Four for ’14
Happy New Year! If you’re like most people, you gathered with family and friends and met 2014’s midnight arrival with full bellies, heads lightened by the bubbly, loud noises and kisses. You may have even used the occasion to make wishes for prosperity or health, or for sending up prayers. One thing you probably didn’t do, however, was designate an official color, animal or flavor for the new year. And, unless you’re aware of the Chinese Zodiac, you may not know which animal and its attributes will be attached to those born in 2014. So, moving from left to right, let’s use the illustration above to learn more about those who did …
YEAR OF THE HORSE: Sheng Xiao, or Chinese Zodiac, is based on a 12-year cycle, with an animal named for each year in that cycle. Calculated according to the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, 2014 is a Year of the Horse. Those born under the Horse sign (between Jan. 31, 2014 and Feb. 18, 2015) are thought to be energetic, intelligent and able. On the plus-side, they are clever, personable and popular; doers who refuse to recognize failure. Less positively, they can be overly talkative, impulsive and superficial, and matters of finance escape their attention. Horse lucky numbers: 2, 3, 7; they should avoid 1, 6, 5. Celebrities born in past years of the Horse include Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul McCartney. Source.
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RADIANT ORCHID, 2014 COLOR OF THE YEAR: Pantone, self-proclaimed global color authority, declares an official color each year and 2014’s is “expressive, exotic” and “blooms with confidence and warmth”. Emerald, last year’s hue, was all about growth, renewal and prosperity, while this year’s Radiant Orchid promises to “intrigue the eye and spark the imagination”. Hmmm … Like most of Pantone’s color designees, I’m seeing this bright pinky-purple hybrid having applications mostly in fashion, beauty and interior decoration. Although Pantone says their color choices are decided upon in response to the zeitgeist, they usually have limited impact beyond the design arena. 2012’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango, was a personal fave, but I waited in vain for it to make a red-hot citrus-tinged splash. Source.
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YEAR OF THE SALAMANDER: Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (PARC) have named the moist-skinned, lizard-like amphibian as their animal of the new year. Salamanders, like their fellow family members, newts, possess the admirable ability to regenerate lost limbs, making them unique among vertebrates. Because their skin must remain moist, salamanders can be found near water; depending on species they may be completely aquatic, able to live in both habitats, or completely terrestrial as adults. To celebrate the amphibian’s designation, PARC is sponsoring a photo contest, with winners appearing in a Year of the Salamander calendar. Available through their store and sporting the official PARC logo! Source.
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BLACKBERRY, FLAVOR OF THE YEAR: The bite-sized beauty, loaded with antioxidants, with surprising sophistication has been named by Firmenich as the possible “it” flavor for 2014. Never heard of ’em? That’s because they’re global business-to-business flavor analyzers and predictors, and you’re not a big food corporation eager to synch up with popular tastes. Why should we believe them? Well, they predicted that lime would be the top flavor for 2013, and it came to pass … remember all that green packaging in the supermarket, that looked a lot like Pantone’s color of the year? Back to black: Already there are signs that ’14 will be the berry’s year with everything from tea to pizza featuring its “nuanced” flavor. Know what else? Mix blackberries with, say, yogurt and you get a color that looks suspiciously like Radiant Orchid — darn that zeitgeist! Source.
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I realize some of these 2014 designees are a bit obscure. But trust me, the pickings were slim. I mean 2014: Year of the Bible Movie? Or, 2014: Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People? I don’t mean to imply these weren’t worthy designations, only that they lacked kicky visual elements. And, that’s what I’m all about. Thanks for hanging in there with me in ’13; see you in 2014!