Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, September 05, 2021

Just in time for the release of The Motorcycle Diaries, Argentine politicians are pushing to bring native son Che Guevara’s remains home from their current internment in Cuba.

The U.S. equivalent, I guess, would be Saint Kitts and Nevis requesting that native-born Alexander Hamilton be dug up out of Manhattan and shipped to the Caribbean.

I suppose most people just assume Che was Cuban. The upcoming movie will help dispel that. I would have thought that Evita (the movie and the musical) would have clued the popular culture in to his Argentine roots, but then again, I’m not sure how obvious it is that the Che in that story is the same Che of revolutionary fame.

I may never get another opportunity to tell my Che story/joke. I don’t remember the source, or how much of it is based in fact, but I like it:

Shortly after Castro’s troops marched into Havana, the revolutionary leaders gathered to organize the new government. Castro ran down the list of to-do items.

“Alright,” he said. “Next, we need someone to lead the ministry of finance. Is anyone here an economist?”

Che looked up, raised his hand and declared, “I am!”

The others looked at him in surprise, unaware that Che had this previously-unknown skill. Castro said, “Well, alright then, you’ve got the job.”

Later, after the meeting was over, Castro took Che aside and said to him, “Che, I had no idea you were an economist!”

“Economist?” Che replied. “But I’m not.”

Castro was stunned. “Then why did you say you were when I asked for one?”

“Oh,” said Che. “I thought you said, ‘Is anyone here a Communist‘.”

The truthful foundation to this yarn: Che was indeed Cuba’s finance minister, from the establishment of Castro’s regime until he left Cuba (for Bolivia) in 1965. Since his formal education was in medicine, it was indeed an odd position for him to take up; combined with his contempt for bureaucratic mechanics, Che’s contributions in guiding the Cuban state’s economy were limited and short-lived.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 11:45:41 PM
Category: Political, Pop Culture
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it's just a show
Did my ears deceive me? Did a high-class movie channel like FLIX just run a promo for schlock classic Attack of the Puppet People, and cite director Bert I. Gordon’s record number of appearances on “Mystery Science Theater 3000″?

I have a feeling they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for something to say about Gordon, and this dubious distinction was the best they could find.

Still, it’s been dead and gone for five years now, but MST3k continues to crop up in unexpected places. It might even be due for a revival, with a new DVD collection just released. It features a couple of gems: The infamous Manos, the Hands of Fate, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Thinking about it, maybe a movie channel would be the ideal home for reruns of MST3K. Securing the rights for most of the movies they used would be a neat trick, and realistically, probably too cost-prohibitive to pull off. But I’d love to see the show inserted into the rotation of FLIX, Turner Classic Movies, or even American Movie Classics. AMC might be the best fit, actually, since they already run commercials. I never watch AMC because of that, but if they did snag MST3K, I’d tune in.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 10:46:01 PM
Category: Movies, Pop Culture
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For you Ratchet & Clank fans out there: The two “out-of-this-world” commercials from earlier this year.

- Gravity Bomb
- Tractor Beam

I’m not a fan of R&C, mainly because I’ve never experienced it. They don’t make it for the Xbox, and since publisher Sony hawks the PlayStation, I don’t see them providing content for the rival console.

My co-worker Jamie really digs the R&C theme music. If anyone knows where I can find a copy of that, let me know.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 09:34:38 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Videogames
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A cute picture of a cute girl wearing a cute shirt. Do I really need any more reason?

Incidentally, Ms. Hathaway is getting ready to shed her princess pedigree in her upcoming two films. “Shed” being the operative word: She mentioned a nude scene in Havoc when she was on “The Graham Norton Effect”.

Yes, sir.

(Via Deadly Cupcake 3)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 05:19:14 PM
Category: Celebrity, Movies
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The one nice thing about waiting out a tropical storm: The pre-storm winds are blowing delightful ghost-pattern wavelets across the surface of my lake. They give the impression of invisible forms chasing each other atop the water.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 04:01:12 PM
Category: Weather
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At Cafe Alma the other night, I managed to chat up a couple of drop-dead gorgeous girls. Don’t ask me how; I guess all three of us reached coincidental optimal drunk points.

They both looked great, both my type. I couldn’t really decide which one I should concentrate on. By default, I wound up talking more to the one on my right, slightly closer to me; her name was Kat. She seemed more interested than her friend did, so it seemed to work out. But I couldn’t help but continue to divide my attention between the two of them.

At one point, the friend excused herself to step outside for a smoke. Kat noticed me checking her out as she walked out. When I turned back to talk to Kat, she had a big smile on her face, and she motioned for me to lean my head in to her so she could whisper something to me. I did, and she said:

“All the boys think she’s a spy.”

I smiled back, nodded, and bought her a fresh drink. She seemed satisfied by this reaction, and we continued our night.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

The words stayed stuck in my head all weekend. Today, I finally plugged them into a search engine, and found their source: Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes”.

A pretty dated reference, coming from a girl who’s probably not much older than the song itself. Also not a song I ever particularly cared for. But I wouldn’t hold it against her.

Even after this revealation, though, something about those words nagged at me. Something else suggested itself in my mind, but I couldn’t quite place it.

Then, about an hour ago, it came to me. I went to my bookcase, pulled out my copy of Bret Easton Ellis’ “Glamorama”, and found it on page 210. The same quote: “All the boys think she’s a spy.” (It reappears on page 532.)

So, one throwaway little phrase from a cute girl in a bar has provided a good bit of mental stimulation.

I think I’ll give Kat a call this week. If only to clarify.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 03:15:23 PM
Category: General
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A new-media court case is coming up that could have far-reaching impact upon how a lot of quickie-research companies do business. Jupitermedia is suing eMarketer over unauthorized and misrepresentative use of their proprietary research data. Jupitermedia claims that the information it pulls together belongs to it, and the bulk of which is made available only to paying customers.

For its part, eMarketer doesn’t buy that Jupitermedia can own facts:

“Facts, including Jupiter’s numbers, which are expressed as facts, are not copywriteable,” she said. “Further, the original text written by our team of analysts based upon facts they gather and upon their own individual analysis is likewise in no way a violation of any copyrights.”…

The eMarketer spokeswoman said, “Emarketer gathers all of its data from public sources including search engines, company Web sites, trade journals and published news reports.”

This is yet another manifestation of the “information is free” mantra that the Web has popularized, and has provided the justification for everything from music/media fileswapping to outright plagiarism.

Succinctly: Information is not free. Particularly not analytical data that’s compiled, interpreted within a set of useful parameters and invested with expert opinion. There are actual human beings, with unique skills, on the other end of that information, who put in hours of work to bring it into existence.

The people at eMarketer don’t see it that way. To them, once a piece of information is released into the wild — even if that “release” is in the form of paid subscription — it’s public property, up for grabs by anyone who wants to re-use it. In this view, it’s available, so it’s fair game as a non-compensatory resource. To take it a step beyond, by stating that such data are “facts”, the argument boils down to the elimination of ownership, because facts can’t be owned.

It’s a weak argument. eMarketer is obviously re-purposing Jupitermedia’s originally-produced reports and passing them off as their own production. That would be bad enough, but it’s compounded by violation of Jupitermedia’s stated provisions for use and distribution of its published material.

As always, it comes down to money: eMarketer has made a business of pulling in data and analysis produced by other companies and using it as the foundation for their own services, calling it “aggregation”. Jupitermedia considers it the equivalent of theft and the undercutting of its reputation.

Does news aggregation provide a justification for all this? Using straight news reports from newspapers and magazines is not at issue; most often, they do relay facts. The value of that information is limited, because it is public and so widely available. Dedicated analysis is the value-added version of news: It goes deeper, provides a more complex view of those facts, and often gives direct advice on what it means for specific companies or industries. That’s why it’s worth the extra cost in obtaining it, or even commissioning it. That’s why a company like Jupitermedia looks askance at having it ripped off.

Personally, I don’t see how eMarketer has a leg to stand on. The best it can hope for is a partial victory, along the lines of limited use for a severly limited period of time. Jupitermedia CEO Alan Meckler predicts that other research companies will jump on the bandwagon against this type of unauthorized re-use, and a successful suit will certainly spur that. Meanwhile, a bunch of companies that have made a cottage industry out of cutting-and-pasting report data will have to shift gears quick. Even lower-level, generalist outfits like Hoovers will become suddenly vulnerable, as they could be sued over how they gather their lifeblood data.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 11:57:31 AM
Category: Internet, Publishing
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Just battening down for Tropical Storm Frances, due in several hours. To pass the time, I’ll be going stir-crazy.

The fun will start once the manhole covers pop off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/05/2021 11:04:38 AM
Category: Florida Livin', Weather
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