Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, June 24, 2021

Last year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade passed me by unawares. I regretted it, and made a mental note to catch it for 2007.

The note didn’t stick. This year’s 25th Anniversary edition went forth on Saturday, and I missed it. Thus passing up one hell of an afternoon’s worth of freaky photo ops; I particularly like the ghoulish-looking topless Starbucks maidens.

Not only wasn’t I doing anything special yesterday, but I was pretty well bored out of my mind for a good stretch of it. A jaunt out to Coney Island would have been the perfect tonic! So I’m really kicking myself.

Maybe if I make a note here, online, I’ll actually remember to keep an eye out for the 26th Annual edition. Here’s hoping!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/24/2007 07:46:55 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography | Permalink | Feedback

tomorrow the world
Judging from the mild buzz generated when the Chicago Blackhawks selected a Nigerian-born player in the second round of this past weekend’s NHL Entry Draft, you’d think the story would have been filed under a “news of the weird” header.

But being a black hockey player barely scratches the surface on Akim “The Dream” Aliu:

Here’s wishing the general public will take an interest in Aliu, the multilingual Sudbury Wolves right wing who considers himself more Russian than anything. He lists pierogies as his favorite food.

At the NHL Central Scouting combine, the Washington Capitals interviewed him in English, but not before they asked him to translate their session with Russian teenager Ruslan Bashkirov. “I got to see what kind of things I might be asked,” Aliu told the Toronto Sun. “I hope things work out for Bashkirov. He was a nice kid.” (He went four picks after Aliu, to the Ottawa Senators.)

Here is how things have worked out so far for Aliu: His father, Taiwo, traveled from Okene, Nigeria, to study geology in Ukraine. There, he met his future wife, Larissa. The couple settled in Nigeria, then went back to Ukraine when Akim was 9 months old. He learned to skate there, but he never played hockey until he was 10, after Taiwo moved Larissa and their two children to Canada for a high-tech job.

Nothing’s certain until/unless they make the roster, but it appears the Blackhawks cleaned up big in scooping up both Aliu and consensus No. 1 pick Patrick Kane. If they help turn around the team, then Chicago would be as big a sports stage as any to highlight two somewhat unconventional players: A smallish American-born winger with deft scoring touch, and a Nigerian/Ukrainian/Canadian power-forward prototype.

By the way: Believe it or not, Aliu won’t be the first-ever Nigerian native to make it to hockey’s big show. That honor went to Rumun Ndur, a bruising defenseman who played 69 NHL games with the Sabres, Rangers, and Thrashers. He was last seen in the league in 2000, but apparently is still playing in the UK.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/24/2007 06:54:29 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink | Feedback

Do Business.com owners Jake Winebaum and Sky Dayton seriously believe they can command $300-400 million for their company, based mostly on the URL?

It’s a pipe dream. What they call a paid-search advertising directory is basically nothing but a small pool of categorized listings — nice that they can get those companies to pay for playing, but there’s no true searching or vetting of the links involved. I’m sure plenty of clueless searchers assign authority to the site based just on the name, but any real money to be made in search-based advertising begins and ends with Google, with a little sliver left over for Yahoo! and Ask.com to scrap over.

The reality is that Winebaum and Dayton are hoping all the recent Web 2.0-inspired dealmaking will raise the tide for all boats in the Internet business. Having overplayed their hands the first time around, when they paid $7.5 million for the domain name in 1999 in hopes of flipping it shortly thereafter for multiples of that amount (the following dot-com crash killed that plan), they figure the window’s opened again for a silly-money deal to come around. If not, they can always hang on for a potential third round of online hyper-speculation.

While no one’s going to pay nine figures, in fact there may just be a market for the site. Not in its not-terribly-unique current form, for the reasons cited above. But not long ago, I mentioned a distinct void in online business media:

I’m trying to think of a MySpace portal for businesspeople, that’s full of registered users posting jobs, networking, commenting and distributing news, etc. A real must-join online hangout for hardcore business players. And really, I can’t think of one… There are elements of such a concept all over the Web… But I don’t know that one site has harnessed what’s supposed to be a community that rushes to the Web for their fix of targeted content.

What better content for a re-booted Business.com than an active social network, aimed at businesspeople? Think of the cache behind joining an online community that would assign you an email address like “[yourname]@business.com”, and a personal page that reads “[yourname].business.com”. Plus the MySpace-like tagging, friend/colleague connectivity, etc. And given the audience, so much of it can be monetized with nominal fees: Access to targeted contact lists, B2B products/services, etc. A goldmine with the most appropriate brandname ever.

Again, no one’s going to pay hundreds of millions of dollars just for a domain platform. Truth be told, a business-centric social network doesn’t absolutely need to be parked at business.com. But it’d be an ideal fit, and the site’s current owners could do a lot worse than cashing out for a few million now, rather than crossing their fingers on a possible future Internet land rush.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/24/2007 02:35:50 PM
Category: Internet, Business | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Zengrrl takes exception with “cougar”, a recently-coined term for the open-for-business older female:

Why cougar? Because we older women are supposedly on the prowl? And while we’re at, what exactly is the criteria for being a cougar? Do we need to sharpen our nails? Do we need to carry a membership card? And if we’re “cougars,” why do we still need to shave our legs? I’m just sayin’…

There’s no shortage of definitions, and they all point to the same basic idea. It’s as derogatory as any other reductive label, just as “kitten” or “sex kitten” is to younger socially-active women — the opposite end of this spectrum, and undoubtedly the jumping-off point for concocting the whole feline simile.

On the other hand, as Zengrrl also points out, it’s somewhat of an improvement over MILF.

For myself, I’m at the age where a) uttering such college-age slang is laughably awkward, and b) the women available women in my age group are entering the cougar zone — chronologically, if not behaviorally.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/24/2007 12:26:49 PM
Category: Women, Wordsmithing | Permalink | Feedback

During a meeting a few days ago, the main speaker dropped the phrase “from soup to nuts” into his spiel.

That brought about some confused looks from about half the attendees. Assuming this is representative of the general population, here’s the definition:

from beginning to end; all of the courses or parts
[Origin: 1935–40, Americanism]

Noting the timeframe, I’m guessing that at some point during the Great Depression, eating establishments in the U.S. would offer meals that started with a serving of soup and ended with… a selection of nuts as dessert? Who knew nuts ever occupied such an integral spot in the American meal structure?

I’d already heard of the phrase. Aside from various references in literature, television, and movies, it’s also the basis for the name of Soup2Nuts, the production company behind a couple of my favorite animated shows: “Home Movies” and “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/24/2007 11:31:18 AM
Category: TV, Wordsmithing | Permalink | Feedback