Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 29, 2021

A European quest to secure a foothold in Africa’s vast energy resource supply has created an unfortunate English-language translation:

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom has signed a $2.5bn deal with Nigeria’s state operated NNPC, to invest in a new joint venture.

The new firm, to be called Nigaz, is set to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Nigeria.

That’s right, “Nigaz”. It’s missing a “g”, and no doubt the accepted pronunciation will be “nigh-gahz” or even “nee-gahz”; but basically, for American English speakers, we’re in NWA territory.

For further consideration of the branding shortfall, I couldn’t have said it better myself:

Apparently Gazprom, a Global 500 company with nearly 400,000 employees (no exaggeration) doesn’t have a single marketing person who speaks ENGLISH or is even remotely familiar with American slang. YO! Gazprom! I don’t mean to be dissin’ ya’ll, but Shizzle! What the hizzle??? Nigaz??? I might just have to shoot the five witcha, or at least sick the naming po-pos on ya. Again: Nigaz???? Have you NO skrilla to do some of that linguistic or cultural screenin’?? Were you guys crunked up when you thought of that name???

Represent, Russkies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 10:42:50 PM
Category: Business, Politics, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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Judgement day for Bernie Madoff inspired this little tweet-joke from me, which I gladly reproduce here (any justification to blockquote myself):

At 150 years, I’d say Bernie got the penal equivalent of a run-on sentence.

I could extend this courtroom-grammatical motif by noting that, indeed, the judge threw the book at him. But I digress.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 09:05:37 PM
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, True Crime, Wordsmithing
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There’s a curious convergence of sociological research hitting the newsstream on this Monday, all having to do with generational readouts:

- The Pew Research Center reveals that American perceptions on growing older differ from the reality, particularly in just when old age begins (most say 68, but there are various milestones to signify the passage, including sexual/genitalial failure and lack of a Twitter account).

- Extrapolating from this Pew study, the Associated Press declares the return of the Generation Gap on socio-cultural issues — at least, one wider than at any point since the original young adult-middle age Gap from the Vietnam era.

- Finally, independently of the above, the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that a big chunk of adolescents don’t expect to live to see old age, with this dead-by-35 crowd promptly dubbed “fatalistic teens”.

Taken all together, anyone living in the here-and-now can conclude that they either have no long-term future, or if they do, it’s a mundane one; and to top it off, the current lifestyle is isolated by a great attitudinal divide. It all shakes out as existence as usual…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 01:57:31 PM
Category: Media, Science, Society
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“Too many barns and not enough horses” is basically how the major-league arena landscape in the New York City area shapes up:

Five major complexes — four existing and one planned — will soon be slugging it out within an area 30 miles wide.

At least two of the existing arenas already lose money, and experts say further casualties are almost guaranteed.

“Five arenas is not going to work,” said Mark S. Rosentraub, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan. “I don’t think four works, even in a market as large as New York. There’s competition in every direction and there aren’t enough events.”

The five arenas in question all have their own issues:

In Brooklyn, the developer Bruce C. Ratner is racing to start construction of a $772 million arena for the Nets basketball team, even as Newark woos the Nets for its money-losing Prudential Center arena.

In New Jersey, the owner of the Devils hockey team, which abandoned the Izod Center in the Meadowlands to play at Prudential Center, wants Gov. Jon S. Corzine to tear down the Izod Center, in the hopes of eliminating a competing venue.

On Long Island, Charles Wang is pressuring local officials to approve his plans to rebuild the much-maligned Nassau Coliseum for his Islanders hockey team by hinting that the team might flee to Queens, or leave New York altogether.

Then there is Madison Square Garden, whose owners are starting a $500 million overhaul of the 41-year-old arena. The Garden’s cachet helps draw performers, but the arena has another considerable advantage: three major professional sports teams play there, leaving the Garden with fewer dates to fill than the region’s other arenas, which all play host to only one major sports team apiece.

This doesn’t even count the other large-scale stadia in the same neighborhood: Giants Stadium, Yankees Stadium, and Citi Field. They’re slightly different animals, in that only a very select few musical acts perform mega-stadium shows these days. Still, they provide an x-factor in the competition over non-music venues.

I’m not sure just how dire the situation is. For one, the Brooklyn arena situation is pretty close to collapsing. So I wouldn’t count on those seats even being built. From there, the Nets will have little choice but to move to Newark and rejoin the Devils as co-tenants in the same arena, thus filling out the Prudential Center’s dates. (The final domino to fall in that scenario is the eventual demolition of the Izod Center, which would be without a primary tenant.)

The rule of thumb about an arena needing 200 booked dates to generate an operating surplus is telling. It means that the trend toward major-league sports teams demanding their own, exclusive barn (especially in the Sunbelt) benefits nobody but that team and its owner. The facility itself suffers from lack of use, which prompts demands for subsidies (zero rent, cash infusions, operating concessions, etc.) from the host city/county/state. And, of course, a glut of sports/entertainment seats without enough butts to fill them year-round. It’s a situation that screams for macro-economic oversight.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 12:26:31 PM
Category: New Yorkin', SportsBiz
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