Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, June 12, 2021

manna from asgard
Anyone who read comic books in the late ’70s and early ’80s was well-acquainted with the Hostess Fruit Pies superhero ads found therein.

In retrospect, it may seem insane that product placement and crime fighting mixed for almost a decade in the back of our comic books, but at the time, these were like the FBI terrorist negotiation handbook. Remember when President Carter dropped 30 tons of Twinkies on the starving African nations? That wasn’t to feed children. That was to crush their evil plans. Those kids were getting heads so disproportionately large, they were officially declared super villains by our government, and had to be stopped.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Spider-Man’s and Captain America’s monthly adventures, my admiration for them was tempered mightily when I found them shilling pie in the very same issue.

Oddly enough, the one installment that stuck in my head all these years was “The Hulk vs. The Roller Disco Devils!” That “ROCK! ROLL!” exclamation, combined with the Devils’ menacingly wide lapels, was so ludicrous that it never left me. I’m looking forward to the Big Green Machine reminiscing about this episode on his own blog.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 07:36:50 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture | Permalink | Feedback (2)

I don’t know how new it is, but Jif’s Peanut Butter and Honey has been a long time coming, as far as I’m concerned.

Why? One of my dietary quirks is a distaste for jelly. I don’t like it a bit. So instead of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I was turned onto peanut butter and honey sandwiches as a kid. And I’ve never looked back.

So I’m curious as to how this all-in-one jar tastes. I could forego the honey altogether.

Maybe I’ll buy some. Or, better still, have The Impulsive Buy test drive it first.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 02:57:52 PM
Category: Food | Permalink | Feedback (3)

It’s a truism that, as long as established methods are easy to maintain, they’ll always be the preferred mode of operation, even in the face of better alternatives.

Case in point: Because oil has been so abundant and relatively cheap, the West has given short shrift to other energy sources. If things are going well with the gas pump, why monkey around with other fuels?

As usual, change doesn’t come about until circumstances demands it. That might be the reason behind a sudden reignited interest in solar cell development:

As oil prices have gone up and other energy sources remain limited, nations are increasingly searching for safe, reliable long-term sources of power. Solar energy is long-lasting, going years without cells needing replenishment. Moreover, existing solar cell manufacturers have been slow to ramp up supply. Demand, meanwhile, has soared — fueled by government subsidies to support the non-polluting technology.

Market forces force a search for other options.

It also helps that the production costs associated with solar cells, which were always relatively high, have been reduced by Silicon Valley companies Nanosolar and Miasole, which in turn has attracted venture capital dollars. It’s a happy combination all around.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 02:32:15 PM
Category: Business, Science | Permalink | Feedback

When open auditions for “Survivor” roll into town, you’ve just got to take your shot.

Well, I don’t. I can’t stand that reality TV shit. Besides, I already had my fun by auditioning for ESPN’s “Dream Job”; one television cattle call in a lifetime is enough.

But others can have their fun. Like Terry Tomalin, who checked out, and participated in, the scene at Tampa’s “Survivor” free-for-all.

Maybe not so surprisingly, the show’s signature scheming starts long before the cameras start rolling:

That is when Jeff Nolen, the infamous “man in the pink hat,” returned and tried to lure me to the dark side.

“I like your shirt,” the 40-year-old from New Port Richey declared. “Let’s talk.”

But Cheryl Clark, the 38-year-old owner of a lawn care business in Bradenton, warned me about joining Nolen’s team.

“He’s trying to form alliances with everybody,” she said. “Watch out. He’ll vote you off the island.”

Shocked and disillusioned, I went off in search of my own posse, hoping to form an alliance that could withstand even the Axis of Evil.

“What’s with the karate uniform?” I asked James Kendrick as he awaited his turn before the camera.

“I am a martial arts instructor,” the 42-year-old from Lakeland replied.

I told Kendrick I was looking for a good man to cover my back if and when we made it to the island.

“Do you have any survival skills?” I asked.

“I can chop wood with my bare hands,” he replied.

“Good enough.”

So we headed back through the crowd to find Nolen and the rest of his Pink Hat Mafia.

“He went to the bar,” said Reniger, the hairstylist. “I take it that you have formed your own alliance?”

I smiled. Kendrick and I had agreed to split the cool million, 50-50.

“If they find out, you’ll be disqualified,” Reniger said.

“What if we cut you in for a third?” I said.

He smiled. I was finally learning what it takes to be a survivor.

Is there any chance that Tomalin will make it onto the show? He’s got certain qualifications:

When my turn came, they ushered me into a little room and gave me the signal to begin.

“I’ve sipped champagne with movie stars and killed a wild pig with a spear,” I began.

I spent the next 110 seconds talking about the sum of my more memorable adventures… swimming from Alcatraz, paddling a canoe to Bimini, backpacking through New Zealand, hanging with witch doctors in the Amazon…

Aside from his outdoorsman profile, there’s enough more behind that champagne-with-movie-stars thing that would make Tomalin an intriguing “Survivor” participant. I’m not at liberty to disclose the skinny — I defer to Terry on that — but it would bring a different spin to the show.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 01:15:07 PM
Category: Reality Check, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

According to Wake Forest University, the graying future of America is here — all too specifically in Lakeland:

In a study released last month, economists said Lakeland’s percentages of elderly and middle-aged people (18 percent and 23 percent, respectively) jibe with the estimated percentage of such people in all of America in 2025.

The university reckons the spending habits of Lakeland today reflect the spending habits of the country in 20 years. That’s when all of the baby boomers will have reached retirement age.

Lakeland, long ignored as the not-so-thrilling filling between the crusts of Orlando and Tampa, suddenly finds itself a trendsetter.

Churches, physicians, toupee dealers, golf apparel salesmen and all-you-can-eat buffet cooks: Prepare to reap thy bounty.

No offense to those who live there, but if the whole country’s going to turn into Lakeland, then I’m getting my passport ready.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/12/2021 01:12:41 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Society | Permalink | Feedback