Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, July 07, 2021

I still think publicity-challenged Versus should have gone for broke on this, but instead, NBC is reuniting Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann on the Sunday Football Night in America telecasts.

No, it won’t quite be a recreation of the mid-’90s “SportsCenter” glory years, aka the era of “The Big Show”. Patrick and Olbermann simply won’t have as much time to toss around riffs and rejoinders. Plus, by the nature of the broadcast, they’ll talk about nothing but football, thus limiting their creative raw material (not that I’m complaining too much, since I am an NFL fan).

But I’ll take what I can get. Maybe the duo will offer a glimmer, or better, of what used to be the best-spent hour of sports programming anywhere. And thus, validate my waxing nostalgic over the old SC, and not having those unaware think I’m daft for doing so.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/07/2021 08:36:09 PM
Category: SportsBiz, TV
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Jaromir Jagr effectively closed the book on his National Hockey League career last week by signing a three-year no-out contract with Avangard Omsk of the rebooted Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia. (I’m going with “KHL”, rather than a fully-translated “Continental Hockey League/CHL”, only because it avoids unnecessary confusion with the umbrella Canadian Hockey League and other puck-y acronyms.)

Given the pointed symbolism behind Jagr’s No. 68 uniform number — it commemorates the Prague Spring of 1968, the Soviet military repression of which led to both of Jagr’s grandfathers being imprisoned, and one subsequently dying — would it be at all controversial for Jagr to retain, as a Russian league player, what originated as an anti-Russian protest?

I guess not, because it apparently didn’t cause any static when he wore the number for Omsk during the 2004-05 lockout season. Easy enough to specify that the 68 is aimed at the now-gone Soviets, as distinguished from the present-day Russians. No irony lost there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/07/2021 12:50:24 PM
Category: History, Hockey, Political
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Hard to believe that the infamous South Central Los Angeles technically no longer exists. And it’s even harder to believe that the residents of “South Los Angeles” now pine for the former, more recognizable name, warts and all.

But an unintended consequence was to make core neighborhoods around Central Avenue disappear from Angelenos’ mental map — arguably none so much as Newton, a patch of nowhere east of the Harbor Freeway.

Now Bowers and others trying to revive this place are finding their first challenge is to explain where it is. “I try to make it 50 words or less,” said Capt. Dennis Cremins of LAPD’s Newton station.

“Namelessness matters,” said Josh Sides, professor of California history at Cal State Northridge. “A nameless place doesn’t exist… Speculators, developers, want to invest in a place that exists.”

It could be that LA gave up on “South Central” too quickly. The negative associations that the name acquired over the past thirty years didn’t have to become permanent. Indeed, given the rich historical tradition of the area from the first half of the 20th Century, a rehabilitation wouldn’t be out of the question. Inspiration can be found in a familiar spot across the country:

The fate of nameless Newton contrasts sharply with that of another famous seat of black urban culture — Harlem in New York City. Through more than 300 years of shifting fortunes, Harlem has kept its identity intact. Harlem “has brand equity that is recognized worldwide,” said Leon Wynter, spokesman for the Harlem Community Development Corp. Harlem’s name also has carried “negative associations” over the years, Wynter said. But it still gives the area “a central and cohesive identity.”

But I guess finding a “central and cohesive identity” is a challenge anywhere in LA, given how spread-out and disconnected the city is by nature. It’ll take more than a label to unify patches of this urban terrain.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/07/2021 10:57:04 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Politics, Society
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