Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, March 23, 2021

As I snapped this cameraphone photo on Great Jones Street in NoHo, I wondered: Where could I buy a box of this Biz Markie-themed cereal?

But then I found out that the cereal box was just the elaborate packaging for a limited-edition giant-sized Diabolical Biz Markie Action Figure. And judging by the fictional ingredient list for the non-existent cereal, it’s actually a good thing that it never was produced:

It reads verbatim:
Cereal Box - Caution this is not food
Calories - 1,8000,000 (calories from fat don’t ask)
Vitamin A - 19%
Vitamin C - 80%
Bass - 1,000%
Treble - 80%
Volume - 100%
Iron - 10%
EQ - 400%
Chorus - 40%
Rhymes - 100%

Hardly part of a well-balanced breakfast. Maybe a well-balanced break-beat…

The bigger, more-contextualized photo is Flickr’d. But even better than that is this Japanese television commercial for the very same action figure! Note the “Booger-Pickin’ Finger” action:

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 11:04:54 PM
Category: Comedy, Photography, Pop Culture
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The now-departed Cincinnati Post had a relatively small coverage area for a metro second-tier newspaper. Still, if this Princeton University study on the local impact from the Post’s folding is any indication, the imminent demise of major-city newspapers is going to leave a big hole in civic life.

Caveat, please:

The study is very small in scope, since the Post only had a total of 27,000 subscribers in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. And it only measures the outcomes in northern Kentucky, since Ohio has not had municipal elections since the Post’s closure. But even with those limitations, a few trends seemed to emerge: in towns the Post regularly covered, voter turnout dropped, fewer people ran for office and more incumbents were reelected. That is, when there were fewer stories about a given town, its inhabitants seemed to care less about how they’re being governed.

Yeah, I know: It makes the Old Media dinosaur sound overly indispensable — if not too big to fail, then somehow too sacred. This, despite the standby electronic media outlets and the explosion of online media that includes citizen reporting.

Um, right:

A recent Pew study found that fewer than half of Americans say that losing their local paper would hurt their civic life “a lot” and even fewer say they would miss reading it, partly, it seems, because they get their local news from other media, mostly TV. But since papers are the primary source for most other news outlets, a major link will be missing from the news ecosystem. If a paper does not cover a story, it is unlikely to be covered in the broadcast media, whose reporting staffs tend to be even smaller.

“We’re almost totally dependent on local newsgathering here,” says Dave Ross, a radio host on Seattle’s KIRO (AM), who recently moderated a discussion panel on the death of newspapers in his hometown. “We often try to take the story further but it starts with the local papers or their websites.” He notes that while there are many bloggers in Seattle, that’s not the same as reporters. “My concern is that there will be more opinion and less fact-based reporting.”

The integrity of that news ecosystem has been the overriding concern ever since newspapers started seeing the writing on the wall. I’d like to think that people will distinguish between substantive reporting and a Web full of echo-chambered noise, but who am I kidding? I’m thinking we’ll have to endure a prolonged media diet of empty calories before someone comes up with a viable business model to replace the dearly-departed dailies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 01:40:10 PM
Category: Media, Society
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It’s probably been at least a decade since the now-ubiquitous cellphone was still considered a status symbol. If anyone was somehow still of that old mindset, the increasingly-common sight of homeless people in possession of their own pay-as-you-go wireless handsets should cure that notion.

“Having a phone isn’t even a privilege anymore — it’s a necessity,” said Rommel McBride, 50, who spent about six years on the streets before recently being placed in a city housing program. He has had a mobile phone for a year. “A cellphone is the only way you can call to keep up with your food stamps, your housing application, your job. When you’re living in a shelter or sleeping on the streets, it’s your last line of communication with the world.”

Of course, this matter-of-fact development won’t get in the way of using the seemingly-odd juxtaposition as a socioeconomic defensive mechanism.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 01:08:30 PM
Category: Society, Tech
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This off-the-cuff tweet, by yours truly, about the suicide of Nicholas Hughes didn’t elicit a reaction over in Twitterland. Let’s see if it gets any sort of response here in the regular Web/blogosphere:

I guess it would be highly insensitive to label this as “continuing the Plath family tradition”, right?

And for further context, Sylvia Plath’s poem about her then-infant son: “Nick and the Candlestick”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 12:14:56 PM
Category: Celebrity, Publishing, True Crime
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Like you, I wonder just how far The Veronicas expect to go by re-re-releasing their one-hit-wonderish “Untouched” single.

But, since the name of this Australian synth-pop duo is a derived from the well-worn but still entertaining ’80s black comedy Heathers, I’m inclined to let all that rehashing slide.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 03/23/2009 11:07:07 AM
Category: Movies, Pop Culture
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