Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 27, 2021

My casual skimming on an article about the auctioning off Marilyn Monroe’s and Elvis Presley’s more obscure personal effects was stopped cold by this detail:

Medical paraphernalia from Elvis Presley’s doctor is also listed in the Julien’s Auctions catalogue, including a nasal douche and his leather bag.

A nasal douche? Seriously? Was the King snorting such a huge quantity of foreign substances toward the end, that an ordinary tissue didn’t suffice in clearing out the sinus passages?

Suddenly, the fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches don’t seem nearly as bizarre.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/27/2009 10:09pm
Category: Celebrity, Science
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Signifying how the global economic slump is impacting institutions both sacred and profane, Vatican Radio will begin running advertisements for the first time in its history:

Vatican officials say an Italian communications firm specializing in publicity for Catholic media will screen potential clients for quality and ethical content. The first ads — for an Italian energy company — will start running July 6.

Hmm. I’m sensing a synergistic opportunity for the Church, in the form of radio ads promoting the availability of sin-negating holy indulgences.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/27/2009 09:48pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Radio
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If you’re going to text or check email while at the dinner table with other people, you might just as well eat alone — which is what that compulsive behavior probably will lead to anyway:

“Maybe people think they can time-share: both texting and talking at once,” said Harry Lewis, a Harvard computer science professor and one of the authors of “Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty and Happiness After the Digital Explosion” (Addison-Wesley, 2008). Beware, he says: You’re not fooling anybody. “No one thinks someone on the cellphone can really be paying attention to another person.”

Texting while eating has become a major issue among couples in counseling, says Evan Imber-Black, a prominent family therapist. And, yes, she says, it seems the men are the ones who can’t sit down for dinner for a half-hour without tapping away at their phones. (The reverse is true among teenagers, where the girls are the nonstop texters.)

It’s an evolutionary development. Around the middle of last century, most households considered it rude to take phone calls during dinnertime (no answering machines/voicemail back then, so they either had to let it ring or answer it with a curt request to call back later). That’s more or less out the window these days. Other modes of communication are now horning in, and they’ll prompt a behavioral adjustment over time.

The key difference is that texts and emails are supposed to be asynchronous — you don’t have to reply in real-time. Yet, paradoxically, everyone does. And because you’re differently engaged, most feel they can divide their attention between face-to-face talking/listening and a digital back-and-forth.

I’m not a big fan of texting anyway, so this just reinforces my disinclination. Now, checking Web and email is a different story, and I’m as guilty as most in that area. Good thing I take most of my meals solo.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/27/2009 01:53pm
Category: Internet, Society, Tech
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