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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

kicked off
Well, I said there was some sort of football voodoo afoot, and today, Martin Gramatica got stuck in the behind with it. The Bucs released their all-time leading kicker today, replacing him with an Arena League refugee.

That’s business. Gramatica was undoubtedly slumping, and he wasn’t doing the team any favors with his heartbreaking misses. By the same token, his teammates and coaches weren’t doing much for him with their equally horrid performances. Maybe he can shake off whatever’s been bugging him and hook up with a playoff-bound team.

Marty will always occupy a special place in my heart. He was the inspiration for the very first headline I got approved during my newspaper days: DRAMATICA. It was a game where Gramatica nailed four field goals to give the Bucs a 12-10 lead, securing what wound up being a 19-10 win. We had the perfect photo of Marty throwing his head back and celebrating after the last kick, and it all came together nicely.

From Dramatica, to Automatica, to this. So it goes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 10:21:13 PM
Category: Football
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gimme a break
Asking for a $1-million property tax break in the midst of a labor dispute takes balls, even when you’ve got a Stanley Cup in tow. But that’s what the Tampa Bay Lightning are doing.

What’s the motivation? Keeping up with the rest of the Tampa Bay area’s sports Joneses:

The hockey team says it simply wants the same deal as Tampa’s other professional sports teams, the Buccaneers and [Single-A minor league] Yankees, which pay little or no property taxes on their stadiums.

“We’re just looking for consistent treatment,” said Sean Henry, the Lightning’s chief operating officer.

So let’s see if I have this clear: When players seek their fair share of the pie, they’re selfish, spoiled and overpaid. When the owners do it, they’re exercising good business judgement. Just checking.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 09:54:14 PM
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz
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Hurricanes here in Florida, torrential rains in California, pestilence in Mexico: They’ve all conspired to create a national tomato shortage, leading to poor quality and prohibitively high prices.

How high?

Feola’s Pasta Factory in Largo is going to start offering a cup of soup to customers who forgo a tomato slice on their sandwiches. J. Alexanders in Tampa, which boycotted tomatoes for a short time, is reluctantly bringing them back.

McDonald’s, Subway and Taco Bell haven’t raised prices or cut back the tomatoes on their products, but at least one fast-food giant is taking steps to cut costs. Last week, Wendy’s put up notices at its 6,500 locations saying tomatoes would be available on sandwiches only upon request.

The idea of having to actually request tomato on your sandwich cheers me no end. Why? Because I hate tomatoes, with a passion. So every time I eat out, I have to order my burger or sandwich and specifically request that no tomato be added. And no means no, as in: No putting the tomato on, then removing it, thereby leaving a disgusting residue of tomato juices. I don’t want it anywhere near my dish, period.

Thanks to this development, the tables have turned. So now, the greater tomato-loving world will have to experience the bother I do, in having to make a specific request for their perfect dish. And I can order a Wendy’s chicken sandwich from the drive-thru window without worrying about an unwelcomed tomato lurking under that bun.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 09:35:20 PM
Category: Business, Food
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hit hyperspace!
A dimly-lit pizza parlour. Blaring television set, greasy smell wafting throughout. And strategically situated, a circa-1980 Asteriods coin-op machine.

A scene from my long-departed childhood? Nope. It was the scene from half an hour ago, when I hit the nearby north St. Pete West Shore Pizza. I went in due to a craving for a couple of slices of pie, and was happily surprised to see the relic Asteroids sitting right there. And no one else around! I got a few quarters (it was only 25 cents for a game!) and jumped on it.

It was the same as it ever was. I got my name on the high score (which wasn’t hard, as it didn’t look like it had been played much lately), and after my second and last game, my fingers started aching in that old-time Space Invaders Wrist kinda way. Golden!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 09:17:29 PM
Category: Videogames
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Monday, November 29, 2021

the foot in football
Through the first 11 weeks of NFL action, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Mark Craig noted that the league’s placekickers had been relatively dead solid perfect this season, converting 82.1 percent of their field goal attempts and helping their teams compete in tight games.

So what happens in Week 12? Not counting tonight’s in-progress Rams-Packers tilt, the kickers collectively stunk up the joint, hitting on only 41.5 percent (39-for-94) of FGAs. The biggest culprits: Jeff Chandler and Martin Gramatica, a combined 0-for-5 in yesterday’s Bucs-Panthers stinkfest.

It really was astounding to see so many misses. I figured some weird football voodoo was to blame.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 11:26:47 PM
Category: Football
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stocking stuffer
I was having lunch today at EVOS with my friend Kirby. Since it’s getting close to Christmas, he’s been bugging me to give him my gift request. Apparently, my suggestion to keep it simple and just get me a gift certificate to Gap is insufficient.

After lunch, I got in my car and, as usual, pulled out my iPod to hook up to the stero system. But when I tried to get the iPod to power up — nada. It wouldn’t turn on, no matter how hard I pressed on the buttons or how much I shook it.

It’s an old model, so my first thought was that it had finally, without warning, died.

And considering what I’d just been talking about with Kirby, my next thought was: “I would just love to get a brand new iPod for Christmas!” The supercool iPod Photo would be nice, but I’m not picky; I’ll gladly take the current standard version. Or even that stylin’ U2-branded edition.

But then, I did the menu-play button reboot trick, and lo and behold, the little Apple logo appeared on my old iPod’s screen. It was back in working order, just like that.

So I guess I’ll have to think of another gift idea from the Kirbster (although really, I’d be happy with the Gap certificate). He’ll be relieved to know he won’t have to blow 300 bucks on my holiday cheer.

Anyway, I shouldn’t waste a gift slot on an iPod, when they’re just giving them away.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 08:33:27 PM
Category: iPod
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If nothing else says that communism is dead in today’s China, the arrival of a Hooters restaurant in Shanghai decidedly does.

Are the chicken wings and other supplies being flown into Shanghai International via Hooters Air?

I can see two problems with applying the Hooters formula to the Middle Kingdom:

1. Asian women, as a whole, tend to be less busty than their Caucasian, African, and Semitic counterparts. Granted, even the U.S. branches are de-emphasizing the chest sizes of late. Still, Hooters waitresses without hooters?

2. As far as the “official” source of the name “Hooters” goes, owls are traditional symbols of death and bad luck in Eastern cultures. So, the appeal of the waitresses aside, don’t be surprised if Hooters’ Chinese operations eventually go bust (pun intended).

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 08:07:09 PM
Category: Business, Society
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Inspired by “The O.C.” (is there anything that hip show can’t do?), it’s Chrismukkah!

Naturally, since it’s the spirit that counts, the spelling is relative:

Drop the T in Christmas, swap the N in Hanukkah for an M, and Voila! No one seems to agree on how to spell Hanukkah - Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Channukah? Thus, Chrismukkah has multiple (mis)spellings too: Chrismukka, Chrismukah, Chrismuka, Chrismakka, Christmukkah, Christmukah, Christmakkah, Christmakah… even Hanumas.. we’ve seen them all. But we prefer the typographic elegance of Chrismukkah.

Actually, going by the origin story for this Christian/Jewish holiday amalgamation, it comes off like a marketing opportunity to sell greeting cards. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

That said, where’s the love for Ramadan/Eid ul-Fitr and Kwanzaa? Why not “Chrismukkahramakwan”? It just rolls right off the tongue.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 07:21:52 PM
Category: Creative, Society
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Earlier this month, I was all giddy about receiving a couple of review-purpose books from Time Warner Book Group. I’ve since posted my review of the primary book, “OPUS: 25 Years of His Sunday Best”; my review of the other book, “The Crisis”, will be forthcoming.

When I got this opportunity, I had assumed that I wasn’t the only blogger getting review copies laid on him, but I couldn’t point to any specific examples. Since then, I’ve learned of others: Off Wing Opinion (who even got to interview Brandi Chastain, in her role as author!), Zero Boss, and Collected Miscellany. I’m sure there are loads more who get tapped for book reviews, either solicited or unsolicited.

Naturally, I was curious about Time Warner Book Group’s strategy. Book reviews traditionally have been the province of print media. Are blogs seen as an alternative channel for promoting books?

I asked Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Online Marketing at TWBG about this. Below is the result of our email interview:

CT: How do you see blogs fitting into TWBG’s overall online marketing strategy?

KL: Today, a positive review or mention posted by a trusted, reputable blogger can be just as valuable in creating word-of-mouth for a book as traditional media. Since book publishers have much smaller marketing budgets than the music and motion picture industry, we have to be especially creative in finding ways to communicate news of a new book or author that cuts through the noise of competing for consumers’ attention. Establishing relationships with bloggers who are mavens, who reach yet more mavens online, can be an especially fruitful endeavor. It’s a great way for publishers, authors, and editors to keep abreast of what the thinkers and doers in the blogging communities are talking about.

CT: What criteria do you use for identifying blogs/bloggers for potential book reviews, aside from some obvious linkages (e.g., political books match with political bloggers)?

KL: Quality and quantity — the quality of the writing on the blog and the quantity of links into the blog. Quality comes first, though.

CT: Reader reviews are already prevalent on the Web, notably in the form of Amazon’s much-accessed customer reviews. Why break new ground for book reviews with blogs?

KL: Blogs, along with those who write them as well as those who read them, represent an opportunity for publishers and authors to speak directly with potential new audiences. Those new audiences are especially likely to be predisposed to being interested in the book if it is a nonfiction title and the book is properly pitched.

CT: Newspapers and magazines are long-established media for book reviews. What do you see in blogs as book review outlets that are superior (and inferior) to the traditional media?

KL: Since bloggers are writing for themselves and their readers, they have the freedom to say exactly what they think and believe, and are not subsequently line-edited from above. This potentially creates a very pure and powerful venue of influence that can help books that may not be featured or advertised in traditional print media.

CT: How do you locate the blogs and other websites for your target marketing (i.e., what online search tools, referrals, etc.)?

KL: Online search tools are very important, but they’re just the start. Once blogs have been located that appear to be potentially captive audiences for a book’s subject matter or story, we determine who is linking to the blog, how well it’s written, and what other types of books this blogger is reading and/or recommending.

I’ll let the interview speak for itself. But a few things stand out: Blogs as grassroots and cost-effective outlets for book exposure; the importance of presentation and dedication of the blogger; affinity relationships between a blog and its likely audience, and why that makes it fertile ground for promoting a book.

These concepts can, of course, be extended to other products, and I’d guess the same criteria would apply. Bottom line: A blog that’s regularly updated, well-maintained and has cultivated an audience can get on marketing radars. In this sense, they become media properties with some reach, and that appeals to people and organizations that want to get their message out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 02:53:50 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin', Publishing
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Sunday, November 28, 2021

With credibility scandals, the retirement of long-tenured anchors, and more competition than ever, the future of network news operations seems shaky.

Unless you see the forest for the trees, and notice that network news still commands viewership numbers that dwarf the most buzzworthy cable programs and online sources:

Most evenings, nearly 30 million people watch one of the three [network] programs. Ratings have been sinking steadily, but that’s the case for most shows in a fragmented television world; evening news ratings have dropped at a rate 4 percent slower than prime-time broadcast fare over the past decade, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For all the attention they get, the three cable news networks — Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC — don’t even get 4 million viewers combined in an average prime time.

Not that it’ll be business as usual going forward:

All of the evening newscasts seemed to go through some sort of identity crisis in the pre-Sept. 11, 2001 world, wondering if a mostly no-nonsense look at the day’s top stories made sense anymore.

Those days are gone, said Andrew Tyndall, a news consultant whose firm, ADT Research, studies the content of each newscast.

“They’re very much like they were in the late 1980s, when they were still the flagship newscasts of the networks,” he said. “They’re serious newscasts dealing with domestic policy, politics and international news, with very little human interest, little water-cooler material. It’s a hard newscast.”

They all run a lot of health coverage, since most of their viewers are over 50, he said.

All had stories on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s ethics problems this month. That’s a story the network morning shows would barely touch, Tyndall said, evidence that the content of morning and evening newscasts are becoming more distinct.

To a large degree, the serious turn is a function of the times.

“For a while there, to say that something was a foreign news story was to be using a term that was offensive in some newsrooms,” said “Nightly News” executive producer Steve Capus. “I think what Sept. 11 said was that we shouldn’t be afraid to cover the world and America was hungry for a trusted service to look at what’s going on around the world.”

News executives say the evening programs have tried to be more explanatory, recognizing that many viewers have already had a chance to see headlines elsewhere.

Yet the presence of cable news is deceptive. Following industry leader Fox News, these networks have become more talk, less straight news over the last few years.

The notion that people can work late, skip the broadcast evening news and catch up later on cable isn’t necessarily true. Try to find a serious newscast on these networks in prime time, at least before Aaron Brown on CNN at 10 p.m. Eastern time, and you’ll be out of luck.

Even CNN Headline News — a dependable network that rotates newscasts every half-hour — plans to experiment with prime-time talk shows in the next year.

The services that were supposed to make the evening news obsolete are instead giving the broadcasters an opening.

Outside of the newsmagazines, the nightly news programs have also become one of the last refuges for packaged reports, where a correspondent gathers material throughout the day for a prepared story. Cable and local newscasts are instead dominated by reporters who stand in front of a camera on location and talk about what they know, a format that frequently sacrifices depth for a sense of immediacy.

How important is that personality-driven component in newscasts? Pundits and even some viewers claim the institution of the news overrides who delivers it, and personally I’m of a like mind on that. I don’t watch any television news, local or national, outside of one or two special news cycles per year. I feel I get more direct information from print and online sources.

Yet I know I’m in a minority. Most people prefer broadcast (and primarily television over radio) as their information channel, simply before it’s a more passive way of getting the news pushed to them. And in that context, the identity of the talking head that’s doing the talking takes on significance, simply by virtue of that role. Whether that’s merited or not is irrelevent: People perceive it that way, and that shapes public opinion and consent.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 11:50:09 PM
Category: TV
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Are you ready for ringbacks? Verizon Wireless is offering them in select areas, and will be rolling out availability throughout 2005.

So what are they, exactly?

The ring-back tone is what callers hear between the time they finish entering the digits and the time the call is answered. In the United States, these tones are rarely customized, so they usually sound the same no matter whom is being called…

Subscribers can choose from a catalog of more than 2,200 songs in 13 genres. The music is supplied by Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

Based on their modest success among wireless subscribers overseas, providers are looking for ringbacks to generate a healthy business in the States.

Not everyone agrees:

“Ringback tones are, essentially, a fashion statement. Their only real purpose is to show off to others who are calling you. The problem, then, is that fashion statements go out of fashion - sometimes very quickly,” [technology consultant Michele Mackenzie] said.

My prediction: U.S. phone companies will do a ham-handed job of differentiating between ringtones and ringbacks, leading to consumer confusion and rejection. Ringtone sales will continue to grow, but ringbacks will remain obscure and seldom-bought.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 11:15:33 PM
Category: Business, Tech
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A whole blog composed of nothing but pet betta photos?

Not the way I’d go. But okay.

That’s a fine-looking little fish. There’s no way he’s cooler than my blue betta, though.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 07:12:51 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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Remember that Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake spat with an overly-aggressive paparazzi?

Nah, me neither. Who has time to keep up with all those celebrity derring-dos?

But even without the full real-world context, Liquid Generation’s “Paparazzi Punch-Out” is a fun little diversion, and a great send-up of the 20-year-old Nintendo game.

While Justin is predictably easy to knock around, Cameron turns out to be one tough cookie in the ring. Must be a result of all that Charlie’s Angels training.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 06:59:48 PM
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, Internet, Videogames
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The recent suicide of Iris Chang, author of “The Rape of Nanking”, prompted some musings about the personal risk of immersing oneself in historical horror stories.

Specifically, the psychological impact of becoming consumed by individual accounts among large-scale holocausts can be huge:

[Historian Raul] Hilberg said that during his work on the Holocaust starting in 1948 a few small episodes affected him especially strongly. For example, he said he became sickened after researching the fate of a Jew who sued the Nazis for the right to purchase coffee.

“I was nauseated because obviously this Jew was picked up and sent to Auschwitz or wherever they sent him and died,” he said. “Why did this particular incident affect me when I could calmly read about mass murder?”

Why indeed? It seems like an anomaly: Everyone knows that people die every day, in a variety of circumstances. But ultimately, death tends to be a solitary event, afflicting a single person — whether it comes while one’s on a deathbed, or having a heart attack, or even through foul play. When several people die at once, as in a plane crash or a mass murder, the cause of those deaths is so out of the ordinary that it would seem to merit a stronger emotional reaction, even from those who didn’t lose friends or relatives.

But that’s not the case. Numbers create anonymity, and makes it easy for the detached observer to dehumanize the victims. They become abstractions, whether it’s a dozen food poisoning victims or six million Holocaust Jews.

Yet if you extract a single person from those legions of dead, reveal his or her name, tell the story of how he or she came to that point, and the perception changes. Suddenly, you’re forced to relate to a single person’s experience, instead of a faceless mass. That makes all the difference.

Robert Conquest, 87, a leading historian of Stalin’s terror and famine that left tens of millions of dead, said he too was sometimes hit by smaller episodes amid larger tragedy.

“There are details, not necessarily the most horrible in theory, that somehow make you feel this is somehow a worse world than we thought,” Conquest, the author of “The Great Terror” and “Harvest of Sorrow”, said in an interview.

He cited for example documents about students during the Stalin era forced to stand in front of their schools and hear abuse after their parents were arrested.

“They are harangued for two or three hours denouncing the parents of one of the kids. Then the kid has to come up and they are all screaming at him,” he said. “It shows the awful level they’ve got to. Horrible.”

Citing victims of Josef Stalin’s purges is oddly appropriate, since the most apt quote on this phenomenon is attributed to him*:

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.

I think this dynamic manifests itself in other areas. The perennial high-profile media-saturated criminal trials, such as the recent Scott Peterson case, are a prime example. Think about it: How many people are brutally killed every single day in America? Yet the same audiences that never give a passing thought to all those nameless (and thus, invisible) crimes pay breathless attention to every development in the latest media-circus du jour. Because the spotlight on the principals reveals minute personal detail, observers become engrossed, and participate in an uncomfortably intimate vicarious experience.

Similar situations where this mass reaction occurs include hostage situations and, more benignly, personal profiles on athletes.

I suppose it’s human nature to quickly seek empathy with the subject being studied. As with most empathic exercises, though, there’s a price to pay when that much emotional energy is invested. The collateral damage is sometimes too much to bear.

*Despite the attribution to Stalin, I’m positive he didn’t originate it. I know I read it at one point as coming from a French military head or politician during World War I. If anyone knows what the original source is and can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 02:48:49 PM
Category: History, Society
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In the spirit of “miserable failure”, a Google search on the word “bastards” will spit out the website of a certain Unix provider, best known for trying to stamp out Linux through lawsuits, as the top search result.

Obviously, it’s another example of Google’s ranking algorithm being gamed, in this case by a determined group of Linux geeks. So does anyone want to explain to me again how “relevance” is at all meaningful for search results?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2004 01:33:17 PM
Category: Internet, Tech
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Saturday, November 27, 2021

One of the conspicuous developments of the Walmart-ization of America has been the clobbering of toy retailers. The world’s largest retailer has been able to discount toy prices so deep that former stalwarts like FAO Schwarz and KB Toys have been driven to bankruptcy and market retrenchment. Even Toys R Us is looking to ditch its namesake toystore business in the face of the superstore competition.

So what makes upstart toy seller Toyopia think it can flow against the tide? It’s banking on filling a niche in a mall-retail environment, as well as an exacting revenue-flow model.

“The malls want us,” [Toyopia founder and CEO Alex Reece] said recently. “They understand they are competing against Wal-Mart and toy stores bring people to the mall. A mall without a toy store is like a person without a leg.”

I share that sentiment. Over the past year, with friends producing offspring, I’ve had reason to buy a few gift toys. Frankly, Target and the like tend to not have a very big selection, which negates the price breaks they offer. My natural inclination would be to hit the malls. In one instance, I was stunned to make a trip to the nearest mall to me and find that it no longer had a toy store — the one that had been there was replaced by a candy shop.

And that’s got a degree of irony to it, since candy is the secret ingredient in Toyopia’s business model:

“We’ll have the same price or better than Wal-Mart,” [Reece] said. “And the reason we can do that is candy. Candy makes up 40 percent of our sales and the markup on it is 400 to 500 percent. Everything else takes care of itself.”

Interesting. In essence, the toys become loss leaders (or near enough) in a retail establishment that specializes in them! It’s reminiscent of what bookstores, which are increasingly adding movie and music products on their shelves, are doing.

Counting on kids’ sweet tooths seems iffy to me. There’ll always be a market for it, but enough to sustain this sort of business, based on incidental sales? Every year nutritional news knocks the overconsumption of junk food for kids, and at some point that’s going to dent product sales. Plus, the discounters and grocery stores can undercut Toyopia on candy prices easily.

I think the role of filling in a blank spot in mall store rosters is really what the company has going for it right now. Naturally, just getting that retail space doesn’t mean much unless the stores actually produce sales.

One thing that needs a remedy: Toyopia’s online presence. “eToyopia.com” ain’t gonna cut it; it’s not the name of the store, and no one’s going to remember to add that oh-so-1997 “e” to the beginning of the URL. If they really want to make a serious go of it, they need to buy Toyopia.com from the company that’s currently using it as a redirect.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/27/2004 07:56:32 PM
Category: Business
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It sounds like a typically improbable spam email subject line, doesn’t it? (Or else an obvious politician-bashing assessment/joke.)

But no, for real, venerable C-SPAN broadcast unpixelated nude girlie scenes from videogame titles “The Guy Game” and “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude” earlier this week.

Is it sweeps week for C-SPAN? No, it was just a segment from the Senate’s briefing on National Institute on Media and the Family’s “MediaWise Video Game Report Card”, complete with visual aids. I guess someone forgot the cameras were rolling, or figured the scenes wouldn’t show up too clearly (which they didn’t, but apparently they’re clear enough for a gawk-worthy RealPlayer video stream).

Congress better be careful. It doesn’t take much to bring on the FCC’s wrath these days, cable or no cable. Besides, we don’t need the Federal government levying fines on itself; it’ll only inflate the deficit.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/27/2004 05:48:01 PM
Category: Political, TV, Videogames
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This is what you get for using schoolkids as musical props: The pupils whose vocals were used on Pink Floyd’s 1979 hit single “Another Brick in the Wall” are now suing for royalties due them from the song.

The then pupils from Islington Green School, north London, were taken to a nearby recording studio by their music teacher but without permission from the headmistress.

On hearing the song, she banned the pupils from appearing on TV or video, meaning they had no proof of their involvement on the track.

The lyrics “We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom — teachers leave them kids alone” were also described by the Inner London Education Authority as “scandalous”.

The school was paid ÂŁ1,000 and later given a platinum record of the song but the pupils were paid nothing.

The former headmistress has now agreed to support her former pupils’ claim.

Now who’s just another brick in the wall, 25 years hence?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/27/2004 05:27:26 PM
Category: Pop Culture
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Friday, November 26, 2021

Weather reports that cover a broad region don’t mean much in most of Florida. In my town, it could be a bright sunny day on the west side, while simultaneously, downtown is experiencing a downpour. Happens all the time.

So the neighborhood-level forecasting promised by the Univeristy of North Florida’s Advanced Weather Information Systems Lab will be a welcomed development.

I recall something like this being announced a couple of years ago. I hope it’s closer to reality now; UNF’s target is to have it running smoothly within five years.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/26/2004 05:33:57 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Weather
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I hate my sideburns.

More properly, I hate that I can’t seem to keep them evenly trimmed.

I could go on at some length, but I won’t.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/26/2004 04:51:16 PM
Category: General
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Thursday, November 25, 2021

I’m getting set to head to a friend’s house for the Thanksgiving festivities. They’re doing all the cooking; my big task is to bring a bottle of white wine (which I always have on hand). I’m embracing the laziness.

Actually, when I decided a few weeks back to stay in town for the holiday, instead of heading to family in New York, I tried to find a volunteer opportunity for Thanksgiving Day. I’d never done that, so I thought it would be a worthwhile thing to do. Surprisingly, it’s hard to find such an opportunity on Thanksgiving Day itself. Every shelter and charity I contacted told me they had more than enough volunteer food servers/preparers on hand. They welcomed contributions of food and other items, but they had all the help they needed.

I was surprised at first; I guess I assumed that so many people would opt to stay home with family for the holiday that there would be a shortage of volunteers. But the more I thought about it, it made a certain amount of sense: Thanksgiving would be a popular day for volunteers to come out. If anything, shelters and soup kitchens probably feel a more acute dearth of help on non-holiday days.

So, I guess if I really feel altruistic, I should give those places a call next week and see if they need help on other, nondescript days. Which I know they will.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/25/2004 12:24:09 PM
Category: General
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