Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Thursday, January 13, 2021

I miss having regularly-scheduled reruns of “The Odd Couple” on TV. For no other reason than the chance to re-experience this culinary exchange:

As Oscar serves up the mess, Felix asks in horror, “What do you call this mélange?”

Oscar says, “Well, I was going to call it Goop, but I like your name better. Goop Mélange.”

The recipe for Goop Melange died with the show, but I recall it contained some combination of sardines, pickles, sauce, and a potato-chip topping. And people kept asking Oscar if it was supposed to look the way it did. Bon appetit!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/13/2011 10:38pm
Category: Comedy, Food, TV, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, January 05, 2021

Part of this new year’s transfer of power in Congress includes a semantic shift, especially where the nation’s employees are concerned:

For years, the committee was called Education and Labor. But when Newt Gingrich and the Republicans took over the House in 1994, they wanted to show that there was a new sheriff in town — and he was not a pro-labor sheriff… So it was soon changed to Education and the Workforce.

“Workforce” is a term employers are likely to use, while “labor” is more evocative of the union movement — after all, they call it the American Federation of Labor. So when the Democrats recaptured the House in 2006, they changed the name of the committee back.

Now it’s the Republicans’ turn to control the House. And they’re changing the name back to Workforce.

Or, to put it more bluntly:

No longer is it your labor. Now, it‘s big business’s workforce.

Class warfare with labor pains. The birth of fresh partisan zeal, at least until everyone inevitably settles into the standard Washington rhythm.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 09:21pm
Category: Business, Politics, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, January 02, 2021

Let’s review a dictionary definition of the word “brunch”:

[noun] a meal eaten late in the morning, combining breakfast with lunch

Pretty straightforward, especially that “late in the morning” part. Heck, that in-between time, from about 10am until noon, is what underlies the portmanteau created from br(eakfast) and (l)unch.

So, to all you New York restaurants and patrons touting “brunch” well after 12pm, to as late as 3 or 4: Stop it. You’re not brunching by that preposterous hour of the day. I don’t care how many eggs benedict and mimosas you’re scarfing down — if the sun is starting to set, you’re either late-lunching or (God forbid) supping. And really need to get more of a move-on to your day, frankly, especially considering that brunch is already intended to be a leisurely ease-in to the day.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/02/2021 01:35pm
Category: Food, New Yorkin', Wordsmithing
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Thursday, December 23, 2021

To my dismay, I unintentionally used the IM/texting slang “IOW” not once, but twice in one day:

@popstat: IOW, like every other day for most of us RT @ElanaRoth: I’m working today, but so in vacation mode. But I also like money, so…toss up.

@popstat: IOW get a blog RT @tombiro: Pro tip: 99% of people aren’t reading your tweets consecutively. they’re not really threaded. just sayin’

Obviously, I had to resort to the abbreviation, as “in other words” never would have fit into Twitter‘s 140-character limit. Still, looking back on both tweets, that three-lettered opener seems to give my comments even more snark than they already carried. Such are the perils of social media communiques.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/23/2010 10:59pm
Category: Social Media Online, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

I’m no hoops fan, but I appreciate a good in-game catchphrase as much as anyone.

To wit: Declaring a 3-point shot attempt as “shooting from international waters”.

I like it. Gives the trey-line, and everything beyond it, a proper remoteness. Along with a loose anything-goes undercurrent

A good switch-up from the old Marv Albert standard “from way-down-town!” declaration of this longshot. The maritime analogy probably has been in use for both NBA and college coverage for a long while. But again, since I don’t follow the hardcourt, it’s new to me. And a happy discovery.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/22/2010 05:17pm
Category: Basketball, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

infected connected
I’ve mentioned how enamored I am by Dirty Laundry‘s dance track “Disco Infected”, along with its cover art.

So much so that, when it came time this week to refresh my wireless router’s SSID, I picked that track title for the name: “DiscoInfected”. As good as any other tag, I figured.

Until I noticed how closely that mashed-together name resembles “Disconnected”.

Not really a problem, but as I glanced that label on my iPhone’s list of available wi-fi networks, it did make me do a double-take. Maybe it’s close enough to a failed-connection notification that it’ll dissuade unwelcomed leeches from trying to hack in. They’d need the password anyway, but every little bit of deterrence helps.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/08/2021 10:51pm
Category: Pop Culture, Wi-Fi, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, November 28, 2021

“Needless to say…”

Then don’t say it.

I could elaborate further, but I won’t. Although E.B. White did.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/28/2010 07:22pm
Category: Wordsmithing
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Sunday, November 14, 2021

I’m a sucker for a good musical remix — especially if it totally reinterprets the original song. And probably even more than that, a good remix title will snag me as well. Something about that parenthetical addendum to the track title speaks to me, promising an extra-special sound experience. And the more creative the tag is — whether it’s simply an unusual band/artist name, or a thought-out rework description — the more likely I’ll be to listen to it.

Below are my favorite remix titles, from my personal music collection. There are actually a lot more than I thought there’d be — I had guessed a maximum of five or six, but ended up with these 17. No particular order, although the first few are definitely the most compelling in my view:

1. “Lost and Found (Jaded Alliance Club Mix)”, Delerium feat. Jaël

2. “Mixtress (Son of the Electric Ghost Remix)”, DJ Baby Anne

3. “Filthy/Gorgeous (ATOC vs. Superbuddha Remix)”, Scissor Sisters

4. “Calabria (Hot Pink Delorean Remix)”, Enur feat. Natasja

5. “Circus (BitchSLAPhappy 3 Ring Circus Remix)”, Britney Spears

6. “Remedy (Kitch ‘n Sync Remix)”, Little Boots

7. “Fancy Footwork (Death To The Throne remix)”, Chromeo

8. “Boomerang (29 Palms Polysynthetic Remix)”, Cirrus

9. “Change of Heart (What Kind of Breeze Do You Blow Remix)”, El Perro Del Mar

10. “Boy In the Window (Ursula 1000 Artic Chill Extended Remix)”, The Gentle People

11. “Alejandro (Son of Vader Lipstixx Rmx)”, Lady GaGa

12. “Sympathy For The Devil (Who Killed The Kennedys Mix)”, Laibach

13. “Pink Neon (The Amalgamation of Soundz Dub)”, Natalie Walker

14. “Nice Day (Wamdue People Remix)”, Persephone’s Bees

15. “You’re Gonna Get Yours (Reanimated TX Getaway version)”, Public Enemy

16. “How To Kill A Radio Consultant (The DJ Chuck Chillout Mega Murder Boom)”, Public Enemy

17. “Who Stole The Soul (Sir Jinx Stolen Souled Out Reparation Mixx)”, Public Enemy

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/14/2010 10:42pm
Category: Creative, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

oakie dokie
Somehow, the Oakland Raiders have won a couple of games in a row. That success is being ascribed to a certain silver-and-black slogan — and it ain’t “just win, baby”:

The four-word phrase began when head coach Tom Cable saw his team worrying too much about mistakes. Quarterback Jason Campbell, in particular, wouldn’t let interceptions or sacks or poor throws go by without overanalyzing them. So Cable told him to “just cut it loose”.

He told the New York Times that the phrase works for the whole team.

The irony being that, in ditching owner Al Davis’ famed catchphrase, the team actually is winning. What’s next, the Black Hole getting whitewashed?

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/10/2021 11:47pm
Category: Football, Wordsmithing
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Saturday, November 06, 2021

I’m not much of a fan of gimmicky Flash-site marketing tactics, but I’m finding Save The Words to be a cute hoot. Oxford University Press dreamed it up, obviously to promote the sale and use of its dictionary business.

Mousing over reveals the aim: A wallpaper of words plead with you to “pick me!” as candidates for adoption, AKA more frequent usage. They need it too, as the adoptees in question aren’t exactly everyday-language types. Take “synapistic”, an adjective for “consisting of mustard”; or “abligurition”, which refers to “a prodigal spending on meat and drink”. (Actually, most of the words I’m mousing over seem to stump other online dictionaries; I’ll assume that the terms are so outdated and British that no one’s thought to include them in current lexicons.)

My vocabulary is already varied enough, thanks. But I’ll keep this collection of lingua obscura in mind if I ever need a really far-out synonym. Like “gleimous”, for when I run across someone particularly slimy or full of phlegm…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 11/06/2021 05:44pm
Category: Internet, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, October 24, 2021

It’s not that it lives on, it’s that it won’t die.

I cooked up that little quip earlier today on Twitter. I was inspired by some television talking-head’s comment; I’ve already forgotten the full context. Regardless, this witty rejoinder was my response.

I was initially content to let this exist in tweet form only. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it, and so I’m preserving it here on the blog side. I think it can apply to a wide range of subjects, from some over-the-hill entertainer’s career, to, I dunno — zombies? I’ll leave the applicative possibilities to others.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/24/2010 08:35pm
Category: Wordsmithing
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Back when I worked with the old Coyote newspaper content management system, a basic command action was “spike”, or deleting the document off the system completely.

The terminology was probably derived from old journalistic slang for disposing of news copy. It was a common enough action in the newsroom that we’d routinely refer to “spiking a story”.

I’ve always liked the sound of the phrase — that sharp “k” sound denotes a definitive closure. I’d like to see a revival/expansion of it, to everyday parlance for any disposal, ending, etc. In fact, lately I’ve been letting it slip into my conversation with that meaning. Hopefully it’ll catch on.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/24/2010 03:57pm
Category: Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

in the bag
Whether imposed for conditioning purposes or (more usually) for punishment, hockey players dread the “bag skate”:

noun a team practice made of repetitive, strenuous skating drills and sprints, usually without pucks. Also as a verb.

Of course, there’s repetitive, and then there’s the diabolically repetitive:

There’s a million different ways to shape a bag skate — there’s the classic “suicides,” which nearly everyone has done in some form for every sport. In hockey, it’s skating to the blue line and back, then the center line and back, and so on. Good ‘ol [juniors coach Mike] Vandekamp used to put the “Peter Zezel” twist on that with regularity — once you get to the “far glass and back” portion of doing lines, you start going around the net to the blue line before coming back around to the starting point again. It becomes a horror movie: The Skate That Wouldn’t Die.

The “bag” portion of the description undoubtedly comes from “bagging” the practice pucks, or taking them all off the ice, so that the entire drill becomes nothing but skate, skate, skate. By the end of the strenuous drills, your legs are about ready to be bagged up and stored away for a long while too.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/20/2010 10:33pm
Category: Hockey, Wordsmithing
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Friday, October 08, 2021

I’m not really rolling-on-the-floor-laughing over Rolfing, a post-yoga therapy technique that’s catching on:

Rolfing is named after its creator, Ida Rolf, a biochemist from New York City who studied alternative methods of bodywork and healing beginning in the 1920s. She died in 1979 at the age of 82.

Dr. Rolf developed a theory that the body’s aches and pains arose from basic imbalances in posture and alignment, which were created and reinforced over time by gravity and learned responses among muscles and fascia — the sheath-like connective tissue that surrounds and binds muscles together. Rolfing developed as a way to “restructure” muscles and fascia.

But, in this age of rampant leet-speak, I just can’t read the word “rolf” and not have it register as ROFL. So much for taking this revived body-working at all seriously…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/08/2021 10:08am
Category: Internet, Science, Society, Wordsmithing
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Sunday, October 03, 2021

To paraphrase Woody Allen, today’s Urban Dictionary Word of the Day puts a name to the act of spending time with someone you love:

MASTURDATING - Going out alone, i.e. seeing a movie by yourself, going to a restaurant alone.

Or, perhaps, you could consider this to be play-dating with yourself. In any case, despite the prospect of being seen in public minus a plus-1, at least you’ve got a sure thing in hand…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/03/2021 02:01pm
Category: Comedy, Movies, Wordsmithing
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Monday, September 27, 2021

As an admirer of the pithy art of headline writing, I approve of Schmedlines:

Schmedlines is the daily tabloid headline contest. Every weekday (and for one Weekend Edition), we select the most cover-worthy stories so you can write the best, funniest, most perfect headline — and vote for your favorites. During the day, the “Schmedline” with the most votes will be displayed on our homepage and whichever has the most votes at the end of the day will win. As you get more votes or even write a few winners, you’ll rise up the Schmedlines masthead.

The tabloid element is nicely conveyed by site’s logo typeface, which is more than a little reminiscent of the New York Post‘s. Also, by nature of this crowdsourcing free-for-all, the most prevalent story-toppers will be outrageous in nature. Not to mention pun-heavy, which goes with the territory. All in all, a ripe territory for hed games.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/27/2010 09:19pm
Category: Internet, Publishing, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Slate’s Josh Levin has detected an ethereal meme in today’s publishing world:

While struggles for the soul predominate in a couple of subject areas (Islamic studies, evolution) you’re likely to find soul tug-of-war in every section of the bookstore — there’s a struggle for the soul of physics, as well as a struggle for the soul of judo.

The soul-wrenching tomes referenced in that last bit: “Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics” and “Ippon!: The Fight for Judo’s Soul”. Those are but two examples of a raft-full of books that employ the loaded term.

What’s with all this soul power? I imagine the cliquish literary editors got it into their heads that there’s nothing weightier than framing an issue in terms of its inner essence. And it’s a super-short word, so it fits great on a book cover.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/15/2010 11:07pm
Category: Publishing, Wordsmithing
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Saturday, September 04, 2021

Just in time for Halloween costume ideas: Take an extra-long and an extra-short tube sock or balloon, tie them together, place them strategically, and you’ve got Attila the Hung.

It’s taken almost twenty years, but I believe we’ve finally found a mock-pornstar name that beats George Costanza’s “Buck Naked”. And amazingly, it seems like not too many others have ever thought of it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 09/04/2021 01:51pm
Category: Comedy, History, Pop Culture, TV, Wordsmithing
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Monday, August 23, 2021

What is “hogo”, you ask? It’s the historically distinctive devil’s-piss burn once associated with rum. From the September 2010 issue of Esquire (which isn’t online yet, apparently):

Derived from the French phrase for the “high taste” game meats develop when they’re hung up to mature before cooking — and by “mature,” we mean “rot” — hogo used to be a term of art in the rum trade to describe the sulfurous, funky tang that raw-sugarcane spirits throw off. For 300 years, rum distillers have sought ways first to tame and then to eliminate it: proof distillation (more alcohol equals less hogo), filtering, tweaking the fermentation, long aging in barrels — all very effective, particularly when used in combination. Perhaps too effective.

I’m liking the idea of this raw rum. I bet it would be the perfect ingredient in my much-appreciated Kill Divil cocktail — which, after all, is a Colonial-era drink recipe. I’ll have to track down a vintage-crafted bottle of this hogo-licious firewater, and start mixing.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/23/2010 09:54pm
Category: Food, History, Wordsmithing
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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

dancin' man, just can't lose
Wondering: Is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees to most-translated pop song in existence?

I’m prompted to ask this because today, I heard a Hindi version of this classic disco tune — same distinctive instrumentals and rhyming pattern, but with translated lyrics. I have no idea how closely the translation, or transliteration, was to the original English song; but the surface impression was certainly there.

Furthermore, I can add this Hindi entrant to the handful of other foreign-language renditions I’ve come across over the years: German, Greek, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. That’s a wide linguistic range, and indicates to me that this tune has been adapted far and wide. Furthermore, there must be something universally appealing about it, to inspire so many reworks. Could this anthem to ’70s nightlife be so infectious to warrant so many native editions?

By the way, I realize that the above photo is not that of the actual Bee Gees. But it’s close enough, in my estimation.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/11/2021 11:27pm
Category: Pop Culture, Society, Wordsmithing
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Saturday, August 07, 2021

This may be wholly localized to New York, but lately I’ve noticed a lot more people overusing the word “annoying” in their everyday parlance.

It started with my brother. Then it spread to casual acquaintances, then to colleagues. Now, it seems like I can’t escape it: Whenever someone is grappling with a minor problem or kvetching about whatever, they describe the situation as “annoying”. And in a smarmy tone of voice, to boot.

I don’t have to underline the self-fulfilling nature of this annoying trend, do I? I’d love to put a stop to it, but such slang-meme-ry is beyond the scope of any one man to stop. I’ll just cross my fingers that it’ll run out of steam sooner rather than later. And I’ll try to tone down my own annoyance at hearing the term on a daily basis.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/07/2021 09:07pm
Category: New Yorkin', Wordsmithing
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