Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, August 16, 2021

pop goes the bubbleIf a t-shirt can deliver a self-fulfilling prophecy, this Mr. Hou$ing Bubble one can do it, if the minor stir it’s generating is any indication.

“I think it’s pretty clear that there are a lot of people in fear over the potential of a housing bust,” [T-shirtHumor.com communications director Anthony] Phipps said. “A lot of individuals have made some interesting moves financially with interest-only mortgages and the idea of suddenly having all that equity disappear is something that scares home buyers and policy-makers alike.”

But the Realty Times newsletter chafed at the notion that real estate prices have reached unsustainable levels, declaring in a headline, “Mr. Housing Bubble T-shirts Indicate Market Confusion.”

Arguing that Americans are widely benefiting from adjustable-rate mortgages that make monthly payments more affordable, columnist Blanche Evans said some pundits in the financial press were simply trying to scare real estate investors into shifting their money back into stocks.

The exposure must be doing wonders for T-shirtHumor.com; the site’s been down all evening.

I can’t say pink is my color. Also, I think conjuring up the Internet bubble is a bit too much.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 11:51pm
Category: Comedy, Creative, Society
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What does an ex-NFL QB do 15 years after retirement? If you’re career backup Gary Hogeboom, you join the case of “Survivor: Guatemala”, the latest installment of the granddaddy reality show.

But he’s doing it with some trepidation:

“I don’t want to go by my last name on the show,” Hogeboom said on CBS’s Early Show Thursday, “People would vote me off immediately if someone knew I was in the NFL. Everyone thinks we made big money. I was pre-big money.”

Um. I don’t dispute the lack of major money during Hogeboom’s playing days (remember Plan B free agency, anyone?). But I don’t think Hogeboom has to worry about anyone recognizing him; I doubt his on-field performances left many memories in the minds of football fandom.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 11:46pm
Category: Football, RealiTV Check
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I’m starting to think the rumors are true. Walter George Alton, long-lost actor of Pumaman infamy (thanks to the ol’ “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ treatment), appears to have been located. And it was “The Daily Show” that did it.

If Walter Alton the lawyer really is the former actor, I can’t believe he’d consent to show his face on national television (or even local, in New York). He’d have to know there are enough bad-movie buffs who would recognize him. Could be there’s enough of the old acting bug left in him that he can’t resist getting in front of the camera.

And I agree with the speculation: The facial structure similiarities between the two are a dead giveaway. If they’re not one and the same, then I’d bet there’s a family connection.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 11:25pm
Category: Comedy, Movies
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Befitting its Silicon Valley image, San Francisco is looking to set up a free or low-cost wi-fi hotspot to cover its entire 49 square mile municipal area, and provide enough computer equipment for all strata of residents to access it.

Last year, the city erected antennas to make one of its most popular tourist destinations, Union Square, a free hot spot, and three others are set to go up later this year. Responses to the city’s request for information are due in six weeks and [mayor Gavin] Newsom said he hopes to have the citywide Wi-Fi plan at least partly “manifested” within six months.

“Cities are starting to realize this is not a ‘nice to have’ anymore,” said Paul Butcher, Intel’s state and local government marketing manager. “To operate efficiently as a government, to enable business to compete and provide adequate resources to cities, you pretty much have to do this.”

It’s an audacious project, and a big step toward making the Internet a true mass medium. It’s also another blow against for-profit wireless hotspot providers; think of how distressed this makes the gajillion Starbucks stores in the Bay Area! Assuming this spurs even more cities to undertake wi-fi implementations — and I’m sure it will — it’s looking like the pay-for model is an ultimate dead end, even using selling points like secure connections.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 10:43pm
Category: Wi-Fi
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You always knew Coldplay sucked the big one. Now here’s further proof: Their latest single, “Talk”, is an almost note-for-note ripoff of Kraftwerk’s 1981 “Computer Love”.

Judge for yourself with this handy mashup of the two songs.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 10:10pm
Category: Creative, Pop Culture
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Are you fed up with showboating sports commentators on TV and radio? You aren’t the only one:

What is it with all these sports commentators with an attitude in the last few years? Once upon a time, they just reported the scores along with some details of what happened on the diamonds, fields, courts, etc. Now they feel the need to give us a song and dance with every score as well as their opinions of everything that goes on in the world of sports. I liked the old days better. Sometimes I just want to scream out at the beginning of these sports shows, “No, I don’t want any attitude with that!”

In my response, I said that the root cause is obvious:

It’s the SportsCenter effect — specifically, the “Big Show” era with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann (also Chris Berman’s antics). They made the inside joking and meta-narrative while reading scores and highlights an artform. Unfortunately, it inspired every two-bit sportscaster to emulate them, often badly, in the illusory hopes that such displays would attract an offer from ESPN.

Nothing new, really. It’s especially prevalent among the current SportsCenter (non-) talent — which is really baffling, because you’d think they could stop the grandstanding now that they’ve achieved the bigtime. Then again, I’m sure they’re compelled to show how funny they’re supposed to be.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 09:46pm
Category: Media, Sports
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What would you do for a used $50 laptop?

An estimated 5,500 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks, which retail for between $999 and $1,299. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents.

Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting since 1 a.m. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene.

People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl’s stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd.

I’m wondering if Apple can somehow spin this into positive PR. It does demonstrate how passionate people can get in a quest to own a Mac — even a practically antiquated one (four years old, they must be G3s at best…. maybe lacking Ethernet ports, even). It would have to be an underground, viral type of campaign, though…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 09:26pm
Category: Society, Tech
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Today, I had a Fresca with my lunch.

This afternoon, I drank a can of TaB.

Obviously, I’m experiencing reality on this Tuesday circa 1978. No wonder the day’s seemed so strange.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 04:35pm
Category: Food, History
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