Friday, January 30, 2009

A Cultural Treasure -- WWE's Vince McMahon sings

Sometimes you come across cultural treasures on Youtube that rival anything Donny and Marie had done on their variety show in the 1970s. This is Vince McMahon doing a musical number at the 1987 Slammy pro wrestling awards. I love how the wrestlers are "playing" the instruments. Hulk Hogan is a real bass player, but the other guys?? Honky Tonk Man, Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Junkyard Dog, et al. playing backup. Vince needs a musical special on prime time network television. The only thing that could improve this is if Rowdy Roddy Piper came out to do a mid-song rap.

This was amended (7-22-10) after you tube pulled down the prior version of the video.

Michael Lewis (Author of Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The New New Thing, and Panic) offers some conventional wisdom about our culture's obsession with investing. I wish a lot of the bank executives had followed his advice. We'd be a lot richer for it. Some of his advice follows the Warren Buffett adage about investing in only what you understand.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Assessing the Bush Years

A synopsis of Bush's time in office - what went wrong and why. I love The Economist's headline here: The frat boy ships out ...

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Nationalizing the Banks -- Adopting Sweden's Bailout Plan

Barry Ritholtz says the banking system may need to be nationalized to save it. It would clear the decks and could help depositors. I disagree. Depositors are insured and the banks could also be converted to mutual banks owned by depositors. It would be a modified form of receivership. Nationalizing the big banks introduces politics and the gov't picking winners and losers. Why should Citigroup or Bank of America get rewarded for mismanagement when the local thrift that prudently managed its business does not get help?

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Why news coverage stinks ...

Alisa Miller, the head of Public Radio International, shows the shortcomings of U.S. media coverage and how it fails to give a balanced view of the world. By the way, we're coming up on the two-year anniversary of the loss of America's Princess, Anna Nicole Smith. Radio geniuses Ron & Fez set the appropriate tone for coverage here at the time of her death. Part Two can be found at this link. Both are sound files that can be downloaded.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes comic strip captures the truth

This link says so much about the current business climate. I get more truth from a Calvin & Hobbes strip than an entire month of The Wall Street Journal. This is courtesy of Barry Ritholtz' "The Big Picture" blog.

read more | digg story Click "Read More" to see the strip.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Age, lack of conditioning catch up with me...

I went to my first martial arts class today at Satori Academy. It's not a good sign when you are sucking wind after the warm-up calisthenics. I had a good time, however. The soreness will be with me a few days after stretching back, shoulder, leg and stomach muscles that are way too accustomed to sitting at a desk all day. The lesson focused on striking combinations, a bit of grappling and some self-defense. I felt comfortable grappling, but I haven't wrestled seriously since coaching the young kids in the town program. The lesson closed out with some conditioning calisthenics that were a challenge. It's nice to shake off some of the rust and struggle a bit.
I'm not doing this class to become a tough guy. I'm way too old for that and I haven't been in a fight since I was 13. I simply need to exercise in a way that interests me. Moving weights around doesn't hold my interest, although it is an effective way to get into shape. It's a fun way to work out with my son.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 1970s' Little Depression

A Forbes columnist points out how some great companies were born, despite an awful political and economic climate in the 1970s. I find articles like this encouraging, despite dour sentiment.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Gaza campaign exposes Middle East policy vacuum

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israel's week-old offensive in the Gaza Strip is a violent sequel to a drive led by the United States, with much European and Arab support, to punish Hamas for resisting a largely... Another tale analyzing an endless cycle of violence. Neither side knows when to quit nor has any inclination to. The Israelis and Palestinians are going to need to solve this on their own and no pressure from the international community will get either side to stop.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Laundry List of What I Love Right Now

This is sort of like the laundry list of things or people that I'm thankful for as I start a new year. My family and health are stock answers, but the family keeps my head on straight (especially Darcie). The line from the Beach Boys song definitely applies: "God only knows what I'd be without you." My daughter reminds me of all of youth's possibilities and my son is like having a younger and much more wry version of me around. After seeing my folks and sister on Christmas Eve and my in-laws Christmas weekend, it really helps one take stock of what's important.

During these times, I'm glad I'm gainfully employed. Not just at any job, but I'm employed at Coyne Public Relations, one of the best places to work anywhere. My colleagues are creative, fun, smart and a pleasure to see every day. It's a virtuous cycle of good people creating good work that keeps clients happy and coming back for more. I hope the cycle continues into the new year despite a crappy economy.

Facebook and online media get a bad reputation for being time wasters. However, I've been able to reconnect with a lot of people I haven't seen since 1985. It's a blessing to at least talk online with people. It's not even one of those score keeping exercises that high school reunions can be (who got fat, bald, lost their looks, got rich, got their lives together after a shaky high school experience ... yada yada yada). Sometimes you build connections to people who knew you only peripherally through high school. I've had interesting chats about politics with some classmates and status updates are great conversation starters.

I'm a bit of a media and entertainment omnivore. The Apple TV has gotten a lot of use lately. My daughter and her friends are watching "The Shining" now.
Music I've been listening to lately: Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, and Prince. The embedded video is Yo La Tengo doing Cherry Chapstick -- a playful, noisy tune. Yo La Tengo is really the successor to the Velvet Underground. REM wanted to be the Velvet Underground in their early days and the Feelies came close, but I think Yo La Tengo captures the range and depth of the Velvet Underground's sound. They can sound extremely dissonant and another song can create a soothing aural landscape. I'm also happy with WRXP 101.9. The station really does a nice job of mixing new and old music. It captures a lot of the vibe of 106.3 when it was a good station.

I'm looking forward to taking my EMT state test so I could finish "Homocide: A Year on the Killing Streets" and then start Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers." (Thanks Linda!)

I've been evangelizing about The Wire's brilliance all year. It's sort of like "Pulp Fiction" and "Homicide: Life on the Street" rolled into a 60 episode series. I haven't been terribly excited about TV. "Mad Men" was extremely literate and well acted in its second season. My Name is Earl and 30 Rock continue to entertain me. I have really grown to care less and less about television. is a great site to catch up on shows that I used to enjoy.

Anyway Happy New Year! I have a lot to be thankful for.