Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, April 22, 2021

Today’s Earth Day was a pretty miserable one here in New York: Non-stop rain, with a temperature dip approaching winterish weather.

Where’s the love, Mother Gaia?

I suppose you have to take the deary days along with the sun-shiney ones. Anyway, I’ll take any excuse to laze around the house all day.

In honor of the holiday, I’ll go into blog reruns. This one goes way back, both in terms of recounting and actual action. Enjoy my college-era episode of sticking it to the man, Earth Day-style:

My favorite Earth Day memory is a prank I played 13 16 years ago. I was sitting in my dorm lounge with a dormmate. We were flipping through the channels (no cable TV in the dorms back then-the dark ages!!), and catching a couple of news reports telling us it was Earth Day. Then we land on Home Shopping Network, just as they start rolling out their fur collection for display and sale.

It hit me: Furs? They’re hawking freakin’ furs on Earth Day? Come on!

Now, I wasn’t then, nor am I now, a hard-core environmentalist or animal-rights advocate. I’m sympathetic with those philosophies, to a point, but I eat meat, wear leather, etc. like your average dude. Nevertheless, some part of my sensibilities was offended by seeing such a bizarre juxtaposition. I think I was offended by the stupidity, or more likely ignorance, on display by HSN.

So, I decided to do something. I got my phone, dialed up the HSN order line, and as soon as the customer service drone answered, I yelled, “EARTH DAY! FUR IS MURDER! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT!!”. I did it a couple more times after that. Then I got my dormmate to call too, on his phone; he did a very low-key version of same spiel (sans yelling-that was my schtick).

We had our fun, and decided to keep watching the channel to see if our childish actions had any on-air effect. Lo and behold, about 10 minutes after the last of our calls, the show host mentioned, “By the way, folks, today is Earth Day”, and then abruptly switched from the fur display to something else. We laughed our asses off! It looked like we had stuck it to the man!

Don’t mention it, Mama Earth.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/22/2006 10:11 PM
Category: College Years, Comedy, Political
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The mechanics behind the recent aborted coup in Chad suggest that France’s decades-long influence in its former African colonial territories is coming to an end, leaving a geopolitical vacuum for other powers to fill.

France’s moribund economy and its fading reputation in Africa because of its support of unpopular leaders mean France’s clout is increasingly embodied in Chirac, Bourgi said. Despite France’s long history in Africa, none of the politicians seen as likely successors have his ties to Africa, and none are likely to be as interventionist on the continent.

The United States, and possibly China, could step in, mainly to tap oil. Chad exports 160,000 barrels a day through a U.S.-Malaysia consortium including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Petronas.

Indeed, China’s widening role on the continent has already made waves.

France has thousands of troops in its former African colonial empire, with missions to help maintain stability, provide military training and logistical support, and protect French citizens. France has 4,000 troops in Ivory Coast, 2,900 in Djibouti, 1,000 in Gabon and 1,200 in Senegal, according to the French Defense Ministry.

Relations between Britain - Africa’s other major former colonial power - and its one-time colonies also often are close, but they did not develop along the same lines, for cultural and political reasons. Africans under French rule could aspire to French citizenship and former French colonies pegged their currencies to the franc and now the euro, while Britain kept its African subjects at a distance.

France says stability is priority No. 1 in its former African colonies. Its frequent calls for greater democracy in Africa often ring hollow, given France’s track record of dealing with despots and leaders-for-life in many countries over the years, seemingly more comfortable with familiar dictators than the unknowns democracy might bring.

Not that France has been unique in this. Proxy states are easier to pin down if dictatorships are in place. That was the gameplan for the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. throughout the Cold War; France was following that lead, and continues to do so now.

How keyed is the French strategy of continuing informal empire upon Jacques Chirac’s personal influence? If it comes down to preserving a bloc of friendly states/markets, I think the next generation of Gallic leaders will commit to active intervention in sub-Saharan Africa.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/22/2006 09:34 PM
Category: History, Political
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OLN analyst Darren Eliot, as part of his pregame chatter for tonight’s Philadelphia-Buffalo playoff game, referred to Flyers center Peter Forsberg as having a “wonky groin”.

You don’t hear that kind of descriptor every day.

Feel free to branch off your own “Willy Wonka/wonky willie” joke here.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/22/2006 08:40 PM
Category: Hockey, TV
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A couple of brain-dead moments for me yesterday:

- On the subway, some guy was carrying around a bag with the name “Burson-Marsteller” emblazened upon it. For the life of me, I couldn’t bring to mind who/what Burson Marsteller was. A law firm? An ad agency? I drove myself crazy over it for a few hours, until I finally got around to plugging it into a search engine. Eureka: It’s a public relations firm, one of the biggest out there. Which I already knew, so I’m personally embarrassed over the mental slip.

- For lunch, I hit a little Japanese restaurant. While pondering the menu (I eventually decided upon a bento box), I noticed the listing for a “green salad”. I assumed that was some sort of Japanese specialty. When I got my box, it included said green salad — and it turned out to be a regular ol’ green salad. Lettuce, tomato, etc. Duh.

Consequently, I think I’ll give my brain plenty of downtime this weekend. (As if you couldn’t already tell.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/22/2006 08:02 PM
Category: Business, New Yorkin'
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It’s a dozen years old, but still funny. From Episode Two of Steve Coogan’s wonderfully brilliant “Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge”:

Tony Le Mesmer: We are all shaman on a spiritual quest, and we travel on this journey using the energy of the life force.

Alan Partridge: I’m going to try to pin you down here. Can you be more specific?

Tony Le Mesmer: I’m a man who harnesses the harmony that is within us all.

Alan Partridge: Hmm — that’s more vague.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/22/2006 11:03 AM
Category: Comedy, TV
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