Presidents in advertising

May 14, 2008

Franklin Pierce and Millard Fillmore to sell Japanese cars.

Ulysses S Grant has gotten in on the trend to former presidents making ad pitches.

What do you think?

US Grant urges mine law reform for Pew Charitable Trust

Ad from the Pew Charitable Trust’s campaign for mine law reform.

WikiMedia’s appropriate pic of the day

April 30, 2008

Well, it woulda been more appropriate in April 25, perhaps — though the species is not a malaria-carrying mosquito.

Still, you gotta love it, Wikimedia’s Picture of the Day for April 30, 2008:


Culex spp., larva, near the surface of a body of water.

This would make a great background for a PowerPoint presentation with just a bit of work, I think. The browns are about the same intensity as the blues and greens. Nice background for a presentation on mosquitoes — outstanding background for slide of a chart on mosquito populations or somesuch.

Warm up for biology class:  Invert the photo, ask kids to explain what it is.

Terry Jones and Gordon Brown: One and the same?

April 27, 2008

Who is this guy?

Gordon Brown, a bit younger

Are you sure it’s not the same as this guy, below?

Terry Jones, from BBC publicity photo

Is it possible that England, who thinks it is being led by a fellow named Gordon Brown, of Tony Blair’s Labour Party, is instead being led by Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame?

Terry Jones, with cocoanut orchestra - Broadway

Are they not the same man? Are you sure?

Have you ever seen director Terry Jones and Prime Minister Gordon Brown photographed together?

Joanne Jacobs was so close to the truth! But she missed it.

It would be so unfair. Britain gets a Python. We get . . . something else.

Update, June 16, 2008: Even better comparison of photos here.  I’m having difficulty reading the caption — monitor resolution problems?  Can you read the post and translate it here?

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Oregon claims ownership of laws, asserts copyright

April 17, 2008

The comments at Boing-Boing are a lot smarter than the action by Oregon. Oregon mailed cease and desist letters to on-line providers of the texts of Oregon laws.

No, not to the big, hugely for-profit publisher West; only to smaller, on-line providers.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Dr. Bumsted.

A public pain in the rear, and how to talk about it

March 30, 2008

Trying to keep the blog high school internet filter-friendly: Bob Sutton has a book about a rule of business he proposes: The No [pains in the rear] Rule. “No jerks allowed,” as the Nepali Times euphemistically put it.

How do you market a book with a mildly profane title? And how do you do it when the title is so apt, so perfect, that nothing else would work? Even the New York Times is struggling with this problem, since the book made the best-seller lists. And how do you do it when the normally-soporific FCC has started to complain about on-air profanity?

Will I get into trouble if I tell you the book is titled, The No Asshole Rule? Sutton wonders:

I appreciate the credit they are giving the book for raising awareness. But I am highly amused and slightly annoyed by The Times‘ persistent refusal to write the name of the book. When the book appeared on the best-seller list, they called it The No A******* Rule. My publisher had good fun goading them with the advertisement below The Times motto is “All the news Fit to Print,” but I guess that they still find the title offensive. I am accustomed to such silliness, as my essay over at Huffington reports — see part 1 and part 2. But I do wonder why, of all the major newspapers and magazines in the world, The Times continues to be most resistant to printing the title, or even a hint of it. This is the same publication that published many unsavory details from the Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and especially, Bill Clinton sex scandals. I also think it is pretty difficult for them to argue that they are violating generally accepted standards in the print media. Many newspapers do continue to call it something like The No Ahole Rule, but the name has been spelled out in respectable publications including the Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times, Fortune (including in a recent article giving kudos to Baird for having a no asshole rule), to BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and even Stanford Reports — the rather staid in-house publication at my own university. And major European newspapers like The Observer in England, La Monde in France, and Corriere Dela Sera in Rome printed the title (or related translations) with no fuss at all.

He’s right, of course. Students won’t blanche at hearing the word — they use worse, and would improve their language to come back to such a gentle profanity.

Guess who made the “No A—— Rule mention” rule.

The book’s subtitle is “Building a civilized workplace, and surviving one that isn’t.”

Sutton has a great idea. The book deserves to be read, and followed.

Teachers, have you ever worked in a school where this rule would not have improved the climate?

Don’t look at the moonwalking bear

March 27, 2008

If I had a perception problem or a new optical illusion for every class day in psychology, we’d start every day happy.

This is a great ad. It gently pokes your pride in your ability to see what’s going on — from a bicycle safety campaign in Britain urging motorists to look out for bicyclists:

Movies to make your high school history teacher cry

March 24, 2008

Via Popehat, Yahoo!’s list of the Ten Most Historically Inaccurate MoviesPopehat notes that Mel Gibson is a big player in three of the ten.

There are a lot more to add to the list, I think — pick your favorite Zorro movie, for example.  Or think of the fog at the airport in “Casablanca.”  Especially if one starts picking historical nits in pictures that don’t pretend to portray historical events, the list grows quickly.   Has anyone vetted the years of the song in the soundtrack for “Forrest Gump?”

This list at hangs 11 inaccurate films.  It’s snarkier and much more profane, probably not safe for work or school.  There is a lot of overlap.

Which movies have been left off the lists, other than all of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies

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