Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, May 12, 2021

A bumper sticker I spied not too long ago, upstate (I snapped a cameraphone photo of it, but it came out too crappy to use):


Yup, “there”, instead of “they’re”. No better way to sabotage an otherwise bold statement than via a boneheaded misspelling.

I would attribute this to a recent rash of mad-as-hell grammatical challenges, except that it appears this doofus has been displaying his cluelessness for a couple of years.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/12/2021 11:04:06 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Political, Wordsmithing
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There are two ways of looking at Cablevision’s $650 million purchase of Newsday from Tribune Co.:

1. Underlying the apparent mismatch between a dominant cable provider and an entrenched but struggling newspaper is a potentially lucrative synergy:

But even if the prospective deal has an element of vanity to it, Cablevision could make the following argument. It has roughly three million cable subscribers in Long Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, while Newsday has about 300,000 subscribers. Cablevision’s customer relationships could help it sell more subscriptions, while overlapping ad sales forces at the two companies could result in cost savings. And Cablevision owns a 24-hour local news channel in Long Island, which could use the news gathering capacity of Newsday — and in theory cut costs.

This makes the acquisition of Newsday the equivalent of securing an established and dedicated advertising channel for Cablevision. Nassau County is prime demographic territory, so any additional inroads a media company can make and present to ad clients is extremely valuable.

2. In order to extract the maximum value out of its unwanted asset, Tribune owner Sam Zell orchestrated an elaborate competition among Newsday’s suitors:

The trick was for Zell to turn this into a bidding war. That was difficult at first. The three interested parties acted as if they had the upper hand. Cablevision did some tire kicking, but the Dolans didn’t make an offer. [New York Daily News owner Mort] Zuckerman reportedly made a lowball bid.

Zell turned up the heat by entering into negotiations with News Corp. to accept $580 million for a majority stake in Newsday. [Rupert] Murdoch clearly felt he had the inside track. He began courting Long Island’s political leaders whose support he would surely need to get the deal approved by the FCC in Washington. That’s because News Corp. already owns the [New York] Post and two New York City television stations.

It now appears Zell was using News Corp.’s offer to establish a floor for the bidding. Zuckerman soon matched News Corp.’s offer. Then Cablevision did what non-strategic bidders often do in such situations. It offered to pay a higher price than either newspaper publisher.

And viola, Newsday becomes a hot property. Where it goes from here under the Dolans’ stewardship remains to be seen.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/12/2021 10:41:13 PM
Category: Business, New Yorkin', Publishing, TV
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From one of my most fave-o-reet episodes of “The Simpsons”, I present “Skinner & the Superintendent”, or (as I prefer) “Steamed Hams”:

And for good measure, the key exchange:

Superintendent Chalmers: I thought we were having steamed clams.
Seymour Skinner: Oh, no, I said steamed hams. That’s what I call hamburgers.
Superintendent Chalmers: You call hamburgers steamed hams?
Seymour Skinner: Yes, it’s a regional dialect.
Superintendent Chalmers: Uh-huh. What region?
Seymour Skinner: Uhh… Upstate New York.
Superintendent Chalmers: Really? Well, I’m from Utica, and I’ve never heard anyone use the phrase ’steamed hams.’
Seymour Skinner: Oh, not in Utica. No, it’s an Albany expression.
Superintendent Chalmers: I see.
[Chalmers bites into a steamed ham.]
Superintendent Chalmers: You know, these hamburgers are quite similar to the ones they have at Krusty Burger.
Seymour Skinner: Oh ho ho, no. Patented Skinner burgers. Old family recipe.
Superintendent Chalmers: For steamed hams…
Seymour Skinner: Yes…
Superintendent Chalmers: Yes, and you call them steamed hams despite the fact that they are obviously grilled.

One last tidbit: Along with the obvious allusions to Pulp Fiction throughout, this episode also owes its title — “22 Short Films About Springfield” — to Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The title and structure of which, in turn, was inspired by the 32 pieces that comprise Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/12/2021 08:05:14 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative, Movies, New Yorkin', TV
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