Miscellany

TOUGH TALK, DOLL Barbie, the world’s best-selling doll, celebrated her 35th birthday at the recent New York toy fair, having [...]

April 1 1994 by Chief Executive


TOUGH TALK, DOLL

Barbie, the world’s best-selling doll, celebrated her 35th birthday at the recent New York toy fair, having sold 775 million clones of herself worldwide. There are few signs that she has reached maturity. Sales of Barbie (including her accessories) have more than doubled in the past five years, to more than $1 billion in 1993.

But not everyone loves Barbie. Feminists have long criticized her as a stereotyped dumb blonde. Recently, a New York group calling itself the Barbie Liberation Organization bought Barbies and swapped their female voice boxes for those from GI Joe, a popular male doll made by Hasbro, before replacing both toys on the shop shelves. The returned Barbies spit phrases such as “Eat lead, Cobra.” Mattel claims to be unconcerned.

-The Economist


TURNING THE PAGE

A survey of American business leaders done by New York-based Jericho Promotions shows that only 8 percent used anything they learned from the business media in the last year in running their companies. On the other hand, 61 percent said they altered their business in some way based on a sports story they read in the last year, and 71 percent said they most often get information that helps them run their companies from the lifestyle sections of their daily newspapers. Following that trend, the survey showed Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson as the most influential person in the last year on the way they run their businesses, and articles about the movie, “Philadelphia,” as the most significant event covered that altered their opinions on how they run their companies.

No business figure made the top five influential list rounded out by Madonna, President Clinton, Pat Riley, and Fernando Mateo (guns for goods). The survey of 311 corporate presidents and vice presidents of the Fortune 1000 companies showed that 78 percent said they watched Michael Jordan’s retirement press conference, while only 49 percent said they watched President Clinton’s most recent State of the Union Address.

But perhaps the most telling was this: Some 91 percent of those polled said they most often read their morning papers in the bathroom.

-Jericho Promotions


THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX

In the scramble for passengers, USAir has started a frequent-dier program, focusing on the corpse market. The Arlington, VA-based airline is offering funeral directors one free domestic round-trip ticket if they ship 30 bodies via USAir. Since the program, called TLC, began in October, USAir has transported 500 bodies, boosting its human-remains business by 30 percent over the comparable period a year ago.

Other airlines offer cargo rates for bodies, shipped in their coffins in the hold, as well as discounts up to 50 percent for accompanying relatives. Under USAir’s program, to take Uncle Beezer from Pittsburgh to Chicago for his final rest, it’s $264 for you and $230 for him. -Keith Alexander, Business Week


SAY WHAT?

Here are a few English mistranslations spotted on signs in foreign countries:

In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Bangkok dry cleaners: Drop your trousers here for best results.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.

In an East Africa newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In a tailor shop in Rhodes: Order your summer suit. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation. -compiled by The Wall Street Journal, Global Voice, and students in Switzerland


 

CARTER VS. CLINTON: PART III

Another installment from P.J. O’Rourke’s American Spectator article, “100 Reasons Why Jimmy Carter Was a Better President Than Bill Clinton”:

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Carter Administration

  • Pardoning draft dodgers
  • Return of canal to Panama
  • Russians in Afghanistan
  • Jody Powell with feet on desk
  • Kidding Mexicans about Montezuma’s revenge €.Hostage rescue attempt in Iran
  • Mount St. Helens
  • Elvis dead
  • SALT II
  • Three Mile Island

Clinton Administration

  • Draft dodgers
  • Return of Haitians to Haiti
  • Brit Hume in White House press corps €.George Stephanopoulos with feet not quite touching floor
  • Kidding Mexicans about NAFTA
  • Trying to get Zoe Baird confirmed as Justice
  • Air Force General Harold Campbell
  • Barbra Streisand all too lively
  • U2
  • Sam Nunn