Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 08, 2021

As a comic-book fan myself, I ought to applaud Nicholas Cage for naming his new baby boy Kal-El, Superman’s true Kryptonian name.

But it’s Nick Cage, practically the only actor who makes me cringe every time I see him on the screen. I can’t explain it, except that his naturally whiny voice and generally idiotic demeanor — on both counts, regardless of role — just turn me off, including when he was in the running to play Clark Kent. Heck, his starring turn in Lord of War is the sole thing keeping me from catching that movie, because otherwise it’s a compelling story.

Getting back to the little Superbaby… As one who’s lived with an unconventional name, I can tell the parents to get ready to cope with the lad’s early feelings of alienation (no pun intended there). Using the everyday nickname of “Kal” will probably help.

Still, I really hope the kid gets unique revenge on Poppa: Converting to Islam in his late teens and modifying his name to “Khalil”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/08/2021 08:47:17 PM
Category: Celebrity, Movies, Pop Culture
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Think you’ve got a million-dollar idea?

No? Then what about a $100-grand one? If that’s a more realistic goal, then Since Sliced Bread might be for you. It’s a contest that solicits “common-sense ideas” for improving the American economy, and the proposals are rolling in.

I’m not quite seeing the linkage between this and the Service Employees International Union, which is running this show. Service employees are vital to the economy, but it’s not a field where creative endeavour is particularly encouraged. I guess the notion of the “greatest idea since” coming from an everyman/everywoman would provide a testament to the power of the people.

It is kind of funny that this is being initiated by organized labor. Inventive initiative is supposed to be a Republican ideal, independent of collectivized action. I daresay many a conservative would say that a union has no business sponsoring this sort of thing. But if that’s so, then where’s the conservative response?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/08/2021 08:20:34 PM
Category: Business, Creative
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Americans are super-assertive, British are rigid and reserved, Germans are the models of efficiency, and French are… cheese-eating surrender monkeys?

Generalizations make the world easier to digest; you place a label on a group, and you use that as a baseline assumption to build both a macro- and micro-worldview. Unfortunately, it seems those tried-and-true stereotypes about other nationalities are way off:

“It would not have surprised us had we found that there was a kernel of truth in these stereotypes,” [researcher Robert] McCrae says. Instead, researchers found that stereotypes have very little basis in reality.

The least consistent culture is England. The English describe themselves as reserved, introverted and conservative. In fact, they are very extroverted and rated relatively high in openness to experience, researchers found.

What I found most curious about these results was how off-base people were about their own cultures. When queried, Germans really did consider themselves a nation of orderly efficiency freaks, even if individuals saw themselves as different from the perceived norm. What accounts for that? Are we so detached from a traditionally-assumed national character that we don’t see the trees for the forest?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/08/2021 07:55:42 PM
Category: Science, Society
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leased on lifeWhen Men’s Vogue rolled out last month, the consensus around here was that it would be a bust.

Shows how much we know: Conde Nast announced the magazine will become a regularly-published addition to their stable, after selling 150,000 copies of the premiere for the most successful launch in company history.

I have to say that I enjoyed the test issue, which I picked up on a whim. It didn’t blow me away, but I hardly expected it to, given its fairly conservative target. But the content is as quality as any professional pub. I particularly enjoyed the article about the English foxhut; the ones about the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands and the cricket fights were really good too.

Perhaps now they’ll set up a website? As of this writing, there’s no trace of Men’s Vogue online, not even on Conde’s Style site, which serves as an umbrella for many of their fasion mags. Heck, even Teen Vogue has it’s own URL. I don’t expect much content from Men’s Vogue to be ported online, but it seems odd in 2005 to have it be totally invisible on the Web.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/08/2021 07:29:16 PM
Category: Publishing
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