Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, May 14, 2021

Crazy college kids. At The Meridian Hookah Lounge in Temple Terrace, groovesters chill out while sucking flavored tobacco smoke out of a tube:

Customers are 18 and older and pay a $7 to $10 cover charge for unlimited smoking. Flavors range from standard strawberry, apple and mango to more creative concoctions like “purple gorilla” and “sweet love,” dreamed up by customers and employees. The full menu is listed on the lounge Web site, usfhookah.com. Coffee and soft drinks are available, but alcohol and food are not. On different nights, entertainment includes a belly dancer, a masseuse, a DJ, live music and an open mike. They cater to a relaxed crowd slumped on sofas laughing, talking, even canoodling.

Nice URL, by the way — I wonder if the University of South Florida will go after them to protest any perceived connection with the school.

I found it amusing that the article strained to avoid mentioning the most typical association made with this type of water-and-smoke sucking. C’mon — college students, elaborate bong-like devices… They’re smoking wacky tobaccy, alright!

I scoffed at the idea of candy-flavored cigarettes catching on, but this is the same concept, really. It’s just got a cooler-than-thou presentation.

The hookah bar scene is catching on. I actually visited one five years ago, before the present hype: Chicago’s Zentra. I did not inhale — no shocker, since I don’t smoke anyway.

To appeal to us non-puffers, these joints ought to have a good supply of booze hookahs (or AWOL vaporizers) on hand.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/14/2005 06:30:26 PM
Category: Florida Livin'
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So in response to popular demand, Pope Benedict XVI is fast-tracking the beatification process that would be the first step toward canonizing John Paul II as a saint. Normal wait time is five years after death.

The announcement opens the way for the possible beatification and canonization of John Paul, pending an investigation into the late pope’s life and approval of miracles attributed to him. One miracle is required for John Paul to be beatified, a second one for him to be declared a saint…

A Vatican official speaking on condition of anonymity said Friday that Benedict’s announcement dispenses with the five-year wait without reservations, but gives no time element for John Paul’s possible beatification and does not do away with requirements including the investigation of the late pope’s life and the approval of a miracle.

Why bother with a fusty old ecumenical investigation? Consider:

- John Paul was reborn as HomoPater, a super-powered Popeman, in a Colombian comic book;

- There’s also a Pope baseball card, signed by the deceased pontiff himself.

Those two feats trump any two miracles, as far as I’m concerned. (Well, making Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction vanish into thin air might make me reconsider that stance.)

Think about it: The Church of Pop Culture has already bestowed sainthood upon John Paul. It’s the Media Age, for crying out loud; in the arena that’s truly captured the populace’s hearts and minds, he’s already ascended.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/14/2005 05:49:03 PM
Category: Celebrity, Pop Culture
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Close to my homestead is Acropolis Greek Taverna (the Clearwater location; adjust volume accordingly before clicking). The sign at the entrance includes not just the eatery’s name, as shown above, but also the word “bistro” right below.

If a person doesn’t know what a taverna is, what are the chances that offering up bistro as an alternative description will provide clarity? Slim to none, I think.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/14/2005 05:03:08 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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