Those Naughty Canadians, That Peculiar Sphere, Etc. takes

It’s the subtext of many a sales pitch: You only live once, so indulge yourself. Ah, but what if you don’t only live once? In a reader poll by Glamour, 23 percent of respondents said they believe in reincarnation. Another 61 percent expect to end up in heaven or hell, while 11 percent foresee a nirvana in which one attains “a state of pleasurable peace.” Just 5 percent said there’s no such thing as an afterlife.

The stock market’s decline has a silver lining for the financial-planning biz. When the market was booming, individual investors felt great (if misplaced) confidence in their own investment acumen. Now, says an article in Newsweek, “a plunging market is draining investor self-esteem.” Older and richer investors are especially likely to quit their “self-directed” ways and seek some professional assistance. Still, there’s no guarantee today’s investors will have the patience to heed the advice they get. A Yankelovich poll conducted for Phoenix Investment Partners found investors’ “unrealistic expectations” make it harder for financial advisers to retain clients. Those with under $100,000 to invest tend to be the most restless, the study found.

Elsewhere on the financial front, an ad for a Canadian whiskey suggests a new basis for analyzing wages in that country: How many lap dances can one’s paycheck purchase? For some fellows, it’d be a better guide to their standard of living than a supposedly typical market basket of consumer goods. We’ll see whether Ottawa introduces it into the mix of official economic indicators. Holmes & Lee of Toronto created the Revelstoke ad.

Give me copyright infringement or give me death! OK, that’s not quite the attitude of most folks. On the other hand, public response to the Napster affair indicatesconsumers are quite willing to trespass on intellectual property. In a poll by Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, 59 percent of adults said they see nothing wrong in downloading music for free. Just 18 percent said, “It is wrong. I won’t do it.” Whether they think it’s wrong or not, 65 percent expect the practice to increase. Likewise, 58 percent expect a rise in illicit copying of software; 46 percent foresee a rise in copying of audiocassettes and CDs.

Now we know why the St. Louis Hawks long ago became the Atlanta Hawks. In a spot for the St. Louis Cardinals (by Waylon Ad of that city), four kids are shown staring in bafflement at an unseen object. The girl asks, “What is it?” Her pals are equally at a loss. Finally, the camera cuts away to show us the object of this perplexity: a basketball. Onscreen type explains that St. Louis is “definitely a baseball town.” Another spot simply compares the city’s 2.5 million population to the Cardinals’ 3.3 million attendance last season.

Who knew? Amid concern about partisan wrangling in Washington, George W. Bush got good mileage from his campaign vow to restore civility there. It turns out, though, the past couple of years were a heyday of civility on Capitol Hill. Word searches of the Congressional Record, conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, reveal that the 106th Congress was “one of the most civil Congresses in the last 15 years.” The study found 33 insults per 1,000 pages last year, versus an average of 40 insults per 1,000 pages since 1985. Similarly, last year saw just 0.59 instances per 1,000 pages of people being called liars, compared with an average of 2.4 per since 1985. When members of Congress do toss the word around, they’re likely to apply it to foreign nationals (41 percent of the time since ’85) rather than each other. Can’t get more civil than that!

How to make the preservation of centuries-old architecture relevant to today’s Californians? One ad in a campaign for the California Missions Foundation hits on the ingenious idea of noting their stylistic influence on “fast-food taco restaurants.” If that doesn’t prod readers to take an interest in saving these well-worn buildings, nothing would. Another ad in the campaign, showing the damaged exterior of a mission, notes that while the missionary who founded it “was a man of vast knowledge, apparently, it did not include seismology.” Acme Advertising of San Francisco created the series.