Thursday, July 21, 2005

I get press releases, Vol. 19: The first whiff of trouble

The 19 Minutes staff is not going to blog on today's London Transport bombing, but we thought mentioning it might drive more traffic to our site.

Actually, there was one oddity worth mentioning from this morning's coverage, particularly on our own Mothership, which was the overplaying of the timing's significance. The ubiquitous question was whether the fact that today's bombings (or attempted bombings, or whatever) came exactly two weeks to the day since the previous bombings was just a coincidence, or something more sinister. The smart money in the early analysis pointed to something more sinister, which strikes me as either odd, or completely pointless. I mean, if a group calling itself the "Every Two Weeks Martyr Bombing Brigade" had claimed responsibility for today's incidents, or if the bombing had happened exactly a year, or ten years to the day since the previous ones, maybe you'd have a point. But exactly what are the criteria for things to transcend the level of coincidence? Would these questions have been asked if the bombings were tomorrow? That would have been exactly 15 days since the previous bombings, and -- as we all know -- terrorists are especially fond of multiples of 5.

Besides that, what difference does it make? Are they going to lower the terror alert levels on days that aren't exact multiples of previous terrorist incidents (henceforth known as the Prime Number Bombing Rule)?


Here at 19 Minutes World Media HQ, we're always on the lookout to keep you, the somewhat meager reading audience, informed about the latest in public opinion polling data. That was why we were so happy this morning when we received the following news release in the 19 Minutes overflowing inbox:

What's That Smell? No One's Going to Tell You!

New Survey Shows Most Americans Unwilling to Tell Colleagues if They Stink
It will surprise no one that this particular study was conducted by the people at Odor-Eaters. The breadth of the survey (the 19 Minutes staff is tempted to call it "the breath of the survey") was, perhaps, a bit surprising:
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 21, 2005 -- A new nationwide survey shows just how embarrassing body odors can be. Commissioned by Odor-Eaters(R) brand and conducted by Harris Interactive, the survey asked which of the three main body odors - breath, underarm or foot - people would feel most comfortable telling a colleague they had. More than half (59%) of Americans said they would not feel comfortable telling a colleague if they had any kind of body odor. Twenty percent said they would tell a colleague if he or she had bad breath; 12% said they would comment on underarm odor, and only nine percent said they'd tell someone if they had smelly feet. With approximately one in three Americans suffering from foot odor and wetness, smelly feet are a common occurrence, but still, no one wants to talk about it.

Clearly personal hygiene is something we need to pay close attention to in the workplace - especially in these days of windowless offices, tiny cubicles and political correctness - because people are simply not willing to tell us when we smell!
Clearly, with such overwhelming data, this represents a huge problem. But are there solutions at hand, besides just not stinking so much?
"While bad breath can be easily rectified by offering someone a mint, the survey shows that foot odor is considered the most embarrassing body odor," said James Healy, Marketing Manager for Odor-Eaters(R) brand. Healy suggests a "secret" gift of some Odor-Eaters(R) product placed under a colleague's desk might drop a subtle hint, or at least make the issue more sweet-smelling.
And who wouldn't be glad to come to work to find an Odor-Eaters(R) product placed under their desk?

Unfortunately, the Odor-Eaters(R) release doesn't offer any suggestions for the specific related problem we run into here in Public Radioland: Interviewees with odor issues. There seems to be a particular problem with candidates for political office and bad breath (note to self: insert hot air joke here). You would think that if you were a campaign consultant, the first thing you'd do (unintentionally, even) would be to check out your boss's breath. But apparently such formalities don't exist here in northern Arizona.

But if they did, I'm sure the helpful folks at Odor-Eaters(R) would suggest a remedy - a "secret" gift of some Odor-Eaters(R) product placed in a colleague's lunch bag.


Carol Davidson said...

Did they mention Odor Eaters Breath Spray? For those politicians who are always putting their foot in their mouth?

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