Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, September 28, 2021

I wasn’t a fan of the original “Little House on the Prairie”, despite it being a TV fixture for a good chunk of my childhood. Still, the show was a pervasive pop-cultural force during my formative years. So I appreciate the unique irony in Melissa Gilbert revisiting the familiar terrain of her “Half-Pint” character, but in a decidedly different, if equally familiar, role:

The star of TV’s long-running “Little House on the Prairie” — she played the young Laura Ingalls — is back on the prairie. Only now, at 45, she’s onstage, in a musical version at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, through Oct. 10.

This time, she’s playing Ma. That didn’t throw her, Gilbert says, but the singing did.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Are you crazy?’ ” she says. But after two years of extensive training, she now feels confident, especially since she’s doing it “with the safety net of material that is like home to me.”

So Gilbert graduates from frontier daughter to frontier mother, which provides the hook for this play. It probably won’t last, as Gilbert is already planning on coming back to Laura Ingalls, if not the “Half-Pint” part:

“I would like to play Laura again 20 to 25 years from now as a one-woman show, when Laura was at that age when the books were published. Kind of a Will Rogers-type thing,” Ms. Gilbert said. “I think that would be fun.”

I dunno, it’s still not fully resonating with me. I guess my emotionally-invested equivalent from TV-land would be a grown-up Malcolm-Jamal Warner starring as Heathcliff Huxtable in a stage version of “The Cosby Show”. Maybe in 15 years or so…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/28/2009 11:14:21 PM
Category: Celebrity, Creative, Pop Culture, TV
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After years of litigiousness over unauthorized Web and mobile use of its information, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is finally warming up to the idea of third-party developers building navigational apps atop official maps and timetables.

The need for decriminalization in the first place amuses Jonathan Zittrain, an expert in Internet law and a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard:

“I love that the subversive act of the 21st century in the subway is not graffiti, but mapping out the stations so you can know where to exit the car,” he said with a laugh. “Twenty years ago they would have been tagging the cars. In both cases, the city is upset.”

Well. I doubt that the same creative impulse that prompts ornate spraypaint marking is now being channeled into precision step-by-step subway car exiting. But I suppose meta-tagging via digital downloads is another way to make a mark on the transit system.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/28/2009 10:34:25 PM
Category: Internet, New Yorkin', True Crime
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It seems that a remnant of my childhood comic book collecting is the ability to effortlessly recall the long-accepted condition/grading system for back issues:

- Mint
- Near Mint
- Very Fine
- Fine
- Very Good
- Good
- Fair
- Poor

Following the lead from Mile High Comics, from where my brother and I would order old comics when we were kids, “Mint” and “Near Mint” would be merged for pricing purposes, since “Mint” is considered an impossibly pristine state for any book that leaves the printing plant. And “Very Fine” really seems like a gratuitous padding to this scale; I’m guessing there’s practically no difference between that and “Fine”. And “Poor” represents a practically unsellable pile of deteriorated pulp, not worth keeping unless it’s a particularly old/rare issue (talking 1950s or older).

Of course, these designations only matter in the collectibles realm, where you think that every limited edition No. 1 is going to mature into a thousand-dollar commodity after a couple of decades, much like the World War II era titles that debuted icons like Superman and Batman. This comics-as-investment rationale was used by many a kid collector as justification for blowing so much money on multiple copies of the same issue (because it certainly couldn’t be for the literary/entertainment value). Take away that faulty reasoning, and putting a grade on something as inane as a 20-year-old copy of some Green Arrow #0 is rather ridiculous — as much so as actually buying it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/28/2009 07:02:35 PM
Category: Pop Culture
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