Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, August 08, 2021

Three years ago, Dr. Ink pondered whether the expression “suck” could still be considered truly vulgar after three decades of casual use:

In the words of the great political scholar and U.S. Senator Patrick Moynihan, “deviance” has “devolved downward.”

In language, this will lead to all kinds of semantic shifts…

“Suck” is one of these words. It has devolved from its oral/sexual meaning — with possible homophobic undercurrents — where it picked up its negative connotations, and has been applied as a harsh predicate to any subject the speaker or writer detests…

Dr. Ink will lay this down so even his naïve boss can get it: “Suck” was a bad word 30 years ago. It is not so bad now, but those of a certain age who use it in the attack mode remember the old meaning and feel a little twinge of rebellion when we can use it in public with impunity.

Despite some raucous accompanying online debate — including the invocation of pertinent cultural examples like Caddyshack and Bart Simpson by yours truly — the issue apparently was not settled satisfactorally. And so, Seth Stevenson takes another swipe at the non-controversial option of dropping the “s” word into everyday parlance.

I’m with the unfazed camp on this great suckitude issue. Fact is, the phrase was so commonplace when I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s that I have to confess: It never even occurred to me that this definition ever was directly linked to the sexually derogatory reference. Call me naive.

What was most jarring to me during that Poynter comment free-for-all was the opposing viewpoint of St. Petersburg Times columnist Eric Deggans, because he and I are not that far apart in age. But he is a handful of years older than me, and I’m guessing that that slight generational spread — formative years in the late ’70s versus the early ’80s — is where you can almost pinpoint the transformation of “suck” from strictly verboten to inconsequential slang.

(Via In Theory, by way of Dustbury — who sandwich me age-wise, incidentally, and thus may have somewhat opposing gut reactions on this topic)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/08/2021 11:09:04 PM
Category: Society, Wordsmithing
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newly mintedkey wee
I guess I’m a fully-vested New Yorker now: I’m imbibing Snapple practically every day.

Not that you can’t find bottles of that stuff practically anywhere in the U.S. But because of the unique marketing partnership between Snapple and New York City, it seems the two are inexorably linked (despite the less-than-stellar ROI on the deal). And indeed, pretty much every food outlet you pass on the street carries the beverage.

But that doesn’t help me. Because, typically, I go for the more obscure flavors, both iced teas: Mint and Kiwi Teawi. They both are ideally suited to my taste: Both are just sweet and tangy enough, without coming off as sugary. The Kiwi is particularly understated in flavor, and I’ve always liked mint anyway. The tea part is essential, as far as keeping me pumped with caffeine.

And wouldn’t you know: The average newsstand and deli tends not to carry either one of these delicious concoctions. At best, I can usually count on Asian shops/eateries carrying the Mint variety; but the Kiwi one is hard to track down (I guess there aren’t enough New Zealand-themed restaurants around here…).

So I guess this post is part appreciation, and part plea. To whoever supplies the area with all things Snapple: Increase the distribution of Mint Tea and Kiwi Teawi! Or at least, hook me up with my own personal pipeline.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/08/2021 10:19:20 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin'
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Here’s a question I’m tossing out: How much money do you usually withdraw during a typical ATM transaction?

I ask because I’ve noticed that, now that I’m in New York, I typically take out 60 bucks whenever I visit the machine. In Florida, I used to be covered just taking out $40 each time.

Why the discrepency? You might think that things are more expensive up here, but that’s not really the case for out-of-pocket daily expenses — workday lunches can be comparably priced, for instance.

More than anything, it’s the tendency to engage in more cash transactions in the Big Apple, as I noted before. So in order to avoid running to the cash machine practically every day, I just bumped up my single-time withdrawal amount to the next Andrew Jackson level. Combined with regular use of plastic, that takes care of me for the better part of most weeks.

So I’m wondering how close to the average I am. Is my regular $60 the national norm? Or is my wallet too fat (or too skinny)?

Don’t be shy to respond. It’s only money, after all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/08/2021 06:50:05 PM
Category: Question Time!
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boo-boom
Well, that didn’t take long.

My brand-new boomerang, which I bought just over a week ago and struggled to make fly, is no more. After a couple dozen attempted throws today, it finally hit the dirt with sharp velocity, and snapped into two. The results are visible above. (The gravelly ground in the picture is not the venue where I was tossing; I just moved the pieces there afterward to get a better photo. I was using a nice, soft grassy field for the hurling.)

So much for my Olympic boomeranging dreams in Summer ‘08.

I’m not overly upset, but I am less than pleased. You’d think the damned thing would be durable enough to last a few skydiving trips into the ground. I’ve already submitted my bad-news review on Amazon, where I bought it, so buyer beware.

I guess I’m most peeved that I never was able to get the stupid thing to break in flight, like it was supposed to (broke on landing instead). I got in a couple dozen tosses before the expiration, and while I got pretty good distance each time, I didn’t get the desired comeback effect. Every couple of flings, the ‘rang managed to ascend, but when it started the counterspin… it would peter out after a couple of yards. Granted, the maneuver doesn’t guaranteed a return trip to the thrower, but it’s supposed to come somewhat close. After trying a few different grips and throwing motions, I was convinced the thing was defective. (Of course, I may be kidding myself; guess I’ll never know now.)

Oh well, another short-lived toy. I guess I’ll just move on to inline skates, my next object of amusement.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/08/2021 06:16:19 PM
Category: General
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