Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, December 15, 2021

re-writing the strike
I have to admit, the chief loss I’ve personally felt from the ongoing television writers’ strike has been the lack of new episodes of “Late Show with David Letterman”. Nothing else I watch on TV — sports, old sitcom reruns and movies — has impacted my viewing pleasure more than semi-regular tune-ins of Dave.

That might be remedied soon. Because Letterman owns his show via his World Wide Pants production company — versus the television network ownership of the other late-night programs — there’s a chance of an interim agreement with the writers that would allow “Late Show” (and sister program “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”) to start up again, regardless of the situation between the union and the networks.

If it happens, Letterman will have a potential edge over his rivals:

The other hosts have been debating about when they might be able to come back on the air and it has been expected that at least the two chief NBC late-night stars, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien — both of whom are the longtime ratings leaders in their time periods — would announce early Monday a plan to return to the air, probably on Jan. 2.

If they do come back then, they might have to do so without their writers if the strike is continuing — and both sides expect that it will be. Additionally, the late shows might have some difficulty booking guests who were reluctant to cross a picket line. That too might put them at a disadvantage to Mr. Letterman, whose two shows would not at that point be picketed.

Late-night programming is a cash cow for the networks, so a race there to get around the Writers Guild strike could conceivably start a chain reaction toward a more general break in the labor dispute. We’ll see.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/15/2007 08:41:53 PM
Category: Business, TV
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It’s no secret that the U.S. dollar has been tanking versus other world currencies for a long while now, and there are few more fundamental ways to get that point across than this:

The dollar’s fall has been so drastic, it has seeped into the popular consciousness. In his last video, rapper Jay-Z cruised the streets of New York flashing not a stack of Benjamins, but a fistful of euros.

I’m smelling an upcoming remake of “Money Ain’t A Thang”! Although the lyrics in there refer to “spending hundreds”, they don’t explicitly say hundreds of what — greenbacks, eurocoin, rubles, whatever that day’s exchange rates bring a better yield to.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/15/2007 07:29:46 PM
Category: Business, Political, Pop Culture
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“Ambush”, the latest release from Rampage, has been on my iPod for a few months now. I got it as the Free Single of the Week off iTunes, and liked it enough to listen to it, but haven’t kept it in my go-to rotation.

But for some reason, my iPod’s shuffle setting has ticked up “Ambush” on a regular basis over this past week. That being the case — and the fact that I like the track’s groove enough to not fast-forward to the next random selection — I’ve noticed one set of lyrics that stands out for me:

Brooknam is just where I’m from

“Brooknam” being, of course, a designation for the rough parts of Brooklyn, combining “Brooklyn” and “Vietnam”. It signifies Rampage’s street cred effectively enough.

The use of “Nam” as a recognizable shorthand for a warzone, to be subsequently applied to any rough-and-tumble American neighborhood, speaks to the social resonance that the Vietnam War still has decades after the war ended. The source above traces “Brooknam” as coming into existence only ten years ago, so it suggests a good degree of currency.

Hearing this lyric brought to mind an even older example of this same New York-Vietnam amalgamation, albeit a wholly-fictional one. The groundbreaking mid-1980s graphic novel “Watchmen” includes a very brief (and somewhat cryptic) reference to “Viet Bronx”. The same idea can be inferred: A warzone in the run-down south Bronx, where gang warfare is still an unfortunate fact of life. (This may or may not materialize in the upcoming “Watchmen” major motion picture.)

Not sure any other boroughs/neighborhoods combine well with either Vietnamese syllable. “Staten Nam”? “Viet Harlem”? The applications may have run their course with the nicknames used in the title of this post.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/15/2007 02:33:07 PM
Category: Movies, New Yorkin', Pop Culture, Publishing, Wordsmithing
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