Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, April 09, 2021

It’s been an exhausting day. Today my family held a memorial service to mark the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. It isn’t quite a full year to the day, but logistics with setting up the formal church services necessitated doing it this weekend.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year. In a weird way, it feels simultaneously longer and shorter than that, perceptionally. I’ve rearranged my life in that meantime, which contributes to the temporal confusion.

Personally, I could have done without the formality of all this. It’s not a question of missing my dad, which I do in little ways all the time. It’s just that the purpose of commemoration, at this point, escapes me. But it’s a Greek traditional thing, and veering from it pretty much makes you a pariah.

I think the chief thing that bothered me about it was how it put my mom into a nervous frenzy for the past couple of weeks. There wasn’t an awful lot to arrange, but what there was — floral order, food prep, booking the priest’s time — she managed to fixate upon endlessly. On the one hand, I was glad that she had a project to occupy her time, for a change. But she definitely wasn’t easy to be around, and her tendency to deflect help only made it worse.

Anyway, everything went well. Tears were shed (though not by me, which actually caused some strife), memories were recalled, and the ritual concluded to everyone’s satisfaction. And I think my mom’s back to her normal, everyday buzz.

Tradition calls for another memorial at the three-year mark. I’m not sure if we’ll actually do it — mom’s not too keen on it at the moment. But that could change.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/09/2021 11:36:46 PM
Category: General
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Being a breast man seems to be getting harder and harder. After having weathered the J.Lo ass-tastic phenomenon, I now have to endure the latest feminine bodwatch fetish: The exposed hipbone.

Normally I’d discount this as an isolated Fashion Avenue fad, but consider: Both Esquire Magazine and the Daily News have weighed in on hips as the chic erogenous zone. Plus, Shakira contributes from the pop musical end with her “Hips Don’t Lie” single. This meme is catching fire.

I’ll refrain from pointing out the lack of top-heaviness among the sexy-hip archetypes. It makes perfect sense, obviously.

Maybe I can cultivate a visual interest in the sub-waist region. But, since my gaze usually starts at the eyes and ends at the chest…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/09/2021 11:12:20 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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10 years of givin' the bird
Today is a day of great blogospheric significance: Charles G. Hill of Dustbury.com marks a solid decade of blogging action.

How long is ten years, in Internet time? Hint: That bird mascot started out as a pterodactyl. Yabba-dabba-do!

As a lover of snappy headlines, I continue to be impressed by his consistent wordplay ability with his post titles. And the post bodies themselves usually deliver on the toppers’ promise. So here’s to ten more years (assuming this whole InterWeb fad lasts that long).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/09/2021 10:05:41 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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If you live in North Dakota… Well, you’re an increasingly rare breed. The state is one of the nation’s leading population losers, and the situation is so acute in the northwestern part of the state that whole towns, depleted down to a dozen or fewer residents, are voting themselves out of existence.

Business and civic leaders are counteracting the trend by offering modern-day homestead packages: Free land to those willing to move in and put down roots. They’re even putting the word out on the Web. Despite this, the effort is hardly snaring the pioneering throngs:

The Web site lists 86 eligible towns and communities in northwest North Dakota, though by its own accounting nearly half of them are either unincorporated or ghost towns. Visitors to the site are invited to fill out and submit a questionnaire. [Northwest North Dakota Marketing Alliance exec Steve] Slocum says the site typically attracts about 20 “good” e-mail inquiries a week.

It is tough to say, exactly, how many families have actually picked up and moved to northwest North Dakota since all this began. There are no statistics, only anecdotes, and very few of those. Steve Slocum can list a few families, but even he gets a little fuzzy on whether all of them have actually moved to the area or merely intend to at some point. One thing he can tell you, though, with certainty and pride: a family from out West has moved to and is starting a business up in Crosby, the town where they’re giving away the free land. What’s more, that family, the Oehlkes, didn’t even take advantage of that offer. That, they will tell you, is not why they came.

Call me a snob of the densely-populated U.S., but I say there’s no sense in beating a dead horse. If people want to vacate, let them. And I can think of a replacement tenant far more reliable than burned-out urbanites from Colorado: The local Indian tribes. From what I can tell, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, aka Three Affiliated Tribes, seem to be the likeliest native claimants to that corner of ND.

I propose reverting all that emptied-out land back to the Native American tribes that used to live off it. Why not? If the inheritors of Manifest Destiny don’t want the spoils, then give it back to the original inhabitants. They can expand reservations, economically stimulate the land into casino/tourism developments, etc. It’s a win-win over otherwise perpetually distressed real estate.

I realize this opens up a can of worms over sovereignty. But heck, it’s only North Dakota. What else is anyone going to do with it?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/09/2021 09:32:33 PM
Category: Society
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