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74 articles

Folk pop: the classic Mail Pouch Tobacco ad gets the meme treatment. For better health.

I’ve never bothered to discern what Pierre Bourdieu would probably brand the “echelons of taste” that distinguish “folk” from “pop”.  Their thematic intersection owes a great deal to the fact that they share a prosaic, anti-elitist undercurrent, but the commonalities probably don’t extend much further.  While both folk and pop eschew the highbrow ethos that

Rax Roast Beef: a peek inside one of the last locations of a once-mighty 80s chain.

“Fast food with style.”  That’s the motto that I, coming of age in the late 80s and early 90s, associate the most with Rax Roast Beef.  But let’s face it: when this formerly thriving restaurant began floundering, the slogans shifted with the seasons.  Thirty years later, it’s hard to say which marketing campaign is the

Dueling dollar stores in a small town: why would identical companies share a party wall?

During the season of giving, it’s not likely that most people’s first notion of a repository for seasonal gifts is a dollar store.  Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, you name it. I suppose I’m making an elitist generalization here: after all, many people lack the wherewithal for purchase gifts anywhere other than a dollar store.  Furthermore,

Color choice: a gladiator match between brand green and brand red, in a strip mall coliseum.

The infamous book How to Lie with Maps initially offered a light-hearted attempt to explore how maps can entice, mislead, inflame, and generally propagandize, often without necessarily depicting anything geographically untruthfully.  Juxtapositions (not always to scale), labels, color choice, and infographics can all endow an editorial skew on what seems like objective spatial representation.  And

Yellow caution bumper stickers: not just a safe driving strategy. Now a meme.

It’s time to confess: I’m beholden to my most successful blog posts, which sometimes feature a subject I don’t really care all that much about, but hey—if it gets good engagement and stimulates conversation, why not explore it again?  That’s precisely the case with those yellow caution bumper stickers (or perhaps they’re magnets?) that have

Brand refresh: Barnes & Noble goes on a tear. No books destroyed in the process.

A quick look at the photo above and it should be obvious that something’s afoot at this particular location of Barnes and Noble.  Incidentally, I only heavily scrutinized a Barnes and Noble once before, also in Maryland, when I noticed a repositioning of merchandise within the interior just a few months ago.  This time, the

Green-shingled roof: a DC institution lives on…in the shadow of a shiny megaplex. 

The immediate area surrounding DC’s Union Market has witnessed a remarkable surge in population, activity, and energy over the last five years.  I deliberately use the word “surge” instead of “resurgence”, because the “re-“ prefix is a misnomer; it implies that the action to which it appends (the “surge”) has happened a second time.  But

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, which did not re-open after Hurricane Katrina.  (Yep, that long.)  Time has relegated this hapless sole proprietorship to such obscurity that there’s

Kokopelli: a mascot for Moab?

The earth has revolved around the sun quite a few times since I patronized a restaurant called Kokopelli’s, a little boutique burrito joint on an obscure intersection near Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans,

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