, however, like Operation Mountain Thrust, can only be conceived by the human mind, and are kept top secret until the operations are underway and it is safe to issue a press release.

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Coca-Cola Slogans, Taglines, and Jingles

Coca-Cola’s new slogan, “Welcome to the Coke Side of Life,” is an attempt to make the drink more relevant to customers. Mary Minnick, Coke’s head of marketing, says, “We believe there are times or a moment in the day when only a Coke will do, and that is the framework for our advertising.” Not the greatest Coca-Cola slogan of all time, is it?

1886—Drink Coca-Cola
1893—The Ideal Brain Tonic
1904—Delicious and Refreshing
1905—Coca-Cola Revives and Sustains
1906—The Drink of Quality
1907—Cooling….Refreshing…Delicious
1908—Good To The Last Drop
1909—Drink Delicious Coca-Cola
1917—Three Million A Day
1922—Thirst Knows No Season
1924—Pause and Refresh Yourself
1927—Around the Corner From Anywhere
1929—The Pause That Refreshes
1930—Meet Me At The Soda Fountain
1932—Ice Cold Sunshine
1934—When It’s Hard To Get Started, Start With Coca-Cola
1935—All Trails Lead To Coca-Cola
1936—It’s The Refreshing Thing To Do
1938—The Best Friend Thirst Ever Had
1939—Whoever You Are, Whatever You Do, Wherever You May Be, When You Think of Refreshment Think of Ice Cold Coca-Cola
1939—Thirst Stops Here; Makes Travel More Pleasant
1939—Coca-Cola Goes Along
1941—Work Refreshed
1943—A Taste All It’s Own
1944—High Sign of Friendship
1945—Coke Means Coca-Cola
1946—Yes
1947—Relax With The Pause That Refreshes
1948—Where There’s Coke There’s Hospitality
1948—It’s The Real Thing! (First time this slogan was used.)
1950—Time Out For Coke
1950—Help Yourself to Refreshment
1951—Good Food And Coca-Cola Just Naturally Go Together
1952—Coke Follows Thirst Everywhere
1952—What You Want Is A Coke
1954—For People On The Go
1955—Americans Prefer Taste”
1956—Coca-Cola – Makes Good Things Taste Better
1957—Sign Of Good Taste
1957—There’s Nothing Like A Coke
1958—The Cold, Crisp Taste of Coke
1959—Be Really Refreshed
1962—Enjoy That Refreshing New Feeling
1963—Things Go Better With Coke
1970—It’s The Real Thing
1971—I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke
1975—Look Up America
1976—Coke Adds Life”
1979—Have a Coke and a Smile
1982—Coke Is It!
1985—We’ve Got A Taste For You
1986—Catch The Wave – Red White & You
1989—Can’t Beat The Feeling
1990—Can’t Beat The Real Thing
1993—Always Coca-Cola
1993—Taste It All
2000—Coca-Cola Enjoy
2001—Life Tastes Good
2002—All the world loves a Coke

“It’s the Real Thing” and “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” are two of the most memorable slogans that have helped to define the Coca-Cola brand.

“True Love and Apple Pie” was the title of the original version of the song released on the New Seekers album We’d Like To Teach The World To Sing after the commercial success of the advertising version, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.” The song was made famous in 1971 by the outstanding Hilltop ad campaign for Coca-Cola in which children from around the world, dressed in ethnic costumes on a hilltop in Italy, sang:

I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love,

Grow apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,

I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

The Hilltop ad campaign is regarded as one of the greatest television advertisements of all time, and is one of the highlights of the 50 Years of Coca-Cola’s Television Advertisements recorded by the Library of Congress.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola reprised the “Hilltop” theme with a controversial ad campaign code-named “Chlltop” for the introduction of a new diet soda named Coca-Cola Zero. The introduction of the new slogan this week coincides with the announcement of a new Coca-Cola drink combining regular Coke and coffee, named Coca-Cola Blak.

There’s also a short chronicle of the first century in Coca-Cola’s creative history at allaboutbranding that’s a good overview. And, Snopes has lots of Cokelore, aptly described as “a collection of Coke trivia and tall tales sure to refresh even the most informationally-parched reader.”

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Meaning and origin of the Foo Fighters band name

Many of you techno geeks know all about “foo”, or think you do, when “used very generally as a sample name for absolutely anything, esp. programs and files (esp. scratch files)”, to quote the <a href=”http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/foo.html”>Jargon File</a>. But what about the Foo Fighters?

Dave Grohl, formally a drummer with the likes of Freak Baby, Mission Impossible, Fast, Dain Bramage, Scream and a little-known band called Nirvana, now fronts Foo Fighters. But what’s with the name?  The Jargon File entry continues:

<blockquote>
One place “foo” is known to have remained live is in the U.S. military during the WWII years. In 1944-45, the term ‘foo fighters’ was in use by radar operators for the kind of mysterious or spurious trace that would later be called a UFO (the older term resurfaced in popular American usage in 1995 via the name of one of the better grunge-rock bands). Because informants connected the term directly to the Smokey Stover strip, the folk etymology that connects it to French “feu” (fire) can be gently dismissed.
</blockquote>

For more on Foo and the Smokey Stover comic strip <a href=”http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/foo.html”>go here</a>. If this post has whet your curiosity and you’d like to know the origins and meanings behind other band names like Goo Goo Dolls and Pearl Jam, these are sticky questions and you’re on your own. This is a family program and we mean to keep our PG rating. Sort of.

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Seven Deadly Sins

Superbia, Invidia, Ira, Accidia, Avaritia, Gula and Luxuria might be company and product names from the lexicon of some naming and branding specialist in the Vatican.

But no, these are the Latin names of the seven deadly sins of Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust. The first letters of these words form the medieval Latin word saligia, from which the verb saligiare (to commit a deadly sin) is taken.

These are sometimes called capital sins, or cardinal sins. But a cardinal sin is not to be confused with a mortal sin, or with Cardinal Sin, as in Cardinal Sin to miss papal elections.

We also learned that Cardinal Sin was considered papabile.

Papabile (plural: Papabili) is an unofficial Italian term first coined by Vaticanologists and now used internationally in many languages to describe cardinals of whom it is thought likely or possible that they will be elected pope. A convenient English translation would be “popeable”, “one worthy of the position of pope” or “possible (or likely) successor to the pope”.

Cardinal Sin could have chosen the name Pope Saligia, if elected.

Oh, by the way, I’m “guest blogging” over with the lawyers again today if you want to read a serious post about Cardinal Law and the Benefit of Clergy.

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