Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 15, 2021

From a layman’s standpoint, something’s never set right with me regarding the late billions of bucks’ worth of economic stimulus being tossed at consumer and industry alike. And here’s that something, articulated:

…Maybe it’s an indication that we were measuring the wrong thing, or measuring wrong. Some of us thought a Super-Sized Chevy pickup was worth as much as a house, and a house as much as a small business. But a barrel of oil turns out not to be worth $150, and Campbell’s Soup isn’t worth $1.50. Everybody thinks, “Dang, they’re on to us.” Panic ensues.

People had been making useless junk and didn’t know it, and now they’ve stopped. Maybe our economy depends on us working hard to make stuff we don’t need, so we can buy stuff we don’t need. Every few years people notice, and then there’s a recession. Really, if most of what we make is expensive and unnecessary, we’re lucky it’s ever anything but a recession.

This is the heart of it. When everything started crashing, the first response was to thaw out the suddenly-frozen credit mechanisms that had enabled years of profligate spending — in other words, restart an unsustainable system of growth. No plans for shifting gears away from economic strategy keyed on packaging cheap debt and selling it to China; instead, just another Band-Aid via stimulus checks and bank bailouts.

In hindsight, it’s not surprising, as the Bush administration had been playing this money shell-game for eight years. The alternative is a tougher road founded upon increased savings — cash reserves for households and capital funds for businesses. But that would require some innovative thinking, so that’s out.

Eventually, it’s going to dawn on everyone that the old SOP of spending tomorrow’s money today with little longer-term consequence doesn’t work anymore. It will again someday — that’s the nature of macroeconomic cycles. But for the short term, it’s a different terrain.

(Via dustbury)

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/15/2009 04:12:25 PM
Category: Business, Society
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All those panels of Peanuts that showed Schroeder pounding on his toy piano, while hanging above the scene would be what looked like a musical score? Turns out that those musical note arrangements were (usually) real, a highly-detailed touch.

When Schroeder pounded on his piano, his eyes clenched in a trance, the notes floating above his head were no random ink spots dropped into the key of G. [Strip creator Charles] Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. More than an illustration, the music was a soundtrack to the strip, introducing the characters’ state of emotion, prompting one of them to ask a question or punctuating an interaction.

“The music is a character in the strip as much as the people are, because the music sets the tone,” [San Jose State musical director William] Meredith said. To understand what gave Schroeder chills, he said, you have to listen to the musical passage. “When you actually hear the symphony, the whole thing feels completely different.”

Too bad I can’t read music. But nice to know.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/15/2009 03:23:53 PM
Category: Comedy, Creative, Pop Culture, Publishing
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Interesting tidbit from this look back at the World War II-era of merged teams in the NFL: Ironically, the merger of the organizations and rosters of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1943 led to the split-up of traditional coaching duties.

Under Greasy Neale of Philadelphia and Walt Kiesling of Pittsburgh, who served as co-coaches, the Steagles also contributed to the game’s development. Because Neale and Kiesling hated each other, they divided responsibilities along the lines of offense and defense. Modern offensive and defensive coordinators were thus born of a loveless marriage.

And since the team rolled up a winning season under this new-fangled structure (albeit just barely, at 5-4-1), the notion stuck. Then as now, the NFL was a consummate copycat league.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/15/2009 10:31:49 AM
Category: Football, History
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