Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 15, 2021

on ice
As long as I’m taking time off from the working world (but still looking), I might as well take advantage and get my fill of NBC’s multi-channel broadcasts of Olympic men’s hockey.

I kind of like it at the start of the tourney, as I do with any tournament. All the teams are playing, and even though you know the likes of Italy and Switzerland are going bye-bye soon enough, it’s still nice to see them while they’re alive.

The first day of action was entertainingly brisk, with six games. It’s nice to see the games on condensed gameplay time — all three periods zipped by in something like two hours. Highlights:

Not bad. I’ll take all the hockey action I can get, now that I don’t have NHL Center Ice at my disposal anymore.

And for Team USA, I offer up the sage words of Lee Corso as consolation:

“Let me tell you something — if a tie is like kissing your sister, then a loss is like kissing your brother!”

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 08:51:48 PM
Category: Hockey
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dark side of the moon
Nearly a year after I saw it on the big screen, the Spike Lee/IFC Films-backed alternate history mockumentary CSA: Confederate States of America is finally being released into arthouse movie theaters. Today’s New York Times offers up a quickie review; I’ll refer you to my synopsis from last February as a supplemental piece.

I might try to catch it this week, since it’s playing in Manhattan. I’ll be most curious to see what final form it’s taken, from the first rough cut I saw on videotape in 2003 to now. I know writer-director Kevin Willmott tinkered with it quite a bit, and had hoped to have it out this past summer; we’ll see if the delays will have been worth it.

If this thing catches fire at all — which is a fair possiblity, with Lee’s name attached — it’ll be fascinating to watch how many detached observers, of all political stripes, miss the point completely on it. If so, more from me later.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 02:11:09 PM
Category: Movies
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If you want a nice capsule look into the mentality of the chronically closed-minded, I offer up Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms and her telling comments toward St. Pete Times columnist Ernest Hooper:

“And that newspaper guy right there thinks there’s nothing wrong with them.”

I turned around and said, “Excuse me?”

She explained she was talking about nude bars. She said the fact that I had never written a column against strip clubs indicated I must be for them.

I don’t want Storms to be burdened with explaining to people how I feel about adult entertainment, so let me set the record straight.

Classy way for Hooper to deflect Storms’ idiotic statement — not to mention a great way to serve up material for his column. If it were me, I’d have directed Storms to pucker up her warped mouth and kiss my ass.

This is completely indicative of the if-not-for-us-then-against-us mindset that demagogues like Storms possess. For people like her, silence itself is incriminating. Flapping your mouth — regardless of whether or not you have anything substantial to say — is all that counts. It doesn’t occur to Storms that her sensationalist crusades aren’t imperative to everyone else.

As far as the idea of silence on a subject serving as endorsement, I’ve encountered that assumption in the blogging realm before. Admittedly, the rules are different for the news media: Reporters have a duty to write about current events, and don’t have the option of cherry-picking like bloggers do. Still, to extrapolate based on lack of commentary is nothing but faulty filling in of the blanks, and ultimately asinine.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 01:11:23 PM
Category: Bloggin', Florida Livin', Media, Politics
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going for broke
Willie Nelson is well on his way to being (even more of) a musical iconoclast. After showing off his cross-genre chops with a reggae album, he now contributes to the Brokeback Mountain buzz by releasing “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)”, a 25-year-old composition that’s only now, er, coming out of the closet.

Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson’s deadpan delivery of lines like, “What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?” and “Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.”

The song, which debuted Tuesday on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show, was written by Texas-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette in 1981. Sublette said he wrote it during the Urban Cowboy craze and always imagined Nelson singing it.

I say, why should cowboys be the only ones to get this pop-music serenade? When’s Willie going to spread the love and remake that old “Monty Python” standard, “The Lumberjack Song”?

Lumberjack:
I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women’s clothing,
And hang around in bars.

Mounties:
He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women’s clothing
And hangs around… In bars???????

Lumberjack:
I chop down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspenders and a bra.
I wish I’d been a girlie
Just like my dear papa.

I’m sure many a lonely woodsman north of the border could stand a modern version.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 11:55:23 AM
Category: Comedy, Creative, Pop Culture
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meow!The next time I’m in Boston — which will be the first time, actually — I’ll have to visit The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Fittingly located in a basement, near the men’s room.

It might seem slightly sadistic to brand the work of (probably) earnest artists as ridicule-worthy. It’s probably a ready source of PR controversy — I wonder how many people have protested having their pieces displayed by MOBA? Then again, as a fan of “Mystery Science Theater 3000″, it’s humor that’s right up my alley.

The image here is “In the Cat’s Mouth”, part of MOBA’s Unseen Forces collection. Appropriately enough, it was procured from a children’s hospital thrift store. Hopefully, the kid who expressed this anguish won’t be further scarred as a result of this treatment.

And speaking of anguish: It may be well out of the museum’s budget, but have I got a candidate for acquisition.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 10:44:13 AM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture
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Think the culture war over Intelligent Design concerns only the topic of evolution? Think again: By extension, governmental mentions of long-accepted astronomical theories like the Big Bang now come with qualifications.

Last week my colleague Andrew Revkin reported that a 24-year-old NASA political appointee with no scientific background, George C. Deutsch, had told a designer working on a NASA Web project that the Big Bang was “not proven fact; it is opinion,” and thus the word “theory” should be used with every mention of Big Bang.

It was not NASA’s place, he said in an e-mail message, to make a declaration about the origin of the universe “that discounts intelligent design by a creator.”

In a different example of spinning science news last month, NASA headquarters removed a reference to the future death of the sun from a press release about the discovery of comet dust around a distant star known as a white dwarf. A white dwarf, a shrunken dense cinder about the size of earth, is how our own sun is fated to spend eternity, astronomers say, about five billion years from now, once it has burned its fuel.

“We are seeing the ghost of a star that was once a lot like our sun,” said Marc Kuchner of the Goddard Space Flight Center. In a statement that was edited out of the final news release he went on to say, “I cringed when I saw the data because it probably reflects the grim but very distant future of our own planets and solar system.”

An e-mail message from Erica Hupp at NASA headquarters to the authors of the original release at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said, “NASA is not in the habit of frightening the public with doom and gloom scenarios.”

Never mind that the death of the sun has been a staple of astronomy textbooks for 50 years.

It may seem surprising, but in terms of ID theory, it makes perfect sense. If the creator theory holds for the development of life on Earth, it should hold for the creation and development of the universe. If anything, it only makes ID’s underpinnings in creationism/Bible studies even more transparent.

In which case… It might eventually undermine Intelligent Design’s whole argument. As long as it was limited to just the always-hot evolution debate, it could have drawn modest popular support. But once it’s applied to less controversial areas of scientific inquiry, it might be harder for a wider audience to keep the faith in ID as an all-inclusive scientific theory.

Hopefully, all this conspires to give the ID crackpots enough rope with which to hang themselves. Then they can start working on the next iteration of sugar-coated pseudoscientific claptrap, while everyone else is content to keep their faith and their science separate.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 09:45:34 AM
Category: Politics, Science, Society
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I was fairly unimpressed with this past weekend’s big snowstorm.

And I was justified in dishing out the dis. Because despite the record-breaking snowfall, it turns out that this “blizzard” really wasn’t all that:

Because the track of this storm was relatively far offshore, it did not pack the wallop of wet warm ocean air that northeasters can, so the snow was dry and fluffy. Very, very fluffy. Like a Persian cat in a roomful of hair dryers. Thus it blew right off tree branches rather than snapping them down onto power lines. It practically shoveled itself…

There really was less snow in Elm Park. And it wasn’t just Elm Park. Borough Park, Ozone Park, Parkchester, Park Ridge, Minnewaska State Park, the Vince Lombardi Park & Ride — just about any park other than Central, the record-breaking storm actually broke no record at all.

For according to Geoff Cornish, a meteorologist at Pennsylvania State University, the heaviest snow fell in a 15-mile-wide band that passed directly over Midtown Manhattan, the southeastern Bronx and northwestern Queens. Thus La Guardia Airport in Flushing received 9 inches more snow than Kennedy, and nobody in Brooklyn saw even 20 inches, let alone two feet.

And I can concur: The flakes that were falling were pretty light, and while they kept on coming, it didn’t seem like they were limiting visibility that much. Plus, the snow’s melting away awfully fast. It’ll stick around in drifts for weeks, but the layers on the ground could be mostly gone by week’s end. And the roads are completely clear of ice.

If only all nor’easter blizzards were this easy to shrug off.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 09:17:29 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Weather
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