Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, October 11, 2021

I wonder if the editor for this week’s New York Times’ Metropolitan Diary recognized the name of one of the reader contributors, Keir Dullea.

Because I’m assuming that it’s the same Dullea that was in 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with several other notable roles in a 50-year acting career. I mean, there can’t be more than one “Keir Dullea” out there, right? No special notation by the Times, though, so who knows?

Anyway, here’s his published entry:

Some years ago, my wife and I would regularly take my parents to dinner at a restaurant they particularly liked on Madison Avenue in the upper 80s.

We usually came in from Connecticut by car. Most often, as I fed coins into the parking meter out front, a particular panhandler would ask me for a donation. He was a regular and I would often give him something. Once he even gave me a quarter when I was out of change.

One day around noon, I was walking along Madison in the 70s when I spotted my panhandler across the street. I shouted to him: “What are you doing way down here?”

His reply: “Oh, hey, man, this is my day job.”

Not exactly a Kubrick-quality script, but certainly an enlightening vignette, worthy of note.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/11/2021 11:17 PM
Category: Movies, New Yorkin', Publishing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)

no buds for oil
To adapt a current-day political statement for hockey purposes, call this “Buds for Oil“: A long-ago proposal to simultaneously relocate two Canadian-based NHL teams.

The biography of one-time Oilers owner Peter Pocklington says the scheme called for the entire team to move to Toronto to play in Maple Leaf Gardens. The Leafs, in turn, would have found a home in Edmonton’s new arena, which at that time was called the Coliseum.

In the book “I’d Trade Him Again,” Pocklington says Leafs owner Harold Ballard was having financial troubles and made the proposal in 1980. Ballard also wanted Pocklington to pay him $50 million in cash.

Pocklington, who was vilified in Edmonton when he traded Wayne Gretzky in 1988, says he was all for the market swap, but Ballard backed out in the end.

To find an equivalent, you could look to the 1972 NFL ownership swap between the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Colts. That deal actually went down, although the team colors and players remained in their established locations (until both teams left their towns years later), with only Robert Irsay and Carroll Rosenbloom swapping deeds. The Oilers-Leafs exchange would have taken things a step further, with an Original Six franchise leaving Canada’s largest city, and being replaced by a squad from the just-vanquished upstart World Hockey Association.

Had this somehow happened, the obvious result would have been the transfer of the Ontario-born and bred Wayne Gretzky from the western hinterlands to the heart of hockey country. Presumably, these Toronto Oilers would have hauled in a clutch of Stanley Cups in the ’80s. What’s more, it would have been extremely unlikely that Pocklington would have felt the financial pressure to trade away Gretzky by the end of that decade. So the Great One might have stayed with one team for his whole career, and the NHL’s Sunbelt expansion would have needed a different catalyst than the LA Kings’ acquisition of Gretzky (although it still would have happened).

As for the prospects of the Edmonton Maple Leafs, I’d have to believe they would have fared much worse. The city of Edmonton showed during the lean ’90s that it didn’t care much for supporting a foundering organization, and the Ballard-led Leafs were exactly that. Without a wildly successful team to root for, chances are that NHL hockey would have withered in Oil Town, to the point where a relocated Leafs franchise might have had to relocate yet again — leaving Edmonton without an NHL team in the end.

No telling just how much meat there was to this. Ballard could have just been feeling out possibilities for raising the cash he wanted (which he ultimately got from bringing in Molson Brewery as a partner). Likewise, Pocklington could be trumping up what was only informal talks, just to generate interest in his book. But it’s an intriguing alternate-history scenario.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/11/2021 10:49 PM
Category: Football, History, Hockey
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (5)