Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Thursday, July 31, 2021

Inspired by — if not actually endorsed by — celeb foodies Ted Allen and Amy Sedaris, The Ted and Amy Supper Club is a convivial Brooklyn affair. It’s organized and hosted by Kara Masi every other week (or so) in her Fort Greene apartment, and last night was the latest edition. After getting shut out from previous sessions, I’m happy to say that I snagged a couple of seats for me and my date, Karen.

The French Bistro-style menu was:

Steamed Mussels in White Wine Sauce
Steak & Pommes Frites
Goat Cheese Frisee Salad
Vanilla & Orange Bon Bons
Selection of Wine

How was it? Well…

Kara usually has help with the food prep from one Adam, but she was flying solo for the first time. She made a valiant attempt at juggling all the courses, but unfortunately, the salad and pommes frites (steak fries to you and me) didn’t come out too great. She apologized profusely and even offered a refund on the night’s meal ticket.

But that was unnecessary, because the rest of the night came through with flying colors. The carnivorous portions of the menu (mussels and steak) came out great, the dessert (with a generous helping of extra bon-bons) was yummy, and the wines were excellent. I think everyone was pleased with the final culinary results.

Besides, the food was merely an excuse for coming together to meet people like Jennifer, Alix, Jennie, Brian, Halley, Nathalie, Carolina, and Amy. I know Karen and I were nothing but pleased with the company. The conversation was lively and fairly non-stop, which is what you want out of a dinner party. I’m sure the steady flow of wine helped.

So I’d say it was a fun soiree at Kara’s, failed frites/frisee and all. I’m hoping I can make it to the next one! As it is, I’ll be returning to the scene tomorrow, as Kara is hosting tomorrow’s Jelly co-working event at her pad. I’m hoping for leftovers…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/31/2008 10:17:24 PM
Category: Celebrity, Food, New Yorkin'
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Because the National Hockey League’s collective bargaining agreement calls for a minimum team salary floor ($40.7 million for the upcoming 2008-09 season) to go along with the salary cap ($56.7 million), the dynamics of the league’s player-transaction market have gone topsy-turvy:

Normally the trade market would be something akin to salvation. I have an asset I can’t afford. You have a need and room to accommodate it. But here’s the newest wrinkle in a CBA that is now showing more wrinkles than Liz Taylor’s Shar-Pei: Because the floor is so high, the team with cap room no longer has an advantage…

To reach the mandated floor, they need to spend more, in some cases considerably more, money than they take in. To do that, they have to trade not just for useable players per-se, but for salaries that will get them to the new lower level. That usually means getting a high-salaried player, the kind that generally comes with liabilities such as fading performance for the dollar or an expiring contract and/or impending free agency, perhaps even a lifestyle issue. Risky in their own right, but now those same players also come with a demand for some cap-friendly and budding young talent to close the deal.

Obviously, the players association has no problem with this, because inflated spending to reach the floor translates into a higher NHL-level salary. Basically, the owners should have insisted upon a percentage-based spread between the cap and the floor, instead of the set-amount $16 million. Top-to-bottom competitive balance between teams is just as achievable on a relative scale. Something to re-jigger in negotiations for the next CBA.

I do think it’s unfair to impose a minimum payroll on teams; but then, I think it’s just as unfair to impose the cap maximum, too. Salary caps and floors are artificial restrictions, even if tied to league revenues. Bear in mind that, with the mandated minimum NHL-level individual player salary ($475,000 for next season), a de facto floor would take effect anyway. While I’m not in favor of a team suiting up a wholly minimum-wage roster (which would earn well below this year’s $40.7 million), it’s a saner solution than a pegged collective amount.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/31/2008 03:24:11 PM
Category: Hockey
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Brooklyn Bowl is a soon-to-open live-band club/bowling alley that’s based on the premise that people want more out of their intimate-venue experience than just the music:

“To sit at a show, cock your head back, watch a band and then leave, it’s been done,” [club owner Peter] Shapiro said. “But to come see a show, do some bowling, eat some French-bread pizza from Blue Ribbon — that hasn’t been done.”

You know why “that hasn’t been done”? Because no one, i.e. the audience, wants to do it.

Oh, I’m sure fans of cosmic bowling would crave this union of ball-return machines and rock bands. But just as the disco-ball atmosphere in bowling alleys became passe, this gimmick isn’t likely to hold the crowds’ attention for long.

Frankly, if the performance club scene has to rely upon this “come for the ten-pins, stay for the rock-and-roll” pitch (or maybe that’s the other way around?), then prospects for survival are slim.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/31/2008 01:42:42 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Pop Culture
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Wednesday, July 30, 2021

So much for email dying a slow death: An AOL survey finds that a big chunk of America is glued to their inboxes, checking for new email frequently and with little regard for location/situation.

New Yorkers are at the forefront:

More than half of the New York respondents are self-confessed addicts, compared with 46% nationwide. And many have contemplated “e-mail bankruptcy” - deleting all their messages and starting from scratch.

Houston was rated in the survey as the second-most-e-mail-obsessed city, followed by Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco. The online survey questioned 4,000 e-mail users, 13 and older.

Now I don’t feel so self-conscious about tapping my iTouch every 10 minutes, to see what’s rolled into that new Mail client…

What struck me: The article got input from pretty young-ish email addicts, mid-20s to 30. That contradicts the notion that kids have left email behind in favor of IM, texting and other means. Some of this has to do with push delivery of email to mobile devices, which makes the interaction more immediate.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/30/2008 01:56:04 PM
Category: Internet, New Yorkin', Society
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Just how bad is the economy? When as ubiquitous a dining-hole as Bennigan’s abruptly shuts its doors, snuffing itself out completely via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s a pretty good barometer for how much things are in the toilet.

And “abrupt” means abrupt:

Bennigan’s, owned by privately held Metromedia Restaurant Group, collapsed in a particularly dramatic fashion Tuesday. Managers of restaurants across the country were awakened by midnight phone calls telling them to shutter their stores immediately, according to interviews with several restaurant managers.

Customers and employees were left peering in windows.

“Closed for business as of Tuesday, July 29,” said a paper taped to the door of Bennigan’s at 225 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

Caleb Kosek, 24, showed up for his first day of work at the store only to find it locked. “Wow,” he said as he peeked into the empty restaurant.

Apparently just the corporate-owned stores are biting it, meaning the franchisees — a distinct minority — will be sticking around. But I’m sure they’ll dwindle away as well soon enough, now that the mothership is gone.

Bennigan’s was very much part of the landscape during my Florida years. The one on St. Pete Beach was something of a desination for my college; I knew plenty of fellow students who worked there at one time or another, and it was a safety choice for a night out. I also patronized enough other locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Funny thing though, I’m not sure I can recall seeing one here in New York, either in the City or upstate. There’s got to be at least token outposts hereabouts, but they’re definitely thin on the ground. Even thinner now, obviously. Could be there are too many authentic (if in name only) Irish pubs here that a corporately-generated one couldn’t hack it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/30/2008 01:33:04 PM
Category: Business, Food
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Tuesday, July 29, 2021

There’s been much to-do in Maryland lately over Baltimore’s decision to erect a new 18,500-seat arena, and the viability of such project when there’s scant hope of attracting an NHL or NBA franchise to play in it.

“It’s a resume-builder for Baltimore,” said Don Hinchey, vice president of communications for the Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports marketing firm. “Without an arena, you’re left out of the franchise discussion. A state-of-the-art facility is the price of entry.”

Though the relocation market seems tepid at the moment, it’s always fluid, Hinchey added.

Fluid it may be, but as long as the Capitals and Wizards make their homes a few miles down the road in the District of Columbia, there’s simply not enough room for additional major-league teams in the Baltimore-Washington market. Having an empty facility is good bait for existing hoops and pucks teams for leveraging better deals at home, but actually relocating there isn’t particularly workable.

With two exceptions, that is: The Capitals and the Wizards. Yes, the only teams that can credibly make a go at occupying a Baltimore arena are the teams already in the extended neighborhood. And that’s chiefly via merely chair-shuffling within the same metro area. In effect, Baltimore is building a bargaining chip exclusively for DC’s NHL and NBA teams.

Probably not the intent of Baltimore city fathers to create a localized turf war over major-league sports. But that’s the shake-out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/29/2008 10:55:34 PM
Category: SportsBiz
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Monday, July 28, 2021

I guess it follows that, if the powers that be are so steadfastly against gay marriage, they’d be just as opposed to gay divorce:

A judge in Family Court, where divorces are handled, asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court for a ruling on whether his court had jurisdiction, given that Rhode Island doesn’t recognize gay marriage. The state Supreme Court decided that the women weren’t legally married in the eyes of the state and therefore couldn’t get divorced.

[Margaret] Chambers then tried filing for divorce in the state’s Superior Court, but last month a judge there ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over marriage dissolutions. A Massachusetts divorce isn’t an option because only residents who have lived in the state for a year can file there.

“They’ve given us no choice but to be married forever,” said [Cassandra] Ormiston. “Their worst nightmare.”

It’s actually not “their worst nightmare” — it perfectly follows the lack of acknowledgment for homosexual unions. If you’re not recognized as married in the first place, then you certainly can’t follow on to divorce.

Still, there is some irony in not letting gay people at self-repudiate the sacred institution. An absurd situation all around.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/28/2008 10:46:34 PM
Category: Politics, Society
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owns nothing, periodNapster, that original bad-boy of the music file-sharing realm, finds that it’s tough sledding trying to reposition itself as a legitimate online music store.

And it all has to do with its turn-of-the-century reputation preceding it:

“When you tell people they should get Napster, they say, ‘What are you trying to do? Get me arrested?’” fumes Thomas Sailors, 49, manager of personal investment holding company Cloverdale Investments, who is running for a [takeover-attempt] board seat with [fellow Napster shareholder Kavan] Singh. “That tells me management is doing a poor job of communicating what this company does.”

That anecdote is very telling, because it indicates that, even some six years after Napster was relaunched, it still hasn’t shaken off it’s original claim to fame.

For most folks, the word “Napster” is still a keyword for “free downloads”, and the public seems to be stubbornly holding onto that mindshare — even though it’s effectively ancient history in Internet terms (a whole new crop of kids have come of age since Napster’s birth). It’s puzzling; I thought at one point that Napster could successfully transition its brand to a pay-for model; but for whatever reason, it hasn’t worked.

Sailors blames a lack of effective marketing for the persistent mindshare. Certainly, aggressive and persuasive campaigns could get the message out, and I certainly haven’t seen much of that coming out of Napster. But frankly, when you’re talking about online music sales, if you’re not iTunes, it’s a tough road.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/28/2008 01:19:03 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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Sunday, July 27, 2021

Take the McCarthy hearings and make their “witch hunts” literal rather than figurative, then inject “Bewitched” into the proceedings, and you’ve got Kim Newman’s fanciful short story “The McCarthy Witch Hunt”.

It’s no “Ubermensch!”, but still entertaining. It could have used appearances by Endora and Uncle Arthur, though — perhaps as naming-names informants.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/27/2008 08:33:33 PM
Category: Creative, History, TV
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The other day, I was walking west down 42nd Street, passing by Grand Central Terminal. As I got the end of the block, I encountered three or four street hawkers, dressed up in the distinctively button-down 1960s style of characters from “Mad Men”. They were greeting passersby and handing out little promotional cards, reminding people of the show’s new-season debut tonight.

It didn’t occur to me until today: Wouldn’t it have made way more sense for them to have been situated a block away, at the corner of 42nd and Madison? Considering the show’s theme and Madison Avenue’s advertising industry history, the messaging would have been unbeatable.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/27/2008 06:39:26 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., New Yorkin', TV
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nerve center
The National Hockey League’s new HQ digs in Manhattan are just about ready for action, and the themes for the Sixth Avenue square footage are ice and youth:

Patterned glass evokes the bumpy pond ice that many players learn on; smooth transparent partitions suggest sleek professional rinks; hockey sticks decorate another partition; and frost generated from moisture in the air runs along the center of a brushed-steel beverage bar.

[Commissioner Gary] Bettman said that in part the new design had to be witty and youthful to appeal to players and the young employees on the New York staff, which has doubled in size to more than 375 people since the lockout. The design also had to include efficient business spaces, a hub for high-tech media and Web broadcasts and a shrine of sorts to the game whose modern rules were formalized in Canada in the 19th century.

And remember, this all sits above the flagship NHL Powered by Reebok retail store that opened last year. I was just there the other day, in fact, where I picked up a vintage-ish New York Americans cap (not exactly a fan of the long-defunct franchise; mainly just wanted a red ballcap, which I was lacking).

Given that I visit the retail store so regularly, I’d think that NHL HQ would be the ideal work environment for me. I’m sure they could use another hired-gun content-producer for the upcoming 2008-09 season…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/27/2008 09:05:11 AM
Category: Hockey, New Yorkin', SportsBiz
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Saturday, July 26, 2021

I, for one, am glad to see John McCain land a zinger on Barack Obama by quipping on the Democrat’s “audacity of hopelessness” regarding troop withdrawal from Iraq, obviously playing on Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope”.

I mean, the analogy is a crock of crap, both in reference to the Middle East situation and to the phrase’s meaning (i.e., “boldness of despair”?). And it’s certainly not enough by itself to shift campaign momentum toward the Republican. But at least it’s catchy, and a sign of life and creativity from the heretofore moribund McCain campaign.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/26/2008 10:17:54 AM
Category: Politics, Wordsmithing
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Friday, July 25, 2021

The “Pretty Ugly” art exhibit in the West Village apparently revels in the eyecandy of the weird.

But such visuals alone can’t possibly match the backstory behind one of its featured artists, the late Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski:

Although he lived in obscurity [in Burbank, California after fleeing Poland at the starts of World War II], he was not inactive. Among other things he formulated a universalist theory of history called Zermatism, based on the premise that all human life originated on Easter Island, that Polish was the source of all languages, and that a race of malevolent Yetis was destroying civilization as we know it.

His freely espoused aesthetic and political views gained attention in California cultural circles: he was as rabidly anti-Picasso as he was pro-Ronald Reagan and regarded art critics as the scum of the earth. The attraction of his neo-Symbolist sculpture — a life-size bronze bust in the show of the Polish military hero Bor Komorowski looks like a sad-eyed Darth Vader — is harder to fathom.

I dunno. Based on what I see of his work, I’d say the Komorowski piece is less sad-Vader-like than the “Ancestral Helmet”.

More on that Zermatism, to which Szukalski devoted a detailed 39 volumes:

Zermatism maintains that all human culture derived from Easter Island after the flood which destroyed all living creatures except those on Noah’s ark. All languages derive from a single source (the Protong) and all art is a variation on a few themes that can be distilled down to a single series of universal symbols. Zermatism explains the differences in races and cultures by claiming that they are due to the cross breeding of species. The first humans were nearly perfect but they mated with Yeti with abominable results.

As if the other aspects weren’t enough, the interbreeding with “malevolent Yetis” caps it wonderfully. I think I’ve located one of the apocryphal inspirations for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 12:12:06 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative
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Why do I bristle whenever I hear the phrase “needless to say”?

Because I invariably feel the urge to counter it with, “Then don’t say it”.

I understand what’s being conveyed, but really, you need to preface it with a really powerful set of statements for the impact to really come through. More often than not, people use it as overkill, trying to give their following argument more strength than it really has.

I’m reminded most of a long-ago colleague, who dropped her “needless to say”-s with abandon, especially when crafting formal written pieces. It came off as a verbal crutch. Probably the cause for my distaste for the phrase now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 10:21:06 AM
Category: Wordsmithing
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A big reason why I like football is because of the inherent gameplay flexibility it offers. The rules are the rules, but within them you can cook up any number of different formations, limited only by their effectiveness at actually moving the ball. It’s actually pretty unique among sports.

I only wish I had a better understanding of gridiron mechanics, so I could fully appreciate the innovation behind the A-11 offense, a hybrid of the spread option, West Coast offense and the run-and-shoot in which all eleven players are (technically) eligible receivers. Because, even though it’s strictly high-school level for now, it’s likely to spread up the football ecosystem soon enough:

The base offense is one in which a center and two tight ends surround the football, three receivers are split right, three more split left and two quarterbacks stand behind in a shotgun, one of whom has to be at least 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage…

Yes, per the rules of the game, only five players are eligible to catch a pass during a particular play and seven players have to set up on the line of scrimmage. But in the minds of [developers and coaches] Bryan and Humphries, you can develop an infinite number of plays with an infinite number of formations.

Talk about confusing a defense.

Apparently, it’s already crept into college games. Will it eventually make an appearance on Sundays, during National Football League games? It’ll be jarring to see two QBs line up on the field.

Actually, for all the talk about how much the A-11 will transform the game, I have a feeling defenses will come around to countering it. In particular, the NFL has proven to be killing field for gimmicky systems that otherwise thrive on the college/high school level. Prime example is the run-and-shoot, which enjoyed a heyday in the ’80s and ’90s but eventually was neutralized by superior defensive speed in the pros; it effectively became the “chuck-and-duck”.

In any case, news of the A-11 should gladden David Letterman. He has a running joke about introducing a new rule into football where you can put two quarterbacks on the field at the same time — although the rest of that joke is that they also get two balls as well. I’m thinking there’s not much chance of seeing that innovation in the game anytime soon.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/25/2008 08:19:56 AM
Category: Creative, Football
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Thursday, July 24, 2021

top and centerI have qualms about exploiting the homeless. Not to mention their well-trained, head-sitting cats.

But this particular member of the underclass invited me to take this picture, in exchange for giving him a dollar. Probably the best-spent buck I’ve doled out all week, even though my crappy cameraphone delivered a blurred result. (Bigger-but-still-blurred version on Flickr.)

I ran into this guy on upper Broadway, I think at the corner of 64th. I’m pretty sure I’d seen him before, complete with the walking-while-cat-balancing act, but I can’t be sure. Hard to believe I’d forget a sight like this.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/24/2008 08:57:31 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography
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Wednesday, July 23, 2021

heads like a hole
As culled by the Los Angeles Times’ “Hero Worship” blog, here’s a much-too-long roundup of the recent campy-inspired newspaper headlines covering or relating to The Dark Knight:

Los Angeles Times: Holy opening weekend, Batman!
Baltimore Sun: Holy box office records, Batman!
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Holy smokin’ movie projectors
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Batman! Holy heel, Batman!
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Holy gee, Batman! ‘Knight’ a hot one
Daily News (New York): Holy box office, Batman!
The Sunday Times (London): Holy joy, Batman! Brits soar in US
The Times (London): Holy megabucks Batman!
New Zealand Herald: Holy superlatives, Batman!
The Globe and Mail (Canada): Holy, hint, Batman! Holy Blu-ray, Batman! That’s one sharp picture
Chicago Sun-Times: Holy highs and lows, Batman!
Harborough Mail (UK): Holy hellraisers Batman!
Birmingham News (Alabama): Holy authenticity, Batman! & Holy blockbuster, Batman!
Redlands Daily Facts (California): Holy campout, Batman!
Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia): Holy human superhero, Batman!
Toronto Sun: Holy white-nose syndrome, Batman!
Toronto Star: Holy impressionist Batman!
The Vancouver Province (British Columbia): Holy IMAX scenes, Batman!
The Cincinnati Enquirer: Holy replica, Batman!
The Cincinnati Enquirer: Holy gangsters, Batman, this Joker was wild!
The Miami Herald: Holy collectibles, Batman!
The Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia): Holy Schumacher, Batman!
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Pow! Bam! Armani! Holy pinstripe Batman!
Prince Rupert Daily News (British Columbia): Holy Cow Batman, heroes are out there
Star Tribune (Minneapolis): Holy muscles, Batman!
Star Tribune (Minneapolis): Holy High-Def, Batman!
The Boston Herald: Holy ticket sales, Batman!
North Bay Nugget (Ontario): Holy flashback; caped crusader returns!
The Charlotte Observer: Holy halibut, Batman!
Dothan Eagle (Alabama): Holy pepperoni, Batman!
Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville): Holy L.A. Jaguars, Batman!
The Oregonian (Portland): Holy Batman (& Robin)! Look what’s on high-def
The Wichita Eagle: Holy marketing, Batman!
The Capital Times (Madison, Wisc.): Holy variety, Batman!; Dark Knight’s library expands
Welland Tribune (Ontario): Holy DVDs, Batman!
Bedford Today: Holy film time Batman!
South China Morning Post: Holy Anime, Batman!
Sunday Star (England): Holy cash cow!
Sunday Star (England): Holy sex scandal, Batman!
Sunday Herald Sun (Australia): Holy pit stop, Batman!
Kingston Whig-Standard (Ontario): Biff! Bap! Whap! Blammo! Holy camp, Batman!
The New York Post: Holy show stealer, Batman!
The Clover Herald (South Carolina): Holy history, Batman!
The Monitor (McAllen, Texas): “Holy technology, Batman! We’re on Blu-ray!”

And last but not least, a very fitting one:

The Orlando Sentinel: Holy coincidences, Batman!

See if you can pick up the common thread…

More than anything this betrays the age of newspaper editors around the world. Fact is, the old Adam West TV show isn’t that widely in syndication anymore (at least not in the States). So these headline grafters are drawing heavily upon some 20-40 year old memories in order to perpetuate a better-forgotten bit of 1960s schlock; and there’s a good chance that a lot of the audience, especially the younger crowd, will have no idea what the reference is supposed to be. Enough already.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/23/2008 01:13:21 PM
Category: Movies, Pop Culture, Publishing
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Tuesday, July 22, 2021

body-check politic
Only in Minnesota could a Senate race make use of NHL hockey as a political football.

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Naturally, this being an election in the State of Hockey, [Republican candidate Norm] Coleman sought to play up his role in bringing the Wild to Minnesota. So his campaign aired this ad that listed his accomplishments while voices off-camera reminded viewers that he’s the one who “brought hockey back.”…

Of course, Coleman is running against one of the most famous political satirists of the last 30 years, and [Democratic candidate Al Franken’s] campaign didn’t disappoint: It unleashed a wicked online response that parodied and turned around Coleman’s “he brought hockey back” mantra.

Local blogs quickly jumped on this back-and-forth over the Wild; suddenly, hockey was being mentioned in the same breath as Iraq and the economy as a hot-button issue in this U.S. Senate race.

Geez, you’d think this was a Canadian provincial election…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/22/2008 11:35:24 PM
Category: Hockey, Politics
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I can’t tell you how often I dread having to talk with someone on the phone, even though I’m the one making the call. So Slydial, a service that allows you to dial direct into another wireless number’s voicemail, would be just the ticket for me.

Provided its silent-but-deadly approach actually worked:

It’s also not always super sly. Several test calls between cell phones made the recipient’s phone emit an abbreviated ring before leading to voice mail. That might make people think the person on the other end really wanted to speak — and could result in a quick call back. Horror of horrors: A real conversation might ensue after all.

Worth the risk, actually. Even though it should be refined.

Actually, given the choice, I’d take this method of disengaged phone-to-phone communication instead of the ubiquitous texting. And yet, I’d prefer email over both, keeping in mind I’ve got mobile access to my email account at just about any given moment. I know it doesn’t make sense, but there it is.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/22/2008 11:00:08 PM
Category: Tech
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Monday, July 21, 2021

Perhaps because green is my favorite color, I associate it with good luck and general good feelings. But then, I’m not Barack Obama, and I don’t have to worry about false symbolism during a Middle East swing through Jordan and Israel:

“A ban on wearing green seems bizarre,” said Richard Bulliet, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Columbia University, who said the color is associated with the family of the Prophet Mohammed.

“I would hazard the guess that the campaign’s concern is more with distorted—and religiously inaccurate—reporting by Obama’s detractors than with any actual signal that might be conveyed,” he said, referring to false rumors that Obama is a Muslim. “You don’t want to have some blogger come along and say ‘Obama is showing his true color.’”

“I think they’re just being overcautious to a ridiculous degree,” Bulliet said.

It’s overly cautious to the extent that crackpot detractors don’t need actual photographic images for their smear campaigns. But it’s still probably prudent, in the sense of avoiding a self-inflicted emerald bullseye.

I do wonder what shade Obama, as either candidate or elected official, would wear on a visit to Ireland.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/21/2008 11:09:37 PM
Category: Fashion, Politics
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I’d advise you to be on the lookout for the September 2008 75th anniversary issue of Esquire, but no need. Because it sounds like it’ll be hard to miss, what with the electronic-ink cover flashing “the 21st Century Begins Now” on it:

Esquire has exclusive use of E Ink’s technology for use in print through 2009, and Mr. Granger said he hopes to come up with new ideas for it. “This is probably just a limited view of its use,” he said.

The electronic cover will be used in only 100,000 copies that go to newsstands — its overall circulation is about 720,000.

What Esquire is doing harks back to a big splash National Geographic made in 1984 when it introduced holography to the mass market by placing a hologram of an eagle on its cover.

The curiosity factor alone will have me scooping up a copy. I’ll also keep a lookout for the mass-blinking newsstands.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/21/2008 10:53:47 PM
Category: Publishing, Tech
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