Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, October 15, 2021

The question mark is becoming an endangered species when it comes to album-titling, according to Yahoo! music blogger Paul Grein:

Artists increasingly seem to regard question marks as optional, as we see from these current albums: Jessica Simpson’s Do You Know, Heidi Newfield’s What Am I Waiting For, Jimmy Wayne’s Do You Believe Me Now, Kristy Lee Cook’s Why Wait and Brandon Heath’s What If We (which doesn’t even pose a complete question). That’s why I’m pleased to see Mitch Hedberg’s Do You Believe In Gosh? with the proper punctuation. My seventh grade English teacher would also be pleased.

It should be pointed out that Mitch Hedberg is three years dead, and that while his posthumous album’s title does come from his own comedy scribblings, it wasn’t chosen by him. Maybe proper punctuation is the province of the dead.

I am reminded of Deana Carter’s debut album, Did I Shave My Legs for This?, complete with that apropos question mark. That was a dozen years ago, though — things have changed for both the music industry and Carter herself.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/15/2008 09:01:36 PM
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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vote or die, human
If one of the crucial demographics in the coming Presidential election turns out to be the usually-disengaged young American male, we’ll know what brought him to the polling stations: In-game political advertising on popular Electronic Arts videogames, a first for the medium.

And that would be the Democrats doing the ad-buying:

Only gamers playing online in 10 states can see the ads, which appear as stadium signage or billboards, [EA director of corporate communications Holly] Rockwood said. (The ads are downloaded when gamers log on to the Xbox Internet service.) Unsurprisingly, all 10 states are swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. President Bush won all of those states in 2004 except for Wisconsin…

Technology blogs this week had reported on ads popping up in the racing game “Burnout Paradise.” In the game, racers drive by a billboard that features the Obama’s mug next to the words “Early Voting Has Begun/VoteForChange.com.”

Naturally, the McCain campaign was offered equal time, but declined. If there’s some measurable impact, you can safely bet the GOP will pony up the dough in ‘12.

I wonder if the Obama campaign is offering gamers extra 1-UP credits for voting early? Probably would violate some sort of electioneering rules.

UPDATE: This just in, the McCain camp has reconsidered, and is joining in on the videogaming poli-ad revolution! Here’s an exclusive screenshot of one of the ad spots for the Republican hopeful, urging the youngsters to have some respect for the Arizona Senator’s immaculately-maintained virtual soccer pitch:

(Yes, this “update” is wholly and completely a fabricated joke. Lighten up. And get off my lawn, you kids!)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/15/2008 01:12:58 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet, Politics, Videogames
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Here’s a bright side to this softening economy, sorta: Eateries in New York are compensating for smaller per-party checks by extending their hours of operation.

Restaurants that once served two distinct meals a day, lunch and dinner, are acting more like diners, opening early in the morning and keeping their kitchens busy late into the night, and serving in the traditionally slow times between meals. And places that used to close one or two days a week to give the staff a night off now see that as a luxury they can no longer afford. The shift toward all-hours dining has been going on for some time. In part, it reflects the busy lives of New Yorkers, who may start the day with a business meeting over scones and lattes, or spend the afternoon answering e-mail in one of the restaurants around town that offer free wireless connections.

But the trend has been picking up speed this fall, as restaurateurs try to cope with the lower checks racked up by diners who have become noticeably more frugal.

The good news is that you’ll have more choices when eating out at practically any hour of the day. The bad news: You probably won’t have enough money to actually eat out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/15/2008 12:51:14 PM
Category: Business, Food, New Yorkin'
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It’s nice that watchdog organization Environmental Working Group is testing consumer-targeted bottle waters and finding that the majority of them are no purer than the stuff from the tap, with some significantly less so. It’s even nicer that they’re publicizing the fact, thereby raising both awareness and the hackles of the beverage industry.

The problem is, it’s largely irrelevant. If the purpose is to dissuade people from buying the bottled H2O — and obviously, it is — then EWG and those doing similar work are misfiring.

While marketing touts the quality of the drink, it’s pretty old news that the content of most bottled brands is little more than gussied-up tap water. Some goes through osmosis, some is enhanced with flavoring, some is imported from exotic locales — but largely, it’s all just water. The marketing message counts, because it does reinforce the idea that drinking the stuff is healthful. And I’m sure a lot of consumers simply assume that, yes, the water they have to pick up from the store must be “better” than the water that come through their household pipes. But when pressed, most know deep down that there’s little qualitative difference.

So hammering this message repeatedly (because EWG’s study is merely the latest to come to the same conclusion) doesn’t really have a purpose. In fact, it really plays into the beverage companies’ hands: Despite the defensive posture, they get additional exposure for their product, and even get the opportunity to publicly state intentions toward “improving/correcting” it. End result: Sales boost.

And ultimately, this message isn’t going to penetrate because it bypasses the real reason why people prefer the bottle over the tap:

[Gary] Hemphill, the beverage analyst, thinks consumers buy bottled water for three primary reasons: Convenience, packaging and price. “Whether it has a sport cap or a twist-off cap is often more important to the consumer than whether it’s drinking water or spring water.”

That’s the heart of it. If environmental groups seriously want to reverse the tide of bottled water consumption, they need to focus on the bottle itself, which has a more negative eco-impact being non-biodegradable. No one cares about the liquid inside, to the point where they’ll shift consumption patterns.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/15/2008 12:32:28 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Science, Society
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