Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, January 18, 2021

It looks like PopulationStatistic.com has been slooooooooow-loading most of this day. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.

I’ve notified the hosting dudes, and am hoping it’s either temporary or else easy to fix. I’m crossing my fingers. The last thing I want right now is a headache with this blog’s functionality; I’m busy enough.

In the meantime, feel free to click your browser’s “Stop” button.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 08:43:21 PM
Category: Bloggin' | Permalink | Feedback (3)

here's the pitch
In the wake of yet another salary dump by Tampa Bay, John Romano tries to spin the trade of Danys Baez into some sort of hallelujah moment for the team with regards to the importance of starting pitchers.

A couple of thoughts:

- It’s nice to see it took only a decade of existence for the franchise to realize that it takes quality pitching to win Major League Baseball games. That’s been the case for, coincidentally, the last 10 years (and really, even before that).

- The Devil Rays have demonstrated several times that they don’t know how to develop pitchers, especially starters. Starting with Bobby Seay, who they ruined before shipping him out, they’ve never gotten even a middling hurler to come out of their system. That’s an institutional problem — for whatever reason, they can’t develop pitching talent. It’s time to shift gears and pony up the money for established Major League throwers.

- Sure, the free agent market for starters is inflated. So what? Every other team is in the same fix, so whoever they could pick up would be no worse than what their opponents would scoop up. At least the pressure would be off the prospects to speed their development.

Regardless of who’s cutting the checks, the on-field product isn’t going to win many games until they commit serious money to real-deal pitchers. Otherwise, it’s a recurring cycle of losing and talent-churn.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 06:44:09 PM
Category: Baseball | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Tampa Bay is not part of what is commonly designated as “South Florida”. So it’s kind of weird that the local public mega-university was given the geographically-challenged name “University of South Florida”.

Still, with a new economic impact study pegging USF’s contribution to the Bay area’s economy at $3.2 billion, I don’t think anyone will be asking the home of the Bulls to move to Miami.

Not a bad money stream from a bunch of eggheads. Being the fourth-largest employer in Tampa Bay and one of the nation’s fastest-growing research institutions counts for something.

Still, the school name’s gotta be a bitch for USF’s branding purposes, and probably for Tampa/St. Pete’s as well. They talked a couple of years ago about addressing this, especially in emphasizing the “USF” brand over “South Florida”, but I don’t think that’s gone anywhere.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 06:03:07 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Business | Permalink | Feedback (4)

I first learned about Pirates, the technically ground-breaking porn movie spectacular (it’s the first porn filmed in high-def, and has loads of CGI effects), while reading a New York Times’ report about the Adult Video News Awards and how it reflects the evolving nature of the industry.

Little did I know there was a Tampa Bay angle to this tour-de-force production: It turns out that high-seas pirate ship scenes were filmed at the St. Petersburg Pier’s HMS Bounty tourist attraction. And the moviemakers pulled some fast ones to get permission to shoot a porno flick at a family attraction:

On May 2, a Brain Zoo representative named Ali Davoudian e-mailed this film synopsis to Bounty officials (complete with misspellings): “The movie is a comedy Sinbad type of film in quest of a magical scepter with lots of special effects and sward fighting with skeletons etc… It is not going to be released in the theater it is going to be on TV like showtime. As far as rating I would say PG-13.”

“There was nothing in the script that indicated there was anything perverse,” said [Bob] Hansen, the ship’s owner.

The Pier, which is owned by the city, rented Davoudian an activity room for cast, crew and equipment storage from June 1 to 5, at a cost of $1,872.50, and roped off areas near the boat for camera equipment.

After the first night, the Pier got a tip that some of the actors on the ship resembled well-known adult film stars. Hansen said film reps admitted the actors were popular porn stars who might draw extra attention to the project, but the film was definitely not a porno. He said Bounty officials and crew remained on the set during the entire shoot.

“We actually looked at the concept of canceling it, but with the contract, I couldn’t do it for no reason,” Hanson said. “Just because they’re porn stars doesn’t mean they can’t come on the boat or walk down the Pier.”

Hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity! It’s a shame the city insisted on the removal of any mention of their role from the film’s credits.

The Bounty leaves St. Pete in March, so if you want to drop by for a gawk, do it now. Not much chance that the production left behind any mementos…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 05:08:48 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Movies | Permalink | Feedback

man of letters
I think I must be attuned to David Letterman’s comedic sensibilities.

Or, at least, to his writing staff’s. How else to explain why last night’s “Late Show” referenced subjects that I also blogged about in recent days:

I’d love to take credit for the “McDonald’s Chicken Skin Classic” hairpiece gag, too. But no, that was all Dave. Masterful stroke by him to throw in the “…and bring your wife in, then we’ll dicker” joke, by the way.

Perhaps I should drop by the “Late Show” offices once my move to New York is finalized.

Speaking of that Rubik’s Cube thing, did anyone else find the end of that segment to be odd?

Leyan is working like a madman but doesn’t seem to be any closer. His hands moving a mile a minute. Dave asks if he would like some talc. 52…53…54…55. Leyan seems to be getting frustrated. 60…61…62…. Dave tries to wind it up. A frustrated Leyan sadly admits, “I don’t think I can do it.” And with that he quickly stands and hurls the Rubik’s cube through the window behind Dave and nearly knocks down one of the bridges. Leyan runs off in shame. Poor kid took it hard.

I was dumbfounded while watching it. I figured the whole thing was a planned skit; how else to explain the guy seemingly freaking out and chucking the Cube like that? But then I realized, he probably did really lose it. Once again, I’m blindsided by the intensity involved in modern-day Rubik Cubing.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 04:36:13 PM
Category: Bloggin', TV, Comedy | Permalink | Feedback (2)

I guess I should take in stride the use of a prettied-up cover of The Go-Go’s “Vacation” in a new TV ad for Priceline.com. All pop music gets commodified, eventually.

Still: Did they have to record it in that gratingly whimsical style? Sounds like the breezy theme song for an all-inclusive Caribbean resort.

I suppose it could have been much worse. Priceline.com could have invoked the synergy principle, and had company pitchman William Shatner record his version of “Vacation”. And no one wants to see a repeat of the unfortunate “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” incident. (Actually, maybe we do…)

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/18/2006 01:43:10 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture | Permalink | Feedback (1)