Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, November 15, 2021

If you thought the Presidential campaign’s “lipstick on a pig” moment would be the only instance of cosmetics inserting themselves into hard news during 2008, you thought wrong. The late financial crisis has revived the Leading Lipstick Indicator as an economic yardstick:

An indicator based on the theory that a consumer turns to less expensive indulgences, such as lipstick, when she (or he) feels less than confident about the future. Therefore, lipstick sales tend to increase during times of economic uncertainty or a recession.

It’s sound reasoning, and it holds true:

History can be our guide here. As a Harvard professor explains: “The decade of the Great Depression, cosmetic sales increased 25 percent.” After the downturn following Sept. 11, lipstick sales doubled.

Looks like we’re on track for a similar lip-color craze with this latest economic funk. The New York Times notes that in the last few months, lipstick sales have shot up 40%, and even put out a list of favorites ranging in price from the budget-conscious $1.99 to the more pricey but still affordable $55. Preferred colors for this new economy? Red is out. Neutrals are in.

I have yet to buy a tube of lipstick. So that means I’m doing okay, right? I can even afford to buy that vintage Minnesota North Stars green baseball cap I picked up the other day…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/15/2008 03:23:13 PM
Category: Business, Creative, Politics
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Last night, “Late Show with David Letterman” announced the upcoming “Tribute Bands Week”, matching the cover bands with their famous inspirations:

Monday: Purple Reign (Prince)
Tuesday: The Cold Hard Cash Show (Johnny Cash)
Wednesday: Mr. Brownstone (Guns N’ Roses)
Thursday: Super Diamond (Neil Diamond)
Friday: The All-Starz (James Brown)

Dave and Paul couldn’t figure out what the Mr. Brownstone — specifically the name — had to do with Guns N’ Roses. Let me enlighten:

“Mr. Brownstone” is a song off GNR’s breakout album, “Appetite for Destruction”. It was never a hit like the other now-iconic tracks off that disc, but it was probably the best of the bunch, because of the lyrical depiction of drug addiction. That drug being heroin, aka Mr. Brownstone or just Brownstone.

It’s not clear how “Brownstone” came to be slang for heroin. Street heroin is brown in color, so it may be as simple as that. The brownstones common to many New York City neighborhoods might also be a clue; today they’re mostly upscale affairs, but going back 20-30 years, many such buildings could have been run-down enough to be drug-dens.

So that’s about the size of it. Not that this full background will make it on the air, but it’s good to know.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/15/2008 02:23:47 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Pop Culture, TV
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