Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 22, 2021

So I’m on 3rd Avenue, crossing 23rd Street heading uptown, and when I get to the other corner… Who do I see but Mystery Skeleton Stickman, who I’d previously encountered on the Bowery pavement. On the road again, so to speak.

Actually, he didn’t look the same as the last time pictured above. This version of him was white, instead of yellow. But it was the same standalone drawing, and the same road-grade paint to ensure that he’d stick around for a while.

Obviously, this little totem figure is a symbol for something or someone around town. But who or what? I wish there was an easier way of tagging his occurrences online; for now, these blogposts will have to do.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/22/2009 09:17:24 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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Four years ago, I got a kick out of the sorta-tricky layout that pop artist Julian Opie used on his website: A replication of the old-look Mac Classic OS9 desktop, complete with the washed-out colors and slightly-pixelated folder and file icons.

I’m a little surprised that he’s retained that motif to this day, with only a couple of rearranged “icons” (really page links) to indicate change. But I’m also pleased, because it indicates a commitment to constancy in an ever-fluid Web 2.0 landscape. Besides, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — especially when it works so well as an eye-catching website design that stands out from the online clutter.

I’ve gotta say that, despite being unmistakably confined within my browser window, Opie’s site still manages to “fool” me for a couple of seconds into thinking I’m navigating an old Mac computer, to the point where I’m double-clicking on “desktop items” like Sara Dancing. And I haven’t touched an OS9 machine in years. If that doesn’t speak to the effectiveness of this illusion, nothing does.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/22/2009 01:08:09 PM
Category: Creative, Internet, Pop Culture
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I guess there’s an appropriate improbability in Michael Lewis’ stats-geek bible “Moneyball” getting optioned for adaptation into a big-budget Hollywood movie, helmed by the likes of Brad Pitt and Steven Soderbergh.

And that improbable development shifts into reality-checked probability with news that the $50-million production just had the plug pulled on it, mere days before shooting was to begin. The main reason seems to be doubt from the Sony/Columbia Pictures studio over the profit potential of a baseball movie, particularly in the post-theatrical release phase:

But in keeping with [Oakland A's general manager Billy] Beane’s iconoclasm, look beyond the paper. The key is on-base percentage, and outside Field of Dreams doing $20 million abroad two decades ago — still only 25% of its total gross — what baseball film has ever managed to work overseas? Are we to trust Pitt’s ability to hit for average in foreign territories, or trust the numbers that tell us to bench Moneyball against a notoriously tough curveball pitcher? Considering that the baseball film has struck out more often than Pitt has reached base, is it really that hard a call to make in an economic climate like this?

I assume that the main cratering would occur in the lucrative European market, where baseball doesn’t play. I guess any offset from Japan, Korea, and the Caribbean — the main non-U.S. hotspots for the sport — wouldn’t be enough to make a bases-loaded an international hit. Globalization strikes out!

Actually, that $50-million budget figure has a ring of irony to it, as far as the principles behind “Moneyball” are concerned. Six years ago, when the Oakland A’s were first turning heads with their sabermetrics strategy, Billy Beane himself threw some cold water on the ultimate potential of his penny-pinching teambuilding:

Beane actually said this after [Game 5 of the 2003 American League Division Series, versus Boston]: “I’ll tell you one thing, if you want to give me $50 million more, I’ll promise you we won’t blow the 2-0 lead.”

Since then, the A’s still haven’t gotten particularly close to a World Series, so I guess Beane is still looking for that extra $50 million for his payroll. Hey! Maybe Beane can persuade Sony to fork over that now-unused $50 million to him, and have the money go to some use after all.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/22/2009 11:05:24 AM
Category: Baseball, Celebrity, Movies, SportsBiz
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