Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 28, 2021

great and small
A month ago, when I originally posted this giant-pumpkin photo (here and on Flickr, biggie-sized), I quipped that I couldn’t wait for the next annual showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to roll around.

And tonight, only a couple of days before Halloween, I stumble upon that animated holiday classic on ABC. Just finished watching it.

It was a nice little surprise, as it’s been a crappy day weather-wise and I’ve been cooped up inside practically all day. I’ll take it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/28/2008 08:44:07 PM
Category: Pop Culture, TV
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The upcoming New York Times Play Magazine feature on the resurgence of Russian big-league sports is, predictably, heavy on the hockey. That would be Kontinental Hockey League, the state-sponsored and petro-fueled pucks concern that’s gunning for NHL-like greatness.

And beyond, in fact. That’s according to Hall of Famer Slava Fetisov, who, as newly-installed chairman of the KHL, has some wild ideas for where icing and offsides can be exported:

“I warned Gary Bettman five years ago,” [Fetisov] tells me, referring to the N.H.L. commissioner. “You’ve got your business model, but if you take the best players out of Europe and Russia for cheap — you’ll kill the game, and your own market.” North America, Fetisov argues, is “a small hockey market.” He continues: “For years I’ve tried to tell the Americans to think big. Look beyond Russia and Europe. What about Asia? China? Even in India they play field hockey. Why can’t the N.H.L. see it? They’re afraid. They want to preserve their market. Now it’s too late. We’re gonna take our market share. And you’ll see, it’ll be good for the game.”

I’m sure Canadians are howling over being referred to as “a small hockey market” — and not even separately, but as part of the greater North American whole.

I can’t wait to see the forthcoming rink action out of New Delhi and Mumbai.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/28/2008 05:34:48 PM
Category: Hockey
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it is writtenI saw this accompanying ad, featuring self-proclaimed “Jesus Freak” Kirk Franklin, and similar ones around New York months ago. Thanks to the dramatic use of lyrics, color, and font, it’s how I became aware of Gospel Music Channel, even though it’s been on my Time Warner Cable lineup for a long while now.

Mission accomplished for a campaign to help this upstart cable music channel stand out in an already-crowded television universe.

The campaign that appeared last spring, aimed at the buyers at media agencies, featured singers seen on the Gospel Music Channel like Mr. Franklin and [Amy] Grant along with groups like Jars of Clay. Each ad started with the words “The gospel according to” and continued with lyrics from their songs.

Strong bet on mixing the musical genres beyond traditional church-choir music and into Christian rock, country, rap, etc. There’s probably stronger identification among this brand of music fan, so the advertising dollar goes even longer when spent on GMC.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/28/2008 11:35:45 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, TV
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The touchiest part of all the governmental remedies being applied to the ongoing financial crisis is the not-wholly-intended negative consequences. Such as the solvency solution applied to the now-former Wall Street investment banks/prime brokers:

This contraction in loans provided through prime brokers was the inevitable consequence of the collapse of Lehman, but also - far more importantly - of the recent conversion into banks of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman are - by far - the biggest prime brokers, with Morgan Stanley the number one.

But as banks, they’re prevented by regulators from lending as much relative to their capital resources as they had been as securities firms.

So the US authorities should have known - and presumably did know - that by allowing Morgan Stanley and Goldman to become banks they were in effect forcing a serious contraction in the hedge-fund industry, which in turn would lead to sales of all manner of assets held by hedge funds and precipitate turmoil throughout the financial economy.

So did the Feds intentionally hasten the tightening of large-scale credit, with the predictable domino effect both upstream (bailouts of whole countries like Iceland and Ukraine) and downstream (consumer credit crunches for car loans and such)? Maybe, although it might have made little difference no matter what Washington did:

It might be the case that the total amount [the brokers] lent out to hedge funds has declined, even if their client count is rising. And I’m sure that there’s been a lot of pressure both internally and externally for those shops to derisk and deleverage.

But the fact is that as soon as the investment banks started getting access to the Fed’s money, they were bound to become much more tightly regulated — whether they became banks or not. Has that process been sped up by their move to become banks? Frankly, I doubt it — no one at Treasury or at the SEC is interested in giving Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs a hard time right now over the fact that they don’t immediately conform to all the requirements of banks. These things take a certain amount of time, and everybody understands that.

Bottom line: As much as the powers-that-be think they can control the market forces now at play, they’re simply crossing their fingers and taking stabs. Fixes for immediate problems will provide short-term relief, but the larger, systemic turmoil will continue. In a lot of ways, we’re simply moving from stage to stage, with nudges along the way.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/28/2008 10:09:03 AM
Category: Business, Political
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