Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 24, 2021

eat me
The late Graham Chapman was said to be enamoured of situations where bad taste held sway. (Fellow Python John Cleese said that, by way of explaining why he recited a monologue version of the “Dead Parrot” sketch at Chapman’s funeral.)

If so, then Chapman would be having a ball in Milford, Michigan, where a recent and much-publicized FBI investigation for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa spurred a cottage industry of trinkets poking fun at the prospect of the dead Teamster as the town’s claim to fame.

Those cupcakes pictured above say it all. The ghoulish green candy (or plastic?) hand, emerging from the dirt-colored chocolate frosting. Classic. Beats any tshirt.

Too bad that it’s looking like Hoffa isn’t in town. A reporter I knew long ago in St. Petersburg, who hailed from Buffalo, once told me that he had had it on some authority that, while he couldn’t say just where Hoffa’s final resting place was, that it definitely wasn’t under Giants Stadium, contrary to popular notion/humor. The search goes on — as does the merchandising.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/24/2006 10:39pm
Category: Food, History, Society
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I guess we’ve discovered a single redeeming thing about “Lost”: It’s made an obscure absurdist novel a hot commodity. Flann O’Brien’s “The Third Policeman”, first published in 1967 and irregularly in print ever since, is being bought up by fans of the show after a copy of the book appeared oh-so-briefly in a recent episode.

Why the fervor over an incidental prop? Here’s a good guess:

The “Lost” fandom are forever on the prowl for clues to the show’s plot secrets. Undoubtedly, these obsessives got a glimpse of a seemingly innocent background object, and figured it was a hint to solving the show’s mysteries. And an obscure little gem like “The Third Policeman” fits the bill nicely as a wink-wink-nudge-nudge clue.

Contributing to this: The recent real-life publication of “Bad Twin”, a novel “written” by one of the “Lost” characters. More merchandise than book, it is a clever hook for spurring on enthusiasm for the show. I’m sure fans surmised: If one book can be a clue, why not another?

Anyway, regardless of the reason for this sudden surge, the plot of “The Third Policeman” sounds intriguing, and worth picking up:

The last of O’Brien’s novels to be published and now reissued by Dalkey Archive, “The Third Policeman” is Flann O’Brien’s brilliant comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where he is introduced to “Atomic Theory” and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and the view that the earth is not round but “sausage-shaped.”

There’s your “Lost” spoiler: The island is one big sausage!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/24/2006 09:54pm
Category: Publishing, TV
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I’ve developed a morning Starbucks habit: Get off my usual subway stop, emerge to street level, and make a pitstop at the strategically-situated outlet across the street from the Time Warner Center (for you stalkers out there).

Yes, I’ve become that which I’ve always despised. Really, just the latest iteration of such.

But at least I’m not plunking down five or six bucks daily for some frou-frouey candied-coffee drink. I get my basic order of black tea (tall — I refuse to utter the terms “vente” or “grande”), and maybe a bagel, and leave it at that.

But I may be slipping. For the last couple of days, I’ve taken to popping the lid of my drink and applying a couple of shakes of ground cinnamon into it. Something different.

Today, I veered even further: I went with ground nutmeg instead. Partly because I couldn’t find the cinnamon shaker at that particular counter, and partly for the famed hallucinogenic effects this spice induces. (Didn’t work, but the taste brought to mind Christmas… So maybe it did work after all.)

Tomorrow, I might go completely nuts and add both cinnamon and nutmeg in my tea. I’ll try not to take out too many baristas in the aftermath.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/24/2006 04:01pm
Category: Food, New Yorkin'
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