Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, November 13, 2021

chopper che
As I mentioned, I hit Tampa Theatre last night. I decided to cash in my rain check for another attempt at catching The Motorcycle Diaries.

Thankfully, the screening this time went off without a hitch. It was a pretty good movie, a buddy adventure with subtitles. It probably had too stark of an edge to it, although better that than a trite Che Guevara-meets-“Dawson’s Creek” angle (or, perhaps more appropriately, “Smallville”).

Speaking of trite, after seeing this film, I considered renting Evita today, to get a purely cinematic (and thus, largely fictional) sense of the early life of the future Cuban Revolution icon. But I ditched that idea; I’d have Andrew Lloyd Webber songs rattling around in my head for a solid week afterward, and that’d drive me nuts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 06:47pm
Category: Movies
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Is the Tampa Theatre in danger of being knocked down or repurposed? Probably not, but the Tampa Theatre Foundation is planning ahead by starting negotiations to buy the place before its 99-year lease expires in 2023, and thus preserving it.

Good luck finding the necessary urgency it’ll probably take to close the deal. But it’s nice to see some foresight.

I’d think that the building’s status as a National Register of Historic Places landmark would protect the Theatre from any development plans. I guess you can’t be too sure.

Still, the move seems overly preemptive to me. I know the city is pushing hard for a renewal in the Franklin/Ashley area of downtown, and it certainly could use it: It struck me while walking through the area last weekend just how much of a ghost town it was, outside of the immediate area of the Theatre itself and The Hub a couple of doors down. But frankly, Tampa has been trying for urban renewal in the downtown core for close to two decades now, recruiting developer after developer to turn the trick. I still don’t see much headway, especially when it comes to a residential base. South Tampa has seen a revival, and that’s cause for hope, but otherwise, the activity is in the suburban environments in north and northwestern parts of town. I don’t see that changing very much, even with St. Pete’s modest downtown success as a nearby model.

But if this leads to bigger and better things for Tampa Theatre, I’m for it. I’m part of the 25% of its patronage that come over from Pinellas every year (I was just there last night, in fact). I wouldn’t mind enhancements like a cafe hangout and an extra screen, and obviously it would make it more of an anchor should any serious residential crop up in the neighborhood.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 06:28pm
Category: Florida Livin', Movies
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i'm in forensics, mommy!
What do you get for the budding autopsy expert who’s on your Christmas/Hannukah list? The CSI Forensic Facial Reconstruction Kit, of course. Only $19.99, available in your choice of either blue eyes or brown. (Sheesh, you’d think they’d just include tinted contact lenses instead of making you buy a whole other kit…)

A kids’ toy spun off from an adult-oriented show? Is there really a market?

“Probably more than you think,” says Ed Harrison, director of press information for CBS Entertainment.

According to ratings for this season, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (the original show and the one the toys are spun off from) is ranked No. 3 among viewers ages 12-17, behind The O.C. and The Simpsons. It draws an average 1.2-million viewers in that age group.

Who knew? I guess police academies around the country are getting flooded with prospective forensics specialists right now. This kit should send a few more their way.

The way CBS has been milking the “CSI” cow, it’s not too surprising that they’d merchandise the hell out of it too. I think they should delve further into the kids’ market: CSI bedsheets (with official insignia and fake bloodstains), bookbags (with a bodybag design)… it’s a bonanza waiting to happen!

That is, as long as the franchise is protected from “overly aggressive” news producers who would dare cut into an episode to announce something so trivial as the death of Yasser Arafat.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 03:29pm
Category: Society, TV
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I hate when this happens: I checked my remaining vacation time for 2004, and it turns out I’ve got nearly three weeks left.

Since there’s only about 6 weeks left to the year, and enough work in that time that I can’t take extensive time off, it means it’ll be a huge challenge to burn off all that time.

I really only need to use two weeks; up to one week of vacation time automatically gets rolled over to next year. Since I officially get only two weeks a year, obviously I went through this last year. And the year before.

While it might sound ridiculous to make taking time off into a chore, it really is a pressure situation. I wish they’d let us cash out the hours instead.

Oh well. I guess I’ve got a couple of three- and four-day weekends coming my way. I’ll have to think of some fun activities.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 02:26pm
Category: General
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deadlocked
In the midst of this locked-out season, Forbes Magazine has released its package of reports on the financial state of the National Hockey League and its franchise teams.

The verdict? NHL teams are worth an average of $163 million, the bottom rung among the four major pro leagues but still respectable. That’s also another increase in team valuation, following a decade-long trend.

What’s more, the magazine estimates that the league collectively lost less than half the amount it claimed last year: $96 million versus $224 million — a claim the league, predictably, forcefully disputes.

Why the discrepency? Boiled down, the owners simply aren’t disclosing all the money they’re making as a result of their hockey operations. Overall, section editor Michael Ozanian finds the benefits of owning an NHL team to outweigh the much-publicized downside. Considering the enviable control position the ownership of a major league team brings with it, in terms of various supplemental ventures (real estate, events, etc.), it’s not hard to believe.

I haven’t been shy about placing the blame for this deadlock squarely upon the owners. This news from Forbes isn’t surprising, because they find the same sort of numbers every year, and every year the NHL cries long and hard about how there’s little truth behind them. Even if you accept the Forbes findings, you could argue that a $96 million loss is still a loss, and thus still worthy of a cost-certainty solution.

I’d have an easier time believing the owners even a little bit their actions matched their words. Fact is, plenty of these franchises have been claiming losses year after year for decades, sometimes through different ownership groups. Despite all this red ink, the money appears every time contracts come up. Despite allegedly bleak economic models, potential owners line up every time an existing team or expansion franchise comes up for bid. If we’re talking about facts, looking at the owners’ arguments doesn’t give you an equation that adds up.

Not that any of this will change the lockout prospects. But it’s hockey news, and I’ll take anything I can get right now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 02:05pm
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz
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the neighborhood
Mystery solved? American researcher Robert Sarmast thinks he’s found the ruins of Atlantis, underwater between Cyprus and Syria.

Sarmast’s theory is that Cyprus is the pinnacle of Atlantis, with the rest of it about a mile below sea level.

The mythical theories won’t die right away, but if there’s anything at all to this, it’ll be a fascinating find.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/13/2004 12:25pm
Category: Science
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