Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Think of how much less efficient America’s workplaces would be had the motivational poster never been invented.


Workers tend to build a tolerance toward any morale-boosting gimmick, though. So the time has come to super-charge those posters with official Marvel Comics characters.

Just be careful which characters you use to deliver those pep-talks:

Captain America for Fortitude, the Hulk for Strength, Spider-Man for Character… not a bad idea — some geeks are managers, and vica versa.

And then I saw this one.

Magneto, a character who has repeatedly advocated and pursued literal genocide, standing for Possibilities.

I’m thinking the Magneto poster would be a favorite of Hank Scorpio, CEO of Globex Corporation.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/31/2004 12:31pm
Category: Business, Pop Culture
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political jungle
I have a weakness for oldschool videogames on the Web. And in this campaign season, I get a kick out of politically-repurposed ones.

So, in the vein of “White House Joust”, New York’s Gotham Gazette presents “Donkey Con” (aka “Elephant Evasion” — keeping it nice and bipartisan).

Practice your jumping skills, Mario, because there are no hammers in this version. And don’t plan on any marathon sessions, because there are no bonus rounds, either.

(Via Greedy Girl)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/31/2004 11:54am
Category: Politics, Videogames
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So, is it a bad sign when a chunk of plastic chips off your Xbox S-Controller while you’re playing?

I’m not talking about a button or joint coming loose and dislodging. I mean a strip of plastic actually breaking off, due to excessive pressure from overuse.

You might tag me as a hopeless gaming geek. But really, it’s taken two full years to damage the controller (it still works fine). And comparatively, I’m tame. I just took a survey on my gaming habits, and it turns out that my couple of hours a week of blasting pixels is bush league when stacked against the 8-hours-per-day zombies out there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/31/2004 11:34am
Category: Videogames
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Happy Halloween! As you can see, the search engines are having holiday fun.

So quien es mas macho: Yahoo! or Google?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/31/2004 11:13am
Category: Internet
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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Yep, Guavaween be tonight.

Not sure if I’ll go. I haven’t in years; I’ve usually been too burned out by the end of October to gather the strength for it. That’s not the case this time, but other things are causing me to struggle to find the motivation today.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 06:54pm
Category: Florida Livin'
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straight up
It’s far from comprehensive, but tbt* has a little roundup of notable martini offerings in Bay area nightspots.

Some of these “specialty” drinks… I mean, come on: Strawberry Shortcake martini, with ice cream and pureed berries? You don’t belong in a bar if you’re drinking that, you belong at the nearest Ben & Jerry’s, spiking your sundae with shots from your smuggled-in fifth of Jack.

I don’t mind downing a kooky chocolate-laced concoction on occasion, but generally, I stick with the traditional gin or vodka (gin 80 percent of the time), hint of vermouth and speared garnish. Any variations can come from standard bar ingredients.

Actually, one of my favorite martini options used to be available at The Rare Olive in Ybor. It was actually just a particular choice of garnish: Instead of the staid olives or cocktail onions, they offered a pickled baby octopus for soaking in your gin/vodka. Tasty! And damned chewy. More importantly, it was quite the conversation-starter. Sadly, the last time I tried to order it, a couple of years ago, they no longer had it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 06:45pm
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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Beating the rush by waiting in line: Thousands of voters in the Tampa Bay area are enduring long delays to get in their early votes.

I can attest to this. I dropped off my absentee ballot yesterday in downtown St. Pete (I’m not going anywhere on Election Day; I just figured it would be easier this way). The line of people looking to get to the early-voting booths snaked around the corner; it looked like a 30-minute wait, easily. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait — I just dropped my ballot off, and I was gone.

The motivation for jumping the electoral gun? For most, it’s likely a wistful attempt at insulating oneself from the current poli-ad maelstrom:

“It’s almost like they can bring closure to this whole thing,” said Kurt Browning, the elections supervisor in Pasco County. “They can say, “I don’t need to read another piece of mail, or listen to another political advertisement. I’m done, leave me alone!’ “

I know the feeling. But instead of changing my answering machine’s outgoing message, I’ve simply turned it off until November 3rd. Anyone who really needs to get ahold of me until then knows how to, anyway.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 06:18pm
Category: Politics
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The things you learn while checking out the local theater action. The one and only Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam will be in Tampa next Saturday.

Might be worth a look.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 06:04pm
Category: Florida Livin', Media
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it's live
I don’t go see live theater very much. I could go at length about why not, about the differences between mainstream spectacle productions and more intimate theater, the scattered venues in the Tampa Bay area, and so on. I won’t. I’ll just leave it at saying that, typically, seeing a show is usually, at best, fourth or fifth on my options list for a night out; as a result, in the 15 years I’ve lived here, I’ve been gone to see three or four plays, total.

I am tempted, though, by Jobsite Theater’s production of “Playing With Fire: After Frankenstein” at the TBPAC’s Shimberg Playhouse. Why? Because it ain’t your daddy’s Frankenstein:

Playing With Fire, commissioned in the mid 1990s by the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, picks up where the Shelley novel ends, with Dr. Frankenstein and his creature in the Arctic. From there it moves backward and forward in time, providing the backstory by revisiting scenes from the novel. Two sets of actors play the doctor and the creature, one set in the play’s present and one in the past.

If audiences come expecting the Frankenstein of B movies, they’re likely to be disappointed, [Jobsite artistic director David] Jenkins said.

“This isn’t a Boris Karloff Frankenstein, with a square head and green greasepaint and bolts in the neck,” he said. “There isn’t a lot of blood and gore at all.”

Instead Playing With Fire is meant as a serious examination of the human condition, a look at the relationship between the creator (with or without a capital C) and the creation, a study of existential isolation.

Mary Shelley’s novel is a rich vein to tap, and I’m most intrigued by an asynchronous sequel that expands upon its themes.

(Not that the monster movie deserves to be dissed. It is a classic, and its iconic nature is woven into popular culture. It’s also, I think, the only horror movie that ever actually gave me nightmares as a kid.)

What are the chances of Jobsite tossing me a couple of comp tickets to a performance of “Playing With Fire”, even for a matinee showing? Eh, I won’t beg. And I’ll probably go see it anyway.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 05:42pm
Category: Florida Livin', Media
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Friday, October 29, 2021

If you need any more proof that customizable mobile phone ringtones are big business for both the music biz and wireless providers, here it is: Starting next week, Billboard will produce chart rankings tracking sales of ringtone singles.

That’s bigtime legitimization. Even five years ago, I doubt anyone in the U.S. figured ringtones would generate any sort of revenue. But as mobile phones have become must-have accessories, particularly among the younger demographics, musical ringtones have become de rigeur.

I don’t know what the tracking information is like overseas, but I recall reading years ago that the music market in Europe assimilated digital content long ago. Basically, a single gets released in five formats, automatically:

1. CD
2. Cassette tape
3. Video (DVD or VHS)
4. Digital file
5. Ringtone

It’ll only be a matter of time before Billboard starts actively tracking digital sales, via iTunes and other outlets.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/29/2004 07:58pm
Category: Business, Pop Culture, Tech
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It was perhaps inevitable that Boston’s first World Series win in 86 years would come against a team from St. Louis:

Weird fact in case you missed it: The Celtics won their first championship against St. Louis (1957); the Bruins broke a 41-year Stanley Cup drought against St. Louis (1970); and the Patriots won their first Super Bowl against St. Louis (2002). Hey, I’m just the messenger.

I guess this means the Bruins will have to count on meeting the Blues in the Stanley Cup finals, if Beantown ever hopes to get another hockey championship. (That’s assuming the NHL ever plays another game…)

The bad news? St. Louis currently doesn’t have an NBA franchise. So unless it gets one (not out of the question), the Celtics championship drought will continue indefinitely.

As far as World Series wins go, St. Louis can mollify itself in the knowledge that they helped extend the Red Sox curse two times, before finally helping the BoSox banish it.

(Via Newmark’s Door)

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/29/2004 07:07pm
Category: Sports
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Thursday, October 28, 2021

i'm a coverboy, baby!
Yup, that’s the one and only Dick Vitale, on the cover of my magazine, Florida Trend! I cannot tell you how proud I am.

I bet you didn’t know that Dickie V is one of the most influential people to call Florida their home. He’s a Sarasota resident, where he lives during the hoops off-season, and he often can be spotted at Devil Rays games here in St. Pete during the summer.

The Art Director told me he was a lot of fun to shoot. The goal was to get Vitale to keep up the animated look for the camera. When he would start to flag, the Director would do a terrible Dickie V impersonation, saying “INFLUENCE, BABY!”, and that would recharge Vitale for another several minutes.

When I first saw the cover earlier this month, I managed to amuse the office with my own Dickie V spiel. It was a big hit, to my surprise — I never thought I did him justice. I guess I’m able to get the right mixture of bombast, cadence and Jersey accent into my “HE’S A DIAPER DANDY, BABY!! MY PTP-ER ALL THE WAY!!”

(For those of you who need help with that last sentence, please consult the official V-Speak Glossary.)

Vitale was quite pleased with the cover, and he told the editors that he was going to show it off on TV during a game. I don’t know how true that is — I imagine he’d love to, and wouldn’t need to clear it with ESPN — but I’m going to have to keep an eye out for it (tough, because I don’t even like college hoops).

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 10:34pm
Category: Florida Livin', Publishing, Sports
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Remember Hanzi Smatter, the public-service blog dedicated to exposing the mangling of Chinese characters in today’s popular tattoos?

USA Today has caught the scent, featuring it in their “Hot Sites” section. Congratulations, Tian.

I should come up with something like that. Unfortunately, I’d have to wait for a Greek-alphabet tattoo craze to sweep the nation. Frats and sororities, I’m looking in your direction…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 09:07pm
Category: Bloggin', Pop Culture
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Attention, Christian mothers: Your teenage daughters could be blogging their brains out right under your nose. Get hip to the jive, and put a stop to it!

I’m waiting for a fundamentalist boycott of LiveJournal, de facto home of the teenage angst blogging community.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 08:45pm
Category: Comedy
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all woman
See that picture of America’s airhead, Jessica Simpson, above? Quite attractive, right? Even if you’re not a fan of her, her music or her show (that’s me, on all three counts), it’s safe to say that most people would characterize her as pretty, and feminine.

Does anything about her strike you as even remotely masculine?

No, not to me either. But inexplicably, at least a couple of people see her in that light.

And so, it got me to wondering: Am I missing something? Is this somehow a widespread view? Are there others out there who think Jessica Simpson is somehow mannish-looking?

I’ll concede, by comparative standards, that her Milli Vanilli-playin’ sister is the more boyish Simpson kid.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 08:25pm
Category: Celebrity
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‘Tis the season. The distressed fellow pictured above sits in my office area at Florida Trend, on a bookcase right next to the Betta tank. I bought the pumpkin, my officemate Jamie gave him life. Do we know how to celebrate Halloween in an office setting, or what?

I’m glad she opted for magic markers to create the face, instead of the traditional jack o’lantern carving. Not that it would be practical to make that kind of mess in an office.

Tomorrow is our annual Halloween dressup day. Some people do it, some don’t (parents tend to bring in their costumed kiddies). Every year I think about it, but every year, I’m too knee-deep in production to actually do so. So it is this year. I don’t have anything ready, and while I could find something around the house to use, I don’t want to do a half-assed thing with a hat or anything. So I’ll refrain.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 07:42pm
Category: General
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Where was my head at last night? I was talking about the lunar eclipse, and I neglected to mention Harvey’s 4th Street Grill, reknowned for their full-moon parties. (Harvey’s needs to get a website.)

I haven’t been to Harvey’s in ages. I tend to forget it’s even there, tucked way back in that shopping center in St. Pete. I’ll have to hit it next month.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 10/28/2004 09:59am
Category: Florida Livin'
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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Allerca, a company that’s touting itself as a provider of “lifestyle pets”, has announced the development of a hypoallergenic cat in three years’ time.

Yes, it’s playing God with God’s creatures. But as I noted before, as long as the subjects are cute and non-human, it’s all good.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/27/2004 08:54pm
Category: Science
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More evidence of broadband Internet service becoming ubiquitous: Upscale housing developments in DC suburbs are offering high-speed wireless connectivity as part of residents’ homeowner association fees.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/27/2004 08:39pm
Category: Internet, Society, Wi-Fi
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Whither online smut? People are doing less porn-trolling on the Internet these days, a result of the loss of novelty for most people regarding the Web. That’s according to “Web Search: Public Searching of the Web”, a survey report on global consumer websearching patterns.

Ironically, this development strikes me as the loss of innocence.

Beyond that, it seems that the average person’s online search acumen isn’t getting any better:

We were surprised that people weren’t doing more complex searches,” [survey co-author Professor Amanda] Spink said. “If you put a couple of words into the Web, you’re going to get hundreds of thousands of results. I think people aren’t trained very well to use the search engines.”

I’ve long noticed this, and it drives me to distraction. I could be biased, since I do tons of research via the Web for a living. But really, how can people be that ignorant of, say, the power of quotation marks in a search field? It’s the difference between getting a million results (which are mostly useless) and less than 500. I guess it means there’ll always be work for professional researchers.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/27/2004 08:10pm
Category: Internet, Society
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