Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, June 20, 2021

cup4gold dot com
No doubt, it takes a load of chutzpah for Cash4Gold to horn in on both the National Hockey League’s and National Basketball Association’s championship seasons by:

- Appraising the Stanley Cup at a “melt value” of $7,500, based on photographic examination and an assumption that it’s made of solid silver. (Obviously, not only did the company not get a hands-on chance to examine hockey’s most hallowed hardware, but it also didn’t bother to do basic research via the Hockey Hall of Fame, which clearly specs the Cup as 34.5 pounds of silver-and-nickel alloy.)

- Similarly valuing the Tiffany-made silver-and-gold Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy at $3,500 in melted form.

Probably the first time in a long while that the NBA came in second to the NHL in terms of financial valuation. At least both leagues know where they could liquefy their fancy assets for some quick cash, should the bottom ever fall out of sports entertainment…

Given these shoddy appraisal methods, I’m not sure I’d trust C4G to give me a fair price for my cast-off jewelry. Still, I’ll admit that they made a decent attempt at manufacturing a little marketing buzz, with a natural synergy between the big-league shiny prizes and the precious-metal salvage game.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/20/2009 07:14:14 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Basketball, Business, Hockey
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huh huh huh
Despite being well outside the demographic sweet-spot of the MTV generation, it didn’t take me long to discover “DJ & The Fro”, the network’s new animated comedy that debuted this week:

Deep in the soul-crushing cubicle maze of Oppercon Industries sit DJ & The Fro, two 20-something slackers who spend their days blowing off work while they find and mock the sickest and most hilarious videos ever to grace the Internet.

What Beavis and Butt-Head were to the music video generation, DJ & The Fro are to the YouTube generation. They find the best web videos and make jokes about them so you don’t have to.

Yeah, the bloodlines between the original idiots-watching-the-idiot-box show and this effort are highlighted by the shared MTV packaging. If you compress the timeframe from the early ’90s to today, you could almost imagine this as Beavis and Butt-Head all grown up, with the ratty couch being replaced by crappy office chairs.

Unfortunately, from what little I’ve seen so far, “DJ & The Fro” doesn’t really do it for me. It’s mildly amusing, but doesn’t really click. The Web video watching/mocking, which should be the highlight of the humor for me, actually comes off as slightly distractive, with the wisecracking commentary from the characters being rather weak. That could be because the show’s creators actually seem to resent that aspect of the show:

And if it turns out there’s market saturation of viral video snark shows, then [Dave] Jeser and [Matt] Silverstein hope that the rest of DJ and The Fro’s world — including character designs from Israeli animator Roy Iddan, whose work they discovered online — will be entertaining and funny enough to survive without the YouTube crutch.

“Hopefully, maybe season three or four, we can get rid of the clips,” says Jeser.

High hopes, because I don’t see anything that distinguishes this show from the flood of other Adult Swim-type crudely-drawn and -scripted fare, aside from the Web video. Take that out, and it’s just a couple of whiney-voiced office rats.

Why is the art of onscreen snark-commentary so undervalued, anyway? Like I said, the segments of “Beavis and Butt-Head” where they riffed on music videos was, to me, the best part of that show, far superior to the surrounding storylines. Same deal with “Mystery Science Theater 3000″. Yet I may be in the minority. I’ve talked with others who think that such comedic material doesn’t work unless it’s couched within a larger narrative — and preferably, dominated by such. I guess that’s the mentality that considers those comedic aside to be a “crutch”, to be minimized or cast aside altogether.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/20/2009 06:10:40 PM
Category: Comedy, Internet, TV
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If you want to look like you’re down with the Mexican Mafia, Torcido Clothing will hook you up with Southern California’s slickest gangland garb. And while this outfit isn’t officially gangmember-approved, it’s got the next best thing: The company is run by a Los Angeles-area police officer.

Among the shirts [El Monte Police Officer George Fierro] sells is one with a black handprint dripping blood — a symbol of the Mexican Mafia prison gang. The shirt includes the names of members of “the EME” who “wore this tattoo logo.” Another shirt has a logo that reads “Green Lighters” with a splatter of blood in the background. The term refers to someone who has defied the Mexican Mafia and has been put on a hit list…

Some gang intervention experts said they were surprised anyone would sell clothing referring to the Mexican Mafia, or that anyone would buy it. Mike Garcia, a former Boyle Heights gang member who works to prevent gang violence, said wearing such clothing can be dangerous in many neighborhoods.

“You’re not even supposed to talk about them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a member or not,” Garcia said. “You can get in a lot of trouble. That’s dumb.”

This is pretty much akin to a narcotics officer running a head shop in his spare time. to avoid the conflict of interest, maybe Fierro should take up selling real estate on the side, like everyone else in California.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/20/2009 05:01:11 PM
Category: Fashion, True Crime
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It’s a testament to my lack of insider-ness that I’d never heard of A-listing party blog Guest of a Guest, nor of its highly-visible driving force Rachelle Hruska, until last week. And even then, it was only because both were featured attractions at some Web 2.0/social media mixer in Midtown (which I didn’t attend, but got wind of beforehand and afterward).

Judging by the meteoric ascent of GofG and Hruska, it would have been only a matter of time before they became culturally ubiquitous anyway:

Ms. Hruska arrived in Manhattan in 2005 to work as a nanny, after graduating from Creighton University, a Jesuit school in Omaha, and ended up an Internet entrepreneur — a small-town-girl-makes-good tale, with a New Media gloss.

Guest of a Guest chronicles night life from the city and the Hamptons through dozens of daily posts and photographs. For followers of such coverage, the coin of the realm has traditionally been exclusivity, a sneering velvet-roped rejection. But GofG, as it calls itself, gives civilian readers the illusion that they can attend these parties, too, as virtual guests. Who would believe that the effusiveness of Nebraska Nice could sell? But in bad-news times, maybe that’s precisely why it does: the site, Ms. Hruska said, which began on April 1, 2008, broke even just this month.

The main draw of Guest of a Guest is its interactive show, not tell. Ms. Hruska invites visitors to identify themselves in the party photos, automatically setting up their own page — or “gallery”— on the site. Venues and events also have their own pages. By capitalizing on the bottomless self-regard of the city’s young partygoers, Ms. Hruska generates waves of buzz, as well as the branding, bartering and back-scratching that attracts readers, party sponsors and advertisers.

“Inside the Web world, there’s a healthy respect for anyone who gets attention and traffic,” said Lockhart Steele, the founder of Curbed.com, a network of urban blogs, and a former editorial director of Gawker Media. “And she’s definitely done that.”

Internet Famous via big-city club-scene schmoozing. Can’t do that in Nebraska.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/20/2009 11:52:55 AM
Category: Celebrity, Internet, New Yorkin'
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It’s not that I haven’t noticed all the rain we’ve been getting here in New York of late. But it wasn’t until the past couple of days, while talking to people in other parts of the country, that I realized that, yes, my birthmonth this year has been particularly wet, leading to an emotionally-extreme state of being:

Routine, stipulated annoyance at inclement weather has become something darker.

Rain rage.

This week, subways smelled like sweaty locker rooms, and riders openly seethed. Dog runs were as quiet as dark alleys as their usual guests stayed home, urinating on rugs. Stinky brimstone steam rose from manholes. The spokes of millions of cheap umbrellas on crowded sidewalks lurched at passing eyeballs, as if seeking to skewer them. The Gregorian calendar itself seemed cruelly sarcastic, the words “Summer Begins” conjuring memories of Junes past. Warm and dry Junes; lost Junes.

Personally, I think “rage” is a bit trumped-up. I hate the constant downpours as much as anyone, and fully subscribe to the mood-altering effects of weather conditions. But I don’t detect an uptick in downright nastiness among the locals. People brave the raindrops with an umbrella and a grimace, and move on.

And just as I finish typing these words, I can see the first drops of precipitation starting to fall. Better start getting my rage on…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/20/2009 11:05:25 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Society, Weather
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