Destination: Italy

Of course there were magazines! How else could I have brought back this doozy:


I’m pretty sure that the idea of classical art and sculpture rarely crosses the minds of those creating hemorrhoid cream ads in the US, I’m just sayin’!

Not just culture – trademarks too

We didn’t get enough of Sicily last time, so we decided to take the girls with us this summer after #1 graduated from high school. Once again, we made our way there via Munich, where a Lufthansa flight to Catania was the quickest way to get us to our destination, our friend Sally’s place at Marina di Ragusa in the south.

But first Munich – beer, beer, schnitzel, and beer. The Augustiner Keller and Zum Durnbrau restaurants were excellent, and the Neue Pinakothek a great place to escape the somewhat inexplicable crowds and 86 degree weather. And seeing old friends was the cherry on top of the sundae.

Or maybe this was:

Super Dickmann

Now, “dick,” in German, means “thick.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t save this mark from being absolutely hilarious in English. “Super thick man?” With what that item looks like? The small print doesn’t help either: “dick limitiert” means “thickly limits” or “thickly limited.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

In any event, Super Dickmann was only the beginning of a fantastic and fun-filled vacation. Stay tuned for more! Tschüss!


Happy Bloggiversary to me! Six years and counting. And just in case I don’t manage to post something from the Hawaiian odyssey we’re taking to celebrate 20 years of marriage, here’s a product name that can’t be beat:

That’s right, it’s SPLAT, hair color for those who think dyeing their hair colors like “Orange Fireballs” or “Pink Fetish” is a great idea. While a trip to their website reassures me that this isn’t my demographic, I applaud their enthusiasm and naming skills.

May Birchbox

This month’s Birchbox shipment is sponsored by CW and the show “Gossip Girl.” So I’m thinking what’s inside will not be targeted to my demographic:

Surprise! Gossip Girl trivia contest insert notwithstanding, this month’s haul seems tailor-made for the baby boomers among us rather than Gens X and Y. First up, an old friend:
That’s right, Algenist.  Still not wild about the name, but I’ll take firming and lifting.
Next, Dior. A classic brand, and not a bad idea to get their products out to a new generation. 
I wore Miss Dior perfume years ago (as did my mom), and also dabbled in Diorella and Diorissimo. I think they’ve reformulated the scent, as what I just spritzed on my pulse points is much funkier than the elegant scent I recall, and I will chalk up the migraine that’s sure to ensue to the pursuit of art. Or whatever I want to call this blogging. “Extase,” or “ecstasy,” for the mascara seems to be a tentative reach towards the consumer who has no trouble asking for Asphyxia or Mildew as eyecolor names. Dior’s already gone there with Addict lip glow, so I guess ecstasy is the logical next step.
Finally, confirming that these products really are for old ladies like me, we finish with two products from the Kerastase “Age Premium”* line, the Bain Substantif:
and the Masque Substantif: 
Well, I see “substantif” and think “that means ‘noun’ in French,” and so do my Petit Robert and my Larousse. But what do I know about marketing language? And why do I want a bath or masque on my hair? This all leads me to believe there’s a marketing think tank somewhere where they sit around all day sipping wine and musing over what silly combinations of French words will seduce the American consumer into sealing the purchase decision. [Can I have that job? I’d be really good at it.] Still, I think the French copy wins out here though: do you prefer “shampoo nutri-vitalisant” to “rejuvenating shampoo”? I sure do!

In fact, I have submitted my preferences to Birchbox so that they can refine my monthly selection to provide what they think I’m most likely to purchase. So far they’re getting it mostly right, though I’d say Taylor Swift’s fragrance last month was a bit of a miscue. 
Stay tuned for next month’s haul!

I represent Pacific Bioscience Laboratories in connection with trademark work; they are now
 owned by L’Oreal, which makes Kerastase products.

Waiting for the markdown

As you know, I am a sucker for lavish misspellings, particularly French ones. I recently bought a globe at T.J. Maxx that featured the continent of “Norta America.” Now I need to stalk my local HomeGoods store (the non-clothing offshoot of T.J. Maxx with a positively awful name, IMHO) until this chef d’oeuvre is reduced from its original price:

Once in a while I think about the treasures I’ll leave my daughters one day: Silver, jewelry, books – and a whole lot of tchotchkes bearing hilarious misspellings. Pretty much me in a nutshell.

Lowbrow meets highbrow

I like stupid wordplay as much as the next guy, and this one has tickled me since we moved to Denver:

The cognitive dissonance of “DAM Good” with Daniel Libeskind’s architecture suits the wild west very nicely, thank you. 

Plus, it’s a very groovy museum. And kids like it too!