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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 11:26pm
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 08:33pm
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 08:07pm
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 07:21pm
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 02:53pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin', Publishing
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