Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, May 11, 2021

I’m not too sure how many New Yorkers are reading this blog, now that I’m also New York-based. Maybe this question will serve to smoke out some citydwellers:

How much of a balance do you typically have on your MetroCard?

I ask because I just reloaded mine to the tune of $30. At two bucks a pop for subway (and bus? which I never take) rides, I realize that shouldn’t last too long. But really, I’m walking a lot on a daily basis, and duck into the subway only if I’m in a real hurry (rare) or there’s really bad weather above ground (not really the case of late). So I’m swiping my MetroCard a couple of times a week right now, tops.

Which is why I’m slightly paranoid about having put such a relatively big sum on the card this time around. I’m thinking that it’s now going to fly out of my hand and drop down a sewer grating, jilting me out of my modest investment before I get a chance to use most of it. The fact that I pretty much never lose things like that doesn’t factor into this irrationality.

So, did I overdo it on the MetroCard refresh? Should I stick to a lower (10 bucks or so) constant balance? Maybe some NYC veterans can enlighten.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/11/2021 11:42:05 PM
Category: Question Time!, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (3)

The Bill Clinton-brokered deal to get soda vending machines pulled out of public schools is being lauded as a victory for good nutrition, and a defeat for the sugarwater conglomerates.

In reality, it’s not. And it’s not just because of the caveats to the deal that hold open the possibility of little real reduction of the machines, nor of the exemption of diet sodas.

Because the national trend is toward more consumption of bottled water and other non-carbonated liquids, at the expense of traditional soft drinks, the reduction (or even elimination) of soda options just plays to the shifting market realities. In general, kids are already eschewing Coke and Pepsi in favor of alternate drinks, which will continue to be available at school-sited vending machines.

And the kicker: The leading bottle water and sports drinks brands are owned by — yup — Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo. So the money’s still heading into the same coffers; only the product is changing.

That shouldn’t obscure the positive effects of kicking the liquid-candy habit. But no one’s getting screwed here on a profit-and-loss basis. The companies involved wouldn’t have agreed to this seeming capitulation if they didn’t recognize that they were going to still wind up winning in the end.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/11/2021 10:45:06 PM
Category: Food, Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback

How fragile is Iraqi democracy? A ringtone in the form of a Shi’ite religious chant sparked a brawl among legislators that nearly scuttled the newly-formed Parliament.

The squabble started Monday in the lobby outside Iraq’s parliament hall when [lawmaker Ghufran al-Saidi’s] cellphone rang as [Mahmoud al-Mashhadani] was giving a television interview nearby, Saidi told lawmakers and reporters.

Mashhadani’s bodyguards asked Saidi’s bodyguard, who was holding her phone, to silence it, and the aide hung up on the call, Saidi said. When the disconnected caller called back, the parliament speaker’s guards attacked Saidi’s bodyguard and beat him, she said.

Saidi, who wears the head scarf of conservative Muslim women, said the Sunni guards were angered by the Shiite chant. She acknowledged that she joined the brawl.

At Wednesday’s session of parliament, when Saidi took the floor to complain at length, Mashhadani eventually ordered her microphone turned off, TV cameras shut down and the session recessed.

Some lawmakers walked out to protest what they called the speaker’s brusque behavior.

It’s a good thing none of the Founding Fathers were packing cellphones in Philadelphia. Like Thomas Jefferson needed extra incentive to clop Alexander Hamilton in the head…

Fortunately, my KC and the Sunshine Band ringtone (just ported onto a new phone, incidentally) has yet to start a riot. American democracy won’t take a hit because of my incoming calls.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/11/2021 09:38:29 PM
Category: Politics, Tech | Permalink | Feedback

bouncing baby britney
With Britney Spears confirming that she’s preggers with kid No. 2, it was inevitable that the two obvious song titles from her repertoire would do duty as headlines.

Which of the songs was more preferred by news-breakers? Quick-and-dirty Google News searches of the moment reveal:

- “Baby One More Time” ticks up 385 citations

- “Oops!… I Did It Again” brings in a mere 85 results

Not at all comprehensive, and full of overlap, I’m sure. If Brit goes for a trifecta, we can go through this all over again.

I’m thinking husband K-Fed should ditch his questionable rap career, and follow his obvious calling: Stud farming. The guy’s a freakin’ sperm factory.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/11/2021 08:54:51 PM
Category: Media, Pop Culture, Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback