Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, March 15, 2021

To raise the $75,000 necessary to make her next album, former one-hit wonder Jill “I Kissed A Girl” Sobule came up with a novel idea: Asking for telethon-like contributions ranging from $5 to $10,000, which net back anything from a free digital download of the completed album all the way up to the opportunity to sing on the record with Jill.

The Web-driven goal was reached and then some, with $80 thou as the grand total. Not bad for someone who was fishing around for ideas on this back in September.

That’s still a pretty lengthy fundraising cycle. Jill could have expedited the process by, say, fucking the governor of New York. That seems to be working for the now-infamous Ashley Alexandra Dupré, who’s outing as Eliot Spitzer’s “Kristen” call-girl is apparently parlaying into spiked popularity for her budding singing career.

Although I question how valid that claim is. From what I can see, you can listen to Dupré’s two songs on Amie Street all you want without buying the tracks. Does that translate to the “popularity” that’s boosting their price? I’m doubting that many people are actually coughing up money here.

Still, it’s exposure, and radio stations are warming up to the songs. Dupré might just be on her way to bigger musical fame and fortune than Sobule will ever achieve, without the begging for money part.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/15/2008 07:25:20 PM
Category: Internet, Pop Culture, Women
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

It won’t happen overnight, but it looks like a ethnic stereotype is fading away as fewer Greek-Americans are staying in the restaurant diner business, the result of a generational shift.

But [Nick] Karkambasis, who is also a director of a New York purchasing co-op of 437 diners, estimates that the proportion of Greek-owned diners in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region has declined in 10 years to 70 percent from 90 percent.

“To tell you the truth, the parents don’t want their children to go into the business,” Mr. Karkambasis said. “It’s a lot of hours, and most of us don’t want our children going through what we went through growing up.”…

A sharper decline is looming, said Bill Kapas, one of the largest diner brokers, as the generation of Greek immigrants that founded more than 600 diners in the New York region retires. Mr. Kapas, 38, is the son of a Greek immigrant.

I’m Greek, so naturally the restaurant business is woven throughout my family quilt. I was never encouraged to go into the business myself, and neither were my brother nor my cousins. It was definitely seen as a lucrative way to make money, but not as a legacy to hand down. There was a sense of setting up the next generation for white-collar pursuits. (That’s not to say that no one follows in the footsteps, and in fact, there’s a dispute in my more immediate family over a succession plan for a years-old diner business.)

I guess the biggest loss here will be the eventual disappearance of those iconic “anthora” Greek-lettering blue coffee cups.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/15/2008 05:36:40 PM
Category: Society, New Yorkin'
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Actually, not blinded, but close enough for this NYTimes writer who’s enduring complications from the highly-touted vision-correction surgery:

True, I no longer wear glasses. But the 20/20 line on the eye chart is blurry. I can make it out only if I squint, and it takes about a minute to read. My doctor views this as proof of the surgery’s success…

I thought I’d be able to decipher words in the real world at a glance. My consent form said: “The patient understands that the benefit of the Lasik/P.R.K. procedure is to have an improved uncorrected visual acuity.” I took that to mean that my eyesight would be 20/20. Most doctors, on the other hand, focus on the words “improved uncorrected visual acuity.”

“Not every patient has the potential to see 20/20,” Dr. Belmont told me this month. So, if your eye can see 20/20 with glasses or contacts, the doctors try to replicate that, but there are no guarantees. Dr. Belmont said, “You do the best that you can.”

Medical chutzpah never fails to amaze me: They solve the problem with a solution that’s worse, and count that as success.

This worst-case scenario is exactly what’s kept me from taking the plunge. My glasses are an invitation for others to advise me about the wonders of Lasik, particularly those who’ve had the procedure themselves. They swear by it and can’t understand why anyone won’t follow suit.

I’ve thought about it. Aside from the significant out-of-pocket cost, I’m just not comfortable with having my eyeballs messed with. Surgery is always a crapshoot, and the prospect of gambling with my eyesight — potentially making it worse — doesn’t thrill me. I can live with, and easily correct, a botched nosejob; I can’t live with vision that’s functionally impaired.

Yes, my unaided vision flat-out sucks, and it’d be nice to not need corrective lenses. But in a way, my situation is stable. It’s not like my vision just now took a dive — it’s been poor since grade school. I’m used to it. And glasses or contacts do the job fine. I can’t recall being in a situation where I couldn’t do something because my eyesight wasn’t up to snuff, or needing glasses got seriously in the way. There’s no urgency, so the incentive for Lasik isn’t there.

I do sense a societal shift on this. More and more, I get the feeling that wearing glasses is viewed as more of an eccentricity, or indication of socio-economic standing, when less-obvious solutions like Lasik or contact lenses are available. I’m not immune to peer pressure, so I’m sure in another few years, I’ll probably go back to contacts, and all the while keep surgery in the back of my mind.

It won’t happen anytime soon, though. And this episode of botched Lasiking should keep me away from the knife for a while yet.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/15/2008 04:40:43 PM
Category: Science
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)