Archive for May 2014
Company analysts had expected the product to sell relatively well on the strength of the product’s novelty and a campaign targeting the coveted 25-35-year-old demographic. However, the campaign seems to have little effect, and retailers are reporting only a handful of sales throughout the Northeast and Midwest regions.
The Backwash campaign highlights the product’s enzymes, which are suspended in a special formulation containing certain proteins such as amylase, which breaks down a set of common but complex organic molecules. The body wash produces a thicker, frothier foam when water is scarce, a contrast with other shampoos and soaps that froth best with a higher minimum level of moisture. The dry frothing was a feature that the company had hoped would translate into a selling point, emphasizing the water-saving advantages that Procter & Gamble calculated would appeal to the ecologically-minded Millennial demographic.
“We don’t yet know exactly where we went wrong,” said brand manager Abel Spitz. “The focus groups were pretty clear on the fact that this body wash’s features were promising, and that the design and color of the packaging was eye-catching and bright. We had a fabulous slogan for the ad campaign, so it’s going to take some more granular data analysis to get to the bottom of this.” The “Spray It, Don’t Say It” campaign launched in February, with ads on billboards, in print media, online, and a sprinkle of spots on network TV.
Spitz hopes his other brands make up for the losses generated by the Backwash failure. He also oversees a whitening toothpaste called Tartar Sauce and a nasal decongestant called Gland Opening. Even if they do well, says Spitz, “this one is hard to swallow.”
Also see PreOccupied Territory.
New York, May 27 – A botched incarceration by the New York Board of Corrections has state officials on the defensive, after a judge’s order to place a convict behind bars was mis-typed by a clerk, resulting in the man being placed instead behind bears at the Bronx Zoo.
Orson Medved, 23, pleaded guilty to burglary charges last week, accepting a deal under which he would serve a reduced term of six months for a break-in he perpetrated in Brooklyn the month before. Judge Ursa Gurdov approved the plea deal, which spared Medved a longer sentence of ten months plus community service. A court clerk apparently inserted an extra “e” into the document, based upon which the Corrections Department placed Medved into the bear enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, where he was fatally mauled by Glacier, a grizzly bear.
Corrections and court officials were quick to trace the source of the mishap, and have assured the city and state that steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence. “We will implement redundancies in the documentation process so that such errors will be caught before it is too late,” said Forrest Forthtriese, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. State Supreme Court representative Bea Sydapoint promised a thorough overhaul of the sentencing processing system.
The case recalls an earlier incident in which drug offenders were mistakenly sent to diction counseling after a court official misheard the word “addiction.”
Hollywood, CA – Iron Man, the high-tech superhero whose metal suit protects him and provides superhuman strength, said at a press conference today that a metal character could never make it in the entertainment world if the Tin Man had not crossed the metal line all those decades ago in The Wizard of Oz.
Until The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, hit movies almost invariably featured fully human characters. The notable exceptions were animated films, in which, for example, Snow White incorporated a slew of demi-humans the same year as Oz.
“It takes heart to persevere in an environment where nobody assumes you’re fully human, or worthy of the same consideration,” said Iron Man. “The Tin Man showed us all how to bear those slings and arrows with stoicism and empathy. He’s always been an inspiration to me.”
“‘Oz’ was a pioneer film in several respects,” noted social historian Meytal Urji. “It broke a color barrier, of course, being the first feature film to freely adopt the notion that black and white were irrelevant, even retrograde, ideas. It introduced the concept of a ‘Good Witch,’ laying the groundwork for Harry Potter. But almost as important, The Wizard of Oz made viewers and film executives alike think, ‘Well, why NOT take a bunch of burly males and emasculate them by putting them in ridiculous costumes?”
Some scholars of film have argued that in fact it was Superman, known as The Man of Steel, who spearheaded roles for such characters, but those voices remain the minority. Others contend that it was in fact Frankenstein’s monster who who should be credited, but still others note in fact the monster was anatomically human, just not all the same human.
Other types of mockery can be found at PreOccupied Territory.
Cambridge, MA, May 25 – Researchers investigating human happiness have yet to meet success in their efforts to arrive at effective parameters for happiness, a spokesman for the group said this morning.
A Harvard University collaborative study has been collating and testing numerous specific claims by earlier researchers into what constitutes happiness. The meta-analysis has so far looked at more than a dozen hypotheses, including two of the most prominent ones: a 1968 study by J. Lennon that happiness is a warm gun, and another by C. Gesner the previous year that happiness is two kinds of ice cream.
The researchers are subjecting each hypothesis to rigorous analysis, attempting to determine whether any of them can provide a compelling definition. By nature, however, many of the factors cited by the earlier researchers do not admit to standard methods of empirical analysis, requiring the scientists to formulate less precise tools to assess the accuracy of each.
Nevertheless, the researchers have been able to definitively rule out several hypotheses, somewhat simplifying the rest of the work. Gesner himself posited a good number of less-well-known indicators of happiness that the scientists were able to disprove with relative ease, finding numerous of cases in which their presence was demonstrated but happiness nevertheless absent: having a sister; a hot dog sandwich; finding a nickel; and sharing a sandwich, the last of which was actually found to increase resentment.
Also complicating the research is the notion, first posited by K. Solomon and later confirmed by E. Hemingway, that happiness and intelligence rarely, if ever, coexist in the same person. Thus the capacity to detect happiness tends to be inversely proportional to the likelihood of its presence. Increasingly, say the researchers, they are drawn toward the more parsimonious hypotheses that posit a subjective factor. W. A. Ward, for example, put forth parameters that see happiness as “an inside job,” a notion that perhaps carries a simple emotional resonance, but that the researchers find challenging both because they lack a way to measure it, and because the phrase evokes conspiracy theories, which in themselves are hardly parsimonious.
Alternatively, the researchers still have the hypothesis of one A. Schweitzer, who defined happiness as “nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” At press time, researcher W. Axl Rose was citing earlier researcher J. Beaumont in attributing the absence of happiness to his not having you.
Further silliness can be viewed at PreOccupied Territory.
The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Richard Starkey (AKA Ringo Starr) and George Harrison – had failed to pay the rent on the vehicle. The landlord, a Mr. Parker, claims to have grown tired of the four claiming not to care too much for money.
“They can go on an on all they like about money not being able to buy love, but it does buy food and pay the bills. The tax man takes a good chunk of what I earn, so I need every penny,” he said. He said he was still fixing a hole from the last party the group had thrown there.
The various Beatles have so far reacted in disparate ways. “I’d like to be under the sea anyway,” said Starr, who was taking the news with the most equanimity. “The other band members seem troubled by this, but I say, honey, don’t. Everything will be fine if we just act naturally. Me, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”
McCartney found himself at the other emotional extreme, and had to be restrained by his bandmates from physically attacking Parker. “Come and get it! Any time at all!” he shouted as the other Beatles warned the landlord, “Get back!” McCartney continued to threaten, even warning that he would return whether or not Parker liked or noticed, hissing, “What you’re doing…you won’t see me.” Once the two had been separated and McCartney regained his composure, he confessed, “I’m down…I long for yesterday.”
“Cry, baby, cry,” offered Lennon, still digesting the eviction. He remained initially in firm denial, telling the landlord, “You can’t do that. That’ll be the day. Too much monkey business going on here – tell me why!” However, as the reality set in, Lennon, too, became resigned to it, wondering aloud if there’s a place the group could go, also telling Parker that with McCartney as upset as he was, prudence suggested running for his life while he can.
Harrison, too, expressed disappointment, but only in understated, sarcastic terms. “Piggies,” he muttered, presumably referring to those who profit from real estate. “I, me, mine, that’s all they care about.” He admitted having grown attached to the submarine, and finally asked Mr. Parker to “take good care of my baby. You know what to do.”
McCartney asked Lennon that they begin searchin’ for new accommodations right away. Harrison suggested a location in the nearby Sour Milk Sea, but the others didn’t dig it.
At press time, at least three of the four were talking about eviction making them free as a bird.
Further imbecility can be found at PreOccupiedTerritory.
New York, May 21 – Artists, critics, and art aficionados are all expressing bewilderment at a watercolor-on-canvas that depicts a scene realistically, apparently without a hint of irony or fantastical or exaggerated imagery.
The painting, currently on display at Gallery Montfort on the Upper East Side, depicts a woman walking her dog along a major city avenue. Each detail of the image is rendered with apparent meticulousness, such that in several spots the casual observer might mistake it for a photograph. Completely lacking are tricks of the light, political overtones, and the overall pretentiousness that suffuses most art, a fact that has sown both confusion and insecurity in the world of highbrow art.
Venerable artist Jeff Koons remains silent on the message of his piece. “I uh… I painted a woman walking her dog,” he says of the work, which he labels Woman Walking Her Dog. “Is there supposed to be something else? Do you think I left anything out?”
Critics are divided on whether Woman Walking Her Dog is groundbreaking or merely revolutionary. “This is nothing less than a watershed moment in art,” says Sotheby’s executive L. William Smoot. “He is so daring, that Jeff Koons. Who else would be so bold in today’s art world?” he mused, “I foresee tens of thousands functionally identical work lines libraries, nursing homes, and hospitals all over the world.”
Christie’s spokeswoman Ivana Kahn-DeScend disagrees, calling the piece “a searing indictment of modern art and a welcome return to basics,” which she hopes will inspire others to eschew shocking, provocative imagery intended simply to garner attention though shock value. “We all appreciate the sight of a Bible covered in hippopotamus feces, but that particular kind of conceptual art has lost its ability to titillate, and we’re looking for things that are even more over-the-top. This might just be it.”
The arts arena was in similar upheaval last year when venerable Broadway producer Edwin Black elected to stage Romeo and Juliet as taking place in the medieval Italian duchy of Verona, as Shakespeare wrote it, and not, for example, as a 1970’s Mossad-KGB thriller.
Check out PreOccupied Territory, where we make fun of an entirely different class of hypocrite.
Washington, May 20 – With the 2016 election campaign barely two years away, political operatives are already exploring possible candidacies, including former henchman Oddjob, who tossed his hat into the ring today and ended up killing several people.
The four victims were about to announce their own exploratory committees when Oddjob sent his steel-reinforced bowler flying in their direction. Witnesses said one of the victims, as yet unidentified, managed to shout a warning to the others, but they were unable to dodge the hat. Oddjob was taken into custody and charged with four counts of manslaughter.
The three victims who have been identified were former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. The fourth victim is female, and died from a spinal cord injury. The other three had major arteries severed in their necks and died from blood loss.
Analysts are divided on whether the killings will adversely affect Oddjob’s electoral prospects. “People like toughness in a candidate during times of instability,” says expert Auric Goldfinger. “This might be just the incident to spark the public’s interest and demonstrate to them that Oddjob is the right man for any tough job.”
Others are less convinced. “The American public might appreciate a no-nonsense approach while in office, but an election campaign is mostly about finesse,” contends Pussy Galore, once a former associate of Oddjob. “I’m afraid Oddjob might have seriously hurt his chances with this.”
Ms. Galore acknowledged that getting rid of the narcissistic Congressman Weiner, twice-busted in sexting incidents, could only boost Oddjob’s popularity, but it would probably prove insufficient over the long term to offset other factors.
“President Obama got rid of Osama Bin Laden, but still had to wage a tough campaign in 2012, even as an incumbent,” she noted. “I realize Bin Laden was no Anthony Weiner, but still.”
More inanity can be found here: PreOccupiedTerritory.