Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day everyone! Hope you are celebrating this wonderful country of ours surrounded by family and friends.

Card by etsy seller ktcrawford

Pippi for Pops? Perhaps!

Dear Rich: I'm about to launch my very small handmade frozen fruit pop business. The name we all like best for the product is PippiPops. I've done an online search through USPTO and although "Pippi Longstocking" is a federally registered trademark, "Pippi" is listed as "dead" and abandoned. Can a name like "Pippi" be used as a trademark? Do I risk infringing although my business has nothing to do with the books or other goods? We're big fans of Pippi Longstocking and it's not just because we've finally finished the Steig Larsson trilogy and we're convinced that the resourceful Lisbeth Salander is Pippi's distant Swedish relative (Steig once characterized Lisbeth as a "gone wrong version" of Pippi). No, the Dear RIch Staff goes way back to Pippi-land. We recall a mild mid-80s addiction to Mr. Nilsson and the re-runs of the Euro TV series  (BTW, Pippi's first name is actually Pippilotta). 
Right, you had a question. The estate of Astrid Lindgren has registered the "Pippi Longstocking" trademark in the U.S. for audio-visual goods and printed matter as well as for games, educational services, and for clothing. A year before the latter registration issued, the trademarks for Pippi Wear (t-shirts) and Pippi Tails (hair bows) were registered by a California enterprise that doesn't appear to have any official connection with the Swedish author (yet  conjures up the Pippi character in their advertising -- P.S. Beware the Cyndi Lauper audio).
Pippi and food trademarks.Ennyway, we're not sure what's up with all that and we're hesitant to presume anything about the various uses. Most importantly, there is no indication that either the Swedish trademark owners or the California owners are planning to expand into food products and as far as we can tell, nobody is using Pippi as a federally registered trademark for food products. Therefore, we don't see any reason why you shouldn't proceed with the registration (though there is no such thing as a "guaranteed" registration). And yes, you are wise to avoid any references to the literary character in your advertising and packaging.  FTC Disclaimer -- You may find some helpful resources in the trademark section of Nolo's website.



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Whether as it was or as it should be
Out of the ruins of the new society
The skeleton of an older society
Arose, from which, all rickety, banging
Shank and bone, a society yet
More ancient and long of tooth; and so on,
Until there occurred a syncope in
The series, and so mercifully ceased
At last the long obscene succession,
Discovery, retribution, torture,
Death, eternity, the crunching of
The whole repulsive nutshell beneath
History's dumb indifferent bootheel.

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Cross junction, northwest corner of The Loop, Chicago: photo by Daniel Schwen, 2007

Laughing Kookaburras


Laughing Kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), with lizard prey, Cheltenham, New South Wales, Australia: photo by Mfunnell, 2006

We saw a fishpond all on fire and we had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Blackbutt Reserve, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia: photo by Ymaup, 2005

I saw a house bow to a squire and I had a laugh


Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae): photo by Descramble, 2006

I saw a parson twelve feet high and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), airborne, Alexandria Park, Alexandria, Sydney: photo by BenAveling, 2007

I saw a cottage near the sky and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), perched on a Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbara), Waterworks Reserve, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia: photo by Noodle snacks, 2010

I saw a balloon made of lead and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia: photo by Dushy, 2007

I saw a coffin drop down dead and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae): photo by KaiAdin, 2006

I saw two sparrows run a race and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: photo by Cburnett, 2006

I saw two horses making lace and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Audley Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia: photo by Quartl, 2009

I saw a girl just like a cat and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), immature, southwest Australia: photo by Cygnis insignis, 2008

I saw a kitten wear a hat and I had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Frankfurt Zoo: photo by Jutta 234, 2010

We saw a man who saw these too, and he had a laugh

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Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), perching in a tree: photo by Keelie Meek, 2007

And said though strange they all were true.

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Laughing Kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae), Australia: photo by Henry Kerry (1857-1928), n.d. (Powerhouse Museum Collection, Sydney)

Text adapted by TC from traditional nursery rhyme, "I saw a fishpond all on fire"

Has great idea for an iPhone app; fears ripoff

Dear Rich: I have what I believe is a great idea for an iPhone app. The problem is that I'm afraid to submit it to those companies that require you to submit your idea for a quote, because I believe that they may never get back to me and make the app themselves. Is there a way for me to copyright my app idea so that no one can create one that is similar?? Do you happen to know who I need to speak with? Do you mean who you can speak with at the Dear Rich Staff headquarters. Usually, operators are standing by to take your call but right now most of them are either too absorbed finishing the last book in the Stieg Larsson trilogy (or they're waiting for the DVD of the first book). 
Right you had a question. The short answer is that 'No,' there is no way to copyright your app idea. Copyright doesn't protect ideas (despite some incredible misinformation on the web). For example, if you have an idea for an app that identifies poisonous mushrooms or makes gastrointestinal sound effects, anybody can use a similar idea as long as they don't copy the way you expressed your app. That's why success in the App Store is often based on getting the best version of something out quickly, and then popularizing it so that it turns up highest in App Store search results.
Paranoia strikes deep. If you're paranoid about the theft of an idea, you can ask the company to sign an NDA. For that to work, you need to be able to prove that the idea is a secret -- that is, it's not something commonly known in the App trade -- and that you've been treating it with secrecy. You can get free sample NDAs and explanations at our special website we set up for that purpose. 
Hiring someone. When you hire a company, you should also make sure that they assign all copyright to you. If you're concerned about ripoffs, or just want to be extra-prudent, file a copyright application once the app is completed. We should also mention that some ideas (provided that they're not abstract) can be patented, which would likely be a waste of money and effort since it would take almost two years to get the patent and the shelf-life of your app would likely be over. Finally, although we can't guarantee it, in most cases a legitimate app developer is unlikely to steal an idea because it would be very bad PR for the developer's business.

Bandage for a Steal

My mother and sister actually tipped me off to this one. They know how obsessed I am with the BCBG Max Azria bandage skirts, pictured above and obsessed over in this post. I think they're lovely, particularly how they hug in just the right spots while allowing some give in the wrong ones. Plus, I'm a perennial sucker for ombré -- it's like tie-dye for grown-ups. Imagine, then, my glee when I was presented with this very similar, very affordable version from Express.
Sure, the shade of the second strip of color befuddles me a bit (it looks too icy compared to the other hues). Yet this skirt is also a fraction of the cost of the first, while the difference between both is far from obvious. The gradient, the shape, and the practicality are nearly enough to reel me in, but the pretty, pretty price ($59.50) are what makes this impossible to resist.

Things That Became Apparent After I Became A Parent Part II

Part I here.

  1. 'Sleeping through the night' is a myth. If you do manage to get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep, baby will suddenly change it up by throwing in some teething, 2am play times, sickness or standing in her crib repeatedly, just to keep you on your toes.

  2. Your toddler will be able to squeeze herself into spaces that seemingly only bunnies and tiny fairies could fit into.

  3. Sometimes, your toddler will crawl faster than you can run.

  4. It takes only a one-time showing for your toddler to learn a new bad habit.

  5. Finding some "alone time" means spending five extra minutes in the shower.

  6. Daddies come with an innate talent for throwing baby high up in the air and making her giggle uncontrollably.

  7. Your little one may refuse to eat the healthy organic meal you spent an hour preparing but 10 mins later will instead choose to pick up and eat the kernels of rice that fell onto the floor.

  8. Your toddler's first tricycle may be cooler than your first car.

  9. Your toddler will know things and you will have no clue how they learned it.

  10. There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing your parents play with your children.

  11. No matter how hard you try and practice, "mama" will likely not be your baby's first word. However, she can say "dada", "dad" and "daddy" with perfect elocution.

  12. Helpless babies turn into walking talking toddlers in the blink of an eye.

Any things you moms want to add to the list?

Mad Bette Davis Fan in Crime Novel?

Dear Rich: Just wanted to check before I make a blooper. Is it ok for me to write about somebody being a mad Bette Davis fan and mentioning her films and the love of them, for example? I'm trying to add authenticity to my crime novel. By "mad" we assume you're applying the colloquial use of the term as popularized in the New York metroploitan area in the 1980s (and which I first heard used by my relative, Matt "Frontrunners" Polazzo) -- that is, not the more common "brain sick" or "angry" interpretation of mad. Why do we ask? We don't really know since it doesn't really matter what the meaning is. The fact is you're never going to get in trouble for making one of your novel's characters into a rabid Bette Davis fan (though you won't want to put Bette's picture on the cover of your book). But for those of us who aren't particularly wild about Bette or those other over-the-top 30s-40s actresses -- Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck, etc. -- may we suggest that a more interesting choice might be Veronica Lake or Gene Tierney. Y'know, just sayin'

Campaign Chests

I saw these (minus the side tables - maybe they were sold already) at Frontier Sales on Saturday.

Somebody PLEASE buy them and do this...

or this...

Who Killed Cock Robin? A Mystery


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European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), on the bank of the Lauch, above Herrlisheim, near Colmar: photo by Katz, 2007

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European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), Milton Country Park, Cambridgeshire: photo by DemonTraitor, 2007

Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
with my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.

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House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), male, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
: photo by J. M. Garg, 2010

Who saw him die?
I, said the Fly,
with my little eye,
I saw him die.

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: photo by Hedwig Storch, 2009

Who caught his blood?
I, said the Fish,
with my little dish,
I caught his blood.

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Blue Betta (Betta splendens): photo by Editor at Large, 2007

Who'll make the shroud?
I, said the Beetle,
with my thread and needle,
I'll make the shroud.


Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis): photo by Thomas G. Moertel, 2006

Who'll dig his grave?
I, said the Owl,
with my pick and shovel,
I'll dig his grave.

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Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
: photo by K.-M. Hansche, 2006

Who'll be the parson?
I, said the Rook,
with my little book,
I'll be the parson.

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Rook (Corvus frugilegus): photo by AndronovIN, 2007

Who'll be the clerk?
I, said the Lark,
if it's not in the dark,
I'll be the clerk.

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Rufous-Naped Lark (Mirafra africana athi), Sweetwaters Game Reserve, Kenya: photo by Jerry Friedman, 2007

Who'll carry the link?
I, said the Linnet,
I'll fetch it in a minute,
I'll carry the link.

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Linnet (Carduelis cannabina): photo by Pawel Kuzniar, 2006

Who'll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove,
I mourn for my love,
I'll be chief mourner.

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A pair of White-Winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica), considering a nest site near a Yucatán cenote: photo by Jim Conrad, 2008

Who'll carry the coffin?
I, said the Kite,
if it's not through the night,
I'll carry the coffin.

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Black Kite (Milvus migrans): photo by Ferdinand Grossman, 2005

Who'll bear the pall?
We, said the Wren,
both the cock and the hen,
We'll bear the pall.

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Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris), Iona, Scotland: photo by Greg7, 2008

Who'll sing a psalm?
I, said the Thrush,
as she sat on a bush,
I'll sing a psalm.

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Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus): photo by Dave Menke, 2008 (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Who'll toll the bell?
I said the bull,
because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell

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Bull (Bos primogenius taurus), Oostvardersplassen, The Netherlands: photo by Rex, 2005

All the birds of the air
fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
when they heard the bell toll
for poor Cock Robin.

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British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus), Merrion Squre, Dublin: photo by David Jordan, 2008

Is the sad tale of Cock Robin a murder archetype in a nursery rhyme, a kind of children's story employed by a culture to resolve issues symbolically through catharsis, so that violence and danger, while recognized as real, may be moved off, in the child's mind, from the world of humans, where evil exists, to that of nature, where there had previously been an innocence that would, in a world like this one, be perhaps too much for a grown person to bear?

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European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), on the bank of the Lauch, above Herrlisheim, near Colmar: photo by Katz, 2007

Who Killed Cock Robin? origin unknown, first published in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, c.1744, extended version first published c. 1770

Monday Morning (round two!)

Sue of The Zhush suggested that I mention the Condé Nast Café. It reminds me of a college dining hall, but in a graduated form - not unlike going from my grade school lunches (eaten at the desks in our classrooms because the school couldn't afford an actual cafeteria) to the real-deal cafeteria of my high school (benches? An outside patio?). You would think that the models, editors, and writers that inhabit the building would immediately float towards the salad station (I thought so, at least), but most people tend to eat sandwiches. It took an unfortunate trip to the salad station to realize why: the salad station sucks. Granted, I hate salad unless it includes something fat-laden to weigh it down, but this was truly terrible. On the bright side, the sushi bar that pops up every other day is fantastic. They offer brown rice, which is a huge plus. On another note, the tomato soup has also been a happy find (all credit due to one of my intern friends). Now let's talk about the sandwiches.
I consider myself something of a sandwich maven. I make them. I eat them. I love them. The cook was mildly alarmed by my request for mustard on my tuna sandwich (is that weird? They do it at Panera), but otherwise, he's been cheerful and always gives me an extra pickle. The seating area is very futuristic and was designed by Frank Gehry, which makes sense when you spot the wavy glass partitions and clean lines. For a moment, I thought I was in Epcot. The space is a little cold (figuratively and literally), and it's awkward to have to wear my leather jacket while eating a tuna sandwich (which stains, apparently). I feel like a couple of throw pillows could really add to the ambiance. I understand that fabric is the least practical thing to add to a dining area, but the cafe feels quite sterile and chilly. I feel uncomfortable there, which is why the other interns and I have made a habit of quickly purchasing our food and eating it out in Times Square, where there are tables and chairs set up in the middle of Broadway.

In honor of all of the Frank Gehry in the Condé Nast Café, I dug these earrings up from the heart of the my second dresser drawer. My parents gave them to me as a Christmas-Easter-next-three-birthdays gift, and I've hardly worn them since then because a) I don't really wear jewelry and b) I have no where to wear them because I'm twenty - where the hell am I going at this point in time? Now, as it turns out, I work at a beauty magazine. I was thrown $100 worth of beauty products and told to wear all of them (first reaction: "Will I be fired if I don't?!"). The natural next step was to wear jewelry. I own this pair of earrings, a pair of diamond studs, and a pair of zippers earrings (a look that quickly devolves when someone tries to "unzip" my ears). Naturally, these have saved my life:
Available here, they're understated and unique at the same time. I'm not a fan of hoops, but the curves of these allow me to get some shine without having to detangle my hair from them. I love to wear them when my hair is curly, because they blend in with the waves and are that much more subtle. Rediscovering these was so worth the very scary dive into my dresser; they add a good dose of class to a simple dress and flats, and the silver looks so fantastic with a swipe of red lipstick (compliments of the beauty closet). Do you have any older pieces that you've rediscovered recently? (Personally, I love how it feels like getting something new without having to pay anything).
[photo cred to AmateurGourmet]

Rimbaud in Africa


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He left his fortune to the Harar boy
Djami, whose name rhymes with friend,
The sole human he ever loved or trusted,
His young factotum, his faithful duidar
Dead before the poet's legacy reached him,
A suitcase full of silver thalers bearing
Maria Theresa's outdated head.

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Market in Harar: photo by Arthur Rimbaud, c. 1883, image by Andro96, 2006
Street scene, Harar: photo by Bain News Service, 1900, image by Andro96, 2006 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)
Cemetery outside old city of Harar, Ethiopia: photo by Ahron de Leeuw, 2006
Montage en rouge: Arthur Rimbaud et éruption volcanique: image by PRA, 2007

Wittgenstein: The Visual Room


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Agama sinaita, Jordan: photo by Ester Inbar, 2010

The 'visual room' is the one that has no owner.

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Milky Way arching across panorama of Southern Sky above the Paranal platform of European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (moon rising, zodiacal light shining above it, Milky Way stretching across sky; visible to right and below the arc, Small and Large Magellanic Clouds): photo by ESO/H.H. Heyer, 2001; image by Maedin, 2010

I can as little own it as I can walk about it, or look at it, or point to it.


Eumeces fasciatus (Five-lined Skink), having lost part of its tail: photo by Thegreenj, 2007

Inasmuch as it cannot be any one else's it is not mine either.

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Bradypus variegatus (Three-toed Sloth), feeding, Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica: photo by Mehlführer, 2007

In other words, it does not belong to me because I want to use the same form of expression about it as about the material room in which I sit.

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Revelation 22: 17 (King James Version): Baxter process illustration by Joseph Martin Kronheim, from The Sunday at Home: A Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading, London, 1880; image by Adam Cuerden, 2010

The description of the latter need not mention an owner, in fact it need not have any owner.

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Citrus paradisi (Pink Grapefruit): photo by Raeky, 2010

But then the visual room cannot have any owner. "For" -- one might say -- "it has no master, outside or in."

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Earth cloud cover, 11 July 2005: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image by Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, 2005 (NASA Earth Observatory)

One might also say: Surely the owner of the visual room would have to be the same kind of thing as it is; but he is not to be found in it, and there is no outside.

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Bolshevism without a Mask, propaganda poster from Anti-Bolshevik exhibition of the NSDAP Gauleiter, Reichstag Building, Berlin, 6 November-19 December 1937: photo by Herbert Agricola, 1937 (Library of Congress)

The 'visual room' seems like a discovery, but what its discoverer really found was a new way of speaking, a new comparison; it might even be called a new sensation.

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Highway 401, busiest highway in North America, closed 10 August 2008 during Toronto pipeline explosion: photo by Kenny Louie, 2008

Ludwig Wittgenstein: from Philosophical Investigations, 1945, published 1953, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe