Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

the way and the light
What fine, upstanding Christian gal wouldn’t love getting The “What Would Jesus Do?” Thong for a Christmas gift?

Brought to you by Landover Baptist Church, God’s most favoritest church.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 11:37pm
Category: Comedy, Fashion
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What a coincidence. Just days after I jot down a few thoughts about the prospects for downtown Tampa’s revitalization, Robert Trigaux gets an earful on the subject from Tampa Downtown Partnership head Christine Burdick.

Some favorable signals:

Growing regional traffic congestion is encouraging people to reconsider the benefits of living near where they work.

In the past year and a half, plans were unveiled for more than 3,500 housing units in downtown Tampa. That translates to more than 5,000 people living downtown when all the units are complete.

How to build and keep downtown housing momentum was the topic Tuesday morning at a breakfast held, appropriately, in downtown Tampa by the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Ben Wacksman, president of Capital Realty Investors and moderator of the breakfast panel, said the influx of new residents downtown was equivalent in size to such giant suburban developments as Westchase or FishHawk Ranch.

The trick, the panel agreed, is creating a mix of affordable housing instead of a downtown crammed only with fancy condos and townhomes.

A downtown Tampa housing market that appeals to young and more adventurous first-time buyers, as well as modestly paid teachers, firefighters and police officers makes for a far more interesting urban scene.

I have to admit, I was unaware of that level of downtown migration. I’m surprised it hasn’t made a more visible difference, though.

Traffic is my personal bugaboo, and a major motivator for wanting to chuck a lengthy commute. It makes sense that people would want to simplify their lives by more closely incorporating work, home and play.

Or does it? Much of the Tampa Bay area is very suburban-like, where people are comfortable having a clear, and lengthy, divide between work life and home life. I don’t see that desire lessening. And I’ll stand by my original contention that, given a choice, most homebuyers will take the homesteads with generous allotment of front and backyards over comparably-priced condos and townhouses. This is especially the case for first-time buyers with families in mind. If anything, the condo market here is seen as having more appeal to older people and retirees.

Downtown renewal certainly needs cheerleading, but it’s going to take more than that to actually pull it off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 11:09pm
Category: Florida Livin', Politics
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different colors
The hoots of outrage over this week’s “Monday Night Football” opening segment starring Terrell Owens and Nicollette Sheridan seem to be mounting, with even the FCC considering whether or not to label it “indecent” and levy appropriate fines. Within the sports world, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King sounds out the appropriate tones of indignation.

Let’s ignore the farcical nature of the segment, which was intended as an over-the-top spoof of classically trashy nighttime soap drama (of which the Sheridan vehicle “Desperate Housewives” is the latest successful rendition). Let’s also ignore the base hypocrisy of being offended by play-acted nudity in a pre-game promotion while condoning NFL cheerleaders’ near-nudity during gametime. Let’s even ignore the fuzzy logic in admonishing even the hint of sexually-oriented material while embracing an ultraviolent game — only the latest variant of this sex-is-bad/violence-is-okay dynamic (and this is coming from a huge NFL fan).

Instead, take a look at the picture above. What do you see?

- There’s Nicollette Sheridan. Tall, blonde, fair skin, dreamily beautiful. A white woman — very white.

- There’s Terrell Owens. Athletic, muscular, aggressive, outspoken, dark skin, handsome. A black man — very black.

So we have a scene depicting forbidden love between a very white woman and a very black man, culminating in the woman, naked, literally throwing herself onto the man.

Forget about the context, the potential audience, and the desired effect. Ask yourself instead: Would people be this up in arms had Sheridan stripped down and jumped the bones of Brett Favre, Tom Brady, or Brian Urlacher, all prominent white players?

You could say race has nothing to do with it, that the unease has to do solely with the injection of overtly sexual material into sports programming. Especially considering the past year’s parade of broadcast missteps, including the NFL-specific Janet Jackson Super Bowl flap, it would seem reasonable that the furor is colorblind, focusing on the risque material.

I don’t buy it. This is America, and the image of a black man and white woman getting it on is going to evoke just the kind of reaction we’re seeing here. ESPN’s Jason Whitlock made joking reference to the “Mandingo” aspects of the situation, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the heart of the entire controversy.

Others see race being a major factor in this story, including Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. Dungy sees it in a slightly different light, though, considering it a poor reflection on black athletes in wake of the Kobe Bryant media circus:

“I think it’s stereotypical in looking at the players, and on the heels of the Kobe Bryant incident I think it’s very insensitive. I don’t think that they would have had Bill Parcells or Andy Reid or one of the owners involved in that,” he added, a reference to the coaches in the game.

Ultimately, this will blow over. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this was the desired effect ABC had the whole time, garnering even more publicity for its programming. And for me, it’s just another example of the fairly inane pregame wrapping that’s been featured this season on MNF and its sister show, ESPN’s Sunday Night Football. But I doubt I’m the only one who’s seeing this knee-jerk reaction in a racial light.

UPDATE (11/19/04): In a nod to all the extra hits I’m getting from visitors seeking a video clip to this MNF opener, here you go. (Thanks to Off Wing Opinion for pointing the way to that iFilm link.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 10:19pm
Category: Football, Society, TV
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finger candy
Check out the shine! You win a Stanley Cup, you get a big hunk of diamonds and precious metal to adorn your hand:

Each ring has 138 diamonds - one for every point earned during the regular season and two for the 16 postseason victories. Each player’s ring has his name, jersey number and the postseason series victories with the opponent’s logo (4-3 over the Flames, 4-3 over the Flyers, 4-0 over the Canadiens and 4-1 over the Canadiens). Blue diamonds, a nod to the Lightning’s major color, make up the Stanley Cup on the ring. Those diamonds were sent to Israel to be “radiated” - or make them blue.

Each ring is valued at between $15,000 to $20,000. Players can also get toned-down versions of the ring for their family members.

Unfortunately, given the labor battle that’s currently wiping out this season, the ring-awarding ceremony wasn’t all it could have been:

“I don’t think we’ll ever forget the treatment the NHL has given our team in trying not to let this happen,” forward Tim Taylor said. “It was a joke. For this community not to share in this? I think it’s a slap in the face the NHL has given our fans because they should’ve been involved.

“This should have been at the Forum in front of 22,000 people as we walk up and get the rings and open it up and show the fans. I personally feel the NHL has taken some of that away from us.”

The NHL had concerns about the Lightning hosting an event for the players seeing as how owners and players are in the middle of an ugly labor dispute that threatens the season. Frank Brown, the NHL’s vice president/media relations, said the league wasn’t trying to stop the event but had concerns “about the level of participation of the organization in any type of ceremony.”

Finally, the Lightning received permission from the NHL to invite the players to the Times Forum to pick up the rings. But only 15 players, including several no longer with the Lightning such as Jassen Cullimore, Ben Clymer and Cory Stillman, could attend. Several key players, including Martin St. Louis, Nikolai Khabibulin and Vinny Lecavalier, did not attend. There was no pomp and circumstance and no Stanley Cup.

Lightning players wanted the Cup at Tuesday’s lunch, but it was booked to appear in Minnesota. That led Taylor, the Lightning’s player representative to the union, to take a shot at commissioner Gary Bettman.

“I think the little guy at the NHL who is running this thing … it’s a joke what he has made this day into,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t be surprised after this thing is over that we play for some other trophy other than the Stanley Cup. I really don’t think he cares too much about the Stanley Cup.”

A little harsh? Yeah. I can understand the NHL’s reluctance. Still, despite the lockout, I don’t see what there was to gain in underplaying what should have been a ceremony celebrating recent memories. Was there a fear of looking soft toward the players? Would a flashier event have brought unwelcomed media attention toward the lack of active progress in negotiations? Frankly, it strikes me as yet another public relations/marketing blunder by a league that’s made far too many over the years to count.

I doubt I would have attended any public ceremony. But it would have been nice to see it, if only as a reminder that hockey used to be played in these parts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 08:04pm
Category: Hockey
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esquire, esq.
I just got the December issue of Esquire Magazine. As you can see, it’s the self-styled “Genius Issue”.

Hello? Right here? High IQ, member of Mensa (albiet — ahem — a bit behind in my dues), full of wit and verve. And I wasn’t tapped for this issue?


by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 06:38pm
Category: Publishing
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When I first saw a nondescript headline about TLC launching a search for a replacement for deceased bandmate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, the first thought that came to me was, “I’m surprised they aren’t exploiting the situation by turning the search into a reality TV show.”

Then, I read the details, and discovered that, indeed, the venture would be in the form of a reality show.

Cynicism comes through again, like an old friend.

I always thought Chilli was pretty damn hot.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 02:11pm
Category: Pop Culture, RealiTV Check
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I caught Jerry Seinfeld on David Letterman a couple of nights ago. He was there to plug the much-anticipated “Seinfeld” DVD releases, but part of his appearance included a few minutes of standup.

The standup act was pretty good, but I noticed that it borrowed heavily from his old material. No specific bits come to mind at the moment, but because I, coincidentally, had been listening to the CD version of “I’m Telling You for the Last Time” a few days earlier, I recognized a lot of it right off the bat (and there’s something about his material that sticks in your head, even years after you’ve last heard it).

So, should we assume that Seinfeld has exhumed his old material, which he made a big deal about burying forevermore (and which was the basis behind his documentary movie Comedian)? It could be that he feels comfortable resorting to the old stuff for use in something so mechanical as a DVD promotional tour. Still, I hope he’s not backsliding creatively.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 12:14pm
Category: Celebrity, Comedy
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