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Thursday, September 30, 2021

I just watched most of tonight’s Presidential debate from the University of Miami. I watched the full first hour, skipped the majority of the final 25 minutes, then caught each candidate’s closing remarks. I’m currently watching the talking-head wrap-up on PBS.

Impressions… I was pleasantly surprised at the substantive content of this debate, a real rarity in these cases. The foreign policy focus is most up my alley, as that constituted my degree work in college. Because of that, I’m sure I’ll find the next debates and their issues to be less engrossing, personally.

Of course, with the political climate being what it is, the usually-marginalized foreign policy issues take a central focus in this election year. Yet it is a narrow focus, almost exclusively on terrorism and the semi-related Iraq war (with nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Russia’s recent crackdown on democratic institutions barely nudging into tonight’s dialogue). Terrorism concerns are where the action is, and dominates the public consciousness, so I wasn’t expected anything different. But there are other international issues of concern: Growing Chinese influence, relations with the EU and Japan, the Darfur genocide, the latest rounds of transnational trade talks, and lots more. In this regard, foreign policy issues remained invisible.

As far as the candidates’ performances:

The President was exceptionally persistent, requesting 30-second extension rebuttals after most questions. This effectively extended a dogged leadership role that he’s been conveying as Commander in Chief since 9/11. It also helped to dispel some of the dopey characterization he’s been tagged with. From what I saw, he was pretty articulate and avoided many Bush-isms (although he did commit something close in the opening minutes, when he referred to enemy forces in Iraq as “vociferous”).

Kerry was fairly resolute in getting his points across. He was pretty aggressive at attacking Bush on performance and decision specifics, which is the way for him to go at this stage. I was most impressed by how he tried to redirect the focus away from him and onto the issues. Where he fared less effectively was in being overly expansive with his responses: He sometimes tended to diverge a good ways from the original question, and the contrast with Bush’s more on-issue replies was glaring.

This debate was quality enough to get my poli-junkie juices going. As is usual with first-stage debates, this round won’t sway or change many votes — that’s for subsequent debates. But it was a very good start.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2004 11:00pm
Category: Political
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check that tan
I must work too hard. So engrossed was I this morning at the office that I totally missed my window of opportunity to get my picture taken with the Stanley Cup!

By virtue of the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s win in June, the Cup made a visit to our building. It was here for only a couple of hours — tight schedule and all that. From what I understand, there was a nice long line of people filing in to get a gander. The deal was to bring your own camera and get your photo opp.

I completely zoned out on it. I knew the Cup was coming a couple of days ago, but never had time to check the details. I didn’t even know the thing was set up for today, and by the time I got wind of it, it was too late.

Kinda sucks. It would have been cool to get a pic. I’ll have to hope that the Bolts win it again this season (whenever it gets started), so I’ll get another chance next year.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2004 10:42pm
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey
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I haven’t done this sort of thing in a while:

Step 1: Open your MP3 player.
Step 2: Put all of your music on random.
Step 3: Write down the first 10 songs it plays, no matter how embarrassing.

Here’s mine from earlier today, off my iPod:

1. “Running on Empty” - Jackson Browne
2. “24 Hour Party People” - Happy Mondays
3. “Magic Mike & Infiniti - 2001″ - Baby Anne
4. “Party For Your Right to Fight” - Public Enemy
5. “Pray” - MC Hammer
6. “The Number Song” - DJ Shadow
7. “Psycho Killer” - Talking Heads
8. “Hole Hearted” - Extreme
9. “It Doesn’t Matter” - Chemical Brothers
10. “The Race Is On (live)” - Grateful Dead

Hit me with yours, in the feedback box below!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2004 07:20pm
Category: Pop Culture, iPod Random Tracks
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Presidential Debate, Round One is coming atcha from Miami tonight. Because all the blows landed will be verbal ones, the tale of the tape will be measured in words — both quantity and quality.

Frankly, I think it’s a little silly to be parsing sentences in an effort to divine political effectiveness. There’s certainly a solid basis behind such analysis, and undoubtedly delivery during a debate can really swing mass appeal (for or against). But let’s not go overboard.

The kookiest example of Presidential diction cited in the article is President John Adams’ Inaugural Address of March 4th, 1797, which includes an astounding 727-word sentence:

On this subject it might become me better to be silent or to speak with diffidence; but as something may be expected, the occasion, I hope, will be admitted as an apology if I venture to say that if a preference, upon principle, of a free republican government, formed upon long and serious reflection, after a diligent and impartial inquiry after truth; if an attachment to the Constitution of the United States, and a conscientious determination to support it until it shall be altered by the judgments and wishes of the people, expressed in the mode prescribed in it; if a respectful attention to the constitutions of the individual States and a constant caution and delicacy toward the State governments; if an equal and impartial regard to the rights, interest, honor, and happiness of all the States in the Union, without preference or regard to a northern or southern, an eastern or western, position, their various political opinions on unessential points or their personal attachments; if a love of virtuous men of all parties and denominations; if a love of science and letters and a wish to patronize every rational effort to encourage schools, colleges, universities, academies, and every institution for propagating knowledge, virtue, and religion among all classes of the people, not only for their benign influence on the happiness of life in all its stages and classes, and of society in all its forms, but as the only means of preserving our Constitution from its natural enemies, the spirit of sophistry, the spirit of party, the spirit of intrigue, the profligacy of corruption, and the pestilence of foreign influence, which is the angel of destruction to elective governments; if a love of equal laws, of justice, and humanity in the interior administration; if an inclination to improve agriculture, commerce, and manufacturers for necessity, convenience, and defense; if a spirit of equity and humanity toward the aboriginal nations of America, and a disposition to meliorate their condition by inclining them to be more friendly to us, and our citizens to be more friendly to them; if aninflexible determination to maintain peace and inviolable faith with all nations, and that system of neutrality and impartiality among the belligerent powers of Europe which has been adopted by this Government and so solemnly sanctioned by both Houses of Congress and applauded by the legislatures of the States and the public opinion, until it shall be otherwise ordained by Congress; if a personal esteem for the French nation, formed in a residence of seven years chiefly among them, and a sincere desire to preserve the friendship which has been so much for the honor and interest of both nations; if, while the conscious honor and integrity of the people of America and the internal sentiment of their own power and energies must be preserved, an earnest endeavor to investigate every just cause and remove every colorable pretense of complaint; if an intention to pursue by amicable negotiation a reparation for the injuries that have been committed on the commerce of our fellow-citizens by whatever nation, and if success can not be obtained, to lay the facts before the Legislature, that they may consider what further measures the honor and interest of the Government and its constituents demand; if a resolution to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world; if an unshaken confidence in the honor, spirit, and resources of the American people, on which I have so often hazarded my all and never been deceived; if elevated ideas of the high destinies of this country and of my own duties toward it, founded on a knowledge of the moral principles and intellectual improvements of the people deeply engraven on my mind in early life, and not obscured but exalted by experience and age; and, with humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

Christ, and I thought I was long-winded; no wonder he was a one-termer!

It makes my head hurt just reading it. This is a whopper even by 18th century standards; and yet, it was considered an effective piece. I’d love to see a modern-day politico try one with this much heft.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/30/2004 10:27am
Category: Political
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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Today I went on a going-away lunch for a co-worker. She’d been with the magazine for just a bit longer than I have. She’s moving on to other opportunities in the magazine biz.

I can’t say I was ever particularly close to her, either at work or outside the office. We were always cordial, but nothing beyond that. We never hung out, and between our schedules, we’d sometimes go a couple of days without actually seeing each other.

Still, I’ll miss her. She’s pretty, sweet, and nice to have around. In an office full of beautiful women, she was definitely the most attractive one. That’s mainly a function of her being my type; that she was one of the very few single women in the office only enhanced that. That said, I doubt I ever had a chance with her, and for that matter, I could detect certain traits in her that told me she probably didn’t have a chance with me.

Anyway, she’s gone as of today. And any departure like this makes me a little sad. So I’m making note of it. Despite the usual assurances of keeping in touch, I’m pretty sure we won’t meet again.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/29/2004 09:20pm
Category: General
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adieu sa-wing batta
This is probably the first time I’ve ever used the Montreal Expos logo, either here or on the old blog. It’s also likely to be the last, as the ‘Spos aim to depart la belle provence for greener fields in Washington, DC (la belle district??).

It’s big news in baseball, where a major league team hasn’t relocated since 1971. I know two bloggers in DC who are duly excited.

Naturally, this is Major League Baseball, so the deal’s not completely done yet. And because of that, I have to say this is an awfully backward way of moving a team:

With the announcement made, the process of selling the Expos starts. A group that includes former Rangers partner Fred Malek has been seeking a Washington franchise for five years. In addition, several baseball officials have said in the past week that Stan Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers, might be trying to assemble a group.

These days, a major sports league goes through a rigorous process of selecting a legit ownership group before it plants a team in a new city (through either expansion or relocation). This move to Washington feels like putting the cart before the horse. But I suppose there’s enough confidence that a group can be found in a relatively rich metro area like DC.

While the major details are being worked out, the cosmetic ones are being addressed too. Chief among them: A new name. Dragging out the old Senators moniker would be traditional, but probably hokey, and not worth bounding several hurdles to get it. Fortunately, “Washington Grays” is available, just as traditional, and a very nice tribute to the old Negro League team (and by extension, the entire Negro Leagues).

Talk about more cosmetic details: Yahoo! Sports has already cleared out an empty locker for the new Washington team.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/29/2004 08:15pm
Category: Baseball
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Any “Smallville” fans out there? I’m curious as to whether or not the introduction of Lois Lane into the storyline represents the jumping of the shark.

But I’m not curious enough to actually watch the show, despite the presence of the delectable Kristin Kreuk. I’ve watched maybe 10 minutes out of the entire series. Most memorable: An episode-opening scene with Pa Kent, played by John Schneider, driving his pickup and listening to “The Dukes of Hazzard” theme song on the truck radio.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/29/2004 07:32pm
Category: TV
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bow wow
The look on her face says it all. Halo is a company here in the Tampa Bay area that makes all-natural pet foods good enough for human consumption.

It’s like they read my mind. Many’s the time I’d get a hankering for some Kibble For Him.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/29/2004 07:08pm
Category: General
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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Since when is the announcement of an upcoming album’s track list considered newsworthy? I guess when the band releasing the album is U2, and the album is “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”, their first new-material disc since 2000.

I’m not sure acts of a lesser magnitude than U2 can pull it off, but it occurs to me that making an event out of something so mundane as an album’s track selection is a great marketing ploy. It generates some anticipatory buzz, especially among serious fans but also with casual ones.

More than that, this announcement puts the focus squarely on the album, instead of the individual songs themselves (despite the success of “Vertigo”, the advance single). That’s important these days. With the popularity of music file downloads (illicitly or through online music stores), the album format has taken a beating. Some artists have resisted the elimination of the album; some influentials like The Beatles even delayed the release of their material through iTunes and other services because they didn’t want many of their tracks sold separately. Something like this re-emphasizes the album as the vehicle to get the music (even if it’s only on a subtle level).

Personally, I’ve long ago fallen out of love with Bono & Co. (not that I ever loved them much). I thought they got way too pretentious for their own good with “Zooropa”, way back when. I haven’t paid much attention to them since.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/28/2004 08:38pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture
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Naming-rights deals don’t get much more fun than this: Candlestick Park (once, briefly, 3Com Park), home of the San Francisco 49ers, will now be known as Monster Park, to the tune of $6 million.

Why Monster Park?

The name comes from its new sponsor, Monster Cable Products, a San Francisco-area company which sells audio cables such as those connecting guitars to amplifiers.

“Monster has always been an unusual name. But at least within the consumer electronics industry it’s a famous name,” Monster Vice President David Tognotti said in an interview.

I got news for you, Dave: I seriously doubt the park’s name will raise much recognition for your company, in northern California or anywhere else. The first company that came to mind when I read the stadium’s new name was Monster (formerly Monster.com), which already has far better brand recognition. And I bet I’m not going to be the only one.

In my opinion, Monster Cable just threw away their money. Online job network Monster is going to end up with a lot of unintentional exposure out of this, and it won’t have spent a penny. Meanwhile, even people in San Francisco will remain in the dark about the park’s true naming-rights sponsor.

What is it about San Francisco? This sounds like just another 404 error in the city’s ballparks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 09/28/2004 07:44pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., SportsBiz
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Monday, September 27, 2021

A couple of months after putting online mag Slate on the market, Microsoft may be close to selling it. New York Magazine’s Metro.com is reporting that the Washington Post Company is the likely suitor, in a bid to grab Slate’s high-minded readership.

It’d be a good match. I think the Post would be very likely to launch a print edition of Slate, as well; if they really wanted to exploit the brand, a physical product is the way to do it. One day, we might be seeing copies of Slate on coffeetables.

(Via Dustbury)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2004 08:16pm
Category: Internet, Publishing
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Tonight is the 50th anniversary of NBC’s “Tonight Show”. The network is marking the occasion by formally announcing that Conan O’Brien will take the reins from Jay Leno in five years.

So much for hoping that O’Brien would improbably join David Letterman at CBS. I can’t believe CBS didn’t dangle the carrot, with speculation that Letterman isn’t going to stick around for too many more years. But I guess O’Brien figures he’s established at NBC, and the network obviously stepped up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2004 08:00pm
Category: Celebrity, TV
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By now, we’ve all heard about the Pontiac car giveaway promotion stunt on Oprah (that inspired me to give away some Gmail invites — still got some left!). We’ve probably all heard about the downside: Each car recipient is on the hook for a $7,000 tax bill if they keep the car.

While seven grand is a good deal for a brand-new car, paying that lump sum may well be a hardship for some. So the logical solution would be to get rid of the car.

How? I suppose donating it to charity would turn that tax bill into a nice big deduction. However, I’m thinking that these ballyhooed cars must have some collector value to them — a limited run of 276 vehicles that were blessed by Oprah Winfrey.

So I suggest that winners get together and auction off these babies. There are enough Oprah addicts out there who would kill to get their hands on one. Odds are they can get enough money to not only pay off the tax bill, but also to buy a whole other car.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2004 07:37pm
Category: Celebrity, Pop Culture
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Next time you’re in DC, be sure to visit the Washington National Cathedral. Bring your binoculars, because you’ll need them while you’re checking out the northwest tower, where a gargoyle sculpture of Darth Vader proudly sits.

I’m betting this will lead to calls for Jedi religious services to be held at the Cathedral.

Years ago, I was sent a link to the Cathedral’s website that featured a great photo of the Darth sculpture. I assumed it was a Photoshopped trick that some hacker planted onto the site, and had a good laugh. I’m amazed that it’s for real.

(Via Ecumenical Insanity)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2004 06:53pm
Category: Pop Culture
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After a smoother drive into work than I would have thought likely, I came upon this at my office building:

- All three main elevators were out. My options were to take a maze-like patchwork of service elevators, or else take eight flights of steps. It was too early for navigating through the building’s innards, so I took the stairs.

Had I known I would be hiking up to my office first thing, I would have skipped the light cardio workout I did when I got out of bed. I made it up all eight floors, huffing and puffing.

Naturally, I got word that the elevators started running about five minutes after I sat in my chair. Typical.

- The bathrooms up here somehow got flooded yesterday, resulting in a lot of wet carpet by their entryways. It’s only water, but still kinda disgusting.

Thanks, you bitch.

Actually, the weather is shaping up to be rather pleasant — only a few scattered clouds against a nice blue sky, and relatively cool. Go figure.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2004 10:58am
Category: Florida Livin', Weather
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Sunday, September 26, 2021

dali-licious
Something to look forward to, shortly: The “Dali & Mass Culture” special exhibition at the Salvador Dali Museum.

The St. Pete Times ran a great in-depth look at the commercial applications of Dali’s works, and includes a fantastic image gallery. I especially like the Dali-crafted 1944 Vogue cover.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 09:20pm
Category: Florida Livin', Pop Culture
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It’s quite the identity crisis: Despite being, geographically, the deepest part of the Deep South, Florida’s regular population influxes from Northern and Midwestern states call into question just where it fits in the national sociopolitical picture. Diane Roberts argues that, despite the tendency of transplants to cling to their non-Southern identities, many of their reasons for coming to Florida only reinforce the state’s traditional Southern-ness.

Being a transplant myself, from New York — deep in Yankee territory — I’m very familiar with the reluctance of Floridian emigrants to consider themselves as Southerners. I suppose that’s true for other parts of the South where transplants settle, but it seems acute in Florida, perhaps because it’s still seen as something more of a frontier state (a holdover from the 1920s land boom).

Part of it is intra-state perceptions. I know that the South Florida metroplex (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) generally considers the rest of the state to be cracker country. Orlando is looked upon as even more tourist-dominated than the rest of the state. And the Panhandle is pretty much an extension of neighboring Alabama and Georgia.

I always felt that the Tampa Bay area was where the uncertain border between old-time cracker Florida and the transplant-colonized Florida was drawn. You don’t have to go too far north of Tampa Bay to heard distinctly Southern accents dominating. But head south to Sarasota and further, and you’ll find more and more pockets of Midwestern stock. (Of course, there is no clear dividing line.)

Roberts’ main argument against the notion that Florida has somehow been transformed from Southern to Northern:

Immigrants to Florida absolve the state of its own history, through ignorance or else a desire to embrace more romantic, tourist-friendly, versions of the past. The solid citizens of the heartland carry their values to Florida, but they also imbibe Southernness, as demonstrated in their reluctance to pay fair taxes or, as Martha Barnett puts it, “invest in our infrastructure or education.”

Basically, people coming here from Michigan or Pennsylvania won’t consciously associate themselves with the established, traditional culture, and so retain their out-of-state identity as a point of pride. But the traditional sociopolitical structure that favors lower taxes (as compared to other parts of the country) as a permanent incentive is too tempting to not embrace, even for those raising families. In essence, lower taxes become the main compensation for relocating to Florida, and in turn inject a distinctly Southern sensibility into these former Northerners/Midwesterners.

I also really like Roberts’ characterization of Florida’s Cubans, who are often pointed to as proof of the state’s un-Southernization:

But the Cubans are arguably the most Southern people on Earth. Cuba was a plantation society, a slave society. Fidel Castro mounted a rebellion that destroyed the landed class, and now Florida Cubans talk about him the way the Daughters of the Confederacy talk about Gen. Sherman.

The exiles understand the Lost Cause. They romanticize defeat so heavily you can almost hear the theme music from Gone With the Wind playing in the background.

Now, Cubans aren’t indistinguishable from Faulkner characters or even denizens of rural North Florida. They do, however, manifest so-called “Southern” traits: piety, obsession with honor, chastity, violence, manliness — sound like anyone you know? Far from being an exotic incursion into Florida, the Cubans fit right in.

Pretty spot on.

When speaking of my current home state, I’m fond of summing it up thusly: The South is north of us. It’s terribly oversimplified, but seems to fit. I think Roberts’ point is that, as distinct as Florida’s demographics have become over the past half-century, deeper historical patterns — basicaly, what makes the engine run — remain and keep the state rooted in its native region, whether we want it to or not.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 09:12pm
Category: Florida Livin', Political, Society
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jeanne genie
It‘s pretty much over. It’s still raining, and enough wind is kicking up to swing that loose storm drain gutter and make some unsettling noise. The weather should remain shitty for the next couple of hours, and get only a little better tomorrow, and the storm surges should cause headaches around the Bay. But overall, Tropical Storm (nee Hurricane) Jeanne has come and gone.

I just took a walk outside, largely to get at least a little fresh air. The damage in my little nook here is minimal: Lots of plant debris was blown about, most of the small trees have acquired new angles, and wetness everywhere. I saw a few more storm drains downed, and what appeared to be part of an air-conditioning system crashed into a far parking lot (no car got damaged from it, from what I could see). Otherwise, it’s looking okay.

As usual, the fatigue factor was more mental than anything else. I avoided watching the weather updates more than a couple of times, because that’s a sure way to amp up your anxiety level needlessly. But just having to coop myself up all day was wearing. And since rainy days always tend to depress me, it’s been a real downer of a day.

So, Round Four of Florida’s little hurricane year is largely in the books. I’m not looking for a Round Five.

I do think that a couple of changes need to be made, as far as Florida’s identity:

- With this much storm activity, in addition to the higher-than-average precipitation we got before the hurricane season even began, I feel it’s time to remove the “sub” from the sub-tropical designation of the peninsula’s geographic region. We’re as good as tropical, baby — start planting the rainforest fields in Plant City!

- The state’s tourism folks won’t like it, but it’s time to call a spade a spade: “Sunshine State” is laughably dead. Long live “Hurricane State”.

What else? A couple of bloggers found ways to make lemonade from this lemon of a day:

- Stacy at Sekimori has come up with a drinking game, dubbed “FALL DOWN”, that relies on the on-the-scene TV reporters during major storms getting pelted with stuff and blown down. Funny concept, but it’s no Three-Man. (Found via Jeff at Side Salad.)

- Mr. Bill at SoHoTampa is trying to scare up a “Good Riddance Jeanne”/Sunday Night Bucs game party tonight. It’s a natural inclination around here to punctuate a hurricane with a celebration afterward (or even beforehand). It’s tempting, if only to get out of the house and salvage something out of this day. But I’m not wild about driving in this still-windy mess.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 06:40pm
Category: Florida Livin', Weather
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gutted
I just got my first tangible sign of real damage from visiting Hurricane Jeanne. Above is a picture of the storm gutter above my apartment, over my patio. I guess the day’s rain and wind finally overloaded it, and it broke loose. It’s since swung down perpendicular and is hanging on the edge of my patio window, just out of sight except for regular gusts that swing it back over.

Nothing major, but definitely noticable, as I was sitting in my living room when it happened. I don’t think it can do much damage: It’s just aluminum, so it doesn’t have enough heft to come through the screen. If I could reach it, I’d try to pull it down just to eliminate it as a possible projectile. But if this is the worst I get, I’ll take it.

By the way, it seems Tampa Bay’s special Providence that protects it from hurricanes and tropical storms has come through again, mostly. A TV report just told me that Jeanne took a turn over Polk County, going slightly further northwest than originally expected. That means the center of the storm will only brush northern Hillsborough, instead of coming into downtown Tampa. It also means Jeanne will spend more time over land, and thus will lose strength a little more quickly. We’ll still get plenty wet, but apparently it’s being somewhat minimized.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 01:14pm
Category: Weather
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With Jeanne in town, it’s a good time to look at the whack rumors that blazed through Florida during the weather crises, and why they spread.

The gas-rationing one was really noticable here during Ivan’s time, and massively contributed to my foul mood that weekend. I lucked out by gassing up the very night before; but all the traffic holdups caused by idiots piling six cars deep into pump cues really got on my nerves.

So what’s the social dynamic behind these crazy stories?

“Natural disasters are a major incubator for rumors,” said Gary Fine, an expert on the psychology of rumors at Northwestern University in Chicago. “They work so well because the events are both important and ambiguous, and often in times of great stress people lose their critical ability.”

Rumors tend to start early after the disaster when information is scarce and emotions are raw, Fine said. And in those situations, people might not be inclined to believe what the government is telling them.

“In the midst of things, people are looking for any kind information about what’s going to happen next,” Fine said. “So a neighbor will tell them something that they’re just speculating or guessing about, and the person who hears it takes it as fact. We’re searching for any kind of news we can get our hands on, and we’re not very particular about what the source is.”

Not very particular about the source — wow, that sounds like the Web/blog news phenomenon! Except there’s generally no crisis that merits it.

I think I’ll get the early jump on the rumor mill for Jeanne. This is a blog, so I’m sure the story will be disseminated widely in short order. Let’s see, how about this:

I hear a bunch of alligators escaped from Lowry Park Zoo thanks to the storm, and are marching all over town. Some have been sighted as far south as Kennedy.

(I’m counting on people who’ve never seen the gators at Lowry Park to swallow this. If you’ve ever seen how fat those bastards are, you’d know they could never waddle more than a block before collapsing into hibernation.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 09:04am
Category: Society, Weather
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It’s not unusual to see a fetish party in Ybor City. It is rather unusual to see two of them, in separate locations, on the same night.

But that was the case last night: Both The Masquerade and Circus Bar (formerly Club Czar; I was unaware of the changeover) were crawling with latex-clad, chain-bedecked freakie-deakies, and there was plenty of spillover all over 7th Avenue.

It was quite the sight. It served as a perception corrective: As much as you might think some of the outfits on display in Ybor are over the edge, seeing a Gimp lookalike strolling down the street makes you realize how tame everyone else really is.

I did not attend either party. They were both open to the public, and I was handed a free drink card for the Masquerade show while I was killing time in the little hole-in-the-wall karaoke bar next door. But it was a little too out there for me last night, and anyway I wasn’t dressed for it (even though I was wearing mostly black). I likely wouldn’t have been able to take any pictures, which would have been the main reason for indulging. Maybe next time.

Two fetish parties in one night, only a couple of blocks apart? Must have been the Hurricane Jeanne-induced drop in barometric pressure…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/26/2004 08:48am
Category: Florida Livin'
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