Today’s collection of lunchtime news chum articles all have to do with names in the news:
- Darjeeling. It’s one of my favorite types of tea, and it has recently regained its name. Specifically, the tea growers in the foothills of the Himalayas in India have won legal protection for the Darjeeling label under laws that limit the use of certain geographic names to products that come from those places. In a recent decision, the European Union agreed to phase out the use of “Darjeeling” on blended teas. Now, just as a bottle of Cognac must come from the region around the French town of Cognac, a cup of Darjeeling tea will have to be made only from tea grown around Darjeeling.
- Budweiser. Another name that has been the subject of a long battle is Budweiser. The Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar and AB InBev (Anheuser-Busch) have been negotiating for a century over the name. Budejovicky Budvar was founded in 1895 in the southern city of Ceske Budejovice — called Budweis at the time by the local German-speaking people. Beer has been brewed here since 1265 and has been known for centuries as Budweiser. We all know about the St. Louis company. AB wants the right to use the name globally, not only in selected areas as it is now. So does Budvar.
- Reading Rainbow. LeVar Burton has reacquired control of the Reading Rainbow name, and is now marketing it as an app for tablets. He’s having quite a bit of success. With almost no marketing, it quickly became the No. 1 educational app at the Apple iTunes store. In the first 4 1/2 months since its launch, children used the app to read more than 700,000 books.
- Infiniti. Infiniti is changing the name of its entire lineup of cars, moving from the easy to remember EX, FX, G, M, and JX nameplates with ones starting with the letter Q. I’ve never understood the desire to use letter and number codes to “name” cars; I remember the old days when names were real names.
- Restaurant Names. USA Today has a nice article on a number of restaurant chains that are disappearing due to changing tastes and the recession (although referencing Tony Romas and “taste” in the same sentence is questionable). I’ll note that Bobs is still active in SoCal, although we have some of the original stores.
- Potatoes. And lastly, we have SPUDS. Specifically, Boeing is testing aircraft Wi-Fi to ensure the signals are consistent through the cabin without interrupting the navigation and communication systems. How do they do this without paying people for hours to sit? They use sacks of potatoes, which replicate the way human passengers reflect and absorb electronic signals. The testing idea has been dubbed Synthetic Personnel Using Dialectric Substitution, or SPUDS.