aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, March 26, 2007
Alexandra Van Horn was a passenger in a car that ran into a light pole at 45 mph. Lisa Torti, a passenger in a car following behind, stopped at the crash scene and tried to render assistance by lifting Van Horn out of the car. Van Horn emerged from the accident a paraplegic, although court testimony differed on whether the accident itself or Torti’s attempt to pull her out of the vehicle was responsible for this. Now a California appeals court has ruled that the state’s Good Samaritan liability shield does not protect Ms. Torti from Ms. Van Horn’s negligence suit because it “only protects people from liability if they are administering emergency medical care. The perceived danger of remaining in the wrecked car was not ‘medical,’ the court ruled.”
Making Hollywood sausage
Reports of the video’s existence first surfaced in a 2004 article in The New York Times about Mr. Russell and the movie’s filming, but last Monday marked the first time that either video was made available to the public. Almost as soon as they were posted, efforts were made to quash the leak...The videos were reposted and removed several times over the week, but by the weekend, they appeared to be firmly entrenched in the blogosphere.
Size matters: T.G.I. Friday’s to try “Right Size” portions
A good number of my neighbors here judge a restaurant by the size of its portions: the bigger the better. Many of these same neighbors are concerned about their weight. A disconnect of sorts I’d say.
We don’t have one here, so I won’t soon know how they’ll react to T.G.I. Friday’s decision to “Right Size” portions:
[Richard] Snead is breaking ranks. As chief executive of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide he has chopped portion sizes at T.G.I. Friday’s, Carlson’s chain known for calorie-rich items like deep-fried potato skins stuffed with Cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream. In a closely watched experiment, Friday’s will see whether diners will order what it calls “Right Size” portions that, on average, are about two-thirds the size of the usual serving.
“I firmly believe that the consumer is demanding a change,” said Mr. Snead, who is 55 and has a runner’s trim build. Many consumers are tired of huge portions, especially on weeknights or at lunch when they do not want to indulge, he says. The time has come, he says, to think smaller. But, he added, “I’ll be honest with you, it’s scary.”
It works for me, but then portion-size plays absolutely no role in my evaluation of a restaurant. I may be alone in that. Ruby Tuesdays’ failed in a portion-size experiment back in 2004:
Shrinking portions puts restaurants in a bit of a pickle. Customers have come to associate huge quantities of food with value, a proposition that makes reducing portions difficult. Restaurants also point out that even when consumers say they want smaller portions or healthier choices, they often do not order those options. [...]
WHAT makes Friday’s portion-cutting different is its extensive advertising of ten menu items and its decision to offer them at significantly lower prices...Mr. Snead says he has accepted the fact that his average check on the reduced portions will be smaller too, but he is betting that they will be offset by more customers.
Friday’s is bucking a decades-long trend of ever-larger portions in packaged goods and at restaurants. Some portions at fast-food restaurants are now two to five times larger than those of the 1950s, researchers have found. [...]
Americans are eating about 12 percent more calories a day than they did in the mid-1980s, according to government statistics. The percentage of Americans who are overweight, meanwhile, increased to 66 percent in 2004 from 47 percent in the late 1970s. Hardly anyone believes it is a coincidence that Americans became fatter at the same time they began eating out more than ever and restaurants supersized their portions.
What would be good is if other restaurants would match Snead’s move; this is not about competitive advantage, it’s about addressing a significant national problem. Snead questions whether he’d have been able to try this if T.G.I. Friday’s weren’t privately held and points to research that finds 51% of adults - and 63% of women - believe portion sizes at fast food eateries are too big.
I use the occasion to quote again from Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler’s review of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink in last week’s New Republic (behind a pay wall, I quote liberally here):
People tend to eat whatever is put in front of them. Wansink demonstrates this point through a series of somewhat mischievous experiments, some of which would have been great material for Candid Camera. A few years ago, moviegoers in Chicago found themselves with a free bucket of popcorn. Unfortunately, the popcorn was stale; it had been popped five days earlier and stored so as to ensure that it would actually squeak when eaten. People were not specifically informed of its staleness, but they didn’t love the popcorn. As one moviegoer said, “It was like eating Styrofoam packing peanuts.”
As the experiment was designed, about half of the moviegoers received a big bucket of popcorn and half received a medium-sized bucket. After the movie, Wansink asked the recipients of the big bucket whether they might have eaten more because of the size of their bucket. Most denied the possibility, saying, “Things like that don’t trick me.Ã¢â‚¬Â� But they were wrong. On average, recipients of the big bucket ate about 53 percent more popcorn--even though they didn’t really like it.
Another experiment required some special equipment. People sat down to a large bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and were told to eat as much as they wanted. Unbeknown to them, the soup bowls were designed to refill themselves (with empty bottoms connected to machinery beneath the table). No matter how much soup the subjects ate, the bowl never emptied. Many people just kept eating until the experiment was (mercifully) ended.
Adobe CS pricing
If you’ve got a PowerPC-based Mac, it looks like there will be no CS3 for you. But it’s the pricing that will keep some others away. AppleInsider:
While the full price list borders on the intimidating, the cost for users varies from as little as $110 Canadian ($95 US) for a Contribute CS3 upgrade to $3,440 ($2,969 US) for the complete Master Collection that bundles Adobe’s deluxe artistic and video editing tools.
The CS3 Design and Production Premium suites for artists remain under wraps, though the Web Standard edition will sell for $1,375 ($1,186 US), suggesting a ballpark figure for its Design equal. European prices were revealed on Friday. [...]
Update: Amazon’s US website now lists Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Web Premium for $1599, Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Master Collection for $2499, Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Production Premium for $1199 and Adobe Creative Suite CS3 Design Premium for $1599.
The Onion News Network
Let’s hope the network’s better than the promo.