Mixed Blessings

Who wants to be a CEO? Not as many people as did last year. In a survey of senior-level business executives by Burson-Marsteller and Wirthlin Worldwide, 54 percent said they wouldn’t want to be a CEO today. A year ago, 26 percent said the same. They might reconsider, though, once the nightly news is no longer enlivened by the sight of corporate malefactors being hauled off to jail. Just 9 percent of the respondents think the recent scandals have “permanently” damaged public trust in corporate America.

Best reason not to have an e-mail address: A report by Jupiter Research forecasts the average online consumer will receive more than 3,900 spam messages per year by 2007. Last year, Americans got 140 billion spam e-mails. More broadly, the number of “marketing impressions” people are exposed to online is expected to rise, from 447 per “usage day” in 2000 to 830 in 2007.

What good is exercise if it can’t leave some crook with a bloody nose? That’s the spirit animating a campaign for a boxing school in Durham, N.C. Folks who rely on jazzercise for their workouts may find themselves performing a sequence of movements that ends with “Hand over wallet.” Another ad in the series shows a man furiously pedaling a spinning machine with his eyes shut, in hopes that the knife-wielding thug in front of him will go away. The Republik of Chapel Hill, N.C., created the campaign.

Here’s good news if you’re annoyed by wireless phones, but bad news if you own a wireless-phone company. A study by J.D. Power and Associates finds fewer first-timesubscribers signing up for wireless service, even as the price of using the technology declines. That’s partly a reflection of the industry’s success so far. In the 27 largest U.S. markets, 56 percent of households now have wireless service. Since 1995, the subscriber base has grown at an average annual rate of 11 percent. In the past year, though, the rate slowed to 7.6 percent. Still worse, “only 5.8 percent of non-wireless phone users indicate that they intend to subscribe within the next year.” With the influx of new subscribers slowing, the report notes that customer retention will be increasingly important for companies in this business.

This doesn’t mean you should buy an Internet stock rather than a liquor stock. Nonetheless, an Ipsos-Reid poll finds 44 percent of adults think people have better odds of meeting someone suitable through an online dating service than at a singles bar; 8 percent feel they have an equal chance of doing so either way. Men are slightly more upbeat than women about the online approach.

People at ad agencies aren’t the only ones who have a lot of headaches. In a reader survey by Biography magazine, 33 percent of the participants said they suffer from five or more headaches per month. Another 21 percent get three or four per month, and 37 percent get one or two. Among those who notice specific triggers for their headaches,49 percent blame stress. Other main culprits: lack of sleep (21 percent), particular foods and beverages (16 percent) and women’s menstrual cycles (14 percent). As for remedies, 65 percent said they take over-the-counter drugs; 18 percent take prescription medicines. A stoic 17 percent take nothing.

A bored worker may be an incautious worker. So, Utah’s Workers Compensation Fund turned to its ad agency (Richter7 of Salt Lake City) to enliven the safety notices one sees in factories and other workplaces. In addition to the marshmallow advisory, the signs include notice of a “Forklift Jousting Restricted Area” and of lead paint—hence, “Do Not Lick Walls or Railings.” Small type at the bottom of each sign invites people to contact the organization to get “safety advice that goes beyond common sense.”

From our No Accounting for Zoological Taste files: An online survey by CNN.com asked respondents to say which of several animals “does the most harm to people.” Mosquitoes led the list (cited by 61 percent), with rats a poor second (24 percent). Grasshoppers got more mentions (8 percent) than alligators(4 percent) plus sharks (3 percent).

As Constitutional freedoms go, freedom of the press is an also-ran. A poll commissioned by the First Amendment Center and the American Journalism Review found it’s the “least popular” of the First Amendment guarantees. Forty-two percent of those polled said the press has too much freedom. About half said it has been “too aggressive” in pressing government officials to divulge information about the war on terrorism.

What’s the healthiest metro area for women? Taking into account assorted measures of health and well-being, Self magazine put Stamford/Norwalk, Conn., atop the list. The runner-up was Provo/Orem, Utah. Memphis, Tenn., was rated the unhealthiest metro. If you seek the “happiest place” rather than the healthiest, that distinction went to Asheville, N.C.