Dec. 26, 2001


2001: R.I.P.

By Roy Rivenburg
Losers of the Year: We can’t believe how fast 2001 went by. Doesn’t it seem like the previous New Year’s was just 12 months ago? Time sure flies. Anyway, this is the time of year when the media trot out their annual boring lists of the best movies, songs, books, toothpastes, scented candles, garden-hose colors and any other category they can think of that fills space in holiday newspapers that nobody reads anyway.

Frankly, we find this practice repugnant, mainly because it still takes work to compile such lists and that cuts into our time on the ski slopes. So we tapped Elizabeth Goodgold of Nuancing.com for a list of top marketing flubs from 2001. Among her choices:

-- Dumbest product name: Looza, a pear nectar drink from Belgium. Who’s the loozah who came up with the name?
-- Mixed metaphor award: Mellelo Coffee, for its Oregon-roasted Italian-style Columbian coffee.
-- Weirdest product mascot: A tie between Prevacid’s walking, talking stomach and Procter & Gamble’s dancing Tampax.

Alarming Trends Bureau: If scientists want everyone to accept the theory of evolution, they need to produce better evidence. Otherwise, here are the latest signs of advancement in the human brain:

-- Checks in the Mail now offers a line of personal checks imprinted with ‘‘Dogs playing poker’’ paintings.
-- A rap version of the Bible has been published in France.
-- A cologne named after Osama bin Laden is being sold in Pakistan, according to The Times of India.
-- Slot machines based on ‘‘I Love Lucy’’ will soon arrive in U.S. casinos.
-- A Norwegian composer is using sounds from a sewage treatment plant in his latest musical work.

Future Oscar Contender: It’s only a matter of time before Hollywood creates a movie version of the war in Afghanistan. Columnist David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in California has predicted the title: ‘‘Tora Bora! Tora Bora! Tora Bora!’’

Weird Polls Bureau: Batman is the superhero most Americans would want as president, according to a survey by the Robert A. Becker EURO RSCG advertising agency. Michael Jordan headed the list of sports figures people would choose to lead the nation. And Warren Beatty was the No. 1 celebrity deemed to be presidential material.

In other polling news, a survey by Alka-Seltzer found that, on average, Americans say they get a hangover after having three drinks the previous night.

Celebrity Birthday Watch: Jan. 1 is cake day for Idi Amin (age 77), Paul Revere (267) and Grandmaster Flash (44).

Useless Trivia Bureau: Maricopa County in Arizona has 168 golf courses.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Man Drives to Work in Car Made of Cheese!’’ (Weekly World News)

According to WWN, the cheddar car ‘‘looks sharp.’’ Here are the pros and cons of owning a cheese vehicle. Pro: Dents are easily fixed with a jar of Velveeta and a butter knife. Con: To preserve freshness, you have to park in a refrigerated garage. Pro: If you get hungry, dashboard is edible. Con: Lactose-intolerant friends refuse to ride. Pro: Lost hubcaps can be replaced with giant Ritz crackers. Con: People point and stare at you like you’re an idiot. Pro: Car smells too funky to steal. Con: Swiss cheese windows create numerous blind spots.

Bonus headline, also from WWN: ‘‘Unicorns Do Exist...and I’ve Got the Horn in My Butt to Prove It!’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Claire Martin, Reuters, Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Trivia Time.


Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate