Captain's Blog, Stardate: 3/3/08
Let hedge funds advertise, let bloggers blog under their own names, let Grace Potter and Steve Winwood serenade you, and let Andy Serwer explain it all.
(Fortune) -- THE SHOW: Are we having fun yet? Me neither. My old pal Deep Blue keeps writing me about various stocks and such that might have upside, but then acknowledges it's hard to imagine much of anything working this year. Except cash, and you better hope that's real cash and not some sort of 'cash equivalent.' Still, there will be winners and losers. I'm sorry I know there will be fits and starts but I really don't see the non-dollar commodity run crashing on us. (See Buffett, Warren on the Brazilian real.) Gold is the new greenback kind of deal....Kudos to hedge fund manager Phil Goldstein who is suing the S.E.C. to lift its ban on advertising. It's just garbage that the hedgies can't do this, and garbage that they can't publically release their returns either. (We all find out, anyway.) All of this is just a holdover from when hedge funds were a tiny, exclusive slice of the financial services pie. Newsflash: they no longer are! Goldstein told the FT: "gun shops are allowed to advertise, the Massachusetts state lottery is allowed to have a website. We want to be treated like any other business." Now obviously there has to be a limit on hucksterism here, but mutual funds and broker dealers abide by those types of limits just fine. Bring on the hedgies I say!......Guess Jarrett Lillien didn't get the brass ring at Etrade (ETFC). (Don Layton, formerly of JP Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) did.) How often do 'acting' heads ultimately get the job?.......Questions: Is Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) over? Is Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) over? Is Facebook over before it started? See what some nasty economic weather can do to your brain!
DEATH AND THE INTERNET: You have probably read about the suicide last week of Paul Tilley, the creative director of DDB Chicago. And that some say anonymous and mean-spirited comments on two ad industry blogs may have contributed to his death. My take? I find the whole business deplorable. As a minor public face in the media world I've been subjected to these kind of attacks by those who hide behind the cloak of the pseudonym. While at CNN, one blogger suggested that my chin never ended and my neck never began. (Well that's actually true!) Another suggested I gained weight (Ah TV! There were a few nice ones too. A few...) While at Fortune, the then-anonymous Fake Steve postulated: Hasn't Fortune Become More Stupid Now That Andy Serwer Has Become Editor? (Of course now I know where this Red Sox fan lives - or at least works.) Sure these little jibs are merely nicks and cuts that come with job. I mean who cares, right? Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen (or soup, Teehee.) Comes with the territory stuff. Well, I can tell you they still sting a little and they are still cowardly. And for someone who has demons and other stuff rumbling around in their head they might even be dangerous. I'm not saying that you shouldn't blog critically (Lord knows!). But just be woman enuff or man enuff to put your dang name on your screed! I always do!......It kinda reminds me of an incident years ago. I had blogged that I hated (football coach) Lou Holtz. Someone wrote in to tell me that "hate" is a pretty strong word. He was right. I don't hate Lou Holtz at all. Fact is words can be powerful medicine.....(Now I do 'hate' being served a dish at a fancy restaurant with venison foam, but that's another story...).
MUSIC: Can I tell you about THE most wonderful next new thing musician? It's Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She and her bad are fantastic amazing! Grace is a 20-something, kind of like the next Lucinda Williams, only from Vermont. Her and her band are all from St. Lawrence University in upstate NY. Bruce C. from Larkspur turned me on to them. Grace is an amazing singer/songwriter and a great musician too. I hear her love interest is Matt Burr, her drummer, a direct descendant of Aaron. Turned Kurt Andersen on to them who thought she was 'pretty terrific.' Seen Grace twice recently: at the Independent in SF (that town's got great food and venues, TeeHee) and at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She is on iTunes, her new album is a keeper! Get it!.........Also went to Clapton/Winwood show last week at Madsion Square Garden which was LOVE. SUCH virtuosity! Eric is well, still just amazing, but hearing Stevie sing "Well All Right," "Can't Find My Way Home," "In the Presence of the Lord," and "Dear Mr. Fantasy," is something I will NEVER forget. Thanks JH!
LOOSE CHANGE: Hung out with Roland Betts the other day. What an interesting guy. Besides being the president's BFF, he is the top dog on Yale's board, and runs Chelsea Piers - where would NYC be without it? Roland was also a critical part of Disney's (DIS, Fortune 500) hugely successful run in the live-action motion picture biz back in the Eisner era....Okay so between my home, kids, spouse, second home, mother's home, her phones, nursing home, etc I now am responsible for TEN phone bills (I'll bet a whole bunch of you have a half dozen or so). So get this: most of these phone companies aren't putting the phone numbers on the front page of the bill. Soooo I have no idea which bill is which!........Bumped into Geraldo at CNN the other day, looking rather self-assured.....Saw Gordon Linke of Barclays the other night at the Morgan Library, lookin' good Gordo!...And Bill Fleckenstein! The guy has hair!..."Semi-Pro"? No thanks, seen Will do this five movies in a row....As for 'No Country for Old Men,' pretty damn cool, though I'm not really sure what the hell?.....Coen Brothers at the top of their game, which is? College hoop: Clemson is real. Maryland is dust.