Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, February 23, 2021

coaches on ice
When I decamped from Florida three years ago for New York, little did I suspect that Tampa Bay Lightning then-head coach John Tortorella eventually would follow the same path north.

Yes, Torts is the new bench boss for the New York Rangers. He has 21 games to instill a Camp Torture-ella environment among the Blueshirts, and thus hopefully reverse the slow-but-steady slide out of playoff contention they’ve been on for the past month. I have my doubts that a couple dozen games is enough time to get things moving in the right direction, but at least it’ll set the foundation for next season.

As for the now-deposed Tom Renney: I have no problem with canning the coach mid-stream, and for all the talk of player underachievement, I think the lack of organization and discipline among the coaching staff was really glaring over the past couple of weeks. It culminated with last night’s listless OT loss to the Leafs, when I noticed several botched shift changes and positional mis-matches. I kept the TV on long enough to watch Renney’s postgame press conference, and I could tell he knew that he was a goner, and deservedly so.

One last note: TSN saw fit to mention this consequence from Renney’s firing:

In an interesting sidenote, all four NHL teams that opened the NHL season in Europe have now fired their head coaches this season. In addition to Renney, other coaches to get the axe are the Penguins’ Michel Therrien, the Lightning’s Barry Melrose and the Senators’ Craig Hartsburg. Those teams were part of the NHL’s move to generate interest overseas by holding regular season games in Prague, Czech Republic and Stockholm, Sweden to kick off the 2008-09 campaign.

This is TSN engaging in veiled jingoism, implying that the league shouldn’t dilly-dally overseas or else bad things would eventually accrue. So that means that coaching staffs on next year’s European quartet of NHL teams — the Red Wings, Blues, Panthers, and Blackhawks — better watch their backs…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 10:47pm
Category: Florida Livin', Hockey, New Yorkin'
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Dubbed by one Congressional leader as “the most negative brand in America” — and almost certainly among the most-mocked — the Dubya-legacy “No Child Left Behind” Department of Education program is up for renaming.

And that means plenty of input from the World Wide Peanut Gallery, including:

One entry, alluding to the bank bailout program, suggests that it be called the Mental Asset Recovery Plan. Another proposal: the Act to Help Children Read Gooder… the Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act, the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act, the Teach to the Test Act and the Could We Start Again Please Act.

I love me a good rebranding that, please, thinks of the children…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 09:01pm
Category: Comedy, Politics, Wordsmithing
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He’s not the first to point out the relationship between grandiose urban landscapes and oppressive governments, but Slate’s Matthew Polly turns a nice descriptive trick when summing up the beauty that is Russia’s St. Petersburg:

Nowhere is that more true than on Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main thoroughfare and most famous street. (Gogol again: “What splendors does this street not know!”) Driving down it was like a flashback to Architecture 101’s final exam. Hmm, let’s see: Neoclassical, Style Moderne, Baroque, Neoclassical, Neoclassical, Baroque.

Say this about absolute monarchies: While living under them is awful (tens if not hundreds of thousands died building St. Petersburg, their bodies laid into the foundation), they do leave behind magnificent cities. Democracies, while far more pleasant, leave behind places like Phoenix.

Maybe more apt a democratic example would be Florida’s St. Petersburg, which is not only the original St. Pete’s sister city, but was also my home for a good decade-and-a-half. Much like Phoenix or any other Sunbelt town, it’s fairly flattened out, and while it’s got its share of modest architectural charms, the stripmall remains the most distinguishing structural landmark.

But true, at least no one got killed while building the American version. Although, I could conjure up the old “God’s Waiting Room” nickname and assign the Gulf Coast city its own body count.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 08:18pm
Category: Florida Livin', History, Political Theory, Society
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The stock market spent the day being unkind toward big-bank stocks, particularly that of Citi, which is the target of nationalization fears thanks to reports of an increase of Federal ownership to 40 percent.

Forty percent is certainly a big chunk of change, especially in a behemoth like Citigroup. But that doesn’t have to amount to full control, by the government or any other entity. Consider:

The standard corporate definition of subsidiary status is 50 percent and up of ownership stake by a single entity. But an even more germane standard is the consolidated tax return threshold, which is 80 percent ownership of a business by another single entity, i.e. a parent company.

Granted, these are unusual times, so the textbook definitions don’t need to apply. On the other hand, we are talking mainly about perceptional standards: Whatever it takes to convince investors that Uncle Sam isn’t in charge at the teller windows will work. So the White House just needs to declare that nationalization doesn’t take effect, as long as Federal ownership stake stays below 80 percent (and ideally, well below that magic number). Market confidence restored!

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 02/23/2009 07:13pm
Category: Business, Politics
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