For those of you who tried the subservient chicken link yesterday before I corrected it – my apologies. Also, I feel a little silly not to have realized just what it was that Kathi was sending me. Here I thought it was just a guy in a chicken suit . . . or maybe a bunch of college roommates, each taking turns in the suit, with a web cam . . . you know, one guy at the computer receiving the instructions and then yelling to the guy in the chicken suit, ‘They want you to go fry yourself,’ and then the guy in the chicken suit scratching his head and trying to interpret that for the camera.

But actually, it is the creation of the world’s most-award-winning ad agency (in 2003), Crispin Porter & Bogusky – headquartered in Miami! – and an example of viral marketing at its most effective. The chicken has received more than 100 million requests in the lest two weeks, all part of the ‘Have It Your Way’ campaign for Burger King’s new TenderCrisp chicken sandwich.

Among the more than 400 commands to which the chicken is prepared to respond:

Do the chicken dance
Chicken sandwich
Go vegan
Good job, Chicken!
Turn on the television
Turn off the light
Lay an egg

Which last command leads naturally to a topic I last covered in this space five years ago, so some of you may have missed it. Namely, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Many people have asked me this (financial writers being looked to for advice on eggs-in-baskets and chickens-before-they’re-hatched) – all smug, like it’s impossible to answer and I’ll be stumped and that’ll show me (in much the same spirit I once handed The Flying Karamazov Brothers, who boast they can juggle anything, an open tin of finely-ground powder) – but in fact there is a clear and easy answer: The egg. Because at whatever stage you decide to define a chicken as being a chicken – mutated and evolved from whatever near-chicken precursor laid the egg that hatched it – there was an egg with a forthcoming chicken inside before there was a chicken to lay it. The egg was laid by the precursor to the chicken, which had perhaps spent too much time around a poorly-shielded nuclear power plant. The egg cracks, and to the surprise of the near-chicken, out pops . . . a chicken!

This, of course, presupposes an acceptance of the theory of evolution, which, judging from a few of my e-mails lately, I should perhaps not do.


John Bakke: ‘I’m sure you’ll have plenty of wiseass Apple users pointing this out after your column, but I don’t mind being among them: PDF creation is already built into the Apple operating system. You can also create PDFs online at the Adobe site… the first 5 are free.’

Bill Baron: ‘Another easy way to create PDFs is to use the DocMorph webpage of the National Library of Medicine. The site also offers good optical character recognition and adequate speech synthesis. It’s free, but you must register.’

Paul Romaine: ‘If you don’t mind having an entire free office suite on your hard drive, check out Open Office, an alternative to MS Office. It generates PDF files much more quickly than Word + Adobe Acrobat (Full version). (Acrobat installs a printer driver on your PC and Word ‘prints’ to the driver, which creates a file.) Open Office is about a 66MB download. As a regular Word/Excel user, I find the programs powerful although a bit pokey, but it will generate a PDF in less than half the time than Word+Acrobat, and at no cost. It also has an interesting bibliography manager.’


Russell Turpin: ‘I thought you would enjoy this article, the conservative case for voting Democrat. I think they nailed it.’

☞ By a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, no less. In brief part:

Complaints about Republican profligacy have led the White House to promise to mend its ways. But Bush’s latest budget combines accounting flim-flam with unenforceable promises. So how do we put Uncle Sam on a sounder fiscal basis?

Vote Democratic.

OK. I’m sold.


Comments are closed.