Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 23, 2021

One of the stock gags for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Kazakhstani journalist character Borat Sagdiyev is the claim that his country’s most popular hobbies are disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis — presumably in that order.

Kazakhstan’s official rebuttal provided unintentional humor in its own right, with an embassy diplomat characterizing archery as being “not prominent” in the former Soviet republic — while more or less glossing over the rape citation.

It reminded me of the old “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” episode, “The All-England Summarise Proust Competition”. During the original airing, a similar enumeration of hobbies caused a stir:

‘Proust’ of course features one of the most famous pieces of Python censorship. Asked by quizmaster Terry Jones what his hobbies are, Graham Chapman’s keen contestant says “golf, strangling animals and masturbating”. This features in the original script and was recorded, but censored for its original broadcast on 16/11/72 - with the words “and masturbating” mixed off, leaving a second of silence and, for the TV audience a massive audience laugh seemingly directed at nothing.

Years later, one of the Pythons pointed out the absurdity of UK censors objecting to masturbation, but feeling that the “strangling animals” part was acceptable for broadcast.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/23/2006 10:34:42 PM
Category: Comedy, TV
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For me, the essence of musical instrumentation isn’t the strum of a guitar or the beat of a drum — it’s the syncopated sound of needle scratching vinyl.

So I really dig these warmup sessions by Scratchadix, in preparation for the DMC World DJ Championships. Cuttin’ and scratchin’ in the oldschool way.

The Scratchadix boys better keep practicing, because I hear DJ Darth Vader is going to be dropping some Dark Side breakbeats this year.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/23/2006 09:11:36 PM
Category: Creative, Internet, Pop Culture
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I first learned about Alienware Corp. a couple of years ago, while covering the Florida business landscape for Florida Trend. I thought it was a company worth keeping an eye on, editorially, for a couple of reasons: It was a tech company, it was in south Florida, it achieved nine-digit revenue generation via dedicated niche markets, it was a great organic-growth entrepreneurial story. Unfortunately, I never made much headway — the company got into the magazine’s pages occasionally, but never in-depth. I think the business of hard-core videogaming PCs was considered outside the interests of Trend’s core readership.

Now that computermaking giant Dell is buying Alienware, a little more attention might go toward the high-end custom computer biz.

I’d noticed that Dell was really pushing its XPS line, positioning it to encroach upon the territory that Alienware and Voodoo PC had carved out. Despite robust growth, Alienware couldn’t hope to compete with Dell’s resources in the long run, and wouldn’t be able to convince potential investors otherwise. I’m assuming the company’s founders decided to get out while the getting was good.

Despite initial news that Alienware is going to retain its branding and autonomy, I can’t believe Dell would maintain both that and the XPS label. Eventually, one will be abandoned, and I’d bet it’s the Alienware name that goes in the ashbin.

UPDATE: Analysis from BusinessWeek’s Louise Lee suggests that acquiring Alienware is a response to the cool reception XPS has had. Since Dell is known as primarily low-end, the premium-priced XPS was a tough sell; Alienware is an established pricey brand, so that market segment is easier for Dell to reach via acquisition.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/23/2006 06:03:41 PM
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Videogames
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