Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 05, 2021

The lunch special sign at Two Boots Pizzeria on Bleecker today (I photographed it, but it’s not worth displaying here):

PEPPERONI
ALLIGATOR
SAUSAGE
Mozzarella Riccota
on a Sicilian square crust.
$3.75

Of course, I’d never touch such a concoction — I hate pepperoni. And I’m not too wild about Sicilian-style ‘za either.

As for the gator ingredient, I think that’s a nod toward Two Boots’ cajun/creole cuisine. Should you crave the taste of swamp-raised meat without the pizza-flavored platform, you can order the sausages ala carte.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/05/2021 10:50:01 PM
Category: Creative, Food, New Yorkin'
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trade fair
The annual carnage that is the National Hockey League trade deadline ended yesterday at 3PM EST, and the biggest news was the relative lack of big-name moves.

Not that there was no action. Calgary is the consensus big winner, with its acquisitions of Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold supposedly thrusting the Flames to an equal tier with the Red Wings and Sharks, the class of the West. And the cellar-dwellers did their due-diligent dumping, with both Tampa Bay and Toronto shipping bodies (with their salaries) out of town.

As for the in-betweener teams, I naturally focus on my hometown New York Rangers. The Blueshirts were already in the midst of transition, with a new head coach in John Tortorella and an old familiar face — Sean Avery — already arriving prior to D-Day, keyed by a sliding playoff position with a month to go in the season. Taking into account that instability, what could the trade market bring to aid the situation?

GM Glen Sather landed a couple of big fish: D Derek Morris and RW Nik Antropov in separate deals with Phoenix and Toronto, respectively. In exchange, they surrendered a couple of draft picks along with D Dmitri Kalinin, F Nigel Dawes, and F Petr Prucha.

Basically, the sum total of this roster redo is intended to have a limited impact. I think the front-office operating philosophy is that Tortorella can squeeze more inspired play from the existing core personnel, so only a couple of tweaks were needed. Their major playoff tweaking came with Tortorella’s hiring, so they’re going to ride that through. And beyond the short-term of this playoff run, both Morris and Antropov are in contract years, so they could be off the books for next season, leaving enough cap room in 2009-10 for a more serious retooling if needed.

I don’t have a problem with that overall. That said, I think the Blueshirts could have helped themselves a little more, especially when it came to forward.

Antropov, at 6′6″, is being hailed for bringing needed size to the lineup. The problem is, he doesn’t play up to his size. He’s having a potential career year; unfortunately, that translates to about 25 goals and 60 points. He’s been a perimeter player his whole disappointing career, and the Rangers already are loaded with those types. In my mind, they needed a finisher whose instinct is to shoot before passing. Antropov just brings more of the same, which has been the chief offensive problem on Broadway this year.

Again, if Torts can successfully implement his up-tempo gameplan and unlock the offensive skills that Chris Drury and Scott Gomez have, then Antropov might slot in nicely. But it’s a risk — worst-case is that they’ll continue to roll out three lines that over-pass and don’t shoot. Morris can actually help in that area with puck distribution (plus his simple addition-by-subtraction in helping move Kalinin out of town), but it could be iffy.

I was looking for a deal that would net Erik Cole, who I consider to be the pure shooter the Rangers need. That doesn’t necessarily show up on paper — Cole’s numbers are worse than Antropov’s this year. Still, in New York, Cole would have had the opportunity to fire away, and at least the chanciness of relying upon the current roster to change their habits would be reduced.

Anyway. Now the roster’s more or less set (barring timely recalls from AHL Hartford — stand by, Mark Bell!), we’ll see if these moves were enough to keep the Rangers in a playoff berth. Although I get the sinking feeling that it’ll come down to the final day of the season, with Cole scoring a clinching game-winner for Carolina that bumps New York out of the eight spot…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/05/2021 03:38:53 PM
Category: Hockey, New Yorkin'
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Friendster, we hardly knew ye. The granddaddy of MySpace, Facebook and that ilk is now recognizable as a social-networking pioneer only thanks to the spambot-delivered arrows in its back:

It’s easy enough to tell that my weirdly forward, grammar-challenged e-harem does not contain any real people. Skylar and Patricia have the same photo atop their profiles, and said photo is actually of model/actress Jamie King. Furthermore, the information in both Melody’s and Taylor’s profiles is about someone who goes by Angelina and whose gallery of friends includes a girl who lists her name as “Extreme Ass.” The occupations listed on the profiles — Skylar is a “sexton,” Cheyanne a “turner” — also seem kind of suspicious. And humans—whether they’re named Patricia or Extreme Ass, whether they work as sextons or turners — don’t ordinarily end messages, as Aracely did, by typing “Im not a robot LOL.”

This malware-fueled flooding is reminiscent of complaints by Internet/techie oldsters about the pre-Web glory that once was Usenet. Like Friendster, that all-text former hub of online expression/community eventually succumbed to an overload of automated spamming and user abandonment in favor of the more fully-rendered World Wide Dubya. This is a definite pattern in the online world — a site/service rises, gets hit by a double-whammy of challenges (typically an internal problem paired with an attractive external alternative), and then devolves into a zombie-like existence (in fact, I mapped out this socnet lifecycle a while back).

So Friendster is dead — except that it’s not. It’s still getting million-dollar funding thanks to its new area of growth: Asia. Its scorched-earth legacy in the States makes it less than an afterthought here, but it’s managed to find a second life across the Pacific.

In that sense, Friendster is resembling orkut, which is Google’s entry in the social network sweepstakes. It famously went nowhere in its original target market of the U.S., but unexpectedly caught on big in Brazil and other parts of South America, where it continues to be the leading online hangout. A lesson about unintended consequences, and for Friendster, a preferable alternative to eventual demise.

Incidentally, it’s amusing to imagine the socnet landscape breaking down into worldwide regional camps: Facebook/MySpace in the U.S., Friendster in East Asia, orkut in Latin America, Bebo in Europe. So much for the Web unifying us…

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/05/2021 11:59:13 AM
Category: Internet, Society
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