Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 23, 2021

I gave blood today. I do so fairly regularly, and have done so since college (time and schedule permitting). I guess the periodic reminders from the blood banks about their constant shortages, plus my relatively rare blood type (AB+ — only AB- is rarer) compel me to give up my vein.

I got an unexpected freebie out of the deal, that I’m officially giving away: A pass for two to an advance screening of Saw, for this coming Wednesday (October 27th) at Tampa’s Channelside Cinemas 9. Show starts at 7:30PM, although it’s a good idea to get there at least a half-hour early, in case there are more passholders than tickets (you could always go to an earlier dinner at Channelside).

First one who asks for the pass gets it. I’ll assume only a local will want it, so we can arrange for a pickup time. Offer’s available until the day of the screening; if no one claims it by then, I’ll try to pawn it off at the office, or else just toss it. I’m definitely not going to use it myself — Saw’s not looking like my kinda flick.

I did get some other swag in exchange for my precious bodily fluid:

- A coupon for ten free Hooters wings, and since I was done bleeding by lunchtime and there was a Hooters next door, I promptly cashed it in (if you’re ever at the north St. Pete Hooters, stop by the bar and say “hi” to Shorty, the blonde bartending Hootress).

- A free pass to the Florida Aquarium, which is nothing special since those are pretty easy to get.

- A rad t-shirt, festooned with a Chucky-like face wearing a skull-and-crossbones bandana, and a “We’re Out For Blood” caption below. It looks an awful lot like a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt, with a lot of red, lettering font that looks very similar to what the Bucs use, and of course, the famed Coach Gruden-Chucky connection. I think the Bucs might have grounds to sue…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/23/2004 05:54pm
Category: Movies
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It appears that the pleco catfish that lived a brief life in my aquarium this week brought something with him that lingers on. Today, I found five dead fishies in the tank. Whole lotta flushing going on.

One or two dead fish would be no big deal — I’d chalk that up to nature. Five means there’s a disease afoot. More evidence of that: It mainly wiped out a small school of black neons, which are down to two fish. And there was absolutely no sign of any of them being in distress even yesterday.

So, I treated the tank with some general cure-all today. Also changed out about a third of the water, which I usually do on Saturdays anyway (I repeat that process on Sundays). Hopefully, all that will rid the tank of whatever’s in there.

I guess this serves me right for impetuously buying a fish. A good fishkeeper quarantines new fish in a separate tank for a few days, to make sure there’s nothing wrong. I don’t have another tank; tried it once, found it was a pain, so I ditched it. Besides, it probably wouldn’t have made any difference: I’d have put the pleco in the tank after three days, and the results would likely have been the same.

Not so sound cold, but I can’t say I’m overly worried about these deaths. Truthfully, I’ve been tired of the fish population in there for a while. I’m ready for something new. The problem is, I take such good care of the tank (with minimal effort — it really isn’t very hard to do) that my fish tend to live long after I’ve gotten tired of them. I could always kill them off myself, but I can’t do it.

So we’ll see what happens. I’ve still got a little school of other tetras in there, who seem to not be afflicted. And as long as nothing happens to my rainbow shark, I’ll let the chips fall where they may.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/23/2004 05:14pm
Category: General
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a pan with a handle
As we get down to crunch time, both candidates are redoubling their efforts to win over Floridians. Perhaps persuaded by an Electoral College analysis that suggests he can’t win without carrying Florida, President Bush visted my ‘hood, St. Pete, last night, the kickoff to his Sunshine State blitz.

Aside from all that, it’s time for me to get nit-picky with the AP:

In his fifth visit to Florida this month, Marine One will transport Bush to rallies in Fort Myers and Lakeland on the west side of the state and Melbourne on the east. His last stop before heading to his Texas ranch is in Jacksonville, situated in the heavily Republican Florida Panhandle.

Check the map above, and you’ll find Jacksonville in the northeastern corner of Florida. Does that geography look like a panhandle to you? The Panhandle is a couple hundred miles west of Jax, starting (by most reasonable considerations) at Tallahassee.

Granted, the whole northern deck of the state shares many population characteristics, including a strong Republican streak (going along with that part of Florida’s more distinctive Southernness). But regardless, in geographic terms, the panhandle stops where the pan begins, and Florida’s “pan” begins roughly at Tallahassee (and if not there, then certainly by the time you reach the Big Bend/Gainsville area).

Incidentally, I’ve learned from my years at the magazine that most business and civic leaders up there tend to frown on the use of the term “panhandle”. They prefer “Florida’s Northwest”. I think the reasoning is that “panhandle” more immediately brings to mind parts of Oklahoma and Texas (which, I agree, have better-defined chunks of land that deserve that descriptor). We’ll still use the term “panhandle” in Trend, but we try to keep it to a minimum.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/23/2004 04:58pm
Category: Florida Livin', Politics
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