Mixed Blessings

Let’s hope they’re right. Polling conducted this month by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds 10 percent of adults expecting their financial situation will improve “a lot” over the course of the next year and 54 percent believing it will improve “some.” Just 5 percent think it will get “a lot worse,” while 13 percent think it’ll get “a little worse.” Few (12 percent) think their circumstances will “stay the same.”

Why don’t college students have the pallor one would expect in people who spend their days in the library stacks? They’re cheating. A study published in the current Archives of Dermatology found 47 percent of students had used a tanning lamp during the past 12 months. Although most said they did so because they like the appearance of a tan (92 percent), 61 percent said they’ve used the lamps to prepare for a vacation.

Got alcoholic milk? Reporting on new food products around the world, the latestedition of Mintel’s Global New Products Database notes that Tara Dairies in Israel has launched a line of Xtra Mooood milks that are 2 percent alcohol by volume. Elsewhere on the adulterated-milk front, Nestlé in Brazil has introduced a fat-free yogurt that contains aloe vera. Mintel adds that the brand’s packaging “features graphics that would look more at home on a skincare product.”

Honors for the Most Elaborate Explication of a Colloquial Expression go this week to a Time Warner Cable ad. Rather than just use the phrase “when pigs fly” to tout the cable outfit’s “no-longer-impossible innovations,” the ad gives detailed treatment to porcine aerodynamics. Feathers would help, we’re told, but the pig could try using large, fleshy flaps—like those of flying squirrels, “though perhaps in a more genetically compatible and stylishly pleasing pink.” Given the shape of the pig’s tail, tailspin is “Probably unavoidable.” Shepardson Stern Kaminsky of New York created the piece.

We’re not giving the devil his due. In a Barna Research poll, 59 percent of adults rejected the notion that Satan is a living being, instead relegating the old tempter to the status of a mere “symbol of evil.”