Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Yorker's Obama Editorial

Fantastic editorial in the New Yorker on Obama and his trip abroad. Favorite line:

"Whether or not it was that, it was certainly a test of his mastery of political theatrics, his sure-footedness, and his willingness to take a calculated risk. On the first leg of the trip, Obama found himself in a military gym in Kuwait, a major staging point for Americans going to the war zones. The bleachers were packed with soldiers wearing fatigues. A basketball materialized. “I may not make the first one,” he said, no doubt imagining what a metaphor-hungry press would make of a miss or, God forbid, a whole string of misses, “but I’ll make one eventually.”

Then this happens...

Eddie Standing Up To Cancer

Cool public service announcement for cancer awareness by a bunch of stars. Eddie Vedder's song, Rise, was used in the spot. Fits perfectly and a great song. More on Pearl Jam's Blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Healy the Blogger

Healy Jones, a buddy from my Hambrecht & Quist days has started blogging. Healy is a young VC dude at Atlas Ventures. He's a really down to earth guy, loves technology and added a neat twist to his blog. He's writing from the VC perspective and his blogging partner is an accomplished entrepreneur who's newest venture is Pixily.

Here is Healy's introduction about himself. However, the better post is a "How Not be A Underpants Gnome" a great cut from South Park.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Physics & Surf

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15:  Artist <span class=The New Yorker had a great article by Benjamin Wallace-Wells on physicist Garret Lisi. This potentially groundbreaking physicist also happens to be a huge surfer and snowboarder. He checked out out of Academic life some years back, contemplated the rules of the Universe when he wasn't suring and stepped forward with some physicist community rattling theories. These things take a long time to prove, or disprove, but he's certainly an interesting guy and there is just enough Physics in the article to suck you into that world too.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Tiny Timmy

Tim <span class=The two most important people in my sports fan life right now are Jeff Tedford, CAL's Football Coach, and Tim Lincecum, the SF Giant's stud rookie right handed pitcher. I don't know what I would do without either of them. We can talk about Tedford during football season, but know one thing, I love Tedford and I will not tolerate any criticism of him at all. :)

This entry is about Lincecum and the great Sports Illustrated article that Scott Fausel forwarded onto me. What makes Lincecum special is he throws 98 mph with a nasty curve and change up, and he is about 5-10 and 175 pounds. He's way too small to throw that hard, yet somehow he does. This article by Tom Verducci explores his mechanics and the mechanics of baseball pitchers in general. Great read.
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Inside Apple's PR Game

Great blog post from Dan Lyons, the old Fake Steve Jobs. He gives an "inside baseball" account of the PR game Apple and Steve Jobs are playing. Definitely worth the read.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Moral Hazard Cartoon

Just thought I would post one more funny cartoon on the whole mortgage bailout. What a bummer. Of course we had to bail them out, but I don't think it should have ever gotten to this. The regulators should have done a better job, the management teams shouldn't have been so greedy and the politicians should have done a better job standing up to the lobbyists.

Oh well.

Omar the Climber

One of the nicest people I met at London Business School was Omar Samra. He was a student like me, but his real focus was on mountain climbing. He was training incredibly hard everyday (not me on the treadmill training hard, real training). You see, he wanted to be the first Egyptian to climb Everest.

Late last year, he pulled it off and I couldn't be happier for him. Check the video below, which is actually a commercial. You'll get a tiny sense of the moment and nationalistic pride. Way to go Omar!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wilco Music, Pearl Jam Thoughts

If you are in sunny San Francisco, I'd advise you to stop reading this blog immediately, and go outside. It's outrageously nice outside and I'll be indulging in sunshine in a few minutes. However, if you are hungover (which I totally understand) or are geographically-challenged, then belly up for an epic listening session.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends published a ton of Wilco covers, and I mean a ton. Head on over to Part 1 or you can check out Part 2, regardless, you won't be disappointed.

While you are listening to the toons, check out Bob Lefsetz's letter about the music industry. I found it inspiring to think that the little guys can get control over their careers and their music, from the labels. He credits the free release of In Rainbows (a Kenny K favorite) with pushing the movement over the top, but here is one of my favorites quotes:

It started with Pearl Jam. The first band made by MTV to turn its back on television. Pearl Jam was fearful of losing control, being defined by the medium instead of itself. It took back control. The medium looked elsewhere, but Pearl Jam can still play arenas, whereas everybody else who whored himself out for exposure can barely work, if they can work at all. How many tickets could Limp Bizkit sell today?

Enjoy the Wilco music and great editorial. Have a great Saturday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Chill Music (July 25, 2008)

First up is a pump song by Scanners. It's called In My Dreams and its' pretty rad. I don't know what the lead singer looks like, but she has a very good chance of making my "Rock Star Women I Have a Crush On" list.

Scanners - In My Dreams

Let's bring it back down. Here is a Josh Ritter song, Girl in the Water, that is really great too. More mellow.
Josh Ritter - Girl In The War

Finally, Muxtape has become a go to service for me and I found a really cool Radiohead song, Gagging Order, on this Muxtape. I'm not even sure who this person is, but they "favorited" my Muxtape, so I checked their's out. Friends through music. Radiohead is the 6th song down.

Maybe you could build a Muxtape and favorite me so I could listen to it?

Six Inches?

Funny story here about the kid who posed for Nirvana's Nevermind album.

Thanks Becker for sending it in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin

Pretty epic speech by Obama in Berlin. I love what a great symbol he is. I'm a little nervous about when the rubber hits the road, but he's a phenomenal representative of the U.S.

Sir Links-A-Lot

Time for Links...

Funny NY Times article on how we should have seen the credit crash coming with the recent extension of hemlines...

Bruce Jenkins makes some great points about Ichiro. How he one of the most elegant (yes, I said elegant) baseball players on the field, yet we know very little about him off the field. I had hoped the Giants would sign him after Bonds left, but the owner of the Mariners owns Nintendo and it makes sense to have the greatest Japanese player play for a Japanese owner. It means even more to that owner. Oh well, I can still enjoy Ichiro.

Roche is buying Genentech. Holy smoly. At least they are trying to buy the rest of Genentech, Roche already owns 50% or so. It's shameless promotion time at Kenny Kellogg Headquarters. I published a paper at Kellogg examining alternative financing choices for Biotechs. My argument is that they are in a really tough spot, even mighty Genentech had to sell itself to Roche at one point. Well, that sale is coming back to bite them in the behind again. If interested, check out the paper here at Kellogg online or the embedded version here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where's the Outrage?

Jim Grant is one of the best financial writers out there and I absolutely loved his editorial in the Wall Street Journal, asking "Where is the Outrage?" He's such a smooth writer, with a great sense of financial history and he has a keen understanding of the system, which his grown so complex, that few people really understand it (including me). A little snippet:

"Leverage," as the laying-on of debt is known in the trade, is the Hamburger Helper of finance. It makes a little capital go a long way, often much farther than it safely should. Managing balance sheets as highly leveraged as Wall Street's requires a keen eye and superb judgment. The rub is that human beings err.

Definitely read this article.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mad Men's Creator on NPR

After listening to this great interview of Matt Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, on NPR's Fresh Air, I moved Mad Men up to the #1 slot in our NetFlix account. Mad Men is the story about hard living advertising execs in the 1960's. It sounds amazing and its creator, Weiner, spent 4 years on the Sopranos before this, so he knows a good drama.

If you are on the fence about whether to check out the show, read Tim Goodman's recap of the TV Critics Award and you'll see how much they love Mad Men.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Andrew Stanton

Great NPR Fresh Air podcast on the creator of Wall-E, Andrew Stanton. I'm hoping to see the movie this weekend, but even without seeing the movie, I loved this podcast. So much detail into how he sees a movie developing and some really great anecdotes, like how he came about designing Wall-E's eyes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

West Side Highway

I'm going back to NYC in mid-August for a good friend's wedding. I couldn't be more excited for the wedding and to see NYC. It's been 2 years since the summer I lived there. I used to jog on the West Side Highway (almost) every day. This building, designed by Frank Gehry, was being built at the time. Can't wait to see it done.

Rebloged from Fred Wilson's Tumblr Blog.
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I can't get enough of this. Obama on the unicorn is priceless.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

This is Cool

Huge props to the Hype Machine. This is really cool. Get the story here.

Friday Chill Music (7/18/08)

We're starting off with a little PJ from the recent Who tribute in LA. Eric Becker reports it was a barn burner. I would have loved to see PJ perform Baba O'Riley, like they do at most shows, however, the Who played it themselves. I've linked to PJ playing The Real Me and the Who doing Baba.

Here's the Who. Got to love Townsend with the Arm Windmill.

Matt Belloni wrote in to recommend Love As Laughter and I concur. A few diferent sounds here but I like it. Here is their MySpace page so you can listen to a bunch of their songs.
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Sir Links-Alot (7/18/08)

Lot's of interesting things going on the in the world. Time for another Sir Links-a-lot column.

Wells Fargo and Intel kick some serious butt. In cyclical downdraft, the well managed companies take advantage and build an even stronger company. (Thanks for pointing this out Barrett. I'm a big believer in being the last one standing too). Also, before you run out and buy Intel stock, remember it's a supplier and doesn't always have great visibility into end user demand.

Ken Rice writes in to talk about a music site that let's musicians collaborate real-time over the Internet. This is incredible stuff.

Eric Becker writes in to talk about an article on Healthcare costs he liked. He's a Ph D at Berkeley and knows this stuff. Healthcare underwriting standards and pricing is really interesting to me because it shows the cycle of greed and fear at work over a long term. You can also see companies who develop a competitive advantage (Information Systems or an emphasis on Preventative Care) start to underprice their competition and grow. Capitalism is beautiful sometimes.

"Recession Plagued Country Demands New Bubble to Invest In" - says the Onion

I met Erik Rabasca via an intro by Mark Himmelsbach. He's in advertising but also makes great music. I really enjoyed his MySpace page. Industry Soul Killer is my favorite.

The Walm writes in with a great anecdote from the Economist and Freakonomics blog. It involves pasties.

Say what you want about Airlines, and I'll say a lot of bad things, here is how they are trying to save money so they can stay in business. Really interesting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

House of Cards

Radiohead made a super duper cool video with the help of Google. Plus, I love the song. Here is the explanation for the project. Video embedded.

I'm a Star

I shot a spot for Dr. Kevin Growney, a friend and my dentist. You can find his Yelp Profile here. I've sent probably 15 friends over to him and they all rave about him.

Here's my spot. Enjoy. And if you need a dentist, Dr. Growney is your man.

Business Heroes

Scott Barrett sent me a note yesterday saying I was getting too negative with my coverage, and on second look, I think he was right. I keep getting bogged down in the financial coverage because 1) I think it's important for people to understand what's going on so they can make intelligent decisions and 2) I love Finance so writing about it comes easy.

Barrett's point was that some companies, like Intel, were still kicking butt. I totally agree and see optimism all around me

So here goes. I'm posting a great interview with Jamie Dimon, a business hero of mine for the way he cleaned up JPMorgan, kept their leverage (debt level) ratio down to 12 to 1 (manageable) vs. his competitors who are at 25x or 30x at the very least. My best anecdote on him was when he spoke at Kellogg last year. He was phenomenal and talked about how bloated JPM was when he came in. Everyone, including the Executives, had "Life Coaches." He used some colorful language but basically said, "Are you freaking kidding me, Life Coaches? You're all fired. If you can't coach your own professional life and those who report to you, I don't want you here."

He's also got a great line about "buying a house on fire." A reference to Bear Sterns.

The guy is awesome and a lot of it shines through in this video interview (from Paul Kedrosky's blog). I think if Obama wins, he could be the Secretary of Treasury (if he wants the job). They're both Chicago guys and Dimon would be an inspired choice.

Can't Wait

I cannot wait to see the Dark Knight.

Here is Mick LaSalle's review.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Even More YouTube

The New Kids are back?!?!?!?!?

Thanks Ariel.

More YouTube

Another great Youtube callout from Reyhan Harmanci in the SF Chronicle.

SPUD WEBB AND DOMINQUE WILKINS DUNKING (1986), 6:24. While surfing for videos of my all-time favorite NBA player, the 5-foot-3 Mugsy Bogues, I came upon this gem. It's an impromptu slam-dunk competition, emceed by Magic Johnson, at the end of the 1986 All-Star Game. While "Charlie B" Charles Barkley tries to get in the game, it's all about Dominque Wilkins and the 5-foot-7 Spud Webb. The dude can dunk - "That little guy. How can he get up like that?," the announcer asks - but the main thing I love about this clip is how spontaneous it appears. Even as late as 1986, the superstars were acting like people instead of brands. When Johnson tells Wilkins to "be nasty, real nasty with it" and warns those in the crowd that "we got all night," I wanted to kiss my computer screen. You'd never hear that now.

Against All Odds

Peter Hartlaub wrote a great column on his favorite YouTube videos and this one popped up. Simply incredible. Here is what he said:

This 1984 music video is so awesome, it's almost impossible to describe. Multicolored rain falls on Collins as he sings his embarrassing-yet-catchy breakup masterpiece ("I wish I could just make you turn around ... turn around and see me cry"), interspersed with clips from the Jeff Bridges/Rachel Ward romantic drama mystery "Against All Odds." The movie was never as good as the video, which contains a remarkably satisfying summary of the plot. Beautiful people frolic underwater, caressing each other's buttocks. James Woods gets thrown into a drum kit. Collins talks from behind a tribal mask. God, we miss the '80s.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All Over Coffee

All Over Coffee is a weekly sketch/written piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It's written by Paul Madonna and I've come to love it. Typically, it's a sketch with some text in or around it. The drawings are usually urban settings and the text could be the voice of a character or a thought coming out of one of the buildings. All Over Coffee may be an acquired taste, but I really enjoy it.

I feel like I'm not doing it justice so in the author's own words:

All Over Coffee strips are time bombs, moments that on the surface appear meaningless or rando
m, but later, while going about your day, trigger connections.

The subjects are the details of life: city and landscapes coupled with observations, scenes and slivers of conversations.

Here is one of the best ones I've seen in a long time.

I found this to be a bit haunting. It really made me think. I would suggest checking it out on the web here so you can read it better.

Chef's Tour of SF

Another nice article by Aiden Vaziri capturing the favorite's of a SF personality. This time it's Jonnatan Leiva, executive chef at Jack Falstaff. I can't wait to check out a couple of his favorites, Palace Steakhouse and La Santaneca, two local SF places that he speaks very highly about. I was at Harlot for happy hour last friday. Seemed like a cool place but could have used more bartenders. Getting drinks was difficult.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I know I've been hitting the banking system points hard lately but the situation really bothers me. These are the kind of pictures that upset me. Lines of people trying to get at their money at failed IndyMac.

Rather than just ignoring bad news, I figure it's worth covering for educational purposes.

Sorry if it's bumming you out but I think it's better to know what's going on.

Obama on the New Yorker

Matt Belloni alerted Kenny Kellogg to this amazing New Yorker cover of Obama and his wife in terrorist garb. They're doing the terrorist fist bump, as Fox would call it, and have a burning flag, a picture of Osama and are heavily armed.

The Obama campaign is slamming it but I think it's brilliant. Only by showing how ridiculous the "Obama is a Terrorist" thinking really is will rid it as an issue. This is brilliant satire and brings an issue that Obama was running away from, to the forefront. He should laugh at it, showing how ridiculous it is and secretly thank the New Yorker.

WalkIt with the Walm

The Walm writes in from London to alert us of a new service called WalkIt. The service maps your walk through the streets of London. This is important for two reasons, 1) London has some of the most confusing streets in the world and I found myself lost quite often, and 2) The Walm likes to call London the "most unhealthy city in the world" and I think he might be right. Anything that can get people walking more there is a good thing.

I mapped my favorite walk, from Regent's Park, which I used to live, to Burroughs Market, the site of a wonderful gourmet food market with the best burgers and coffee I've ever had. Mmm...burgers and coffee.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fannie & Freddie

It's been a wild ride for the mortgage debt crisis and we're about to hit the craziest part. The U.S. Government is going to intervene in some way Sunday night/Monday morning. Basically, the U.S. Gov owes $9 Trillion worth of money to other people. Those are our Liabilities. If they absorb Fannie and Freddie, that will add another $5T to $6T Liabilities to the US Government. That means higher taxes, even more inflation and general economic malaise.

Yes those Liabilities come with Assets (loans made to people who should theoretically repay them) but we know some portion of those loans are bad. So the U.S. government (i.e. Taxpayers) will take a loss = Default % X $5T.

These moves are weakening the dollar, the U.S. credit worthiness which should scare the b-jesus out of our foreign creditors like China, Japan, and the Middle East. We're basically telling them that their investments in us will cost them money.

It's not a pretty picture. Let's hope this is a call to action and people start being more vigilant about big-time CEO's running their companies' for their own profit and for regulators to actually do something. It didn't have to come to this.

I would recommend reading Paul Kedrosky, my favorite finance commentator, here.

Sunday Gravity

After a week that was way too fast, I'm just chilling today. This song captures my mood perfectly:

The Other Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert covers all things nature for the New Yorker. For me, she's rapidly approaching Malcolm Gladwell on the Kenny K excitement meter because every time I see her name in the Table of Contents, I know I'm going to learn something super duper cool.

Her latest article is on the small Danish island of Samso, which is completely energy self sufficient. It's a fabulous story. One of my favorite aspects is how humble the people of Samso are. It gives you hope that we could all change our ways like they did. Here's an excerpt.

The residents of Samsø that I spoke to were clearly proud of their accomplishment. All the same, they insisted on their ordinariness. They were, they noted, not wealthy, nor were they especially well educated or idealistic. They weren’t even terribly adventuresome. “We are a conservative farming community” is how one Samsinger put it. “We are only normal people,” Tranberg told me. “We are not some special people.”

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Experimenting in Baseball

PHOENIX - OCTOBER 11:  Pitching coach Bryan Pr...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeBuster Olney is one of the best baseball writers and because he writes for, he has tremendous reach. He get's to comment on everything in the game and players make themselves available to him because of the size of his audience (there's a business lesson in here somewhere). I read him everyday because it's a great way to keep up with the league and there are a lot of little nuggets in his columns.

I really liked this little anecdote about how Brandon Webb, a stud pitcher for the Diamondbacks, experiments when he faces Brad Hawpe, a good but not great hitter for the Rockies who just so happens to crush Webb.

Brad Hawpe of the Rockies has been Webb's professional nemesis, a left-handed hitter who hammers him the most: a .333 batting average in 45 at-bats, with four homers. Consequently, Hawpe has been used by Webb and catcher Chris Snyder as something of a lab rat because, hell, nothing else works. As Webb refined his changeup, in 2006, they measured its improvement by how it worked against Hawpe. And earlier this season, Webb started tinkering with a cut fastball, a pitch that veers into the hands of left-handed hitters. Naturally, Hawpe was the first to see it. Hawpe grinned and looked down at Snyder and said, "Oh, OK, we've got a new one."
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Kissing Lessons

I love the Internet because people post things like this on it. Craigslist, you never cease to amaze me. Awesomeness.

While you are checking out the post, listen to this song:

The Shins (Live) - Kissing The Lipless

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Chill Music (July 11, 2008)

Friday Chill music is going to be a little less chill this week. We're going to explore the studio space, Bruce Dickinson style.

First up is a song by the French Kicks called The Way You Arrive. I discovered the band through a music appreciation group I joined called I'm All Ears. More on the group later but it's been a fruitful place for hearing new music, eating good food and for getting extra homework.

Next up is Tilly and the Wall. This is a band I first saw at Austin's South by Southwest in March and was completely blown away by their performance. They have a tap dancer who actually contributes to the rhythm of the song and the crowd really get's into them. I saw "Tilly" at the Great American Music Hall this week and they were great. Fantastic performers. Here's a video from my favorite song of the night, Let the Beat Control you. The video doesn't have the snap of a live performance but close your eyes and picture a small venue, packed with a ton of energy and you'll get the gist.

Jim James is a long time favorite at Kenny Kellogg headquarters so we'll bring you back down to earth with Jim James' version of Goin' to Acapulco. Thanks Schweif and Ananda for the recommendation.

Bonus: More Tilly on Letterman

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Interesting Anecdote on Central Banking

I've quoted Paul Kedrosky's blog quite a bit but I couldn't resist this little bit of interest rate psychology he points out. If you follow the behavior of Central Banks across the world, then you notice that the European Union is reacting to inflation differently than the US Fed.

The EU is trying to head it off, by raising rates, because their dominant constituency, Germany, went through a terrible inflationary period after WWI and they never want to repeat those mistakes.

At the same time, the U.S.'s historical nightmare is the Great Depression, where deflation (a decrease in price levels) and a credit crunch crushed the country for many years. So the Fed is willing to live with Inflation if it means no deflation.

Interesting how we try so hard not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Interesting Anecdote on Inflation

James Siminoff, the CEO of Phonetag, writes a great blog. I really liked this little anecdote he had on Zimbabwe's inflation rate, which is in the 1,000%'s.

It seems as though the money is depreciating so fast, the country needed a huge influx of paper to keep printing enough money to pay the army. A German country supplied the paper and recently refused to sell it to the country. Now, the dictator, Mugabe, won't be able to pay the army and he may face an uprising. Very interesting how something so small could make such a difference.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Audio Day

Today is Audio Day on Kenny Kellogg with two excellent options for your listening pleasure. The first is an NPR concert given by the Fleet Foxes. Beth Stevens posted this concept (and was there in person in D.C. when recorded). It's a great show from one of the hottest bands in the U.S.

The second audiot installment is an NPR Fresh Air interview with Jason Bateman of Hancock and Arrested Development. Bateman was also great in Juno. Anyways, his part of the Fresh Air podcast comes in around minute 20 to 22. It's a substantial interview that I liked a lot.

Gizmo-LA Relaunches

My buddy, Greg Shukov, has a really interesting business, Gizmo Custom Systems. Greg installs smart lighting, entertainment and infrastructure systems in residential houses. He's the type of guy you go to if you want to Green your house or install the latest and greatest media server with every Hollywood movie ever filmed. He's a gadget guy and it's a great fit, plus he's one of the nicest guys I know, so he's built for that high touch customer service. Hey, people are particular about their living room, and for good reason.

Anyways, Greg just relaunched his website so if you live in California and are in the market for smart residential systems, check it out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reblog: Stat of the Day

I found this hilarious quote on Dutch Evan's site:

64% of teens admit to using text messaging shorthand in writing scholastic papers.
Dutch, Dutch Evans, Jul 2008The quote comes from a Pew Internet & American Life Project which is an annual study of teens. Really funny stuff.

Zemanta & Reblog

Big news in the blogging world as Zemanta, a blogging tool that suggests pictures, links, etc while you are typing a blog entry, has taken a major leap forward. Zemanta makes loading pics into blog entries so much easier and it's a pretty good little tool.

Well the tool just took a major leap forward by incorporating the "Reblog" capability that has been the secret to Tumblr's success. A "reblog" on Tumblr consists of hitting a simple button and the post you are reposting automatically populates in your entry, with a link to the original writer. Zemanta is bringing this feature across blogging platforms, so people like me who use Blogger, will have this feature. Reblogging is important because it makes blog posts much more viral and guarantees the original poster will get the credit for the deep thought.
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Federer vs.Nadal

I had an amazing Sunday morning in front of the tube watching Roger Federer play Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon. #1 & #2 in the world and both at the top of their game, it was a fantastic match. I yelled out loud at least 10 times and was even up pacing. I'm sure the match will be on ESPN Classic soon. I thought Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle captured it nicely, calling it Wimbledon's Greatest Match Ever.

My favorite Jenkins line, "With the casual aplomb of a gentleman pouring a glass of wine, Federer sent it whistling through the darkness with a blistering cross-court backhand winner."

Jenkins is a great writer and his Saturday morning column, The Three Dot Lounge is a must read. Every year he covers Wimbledon and I look forward to his writing. Check him out on Saturdays.

The match also brought to mind David Foster Wallace's essay on Federer a while back. This is the single best sports essay I've ever read and I think it's a must read! Wallace captures Federer at his best, calling Federer's play a "Religous Experience." I really can't do it justice in my description. It's just a must read.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Goodman on Kruk & Kuip

Kruk and Kuip are the San Francisco Giant's TV announcers. They're like old friends. You tune in and share a ballgame together. They're both ex Giants so they have a real connection to the history and give you a few nuggets every game. They're also great inside baseball people.

Tim Goodman, the SF Chronicle's TV critic, wrote a pretty rough review of them. It was interesting because some of the stuff I liked about Kruk and Kuip, was blasted. Goodman has a line in his normal columns that says something like, "everything I learned, I learned from watching television." Well for me, everything I learned, I learned from playing baseball. Nothing teaches you the art of respecting an opponent, humility (getting a hit 3 out of 10 times makes you an All-Star), teamwork, and the unwritten code of guys like baseball. The reason I like Kruk and Kuip so much, is they reveal all of those little life lessons from baseball in their telecasts.

Anyways, I'm not sure if a Baseball broadcast should be held to the same standards as a sitcom or HBO special. Regardless, I thought Goodman's followup note on his blog was really interesting. Basically, he used his blog to clarify his stance. His article came across as very anti-Kruk & Kuip and his blog said that he was trying to be more critical of the direction of the program.

Interesting stuff that writers can clarify via their blog vs. waiting to be lambasted in the Letter's to the Editor section.

Call Me Sensitive: Once

Really enjoyed the movie Once. It was a Matt Ziser recommendation to me. Lot's of cool music, great story and great chemistry between the stars. A good analogy would be Before Sunset but this has the added angle of music bringing two people together. Glenn Hansard and Markéta Irglová were fantastic.

Highly recommend it.
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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Market Humor from Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is one of my favorite writers. He wrote Moneyball, Liars Poker and The New New Thing. He has a great tongue in cheek article on Wall Street's reaction to the recession. A playbook of sorts.

One of my favorite lines:

No Safety in Numbers

There's seldom any safety in numbers, and the more parlous the situation, the more dangerous it is to be in it with a lot of other people. London during an outbreak of the bubonic plague, the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, the New Jersey suburbs: People are always clustering together precisely where and when they should not.

In World War I, hordes of men charged directly into machine- gun fire, no doubt reassured that they weren't alone.

No, if you want to win the recession, you need to find a hole and crawl inside it, until the shooting stops. This hole is called a HEDGE FUND.

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Happy Birthday America

Happy Birthday America. I'm recharging from your birthday celebration and Chris Addy's Stagg Party at the Calgary Stampede.

See you Monday.

Friday, July 4, 2008


My favorite investor to read is Bill Fleckenstein. He was on CNBC the other day and did some straight talking to the cheerleaders who pose as experts. My favorite part is at the 4:20 point when they pan on the talking heads after Fleck has said his piece.

Video is here.

By the way, what's up with NBC not letting you embed video in a blog. Join the 21st century people.


Sorry about all the bad news, but the dominoes keep falling. Here is a pretty scary report on the small banks in the U.S. from Paul Kedrosky.

..more than half of those institutions with assets worth between $1bn and $10bn have commercial real estate loan portfolios that exceed 300 per cent of their capital, according to recent FDIC data.

Similarly, almost 30 per cent of US community banks have construction and development loans exceeding 100 per cent of capital.

[Emphasis mine]

In short, a lot of smallish U.S. banks are utterly screwed.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fleet Foxes

Note: I'm leaving for Canada tonight to celebrate the 4th of July there and had written this post in advance to be posted on Friday, so you would still have your chill music, but Dre emailed me in the Friday mood and wondered where Chill music was, so here you go.

You actually need to click through to Dutch's post because he wrote a good one. Also, I went to a music party last night and the Fleet Foxes got extensive airplay!

Dutch Evans wrote the post I wanted to write on the Fleet Foxes. I'm enjoying them immensely. See Dutch's post here. He gives some tips on what songs to start with. Nice work Dutchy Boy.
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Breakfast with Colby

I had breakfast with Colby at Ella's this morning. We were laughing at the size of her orange juice. A year ago, we would have been taking shots out of glasses that big. Sadly, we drink orange juice out of them now.

BTW - A few moments after taking this picture, Colby's arm was jarred, and a few drops spilled out. The poor woman lost 20% of her orange juice with a bump of the elbow!

Bear Market Reflections

Nothing makes people reflect on life, government, politics and the global financial system like a good old fashioned Bear Market. What is a Bear Market you ask? Wikipedia defines it here. The working definition here will be about a 20% decline in the stock market. We're just about there. Here are three article I really liked and that I would recommend you print out and read over the long weekend.

The Post American World - post by VC Fred Wilson summing up Fareed Zakaria's new book. Lot's of great quotes and things that make you go hmmm.

Dear President Obama - a note from the world's largest bond manager, Bill Gross, to presumptive president Obama. Don't miss this one. One quick caveat, I agree with most of what Bill Gross says, except for the need to bailout housing speculators. As the world's largest bond manager, there is no doubt that Bill Gross owns a huge amount of mortgage debt so you must be careful to separate out advice from him talking his book. Still, he's a super smart guy who I think wants the best thing for the country.

The Confidence Man - great profile from New York Magazine on Hedge Fund investor David Einhorn. He was one of the first big guys to realize something sketchy was going on with the banks in the U.S. He sounded the alarm bell, made a ton of money and is getting nothing but heat for telling the truth.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Eddie on the East Coast

East Coasters, today might be the greatest day of your life because Mr. Eddie Vedder announced a solo East Coast tour. I caught him in Berkeley and it was ridiculous. Please go and send tales of his awesomeness back to Kenny Kellogg.

Aug-01 Boston, MA Opera House Jul-07 at 9am PDT
Aug-02 Boston, MA Opera House Jul-07 at 11am PDT
Aug-04 New York, NY United Palace Theatre Jul-07 at 1pm PDT
Aug-05 New York, NY United Palace Theatre Jul-07 at 2pm PDT
Aug-07 Newark, NJ NJ Performing Arts Ctr Jul-07 at 3pm PDT
Aug-09 Montreal, QC Salle Wilfrid Place Jul-08 at 9am PDT
Aug-10 Montreal, QC Salle Wilfrid Place Jul-08 at 11am PDT
Aug-12 Toronto, ON Massey Hall Jul-08 at 1pm PDT
Aug-13 Toronto, ON Massey Hall Jul-08 at 3pm PDT
Aug-16 Washington, DC Warner Theatre Jul-09 at 9am PDT
Aug-17 Washington, DC Warner Theatre Jul-09 at 11am PDT
Aug-19 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theatre Jul-09 at 1pm PDT
Aug-21 Chicago, IL Auditorium Theatre Jul-09 at 2pm PDT
Aug-22 Chicago Auditorium Theatre Jul-09 at 3pm PDT

All I Need

How do you say epic? Watch this Radiohead video (hopefully before it get's taken down). It's from a new video series that they are selling on iTunes called In the Basement. There are a lot more artists scheduled to release mellow video peformances.

I really like this song, All I Need. It's from their latest record. Let the record show that it's Anne Meyers favorite song too.

Nude (below) is my favorite song off the record. Amazing stuff.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kudos to Barrett

Kudos to Scott Barrett and his compadres at SCM Solutions. They were acquired yesterday by Axon Solutions.

How can your company be acquired by Axon Solutions, you ask? You need to start out by being very smart like Scott Barrett, learn everything there is to know about Supply Chain, straighten out your clients' businesses, then rinse and repeat. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He wasn't afraid to take a couple chances and good things happen to good people.

Kudos Scott Barret!


So I thought this Craigslist post requesting a Nemesis was pretty interesting, so I contacted the guy and we agreed to be each other's nemeses (sp?). Things were going along swimmingly. I let the air out of his tires yesterday and when I came home last night, I found the lock on my front door glued shut. Bravo sir, Bravo.

However, things are getting a bit out of hand already. He sent me this video last night, and let's just say, I'm a little nervous. I feel like I'm in that Michael Douglas movie, the Game, or something.

Where's Sean Penn when you need him?