Canadian retailer Kit and Ace – see my post about the company name here – is adding coffee shops to its boutiques: The first Sorry Coffee opens tomorrow in Toronto. “Sorry” can mean “worthless” or “inferior,” but here it’s “an attempt to poke fun at Canadians — a winking nod to the quick-to-apologize stereotype,” co-founder J.J. Wilson toldthe Star. Be sure to pronounce it the Canadian way: SORE-ee.
Let us briefly imagine the brainstorming session at Polish Eats, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, that led to this travesty.
“WHYYYYYY WHY WHY. Why.” -- K. Sekelesky, via Instagram/Twitter. (“Ditto.” – Fritinancy.)
Now let’s unimagine it, if we can.
Pierogi are Polish dumplings. Sophie’s Choice is the title of a novel by William Styron that became a film starring Meryl Streep as Sophie. The “choice” of the title is an excruciating one: to survive a Nazi death camp, Sophie must sacrifice one of her children.
Let us review:
I don’t care if your beloved founder is named Sophie. I don’t care if she chose the ingredients, the recipe, and the wacky label art. I will not listen to your argument about “choice” being an adjective meaning “of fine quality.” I don’t care if you call it an homage, and I don’t care how you pronounce “homage.”
I definitely won’t listen to arguments about Polish jokes.
Here’s the thing: Literature renders some names off limits. In this case, William Styron got there first, and thanks to him, “Sophie’s Choice” now stands for something horrific.*
Unless you are truly tasteless—a damning thing to say about a food company—you do not get to name your product “Sophie’s Choice.”
And Plenti’s plenty for me, since the name has been claimed twice.
In May, American Express launched Plenti, a loyalty program that allows consumers to earn “Plenti points”—one for each dollar spent at 10 brick-and-mortar retailers.
The catch: Until some time in the future to be determined, you can redeem those points at only four retailers: Mobil gas stations, Macy’s, Rite Aid, and Exxon.
Plenti was designed to be a rewards card, not a credit card. But, rather confusingly, AmEx also offers a Plenti credit card.
And because one Plenti isn’t enough, here’s Yoplait’s Plenti, Greek yogurt stuffed with healthy stuff (“and other natural flavors”).
Just in case you’re unsure, the packaging spells it out: Plenti is short for “plentiful.” (Discovered at The Impulsive Buy.)
Speaking of plentiful, I note with moderate pleasure that the dating site Plenty of Fish now uses the URL pof.com. Its previous incarnation, plentyoffish.com, always looked to me like as “Plenty Offish,” which seemed plenty offputting. On the other hand, “pof” is perilously close to poofand P.O.S.
Unrelated, but also new this year from Yoplait: Greek 100 Whips! (exclamation mark sic).
Sweet, creamy, and well disciplined. Consenting adults only. Fifty shades of grape. Image via Midlife at the Oasis.
I was meandering through Costco, looking for some yummy tofu-skin noodles I’d sampled during a store demo a few weeks earlier. I never found the the noodles—Costco can be like that—but I did spot True Story, a new-to-me brand of organic meat products.
Hmm. You can tell a story, hear a story, read a story, or film a story. But can you taste a story?
If you’re considering a coined name for your company or product, it’s helpful to keep in mind a general rule of English pronunciation: When a vowel precedes a single consonant that’s followed by an e, the first vowel is long. Double the consonant and the vowel becomes shortened.
Later: long a. Latter: short a. Miler: long i. Miller: short i.
Yes, yes, there are exceptions. But coined words are like hoofbeats: we expect a horse, not a zebra. We look for simplicity, not conundrums.
The Politico story that Drew—a veteran political journalist and contributor to the New York Review of Books—links to does not contain a single mention of hokey. It does, however, quote a number of “GOP insiders” who called Hillary Clinton’s campaign-announcement video “contrived” and “phony”—and also “savvy” and “effective.”
Drew’s tweet wasn’t the first linkage of hokey with Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 1995, during Bill Clinton’s first term, Washington Post reporter David Maraniss—who would go on to publish biographies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—wrote about Ms. Clinton’s “contradictory personality.” Her “predominantly female” staffers “adore” her, he wrote:
The notion that she is cold and self-righteous, they say, is utterly foreign to their experience with her. When she does something to raise their eyebrows, it is more likely with her hokey form of humor, often expressed in simple rhyming schemes that Maggie Williams, her chief of staff, says come from "another era, if not another century." It is not unusual for Hillary Clinton to end a conversation with a staff member by uttering, "Okey-dokey, artichokey." To her scheduler, Patty Solis, she has been heard to say, "Miss Patty, you're as cute as a bug in a rug today."
Don’t read “How to Name a Baby” to learn how to name a baby. Read it for insights into historical baby-naming trends and to confirm your hunches (e.g., “the popular girl name Reagan is for Republicans”). Also: charts!
Given names are “one of the last social acceptable frontiers of class war.”Also: nominative determination, implicit egotism, and how the Internet has made baby naming more difficult. Part 1 of a four-part podcast series about names from Australian radio network ABC. The presenter, Tiger Webb, has an interesting name story himself. (Hat tip: Superlinguo.)
The not-so-secret jargon of doctors is full of acronyms: a flea—fucking little esoteric asshole—is an intern, an FLK is a “funny-looking kid,” and an “SFU 50 dose” is the amount of sedative it takes for 50 percent of patients to shut the fuck up.
Ever wonder what value-creating winners do all day? Here’s Business Town to enlighten you. It’s “an ongoing project attempting to explain our highly intangible, deeply disruptive, data-driven, venture-backed, gluten-free economic meritocracy to the uninitiated. With apologies to Richard Scarry.”
“The decision is made. The name won’t be changed.” – Tim Mahoney, head of marketing for Chevy, speaking to the Detroit Free Press about the Bolt electric vehicle, whose name is strikingly similar to that of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. In fact, a Spanish speaker would pronounce the two names identically. (Hat tip: Jonathon Owen.)