“Jamcracker? Ewwwww”

My boss forwarded this article about the naming industry (those of you who weathered the dotcom bubble/bust should have just experienced a slight chill).

The article begins as a serious exposition on said industry. Slowly, the reader realizes that the serious treatment was given to set the industry up for mockery. It is definitely worth the read.

At one point, a naming company is caught off-guard when representatives of a client recoil in disgust with the name they’ve been presented, “Jamcracker”.

“There were a couple of women sitting in. One of them got up and said, ‘Oh, that’s disgusting.’ Another said, ‘This is really sick.’ I said, ‘Excuse me, what are you talking about?’ They said, ‘We can’t explain it, but that name is just creeping us out. We don’t know what it is, but could you take it off the wall, please?'” Manning remains mystified by the incident. “There’s apparently some strange, uncomfortable meaning attached to it in the minds of some women,” he says. “God knows what that could be.”

As we discussed the article, we came up with a name for the reaction to the name, “Jamcracker”. We decided to coin the term: “The Jamcracker Effect”. Here, we define “The Jamcracker Effect” as:

the situation wherein a concept is considered distasteful based on the sound of its name, despite the non-distasteful nature of any individual components of the name.

Some examples of the Jamcracker Effect might be:

  • “Meat Waffle”
  • “Street Chicken”


maybe i’m not crazy… maybe

so over the last few weeks, I noticed that every once in a while, I hear a high-pitched ringing. I would ask a2c if she heard it, and of course she didn’t. I thought maybe I was losing my hearing or something. One night, I happened to notice it while we were watching TV. Again, I asked a2c if she heard it, but again, she gave me the “crazy” look.

So, then another time, I noticed it happened during a KFC commercial. I wasn’t sure, so I just made a mental note. This evening, I saw the same KFC commercial, and sure enough, I heard the tone again. Again, a2c shoots me the crazy.

Convinced I must be losing my mind, I google “kfc high-pitched tone”. And of course, like the reliable old friend it is, it returned many results, including this article

Apparently, KFC is trying a new advertising technique based on some study that found that there are certain frequencies that only teens can hear.

I’m no spring chicken, so why can I hear this?

there comes a time in everyone’s life…

when they realize they’re really getting old. The other day, I saw a Wendy’s commercial. The song being used was “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes. Back in my day, that song was an anthem for the misfits, freaks and nerds. VF was the band that embodied the struggle of the outcast in a society of jocks and cheerleaders.

And now, it’s the background track for a Wendy’s commercial. Lovely. Although I’m sure that’s how the previous generation felt when their music was used for the shameless foisting of schlocky upon the unwashed masses.

city strangeness

I went to lunch with an old friend of mine, Artie Hasegawa.  We went to this really cool ramen shop at 56th and 6th Ave.  Delicious, inexpensive.  But, that’s not what this post is about.

On my way to the restaurant, an old woman standing on her front stoop called to me for help.  She was dressed in her nightie and seemed troubled.  It was really cold, too, so it seemed she was in trouble.  She explained that her lights went out, and would I help her get them going.  I really hesitated as my spidey-senses went to tingling.  However, for whatever reason, I was compelled to help her.

I entered the small apartment.  Catholic iconery was strewn everywhere.  She explained that she was trying to plug in her space heater when the lights went out.  She couldn’t reach the circuit breaker box, and therefore couldn’t reset the circuits.  She gave me a flashlight and pointed me to the circuit breaker box.  I flipped all the circuits back and forth, since none of them had tripped.  No dice.

I informed her that something else was wrong and she should call someone for help (trying to exit as soon as possible).  However, I noticed that she had only a cordless phone and wouldn’t be able to make a call.  I offered to let her use my cell phone and explained why she’d need to.  Instead, she asked if I would go to the restaurant next door and apprise them of her situation.  “Let them know Mrs. King needs some help”.  I quickly availed myself of the opportunity to leave the apartment and informed the bartender at said establishment of Mrs. King’s predicament.  He phoned the maintenance man.

I felt I should let her know that someone was on the way, and so I knocked on her door, poked my head in and told her.  She replied that she had found “another button” and would I try the switches one more time.  I hesitatingly agreed, and voila!  The lights came back on.  She thanked me and blessed me.  I told her to go ahead and talk with the maintenance person to see why the power went out in the first place.  As quickly as I could, I left to eat some hot ramen.

So weird.

coolest thing ever…

When I was growing up, I loved those kitschy educational films from decades past. I always wished that I could get them to view on my own time. When I got into video production, I thought it’d be great to have those old films at my disposal to splice in pieces as at will.

Now, my wishing is over. I thought I was going to fall out of my seat. I was reading an article bashing Creative Commons, when the author made mention of a film archive of those very same old education and training films!

There’s lots of other stuff there, too. Check it out!


The Future is the Remix

William Gibson is cool. I’ll have to admit, I’ve only read a few essays by him, and have yet to delve into any of his major works (Neuromancer – defined the cyberpunk genre).

So, this article talks about how appropriation, or "cut ‘n paste" has become the way that new works will be created. I guess it’s an old idea, but he puts in into words in a very nice way.


Dare da?

Oh man! I’m so psyched! ADVFilms is releasing the original anime, uncut, of Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman! This seminal cartoon from the 70’s is the foundation for all other team-based anime. You have all the archetypes: the righteous, but inexperienced leader, the loner who is out for revenge, the “princess”, the little guy and the big fat guy.

This show made appearances in the US as “Battle of the Planets” and “G-Force”, and even “Eagle Riders”. Needless to say, this show was my first introduction to Japanese animation. From then on, I was hooked. I’ve loved anime and manga ever since.

So, if you’re feeling nostalgic, or you want to see what the buzz is about, then check it out!


Addicted to Smallville

I was never a *huge* fan of Superman. I guess I always liked him, but the whole thing seemed too campy for my (yes, that _is_ possible). Anyway, since I hadn’t had TV in years, I missed the first whole season of Smallville without ever having seen it. So my friend, G$, lends me the entire season. I was hooked. I caught all the little references to the Superman mythos, and I loved the development of Lex. This was awesome!

Again, I let a long time, almost 2 years, pass until I reconnected. I was ill over the Thanksgiving holiday, and A2C shows up to cheer me up. She had in tow the first season on DVD. What a woman. Anyway, I managed to watch the entire first season in less than 24 hours (I had already spent 2 days playing Metroid Prime, so I needed a break). This was on a Sunday. The next day, she shows up and I tell her that I MUST get the other seasons on DVD. We make a run to Target and acquire the goods.

By Thursday, I had finished off the 3rd season, and had begun watching season 4 episodes. By Saturday night, I was all caught up. I am now anxiously awaiting the second half of the fourth season. I can’t wait

Sad? Yes. Addiction? Most definitely.


so it goes…

I just finished “Slaughterhouse Five“. What a great book. The humor is dark, as promised, and the reading is fairly quick. The absurdity of the situations and the understated manner in which they are presented are the keys to the darkness of the humor.

I’ve really never read a book quite like this. I have to say, I’m hooked. I’m definitely going to pick up more Vonnegut now. I would recommend this book for those with an “off” sense of humor, or if you’re outright weird and twisted, this book is for you!