Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, January 22, 2021

Is this a golden age for unorthodox ad design? I just make note of my delightment over a newspaper ad insert of a teabag, and then I get the latest issue of Esquire and find this full-page ad for Maker’s Mark.

The photo here is not the best, as it was taken with my digital phone. It’s a heavy-stock cardboard flyer, with four for-real plastic swizzle sticks based on the Maker’s Mark trademark wax seal tucked inside a pre-cut slot (disguised as a drink glass). As far as I can tell, it’s only available to subscribers, because it’s not stitched into the issue itself, but rather polybagged as a separate piece.

Very neat! I showed it off at work, elicited oohs and ahs, and gave a couple of the sticks away to my boss (a real bourbon fan).

Another example of advertising that really catches your attention. It occurs to me that Maker’s Mark has been doing these kinds of ads with Esquire for the past few months, with things like holiday labels and stickers tucked into the magazine. Obviously, it’s been effective for them, because they keep paying for new ones.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/22/2005 08:12pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Publishing
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Normally, I’d give a news story about a guy in Oldsmar sending white-powder packages and causing malicious mischief only passing attention.

But as I read on, these details about the suspect, David Vice, stood out:

The homeowner’s association president told authorities that Vice had been frightening the neighborhood for at least two years. He said Vice began acting strangely after Vice, his wife, Lisa, and the family’s four sons moved to Utah for a brief time.

“He said they were going to live off the land,” Cain said. “When he came back, his head was shaved and he was wearing camouflage fatigues.”

When Vice returned a couple of months later, he railed about how much he hated the federal government and started acting even more oddly, neighbors said…

Records show Vice filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on Jan. 14, 2003. Two days later, a mortgage company filed foreclosure proceedings against Vice’s house, records show. Neighbors said Friday that’s about the same time Vice started behaving so oddly.

Vice’s wife told ABC Action News that he called her Friday morning and threatened to kill her.

“You’ve seen A Beautiful Mind?” she said, referring to the 2001 movie starring Russell Crow about a brilliant but disturbed mathematician. “That is what it is like.”

“He’s very intelligent,” she said. “But sometimes he has a hard time dealing with stress. And he doesn’t like… injustice.”

Sounds like Vice has come under the sway of the Mormon fundamentalist movement, as detailed in John Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith”. The pressure of trying to maintain a way of life that was way beyond his means, leading to bankruptcy; a corresponding need to assign blame (conveniently enough) to government and other authority symbols; the Utah connection; and a survivalist instinct kicking in to boot. It seems obvious to me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/22/2005 07:50pm
Category: Society
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decipher this
It has murky origins that may go back 800 years. It’s filled with illustrations open to wild interpretations. And it’s written in an alphabet so resistant to decoding that the effort purportedly drove a University of Pennsylvania professor insane. And on top of all that, it might just be a gibberish hoax.

It’s the Voynich Manuscript, and NASA is putting out a call for an Internet-based meeting of the minds to crack its riddles.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/22/2005 03:43pm
Category: History
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