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July 18, 2011


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This says it all as far as colors go:


@Dave: I believe the Doghouse Diaries graphic was a humorous summary of xkcd's color research, which I wrote about here: http://nancyfriedman.typepad.com/away_with_words/2010/05/color-wheel.html

I had fun choosing paint colours for our new apt., as had not perused colour names in decades. Who knew Tin Lizzy or Tulsa Storm could be colours? The temptation is to choose a colour (such as Tour Eiffel) just because you like the name. Painters eschew names and just go by the number.

The first time I recall thinking that color names had gotten out of control was back in the late '80s or maybe early '90s when I got a catalog from a clothing company called Tweeds. The sweaters came in colors like Gravel and Celery, and I'd never seen anything like it.

Back in the early '60s a shirt company (Arrow? Hathaway?) ran a series of ads in The New Yorker that involved a contest for shirt color names. Now that their archives are online one could find the ads, but only the written content of the magazine is searchable, so any finding would have to be done by someone who needs to get a life even more than I do.

@Duchesse: Re color numbers: I briefly explore the world of hexadecimal color codes--and their surprisingly fanciful English-language counterparts--in the VT column.

@Karen: Re "gotten out of control": A good example of the recency illusion (aka "Kids These Days!"). Dead Spaniard (grayish tan) and Isabella (yellowish ivory) were documented in the late 16th century.

@H.S.: Oh, goody. A research project!

My much-missed little Mazda was, said the sticker, "Mojave Beige." Now I've been to the Mojave, and it definitely isn't beige.

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