Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, March 14, 2021

the new style
Wow. The way my day started, I never would have guessed I’d have ended it in such a giddy mood.

And the reason for my giddiness? Today I received my sparkling new 30-gig iPod with video, a few days earlier than the delivery estimate I got from Amazon, where I bought it.

Why did I splurge for this new toy? My trusty old 2nd generation 10-gig iPod was giving out on me. It still played songs and such, but it refused to play with iTunes; it would either freeze up the computer or else not sync up with the program. After a couple of firmware updates, restores and various other tweaks, I concluded that it just wasn’t going to work. I was a bit put off — I had actually gotten the thing repaired not that long ago — but I quickly decided that I should just cut my losses and finally get current with my portable media player.

So I gave the old one to my brother (not sure what he’s going to do with it; he may end up just giving it back to me), and ordered my new one. I went for the cheaper 30-gig one instead of the 60-gig model; I never came close to filling up the 10-gigger, so hard drive wasn’t an issue. But I was looking forward to all the other features, including the color screen, on-the-go playlists, extra games, and of course the video playback. And of course, I had to go with the classic, iconic white version.

I’ve spent about half the day playing it (luckily, it shipped with the battery just about fully charged). It’s going to take some getting used to the design of it; it’s ridiculously streamlined compared to the old model, and just lays differently in my hand. It’s hard to believe something so flat can hold so much stuff. Not that I’m going to max out those 30 gigs any time soon: The 800-odd songs and half-dozen videos I’ve got on there are taking up only 4 gigs.

I’ll definitely be getting a lot of use out of this baby. I am in New York now, after all; having an earbud-tethered iPod on you every walking moment is practically a prerequisite.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 11:42:43 PM
Category: Tech | Permalink | Feedback

Well, up my nose with a rubber hose. “Welcome Back, Kotter”, the show that unleashed John Travolta upon the world, is going to be remade as a movie, with Ice Cube starring as Mr. Kah-tear.

Ice Cube? What in the name of Gabe Kaplan is going on here?

Gabe Kaplan, who played Kotter in the original 1975-79 series, also created the show with partner Alan Sacks and retained the rights. He said that despite heavy interest from studios over the years, they held out on adapting Kotter until the right pitch came along.

“We were skeptical about selling Kotter because making a great movie from a TV show can be challenging,” Kaplan said. “After meeting with the Weinsteins [Harvey and Bob Weinstein run Dimension], we knew they were the right ones to bring this project to the screen.”

I’m not sure there even is a “right team” for something like this. Who are they going to get to play the Sweathogs — the surving members of NWA?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I almost wish that, if an old Gabe Kaplan vehicle had to be remade, that Fast Break would have been it instead.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 11:21:34 PM
Category: TV, Movies | Permalink | Feedback

A couple of days ago, I was watching an old episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. One scene took place on a fictional nighttime talk show. Even though it was made up, I noticed something odd about the way the talk show set was arranged:

The host and his desk were positioned on the left-hand side, while the guest chair was to the right.

This is the opposite of the setup you’ll see on every other latenight talk show host’s digs, past and present. Letterman, Leno, Carson, O’Brien, Kimmel — none of them vary from the standard guests on the left, and host on the right (from the camera/audience perspective, of course; for those on the stage, the positions are reoriented, so that the guest is looking to his/her left and the host to his right).

I’m wondering if there isn’t some sort of TV science behind this template. It could be as simple as institutionalized imitation — Carson or Jack Paar started it, and no one’s ever questioned it. Or, like many other details of television mechanics, someone at some point actually researched this and found that it was a key to success.

A quick Web search didn’t yield anything but others wondering about the same thing. But during my surfing, I was suddenly reminded of Andy Kaufman’s wonderful spoof, “The Andy Kaufman Show”, which included jabs like a preposterously elevated host’s desk to mock the heightening that Carson and Letterman allegedly used/use. I have a feeling the answer lies somewhere in there, if I look hard enough.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 11:05:43 PM
Category: TV, Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback

from l to x
This here blog doesn’t get too many visits from Amazon.com. So when it did today, I took a peek at the referral log.

One thing stood out: The OS running that Amazon computer was Linux. I found that highly unusual. Linux is a rarity among the general public; in corporate environments, it’s practically non-existent (with the exception of behind-the-scenes server functions).

Turns out that Amazon has been transitioning its entire computer system to Linux for the past six years, and has become a case study for the cost-effectiveness of such a move for big companies.

Whatever it takes to ship me my books on time…

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 10:28:30 PM
Category: Bloggin', Tech, Business | Permalink | Feedback

rose by any other name
During the OLN broadcast of tonight’s Buffalo-Washington game, the announcers focused briefly on Sabres right wing Mike Grier. They mentioned Grier’s family football heritage: His father, Bobby, is a pro scout for the Houston Texans, and his brother Chris is a college scout for the Miami Dolphins.

The first thing I thought of was, why didn’t they mention NFL great Rosey Grier, who I always thought was Mike Grier’s uncle?

But then, when I did a little digging tonight, I couldn’t find any confirmation for this. None of the Grier bios mention a connection to Rosey/Roosevelt; even if Mike didn’t want to highlight the relation, I’d think it would be standard backgrounder information for football guys Bobby and Chris.

So, I wonder if I’ve been under a false impression all this time. I thought I’d read that Mike was Rosey’s nephew around the time he broke into the NHL; either I’m remembering that wrong, or whatever I was reading was wrong.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 10:09:44 PM
Category: Hockey, Football | Permalink | Feedback

I’m sure Vermont has its share of a criminal element. But it’s hard to imagine that such a seemingly sedate State would have enough of a surplus of convicts to necessitate shipping them out to contracted jailspace in Oklahoma.

Could be worse. They could have gotten sent to India to work in some callcenter.

The only way this would be more fitting would be if their destination were Georgia, due to that State’s penal colony roots.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 07:44:39 PM
Category: Political, Society | Permalink | Feedback

Ever have one of those mornings that just seems to drag?

Of course you have. Odds are, you’re having one right now, or else you wouldn’t be reading this.

For some reason, this morning’s 60-minute span from 10AM to 11AM couldn’t have passed by any slower than it did for me. Now, it’s not even noon yet, and I already feel like I’ve exhausted myself through the entire day.

Perhaps making things worse, I had three mugfuls of tea this morning. I can’t remember the last time I downed that much caffeine in so short a period. It’s giving me a charge, but it’s nervous energy — enough to get me slightly jittery, but not enough to do anything particularly productive. (I suspect the one cup of black currant might have knocked me off-balance.)

I think I need to get a job. (Now I know I’m off-kilter.)

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/14/2006 11:51:42 AM
Category: General | Permalink | Feedback (1)