Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, October 30, 2021

plenty of body
Last night was the aforementioned Halloween wine tasting hosted by my friends Tom and Amber.

I duly took the black cat wine I found just for the occasion. And it’s a good thing I did pick up that Zeller schwartz Katz bottle, instead of the Vampire merlot I originally had planned on; turns out someone else brought that Vampire wine. So I avoided being redundant.

The “tasting” part of the party quickly gave way to “drinking”, which was more or less the plan anyway. I was determined to try every bottle there, and except for a white Ménage à Trois that got quickly emptied, I managed to accomplish that mission.

And speaking of funny-named vintages… The Sheila’s Chardonnay from Fair Dinkum Winery was quickly nicknamed “The Big Boob Sheila” by one of the ladies in attendance, and if you can’t figure out why after seeing the label pictured above… I’ve heard of a wine with legs; this one might have had that, and something more.

I can’t say I disliked any of the wines I tasted. That probably doesn’t mean much, since I was pretty buzzed after the fifth glass or so. I managed to have a more discerning palate for the accompanying cheeses; there were a couple of blue cheeses (including a 40-year-aged variety) that were excellent, while I found the edam to be fairly bland.

It was a good time. I’ve been paying for it by dragging today. Not sure I can tolerate any more cheese for the next couple of days. But it was well worth it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/30/2005 06:55:05 PM
Category: Food
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If a newspaper doesn’t report on a story, you can assume that some other media outlet — radio, TV, the Web — will pick it up instead.

Or not. Eric Deggans pinpoints the critical role of newspapers and their resources in the newsgathering and reporting process:

[T]he information gatherers in a major metropolitan daily fuel the news process for nearly every other strain of news media - from online to TV and radio.

Every newspaper fields dozens of staffers who reach into the community and dig up original, often unknown information. TV and radio stations, already working with slimmed-down staffs, use print reports as important signposts; many bloggers and news Web sites, which never had large reporting staffs, often link to or build on reports developed by major newspapers.

That’s how it rolls: You can consider the media dissemination of information as a river, with the originating source being the papers’ newsrooms. Without dedicated resources (i.e., paid reporters putting in work-hours at digging up stories), the river dries up.

That’s not to say that other outlets do zero reporting. There are magazines with their own coverage areas, and broadcast stations get tips called in. But on a daily basis, those other outlets don’t do their own work, because they know they can access newspaper reports and either build off them, or simply regurgitate.

Naturally, newspapers don’t create the news: Events happen regardless of specific media coverage. But there’s a ton of stories out there that require investigative pursuit to uncover, clarify, etc., and you can’t do that by passively sitting back and waiting for the story to come around to you. That’s where papers show off their function.

This alone doesn’t rescue newspapers’ struggling business model, which is the thrust of Deggans’ column today. Controlling the source is one thing; putting it into a package that’s enticing to news consumers is the critical part.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/30/2005 06:14:53 PM
Category: Media
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the earth is our moon
During yesterday’s 46-15 Michigan State win over Indiana, the camera caught a funny crowd shot: A group of 15 or 20 Spartan fans, all dressed in lime green tshirts with Ignignokt’s face on them, with afro-wigs of the same color on top of their heads.

Always brings a smile to my face to see an “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” outcropping.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/30/2005 05:43:23 PM
Category: Football, TV
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If you’re not satisfied with having your money working for you, maybe you’d prefer to see it playing for you, roto/fantasy style:

The idea is simple: Run an imaginary fund portfolio, aiming for a specific performance goal and shooting for maximum accuracy and consistency rather than biggest returns. You use the actual performance of real funds, but with imaginary cash and a scoring system that’s about more than maximum gains.

Fantasy fund league rules could vary based on the experience of the players, but you get to make them up because there’s no formal game out there, no Web site managing your fund teams. (Anybody smell a business?)

Fantasy money is powerful because investors tend to be a bit cowardly when their own cash is on the line. They may have astute judgment, but they don’t always trust it.

Personally, I think it makes more sense to put your real-money portfolio(s) into fantasy competition. Make it count! Get rich or get wrecked — with plenty of requisite trash-talking.

Would this be something the brokerages might want to facilitate? Merrill Lynch or Fidelity could offer to host fantasy leagues as a way to funnel customers online and push additional services. Or if it seems like to much of a frivolous pursuit for the old-line companies, some upstarts like Ameritrade could jump at the opportunity.

If this actually materializes, I guess we can thank MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe for dreaming it up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/30/2005 03:52:15 PM
Category: Business
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Today I shook out two aspirins from the bottle in my medicine cabinet. I saw that they were the last two pills.

That’s unusual. I bought this bottle just a little over two years ago, and I’ve never before gone through an entire bottle before the expiration date hit. It’s pretty much been just me popping those aspirin, so that should give a hint as to what the last couple of years have been like for me. (And no, it hasn’t been hangovers; there have been far fewer of those during this period.)

Of course, 24 pills over two years is hardly cause for concern. And I plan on sticking with the mildly curative properties of aspirin over an alternatives. I’ll hold off on the morphine until my 60s…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/30/2005 02:37:00 PM
Category: General
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