Sunday, May 01, 2011

Names of the Week

I get a magazine which is all about tennis, including showing you the advertisers' latest racquets, shoes, bags, etc. Is there a conflict of interest here? Sure, but you're supposed to know that when the magazine arrives, and, hey, the new gear might actually be better than the old stuff you've been using.
Anyway, the Head Co., a major supplier in this sport, now has a shoe model with an odd name. I can't decide if it's very cool or a bit scary. Could you see putting on a pair of "Insane Pro" models before your next match? They don't have any wild graphics or unnatural colors - just a name that might make you want to steer clear. I think I would have to try them on before buying.

There's been a long string of athletes with snappy first names to go along with "Jones", though none stranger than actress January Jones, the actress from TV's "Madmen". There's football's Ed ("Too Tall") Jones, Lo Lo Jones, the woman hurdler, and "Pacman" Jones, a football player who always seems to be around whenever there's trouble at the striptease club. The latest Jones the rest of the NFL might have to keep up with is Taiwan Jones, a running back from Eastern Washington who will get a chance to win a roster spot with the Oakland Raiders. To the best of my knowledge, he has no Chinese relatives.

Are you familiar with one of those tricky maneuvers that pro sports teams make to increase their bottom line? I'm speaking of the stadium name change gambit, in which you ask new companies to outbid the old company for "naming rights", a euphemism for splashing your corporate name and logo all over the place to remind the suckers who to call when they need some kind of goods or services. Trying to take over the Oakland Coliseum right now is just such a company -
This presents, as I see it, two new problems. The first is that Overstock gets more sales of its products to women that men. Just how can you promote bedsheets and patio furniture at a football game? Maybe one end zone could be full of linens and table lamps while the other one is reserved for guys in ugly pirate gear, the normal Raider fan ensemble. It's just hard to see these two names (Overstock, Raiders) together in a way that makes any sense.
Which brings us to the second problem, which is that Overstock itself wants to be known simply as "O". I don't think that has happened yet, but I'm afraid the other 25 letters might bring a class action suit against their oval outlaw fellow letter. If that weren't enough, from April to September the stadium is the home of the Oakland "A"s. A Battle of the vowels could be E-P-I-C. I guess this is why you pay big bucks every year to a hive of man-eating lawyers who, as long as they're well-paid, concentrate on devouring the other guy instead of you.

On a lighter, though completely true, note, I pass along something that just happened in a Sunday School class I attended. The teacher, attempting to show some humility, referred to himself as a "schmuck". From the back of the room came a female voice, that of the teacher's wife, asking "Could I have that in writing?"


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