Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, September 11, 2021

I mentioned the launch of the St. Pete Times’ new free weekly, tbt*, a couple of days ago. The paper hit the streets yesterday, and the Times has shed more light on what the newborn is all about: In today’s Times and on tbt* itself.

Basically, tbt* (or Tampa Bay Times) is going to recycle the most relevant news and features from the week’s worth of Times’ issues. This is key in keeping production costs down. They might use some additional content, either originally-produced or wire stuff; and they already are running things like alternate comics that would never see space in the Times. But basically, tbt* will be a condensed version of the mothership.

Given that, presentation and format is crucial. I like the grade of paper they’re using (I realize I’m among the minority that notices these things). It’s a slightly more durable newsprint. It’s not only whiter than regular newsprint, which provides a better canvas for what’s printed on it, but it’s also more durable, meaning it can be toted around and stuffed into bags with less likelihood of getting torn apart. That’s important, as you want the thing to be seen as often, and by as many eyeballs, as possible.

In some ways, tbt* is a re-introduction of the traditional Weekend section, which the Times used to publish in Friday’s paper but moved to Thursday years ago. It’s not the same, as tbt* is designed to penetrate a demographic that currently doesn’t read the paper regularly.

Also of note: It looks like tbt* has pretty much taken over the tampabay.com site. It’s a good move, as the Times never seemed to know what exactly to do with it. At one point, I was informed that tampabay.com was going to supplant the Times’ sptimes.com domain; this was when many papers were seeking out online brands that reflected their states/regions. That was never really carried out, and since then tampabay.com was just a dumping ground for the main newspaper site’s links — really, a prototype for tbt*.

I’ll be really interested to see how it does. First thing to do is to expand the fairly small distribution area/channels.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/11/2021 08:03:40 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Publishing
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You don’t want to incur the wrath of the Shaq Diesel, baby. Because he’ll call you out on his next crappy rap number:

On You Not The Fightin’ Type, O’Neal sets out to even scores with several people: [Kobe] Bryant, who he believes got him traded from the Los Angeles Lakers; [Ben] Wallace, whose Pistons defeated the Lakers for this year’s NBA championship; and Skillz, whose rap The Champs is Here celebrated the Detroit victory.

“I heard your little interview and what Ben Wallace said. I ain’t got no response for spider-web head,” O’Neal raps.

“Even with wings you never as fly as me,” he continues. “You remind me of Kobe Bryant trying to be as high as me… but you can’t… even if you get me traded… wherever I’m at, I’m Puffy; you Mase and you’re still hated.”

Fightin’ words. We’ll see if he can back it up on the court versus Bryant and Wallace; as for Skillz, I don’t think he needs to lose any sleep.

Actually, I liked Shaquille’s earlier rap efforts, especially What’s Up, Doc? with Fu-Schnickens, about ten years ago.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/11/2021 06:43:19 PM
Category: Basketball, Celebrity
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As a prelude to this year’s season start (which technically happened with Thursday’s entertainment extravaganza that incidentally included the Colts-Patriots game, and continued with today’s Hurricane Ivan-rescheduled Titans-Dolphins tilt; but come on, we all know it doesn’t really start until Sunday’s slate of games), the NFL took a look back. The league honored the 1964 NFL champion Cleveland Browns by “giving back” the trophy they ended up giving away.

I read the article twice, and still don’t quite understand the rectifying angle. Initially, it’s made to seem that the old Browns suffered some sort of indignity by giving the trophy to the Packers in 1965, and never having gotten it back. But that’s not the way it worked anyway:

Before there was a Super Bowl or a Vince Lombardi Trophy, the NFL gave its champions the Ed Thorp Trophy, an award named after an official who later made footballs for the league.

Like hockey’s Stanley Cup, the Thorp was inscribed with the winner’s name by the league and passed from champion to champion each year. When the Browns won in ‘64, they inherited it from the Chicago Bears, the 1963 titlists.

But when the Browns lost the 1965 NFL championship game to Green Bay, they handed the Thorp over to the Packers, who have kept it to this day in their Hall of Fame.

That’s because after the 1966 season, NFL champions got a new trophy each year. It was named the Lombardi Trophy in 1970 to honor the Green Bay coach.

So the Packers retired the Ed Thorp Trophy; so what? The Lombardi/Super Bowl trophy superseded it. The Browns wouldn’t have a claim to it anyway; they didn’t win in 1966. I don’t see why this whole ceremony was necessary. The ‘63 Bears should be just as deserving of a replica trophy, if this is the notion; hell, every previous Thorp winner is entitled.

Basically, I just wanted to preserve the information on the Ed Thorp Trophy, a bit of NFL history I was unaware of. I especially like the Stanley Cup emulation of carving the winning team’s names into it, and passing the single rendition of it from champ to champ.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/11/2021 04:58:21 PM
Category: Football
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Good God, y’all! Stumblebee points the way to an online repository of relic 1980s TV commercials, all in Windows Media Video format.

All the toy commercials you’d expect, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Smurfs, and Rainbow Brite, are on here. But there’s also a fair amount of non-children’s products represented, too, including Krazy Glue and The Clapper.

I’ll be busy for a little while…

(Via Very Big Blog)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/11/2021 03:44:47 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, TV
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