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Team “Cärbo Röcket”

April 23, 2010

Warning:  there is little cycling-related material in the following rant post.  My regularly scheduled posting and content will resume shortly –Author.

Left with a quiet morning at the office, in front of my computer, I allowed my mind to travel down a long rabbit trail that ends with me suggesting to Brad, our team member and leader, that “umlauts” (also known as “röck döts”) be placed above the “a” in Carbo and the “o” in Rocket.  Five reasons to support this change:

  1. Among English speakers (the bulk of our audience to be sure), the use of umlaut marks is a form of foreign branding intended to give the logo a Teutonic quality, evoking boldness and strength attributed to ancient peoples of Northern Europe, such as the Vikings and the Goths.  Carbo Rocket = strong.  Cärbo Röcket = quite strong.
  2. It worked pretty well for Mötley Crüe and Löwenbräu. [more on those later]
  3. Imagine, if you will, the kick-ass Cärbo Röcket “tour” t-shirts!
  4. According to David St. Hubbins from Spinal Tap, “It’s like a pair of eyes.  You’re looking at the umlaut, and it’s looking at you.”
  5. I have a business degree with an emphasis in marketing and marketing people are never wrong.

Follow me.

For some reason for which I have no explanation, I had the intro to the theme song of “Laverne and Shirley” stuck in my head: “Shlemeil…shlamazel…hasenpfeffer incorporated…”  Why do Laverne and Shirley say this?  Why are they hopping when they do so?  It bothered me enough to warrant a little study.  First of all, research revealed this phrase to be a Yiddish-American hopscotch* chant–hence, the hopping.  A shlemeil from what I understand is a clumsy sort of buffoon.  A shlamazel is an inordinately unfortunate person.  One source described it thus:  a schlemiel is the one who spills the soup; a shlamazel is the one who gets spilled on.  There you go.  This of course, led to delving further into the sitcom, which I watched often as a kid.

This led to…

Laverne and Shirley was a spinoff from Happy Days, where the two main characters appeared as acquaintances of Fonzie.  The show ran from 1976 to 1983 and revolved around the exploits of two friends and bottle cappers in roughly 1959-mid sixties Milwaukee.  By its second season, it was the most-watched television program in America, eclipsing the ratings of Happy Days.  The happy days for Laverne and Shirley lasted for two more seasons, wherein a schedule change to Thursday sent ratings plummeting.  Never a huge fan of either Laverne or Shirley, I decided to review some of my favorite bit players:  Lenny, Squiggy (“hello”), and the Big Ragu.

And this made me think of…

Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa was a friend of Fonzie’s.  He was a part-time boxer who owned a dance studio (why do I not remember this??) and on-again/off-again love of Shirley Feeny.  In the final episode, he landed a role on Broadway in the musical Hair.

Andrew “Squiggy” Squigman The most obnoxious, he works and lives with Lenny.  He inexplicably has a moth collection.  David Lander, the actor who played Squiggy has worked as a baseball talent scout since 1997, currently for the Seattle Mariners.  [For those of you searching for a cycling connection:  baseball is a sport.  Cycling is a sport.  Therefore, this post can logically be considered to be about cycling.  –Author]

Lenny Kosnowski lives upstairs from Laverne and Shirley with his roommate, the above-mentioned Squiggy.  Lenny claimed that, while not completely sure, he thinks his last name is Polish for “Help, there’s a hog in my kitchen”.  During the series it was revealed that he was 89th in line to inherit the Polish throne.  He wears a satin jacket sporting “Lone Wolf” embroidered on the back.  A manufacturing mistake left this to read “One Wolf”, so if you look carefully, Laverne has sewn on one of her own famous script “L”‘s to make it again read “Lone Wolf”.  Michael McKean, the actor portraying Lenny subsequently stars as David St. Hubbins, frontman for “Spinal Tap”.

Which brings us to…

The umlaut.  One hilarious thing about the spoof rock documentary This is Spinal Tap is in the band’s logo which has a dotless “i” and a non-functioning umlaut over the “n”, like so:

I began to wonder about other bands/products where this technique was employed and, of course, being an 80’s hair-metal-head, I instantly thought of Mötley Crüe.  Mick Mars, guitarist, told that he overheard another performer say that the then-nameless band was a “motley looking crew”, which he remembered and the band adopted.  Legend holds that the decision to add the two sets of umlauts were inspired by the German beer Löwenbräu that the band was drinking at the time.

Lions brew

In other Crüe lore, bassist Nikki Sixx suffered a near-fatal heroin overdose on Dec. 21, 1987 and was declared legally dead on the way to the hospital, but the medic, a fan, revived Sixx with two shots of adrenaline to the heart (insert scene of Uma Thurman doing the same in Pulp Fiction).  His two minutes in death became the inspiration for “Kickstart my Heart”, a popular release from their Dr. Feelgood album, the pinnacle of their popularity, and the tour in support of which I saw when I was in high school.

The end

So that is why I thought of adding umlauts to Carbo Rocket (I know you didn’t ask why).  Can you think of any other “two-umlaut” sports drinks out there?  I didn’t think so.  It would be awesome.

*An interesting coincidence perhaps, “Potsy” is New York slang for hopscotch, and “Potsie” was a character on Happy Days.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. brkeyes7 permalink
    April 25, 2010 7:09 am

    I’ll work on integrating the umlauts into the logo. Not sure my graphics guy will approve but I just want to “umlauts” to someone.

  2. Mary R permalink
    April 25, 2010 8:25 pm

    Umlauts will give CarboRocket uber-Euro coolness without losing American toughness. Does uber have an umlaut?

    • Brett Ringger permalink
      April 26, 2010 7:45 am

      If there isn’t…there should be.


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