Friday, October 26, 2012

Nashville, mobile usage and the Rolling Stones

- During this month of breast cancer awareness, let's give a shout-out to Bud Stringer in Moultrie, GA.  Bud shaved his head in support of his wife, Dolly, who was preparing for chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer.  It was then that he discovered a black mark on his head, which turned out to be an aggressive form of skin cancer.  Both Dolly and Bud have now undergone multiple surgeries, and Bud has one more to go.  But, his early detection saved him as doctors informed the Stringers that "he would have been buried by Christmas" if the lesion had not been found.  Both now have been given good prognoses.

- Now it's apparent why the Rollings Stones are not touring with multiple shows to support their 50th anniversary.  The band has announced plans for concerts in London and New Jersey--at prices of $680 per ticket for the best seats and $170 per ticket for the "cheapest."  At those prices, the boys can make big bucks by making one market appearance apiece in the U.S. and U.K.

- A giant eyeball freaked folks out in Pompano Beach, FL, after the softball-sized part washed up on the shore of this town's beach.  Marine scientists did testing and believe the eyeball came from a swordfish, and not a whale or sea monster of some sort.

- Hey, all you frequent travelers, the following may be stating the obvious but confirms what we have all experienced--today's flights are averaging about 80% of aircraft capacity.  Flights during the 1970's averaged about 60% of capacity.  Interestingly, the average cost of a flight in 2011 was about 40% less than the 1980 average.  So, while the flying experience has grown more irritating, the cost to fly has declined.

- If you've not tried out ABC's Nashville, you need to do so.  Connie Britton, the best television actress no one knows, is outstanding.

- And finally, here's yet another data point confirming the consumer move from websites to mobile apps. reports that web searches on desktop computers declined in September for the first time since tracking began, in 2006.  Analysts say such searches will keep declining as people shift to mobile data.  (Source:  Macquarie Group)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Honey Boo Boo and last meals

- If you've not jumped on the Homeland bandwagon, it's not too late.  The Showtime series is again knocking it out of the park this season after an Emmy-winning haul last month after Season One.

- Here's a fun fact which may quickly cause color changes in the American boudoir.  A British study found that adults in that country had more sex when their bedrooms were painted purple.  Those with beige, green or grey bedrooms had less frequent intimate encounters.

- Have you ever played the game "what would your last meal be if you were on death row?"  Well, in reality, death row inmates don't ask for vegetables and more often than not choose unhealthy last meals, with some topping 7,200 calories.  The most frequently requested items, according to researchers, are lots of meat, fried foods, sugar and ice cream.  My question is, why are researchers spending time on this less-than-compelling topic?

- What's the deal with former Master Chef contestant Lorena Garcia now pitching for Taco Bell?  It's way off strategy for the fast-food chain.  And, what credibility does Garcia have in touting the quality of "the fourth meal" chain's salad bowl?

- In this week's "you can't make this 'stuff' up" category, word out of Hollywood is that Kim Kardashian is "crushed" that she isn't getting a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk-of-Fame.  According to, KK had hopes of being the first reality TV "star" to be granted this honor.  A Walk-of-Fame rep told The Hollywood Reporter, "They have to have a career in the business of acting, for five years or more."

- Speaking of reality TV, can the bar be lowered any further than Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

- And, finally, here's your data point for the day:  59% of Americans say that if they could do it all over again, they'd choose a different career.  And, only 33% expect to retire by age 65.  (Source:  Parade/Yahoo! Finance)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pet obesity and 85 mph speed limits

- As usual, Texas hates to be one-upped by anyone, particularly another state in the Union.  The Texas Transportation Commission approved an 85 mph speed limit for a portion of road near Austin.  That 85 mph mark tops the previous high of 80 for highways in southern Utah and western Texas.

- In the "you can't make this 'stuff' up" category, a Rhode Island woman is charged with training her cockatoo to curse at her ex-husband and his new girlfriend.  The couple, who oddly live next door to the ex-wife, allege that she trained her pet bird Willy to say the word "whore," preceded by several curse words, whenever the new lady friend is visible.

- You think we have a weight problem in this country?  Apparently, the real problem lies with our pets. America's pets are more prone to obesity than its human residents, according to  An estimated 60 percent of domestic dogs and cats are obese or overweight.  This heft puts the pets at increased risk for diabetes, joint and mobility problems, and shortened life spans.

- I'm reading Dennis Lehane's new book, Live by Night, and it promises to be as good or better than his terrific novel, The Given Day.

- If the rich aren't having enough image problems already comes this interesting piece of information--2,362 people legally collected unemployment benefits in 2009 despite having household incomes of $1 million or more!  (Source:  Congressional Research Service)

- Sign of the apocalypse:  The coach of a California Pop Warner football team has been accused of giving cash rewards, to ten-year old boys, for "big hits" on opponents.  Apparently the coach is channeling his inner Sean Payton, the coach of the New Orleans Saints who was suspended for his team's bounty program in the NFL.

- And, finally, here is your political data point of the day.  A record-high 38% of Americans say they prefer the same political party controlling the presidency and Congress, while a record-low 23% say they prefer a divided government.  (Source:  Gallup poll)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Which brand wins?

What's the most valuable brand in the world?  Apple?  American Express?  Google?

The results are in, based upon the 13th annual Best Global Brands report from Interbrand, and the winner is--drum roll, please--Coca-Cola.  The Interbrand study bases its rankings on financial performance and the role that the brand plays in influencing consumer choices.

This year's list, along with the prior year's rating, is as follows:

1.  Coca-Cola (1)
2.  Apple (8)
3.  I.B.M. (2)
4.  Google (4)
5.  Microsoft (3)
6.  General Electric (5)
7.  McDonald's (6)
8.  Intel (7)
9.  Samsung (17)
10.  Toyota (11)
11.  Mercedes-Benz (123)
12.  BMW (15)
13.  Disney (9)
14.  Cisco (13)
15.  Hewlett-Packard (10)
16.  Gillette (16)
17.  Louis Vuitton (18)
18.  Oracle (20)
19.  Nokia (14)
20.  Amazon (26)

Who were the big losers this year?  Blackberry tumbled from 56 to 93, Goldman Sachs went from 38 to 48, and Barclays exited the list after reaching 79 in 2011.