Stiff competition

In her latest post for Strong Language, “Feelthy Brand Names,” Nancy Friedman shared some “naughty-sounding brand names,” as she nicely summed it up on her blog. No sooner had I enjoyed her post than I came across this gem on the road while stopped on my way home from work:

Where’s the t-shirt, bro? Oh wait, see below.

Naive or knowing? I couldn’t track down a lot of information about this curiously named company, so I can’t be sure. If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon called “morning wood,” let’s just you should move out of the way of pubescent schoolboys who, on their way to class in the morning, are carrying their textbooks in a manner so conveniently positioned at waist level. Here’s a scientific explanation from–I couldn’t resist–Upworthy. It won’t put you to sleep, even if that’s what’s behind nocturnal penile tumescence. (I wonder why the term “morning wood” proved so sticky?) Continue reading

A pot to piss in

On my blog, Fritinancy, I’ve been documenting the commercial use of vulgarisms and near-profanity for several years. I’ve written about Effen vodka, “Look at the booking view,” “half-fast Internet,” “go fun yourself,” and other examples of boundary-pushing by advertisers.

But until earlier this month I’d never encountered “piss” in a national advertisement.


Ad for S.J. Shrubsole, The New Yorker, December 8, 2014, page 21.

The use of the earthy “haven’t got a pot to piss in” caught my eye, especially because of the contrast with the $125,000 chamberpot. (Some pot! Some piss!) I wondered about the idiom–how old is it? American or British?–and about whether attitudes toward this particular four-letter word, one of the infamous seven you can’t say on television, are shifting.
Continue reading