Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, March 08, 2021

Now that I’m in New York, I ought to go check out Woodlawn, an improbably Irish neighborhood tucked into the far northern edge of the Bronx (practically in Yonkers).

It is getting close to St. Patrick’s Day, after all. And if I don’t go now, there’s a chance that all the Irish will be gone soon:

But in one of the unexpected effects of Sept. 11, Irish immigrants are leaving the United States in waves; they say the crackdown on illegal immigration, coupled with a booming Irish economy, has eliminated the advantages that drew them here.

Ten years from now, say activists pushing for immigration reform, there won’t be Irish neighborhoods left in New York.

In which case, we can always rent Gangs of New York.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 11:16:09 PM
Category: Society, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback

Is the New York advertising industry too white-bread? City Councilman Larry Seabrook thinks so, and is ready to call agency heads in to grill them about the dearth of women and minorities in Madison Avenue workplaces.

“Based on those who are in the industry, I was told that the lack of diversity is unbelievable,” said Seabrook, a Bronx Democrat. “A secretary or custodian job is basically the limits of what African-Americans and Latinos have as employment.”

Seabrook’s call for a public hearing comes during an ongoing probe by the city’s Human Rights Commission into the employment practices of more than a dozen ad agencies in the city.

“Subpoenas have been issued,” commission Chairwoman Patricia Gatling told Council members at a Civil Rights Committee meeting last month. “We’re still gathering information, and it appears as if this is one of the last vestiges of industry that refused to diversify.”

Does an old-boys’ network mentality persist in the advertising and marketing game? It’s a field I’ve been toying with breaking into for a long while now. I’m a white male, so if this is true, I guess I’d have an inside track. But I don’t think I’d want it.

There’s the macro-social angle to consider, too. While the ad industry isn’t as tightly concentrated in New York City as it might have been half a century ago, Madison Avenue is still where a disproportionate amount of the action is. As the source of so much creative development and implementation for marketing media, is this lack of diversity reflected in the advertising messages we encounter every day? It’s the concept of a fairly homogeneous vanguard of ideamen, formulating concepts based on their own narrow sets of experiences and inputs.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 10:40:32 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback

I think I’ve found the next primetime event for the X Games:


That would be kite-flying as practiced on the Indian subcontinent, where aerial duels involve “fighter kites” that are tethered by taut, razor-like strings coated with crushed glass or metal.

Death from the skies! Actually, often literally:

Every year, Pakistani media report dozens of deaths and injuries caused by kite flying, mainly of children and motorcyclists whose throats are sometimes cut by metal or glass-coated string.

“It is a matter of concern that a healthy sport is being turned into a game of death,” the official APP news agency quoted Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi as saying Tuesday.

Elahi said a crackdown had been launched against the sale of sharp kite string and threatened a permanent ban on kite-flying if deaths continued.

“Action under the Anti-Terrorism Act would be taken in case of deaths due to … dangerous kite-flying string,” he was quoted as saying.

This actually provides an explanation to a long-ago strange new item out of Afghanistan, when it was still under Taliban rule. The government banned all kite-flying, and that edict was reported in the West without what must have been this regional context.

Now, it makes sense. But at the time, it was presented as just another irrational action by an ultra-extreme, backward regime. It did lead to a funny quip by Jerry Seinfeld, when he heard about the kite-flying ban:

“What are they afraid of? That someone might discover electricity?”

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 02:20:00 PM
Category: Other Sports, Comedy | Permalink | Feedback (2)

The saga of the dual-named stretch of Interstate 275 that runs through St. Petersburg has run into a recently-uncovered snag: The highway already had a memorialized name.

Not that anyone was in on it:

Thirty-seven years ago the Legislature and Gov. Claude Kirk designated the interstate through Pinellas the American Legion Memorial Highway.

But few knew it.

“I had to look it up,” said FDOT spokeswoman Kris Carson. “It’s true.”

“This is the first I’ve ever heard of it,” said St. Petersburg City Councilman John Bryan. “It’s true, huh? I didn’t know.”

Which pretty much underlines why it’s pointless to tack on names to a road that everyone will continue to refer to as “I-275″. Much snappier than “St. Petersburg Parkway/William C. Cramer Memorial Highway/American Legion Memorial Freeway”, or whatever the final silly compromise will be.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 01:42:20 PM
Category: Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

for real
It seems like every blogger in creation has linked to the video clip of a live-action recreation of “The Simpsons” opening sequence. Many have marveled at the attention to detail in what’s presumably an Internet-borne labor of love.

There’s a reason why it’s so detailed: It’s a professional job, commissioned by Fox itself. The network got UK ad agency Devilfish to make the short as a TV promo for British audiences, and News Corp. marketers released it on the Web as a viral campaign. (There already was a tipoff that it came from the other side of the Atlantic: The Marge and Maggie driving sequence curiously featured a car with a right-side steering wheel.)

Would the wide appreciation the short’s received be diminished had people known it was a corporate product? I don’t think so. It’s still a clever homage to the animated series. And there’s no better parody than self-parody!

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 11:52:53 AM
Category: Internet, Advert./Mktg., TV | Permalink | Feedback

this is the big one
If there’s any semblance of balance in the cosmos, the sound guy at St. Louis’ Savvis Center should be playing the instantly-recognizable theme music from “Sanford and Son” during home games when Blues starting goaltender Curtis Sanford is in net.

If you need more justification than the obvious, consider that Redd Foxx, and his character Fred Sanford, both called St. Louis their hometown. Plus, Foxx’s birth name really was Sanford. And there’s Foxx’s recurring joke from the show about the “G” in “Fred G. Sanford” standing for whatever he felt like at that moment — in this instance, it might as well be for “goalie”. On top of all that, it’d be just plain crowd-pleasing.

If none of those reasons are good enough, then perhaps this little Mark Evanier-related anecdote involving the show’s theme and Foxx’s infamous lounge act will convince:

This took place at the Hacienda Hotel on a rainy Sunday night. Vegas was sparsely-peopled that evening and Redd had a lot of empty seats at his early show. When the time came to start the 11:00 performance, there were only ten bodies in the audience.

Opening the show was Slappy White, another veteran performer who had made much the same, hard climb as Mr. Foxx, reaching a slightly lower rung. Slappy did his twenty minutes, then a voice intoned, “Ladies and gentlemen… the star of Sanford and Son, Mister Redd Foxx -!”

The small band on the stage struck up the Sanford and Son theme: “Yum ta da-da, yum ta da-da da-da-dum, yum ta da-da…” Redd Foxx, resplendent in a tuxedo, his Norelco-shaved head gleaming in the follow-spot, strutted out on stage. He reached the microphone and peered out in the house. Then, after a moment or two, he screamed out -


Then he turned and marched off the stage. The band struck up his theme again: “Yum ta da-da, yum ta da-da da-da-dum, yum ta da-da…”

The lights came up, the waiters passed through the place distributing refunds… and the show was over.

I don’t know why but I just love that… especially the image of the band playing him off with his theme song, just as if he’d finished a normal performance. I’d have gladly paid the full cover charge (plus two-drink minimum) to have been there that evening.

If that doesn’t sell you, St. Louis Blues fans, then nothing will.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 03/08/2021 11:01:48 AM
Category: TV, Hockey | Permalink | Feedback