Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, August 12, 2021

the originalthe copycat
So, that cute little promo commercial NBC Sports was running tonight during their NFL preseason Sunday Night Football broadcast? Where Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush were checked into the same hotel, and they both wound up ordering prank room-service orders to each others’ rooms?

Yeah, it looked a little something like this NHL promo from last season:

The Alex Ovechkin-Sidney Crosby sequence wasn’t as extensive, either in length or comedic value. Still, it obviously came first.

As it happens, both spots were produced by NBC Sports. So I guess the network’s creative department ripped itself off. Not sure if the hockey folks should be offended or flattered.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/12/2021 11:23 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Football, Hockey, TV
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Actually, it was free bottles of Bombilla Gourd iced maté tea, which the company was giving away at a booth on Madison Avenue today. I grabbed a blueberry-flavored 16-ouncer, just because it was nearest to me and I was carrying a powerful thirst on a hot day.

It was good. It was also caffeinated, which is pretty much what I insist upon for my tea beverages. So it’s all good.

I’m wondering why Bombilla Gourd was giving their stuff away. Beverage giveaways aren’t unusual around Manhattan, even for established brands; Snapple, for one, rolls out bins of freebies when it introduces new flavors. Still, Bombilla’s maté drink is widespread enough, in stores, eateries and anywhere else. I’m not complaining, mind you.

Anyway. Yerba maté is quite the botanical booster. I might have to start looking for the hot tea version (and hope it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, like most obscure-exotica food items tend to be around here).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/12/2021 11:04 PM
Category: Food, New Yorkin'
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Ah hell. Just when we thought the good times were rolling, syphilis makes a comeback in the Big Apple.

I might as well just get married now. At least it’s easily curable.

Because I’ll probably never get another opening, here’s where I’ll relate this story:

Years and years ago, a co-worker told me that she knew a woman who named her daughter Syphilis. Apparently, the mother — who was of the lower-class persuasion — came across the word, liked the way it sounded, figured was a variant of the name Phyllis, and planted the pretty-sounding name onto her offspring. Obviously, the mother had never heard of the STD; that’s no guarantee that she didn’t have a case of it, thus giving a disease-fevered explanation for a pretty boneheaded move.

I can’t swear that the spelling matches the conventional one for the disease. Maybe the “philis” part would get emphasis, so something like “SiPhylis” is what the kid is now saddled with. Regardless, I’m thinking mother-daughter relations are pretty frosty by now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/12/2021 10:43 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Science, Wordsmithing
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Maybe in fourteen-hundred-and-ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but it wasn’t until 1507 that anyone bothered to give a name to the continental landmasses he discovered (“discovered” being something of a figurative term, considering Christopher was preceded by Norsemen, various Portuguese/English and other Euros, and of course the Natives themselves).

That makes this year the 500th anniversary of “America” as a geographic signifier. And somehow or another, Amerigo Vespucci finagled his name onto the maps.

It was in 1507, with the publication of a large cut-out map suitable for creating a do-it-yourself globe, that Vespucci’s first name, if not Vespucci himself, achieved lasting renown. On this map, published in the intellectual backwater of St. Dié in Lorraine, the designation “America” (the feminine of Amerigo) was chosen for the portion of the hemisphere where Vespucci claimed to have landed during his second voyage. In 1538, the noted mapmaker Mercator, apparently referring to the earlier map from St. Dié, chose to use the name America to mark not just the southern but also the northern portion of the continent. The rest, as they say, is history. “The tradition was secure,” Fernández-Armesto writes, “the decision irreversible.” And so, because of Mercator and assorted others, more than 350 million of us now call ourselves Americans.

Which is preferable to the likeliest alternative:

As Fernández-Armesto astutely observes, it’s probably a good thing Mercator went with America instead of what might have been the more obvious choice, Christopheria or, say, Columbia. “Columbus has such an ineluctable presence in history,” he writes, “that a hemisphere named after him would never be free of association with him. With every vocalization, images of imperialism, evangelization, colonization, massacre and ecological exchange would spring to mind. The controversies would be constant, the revulsion unendurable.” Since Amerigo Vespucci is a historical nonentity, the term “America” is free of the disturbing connotations that would have been associated with his more famous forebear. “History has made him irrelevant,” Fernández-Armesto writes, “to the major resonances of his own name.” Thanks to the ephemerality of Amerigo Vespucci’s reputation as an explorer, America was given an enduring name.

The United States of Columbia? Or United States of Columbus? We all would be Columbians right now. Who knows what Bogota’s country would be called.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/12/2021 10:26 PM
Category: History
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