Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's Geography, Stupid! pt. 2

The short version has been printed. Read it here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's Geography, Stupid!

Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel must’ve left his brain at home when he commented on the air that the Winter Olympics tend to exclude black athletes from competing. “Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity (adj. dearth, scarcity) of blacks that makes the Winter Olympics look like a GOP convention,” he stated at the end of the February edition of his HBO program Real Sports.

Mr. Gumbel’s comment was probably meant to reinforce the idea that blacks are persecuted and should give money to the NAACP, or that all blacks are Democrats and should vote thusly, but his logic was terribly flawed.

In the first place, the majority of those in the African-American community could care less about winter sports, just the kind of apathy Mr. Gumbel exhibits. It’s just a cultural thing. Most of them would rather play a real sport like basketball or football than cross-country ski or ice skate. And while some of them do play winter sports, very few are determined to compete at the Olympic level.

But the fact that the nations with the largest black populations aren’t competing in the Winter Olympics is just plain geography. Presumably, actually having a winter would be helpful to a country trying to compete in the Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, since most black-populated nations are in the continent of Africa, (which to my knowledge, doesn’t have a winter), many black nations are going to be horribly and unjustly left out of the Winter Olympics. There’s nothing the Olympic Committee can do about that.

Black broadcasters such as Mr. Gumbel may be trying to do the right thing by lifting up the oppressed races, but they would do well to get the facts straight before playing the oft misused race card. Dismissing the Winter Olympics as simply an all-white event is a good way to ensure that future black athletes won’t be interested in participating.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cruisin' U.S.A.

With a Japanese sports car…

…and a Mexican Stratocaster.

I’m planning a road trip during the first two weeks of May, hoping to see some old friends and maybe make some new ones.

On the itinerary so far is the Sallmen family, at the good ol’ Bill Rice Ranch in Murfreesboro. Paul and Sharon are two of my oldest college friends. I met Sharon as a summer worker the second day I was at PCC. Paul was in my first college class ever. They are now married and have two kids. Paul is a staff designer at the Ranch.

After that, I will continue south all the way to Pensacola, where I will most likely be staying with Chris Garret, if he decides he has enough room. I started hanging out with Chris during the summer of 2001, when we were both summer workers and lived across the hall from each other. During our senior year, we hung out and went to Adrian and Sarah Brak’s a lot and ate uncooked apple pie (one time) and watched movies and never ever ever signed out to go off campus. He is to blame for introducing me to Strong Bad.

I guess I didn’t mention why I’m bringing the Stratocaster along. Well, I figure since I’ll be in Nashville anyways, maybe I'll find a place to use it?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kodak steps back to move forward

In a surprise move, Eastman Kodak Company CEO Antonio Perez unveiled the new Kodak logo on January 6 at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. While many marketing analysts agree that Kodak’s logo needed an update, few expected so drastic a change (right).

While the new logo is fresh, modern, and assertive, it is, in my opinion, a much weaker symbol than the familiar “K-bug” (left). But here’s the shocker: the K-bug is technically not even the old logo. The old logo is just the word Kodak in red, like the new one. The bug was developed as an easy way to include trade dress (Kodak red and Kodak yellow) on anything Kodak. But it has developed into such an integral part of Kodak’s identity system that it has literally become the “signature” of Kodak. So I was mystified when the firm Kodak hired to design the new logo decided to scrap it. That’s right. It’s gone. And without anything suitable to replace it, Kodak’s brand recognition will be seriously undermined. If I were working for Ogilvy, I’d have sooner scrapped the red Kodak logotype than the bug. BIG city design firms don’t always get it right though, thank goodness. It gives the small guys more work to do.

Perhaps though, the change is appropriate. Kodak has become a much smaller company in the last decade, shedding film and chemical divisions ad nauseum and wreaking havoc on our local economy. But in the process, it has managed to both slow the bleeding, and become a major player in the digital imaging market. The company the brought us the “Kodak Moment” is never going to become the company it was forty years ago, but it is competing on the same level as the other top digital camera manufacturers. The new logo appropriately reflects the company’s descent from the world’s imaging leader to a comparable consumer electronics company.