Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Sunday, April 30, 2021

Along with plenty of other traditionalists, President Bush doesn’t like the idea behind “Nuestro Himno”, and thinks the National Anthem should be sung only in English.

I guess he needs to get Condoleeza on-message about that. The Spanish-language section of the State Department’s website has multiple versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, generally translated as “La Bandera de las Estrellas”:

Amanece: ¿no veis, a la luz de la aurora,
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
Sus estrellas, sus barras flotaban ayer
En el fiero combate en señal de victoria,
Fulgor de cohetes, de bombas estruendo,
Por la noche decían: “!Se va defendiendo!”

Coro:
!Oh, decid! ¿Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada?

En la costa lejana que apenas blanquea,
Donde yace nublada la hueste feroz
Sobre aquel precipicio que elévase atroz
¡Oh, decidme! ¿Qué es eso que en la brisa ondea?
Se oculta y flamea, en el alba luciendo,
Reflejada en la mar, donde va resplandeciendo

Coro:
!Aún allí desplegó su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada!

¡Oh así sea siempre, en lealtad defendamos
Nuestra tierra natal contra el torpe invasor!
A Dios quien nos dio paz, libertad y honor,
Nos mantuvo nación, con fervor bendigamos.
Nuestra causa es el bien, y por eso triunfamos.
Siempre fue nuestro lema “¡En Dios confiamos!”

Coro:
!Y desplegará su hermosura estrellada,
Sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada!

And this little ditty ain’t new: Francis Haffkine Snow translated it way back in 1919.

I understand “Bandera” was crafted back then specifically for Puerto Rico. When the U.S. picked up a Caribbean island full of non-English speakers, some native-language adaptation was necessary. It’s since been overshadowed by “La Borinqueña”, the island’s local/Commonwealth anthem.

So the notion of the the U.S. National Anthem being English-only seems conveniently new-fangled.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/30/2006 01:43:56 PM
Category: Politics, Society | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Saturday, April 29, 2021

The question burns among those who fancy themselves to be oh-so-clever societal observers: “Why is there braille on drive-up ATM teller machines?”

Answer: Because it’s Federally mandated, and a fair number of blind folks drive up in taxis to said machines (and thus wouldn’t want to give their account code to the cabbie).

What I’d like to know is, why are there braille instructions on New York State Lottery vending machines, as I noticed earlier today? If you’re sightless, and you’re still compelled to buy scratch-off games that you can’t properly play unless you can see the card, I don’t think the State should be helping you along with your gambling addiction.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/29/2006 08:15:27 PM
Category: Society | Permalink | Feedback

Friday, April 28, 2021

Tellingly, a recent Pew Research survey found that while 90 percent of Americans consider the country as a whole to be overweight, only 39 percent believe that they’re among the flabby.

Self-perception goes a long way. Even if those easy-fit jeans won’t.

This came to mind for me just minutes ago, when I overheard someone bragging about committing to healthy eating. She proudly proclaimed, “Now, instead of a regular one, I’m only going to eat a small salad!”

And I thought, Yeah, I’m sure it was the supersized portions of leafy greens that were going straight to your ass.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/28/2006 02:29:07 PM
Category: Food, Society, Science | Permalink | Feedback

Wednesday, April 26, 2021

Just wondering: How do you come up with a group spanking session involving your entire sales team, and not expect to be sued over it?

Janet Orlando, 53, quit her job at the home security company Alarm One Inc. in Fresno and sued, alleging discrimination, assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress.

Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.

“No reasonable middle-aged woman would want to be put up there before a group of young men, turned around to show her buttocks, get spanked and called abusive names, and told it was to increase sales and motivate employees,” her lawyer, Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, said in his closing argument.

Sounds like some gung-ho team leader OD’d on too many viewings of Animal House the night before. Next thing you know, someone’s going to frag Niedermeyer.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/26/2006 11:47:20 PM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback (5)


That something called the Word of Mouth Marketing Association even exists seems like an anomaly. Isn’t word-of-mouth supposed to serve as a trusted counterinformation alternative to advertising and marketing messages, beyond the reach of media machines?

You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. Fact is, companies latched onto the idea of harnessing informal and unconventional consumer communications channels a long time ago. That this approach has become such standard practice that a professional association with high-profile members is deemed necessary tells you all you need to know.

And WOMMA is certainly cutting edge in its mission to broaden its namesake discipline. In addition to the usual white papers and networking events, it sports not just one, but two blogs. Talk about word-of-mouthing!

Yes, even running-of-the-mouth has been subverted. Think about that the next time you put stock in what some relatable schmuck is recommending.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/26/2006 11:05:08 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Society | Permalink | Feedback

Friday, April 21, 2021

Yesterday, while riding a bus, I eavesdropped on the 60ish-year-old busdriver’s casual bitching about how the world today isn’t nearly as good as it was in his day.

Having lived in Florida for the past decade and a half, I’m well-acquainted with this spiel.

But what I considered the kicker: When asked what he misses most about his golden age, he said (paraphrasing):

“When I was a kid, on Saturday nights, I’d go to my grandma’s house, and we’d watch “Gunsmoke”. And then, at either 11 or 11:30 — depending on what channel you watched — “Sea Hunt” would come on. Lots of good TV back then.”

This is his cherished memory — oldie-moldy TV shows? That he can still watch now on some channel or other? I’m not averse to television nostalgia; I grew up on hours of the stuff. But that you would cite the medium as an example of how life was better way back when — pathetic.

It was The Goo Goo Dolls who sang something about “the reruns all become my history”. Sucky song, sucky band, but it looks like they nailed this one.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/21/2006 09:47:18 PM
Category: TV, Society | Permalink | Feedback

Wednesday, April 19, 2021

Admit it: There’s many a time you’ve passed by a pile of garbage, and a certain item atop that heap caught your eye. You had no choice but to nab that looks-like-new coffeetable!

As with many sundry everyday habits, the Web has coughed up a way to make this questionable hobby that much more efficient. GarbageScout is a Google Maps mashup that lets trash-trekkers amalgamate their findings, spreading word far and wide of items for grab.

Given that we live in an affluent society, there is gold in them thar heaps:

For his part, [GarbageScout creator Jim] Nachlin has nabbed a dark blue pinstripe Christian Dior suit someone left hanging on a construction scaffold, a subway sign that reads “No spitting, smoking or radio playing” and a rack of antlers.

Stylin’. I’m thinking you could combine this intrepidness with the Dumpster-dining freegan experience, and show that special girl a helluva night on the town.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/19/2006 05:40:48 PM
Category: Society | Permalink | Feedback

Tuesday, April 18, 2021

In a gripping scene from “Macbeth”, Lady Macbeth implores:

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty!

Perhaps that was the ultimate intent in the Boston Phoenix’s “100 Unsexiest Men in the World” list. Instead of the overt denouncement of the subjects for failing to inspire lust, the tacit purpose was to make them so bitter and twisted over receiving the “unsexy” label that it does, spiritually, unsex them, and fill them with the bile necessary for carrying out evil deeds!

Or something.

I’d love to scan the whole list, just to make sure that I’m not on it. (You never know.) But The Phoenix’s website is currently inaccessible, so I’ll just have to cross my fingers.

Then again, considering who rounds out the list, I doubt I have to lose any sleep:

Brad Pitt, for example, was named No.100 least sexiest. “He may look good, but if the rumors about his hygiene and BO issues are true, then he’s probably not worth it,” the Phoenix said.

Can’t nobody beat out Brad Pitt, odor or no. If I’m lurking at No. 101, that’s satisfaction enough for me.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/18/2006 11:48:32 PM
Category: Celebrity, Society | Permalink | Feedback


There are two ways to regard Job Shadow Day:

1. It’s an opportunity for schoolkids to visit their mentors’ workplaces, thus giving them a birdseye view of the working world.

2. It’s an unsettling day-long reminder that, in a few short years, that same little observer — or another of his/her generation — will be coming back, resume in hand and gunning for your slot in the corporate machine. One look into that inquisitive little face drives home how ultimately replaceable you are.

Which version is truer to life? Only the shadow knows.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/18/2006 10:48:58 PM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback

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