A Yen for Carbohydrates, Unpopular Thoughts, Etc.

And now for the good news (for some) about anthrax-by-post: If Americans grow reluctant to open mail from unfamiliar sources, print and broadcast media stand to pick up some of the ad spending that had been going to direct mail. And having been inundated for years by junk mail, Americans likely won’t be sympathetic to that sector’s new woes.

Keep the homes fries burning. A report from ABCNews.com says many Americans have turned to comfort foods to soothe post-Sept. 11 stress. They’re “self-medicating” by chowing down on carbohydrates, which boost serotonin levels in the brain and thereby minimize the symptoms of stress. At the opposite end of the dietary spectrum, a story in USA Weekend cites the vogue of highly colorful foods—everything from kale to red grapes to eggplant. Scientific findings about the healthful properties of such fruits and vegetables have “turned eating colorful foods into a hot new diet trend.”

If thieves received all the product endorsement fees they deserve, they wouldn’t have to steal. A TV spot for Continental Tires is the latest to stress the product’s appeal by saying it’d be a tempting target for thieves. As a cop looks on in puzzlement, a man is seen taking the tires off his car (which is resting on cinderblocks) and stowing them in the back seat. “You can never be too careful around here,” explains the car’s owner. Boone/Oakley of Charlotte, N.C., created the spot.

Amid instability in the Middle East and a weak economy at home, will Americans start to look askance at gas-guzzling SUVs? A poll conducted for Autobytel finds 37 percent of respondents saying fuel economy is a “more important” factor than it would have been a month ago if they were buying or leasing a car. Thirty-four percent said the same about cars’ safety.

Here’s one of the odder bits of polling data to emerge following Sept. 11. A Gallup poll asked, “Would you say that the terrorist attacks have made you less likely to say things that might be unpopular, or not?” No fewer than 31 percent of adults said they were less likely to utter unpopular things.