Take a look at this character.  Whose voice would sound right coming out of this design?



Answer at the end.


LANGUAGE This New York Times story on coffee-bar lingo is actually a graphic, so it cannot be copied and pasted. But here are some examples from Simon Sips, in New York City.

“SIPSTERS: Local customers. (Also, hipsters who insist on porcelain rather than to-go cups.”

Are your teeth on edge yet? No?

TOP MY HOP Toping off the hopper with espresso beans. (“Hey, can you top my hop?”)

Still in a good mood? Here’s some lingo from Abraco Espresso:

Bert & Ernie . . . cream and sugar

Special Day . . . sugar only

Man’s Drink . . . . iced latte with sugar

Little Jeffy . . . . small drip coffee

If a coffeeshop requires you to say “I’d like a Little Jeffy” to get a bleeping cup of coffee, then go somewhere else. And now, the most unbearable line of tem all, from an Olympia WA roasting company:


To be falling in love with (or especialy font of) a particular type of espresso. “She is having a ‘SPRO-MANCE with the single origin Ethopia Worka Espresso.”

I believe you are entitled to slap anyone who uses that phrase seriously. I believe it is necessary. You must stand quickly, as though alerted to great peril, and slap the speaker. Not enough to leave a mark, but enough to shake them up a little. “Why did you do that?” “Because you said a very stupid word and you should not say it again.”

Of course, no one would say it seriously. These are words you say with wiggled eyebrows to let everyone know it’s a joke.

That said: there’s some serious restaurant lingo in there, and you’ll find some local brandnames you could say without feeling completely foolish. Like “Canadian” for a decaf Americano.


NIGHTMARE FUEL Necessary to the ecosystem as insects may be, I can do without them. You know those pictures where a guy’s grinning as a two-foot walking stick sits on his arm? The opposite of that picture is me. But some insect pictures are fascinating, as long as there’s not too much hair and too many eyeballs. This moth might be trying to make a face to deter predators. On the other hand, it was doing a magnificent job of warning predators when it was a caterpillar. Just take a look at this thing. Go on. No? Okay, a hint.





If it wasn't Australian you'd think it had been mutated by drinking water outside of a Starburst factory. Here's the whole thing. 

What’s that, you say? You love insects? Fine. Here’s a shower of spiders raining down in Brazil. Happy now?



Words a newcomer to that town might not want to hear: this is a “Normal phenomenon.” On the other hand: So is this, and there’s something creepy about flocks of airborne squid, too.


RETAIL Penney’s, says this Forbes contributor, was the most “interesting retailer” of 2012, mostly because it went into a death-spiral at Mach 3:

In just one year, J.C. Penney lost more than half its market value or $5 billion in market capitalization. It’s debt rating cut to junk status. For the first nine months of J.C. Penney’s fiscal year ending October 27, 2012, the retailer saw sales decline 23.1%, gross margin drop 31.4% and comparable store sales drop 22.3%. Worse still, net income fell more 100% from the prior year. That’s right, income declined more than 100% during J.C. Penney’s first three quarters combined compared to the same period a year earlier.

Why? Because they gave up sales, and stuck with one price. None of this Presidents’ Day sale nonsense where the price is 20% off the pre-sale price, which was 15% more than the 7% markdown after the post-Christmas inventory blowout sale, although if you had a coupon AND used your ShoppersReward card you could get points that would give you an additional 5% savings off non-discounted items.

People love that stuff. You can’t take it away. They feel cheated. So this is what Penney's learned: its customers are idiots. If you tell them “all that sale stuff is hooey. It’s our way of bamboozling the innumerate. From now on, one price all the time! You don’t have to wait a week for some ginned-up event like Mid-March Irish-Hued Early Spring Madness to get the price lowered!”  they will stare like cows asked to do calculus. They want to be bamboozled.

In case you’ve forgotten about the downtown Penneys, it looked like this, once upon a time:




Underneath all that beige metal was this, the old Syndicate Block:






And today:





TRAILERSThe comments for this Monsters Inc prequel say it gives away 2/3rds of the movie. Watch at your own peril.



I’m looking forward to this one, and have no idea why I would want to know the story before going in.


Visual non-spoiler: I asked whose voice you could imagine coming from this new Pixar character. 



Helen Mirren.


OOPS Always fun when a DM goes public. Major Garrett has Twitter wondering what he meant by this Tweet, and what, exactly, constitutes “Shirty business.” Warning: naughty language. But at least he didn’t say “‘Spro-mance.”