Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Page 1 of 3123»
Monday, November 30, 2021

A long time ago, I took quite a shining to the following quote. It’s by none other than Albert Einstein, from his book “Living Philosophies”:

“I am a horse for single harness, not cut out for tandem or team work. I have never belonged wholeheartedly to country or state, to my circle of friends, or even to my own family. These ties have always been accompanied by a vague aloofness, and the wish to withdraw into myself increases with the years.”

You could say I once identified closely with this sentiment. I still do, although decidedly less so; if anything, I think I’m moving in the opposite direction, toward more personal connections later in life. As usual, I opt for the backward approach to life. Of course, I presumably have more than enough years left to shift gears yet again.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/30/2009 10:53 PM
Category: Creative, History
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Sunday, November 29, 2021

A big selling point for pitching digital video recorders is the time-shifting option they offer for watching more TV shows. The thing is, that viewing time ultimately has to be shifted somewhere, and that “somewhere” increasingly ends up being at the end of the day/week:

With one-third of American TV households now equipped with DVRs like TiVo, the 10 p.m. hour is emerging as a popular time for people to catch up on what they missed earlier in the evening, or earlier in the week.

Here’s some math: NBC has lost an average of 1.8 household ratings points at the 10 p.m. hour compared to fall 2008, according to the Nielsen Co. At the same time, DVR usage — which is also measured by Nielsen — is up by 1.4 points in that hour.

“The DVR phenomenon is a little bit higher than we thought,” said David Poltrack, CBS’ chief research executive.

For example, many people watch CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Thursdays at 9, tape ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” at the same time, then watch the medical soap an hour later, he said. They may tape “The Mentalist” (Thursday at 10) for later viewing. One casualty of growing DVR usage is that Friday nights, home of “Medium” and “Ugly Betty,” are becoming a TV wasteland because so many people are catching up on programs they missed during the week.

Anecdotally, I’ll buy this breakdown. From what I observe from my modest Twitter following group of 500 and change, I notice recurring tweets during late night and the weekend from people obviously filling up on a week’s worth of DVR recordings.

I’m not on this television catch-up ride, because not only don’t I have a DVR, but I also watch nothing in the way of original series programming. My main onscreen consumption is sports, and while I could record the week’s hockey and football for more convenient viewing, I’m old-fashioned enough to shortchanged if I’m not watching a game live. Plus, any backlog of recordings smacks of a sort of homework assignment to me, so I’d rather pass up the original broadcast window rather than be compelled to watch something in my spare time.

But I’m fascinated by the trending on display. This was what was supposed to happen when the VCR hit the market 25 years ago. The difference this time around is as simple as the hardware: No fumbling with tape cassettes (sidenote: I’m amused by the AP reporter above still referring to DVR recordings as “taping”). DVRs have automated the process more-or-less completely, so that casual users only ever have to work the remote control.

The upshot of this is that, of course, the 10PM slot and most/all of Friday primetime is a challenge for original network programming. It makes you wonder why NBC be so big on “The Jay Leno Show” to occupy five days’ worth of late-primetime slots. Could they not seen this viewer-habits trending forming a year ago? Or did they see it, and still gambled on the combination of Leno’s appeal and lower production costs carrying the day? Either way, at this rate, the Peacock Network might as well consolidate the losses by making Fridays “Jay Leno Day”: Run marathon five-hour episodes of the show from 6-11PM. Since everyone is playbacking their DVRs at that time anyway, nobody will notice the resultant sucking sound of that broadcasting black hole…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/29/2009 03:48 PM
Category: Society, TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


Live (make that “posthumously”), from Baghdad (make that “Europe”, or more likely “location undetermined”), it’s the Saddam Channel, satellite-beaming into Iraq:

The Saddam Channel debuted on Friday, the first day of this year’s Eid for Sunnis. The holiday started Saturday for Shiites. The station’s official name alternates between “Al-Lafeta” (”the banner”) and “Al-Arabi” (”the Arab”).

It is mostly a montage of flattering, still images of Saddam - some of him dressed in military uniform, others in a suit, even one astride a white horse. One image shows his sons Odai and Qusai smiling with their father, and another their bodies after they and Saddam’s grandson, Mustafa, were killed in a July 2003 gunfight with U.S. troops…

All the pictures are set against audio recordings of Saddam making speeches and reciting poetry. Patriotic songs urge listeners to “liberate our country.” None of the pictures appear to be recent, and no announcers or commentators appear or speak.

The motive appears to be to influence the upcoming national parliamentary elections. If so, it’s hamhanded propaganda on the cheap. I’m guessing the all-Saddam all-the-time audiovisual is intended to conjure up the “good old days” of Hussein’s dictatorship, along with whatever martyrdom he now holds among segment of Iraqi society. But without some original commentary to drive home that concept, the old photos and recordings amount to soft messaging, and less chance at any measurable electoral/political result. For all this lack of production values, the mystery backers might as well have tossed this up online — except, of course, that even a boring TV feed like this still has more reach and impact than an even more anonymous website.

Can’t wait to see what becomes of Saddam TV after the election-time blitz blows over. If it’s anything like the typical American single-purpose cable channel, it’ll soon abandon the one-note format in an attempt at broadening the audience (and attracting more advertisers, natch). Think in terms of MTV no longer playing its signature music videos — along with about a jillion other cable TV examples. So Iraqi tube-watchers can look forward to The Saddam Channel morphing into TSC, with a slate of reality shows, classic made-for-TV movies, and maybe a half-hour of Saddam retrospectives per day…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/29/2009 02:55 PM
Category: Politics, Society, TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


It says something about the competitive-shopping mentality that takes hold on Black Friday that, this holiday weekend, I’ve received the well-wishing sentiment of “Safe Shopping” from a couple of friends/acquaintances.

“Safe Shopping”? You mean, look out for pickpockets and other opportunistic thieves, who traditionally prey on preoccupied holiday shoppers at this time of year. Or don’t key in any credit card numbers on iffy-looking, fly-by-night shopping websites.

Not quite. Rather, it’s a cautionary warning that references how crazed your fellow bargain-hunters get when they storm the stores, out to grab those prized doorbuster deals and limited-supply deep-discount items, and don’t consider physical jostling and shoving to be out-of-bounds behavior in such a cutthroat milieu. In other words, you need to be safe against other patrons — as though you’re entering a lawless terrain instead of tightly-controlled retail zones.

Maybe there’s something to that. After all, this Black Friday-tapped weekend has seen a few fistfights and an out-of-control fire in the Christmas tree section at Wal-Mart. The big-box retailer epitomizes this culture of the big-game bargain hunt, so it makes sense that you’d take your life in your hands when venturing forth there.

Somehow, discretionary gift-buying has been redefined as survival of the fittest, thus necessitating a “safe shopping” wish for self and friends. It’s daft. I guess it’s to be expected from a population that, generally, doesn’t have to contend with true life-endangering situations like war, famine and such. Our relative dearth of dangers impels us to invent hazard zones, all the better to induce manufactured shop-’til-you-drop adrenaline rushes.

For the record, I haven’t done a lick of holiday shopping during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday pivot, neither online nor at brick-and-mortar sites. Plenty of time to do that over the next month. Obviously, my thrill-seeking yen isn’t linked to my credit card.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/29/2009 09:43 AM
Category: Business, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Saturday, November 28, 2021

my wordWell, Sarah Palin just blew it with one key constituency — hardcore Scrabble junkies, who object to this seemingly family-friendly passage from her new autobiography:

“Everybody in the family played Scrabble and took great pride in hoarding Ks and Qs and slapping them down in long, fancy words on triple-letter scores.” — “Going Rogue”, p. 12.

The problem? Not only can’t you hoard those particular letters (since there’s only one of each in a Scrabble set); but furthermore, even if it were possible, it’d be bad gameplay strategy to do so:

K doesn’t mesh well with most other letters and so you should try to dump it quickly. Q is paralyzing unless you have a U to go with it. If you are happy because you could lay down “quit” on a double word score, for 26 points, I would say you are not a very ambitious Scrabble player, all the more if you hoarded letters and waited turns to do that. (You have some chance of “aliquot” or “quaeres” or “quinoas,” but do you really expect to score “obloquy,” “quassia,” or “qigongs”?, keeping in mind that if you build upon an already-laid tile you need an eight-letter word with q to score the bonus.)

Sounds like somebody’s still stinging over that Katie Couric newspapers question, and slipped in this anecdote to suggest a homespun-smarts intellectual foundation. Palin should have vetted the editing to someone more familiar with the tile-slapping, triple-word-scoring tradition.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/28/2009 05:17 PM
Category: Creative, Politics, Publishing, Wordsmithing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)


jailbird
So unbridled is Hollywood screenwriter Roger Avary’s expressive creativity, that even a prison sentence can’t stifle his Twittering.

And his online candor cost him. The publicity accruing from a jailbird-celebrity tweetstream resulted in an incarceration upgrade, from a loosey-goosey work-furlough to, apparently, a real prison:

Thursday evening, @avary — who has been referring to himself as #34 - tweeted, “#34 is ‘rolled up’ to a higher security facility for exercising his first amendment rights. The truth he has discovered is too dangerous.”

[Ventura County Sheriff spokesman Ross] Bonfiglio said that Avary had not previously spent a night in the jail because he posted bail the day he was arrested. When he reported to jail Oct. 26, records show he was remanded at 7:54 a.m. and released 11 minutes later.

Bonfiglio said it was likely a “procedural process” and that Avary was then referred to the work furlough program, where he spent his days on the outside.

But you wouldn’t get that impression from what are believed to be Avary’s tweets, which chronicle life inside amid heroin smuggling, lockdowns and strip searches.

“#34’s new roomie, EZ, takes Yeyo’s old bunk, locker, AND number. He regales awesome tales about his former life as an Oxnard gangbanger,” @avary tweeted Tuesday at 9:17 a.m.

Two weeks earlier @avary tweeted: “‘It’s your birthday! announcing that #34 is to receive a random strip-down and cavity search to be performed by a leering, rotund officer.”

So Avary’s been out and about, yet has been tweeting “Oz”-like dispatches from inside the big house. Obviously there’s a disconnect. Call me crazy, but since we are dealing with someone who writes/directs movies for a living, it’s entirely possible that he’s embellishing just a tad here. I realize that goes against the supposed transparency tenets of social media, but nobody said the mind behind the big-screen version of The Rules of Attraction had to play by Web-etiquette rules.

The point may be moot, as the @avary account is now no longer publicly-viewable. A fitting condition, to match the author’s actual enhanced lockdown.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/28/2009 02:14 PM
Category: Celebrity, Movies, Social Media Online, True Crime
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Friday, November 27, 2021

If you think that gay marriage opponents’ objections end at “’til death do us part”, think again: In Rhode Island, gender-spousal issues extend beyond this mortal coil.

An opponent of same-sex marriage, Governor [Donald] Carcieri has vetoed bill that would have added “domestic partners” to the list of people authorized by law to make funeral arrangements for each other.

In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.

Way to draw a line in the boneyard. Because you know that, once you allow permissiveness in the cemetery, it’s a short hop to guy-on-guy French kissing in Providence’s state capitol.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/27/2009 03:52 PM
Category: Comedy, Politics, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


I don’t know if they do this every holiday season, but I’ve noticed that Nuance Communications is pushing its flagship product, Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software, especially hard to the consumer market.

Dragon’s been around for a long while now, at least a decade to my recollection. And not only does it remain a niche product, the entire field of voice-activated computer/digital input has yet to take off, despite steady improvement in recognition technology. What that tells me is that, despite the assumed advantages in bypassing a keyboard/mouse, the majority of users aren’t clamoring to use their mouths instead of their hands when interacting with their computers.

That’s a bit surprising. For decades, predictions about technological trending assumed that tech interactions would evolve to accommodate natural human communicative expressions. Pop-cultural markers like “Star Trek”, for instance, routinely featured computer systems that functioned and responded to natural, conversant voice commands. Clunky keyboards, which came about as input devices only because there was no better alternative in early computer design, were supposed to be abandoned. What’s more, standard notebooks and desktops ship with built-in webcams and microphones, obviating the need to buy separate peripherals. It would seem that the situation is right for a mass migration to speech-based computer operation.

But that’s not happening, and there’s no sign that things are trending that way. People are well-used to tapping keys for their onscreen interactions, and they’re not clamoring for an alternative. That extends to mobile devices as well, another platform where you’d think voice-origined input would win out. It’s practically paradoxical.

Part of it is that, despite over a decade of development, Dragon and similar software is far from flawless. There’s still a learning curve in “training” the software to recognize the cadences of your voice, so the advantages are deferred. Even after that, it can be a clunky affair. Over the years, I’ve met only a couple of converts to speech-input software, and I can’t say they were any more productive than the rest of us keyboard-clickers. It’s just not worth it.

And ultimately, the surest sign that speech-recog input isn’t the wave of the future is that no one’s making it a built-in aspect of computer operating systems. Nuance easily can be undercut if Microsoft and Apple made voice-command a basic functionality. While both Windows and OSX both sport some capability in that area, it’s shunted off deep into the system settings — hardly front-and-center. Again, paired with the standard audio-visual hardware that computers ship with today, you’d think the built-in OS would take advantage of a new mode of human-machine interaction. But it ain’t happening.

I’m sure at some point, user behavior will shift, and the keyboard will become a secondary input device. We’ll be commanding our computers via voice, eye movements, and even brain-waves. But as of today, we can freely keep our mouths shut while in front of a screen.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/27/2009 12:07 PM
Category: Society, Tech
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Thursday, November 26, 2021

holi-pod
Along with a nearly-monthly frequency, this iPod Random Tracks category seems to be morphing into a holiday-time content well. Just as last month’s contribution came around Halloween time, today’s falls on Thanksgiving, oddly enough.

The songs that most recently came forth from my iTouch have nothing to do with Turkey Day. But that’s neither here nor there. The point of this exercise is to recount the randomized tracklist that the Shuffle setting yielded, along with a catchy lyric sample for flavoring. Hey, there’s a Thanksgiving angle!

And with that:

1. “Hot N Cold (Yelle remix)”, Katy Perry - Surprends moi, ou va t’en.

2. “My Back Pages”, The Byrds - I’m younger than that now.

3. “Music Has No Meaning”, Consolidated - But all we get is empty distraction.

4. “Money Ain’t A Thang (Bonus Track)”, Jay-Z & JD - I been spendin’ hundreds since they had small faces.

5. “The Have Nots”, X - This is the game that moves as you play.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/26/2009 10:46 AM
Category: Pop Culture, iPod Random Tracks
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, November 25, 2021

Interestingly, beermaker Molson Canadian recently rolled out a low-calorie brewski called Molson 67. The number in the name refers to the calorie-count per bottle.

I find that interesting because, being a student of history, I instantly recognized that “67″ as a reference to 1867, the year that Canada’s nationhood was established. Invoking the year of independence, in whole or in part, is fairly recognizable as a patriotic gesture north of the border, exemplified by a storied junior hockey team in the Canadian capital. The parallel with America’s 1776 — Spirit of ‘76, 76er’s, etc. — is obvious.

It can’t be a coincidence. You have to believe that Molson purposely concocted this special beer with a caloric value that matches Canada’s birth-year, all for the subtle-but-inherent marketing value. What red-blooded Canuck wouldn’t want to knock back a couple of cold ones that suggest love of country merely when you ask the bartender for the brand?

And yet, a cursory search of the news mentions and corporate communication surrounding last month’s launch of Molson 67 doesn’t seem to mention the patriotism angle. They wouldn’t want to be overbearing with it, but I’m surprised it didn’t get at least a passing mention. Is it possible that this crucial part of the marketing message got diluted by the time the beer hit the market? Or are Canadians not sufficiently gung-ho enough about their history to care?

It’s amazing some U.S.-based brewer hasn’t thought of a similar 76-calorie beer for the American market. Molson, of course, is part of Molson Coors, which is headquartered in Denver. So I’m guessing that a red-white-and-blue festooned “Coors 76″ will appear on Stateside store shelves in the near future.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/25/2009 09:58 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Food, History, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)

Tuesday, November 24, 2021

I’m thinking we should institute a statute of limitations on so-called “grand openings”. Case in point:

On my regular trek home, I pass by two establishments that have had grand-opening signs slung out front for, easily, two months. One is a Middle Eastern bodega, and the other is a pizza/burger joint that seems to change its name every few months. I’ve never seen either place hosting a crowd of customers, so I’ve gotta believe the extended aggrandizement isn’t generating the big biz-buzz.

And yet, the declarations remain. It’s pure laziness mixed with chutzpah. How can you credibly leave up a sign that suggests you’ve just launched your business, when hundreds of neighborhood regulars know that that isn’t the case? Obviously the ploy didn’t work when it was supposed to; prolonging a fake debut just smacks of desperation.

I say, you get a week to trumpet your grand opening. After that, it’s mandatory take-down. Open-and-shut case, as it were.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/24/2009 11:25 PM
Category: Business
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


wascally wine
For Thanksgiving, I’ve taken it upon myself to meet the needs of both the generational extremes that will converge at my mother’s house this Thursday. Translation: I bought a small batch of toys and games for my little nephews, so that they’re sufficiently occupied-slash-out of our hair; and I sprung for the wine, so that they rest of us have sufficient social lubrication.

As always, I’m a sucker for standout novelty wine-bottle labels. So when I saw this Rudolf Müller “Rabbit” Riesling on the store rack, I couldn’t resist adding it to my selection. Heck, it even calls itself “aka The Bunny Wine” on the back label.

Hopefully the taste measures up with the cutesy bottle-art. I like rieslings anyway, and I’m guessing the dry sweetness will match well with the turkey meat. If not, at least I’ll have a conversation piece.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/24/2009 09:02 AM
Category: Creative, Food
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Monday, November 23, 2021

Apparently, it’s open season on redheaded kids in Los Angeles County.

Naturally, the Internet and TV play a role:

The students who participated in the attack may have been motivated by a Facebook message telling them that Friday was “Kick a Ginger Day,” according to [LA County Sheriff officer] Lt. Richard Erickson. “Ginger” is a label given to people with red hair, freckles and fair skin.

[Department spokesperson Steve] Whitmore confirmed that all four victims in the investigation have red hair.

The Facebook message may have been inspired by an episode of the television show “South Park.” An episode in 2005 focused on prejudice against “gingers” after one of the characters said people with red hair, light skin and freckles have no souls and suffered from a disease called “Gingervitis.”

Those “may haves” are big qualifiers, of course. But it won’t be a shocker to have these suspicions confirmed. Nobody ever said media saturation instilled a kinder and gentler human nature.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/23/2009 11:02 PM
Category: Social Media Online, Society, TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)


I’m not above:

a) Broadcasting my bitching about the stereotypical unpleasantness of a work-week Monday;
b) Plagiarizing my own tweetstream.

And so the two converged this morning, to this:

fierce dragon-breath mixed with cheap perfume. Hello there, Monday.

A few syllables short of haiku status. Maybe if I’d stayed on the bus a few minutes longer, I’d have been more descriptive. The downside of mass transit, if only briefly so.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/23/2009 12:23 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Social Media Online
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Sunday, November 22, 2021

Apparently, heredity is considered a career path in Italy:

Under a deal signed with unions this week, 76 employees of Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Roma (BCC di Roma) must take early retirement but they will get a choice: either take a payoff or leave your job to your son or daughter (or indeed any relative “up to the third degree”, which would allow the post to be left even to great-nieces and nephews).

And this isn’t limited to the Roman financial district:

[W]hether formally or informally, many positions are handed from parent to child. As recently as 1992, the government in Rome issued a decree reserving a fifth of all the openings in the Italian postal service for relatives of employees and ex-employees. A recent study found 44% of architects and 42% of lawyers were the children of people who had practised the same profession. It is next to impossible in Italy to own a chemist’s shop unless your father or mother had one because the number of licences that can be bequeathed is controlled by the authorities.

Perhaps the most bizarre example of inheritable employment surfaced in Florence, where the legal entitlement to sketch tourists outside the Uffizi gallery was also hereditary. Talent for drawing, of course, may not be passed on.

This sounds like the feudal-like nepotocracy of some backwater banana republic. Except that, of course, Italy is one of the world’s largest economies. Maybe merit-based social mobility is overrated…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/22/2009 08:55 PM
Category: Business, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


Wannabe Tyler Durdens across the land will be all gooned-up to watch Fight Club in the soon-to-be-released Blu-ray edition. Imagine the testosterone-depleting buzzkill they’ll experience when, upon loading up that disk, they see the DVD menu/music for Drew Barrymore’s romantic comedy Never Been Kissed cue up.

As they surely will, because director David Fincher decided to be funny:

So, what the what? We talked to [Fox Home Entertainment] and it turns out it’s a late-arriving Fight Club-style gag from Fincher himself, who chose an un-Fight Club-like movie from the same year that Fight Club bombed at the box office. Barrymore, a friend of [FC star Edward] Norton’s, approved the gag.

Not bad. But if Fincher really wanted to pull a fast one, he should have designed a mock menu with a “Calvin and Hobbes” theme. Thus validating the premise that Fight Club is a dark, grown-up version of the classic comic strip.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/22/2009 07:04 PM
Category: Creative, Movies, Pop Culture
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Saturday, November 21, 2021

Chaz recently dug up this curious postulation on human nature:

[I]t is the contention that in every human creature — and therefore every group comprised of human creatures — there is approx 8.5% corruption.

To that, I’ll cite Theodore Sturgeon’s well-known aphorism on the sorry state of existence in general:

Sturgeon’s Law: 90 percent of everything is crud.

I think the two concepts dovetail nicely. So, doing the math, the combined theory accounts for 98.5 percent of corrupted cruddiness around us. The remainder? It’s all for the good — because there’s simply no room for anything else, frankly.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/21/2009 01:30 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative, Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


Because it’s never too early to instill exam-related stress on the young ‘uns, Manhattan parents are paying for test-prep courses to help their little tykes make the cut for exclusive kindergarten classes.

Test preparation has long been a big business catering to students taking SATs and admissions exams for law, medical and other graduate schools. But the new clientele is quite a bit younger: 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents hope that a little assistance — costing upward of $1,000 for several sessions — will help them win coveted spots in the city’s gifted and talented public kindergarten classes.

Motivated by a recession putting private schools out of reach and concern about the state of regular public education, parents — some wealthy, some not — are signing up at companies like Bright Kids NYC. Bright Kids, which opened this spring in the financial district, has some 200 students receiving tutoring, most of them for the gifted exams, for up to $145 a session and 80 children on a waiting list for a weekend “boot camp” program.

I wonder how strenuous the finger-painting training is — are there tips for optimal digit-dexterity under 5 years of age?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/21/2009 12:38 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

Friday, November 20, 2021

Given that I’ve previously bitched about the cluelessness of the typical crossword-puzzle clues, imagine my surprise to come across this peculiar one this morning:

44-ACROSS: Game my dad refused to install on our computer in 1993 because it took up 40 megabytes

The answer, of course, is the classic first-person shooter (and crossword-friendly title) “Doom”. The morning wordgrid is probably the last place you’d expect to run across mention of a videogame about blasting demonic hellspawn.

The above clue probably seems super-long (not to mention vaguely whiny) for the confines of a newspaper crossword section. In fact, I was doing the puzzle on my iTouch. The Crosswords app does help pass the time on the train. Although the tunnel views this morning only accentuated the unexpected “Doom” scenario…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/20/2009 09:11 AM
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, Videogames, Wordsmithing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

Thursday, November 19, 2021

bowled over
To the extent that the National Football League is an economic barometer, the early land-grab on Super Bowl XLIV adspace suggests a recovery is well-underway:

Months away from the biggest football game of the year, CBS is already nearing a 90% sellout for advertising spots during the game. The network expects to close enough deals to hit that mark before Thanksgiving, said John Bogusz, CBS’s vice president of sports sales and marketing…

For last season’s big match, NBC didn’t reach the 90% benchmark for sales until January, just a month ahead of the telecast.

The pricetag for a 30-second spot hasn’t hit the previous high of $3-million yet, so maybe the relative bargain is prompting the big buy-in. Also, all those consumer-goods producers doubtless have loads of inventory to move, after the Great Recession chilled most folks’ discretionary spending. The confluence makes for a desperate situation, which I’m sure the NFL is glad to remedy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/19/2009 11:57 PM
Category: Football, SportsBiz, TV
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback


In the name of science — or is it science fiction? — a professional language expert spoke only Klingon to his newborn son for the first three years of the child’s life:

“I was interested in the question of whether my son, going through his first language acquisition process, would acquire it like any human language,” [d'Armond] Speers told the Minnesota Daily. “He was definitely starting to learn it.”

And get this, Speers says he isn’t really a huge Star Trek fan.

Shoot, you don’t have to be a Trekkie to take a shining to a pretend tongue. In fact, societally, the trend is toward learning fake languages instead of bothering to acquire dying real-life dialects. Less culturally messy that way, I guess.

Furthermore, if this Speers guy isn’t a cunning linguist, I don’t know who is.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 11/19/2009 11:24 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Science, Society, Wordsmithing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (1)

Page 1 of 3123»