"If it weren't for electricity we'd all be watching television by candlelight." George Gobel



Dear friends, as you read this, I and Melinda are on our way to Cannes where on the evening of the 11th, I will be hosting the third annual Milia D'Or Multimedia Awards in French and English on the stage of the Film Festival's Palace of Entertainment. Afterwards, we hope to visit the South of France and plan to end our adventure in Paris, returning home on Wednesday, the 19th to prepare for a series of funny radio drop-ins with the Firesign Theatre and our upcoming symposium at the Museum of Television and Radio on the 26th. The 10 "faux ads" are commissioned by "Radio Today" (with thanks to Dave Ossman and Phil Austin), and will be heard in a hundred Classical Rock stations in the U.S. on April Fools Day. (But not in French and English...)




Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing corporations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and cultural differences. For example...

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth." (Or, as I heard "Mouth happy - worker happy"...PP)

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead." Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off." (That's the Daumer Special, isn't it?)

The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, "Salem - Feeling Free," got translated in the Japanese market into "When smoking Salem, you feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty." (So...?)

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato" and Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused."

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales... Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno mag... In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

In an effort to boost orange juice sales in predominantly continental breakfast eating England, a campaign was devised to extoll the drink's eye-opening, pick-me-up qualities. Hence the slogan, "Orange juice. It gets your pecker up." And Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals." Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse...

(Merci, Steven A. Willoughby)




ACCRA, Jan 18 (Reuter) - Mobs in Ghana's capital Accra have beaten to death seven men accused of snatching penises by witchcraft, police said late on Friday.

The Police Mortuary hospital said in a statement that the death toll, which stood at two after the first lynchings on Thursday, had risen to seven. Victims say alleged sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear in order to extort cash in the promise of a cure. Police and government dismiss the stories as the work of thieves, who spread rumors to create a crowd and pick pockets.

Saturday's Daily Graphic newspaper said a crowd built up in the town of Koforidua, 50 miles north of Accra, on Friday, after two men reported their penises disappearing. Medical experts have appeared on state television explaining in detail why penises increase and decrease in size. One doctor linked the phenomenon to fear. (Reuters, from Charlie "Big Boy" Moed)




Once again, by popular demand, the fabulous Belt Dominion Lottery! Yes, folks, we're back in your galactic neighborhood, and we're still the only lottery that pays off exclusively in lottery tickets for the NEXT fabulous Belt Dominion Lottery. No confusing money or prizes, just...tickets. And with each ticket you win, your chances of winning go up. You could win hundreds - thousands, yes, even MILLIONS of tickets. You'll win so many tickets you'll have to dig an extra tunnel to store them all. We do, of course, charge a small postage and handling fee to deliver your winnings. Buy your tickets now! The fabulous Belt Dominion Lottery doesn't stay in one place for long. (From "The Star of Vengeance" radio series (1991) by Andre Guirard.)




One of the newest hoaxes on the Internet is the Deeyenda Virus. Warnings tell folks not to open any e-mail or messages containing the word "deeyenda" or their computers will implode. The alert claims to be from the Federal Communications Commission.

The truth is, the FCC doesn't issue virus alerts; the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University does, and computers cannot be felled by simple e-mail, only by downloaded files. Gullible people, on the other hand, can be hornswoggled by anything. That's why Charles Hymes, 31, a designer at Hewlett-Packard, has a Web site called Don't Spread That Hoax! An old hand at the Internet, Hymes said, "I've seen so many of these hoaxes and legends go around; 10 years ago I saw the Neiman Marcus cookie story." He's referring to the popular Net myth about a woman who allegedly was charged $250 by the Dallas-based store for a cookie recipe. Out of revenge, supposedly, she e-mailed the recipe to any and everyone. The cookies are delicious; the story is not to be swallowed.

Those sort of online shaggy-dog stories don't concern hoaxbuster Hymes too much. But the kidney harvesting story, he said, goes too far. The tale: A business traveler meets a seductive woman in a hotel bar. They return to his room. He passes out. When he wakes he discovers that he's in the bathtub, packed with ice. Taped to the wall is a note instructing him to call 911 and to be careful of the tube extruding from his lower back because his "kidneys have been harvested."

Mary Ann Wirtz of the Richmond-based United Network for Organ Sharing, a clearinghouse for organ donations, said, "This story clearly is untrue. In reality, there is a great shortage of donated organs, but organ donation is a careful, well-documented medical procedure. The truth, that one donor can help as many as 25 people, is more interesting than this fiction."

Once an untruth is posted, it's immediately multiplied a gazillion times. That not only ensures overnight notoriety, but credibility (especially when forwarded by reputable folks) and permanence. Thank goodness for the debunkers like Hymes who ferret out the frauds and expose the poseurs.

But even Hymes has his blind spots. To wit, in another popular Net hoax, a "hominid skull" is sent to the Smithsonian as "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County 2 million years ago." In the clever reply, which is plastered all over the Internet, curator "Harvey Rowe" identifies the skull as the plastic head of a "Malibu Barbie."

Hymes laughed. "According to my understanding of it," Hymes said, "that really happened." It didn't. Randall Kremer, spokesman for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, said, "We don't have a paleo-anthropology division. And there's no curator named Harvey Rowe."

According to folklorists, the myths and legends of the Internet can be traced back to fax machines, letters and traveling salesmen. In other words, the dangers of the Internet are as old as cave paintings.

So are the proper responses: Use common sense. Don't talk to, or about, strangers. Don't believe everything you read. And, above all, remember the first rule of reporting: If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

This article by Linton Weeks from the Washington Post (January 30, 1997) was forwarded to me by Kerry "Put Your Dukes Up" Millerick who also added his own three cents worth: "When it comes to getting a virus from an e-mail, relax, it ain't gonna happen. If you get an 'attachment' that is a self-contained program--well, that *might* be a different story. Don't *RUN* any attached (downloaded) programs unless you know the source. P.S. One MacPlug--I can't help myself--unlike the "other side," no data has ever been lost on a Mac due to a virus. Also, there are over 6,000 known viruses are on the DOS/Windows side, only 35 on the Mac side! And while the PC side is growing at a rate of about 100 a month (busy those PC hackers), there hasn't been a new Mac virus identified in over a year.**

[**IMPERTINENT EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: It can also been noted that there hasnít been a significant Macintosh *program* developed in over a year, either. :-) RA]




You know you're drinking too much coffee if... *Juan Valdez named his donkey after you... *You ski uphill...*You speed walk in your sleep...*You grind your coffee beans in your mouth... *You have to watch videos in fast-forward... *You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer... *You lick your coffeepot clean... *You're the employee of the month at local Starbucks and you don't even work there. . *Your eyes stay open when you sneeze... *You can type 60 W.P.M. with your feet... *You can jump-start your car without cables . .*You have Styrofoam sofa covers... *You don't need a hammer to pound nails... *You don't tan, you roast... *You go to A.A. meetings for the free coffee... Your favorite snack is Styrofoam packing peanuts... *Your taste buds are so numb you could drink your lava lamp... *Your face is on a Colombian postage stamp... *Your tongue has "Genuine Leather" stamped on it... *Instant coffee takes too long... *You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug... *You ride a stationary bike to work... *You can play ping-pong without a partner... *You have a three-piece suit made of burlap... You have monogrammed coffee filters... *You meditate while listening to your "Natural Sounds of Coffee Brewing" CD... *You had to remove your car stereo to make room for your cup holder... *You introduce your spouse as your coffeemate... *You think Folger's Crystals have healing powers... *You chew on other people's fingernails... *Cocaine is a downer... *You want to be cremated so you can spend eternity in a coffee can (With a tip of the cup to April Winchell, who sent me 12,000 copies of this material...)




Veteran Pillsbury spokesman Pop N. Fresh died Wednesday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71. He was buried Friday in one of the biggest funerals in years. Dozens of celebrities turned out including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker, and the Hostess Twinkies.

The graveside was piled high with flours, as longtime friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who "never knew he was kneaded." Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a smart cookie, and wasted much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model to millions. Fresh is survived by his second wife. They had two children and one in the oven.

(From FCarringtn@aol.com)

A bientot, mes amis!!!
Phil & Melinda

Published 2/7/97

© 1996/2002 by Phil Proctor