Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 10, 2021

ah-ha, 10 downing
“The Thick of It” is the latest high-stylin’ Britcom to make noise in comedy circles. It’s a contemporized take on the classic “Yes, Minister”, imbued with the creative vigor that made the Alan Partridge shows so funny.

In fact, “Thick” owes its existence to the Alan Partridge character, which reveals how little has changed at 10 Downing Street since the days of “Yes, Minister”:

[Armando Iannucci] said the television series’s first direct inspiration came in 1996 when he got a call inviting Alan Partridge to interview Tony Blair as staged entertainment for a Labor Party conference in Blackpool. When Mr. Iannucci and [Steve] Coogan arrived, they were surprised by the greeting they were given by Mr. Blair’s chief image maker, Peter Mandelson.

“He was absolutely furious because he was expecting Alan Partridge,” said Mr. Iannucci. “He had to be taken to one side and explained that Alan Partridge was a fictional character played by Steve.”

“On the one hand, they tried to demonstrate this finger on the pulse of popular culture by knowing Alan Partridge was the one to be seen with. On the other hand, they demonstrated how little they know of popular culture by not realizing that it was a fictional character.”

“That’s when I started thinking, ‘Something is very odd about British politics right now.’”

Consider it a London version of the Beltway mentality.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/10/2021 11:16:53 PM
Category: TV, Politics | Permalink | Feedback

With prices at the pump high and bound to get higher, it’s hard for drivers to see a bright side to the gasoline blues. Unless you consider a different measure for fuel costs, and how past rises in that have spurred innovation:

But the cost of gas itself is only part of the story. The other part is how far that gas will take you. If you think about it, you care about how much you pay to drive 100 miles, not how much you pay for a gallon of clear, pungent fluid.

In the 1960’s, when people were buying Country Squires and El Caminos, vehicles were getting just 14 miles to the gallon on average. Gas was cheap at the time, but with all the guzzlers on the road, drivers were still spending an average of 15 cents a mile on gas. (All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.)

Yet people didn’t seem to mind. If anything, they cared more about getting their hands on bigger, more powerful cars, and, as a result, the overall fuel efficiency of the nation’s vehicles actually fell somewhat in the 60’s, notes Lee Schipper, research director at Embarq, a transportation consulting group.

But the oil crises of the 1970’s and early 80’s changed everything. The cost of gas spiked, eventually reaching 20 cents a mile, and the government passed a law in 1975 forcing vehicles to become more efficient. Thanks to that law and 20 years of mostly falling oil prices, Americans spent less than 7 cents a mile for gas in 1998…

Today, gas again costs about 15 cents a mile for the average driver, which gives the country some incentive to become more energy-efficient. You can cut the cost to 10 cents a mile, for example, by driving a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

So the expected $4 per gallon level this summer may be a tipping point for broader fuel efficiency. An explosion of hybrids is a predictable outcome.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/10/2021 10:44:09 PM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback

hey whitey
There are two ways to interpret this window display from the Kenneth Cole store on 5th Avenue, which I couldn’t help but photograph today:

- Mr. Cole is puckishly using his notable-quotable marketing gimmick (which has been liberally applied in the company’s advertising for years now) as a way to push the new line of just-for-summer white wardrobe.

- The “Change Is Good As Long As It’s Going In The White Direction” slogan is a veiled message meant to encourage a white supremacist agenda.

Racist conspiracy via fashion? Hey, it’s worthy of a Gawker-like gossip nugget.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/10/2021 10:17:57 PM
Category: Business, Fashion, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (1)