Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 13, 2021

Am I the only one who’s totally enamoured by Boston Market‘s new quickie TV spots for their new roasted sirloin meal?

They show people digging into their steaky goodness, while large-type messages flash across the screen and a down-homey country-western ditty provides the only audio.

That song was especially catchy to me. I’ve found out why: It’s performed by the one and only Reverend Horton Heat; it’s called, appropriately enough, “Eat Steak”, and you’ll hear only the first couple of verses in the Boston Market commercials:

Eat steak, eat steak eat a big ol’ steer
Eat steak, eat steak do we have one dear?
Eat beef, eat beef it’s a mighty good food
It’s a grade A meal when I’m in the mood

Why not more? Maybe because, as is the Reverend’s tendency, the lyrics take an… interesting turn:

Eat a cow, eat a cow ’cause it’s good for you
Eat a cow, eat a cow, it’s the thing that goes “Mooooo”

Look at all the cows in the slaughterhouse yard
Gotta hit ‘em in the head, gotta hit ‘em real hard
First you gotta clean ‘em then the butcher cuts ‘em up
Throws it on a scale, throws an eyeball in a cup

Saw a big Brangus Steer standing right over there
So I rustled up a fire cooked him medium rare
Bar-B-Q’ed his brisket, a’roasted his rump
Fed my dog that ol’ Brangus Steer’s hump.

Gives you a definite hankerin’ for the red meat, doesn’t it?

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/13/2005 10:55pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture
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desperately hotWhen the clock chimed 10PM during last night’s Spurs-Pistons NBA Finals game, ABC noted that many viewers were probably just tuning in at that time to catch a regularly-scheduled episode of “Desperate Housewives” (even though it’s rerun season).

Rather than disappoint, the network came through with a courtside interview with “Desperate” star Eva Longoria, who “just happened” to be in the house. Something to do with being a Spurs fan.

When they started interviewing her, my summertime housemate Joe instantly started bitching about the break from the hoops action:

“I hate when they ask these dumb celebrities questions.. They don’t know what they’re talking about, and it’s just a waste of time!”

I allowed him that. And if they had interviewed, say, James Spader (another ABC star), I probably would have felt cheated by that minute of off-court focus.

But. It’s Eva Longoria. And she’s smokin’ hot.

So I felt pretty contented in giving up 60 seconds of NBA championship action to get an eyeful of Eva.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/13/2005 09:47pm
Category: Basketball, Celebrity, TV
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In a finding that should surprise no one, the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that cops in 42 states routinely let motorists speed 5-10 miles above the posted speed limit before pulling them over.

When I was giving my younger brother a driving lesson some 16 years ago, I distinctly remember tipping him off about this 5-10 mile cushion. Good to see my advice has finally been governmentally validated!

I think there’s an innate need for people to speed, and for the police to let them — all within reasonable limits. There’s probably a complex symbiotic relationship there… And if I wasn’t so burned out right now, I might delve into it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/13/2005 09:17pm
Category: Society
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What is it about Pac-Man? Twenty years after its heyday, and it’s still providing inspiration, often in the oddest ways.

Case in point: Researchers in Singapore have devised a virtual-reality version of the game that melds wi-fi, GPS and other technologies to allow people to play in an urban landscape:

Combining both real and virtual elements, the game allows the human Pacman to ‘see’ virtual cookies with the aid of the special headset scattered on the street which the player can then ‘eat’ by walking through them.

Ghosts get to ‘devour’ the player by tapping them on the shoulder when they catch up to them within the game area.

In return, Pacman gets the ability to temporarily neutralise them and add to his virtual powers when he finds and picks up Bluetooth-embedded physical sugar jars scattered in the real world environment by a game coordinator.

The player’s locations are also wirelessly updated to a virtual 3D Pac-world where online gamers can view their progress and participate by helping either Pacman or the Ghosts through text messaging.

This sounds an awful lot like New York University’s PacManhattan project, maybe ramped up a bit. Which in turn may have inspired a clever Saturn Vue commercial.

Not bad for a game that almost had a potentially damaging original name:

The game was, at first, called Puckman. It was later changed due to the fact that the middle section of the ‘P’ could be scratched away making the name offensive to people.

(Via Diary of the Mad Pigeon)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/13/2005 08:47pm
Category: Tech, Videogames
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sweet who?
He’s been dropping little hints for weeks now, rumblings so low that only the locals really noticed.

But yesterday, Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella finally let it rip bigtime, lambasting the team’s ownership group for pinching the pennies:

“When I came here three years ago, we were talking about a situation where we wanted to win now, and we were interested in winning now,” Piniella said before Sunday’s 7-5, 13-inning win over the Pirates. “With a small payroll, we improved it from 55 (wins) to 63, and from 63 to 70. This was supposed to be the breakout year.

“The problem is we’ve got a new ownership group here that’s changed the direction of where we’re headed. They’re not interested about the present. They’re interested about the future. And that’s their right. But when other teams are getting better presently and we’re not, you’re going to get your butts beat, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

“I’m not going to take responsibility for this. If I had been given a $40- or $45-million payroll and was getting beat like that, I’d stand up like a man and say it’s my fault. Well, I’m not going to do it.”

As the article notes, the interesting thing about this is that Piniella isn’t bashing Vince Naimoli, the team’s founder and managing general partner, and focus of fans’ ire. Rather, he’s pinning the blame on Stuart Sternberg, who bought into the franchise a couple of years ago and has been considered the on-the-horizon salvation for the club. The vibe in Tampa Bay is that the team’s never going to improve as long as Naimoli is running things, so there’s no reason to expect anything different until Sternberg assumes the mantle in the next year or so.

At first blush, Piniella’s remarks suggest that it may be folly to count on the new ownership to turn around the ship. However, it looks more like a question of timing. Sternberg may very well be looking to the future, thereby sacrificing the present. It may result in a winning squad at Tropicana Field within five years; unfortunately, that’s not going to include Piniella, who wants to win now.

So what happens from here? Piniella obviously is orchestrating his departure from a situation he knows won’t get any better soon. There are ideas:

Have Piniella’s agent negotiate a reassignment. Make him a special assistant to the general manager. Or, better yet, put him in the TV booth with Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane.

This accomplishes several things. It keeps Piniella from beating his head on the dugout wall every night. It gets him out of the dugout without firing him. And, most importantly, it lets 29 other teams know he is available.

So (wink, wink) if the Yankees decide to fire Joe Torre, they know they can hire Lou. Essentially, Piniella would be on display for all to see.

And the Rays would not only get themselves off the hook for the $4.5-million or so they owe Piniella next year, but they could get cash or players in return if he leaves to manage somewhere else in 2006.

The Yankees route is the default assumption, and might very well turn out to be true. The question is how to accomplish it. I seriously doubt there’s much interest in either side for putting Piniella in a stopgap assignment — he wants to manage, and Sternberg couldn’t be crazy about keeping him around in any capacity (especially not in the broadcast chair, where there’s more opportunity to publicly criticize the team). The prospects of trading Piniella are intriguing (not so far-fetched, since, technically, managers are on the team roster, and therefore can be swapped just like any player).

All in all, it’s a shame to see Piniella come to this, with a club he came to largely because it’s in his hometown. He’s probably wishing he had chosen the Mets, who were hot after him when he was leaving Seattle in 2002. However, I’m glad he didn’t, if only because it resulted in this corker of a headline in the New York Post: LOU-SERS - AND HOWE! (the “Howe” referring to Art Howe, who was the Mets’ Plan B, only to be fired two years later).

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/13/2005 10:52am
Category: Baseball
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