Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Sunday, March 05, 2021

Geez, I’m not gone a month from my longtime media playground, and it pulls an online fast one. Tampabay.com, formerly the home of tbt*/Tampa Bay Times and, prior to that, the St. Petersburg Times entertainment melange, will now serve as the Internet umbrella for all (or most) of the Times Publishing Company’s publication websites, including the flagship newspaper.

In a sense, this positions the Times to compete more directly with Media General’s Tampa Bay Online/TBO.com, which has been aggregating the Tampa Tribune and WFLA Channel 8 news offerings under a single brand. This evens things out on a regional basis for the Tampa Bay area. I can only guess that people in Hillsborough, Pasco and other counties were somewhat averse to turning to a site labeled “St. Petersburg”.

The Times is going beyond just that, though. By integrating Florida Trend, Congressional Quarterly, and Governing, it’s really throwing everything it’s got into this online venture. Those publications have statewide and national scopes, far beyond the mainstream audience that a general news portal would expect to draw. I’m guessing this an experiment to see what will stick and what won’t under this tentpole, especially in terms of drawing advertising.

As far as my insight on this, as the former webmaster for FloridaTrend.com: I had no idea this was coming. There’d been talk over the years about setting up a sort of business portal that integrated all of Trend’s regular and annual publications, but there was never enough momentum to actually get it going. Trend had a regular spot on the Times’ online Business section, but it was a pretty low-impact thing (even though quite a bit of traffic would come to the Trend site from there). Not sure if it’ll change much on the Trend side, or any of the other magazines; I imagine it’ll be business as usual, with just feeds and links appearing on the mothership site.

I guess this solves the mystery of why the now-daily tbt* was given a new, shorter URL a few months back.

Will this work? Certainly, TBO.com’s been chugging along for years now. I can only guess that it’s easier to sell pageviews for an all-in-one site to advertisers than it is to subdivide between newspaper, gussied-up forums, business magazine, etc.

Still, personally, I’d prefer the separation among equals. Call me a creature of habit. Then again, since I’m no longer a Tampa Bay resident, what does my opinion matter?

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 07:47:33 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Friday, March 03, 2021

And speaking of Ybor City, I recently got word that one of its long-time institutions, The Masquerade, has abruptly gone out of business.

Perhaps fittingly, a crappy-looking MySpace page replaces it. As for the actual physical location, I’m sure something will spring up from the ashes.

Since I hadn’t stepped into the place in ages, I can’t say I’m extremely broken up about the fade-out. Despite a fairly diverse booking schedule, Masquerade tended not to get packed unless death metal acts played — and that’s not even remotely the type of scene I go for. And, being far more of a concert venue than an actual bar, it really wasn’t what I liked about going to Ybor.

My nostalgic ties to the place reside in the distant past — some 16 years ago, in my freshman year in college. I recollected the brief experience once on this blog; by way of a eulogy, I’ll repost the pertinent part here:

I’m old enough to remember when The Masquerade was the only thing that existed, club-wise, in Ybor. Back in 1990, some friends at school dragged me out there for a rare off-campus clubbing opp. I was new to the area, and the drive seemed horrendously long from south St. Pete; for a long while after, I was convinced we had driven most of the way to Orlando…

Not much more to relate about that long-ago night. I remember a bunch of us — maybe 7 or 8 people — piled into what had to be one of the last working 1960s-era VW Bugs in existence, and drove the twenty-odd miles up I-275/I-4. I believe I drove part of the way, either going there or coming back; don’t remember precisely why. I remember there were lots of red velvet couches all over the place, which must have long since disappeared by the time the Ybor revival had really kicked off. I remember there was nothing around the club back then but blocks full of boarded-up storefronts and warehouses — again, this was just before the district was revived, and it was a vaguely scary place to be. And today, I don’t remember who it was I went there with; I think most of them left after my freshman year (I can barely visualize the face of the girl who owned the Bug; her name’s long since faded from my brain cells).

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 08:40:38 PM
Category: Florida Livin', College Years | Permalink | Feedback (1)

I’m not about to start tracking every single instance of The Go Go’s selling out. But, since I’ve already mentioned the Priceline.com/”Vacation” incident, I might as well make note of the latest:

Papa John’s has co-opted “We Got the Beat” for a TV commercial jingle about some extra-humongous meat-flavored pizza deal. The reworked lyrics sing out…

Wait for it…

“We Got the Meat”. Yup.

Two reasons I find this distasteful:

1. With this steady stream of sell-outs, it’s getting harder for me to insist — as I’ve done for years now — that The Go Go’s were an extremely underrated band. Lyrically and technically, they put together some great numbers.

2. The substitution of “beat” with “meat” reminds me of some crappy houseband that used to (and perhaps still does) play The Green Iguana in Ybor City. Their signature number was a cover of “We Got the Beat”, but, since they were all guys, it was altered to “We Beat Our Meat”. Predictably, the beer-soaked frat and sorority throngs loved it; I found it got old after, like, one time.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 08:11:06 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Friday, February 24, 2021

Since Joel went on a somnambulistic post-killing spree, I figured I’d repurpose my comment from his blog into a post on mine. I’d been meaning to touch on this anyway, but lost it in the shuffle from Florida to New York:

You’ll see above the “Discover Florida’s Oceans” license plate, a relatively new entry in Florida’s specialty plate lineup. Take special note of the “s” in “Oceans”.

You don’t have to be a geography major to figure out that Florida’s bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Unless the Sunshine State somehow annexed a non-contiguous chunk of California, or the Gulf suddenly has been promoted to oceanic status, that means Florida’s got only one ocean to “discover”.

This relates back to hearing people in Tampa Bay constantly referring to the Gulf as “the ocean”. Both tourists and natives were equally ignorant on this detail. Yeah, water’s water, but Christ — figure out where you’re wading.

That’s the end of my rant. You’ll have to check back with Joel about the transgression that is the clownfish plate.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/24/2006 05:37:35 PM
Category: Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Monday, February 20, 2021

There are a few things I miss about my late home base of Tampa Bay. One of the more minor — but still vital — is the herd of Aveda Institute students, who are fast becoming a defining fixture in downtown St. Pete:

They wear black. Their hair is “volumized.” They’re not blond or brunette; they’re Madder Root, or Camomile, or Black Malva. They emit exotic fragrances. Cinnamon Bark? Bergamot? Ylang Ylang?

They are algaed and flax-seeded. They are pale. They are attitudinal. They are young. Many of them smoke.

They stream across Third Street to the Publix plaza for cheap Chinese takeout. Or they flow to First Avenue S to Cafe Alma. Or they go the other way toward the Lucky Dill Deli on Central Avenue. They flood the downtown like migrating birds.

They swarm the crosswalks on the red light. Cars stop. Necks crane. A driver calls out, “What are you, Scientologists?” Many don’t know they are students, aspiring stylists, and black is their dress code.

The students realize they are magnets for attention. Sometimes it gets weird. At noon one day on Central Avenue, several of them are accosted by a woman they’ve never seen before.

“I am the Princess of Light,” she says. “Your black clothes are giving out negative energy.”

She pulls out a small bottle of soap water and a plastic wand. As they walk away, she follows, baptizing them with soap bubbles.

The stomping grounds mentioned are all too familiar to me. In particular, that cheap Chinese takeout joint served me well for a long time for my lunch hours at Florida Trend. Cafe Alma is a real gem, both for dining and partying. As for the Lucky Dill: Always crowded for lunch, but I found it to be extremely overrated.

I really like that Scientology crack, because I myself once made the visual/presence comparison of the Avedans to Clearwater’s cultists. Not that I’m accusing Aveda of being a cult — although that would explain the uniforms…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/20/2006 07:52:21 PM
Category: Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Thursday, February 16, 2021

go 'nolesOf the 84,347 fans at Doak Campell for last September’s Miami-Florida State tilt, only one managed to stand out. Thanks to a spilled beer prior to the game, Jenn Sterger, aka the FSU Cowgirl, came out of that nationally-telecast game as the most popular Seminole this side of Burt Reynolds.

Except, um, better, obviously. If you’re too old to be gawking at Facebook pictures, then maybe a Maxim photo spread is more palatable.

And if pretty pichers aren’t enough for you, Sterger’s further parlaying her pigskin-fueled fame into an SIonCampus.com column.

Y’know, I usually don’t approve of the superfluous extra “n” in a name like “Jenn”. But, all things considered, I’ll let it stand.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/16/2006 09:05:27 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Women | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, February 15, 2021

If you want a nice capsule look into the mentality of the chronically closed-minded, I offer up Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms and her telling comments toward St. Pete Times columnist Ernest Hooper:

“And that newspaper guy right there thinks there’s nothing wrong with them.”

I turned around and said, “Excuse me?”

She explained she was talking about nude bars. She said the fact that I had never written a column against strip clubs indicated I must be for them.

I don’t want Storms to be burdened with explaining to people how I feel about adult entertainment, so let me set the record straight.

Classy way for Hooper to deflect Storms’ idiotic statement — not to mention a great way to serve up material for his column. If it were me, I’d have directed Storms to pucker up her warped mouth and kiss my ass.

This is completely indicative of the if-not-for-us-then-against-us mindset that demagogues like Storms possess. For people like her, silence itself is incriminating. Flapping your mouth — regardless of whether or not you have anything substantial to say — is all that counts. It doesn’t occur to Storms that her sensationalist crusades aren’t imperative to everyone else.

As far as the idea of silence on a subject serving as endorsement, I’ve encountered that assumption in the blogging realm before. Admittedly, the rules are different for the news media: Reporters have a duty to write about current events, and don’t have the option of cherry-picking like bloggers do. Still, to extrapolate based on lack of commentary is nothing but faulty filling in of the blanks, and ultimately asinine.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/15/2006 01:11:23 PM
Category: Bloggin', Media, Politics, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Thursday, February 09, 2021

love connectionFollowing up on his politically-motivated proclamation of homosexuality, Tampa strip club king Joe Redner ups the ante by filling out a Match.com looking-for-love personal ad. Looking for a lucky boy, obviously (although Redner does hedge a bit from earlier by characterizing himself as bisexual; I guess it provides a plausible explanation for the ex-wives).

And wouldn’t you know it, it looks like he’s found his match, right in the St. Pete Times Tampa bureau.

If I were Redner, I’d dangle free entry and free lapdances at the Mons Venus as an incentive. If he’s going for quantity over quality, naturally. I’m sure plenty of otherwise straight males would take the plunge for those terms.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/09/2021 10:16:05 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Society | Permalink | Feedback

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