Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, May 21, 2021

Just a thought:

If I were Princess Superstar, I’d be mighty pissed about Lady Gaga not only stealing my bad-girl rapper/dancehall queen schtick, but also riding it to big-time mainstream success.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/21/2009 04:07pm
Category: Celebrity, Pop Culture, Women
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The news broke last night: Four jihadist-wannabes were arrested while attempting to blow up a carbomb in front of a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

Disturbing enough. More disturbing from my personal perspective: All four of these jokers resided in, and laid their terrorist plans, in the town I grew up in:

The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, had met in prison. [James] Cromitie, 44, who authorities described as the plot’s leader, had lived in Brooklyn and had as many as 27 arrests for minor crimes both in upstate New York and in New York City, [NYC police commissioner Raymond] Kelly said. Mr. Cromitie, David Williams, and Onta Williams were native-born Americans, while [Laguerre] Payen was born in Haiti and is a Haitian citizen.

The four men arrested are all Muslim, a law enforcement official said. Mr. Cromitie, whose parents had lived in Afghanistan before his birth, had told the informant that he was upset about the war in Afghanistan and that that he wanted to do “something to America.” Mr. Cromitie stated “the best target” — the World Trade Center — “was hit already,” according to the complaint.

And further on the Newburgh angle was their intent to shoot down military planes at Stewart Airport Air National Guard Base.

I’m compelled to make note of this because of my connection with the town. That said, it’s not like I feel any more affected by this brush with “homegrown” terror than anyone else. Yes, the proximity is slightly jarring: The conspirators lived not all that far away from my childhood house, and likewise Stewart isn’t that far away from that location either (in fact, planes flying into Stewart are a common sight and sound overhead in my old neighborhood). And I’ve mentioned before how socio-economically distressed Newburgh has been for decades now, so it’s not a big shock that something like this could be germinating in the area.

Still, I don’t take away from this that Newburgh is a unique case. Desperate times abound for all sorts of people in all corners of the country, and a similar scenario could (and probably will) play out in any one of a thousand small burghs. This time out, it just happened to be one with which I’m all too familiar.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/21/2009 02:54pm
Category: New Yorkin', Politics, True Crime
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Today is my name day.

What’s a “name day”, you say? Good question. At root, it’s a like a birthday, except that instead of celebrating your age, you’re celebrating your first name — or really, the Christian saint of whom you’re a namesake. Therefore, it’s a locked-in date that you “share” with other people that share your name; if you happen to have a non-traditional name that doesn’t match with a saint, then you’re out of luck. It’s apparently not uncommon throughout Europe, although I’m familiar with only the Greek (Orthodox) version.

And truthfully, I’m not even all that familiar with that. I never remember when mine is, nor anyone else’s for that matter. If my mother hadn’t reminded me earlier this week, I certainly would have overlooked it again this year. It means something to her, and the fact that my brother and I don’t care for the custom is one more thing that we argue about with her.

Not that the two of us are the only ones who whiff on this. I mentioned it to a cousin who shares today’s name day with me, and she was also unaware. Obviously, it’s a generational thing, along with a cultural one — obviously it’s never caught on in the US, primarily because of the lack of saints among Protestants. I wonder just how celebrated the name day is in Greece and other European countries; I’ve never gotten the sense that it was as big a deal as a birthday, although I’m sure that varies across regions.

Anyway. Nothing in the way of commemoration for this day, other than this online note. I am heading up to Broadway later tonight to catch a show, and while that’s purely coincidental, I guess I can consider it my name-day dividend.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 05/21/2009 01:23pm
Category: General
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