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Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

This is it for me, at least for this chapter.  I am off to join some people who don’t much appreciate voices singing out of key, and while they might be able to get over my public disdain for coaches who punt in opposing territory, it would be rather awkward to continue to point out the incompetence of the administration.  So for now, it’s probably best to hang it up.

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Creativity

It seems Barclays had a problem with $12.3bn of junk assets (thank you James Kwak).  The damn things were liable to keep falling in value, and every fall tears a further hole in the bank’s balance sheet.  What to do, what to do?

Undoubtedly, someone called a meeting.  And that meeting led to another meeting, which led to a task force, which came up with the following brilliant idea:

A newly formed Cayman entity, Protium – appropriate that they used the exotic name for ordinary hydrogen – will come up with $450mm.  Barclays will lend Protium $12.6bn, which Protium will use to buy Barclays’ $12.3bn of junk and get a head start paying its $40mm management fee.  And who are the managers of this vehicle?  Give you one guess:

It will be run by the same Barclays bankers who managed the assets prior to the deal, including Stephen King and Michael Keeley, who resigned on completion of the deal (more…)

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Edward Kennedy, dead at 77.

We will see plenty of reverential soft-focus pieces on the news over the next few days, stories about the “Lion of the Senate,” about his advocacy for the downtrodden, about the long-lost era when Democrats were not the party of Wall Street.  I’d like to see something a bit more like this:

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Merci

Wow.  Big thanks to James Kwak at Baseline, Mike Konczal at both The Atlantic and Rortybomb, Felix Salmon at Reuters,  Orangederange at Digg, and everyone who took the time to comment recently.  Only eight of my posts have even broken the hundred view mark; to have one just shy of ten thousand is rather surprising.  I suppose Malcom Gladwell was onto something when he wrote about Connectors.

Not to mention thanks to the casino executive who taught me the important lesson that in a world fixated on procedural justice, only losers load dice and mark decks.  Winners write the rules.

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Forty years yesterday man walked on the moon.  It was a beautiful accomplishment, perhaps the fitting coda to the giant waves of nationalism that engulfed the planet from 1914-1945.

It was also, like any piece of pure art, completely pointless.

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Yes, it’s ten days old; still have to post the Guardian’s explanation of Megan Fox’s casting in Transformers:

Talking to Megan Fox who was in town for the Transformers 2 premiere, I found her more forthright and intelligent than her performance in the mega-hit would suggest. The role demands that she drapes herself over motorbikes and runs around in a vest. How did she get the part which has made her what lads’ mags call the “hottest girl on the planet”. She told me she went to director Michael Bay’s house to audition and he made her wash his Ferrari while he filmed her. She said she didn’t know what had happened to that footage. When I put it to Bay himself, he looked suitably abashed. “Er, I don’t know where it is either.”

Try that at your place of work and don’t expect to finish the day.  In Hollywood, that’s the sanitized version of the skills necessary to get cast.  What a wonderful place.

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After my cranky comment that Douglas Blackmon’s Slavery by Another Name had moved back the goalposts on my quest to get through the Pulitzer Prize winners for General Nonfiction (21 of the past 25 down, but only 31 of 51 overall), I figured I should go ahead and get it out of the way.  I’m glad I did; it deals with a time and place about which I knew next to nothing.

The typical well-intentioned explanation for race relations in America goes something like this:

Blacks were held as slaves until the end of the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.  Then they were freed.  Poor, legally denied any sort of education, unfamiliar with the world beyond the plantation, hoping and expecting land reparations from carpetbagger governments that were removed as part of the stolen 1876 election, they drifted along in rural poverty as the landowners of the South rebuilt.  Relative returns for labor declined during industrialization, and the black population slowly treaded water until the onset of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.  By that point the black family had been destroyed, we had the Moynihan Report, no one could really figure out what if anything to do about it, but we were so damn happy the risk of organized violence passed that we let things lie.  A few years later we had so many Hispanic immigrants we were able to have an entirely different underclass to stoke our racial insecurities.

At least I know more than the Texas Board of Education.

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Over at the Idea Locker, Dodson asks whether “ambitious” is a compliment or an insult, and quotes Lyndon Johnson:

Ambition is what makes a creature of a man.

There are two models of success: James Bond and John McLane.

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I would be just as lame as I am now.

However, thanks to Egotastic, we get to see how Richard Branson spends his time on Necker Island.  It is not healthy to think about, and it is not safe for work, both due to content and the possibility of throwing yourself out your office window.

Fair warning… (more…)

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What a wonderful melange of English humor, Indian food, and ten hours in coach:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/4344890/Virgin-the-worlds-best-passenger-complaint-letter.html

Made me think back to every one of the million and change miles I had the pleasure of experiencing over the past four years.

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