Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 02, 2021

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the re-launch yesterday of Life Magazine, perhaps the most iconic American publication of the 20th Century.

Of course, you can never quite go home again. The mag’s revival as a Friday supplement in newspapers is a far cry from the formerly oversized tabloid, which was ideal for showcasing those awesome era-defining photos. In this incarnation, Life (and parent company Time Warner) is competing with long-established supplemental Parade. I don’t know how many papers are dropping one for the other; I know my local paper is carrying both, and since they come out on different days, I can’t see why a paper would choose one and not both.

But while papers don’t necessarily have to get in on the competition, the ad market for the two pubs are essentially the same, so that’s where the war of attrition will be. It’ll be a battle of heavyweights: Just as Life is owned by Time Warner, Parade is owned by Advance Publications.

So far, Life has my attention over Parade. Parade typically goes straight to the recycling bin in my house. The Friday arrival of Life saved it as much as the novelty factor; I don’t know if the whack Sarah Jessica Parker cover photo had much to do with it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 08:06pm
Category: Publishing
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I invited my friends Tom and Amber (and their infant, Kaya) to downtown St. Pete today to have lunch at India Grill (scroll down). It’s a new restaurant in an old space; it was formerly occupied by an Austro-German (self-described) eatery called Cafe Vienna.

The food was okay. I was surprised that it served beef — that seems anathema for Indian cuisine (I guess some Indian restaurants do, and some don’t, depending on their market). We all indulged in the modest buffet that was set up, with lots of different curries and stuff like tandoori chicken. I especially liked the long-grain rice. Chief complaint: Fairly tiny drink glasses, which we kept draining well ahead of the wait staff’s ability to refresh.

All through the meal, I kept glancing at the decor, which was dominated by woodwork. I got the feeling it was still in transition, but couldn’t really put my finger on it.

Then, when we got up to leave, I looked back at the picture that was hanging behind me the whole time. It was an illustration of a Baroque-like German language public-notice poster. I looked at the picture that was hanging on the adjacent wall, and noticed it was a peasant/burgher scene from Middle Europe.

So it hit me: India Grill’s owners hadn’t taken down all of the Cafe Vienna stuff! In an Indian restaurant, you’re surrounded by portraits of Wolfgang Mozart and the like (I noticed the Mozart portrait, and somehow assumed it was of an Indian man — d’oh!).

Assuming the place is successful, I’m sure they’ll get around to taking down the last vestiges of the former occupants and replace them with more congruent pieces. Until then, it’s a hell of a juxtaposition: Eating a lunch of curry chicken while eyeing Austrian-inspired wall hangings.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 07:36pm
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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(With apologies to the Greg Kihn Band — but not to Weird Al Yankovic.)

Wondering when blogging will truly invade the mainstream consciousness? Wonder no more, for it’s now been anointed worthy by none other than television kingpin Alex Trebek. That’s right, a recent episode of “Jeopardy” featured the category “Blogs” on its Double Jeopardy round.

As best as I can remember them, with corresponding correct replies. I missed the third one - too busy typing to catch it.

1. The word “blog” evolved as a shortened form of this phrase.
- web log
2. Lawrence Lessig began his blog after being being removed (?) from the antitrust case involving this company.
- Microsoft
3. (something about the newest cabinet department)
- (?)
4. BlogforAmerica.com was started to raise money for this politician
- Howard Dean
5. Notorious comedienne blog.
- Margaret Cho

David was miffed that his acreage of blogosphere was denied TV time. I recommend a subtly pro-active response: A month’s worth of postings dedicated to nothing but the joys and wonders of Alex Trebek. (That’s if he wants to get on the show in the future; if not, then maybe a month’s worth of posts trashing Trebek.)

I can’t remember the last time I watched “Jeopardy”. I’m not much on gameshows in general. Even all the recent hype over that guy who won all the money on the show didn’t sway me.

What comes to mind most when I think of “Jeopardy”: My cousins’ grandparents, who understood basically no English, sitting every single night in front of the television and watching this show. What’s more, they’d talk through the entire thing, either about what the people on the show looked like or else something totally unrelated. They couldn’t understand a word of it, so it didn’t make any difference to them. But anyone sitting with them and trying to follow it would get pretty frustrated.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 06:40pm
Category: Bloggin', Pop Culture, TV
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Nothing like escalating gas prices to bring out the kooky-car alternatives. Luxembourg-based Moteur Developpement International has the MDI Air Car, a vehicle that runs on compressed air, to be rolled out in mass production on the Continent by 2005.

Leave it to a postage stamp-sized country would produce yet another postage stamp-sized car. I get the feeling the operating principle here is akin to blowing up a balloon and then letting the air out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 11:38am
Category: Tech
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I know you’re just achin’ to get one of those hip-hip-hip Chinese symbol tattoos. Most likely on your bicep, or else your butt.

But before you submit to the needle, please, please, consult with Hanzi Smatter, Tian’s public-service blog for exposing the rampant misuse of Chinese characters (han zi) in American culture. Remember: Lou’s Tattoos might tell you that that pretty character combo represents “Energy and Sky”, but for all you know, it might really translate as “Mountain Goat”.

When title suggestions were being solicited for this new blog, I suggested the title of this post, and “Tonal Deaf” (drawing from my knowledge that Chinese is a tonal language). I was summarily shouted down in the press club.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 11:22am
Category: Bloggin', Pop Culture
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