Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.
"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist
E-mail me: pmurray63 [at] hotmail.com (Be patient, I don't check it often.)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Why Las Vegas is worried about this year's Super Bowl. Las Vegas casinos are nervous as The Big Game approaches, according to the Wall Street Journal:
But too much of that [heightened] interest, at least as far as Vegas is concerned, is in the underdog Giants. Sports books prefer an even amount of betting on both teams to mitigate risk, because they make an additional amount (called vigorish) on losing bets. Even a 60/40 split would be reasonable, said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Race and Sports SuperBook at the Las Vegas Hilton. Too much money on one side, though, exposes them to significant losses if the public's team wins.
Ice. I know a few people who chew ice, but I didn't appreciate how popular it is down south until I read this Wall Street Journal story.
Ice isn't just for chilling drinks anymore, or for packing fish and treating sprains. It's a hot snack. Some Sonic Drive-In franchises sell it in cups and in bags to go. Ice-machine makers are competing to make the best chewable ice, with names like Chewblet, Nugget Ice and Pearl Ice. One manufacturer calls the ice-loving South the "Chew Belt."
But what really piqued my interest was a single paragraph mentioned halfway into the story:
Today, obsessive ice chewing has been linked to iron deficiency, which afflicts about 2% of U.S. adult males and as many as 16% of young females between the ages of 16 and 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treating the deficiency -- whose link to ice eating is unclear -- tends to end the compulsive chewing for such people.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A belated R.I.P. Apparently Kelloggs, which owns Nabisco, which in turn owns Sunshine, killed off Hydrox cookies in 2003 -- without bothering to announce it. Some people still can;t over it.
But Ms. Burton, who maintains the Hydrox Web site, is unconvinced. She says she grew up in a "Hydrox family." Her grandparents ran a grocery store when her father was a child. "He had access to all sorts of cookies," she says.
I grew up eating Hydrox cookies. My mother always bought them instead of Oreos. When I finally tried Oreos, I didn't like them as much. So I guess I sympathize with these people.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The gray lady lets her hair down. The New York Times displayed a flash of informality Sunday. Their obituary for Suzanne Pleshette ended by talking (naturally) about the legendary ending of Newhart ... and referenced the headline of this short 1999 story from The Onion.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
A tale of two papers. The two major newspapers in Detroit, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, both redesigned their websites in 2007. To me, there was no question that the News site was much more attractive, definitely easier to read and arguably easier to use.
Nielsen Online has just released its newspaper website traffic measurements for December, and they are (unique audience and year-over-year change)...
27. The Detroit News -- 1,256,000 -- 21.4%
29. Detroit Free Press -- 1,168,000 -- (-22.9%)
Maybe I'm not the only one who feels that way about the websites.
For comparison, here's the circulation of their physical printed papers, as of 3/31/07, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation (via BurrellesLuce):
20. Detroit Free Press: 329,989 Daily / 640,356 Sunday
47. The Detroit News: 202,029 Daily / 0 Sunday
Both newspapers are a mere shadow of their former selves, in more ways than one. While newspaper readership is declining in general, both Detroit papers hemorrhaged readers during a long strike that began in 1995. Gannett took over the News after a 1985 merger, and the quality went downhill. Having ruined the News, Gannett unloaded it to MediaNews Group in 2005 when they bought the Free Press from Knight-Ridder. So we have the distinction of having Gannett spoil both of our once-great newspapers.
Wikipedia: Detroit News, Detroit Free Press