A Look Back At the Blizzard of 2010

Posted by Mongo

I know it's been a couple weeks since I updated the store blog but that's because I was being detained for trying to throttle a certain groundhog.  But thanks to some wonderful people at the pharmaceutical companies, I'm much better now.

Now that the Mid Atlantic region has finally begun to see some grass in their backyards, again, it’s time to look back and reflect on the blizzard of 2010. It was called Smowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, SNOMG, and lots of other four letter words in my house. People in my area lost power for over a week in some cases. I had to throw out two cartons of ice cream. Oh, the humanity! A lot of parents needed serious therapy from being cooped up with their kids for a week due to school cancellations. Still, this was nothing to sneeze at. Several roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow and the infrastructure of Pittsburgh was tested and perhaps failed to show it could handle two feet of snow.

But, I don’t like to focus on the negative. I’d rather look at how to commemorate the biggest snowfall in the area since 1993. So, now that you’re getting some feeling back into those frostbitten hands, click on over to my shops and pick up some Snowmageddon memorabilia.

Snowmageddon 2010

Get it at Cafepress, Zazzle, or Skreened
This design comes in either blue or white lettering with the Survivor stamp on it. You can also get it in a solid look or with snowflakes all around it.

Pennsylvania: The Emergency State

Get it at Cafepress, or Zazzle 
We should change the slogan to “You’ve got a friend stuck in Pennsylvania.” In fact, a young lady who was stuck at the airport at the onset of the blizzard took it upon herself to make a movie.

The United States of Emergency

Get it at Cafepress, Zazzle, or Skreened
The federal government shut down for a few days. Someone should have hung this sign up on the Statue of Liberty to let them know we were closed. Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal took in a book while snowed in at the library.


Get it at Cafepress, Zazzle, or Skreened
While other states may be no stranger to snow, we here in PA have not seen a lot of snow since we were kids. So, it’s no wonder we all freaked out a bit in Pittsburgh when we got dumped on by two feet of the white stuff. I took it as an opportunity to mix Internet slang with the chance to try and make a steel city type design, complete with the metal tread you find on truck running boards.  Pittsburghers, please be aware that the mon wharf will be closed until May.

So, as we get ready to see some green instead of white.... hopefully, let's remember this in July when we start bitching that it's too hot outside.  It could be worse.

North Face Sues South Butt While World Giggles Uncontrollably

Posted by Mongo

I considered the title to this as Corporate Legal Department thinks they Got a Match? Our Face and Your Butt. 

I’m posting this in the regular blog as well as the shop just because this whole premise is funny to me, but then again so are jokes about flatulence. Here’s the back story.  16 year old Jimmy Winkelmann from Missouri founded a parody company called The South Butt. The premise is a parody of overly priced, pretentious outfitter, The North Face. Personally, I find it hilarious since you are comparing anatomy and I love their tagline, “Never Stop Relaxing"  which spoofs The North Face's "Never Stop Exploring."   The logo design for North Face has three curved lines like a mountain while The South Butt has two curved lines in an opposite direction and opposite side of the logo.

Logo for The North Face and South Butt
along with picture of Winkelmann

Here lies the problem. The North Face is suing this young upstart entrepreneur, who is now in college, over a pending trademark application. I guess they saw a possible confusion between their Face and his Butt mark.  Winkelmann countered the cease and desist demand by North Face by offering to sell out for a million dollars. North Face declined and then outright sued.

So, they went to court and the judge, between fist of laughter, told the two stop butting heads and work out their problems through mediation. Things didn’t go well and The North Face asked for an injunction if no settlement could be reached. That won’t be seen until April of 2010.

Here’s where I applaud the young man. He had an idea, he made it happen and now he’s being punished for it. He even shamed…or pwned The North Face by donating clothes to a Children’s Hospital and simply asked The North Face to match it. They expressed no interest. Now that’s business. That will go far in the court of public opinion.

The quibble over saving face…or butt is not for me to decide. Frankly, I think North Face is a bit of a snob and regardless of Gore-Tex or HyVent in their products, their prices are ridiculous and their brand is usually for people who go to ski resorts to wear the trendy clothing and not actually do any skiing. Aspen pretentiousness is all I’m saying.

As a shopkeeper with a penchant for parody, I throw my total support behind the little guy here considering the playing field for market share is clearly in TFN’s favor. I love the idea of totally going after an entity that is owned by a bigger conglomerate and tries to pass itself off as being rooted in its supposed product line and lifestyle. It’s Vanity Fair for crissakes!

This is simply The North Face beating its chest so that it doesn’t become the butt of someone else’s joke. Too late, I say. While I do admit that some of the tactics are a bit juvenile and won’t score him points in a favorable ruling. However, they are totally playing into the humor by saying things like “There could be brand confusion.” Of course, an 18 year old, now armed with the basics of copyright and trademark law can now humorously craft a response like “There appears to be little recognition, if any, that the savvy of consumers precludes anyone from confusing a face with a butt.”

At the heart of the matter, Jimmy wanted to pay for college and got some startup money from his parents to match his capital. Now, he’s producing a clothing line that is smacking the ass of corporate business just a little too much. My only suggestion to him is too maybe relax the parody a bit and become more of a niche business. Parody works for a reason and if you dip into that well too many times you run the risk of becoming a one joke comedian. If you want to thrive in a business that spoofs you need to develop your own model that nods to another. The more you poke the big lion in the cage with a stick, the more you risk pulling back a bloody stump. TFN probably has more legal defenses than Jimmy can afford and no amount of public support will trump that.

Still, I’d love to see him win this one, just on principle alone.