In The WWF Vs. WCW Battle, Money Won (Of Course)

September 6th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

wcwWhile eager to trumpet their own shows’ advertising prowess, both men were also quick to join the war of words that has become part of the USA-TNT battle. TNT now consistently beats USA in the ratings, but Rothschild pointed out that the WWF’s audience is younger than that of the WCW and, therefore, that it is more desirable to advertisers.

“Not to be disparaging, but we consider the WCW to be the old-age home,” he said. “Our wrestlers are youthful, energetic and much closer in age to our audience. We have the stars of today and tomorrow; they have our stars of yesterday.”

“We’ve beaten them in the ratings 35 straight weeks, and we deliver more young eyeballs than they do,” countered Uva.

The slugfest started quietly enough in the fall of 1995, as USA continued to enjoy a healthy 3.2 Nielsen Media Research rating with its weekly 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. wrestling telecast, putting it consistently among the highest-rated weekly programs on cable. But when TNT launched a 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-night show of its own, USA’s ratings almost immediately slipped to 2.6, running neck-and-neck with TNT’s new WCW Monday Nitro.

Then in late May of last year, TNT escalated the battle by expanding its program to two hours, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. …

Profiling The Man Who Changed USA Network Forever

September 2nd, 2015 • Uncategorized2 Comments »

tnmediaIDEALLY, THE PROGRAMMING CHIEF FOR a broad-based cable network called USA would be a quintessential American: a second-generation American who looks ahead rather than reflecting on the past; someone who, for all his higher education and Hollywood living, genuinely loves fast food and professional wrestling. Someone like Stephen Chao.

The former Fox wunderkind’s track record of inexpensive, lowbrow–and hugely popular–series is, after all, consistent with USA’s modus operandi. “Chao is a smart guy,” confirms Howard Nass, executive director of broadcast for TN Media, one of the country’s largest media-buying companies, who describes USA’s programming head as both aggressive “and a little bit different.”

“The production community will want to come to him,” Nass predicts.

It all sounds like a match made in heaven. And while it might well turn out that way, the Chao-USA union may not be quite so blissful.

For starters, Chao’s storyline is filled not just with high ratings, but with bad reviews and a temperament that sometimes threatens to overshadow his work.

What’s more, cable is more complicated than ever. Even though USA has been a consistently top-rated network, Nass points out, it relies heavily on the increasingly crude World Wrestling Federation to maintain its high ratings, and has long struggled for an identity. As a result, he says, the network is vulnerable to ratings erosion …

Did The Internet Gravely Hurt The Fashion Industry?

August 29th, 2015 • Uncategorized4 Comments »

internetgravelyWill the Internet sap the creative spirit out of the fashion industry, turning its employees into computer drones? Or will it free people from the tyranny of mundane meetings, to empower them to become more involved in the design process?

Will the prevalence of virtual offices eliminate the need for dressing up? Or will it instead spark a pent-up desire to suit up?

These are questions that academics, trend watchers, fashion designers and more than a few potential worker drones are wrestling with as they try to predict how the Internet is going to affect work-life and lifestyle patterns.

Clearly, the Internet’s impact overall at the workplace and at home is just taking shape. In health, for example, medical information is researched by thousands each day. Sites like WebMD for diagnosis, Mayo Clinic for diseases and symptoms, and for snoring mouthpieces and appliances – each one has become a major force in health care. And in fashion, a world more comfortable with gut-instinct creativity than hard-core technology, the web’s effect is already lagging behind the times. Read the rest of this entry »

Hollinger’s Board Meetings Remain A Classic Case Of Bad Entertainment As Financial News

August 25th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

stockholdrsmThe stockholders meeting has always been Hollinger’s annual contribution to vaudeville. This is Conrad Black, who quite easily could take over the roles filled by Sir John Gielgud, and perhaps has missed his true calling. Dutiful, dull lawyers get up to “nominate” 16 directors who naturally are opposed by nothing but silence. Accountants who look like accountants get up and recommend the books be passed.

But all wait for Conrad. It is worthwhile. He and his wife, magnificent in a marigold-yellow suit above magnificent gams and spike heels, saunter towards their seats, the feverish TV cameramen backing on their knees. It is an entrance worthy of Caesar and Cleopatra. The rapture, amidst the pinstripes, is entrancing.

Conrad is at his most droll. “The program states I am to call this meeting to order, though I find the whole concept to be offensive.” He allows to the some 150 inmates that “I have a few remarks to inflict on you.”

Things are going swell, is the essential message — his Daily Telegraph in London at its most profitable point in history, losses at his National Post “declining steeply” with a pledge to be breaking even by the fourth quarter.

Most interesting, despite Conrad’s verbal sense of humour, is the drollery he displays in the back end of the 94-page annual report. …

Health Care And Immigration Challenge Hospital District System

August 21st, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

healthcareFor people too poor to pay for their health care, residency, rather than citizenship, is the key to being admitted into the hospital district system for free or low-fee nonemergency care. If they live in Harris County, Texas — a status that can be demonstrated with utility bills, rental agreements, pay stubs, and other similar documents — they are generally entitled to services at the two public hospitals and a network of clinics. But for the past three years, the hospital district has asked all noncitizens for immigration documents.
The questions are not meant to exclude immigrants from public health care, district officials said, but to help pay for it. The federal government partially reimburses the hospitals for emergency care for immigrants, illegal or otherwise.

In the 12-month period ending February 1999, the hospital district treated undocumented immigrants 170,509 times, more often than not in neighborhood clinics rather than in hospital beds. Of the 11,000 women who gave birth in the district’s two hospitals in that time period, about two-thirds were undocumented aliens. The district treated a total of 1.5 million cases during that period. About 19% of the cost of treating the immigrants was covered by government or private insurance and payments from the patients themselves. The remaining cost to the hospital district was $51 million. Taxpayers picked up …

From Toilet Seat Covers To Millions!

August 17th, 2015 • Uncategorized2 Comments »

toiletseatLarry Pitts, who devised CleanSleeve while serving as an accountant and chief financial officer at Montgomery, Ala-based Colonial Co. (he left the company last year), says he was stunned by the initial interest in the item expressed by friends and business associates.

“The idea of a portable slip-on toilet seat cover began as a joke,” Pitts comments. “However, we found that an average of nine out of every 10 women to whom we spoke about the concept said, ‘Where can we buy the product?’ We realized that the potential market was enormous.”

CleanSleeve, which comes packaged in rolls of 10 and can be carried in a purse, diaper bag, briefcase or a car’s glove compartment, is available at such leading mass market retailers as CVS Corp., Meijer Inc., Snyder’s Drug Stores, Brooks Pharmacy, Kinney Drugs, Medic Drug and London Drugs. The product, which carries a suggested retail price of $2.99, is also available through the company’s web site ( and has been sold to individuals via direct order in Puerto Rico, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, Italy and Hong Kong.

This month CleanSleeve will be shipped to the commissaries of the United States Armed Forces. In addition, New Visions is discussing a plan with Walt Disney Co. to offer CleanSleeve items that would be decorated with licensed Disney characters in Disney’s …

OSRA Made Fantastic Changes In Shipping

August 14th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

shippingThe Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998 (OSRA), which took effect on May 1, 1999 contains provisions that are letting ocean carriers, shippers, freight forwarders, and consolidators get creative with the services they offer and the way they work with each other. For example, OSRA allows groups of unaffiliated shippers, ocean consolidators, and freight forwarders to form shippers associations. These are voluntary associations of companies that pool their freight volumes in order to negotiate favorable rates with ocean carriers. There even is one joint venture in which a shipper, DuPont Global Logistics, and a freight forwarder, BDP International, have formed an association that will allow smaller shippers to obtain the benefits that large multinational shippers like DuPont can achieve.

One-Stop Shopping

Several carriers and shippers have reported that they are taking advantage of OSRA’s freedoms by looking beyond the traditional boundaries of port-to-port transportation to develop full-service logistics capabilities. Although none of the carriers or third-party service providers will give specific details, conversations with both sides indicate that in the near future, more ocean carriers will be providing third-party logistics services, either on their own or through partnerships with existing providers.

Some carriers already have been doing so through logistics subsidiaries, such as APL’s ACS Logistics and Maersk-Sealand’s Maersk Logistics. The ocean carriers see contract logistics as a growth area …

Looking At WWF New York’s Design

August 11th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

wwfClair Brothers, located in Lititz, PA, did the lighting, audio, and video design and installation at the WWF. Bill Simmons, lighting designer for the project, says his goal was “a sort of elegant theatricality.” For the retail space, he adds, this meant “finding a happy medium between good clean retail lighting and theatrical lighting.” Thus the area features a wide array of architectural and entertainment fixtures, including a large number of ETC Source Fours (in 19 [degrees], 26 [degrees], and 36 [degrees] units, and Source Four PARs), plus PAR-38s manufactured by James Thomas Engineering, and some MR-16 tracklights, which the designer inherited with the project. The PAR-38s, says Simmons, are built with “an elongated snout,” which allows them to hold dichroic filters or gel for long periods of time without burning them out. Also part of the mix are Martin RoboScan 518 compact rotating pattern scanners, to give a sense of flash and theatricality to the space, and Clay Paky VIP 300s to project WWF images and logos all over the room (Apollo Design Technology created the custom projections for these units).

Simmons’ concept of elegant theatricality extends to the dining area, where lighting is used for color and definition. Most of the dining tables are in long rows, so Simmons had SSRC, the South Carolina-based manufacturer of electrical lighting …

Running Through Mongolia

August 8th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

runningthroughmonHorse racing, wrestling, and archery are the big sports in Mongolia. Not so with running. But that doesn’t stop Pennsylvanian Kerry Yankowy from carrying on with it. “I’m a rare bird in Mongolia,” says Yankowy, 40, who is presently learning the country’s language and will be teaching English with the Global Friends Foundation in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator. “But running helps me get into the culture, and it makes the day-to-day adjustments a little easier to deal with.”

Yankowy, who has worked for the Mongol Embassy in Canada, does many workouts along the Celeb River, a popular gathering place for the residents of Ulan Bator. “I love watching the people there,” he says. “They go about the business of their lives, and don’t pay much attention to me. Occasionally some kids run along for a bit, which gives me a chance to practice their language.”

Besides teaching English, Yankowy hopes to start a teaching-methods program while he’s in Mongolia. He also hopes to drum up interest in running. “I’d like to organize a short race or relay for the kids,” says Yankowy. “I think they’d be interested.”

Katie Harrison was in the beginning of her early morning 9-miler last September when she was struck by a car. The driver never stopped. Harrison, 22, was knocked out by …

Rumsfeld: Iconoclast, Wrestler??

August 5th, 2015 • UncategorizedNo Comments »

airborneBack in America, all 14,000 soldiers in the storied 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, a huge base outside Fayetteville, N.C., shipped out after just 18 hours notice. (They had been told to “get their lives in order,” which led at least four young soldiers to rush to the local town hall with their girlfriends for quickie weddings.) Also on alert at Fort Bragg were the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Forces, including the top-secret Delta Force, the Green Berets and the 75th Ranger Regiment. These elite special units — numbering about 40,000 soldiers in the 1.37-million strong U.S. military — work in “A-teams” of a dozen men, dropping from helicopters deep behind enemy lines, and are expected to be in the forefront of any attack on Afghanistan.

At the same time, sources say, a mix of B-52, B-1 and B-2 long-range bombers were due to leave within days for the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia — controlled by Britain. After a combination of bullying and bribery — Washington agreed to write off the $600 million Pakistan owes the U.S. and end economic sanctions — it closed its northern border with Afghanistan, allowing U.S. planes to fly through Pakistani air space. Sensitive negotiations are also under way to allow land bases for U.S. commandos on Pakistani territory, as well as …