Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

up a tree
In light of the Hurricane Charley-induced hassles I went through (which I realize were nothing compared with what happened where it actually made landfall), I’ve since been loathe to talk or think any more about the storm than I’ve had to. I’ve contributed to relief efforts, but past that, have avoided most of the latest news about the post-Charley recovery.

But the above image caught my eye. It was snapped in Punta Gorda, the heart of the hurricane’s path, by Kinfay Moroti as the companion to an article about some of the personal, priceless items lost to Charley.

Mainly, I just liked the juxtaposition of what appears to be a largely intact Bible amid strewn debris. That it’s open to the New Testament is especially apt: It conveys a sense of the more compassionate, forgiving God arriving in the wake of some Old Testament-style destruction.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/24/2004 11:21 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Weather
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Part Tamagotchi, part 1-900 number: It’s Artificial Life’s Virtual Girlfriend, on a 3G mobile phone near you.

I foresee a bunch of sticky phones resulting from this…

(Via The Moderate Voice)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/24/2004 10:33 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Tech
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One more reason to forsake the stovetop and nuke your food: Sharp Corp. has come up with a microwave that burns away excess fat, oil and salt by generating 572-degree superheated steam.

Keep an eye out for the chubby moron near you who uses this amazing device as his rationalization for scarfing down three or four microwavable burritos. Gotta have that afternoon “power snack”!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/24/2004 10:09 PM
Category: Tech
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Sharon Fink takes note of the flood of brand names within this year’s Billboard Top 20 tunes:

The song with the most brands mentioned is Twista’s Overnight Celebrity. The rapper squeezed in nine: fellow rapper Nelly’s Apple Bottom Jeans; clothing companies and designers BCBG, Bebe, Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Roberto Cavalli; shoemaker Jimmy Choo; MTV; and Range Rover.

Fink reasons that the lack of public distaste for all this name-dropping is the lack of payment for most of these musical mentions. I question that: Two years ago, Island Def Jam was the first major label to declare itself open for business in the lyrical product-placement game, and I’m sure the rest of the industry followed, publicly or not. I’d bet that the majority of those brand names were, in fact, paid for.

Aside from that, even if it was generally known (or even suspected) that the lyrics were “bought”, most of the audience wouldn’t care. Song placement is probably an ideal form of ad immersion: Unlike other mediums, it’s almost harder to make brand names seem grafted onto musical rhymes. Also, the long history of the advertising jingle set a precedent; it’s not so unusual to consider ad pitches as purely musical pieces — and infectious ones, at that.

It’s not mentioned directly, but rap songs are the primary territory for all this ad insertion. There are a couple of reasons for this:

One, most rap songs are first-person narratives, so personalized that they better lend themselves to endorsement-type ad pitches. Two, rappers tend to not invest their songs with a sort of sanctity that would make in-lyric advertising a transgression; indeed, the rap world sees no shame in collecting supplemental cash and merchandise through rhyme-droppin’.

By contrast, I doubt there’s very much brand placement in other musical genres. In fact, it probably would be looked down upon. It’s a double standard — Britney Spears or U2 aren’t supposed to sell their precious songs (unless they’ve been clearly reworked as commercial jingles), but it’s acceptable for Jay-Z and Ludacris to do so.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/24/2004 03:58 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture
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I wondered how the recent theft of one of “The Scream” paintings would impact my local notable arthole, the Salvador Dali Museum.

The answer? Armed off-duty cops will be protecting Dali’s famous melting watches and optical-illusion mosaics.

I guess I’d better think twice the next time I try to snap a couple of cameraphone photos of “Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire”. The docents are snippy enough, and they’re not even armed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/24/2004 02:25 PM
Category: Celebrity, Pop Culture
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