Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, March 03, 2021

And speaking of Ybor City, I recently got word that one of its long-time institutions, The Masquerade, has abruptly gone out of business.

Perhaps fittingly, a crappy-looking MySpace page replaces it. As for the actual physical location, I’m sure something will spring up from the ashes.

Since I hadn’t stepped into the place in ages, I can’t say I’m extremely broken up about the fade-out. Despite a fairly diverse booking schedule, Masquerade tended not to get packed unless death metal acts played — and that’s not even remotely the type of scene I go for. And, being far more of a concert venue than an actual bar, it really wasn’t what I liked about going to Ybor.

My nostalgic ties to the place reside in the distant past — some 16 years ago, in my freshman year in college. I recollected the brief experience once on this blog; by way of a eulogy, I’ll repost the pertinent part here:

I’m old enough to remember when The Masquerade was the only thing that existed, club-wise, in Ybor. Back in 1990, some friends at school dragged me out there for a rare off-campus clubbing opp. I was new to the area, and the drive seemed horrendously long from south St. Pete; for a long while after, I was convinced we had driven most of the way to Orlando…

Not much more to relate about that long-ago night. I remember a bunch of us — maybe 7 or 8 people — piled into what had to be one of the last working 1960s-era VW Bugs in existence, and drove the twenty-odd miles up I-275/I-4. I believe I drove part of the way, either going there or coming back; don’t remember precisely why. I remember there were lots of red velvet couches all over the place, which must have long since disappeared by the time the Ybor revival had really kicked off. I remember there was nothing around the club back then but blocks full of boarded-up storefronts and warehouses — again, this was just before the district was revived, and it was a vaguely scary place to be. And today, I don’t remember who it was I went there with; I think most of them left after my freshman year (I can barely visualize the face of the girl who owned the Bug; her name’s long since faded from my brain cells).

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 08:40:38 PM
Category: Florida Livin', College Years | Permalink | Feedback (1)

I’m not about to start tracking every single instance of The Go Go’s selling out. But, since I’ve already mentioned the Priceline.com/”Vacation” incident, I might as well make note of the latest:

Papa John’s has co-opted “We Got the Beat” for a TV commercial jingle about some extra-humongous meat-flavored pizza deal. The reworked lyrics sing out…

Wait for it…

“We Got the Meat”. Yup.

Two reasons I find this distasteful:

1. With this steady stream of sell-outs, it’s getting harder for me to insist — as I’ve done for years now — that The Go Go’s were an extremely underrated band. Lyrically and technically, they put together some great numbers.

2. The substitution of “beat” with “meat” reminds me of some crappy houseband that used to (and perhaps still does) play The Green Iguana in Ybor City. Their signature number was a cover of “We Got the Beat”, but, since they were all guys, it was altered to “We Beat Our Meat”. Predictably, the beer-soaked frat and sorority throngs loved it; I found it got old after, like, one time.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 08:11:06 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Don’t look now, but high-profile cases of online harassment, or “cyberviolence”, in South Korea are prompting calls for an invasive solution:

Trying to prevent anonymous attacks, the government said in December it would require Web sites to confirm users’ real names before they can post. Many South Korean Web sites already require users to enter their national identification numbers to get accounts, which are verified through a government system.

The government says a bill on the real-name authentication will be submitted to the National Assembly in the first half of this year.

It’s not a stretch to see this become a monkey-see, monkey-do thing, internationally. With MySpace steadily spooking parents across the U.S., how long will it be before some Senator proposes that sites require users to register with something like a credit card or driver’s license? Probably just a matter of time.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 06:22:05 PM
Category: Internet, Society | Permalink | Feedback

If you rely upon Caller ID as much as any cellphone-only telecom subscriber, then the spread of spoofing techniques that display false phone numbers is a bit unsettling.

In the last few years, Caller ID spoofing has become much easier. Millions of people have Internet telephone equipment that can be set to make any number appear on a Caller ID system. And several websites have sprung up to provide Caller ID spoofing services, eliminating the need for any special hardware.

For instance, Spoofcard.com sells a virtual “calling card” for $10 that provides 60 minutes of talk time. The user dials a toll-free number, then keys in the destination number and the Caller ID number to display. The service also provides optional voice scrambling, to make the caller sound like someone of the opposite sex.

Personally, I rarely answer my phone unless I recognize the number that displays (if it’s someone in my address book, it’ll show their name, and maybe even have a customized ringtone). Since the odd telemarketing attempt always gets tagged by Caller ID as “Unrecognizable” or “Restricted”, it’s even easier to ignore. Obviously, using spoofs increase the odds of these leeches actually getting around voicemail.

The other thing that came to mind, aside from especially malicious intent: It could lead to a revival of the oldtime obscene/prank phone calls, that were so commonplace before Caller ID became mainstream.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 01:37:58 PM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback

watch the bouncy
I’m not in the market for a sports bra. And if my physiology should someday betray me, I fear I’d have to settle for the controversial Manssiere.

I will say, though, that there’s no better way to sell support undergarments than by showing them in action. Hence, Shock Absorber’s Bounce-O-Meter. You choose your cup size — from A to (gulp) G — and level of activity, and watch the bounce-around Flash action in bra-less, regular bra, and sports bra modes.

Yes, of course the first view I fired up was the DD-cup and “Extreme” activity. Along with the million other guys who come upon the site. Might as well go for the gusto.

Assumptions of gratuitousness aside, it’s apparently a strong sales pitch:

Now, as I’m in their target market I must say it was a mighty effective way to demonstrate the product advantage as I could only squirm and whisper “ouch” while looking at the bra-less version. But I suspect this will actually entertain those clearly not in the target market. ;)

Suspicions confirmed. Actually, Shock Absorber’s not much competition for the oceans of porn online; the images are obviously computer-enhanced, and definitely designed for instructional value. Still, I’ll admit to experiencing a slightly hypnotic experience. Go figure.

UPDATE: I just noticed: The word “exercise” is misspelled as “excercise” in the graphic above, which is from a screengrab I did off the Bounce-O-Meter site. And no, it’s not a British variant spelling. I guess some copywriter was distracted…

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 12:52:20 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Women | Permalink | Feedback (2)