Seen in news reports during the last week:
- Hot Nosh 24/6 is a line of vending machines that dispense glatt kosher fast food. (Glatt kosher is extra-extra-kosher. Hat tip to Likelihood of Confusion for that link.) It's not a single machine because, of course, you can't have meat and dairy products being dispensed from the same machine. “To make it a little Jewish sounding we called it nosh, and we added the 24/6 to give a little cuteness to it,” company co-founder Doron Fetman told the New York Times. And it's 24/6, not 24/7, because observant Jews don't work or conduct business--or buy food--on the Sabbath. What I like: the snappy Yiddishness of "hot nosh," the internal rhyme, and the catchy quality of "24/6"--it really makes you stop and say, "What's that all about?" The food, however, sounds dreadful.
- Also in the Times, I learned about tennis star Serena Williams's new clothing line, which isn't yet in stores. It's called Aneres--"Serena" spelled backward. This is the rare backward-spelled name (ananym) that actually seems plausible. (More common are clumsy attempts like Nevaeh--"heaven" spelled backward.) Aneres can be pronounced phonetically (Ah-nair-ess), and it looks like the name of an Egyptian deity, which suits the Junoesque Williams. Yes, this name is definitely--sorry, can't help myself--serviceable.
- My brother Michael sent me this L.A. Times story about Nabaztag, a WiFi device from France that looks like Hello Kitty's rabbit cousin. It lights up and waves its ears to tell you that you have email or to play Internet radio. (Naturally, it has a cult following. Watch some YouTube videos here.) I doubt that I'd spend $190 to buy a Nabaztag, but I'm very much interested in the name, which means "rabbit" in Armenian. It's a chunky-chewy, over-consonanted, hard-to-remember name, but still: Armenian. Can you think of any other products or companies that have Armenian names (outside of Armenia, that is)? Frankly, I'm impressed. And I'm charmed to learn that the spokesman for Nabaztag's parent company, Violet, is named Jean-François Kitten. We're talking some serious cute overload here.