Service of Unintended Consequences II

June 27th, 2013

Categories: Bicycles, Branding, Exercise, Garbage, Name, Social Media, Unintended Consequences

Unintended consequences

Let’s Face it

Facebook sent printed invitations to media, delivered by messenger, for a product launch. Hmmmm. Is social media already passé?

Fertilize New York

CompostWe learn on “Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed expanding a successful pilot program recycling food scraps to more single-family homes, high rise buildings and schools. Within three years, the Bloomberg Administration says, the hope is that recycling food scraps will be mandatory and as much of a routine as recycling glass, metal and plastic.”

While I love the concept of a food scrap composting initiative, I think the Mayor needs to first address the way city food is sold and the space constraints of millions of residents. We buy much of our meat, fish, fruit and vegetables packaged on Styrofoam trays covered in plastic wrap so off the bat we need two kitchen trash receptacles.

New Yorkers’ microscopic kitchens—especially those in Manhattan–are the brunt of jokes and jibes. In mine there’s barely room for one tiny garbage can which works as we put out garbage daily in the morning and it’s picked up in front of the door. We keep empty bottles on a counter and put them out for pickup separately. A second can to capture just food scraps will be a challenge for space. Devoting more countertop to hold garbage is more than unsightly, it’s a health hazard and potential rodent attractant.

In giant apartment houses with hundreds of tenants, renters send garbage to the basement via a shoot. Color coded bags–blue for compost, white for paper, green for bottles, pink for plastic and yellow for other garbage–would solve the one-shoot-in-tall-buildings issue if tenants could be bothered to buy them, keep them straight and comply.

Only in New York

Bike sharingSome New Yorkers are using the bike sharing Citibikes for exercise in the fresh air. Seems they pedal in place without anyone having to slip in a credit card or join the rental system. That’s a New York kind of moxy that makes me smile.

What’s in a Name?

The “Borghese v Borghese: Battle for a Royal Name” story in The New York Times seemed different from the usual intellectual property fights. In her article Christine Haughney cited a law professor who mentioned examples that I thought only underscored the dissimilarity. One was Chick-fil-A, known for the slogan “Eat More Chicken,” that sued a folk artist who tried to trademark “Eat More Kale.” 

Princess Marcella Borghese. Photo: Wikipedia

Princess Marcella Borghese. Photo: Wikipedia

While I think that example is a stretch, an even bigger one is to ask a family to drop its name and heritage.

Revlon bought the Borghese cosmetics brand, according to Haughney, along with “the words and phrases BORGHESE, MARCELLA BORGHESE and PRINCESS MARCELLA BORGHESE” and subsequently sold the Borghese Company, now in private hands.

The first problem occurred as a result of a press release about one of Princess Marcella Borghese’s grandchildren. He was to appear in a TV program. His grandmother was mentioned as well as the fact that she “started the famed self-named cosmetics line, Borghese Inc.” The grandchild was warned against “causing any false impression in the marketplace that there is a connection or relationship between yourself and Borghese Inc. and our cosmetics products.” The next hiccup between the Princess’s descendants and the company came when the grandson applied for a trademark for pet shampoo and conditioner—La Dolce Vita by Prince Lorenzo Borghese–to be sold by PetSmart. The Company sued.

Am I reading too much into the symbolism of a social media giant choosing a traditional form of communication? Should tiny NYC kitchens and the way food is sold and tossed in giant apartment buildings stall a compost program? Do you know of other typical out-of-the-box takes on services like NYC bikers using parked vehicles for exercise? Should a family member be forbidden to sell his/her name and others prohibited to use that last name in business forever?

Tiny nyc kitchen

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6 Responses to “Service of Unintended Consequences II”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    This country is far too litigious a place to make a reasonable comment. Who cares if a pet shampoo carries the Borghese logo? Who cares if someone advises “eat more kale?” Me, perhaps, since I think the veggie way too sour, so I’ll content myself by chiding the New York Times for passing along inaccurate information. The chicken outfit is “Chick-fil-A” and the slogan is “eat mor chikin.” Now how “Eat more Kale” (did the newspaper get that one right?) resembles “eat mor chikin” in any way beats me. But what is painfully clear is that neither reporter nor editor watch SEC football. Interdepartmental cooperation might make a good start.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am afraid to look at the link as the Chick-fil-A error may have been mine.

    The folks who sued based on the word “Eat” are at fault and how any courtroom could take such a complaint seriously is beyond me. Granted there must have been better examples relating to names that the reporter might have researched and noted.

    Some of the winter dog coats in my neighborbood are nicer than mine: mouton, Burberry etc. People spend zillions on their pet families, so why not expensive pet shampoo? My bet is that it’s not much more than a doctored up Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo formula so the soap doesn’t sting Fido’s eyes with a dash of scent.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    I looked before writing, and it’s 100% NY Times. They should know better.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    They need an eagle eye such as you to catch the slips.

    Remember vintage black and white movies with a bunch of reporters–mostly men–in a smoke-filled room in a police station or courthouse, with phones and typewriters? Given a news flash they’d rush to a phone and say, “get me rewrite,” or something similar. In the day there were copy editors and fact checkers too but all these have gone the way of spats. So this and so many other reporters fly solo with no backup and the same deadlines. I empathize with them and feel sad for the paper of record.

  5. Hester Craddock Said:

    There is much to chew on in your latest post, including garbage, so I will limit myself to those damn bicycles.

    Like many strong leaders, the Emperor Michael has a fatal flaw of Grecian tragic proportions. Destroy your reputation for doing good, by making a few monumentally dumb moves at the end of your reign.

    If you are old and frail and must take taxi cabs as a matter of safety and health, you are well aware that crossing midtown Manhattan in an automobile has always been difficult. Now with bicycle racks, all midtown streets have been reduced, as a practical matter, to one lane. At the same time, traffic north and south at one time used to move at least a little on 1st and 2nd Avenues. Now with bicycle lanes on one, and subway construction on the other, those both also have been effectively reduced to one lane. The consequent increase in traffic jams, travel costs and pollution, has made much of the formerly livable East Side, unlivable, particularly for the elderly.

    A pox on this arrogant man for the harm he has done me and many others like me!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I was almost run over last night by three bicycles racing up First Avenue, ignoring their red light and none were of the Citi-Bike variety. Bicyclists should be fined just as automobile drivers are and if they accumulate too many, their bikes should be taken away or their Citi-Bike permits revoked. That would help solve some of the problems.

    I understand your frustration with the Mayor, yet I fear that the next Mayor may be far worse. The potential winners will be beholden to campaign donors which the Mayor isn’t. This Mayor had his eye firmly on the budget while I forecast this won’t be true with the next one.

    In the area of stop and frisk, nobody listened to him but more importantly, to the Police Commissioner, who advises one course and the City Council, looking for votes, didn’t seek some middle ground but simply ignored the Commissioner’s warnings and advice. I was afraid to take a subway after dark in this city at one time while now I am comfortable, even alone, after 10 pm. I’d hate life to slip backwards in this regard.

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