Friday, April 17, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Trying to Buy into the New Brand

By the time you read this, I will be enjoying some much-needed time off with one of my very best friends in the entire world.  As I type this, I'm sitting on a train headed into New York City for work, and I can't wait for the weekend.

Happy Friday folks!  Hope you have a good one.

1. Army West Point's sharp, minimalist rebrand with new name and logo (CBS Sports)
Take a look at Army West Point's entire rebrand, including uniforms for all of its athletic programs, by visiting the rebrand website.

As far as we're concerned, the name may be a little much to type -- Army West Point Black Knights -- but we definitely approve of the logos and uniforms.

The new logo is the helmet and shield at the top.
The primary font is also new.  It's the stencil used to paint letters and numbers onto Army vehicles.
Black Knights is now (once again) an informal nickname for Army's various teams.
The logo is growing on me, albeit slowly. I don’t love it, but it looks good at icon size on various social media outlets, and it works okay on the breast of a polo shirt. For that matter, it looks good at icon size on the various Army sports jerseys as well, all of which are improvements over previous versions. That’s fine. I don’t like the way the new logo looks on hats, unfortunately, but what can you do?
I do not love the new hats.
Personally, I plan to keep using my current “A” hat until I can find one with the iconic “A” that the Academy has sanctioned for “limited” use and which is now the primary logo of the alumni “A” Club. If you look, you’ll see that same “A” logo on the #goARMY tab of this blog. This is not an accident.

The now ancient "A"hat,
presented for comparison.
However. I agree with CBS Sports that “Army West Point” is too much to type. It’s also redundant. This blog will therefore continue to refer to West Point’s various teams as “Army Football” or “Army Swimming and Diving” because doing anything else is simply ridiculous. I would agree to call it “Army West Point” if there were obvious alternatives such as “Army Norwich” or “Army Ft. Stewart” (think: UT – Chattanooga), but since no one says anything like that about any of those other places, saying “Army West Point” strikes me as totally unnecessary.

Truthfully, the redundancy is driving me crazy. It’s grammatically insane, and since I have a bunch of Army sports teams in my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I see it all the time. Sometimes life is about choices, and even when you refuse to choose, that’s still a choice. I say this because it seems like USMA couldn’t decide whether to call its teams “West Point Football” or “Army Football”, so they went with the all-inclusive “Army West Point”, which was the worst approach possible. It’s damned hard on the eyes, too.

Thankfully, this "A" is allowed for limited use.
Hopefully one of those uses will be a new hat.

2. Daredevil is awesome!
As of this writing, Sally and I have been through the first five episodes, and they are fantastic. Marvel did such a great job with this show, it’s amazing. Truly first class work. It really is my new favorite thing.

From The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller.
It works very well onscreen.

3. Friday Hair Metal: Juke Box Hero

4. Speaking of bad logos…
Regardless of what you thought of Army’s new logo, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign has plumbed previously unexplored depths of derisive graphic design with this:

Secretary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign logo.
Ugh. I mean, my God! That is terrible. Seriously, this is the logo in which Secretary Clinton secretly reveals that she has been a Republican all along. What else could it mean? You know damned well that 200 people had to approve this logo before it was released to the press, so whatever message it’s sending, it’s sending that message deliberately.

But there’s really only one possible message.  More red than blue, and the arrow points right.  How else can you take that?

5. Together, Iran’s Supreme Leader and Congress May Just Kill Obama’s Nuke Deal (Slate)
The so-called Corker-Menendez bill—freshly indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is the co-sponsor—would give Congress a 60-day review period to examine the agreement after it’s finalized, during which President Obama would be barred from waiving sanctions on Iran. While only Congress can lift sanctions entirely, Obama had been counting on using his executive authority to indefinitely waive sanctions in return for Iranian nuclear concessions. During the review period, Congress could pass a resolution approving the agreement, in which case it would go forward. Or congressmen could reject it, in which case Obama would be barred from lifting sanctions. Or they could do nothing—in which case, after 60 days, Obama could go back to doing whatever he wanted. Congress being Congress, the last outcome seems most likely.

This is not, in fact, a deal-killer. The article makes this clear a little further down the page. What could potentially derail the deal is the fact that the two sides have yet to agree out a timetable for the lifting of sanctions. The Senate’s bipartisan attempt to make sure that sanctions stay in place until compliance is verified seems reasonable to me, as the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are on board with it ought to make abundantly clear. However, the Iranians want sanctions lifted as soon as a deal is signed, and the Russians have already agreed to start selling them weapons, so truth be told, this deal may already be dead. For that matter, it might always have been a bait-and-switch of the kind we’ve seen upteen times from this part of the world.

Unfortunately, this is a complicated issue. The Russians want to sell Iran weapons, China, Turkey, and Europe would like to buy Iranian oil, and no one on Earth wants any more confrontation in this particular region. And yet, nuclear weapons are still a serious business, and at least a plurality of the United States Senate hasn’t forgotten it. That’s actually a good thing. As a result, anything can still happen, for all that the Administration seems Hell-bent on blaming Republicans for whatever actually does occur—especially if it’s bad.

Still, the Senate has always had oversight of these kinds of treaties, so for the President to suddenly act like the current situation is in any way weird or unexpected is disingenuous. There is a workable framework here, and it can get done if both sides continue to be reasonable. If that does not occur, then… well, no agreement is better than a bad agreement. That’s often true in tense negotiations.

Want to support this blog?  You totally can.  I have a book out, and if you like my writing here, you'll probably like it there as well.

Wanderhaven is the city with everything, the gateway to the world and the capital of the Kingdom of the Western Isles. The streets are hard, though, and for a teenaged street-urchin named Sneakatara Boatman, they can be cruel, too. “Sneax” will do anything to escape the grinding poverty and hopelessness she’s known all her life. On most days, she’s lucky just to survive. 

Sneax’s lone friend is an apprentice wizard named Elaina Emboo, a rich girl from a nice family who hates the life that her father has planned for her. Elaina envies Sneax’s freedom but doesn’t understand what all that freedom actually costs. 

When the infamous fire elf smuggler Draks comes to town, Sneax gets a chance to maybe change things. But change is dangerous, and a fire elf will kill you as soon as look at you.

Sneakatara Boatman & the Priest of Loki is out now for the Kindle and Kindle app.  It's $2.99, and you'd better read it soon because Sneakatara Boatman & the Crown of Pluto is coming this summer, and trust me, you don't want to get left behind.

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