Sleeping Gag


            Rob Walker has a feature in the latest issue of The New York Times Magazine.  The story is about an April Fools' Day joke product on the website ThinkGeek that generated such high customer demand, ThinkGeek actually started selling it.

            Every April Fools' Day ThinkGeek, an online merchant, puts ridiculous products that do not exist on its homepage.  When the customer clicks on the product, ThinkGeek wishes them a happy April Fools' Day. 

            The story is a consumer report, focusing on ThinkGeek's innovative products. 

Walker focuses on the latest product in demand, the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag.  A Tauntaun is the mythical creature Luke Skywalker climbs inside to stay warm in the film, "The Empire Strikes Back."

            The sleeping bag first appeared as a joke last April and is currently in full production.

            I like how Walker relates the demand for ThinkGeek's unconventional items to their innovative product development techniques, yet I want to hear more about their products' actual sales numbers.

Did Christianity Cause the Crash?

            Hanna Rosin has a feature in the latest issue of The Atlantic.  The story is about the prosperity gospel and its connections to the current economic crisis.

            The prosperity gospel is a relatively recent Christian theology, which states that God rewards true believers with earthly wealth and prosperity.

            Rosin focuses mainly on a pastor named Fernando Garay from Charlottesville, Va.  Garay preaches to his congregation of Latino immigrants saying, "The blessings are looking for you!  God will take care of you.  God will not let you be without a home."

            This story is a trend piece, focusing on the rise of the prosperity gospel and its ties to the current economic crisis. 

            Rosin explains that 43 percent of Christians in a Pew Poll believed in the prosperity gospel, and that this 43 percent consisted of the demographics most likely to make the risky investments that caused the economic crisis.

            The strongest part of the story is the author's selection of quotes from Garay.  Garay's statements display that his outlook on the connection between faith and wealth is far from realistic and has caused apparent financial harm to the people of his congregation.

            My only criticism is that Rosin provides no counter argument.  She places most of the blame on the individuals that made bad investments, rather than the policy makers that allowed these investments to occur. 

Why Women Can't Let Sarah Palin Go

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            A feature in the latest issue of The New York Times Magazine examines American women's ongoing fascination with Sarah Palin. 

            The feature, written by Lisa Belkin, tracks women's opinions of Palin from her first political appearance to her current book tour.

            I consider this feature to be a trend piece.  Even though it discusses women's reactions to Palin, its true focus is how these reactions have developed over time.

            Belkin concludes that many American women love to hate Palin.  Her outlandish statements and persona fascinate them, yet they hate that her unintelligible statements and far right policies are the current representation of women in American politics.

            I think the feature flows well and makes good comparisons between Palin's rise to stardom and a high school popularity contest.

            My criticism is that Belkin's quotes are sparse and do not contribute much to the story. 

St. Paul Burglar Fakes Knee Injury

            The Pioneer Press reported Tuesday that a St. Paul man lied to police about having knee surgery, in an attempt to avoid burglary charges.

            A burglary occurred at a Grant Avenue gallery Friday night.  St. Paul K-9 officers chased the suspect to an apartment complex. 

            They found John Howard Schlesky, 48, sitting in a wheelchair in the apartment. He explained to police that he just had knee surgery, so he couldn't be the suspect, said Sgt. Paul Schnell, a spokesman for the St. Paul police.

            Police discovered clothing in Schlesky's apartment that had the gallery's tags.  He was then arrested on the charge of third degree burglary, according to the criminal complaint from Monday.

            Along with items from the gallery, police found other stolen goods in Schlesky's apartment, according to the complaint and Schnell.

            Schlesky was convicted of attempted burglary in1984, burglary in 1992 and 2002, felony theft in 1987 and 2001, as well as theft of a motor vehicle in 2001, according to state court records.

Israeli Prime Minister Discusses Prisoner Exchange

            The New York Times reported Tuesday that Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said an official agreement has not yet been made with Palestinian militant group Hamas to release an Israeli soldier in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

            "There is still no deal, and I do not know if there will be one," Netanyahu said.

            The Israeli soldier in question is Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit.  Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups captured Shalit during a border assault in June 2006.

            Many Israelis have mixed feelings about the potential deal.  There is a decisive public consensus to have Shalit set free, but the mass release of convicted suicide bombers may be too high a price.

            The potential release of Palestinian militant leaders Marwan Barghouti, a prominent Fatah leader, and Ahmad Saadat, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, complicates the deal further.

            If the exchange is to occur, Netanyahu said, "We will not be sparing with public discussion.  We will not do it as a fait accompli.  We will allow the cabinet ministers and the public in general to discuss the issue."

Obama Seeks to Strengthen U.S. Relationship with India

           The Associated Press reported Tuesday that President Obama and the prime minister of India reached agreement on issues of security and economic development, while maintaining their differences on climate change.

            Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the Obama administration's first official state visitor. 

            Both leaders agreed that improved relations between India and Pakistan would bring much needed security to the region.  "We both recognize that our core goal is to achieve peace and security for all peoples in the region, not just one country or the other," Obama said.

            Obama expressed interest in strengthening the U.S. and India's long-held trading relationship.  Furthering trade relations would bring job growth to both nations, Obama said.

            Obama and Singh maintained their differing views on climate change.  Obama, along with European leaders believe that all nations are obligated to reduce carbon emissions. Singh and leaders of developing countries claim that wealthy nations emitted the vast majority of greenhouse gases during the industrial revolution and should be responsible for amending their errors.

Recent Comments

  • moham245: Sleeping Gag: This is really interesting and a unique way read more
  • moham245: This is really interesting and a unique way to market read more
  • strou047: I really like this article. I think it flowed together read more
  • kleb0013: This story may be a consumer report but in ways read more

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