Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, November 21, 2021

Here’s a cameraphone shot I took one morning a few days ago, just before leaving for work. It’s a small group of Mallard ducks, a pleasant and appealing visual changeup from the native Muscovy ducks around here (who are so inbred that they’ve got ugly bumps growing all over their heads, which no doubt accounts for their foul (pun intended) attitudes). They let me get pretty close to them, but unfortunately not close enough for a better shot.

I guess these new arrivals are here on their winter migration. I hope they’re not as obtrusive as the average tourista.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/21/2004 06:11pm
Category: Florida Livin'
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to the hole
Not being a hoops fan, my thoughts on Friday’s out-of-control fighting between Pistons and Pacers players and fans in the stands are few, and can be crystalized as follows:

“I went to the fights, and a basketball game broke out.”

I’ll be happy if the NBA inherits that stale old joke; the NHL held onto it for long enough.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/21/2004 05:57pm
Category: Basketball
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I never did make any further mention of the American Stage production of “Metamorphoses”, which I went to see this past Tuesday.

Part of the reason I didn’t write anything about it was because I shortsightedly left behind the play program, which contained the names of the actors and other helpful notes. I haven’t been able to get another copy, so I’m just going to have to wing it (and thus write not so much a review as a short synopsis of my impressions).

This staging of selected stories from Ovid’s poems followed Mary Zimmerman’s unconventional approach of mixing contemporary imagery alongside the traditional Roman motif. From this you get the god Mercury portrayed as flying leatherneck, complete with pilot’s goggles on top of his head; and King Midas dressed as a pomped-up businessman and strutting around to a disco “Solid Gold”-like beat. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is milling around in togas. But as Marty Clear’s Times review notes, it manages to all mesh together very well.

The presentation of the stories flowed together pretty well, even though there was extensive narration direct to the audience (probably unavoidable). All the actors played multiple roles as they moved from vignette to vignette, which actually helped with the overall continuity. The overarching theme — that of transformation in some form as the result of the characters’ actions and destiny — served as a loose uniting theme.

I was especially taken with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, not the least because Eurydice is elevated from a prop in the original poem to a character who embraces her final fate, which I thought was a nice touch. The story of Phaeton, mentioned in the Times review, also stood out as a funny monologue delivered from an inflatable pool lounger. There was plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the other stories, which, while effective in their own right, tended to make the more poignant scenes stand out more.

The stagework was as impressive as billed. The stone courtyard facade made for a happy playground for the scenes to unfold. The much-hyped pool of water was not what I had envisioned: It was a good deal smaller and more integrated into the rest of the scenery than I thought (although considering the intimate confines of American Stage, I’m not sure I should have expected anything bigger). But it made for a unique stage environment, especially when the water was central to that particular storyline. I thought the periodic mopping up of the excess water splashing, integrated as parts of the stage action, was a clever throw-in for practicality’s sake.

The actors all did a great job. I don’t know if constantly splashing around in the centerpiece pool was more of a delight or a hassle for them, but they made it look good. The costumes and partially water-submerged performances were no doubt tricky, especially the love scenes; but all were memorable. Along with the actor who shined as Orpheus, I was very impressed by the redheaded actress who played (among others) Psyche.

So, in sum, I’d recommend “Metamorphoses” as a fun night of theatre. A short running time of 90 minutes prevents it from seeming overly long, and at the same time I didn’t feel like it was a rushed performance at all. There’s another pay-what-you-can night for the Tuesday, November 30th performance, so there’s a perfect opportunity to take this one in on the cheap(er). It’s worth it at full price as well.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/21/2004 05:31pm
Category: Creative, Media
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My newspaper today was delivered to my door wrapped (as it is every Sunday) in a colorful ad-adorned plastic bag. The ads on this day are for winemaker Covey Run.

Aside from the ads themselves, the unique thing about the Valassis Communications Brand Bag+ as an advertising medium is the frequent inclusion of an actual product sample within the bag (that’s what that “+” represents, I guess). If the ad was for, say, Eclipse gum, you could expect to find a couple of pieces of gum inside a special pouch. Very effective way to promote the product.

The thing is, I’ve almost come to expect such little tchotchkes with my Sunday paper. So when I saw the hard-to-miss Covey Run ads, I automatically assumed that there somehow would be a free sample of wine inside the bag. For a few seconds, I absently wondered how they’d managed the trick: Did they use a plastic minibottle, akin to what they use on airlines for liquor (and, until recently, in South Carolina)? Or a little box, an extension of the box-o’-wine movement?

Then I checked the bag, and saw that there was, in fact, no wine in it. Just a coupon for a couple of bucks off the purchase of a bottle. I guess the logistics for gum aren’t comparable for wine.

Just as well. Even considering the promotional considerations, I’m not sure I’d trust a vintage that came to me in plastic or box packaging.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/21/2004 02:26pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Publishing
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Oh, the things you’ll observe while at the grocery store.

Today: A couple of middle-aged deli workers walked past while I was waiting in line to get a sandwich. They were both wearing hairnets. I couldn’t help but notice that one guy’s head was shaved bald, with just a little stubble on top, and thus made his hairnet appear to be pretty loosely connected.

As he walked off, it occured to me: Why was he wearing a hairnet at all? The purpose of a hairnet is to keep hair from flying all over during food handling/preparation. This guy had hardly a follicle on his heady-head-head, so that shouldn’t have been an issue. Even if one or two of his stubblettes managed to drop loose, they’d easily fall through the hairnet’s large mesh.

I’m sure some procedural health-safety rule required him to wrap the thing around his skull. Maybe he even puts it on just to fit in with his co-workers, regardless of need. Still, it looked odd.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/21/2004 01:31pm
Category: General
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