Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cosmo Middle East

Last night I received an email from my daughter, Acacia (below), who is living in Dubai as art director for the launch of Cosmopolitan Middle East. More of that in a moment.

Don’t ask her whether Cosmo ME  is going to have someone on the front cover in a burqa, she has heard that comment, and variations on it, ad nauseum.

Acacia was previously art director of Cosmopolitan, and later Cleo, in Sydney. What she does as a graphic designer is to turn a page or screen of text into the result that you see in the magazine, with pics, fonts, graphics, pullouts and all those other type of magazine graphic design things.

The reason for my daughter’s excited email was that the first issue of Cosmo ME is now ready to launch on 1 April with her cover of Khloe Kardashian. The cover was leaked by Khloe Kardashian on her website and has now gone global, including stories in The Huffington Post, RadarOnline, X17online and the Examiner. According to Acacia, it’s like having a painting hung in the Louvre.

For those not in the know, the Kardashian Klan are celebrities in the US. The females of the species are the ones who get the attention: Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and their mother Kris. Brother Robert missed out on being a KK, having been named after his father who is also a Robert.

ME Cosmo will not be sold in every ME country but nonetheless it is a bold move for women by women.

Reader Comment

Byter Richard has taken issue with my post yesterday in which I claimed that the 1898 Winton Motor Carriage advertisement was the world’s first car ad.

Richard sent me a pic of the Daimler catalogue of 1896, which advertises motor vehicles for sale, amongst other Daimler equipment, engines and machines:

(Click on the pics to enlarge)

 Not content with disputing my assertion, Richard gives the knife a final twist by pointing out that by 1896, Daimler had already been selling automobiles for 10 years.

There is an  interesting aspect to Richard’s email to me. He is a mad cyclist, one of those bike riders you see on the road in bicycle shorts and brightly coloured cycling shirt. His email to me opened with the words “My cycling social group disagee!”

Prior to my posting items, I usually seek confirmation from various sources, as I did that with the Winton ad prior to posting. I have looked into the aspect of the world’s first car ad again and although there are numerous references to the Winton ad, there are none for the Daimler catalogue. Nonetheless I accept the date on the Daimler ad, although not necessarily the assertion that Daimler had been selling cars 10 years before that. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) (Daimler Motors Corporation) commenced activities in 1890, selling engines and later automobiles.

Whilst looking into the above issues I came across an ad for the Baker Electric car, dating from about 1906:

I love it. I want one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote: Helen Hayes

"If you rest, you rust."

- Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes Brown (1900 – 1993) was an American actress whose career spanned almost 70 years. Dubbed the "First Lady of the American Theatre", she was one of twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award. The Oscar was received for Best Supporting Acress for playing an elderly stowaway in the 1970 pic Airport. Hayes has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Regan in 1986.

From President Regan’s presentation speech: 
I can't resist pointing out that Helen was married to a happy rebel named Charlie MacArthur, a wonderful playwright and a man of natural style. When she first set eyes on Charlie, it was at a party. And he was eating from a bag of peanuts. He looked at her and asked if she'd like some peanuts. And as he poured them into her hand he said, "I wish they were emeralds." And years later, as a famous and celebrated playwright, he bought Helen what she'd asked for as an anniversary gift—a handful of jewels. And as he poured the emeralds into her hand, you know what he said? "I wish they were peanuts."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vintage Ads: Winton Motor Carriages

(Click on pics to enlarge)

When was the first car ad, above,  placed? If you said 30 July, 1898, take a point.

Now, for a bonus point, where was the ad placed?

Sorry, time’s up and no, it wasn’t in the the New York Times or Washington Post. It was placed in Scientific American.

The ad was placed by the Winton Motor Carriage Company.  Alexander Winton was a Scottish-immigrant bicycle maker who switched to building cars in 1896. By 1900 he had the world’s largest auto factory. Winton stopped producing cars in 1924 and started making stationary engines. The firm was bought by General Motors in 1930.

The 1898 ad shown above is the first known automobile advertisement and encouraged readers to dispense with the expense, care and anxiety of keeping a horse. In another first, Winton made the first American car sale, to Robert Allison of Pennsylvania, a sale initiated by the Scientific American ad. Winton sold another 21 vehicles in 1898, including one to James Packard who went on to later form his own car company.

By 1902, Winton advertising no longer emphasised the benefits of a car over a horse. Perhaps to show ease of operation, the ads showed that even a woman could operate an automobile:


Quote: Neil Postman

"The Benedictine monks who invented the mechanical clock in the 12th and 13th centuries believed that such a clock would provide a precise regularity to the seven periods of devotion… here is a great paradox: the clock was invented by men who wanted to devote themselves more rigorously to God; and it ended as the technology of greatest use to men who wished to devote themselves to the accumulation of money. Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose. …Gutenberg thought his invention would advance the cause of the Holy Roman See, whereas in fact, it turned out to bring a revolution which destroyed the monopoly of the Church."

- Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985)

Neil Postman (1931 - 2003) was an American author, media theorist and cultural critic, who is best known by the general public for his 1985 book about television, Amusing Ourselves to Death. For more than forty years, he was associated with New York University. Postman was a humanist who believed that "new technology can never substitute for human values."

Humour: The Bacon Tree

Two Mexicans are stuck in the desert, wandering aimlessly and close to death. They are close to just lying down and waiting for the inevitable, when all of a sudden...

“Hey Pepe, do you smell what I smell? Ees bacon, I is sure of eet.”

“Si, Luis, eet smells like bacon to meee.”

So with renewed strength, they struggle off up the next sand dune, and there, in the distance, is a tree, just loaded with bacon. There’s raw bacon, dripping with moisture… fried bacon, back bacon, double smoked bacon - every imaginable kind of cured pig meat you can imagine!

“Pepe, Pepe - we ees saved - eees a bacon tree!”

“Luis, are sure ees not a meerage? We ees in the desert, don’ forget.”

“Pepe, when deed you ever hear of a meerage that smell of bacon? Ees no meerage - ees a bacon tree.”

And with that, Luis races towards the tree. He gets to within 5 metres - Pepe following closely behind - when all of a sudden, a machine gun opens up, and Luis is cut down in his tracks. It is clear he is mortally wounded but, true friend that he is, he manages to warn Pepe with his dying breath.

“Pepe, go back man - you was right, ees not a bacon tree.”

“Luis, Luis, mi amigo… what ees eet?”

“Pepe, ees not a bacon tree… ees...



(wait for it)

... a Ham Bush.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quote: Buddha

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

- Buddha

Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher who founded Buddhism. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha, "Buddha" meaning "awakened one" or "the enlightened one." The time of his birth and death are uncertain, opinion as to the date of his birth being around 563 BC. By tradition, Gautama is said to have been born in a small state of what is now Nepal and later to have taught primarily throughout regions of eastern India. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. He is also regarded as a god or prophet in other world religions or denominations, including Hinduism, Islam and the Bahai faith.

Graphics gone wrong...

"OMG! The exclamatory online abbreviation has won the approval of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The term - short for ''Oh my God'' or ''Oh my gosh'' - is one of dozens of new entries in the authoritative reference book's latest online update."

-  News Report, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2011

OMG is also the exclamation offered by graphic designers when it is pointed out to them that logos designed by them for use by their clients have an unintended risque aspect.  The exclamation is not so much "Oh my God" as "OH MY GOD!!!!"  It is an exclamation also repeated by the client who has used the logo.

A mild example is the following:

What do you see?  An abstract male figure on the left and a female fisgure in a long skirt on the right?  Or a pair of female breasts and a torso?
There are more examples of inappropriate logos and trade names at the sites listed below.  Click on those links to access the sites but be warned that many of the logos are unintendedly risque.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Benny Hill, elections and Lego blocks...


Does anyone remember the Benny Hill Show? Benny’s show came to its demise when the tastes of his audiences, or at least of the suits at the BBC, became more sophisticated and PC.

Benny Hill came to mind when I was thinking about today’s NSW State election. More particularly, as I was wondering about the origin of the word “election” I recalled the non PC skit where Benny Hill portrays Mr Chow Mein, an Asian gentleman with dark, combed back hair, black rimmed glasses and a speech impediment that results in “l’s” being pronounced as “r’s” and "r's" as "l's".  It's stereotyping at its worst but the clips still had me chuckling.

The relevant conversation between Chow Mein and Henry McGee is as follows:
Henry McGee: This is not your first visit to Britain?
Chow Mein: I come to Britain 11 years ago.
Henry McGee: What were you looking for?
Chow Mein: Knowredge.
Henry McGee: You were looking for knowledge. Did you find it?
Chow Mein: Yes.
Henry Mcgee: Where?
Chow Mein: In Norfolk.
Henry McGee: Why were you looking for knowledge in Norfolk?
Chow Mein: Because that is where it is
Henry McGee: Oh, the city of Norwich.
Henry McGee: Is life in China more bearable than, well, take you and me. Are you, as a Chinaman, happier or healthier than me?
Chow Mein. Let me ask you a question. When was the last time that you had an erection?
Henry McGee: (long pause).. had…?
Chow Mein:  )more carefully and slower) When was the last time you had an election?
Henry McGee: Oh, you mean a parliamentary election?
Chow Mein: Of course. Wait a minute… you didn’t think I meant…a council election?
See some of the Chow Mein skits at:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another quote about politics

If a politician murders his mother, the first response of the press or of his opponents will likely be not that it was a terrible thing to do, but rather that in a statement made six years before he had gone on record as being opposed to matricide.

- Meg Greenfield

Mary Ellen (Meg) Greenfield (1930 – 1999) was a Washington Post and Newsweek editorial writer and a Washington, D.C. insider known for her wit and for being reclusive.  She managed to overcome male domination of the journalism industry to be awarded journalism’s highest honour, a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, in 1978.  Greenfield spent 20 years as the editorial page editor for the Washington Post and 25 years as a columnist for Newsweek.  She died in 1999 of cancer, aged 68.

Elizabeth Taylor

“I've been through it all, baby, I'm mother courage.”

During one of her 8 weddings Elizabeth Taylor was asked by a presiding official to enumerate her previous husbands. "What is this," Taylor replied, "a memory test?"

“I've only slept with men I've been married to. How many women can make that claim?”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some vintage assistance on raising children...

(Click on pics to enlarge)

Quote: Bertrand Russell

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinise it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mea Culpa..

Yesterday's post about Wallis Simpson featured a pic that was, in fact, Princess Margaret.  The error came about because the site that I took the picture from used a heading alongside the pic, rather than above it, so that I thought the pic belonged to the Wallis Simpson series.

That error was picked up by eagle eyed Byter Enid, who thought that it was Princess Margaret because of the warmer eyes.

Here is a pic of Wallis Simpson at the time of her wedding to Edward VIII in 1937...

and a pic of Princess Margaret on her wedding day in 1960 when she wed Anthony Armstrong-Jones:

Polar Bears

Germany was in stunned mourning after the sudden and premature death of Knut, Berlin's world-famous polar bear, at the end of what animal welfare groups said was an unhappy, short life.

''Everyone is just in shock here,'' said Claudia Bienek, a spokeswoman for Berlin Zoo, where Knut shot to global fame in 2007 as a photogenic snow-white cub after being rejected by his mother and reared by hand.

Knut was pulled dead from a pool in the enclosure he shared with three females on Saturday afternoon. He was just four years and three months old, well below the average life expectancy for polar bears of about 35.

News Report, Sydney Morning Herald 21.03.2011
Some facts about polar bears:

Quotes: Wallis Simpson

"My husband gave up everything for me… I'm not a beautiful woman. I'm nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else. 

If everyone looks at me when I enter a room, my husband can feel proud of me. That's my chief responsibility."

Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
(1896 - 1986)

Wallis Simpson in 1931

Wallis Simpson may well be the forthcoming centre of attention:

• A collection of Wallis Simpson's clothing, including elegant negligees, as well as luggage, Christian Dior handbags and other items owned by her, were sold at auction last week. A Louis Vuitton vanity case sold for $77,500.

• In September 2010 Sotheby's auctioned 20 pieces of Wallis Simpson's jewellery. Expected to fetch $5m, the final return was $13m.

• Madonna has co-written, and is directing, a movie titled W.E., about the romance between Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

• The affair between Wallis Simpson and Edward, and his abdication to be with her, is depicted in the film The King's Speech.

• Two new biographies about Wallis Simpson are to be released soon.

"You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance."
-  Wallis Simpson

Friday, March 18, 2011

No Bytes on Sunday

No need to be sad.

I will be away from my computer over the weekend, so that there will be no Bytes on Sunday.  It will, however, return on Monday.

Buccal Swabs, DNA and Phantoms

Viewers of shows such as CSI, Law & Order, Silent Witness and NCIS will know what a buccal swab is: a big cotton bud that is rubbed on the inside of someone’s cheek to obtain a DNA sample. It is pronounced “buckle”.

I was involved with buccak swabs recently in connection with one of my clients. The client having refused to allow such a swab to be taken, the Commonwealth DPP then sought a court order forcing such a sample to be provided. The sample was reluctantly given, placed into a sealed, chain of custody bag and sent away for forensic analysis. A little while later the Federal Police came back sheepishly and asked for another sample. Someone had placed a heavy object on the plastic bag, or had sat on the bag, or something, causing the seal to be broken and the word VOID to appear on the bag in large bold letters. Eventually the client consented to another smear with the swab.

Contemplating that over an idle moment, I wondered why the big cotton bud was called a buccal swab. Had it been invented by Dr Buccal? The reality is more prosaic: it comes from a Latin word meaning “pertaining to the cheek” and was first used in popular English literature in 1838.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quote: Mike Tyson

"Yes, time flies. And where did it leave you?  Old too too late."

- Mike Tyson  (1966 - )

Reader Comment: Rules of Elections

Byter AV posted the following comment in respect of the Elections post:

Years ago I came across a pamphlet urging the public to always vote out governments, as a rule. They should be re-elected only when they've performed particularly well. So (in theory at least) we would be rid of career politicians and only the most deserving would qualify for parliamentary pensions.

Reader Comment: Eva Braun and Hitler

(The pics below and the captions have been inserted by me.  Otto)

Byter Steve writes:

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL stuff about Eva Braun! I have read it all twice and have also printed it out to keep! Fascinating!

If you are not familiar with them, can I refer you to two amazing recent-ish films about Hitler.

The first is Hitler – The Rise Of Evil starring Robbie Carlyle (yep – from The Full Monty!). It’s an American film so it’s got the usual “Hollywood feel” which of course takes the edge of the film (bad accents and so on). In any event, it’s not a bad look at Hitlers youth and of course his rise to Evil. The interesting thing is that about a month before filming started, the production company and also the “lead” had received so many death threats that they almost pulled out of the film altogether. In fact, the actor who was playing Hitler (the “lead”) did pull out – can’t remember his name. So they were left without someone to play Hitler and Robbie Carlyle was strangely chosen and believe it or not, he did a pretty good job. It’s well worth a look.

Ask Otto

Byter Steve writes:

Diane assured me that it is cheaper to leave a fluorescent light on than to turn it on and off every time you want to use it. I have heard this before, but I believe it to be “an old wives tale”. Can you tell us who is right please?

Steve, have you not heard of non gender specific language, aka gender neutral language? Linking elderly married women with untrue stories, ie “old wives tale”, is asking for trouble, my non PC friend.

Let me summarise for you what various authoritative websites and sources agree upon: