Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, January 05, 2021

Isn’t it enough that Seal is, like, super-suave-cool? No, he’s got to up the ante and get engaged to Heidi Klum.

Man, those rock stars always land the Victoria’s Secret models. I got to buy me a gee-tar; the make-them-laugh schtick ain’t cutting it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 10:43pm
Category: Celebrity
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It seems that my concern over last month’s slicked-up cover of Wired was premature. I just got the January 2005 issue in the mail, and the cover paper stock is back to the matted texture that I like so much. I hope it’s here to stay.

Could the switch of coverboys, from James Cameron last month to Richard Branson this month, have accounted for the changeback? Is billionaire Branson less slick than Hollywood Cameron? Maybe if they give Branson an editorial stint, we’ll see some distinctive cover stock — lucite, perhaps.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 09:55pm
Category: Publishing
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Does speaking more than one language bestow upon you more than one personality? Petite Anglaise thinks so, as she detects different mannerisms between her French-speaking and English-speaking selves.

Being brought up bilingual, I’ve got some insight on this…

I wouldn’t go so far as to characterize my Greek-speaking mode as a wholly separate personality, or even as a different frame of mind. But there may be some extremely subconscious gear-shifting there. Certainly, my choice of diction is somewhat more formal in Greek as compared to English.

However, a chief reason for this is probably the audiences I’m addressing in each language. English is my everyday tongue, used with intimates, friends, colleagues and strangers. Greek is used exclusively for family, and elder family members at that. I’m not in a situation where I speak to a wide range of people in Greek, so that affects how I speak it.

Also, unlike Petite Anglaise, I don’t have any opportunity to speak both English and Greek to the same people. My peer relatives (brother and cousins) are as bilingual as I am, but we never speak anything but English amongst ourselves. That’s just how it’s always been.

The other difference between me and Petite Anglaise is the way we acquired our other languages. She learned French as a second language, well after being raised to think and speak in English. I learned English and Greek concurrently, from birth. I can see how acquiring a second (or third or fourth) language, well after linguistic skills are ingrained, can be akin to adopting another persona; it’s an efficient means of expression. But learning multiple languages during your fundamental developmental years is different: You can’t separate things because you don’t have a base personality from which to distinguish your “other” language — both have equal standing in your mind.

The litmus test would be how I, with that background, would acquire additional languages: Would it be natural to take this third language as distinct from my two native tongues? I wish I could remember. I took Spanish in high school, and got pretty good at it; but it didn’t stick, because I forgot it all after abandoning study for a year. I took German for a year in college, but never got particularly good at it. In both cases, I just don’t remember what my thought process was; fact is, I never bothered to consider it.

So, should you avoid picking up additional languages, for fear of mental instability? I can’t say I’m an exemplar in this area. I guess, if anything, you should embrace your subject fully, and not separate it within yourself.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 09:37pm
Category: General
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Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales promises to abide by the Geneva Convention’s prohibitions against torture, despite arguing in 2002 that the War Against Terror rendered them obsolete. This position, and his role as a top legal aide to President Bush, contributed to Abu Ghraib and other prisoner abuses.

Call me crazy, but if an AG prospect has to issue a verbal assurance that he won’t break international treaty obligations, his qualifications are shaky at best. It’s like needing a written statement from a potential chief of police that he’s not a shoplifter, or from a drug counselor that he’s not a crack addict.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 08:32pm
Category: Political
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the die is cast -- iron
What you see above is a shiny metal shirt button. I’ve got four of them. The question is, what do I do with them?

The buttons come off a Casino Wear pimp-o-tronic club shirt, sort of a guyabera-style piece. I wore it exactly once, for a “pimp and ho” costume party at a friend’s house a couple of years ago. It was a big hit, matching well with my purple-and-leopard-print widebrim hat and walking cane; one guy raved about how he’d wear it for a clubbing night, and a couple of the ladies cozied up to it too. But I never did find another occasion for it, so it’s been mouldering in my closet ever since. (I’ve still got the hat and cane — not ready to ditch those just yet.)

Today, I finally decided to chuck it, just to get it out of my sight. The only thing that kept me from doing so sooner was the buttons. They’re unique. I usually don’t consider such things on a piece of outmoded clothing, but I really liked these little numbers.

But the shirt had to go. So I cut off the buttons and trashed the shirt.

This isn’t normal behavior for me. I’ve got absolutely no sewing/tailoring skills. So I’m wondering what the use is for me to keep these four buttons. Basically, it’s just more junk for me to accumulate.

But what the heck, you never know. And they do look cool. Plus, I’ve found I can spin them for short durations, like mini-tops — now you’re talking fun!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 07:40pm
Category: Fashion
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