Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, February 09, 2021

love connectionFollowing up on his politically-motivated proclamation of homosexuality, Tampa strip club king Joe Redner ups the ante by filling out a Match.com looking-for-love personal ad. Looking for a lucky boy, obviously (although Redner does hedge a bit from earlier by characterizing himself as bisexual; I guess it provides a plausible explanation for the ex-wives).

And wouldn’t you know it, it looks like he’s found his match, right in the St. Pete Times Tampa bureau.

If I were Redner, I’d dangle free entry and free lapdances at the Mons Venus as an incentive. If he’s going for quantity over quality, naturally. I’m sure plenty of otherwise straight males would take the plunge for those terms.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 10:16 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Society
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What makes a pop song a hit? Mostly, it’s peer pressure.

But research trudges on, at Columbia University’s Music Lab. The site is accepting new guinea pigs to give a listen to a bunch of obscure new acts, and see if any of them have hit-making potential.

Columbia’s servers must be getting bogged down with extra traffic, because it was slow as sin when I tried it just minutes ago. Couldn’t quite get the songs to load up. But perhaps you’ll have more luck.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 07:17 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Society
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While I check this site’s traffic stats frequently, I usually don’t find them noteworthy enough to comment upon.

I did come across an odd one today, though. The referral log showed a domain name of bolsheviki.org, coming out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The URL doesn’t bring up a site, and in fact, a quick check on the domain’s registration curiously shows it doesn’t even exist.

Or, perhaps appropriately enough, it’s simply not owned by any single entity.

And no, whoever it was wasn’t searching for anything special. They didn’t even come across the Soviet poster art archive or the branding power of the KGB. Their loss.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 06:46 PM
Category: History, Internet
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It seems that the dearth of compelling blogs about Wall Street and the financial world is about to be remedied:

Dealbreaker.com is expected to be home to a new blog by former Gawker and Media Bistro blogger Elizabeth Spiers. The site is expected to launch in late March.

Spiers’ track record suggest Dealbreaker will become the top site for Wall Street gossip in short order. Not that there’s stiff competition out there.

It’s an idea Spiers has been kicking around for at least a couple of years. But the success of Gawker, work on her soon-to-be-published novel and the Media Bistro job kept her from launching a site.

Now, with two investors backing her, Spiers will soon tackle a deeper if more elusive subject. No stranger to the ways of Wall Street, Spiers says the industry is closer to her heart than celebrity. Before Gawker, she was a buy-side tech equity analyst.

“I feel like I understand the market, at least better than I did Paris Hilton or the media when I started Gawker,” she said. “There are no good Wall Street gossip blogs out there. Nobody does their coverage in a way that’s entertaining and funny.”

Though humor will be a big part of Dealbreaker — Spiers describes it as the bastard child of CNBC and The Daily Show — she sees the site having more “journalistic imperative” than her previous blogs. She promises to go after the Street’s sacred cows. Whatever those are.

I’ve been spending a good amount of time revisiting Media Bistro lately, as I’m still job-hunting. So I’ve been familiar with Spiers’ online scribblings for a while. I’m looking forward to her performance here.

And the placeholder site for Dealbreaker.com certainly holds promise (be sure to right-click and “Select All”, like it suggests at the top of the page). It directly mimics a cover page from a standard SEC financial filing, which I’ve seen plenty of over the past several years. Which perhaps explains why I can find such rich material in them.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 05:32 PM
Category: Bloggin', Business
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As foretold yesterday, Al Michaels today officially left his longtime home at ABC Sports for a stint on NBC’s new Sunday Night Football broadcast (and, I’m hoping, some NHL gamecalling on the side).

The unusual part? To allow him to get out of his contract, ABC parent Disney engineered a sports-like trade for Michaels, getting NBC to cough up an interesting package of items:

- Rights to broadcast live Friday coverage of the Ryder Cup golf championship between the United States and Europe in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, as well as the right to re-air NBC coverage and extended highlights.

- Expanded Olympics highlights from this year through 2012.

- Monday Night Football promotions during the NBC Sunday night through 2011.

- Expanded highlights from Notre Dame football, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness through 2011.

And, last but certainly not least: The rights to estranged Walt Disney creation Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. (And I foolishly thought I was the only one who’d find that amusing.)

It seems that NBC acquired the long-dormant Oswald when they merged with Universal, and someone at Disney noticed. I’d love to hear the anatomy of this deal, and how the Oswald component happened to get tossed in. I’m guessing the two sides had been talking about it for a while, and found the Michaels deal the opportune time to finally dispose of this little intellectual property detail.

Yup, Michaels was traded for a cartoon rodent. Talk about letting the door hit you on the way out. Here’s an idea for the Disney boys to twist the knife further: Make Oswald the new MNF mascot! It’ll serve to highlight Michaels’ absence.

UPDATE: Turns out Al’s taking the trade in good humor:

“Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice,” Michaels said, referring to what the Kansas City Chiefs gave the New York Jets as compensation for releasing coach Herm Edwards from his contract. “I’m going to be a trivia answer someday.”

As for Oswald, the Disney brass is spinning the reunion with the rabbit as, improbably, a high-priority matter:

“As the forerunner to Mickey Mouse and an important part of Walt Disney’s creative legacy, the fun and mischievous Oswald is back where he belongs, at the home of his creator and among the stable of beloved characters created by Walt himself,” Disney president Robert Iger said after Thursday’s announcement…

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said ABC Sports and ESPN president George Bodenheimer called last month to initiate talks, which culminated in an agreement Tuesday.

“He told me this incredible story that Walt’s first really big production as a cartoonist for the cinema had been a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was before Mickey,” Ebersol said. “And for reasons that aren’t still totally clear to me, Walt lost those rights. He didn’t have the money to hold onto them.”

Disney and his partner, Ub Iwerks, created the rabbit in 1927 at the request of Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Pictures, and made 26 silent cartoons. After Disney learned that Universal held the rights, he created a new character, eventually named Mickey Mouse, who resembled Oswald, but with shorter ears.

Universal continued to make Oswald films from 1929-38 — Mickey Rooney was one of his voices — and appeared in a comic book from 1943-62.

“We earn nothing from those rights; they’ve had no value in the United States,” Ebersol said.

The Walt Disney Co. had been trying to reacquire the rabbit for some time.

“When Bob was named CEO, he told me he wanted to bring Oswald back to Disney, and I appreciate that he is a man of his word,” Walt Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller said in a statement. “Having Oswald around again is going to be a lot of fun.”

How much value does Oswald have? I can’t imagine it’s much, evidenced by his dormancy all these years. At best, NBC Universal could have made something out of emphasizing the character’s creation by Walt Disney, but aside from impressing cartoon historians, it wouldn’t get an awful lot of mileage. In Disney’s hands, the rabbit serves as a nice piece of the Walt puzzle to put in place.

It’s funny to think how much weight Walt Disney’s artistic legacy still holds in a mega-media company that he’d never recognize as being descended from his work. But it’s also refreshing, in a way.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 04:46 PM
Category: Business, SportsBiz, TV
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It’s been close to two weeks since I moved. I’ve been thinking about listing out some of the immediate differences I’ve experienced between Florida and New York, but I haven’t been particularly motivated to do so. Yet.

But here’s something that’s been a minor annoyance:

Static electric shocks. I’m getting sparked with practically every move I make up here: Walking across a room, getting in and out of cars, petting a dog or cat, whatever. Wearing rubber soles doesn’t make a bit of difference. I’m like a human Tesla coil.

Without looking too deeply into the science of it, I can guess why this is happening. In the dead of winter, there’s practically zero humidity in the air hereabouts. Contrast that with Tampa Bay, where the humidity is always thick enough to swim through. I’m guessing my physiology became so accustomed to the diffusive atmosphere in Florida that it’s now taking time to adjust to this more-conducive setting.

I’m sure the effect is harmless, aside from the minor jolts I’m laying on people and pets. Still, I’m getting irrationally nervous whenever I pick up my iPod or notebook computer. If I somehow fry one of those, I’m going to be soooooo pissed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 12:12 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Weather
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