2/8/2011

item 1 >>> Now Playing…   help murder police The group is Thursday’s Children…mid-60’s…what was then called “punk,” but when the Sex Pistols came along, was retro-named “garage”….either way, gotta love it…BTW, our group, the Ball-Point Banana, didn’t have a garage to practice in, so we’d wait till my Dad left for work, then set up in the driveway where the car was…

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!…   alice cooper Alice Cooper in the background of a scene from the 1970 mover Diary of a Mad Housewife…they’re doing “Ride with Me,” a Steppenwolf song. And yes, I believe I saw this movie before I knew who Alice Cooper was…

item 3 >>> Define: Me…I suppose if you care about what was once called “letters”…that is, reading, writing, language, expressing ideas…then the ultimate honor, the Letters Hall of Face as it were, would be having your name become a word. The technical term is an eponym and there are lots of them, some you might not have realized were such, like diesel and shrapnel. Others off the top of my head: leotard, sideburns, bloomers, stetson, chauvinism, Orwellian, braille, guillotine, silhouette, quisling, sandwich, jacuzzi, flowers such as fuchsia, forsythia, poinsettia, units of measurement like watt, ampere, Fahrenheit, and on and on. Some good obviously, others not so much. Like the election of 2008, and the verb Scozzafava’d….after a candidate in my Congressional District, I woman I happen to know, and who didn’t deserve such a fate. Time will tell if she ends up in the Dictionary. There’s not a lot you can do about it…ask “Mickey Mouse.”

item 4 >>>  Go Boom!…But the next best thing to becoming a word yourself would have to be a word or phrase that you thought up becoming part of the language. I’m thinking of Baby Boom. They say, and I’m willing to go along, that it was coined by Sylvia Porter, a columnist for the New York Post, in an article published May 4, 1951 headlined “Babies Equal Boom.” She wrote: “Take the 3,548,000 babies born in 1950. Bundle them into a batch, bounce them all over the bountiful land that is America. What do you get? Boom. The biggest, boomiest boomy boom ever known in history.” And what got me to thinking about it was an article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal about marketing to us Groovy Geezers…here’s the tale of the tape as they presented it…years born: 1946-64 (others jigger the years to 1941-60)…current number still alive: 76 million…and here’s the kicker…share of consumer spending: 50%. That’s right…approximately 25% of the population spending 50¢ out of every dollar spent. And if you wondered if we were going to be “catered to” to until our demographic bulge has moved thru to the cemetery…this article said: count on it, baby. Here’s what we look like on a chart…the numbers are “births per 1000″…and we’re in Blue…

item 5 >>> The Years are getting Shorter…Well sure, it seems that way…time just goes zipping by these days. Remember when a school year lasted practicality a lifetime? Like Stolf says: “The older you get, the faster trees grow.” But in terms of magazines, I mean shorter years literally. Now magazines are still in there punching, God bless ’em, but a trend is beginning to percolate: 11 issues per year, usually skipping a Summer month. The biggest name I can think of (and I’m not the magazine reader I once was, but who is?) would be Playboy, which went to 11 per year in 2009. But some have even slipped down to 10 issues per year. And so far I’m only talking about magazines that will admit it. Some won’t, pulling the underhanded “counts as 2 issues” routine. So they promise 12, give you 11…some promise 6, give you 5. And from the stuff I read online, readers are hopping mad, and this sure looks like a death spiral for the industry. Next time you buy a new subscription, or renew an old one, get out the magnifying glass and see what you’re really getting.

item 6 >>> Cases in Point …Regarding how many issues they intend to send you, the temptation to lie about it must be overwhelming in the magazine industry. And I guess I can understand that…they’re embarrassed. And they should be. But as that article I mentioned from the Wall Street Journal pointed out, if you’re marketing to Baby Boomers, go light on the BS. If any mags survive, I predict it’s the ones that will see the light and finally be honest and up front about what they’re doing. But for now, they’re trying to hide it in the fine print, and this is easier to do if you’re weekly or bi-weekly. Here are 2 examples from the world of sports publications, taken straight from their websites.

First Baseball America, which comes out every other week. Almost. They say “26 issues,” but it looks like you’re gonna get 25. Notice also that “orphan asterisk”…the 2nd asterisk is there to introduce the fine print…but the 1st one, that’s supposed to direct you to the 2nd one, isn’t anywhere at all! That always gives me a chuckle…and they’re doing it more and more these days, so just call me Laughing Boy. Next The Sporting News…an older publication, which BTW used to be weekly…they’re craftier, which is to say, more dishonest…check this out…and tell me how many issues you’re getting…(like the other example, it looks a little wonky because I’ve blown up the screen capture so you can read it easier…fine print after all…)

Now the first sentence is fun by itself…if a weekly publication skips 2 weeks in January, I’d say you’re on pretty sure footing to expect to get 50 issues. But when a biweekly skips a week…well, it does anyway!…every week it skips a week!…so what does it mean to skip 2 additional weeks, mind you, both in the same month? Ya got me swingin’. Maybe in January you get only 1 issue, maybe none, there’s no way to know. But then move on to the 2nd sentence. OK, get out a pen and pencil…half of 52 weeks is 26 issues…after January is deducted, we’ll call that 24 issues…assuming skipping 2 weeks means skipping 2 issues, and I think you’ll agree if there ever was a time to be pessimistic, this is it. Now of those 24 issues, 4 are double and count twice…this is so snarky, geez, I hate even thinking about it, but OK, I guess you’d subtract 4…that gives you 20 issues for a year’s subscription…a year made up, essentially, of 40 weeks. Did I say the years are getting shorter or didn’t I?

item 7 >>> Taking All the Fun Out of It…Satirists know this problem…to poke fun at something, you exaggerate it…but very soon, real life comes along and tops you. I once said that if I offered a product or service, I would price it ridiculously high, then offer a 99% discount. Well, 81% off is pretty high, wouldn’t you say, for what appears to be an everyday transaction. And this from such a seemingly august source as the Smithsonian Institution. In the upper left, where they’ve pre-checked the Yes box for me…how thoughtful of them…it sure gives the impression you’re gonna get 11 magazines to read and stack, doesn’t it? Well, not so fast…check the tiny type at the bottom. If you misplaced your magnifying specs, I’ll read it to you…”Smithsonian is published eleven times a year, but occasionally publishes combined issues, which count as two issues.” Well, at least they didn’t call those cheating “combined” issues “special” issues, so I’ll give them some credit. But what do you make of that?

I went back and checked on their website’s archives…and they are talking about something they only started last year: 2002 thru 2009, it was monthly, 12 issues per year. In 2010, the July and August issues were “combined.” Does that mean that one issue counted as 2 towards your 11, in which case you only got 10 for the year, even tho 11 were published? And what’s “occasionally” supposed to mean?  Would TWICE a year still be occasional? In which case you’re now down to 9 issues per year? And why should we even have to think about this stuff, those rats??? I have a call in (email actually) asking just that question…I’ll let you know. But you know, sometimes the truest advice comes from the weirdest source. On the TV show Batman…I don’t know the episode or the context or who said it…but these words were said, and they’ve stuck with me: The easiest buck to make is the honest buck.  Guys, I beg of you: make it easy on yourself!

item 8 >>>  And Now 4 Something Sweet…This is taken from a candy jobber’s catalog dated 1949. “Bolster” is a chocolate version of Necco Wafers…you know, those kind of names were dopey then and they’re dopey now. But oh, those Sky Bars…4 different fillings…now that’s what I’m talking about…

item 9 >>> Did Somebody Say Chocolate?…Yeah…me…you want?…

item 10 >>> Yipes Stripes!…I’ve always been a stripesy kind of guy…and the company that used to make Baby Ruth bars also made gum, once upon a time…

Wicked Ballsy

Before the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited, there were “stretched” Jeeps…these were made under license in South Korea in the early 1990s…

shameless plugs minus one…SHEESH…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume and audio samples at ……AS OF 1/31, TIME WARNER CABLE ROADRUNNER PERSONAL HOME PAGES WERE ALL CANCELLED…RESUME NOW AT http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com…UNLESS THAT’S CANCELLED TOO…AUDIO SAMPLES WILL APPEAR SHORTLY ON ONE OF MY PODCASTS…AND AS FOR TWC-RR…when they circumcised you, they threw out the wrong part!

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