Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Turning 50-Celebrating with Friends

So we celebrated in Nashville last night and here's what my good friend Chip Smith had to say about our little party of 12 people:

Just got up a bit ago from my SECOND nap of the day. We had a BLAST! What a memorable night shared with a great cast of characters and friends! We are so glad that we could be there to celebrate MO's big 5-0! Any time you want to rent a country music star's bus, crack open some Dom, taste some great bourbons,  hit the disco, and go for a little late night karaoke in Printer's Alley count us in.Thanks so much for letting us be a part of such a momentous occasion!

With the assistance of Tom Sturdeyvant of Sedan on Demand, we had a progressive dinner party, and well, er um, after party too. We started at Whiskey Kitchen for appetizers and a bourbon tasting, followed by salad and dinner at Allium Cafe in East Nashville. We were chauffeured around in Alan Jackson's old black tour bus that Sedan on Demand now owns and rents (Sedan on Demand is a highly recommended vendor) . Our dinner was accompanied with some great wines, the most interesting being a 2002 magnum of Divine, courtesy of Sylvia Roberts, who owns this label in Napa. After dinner, we journeyed back over the Cumberland and wound up at a trio of late night spots. The first stop was Hollywood Disco where we were all moving and grooving as best we can these days (pure unadulterated 70's fun), followed by live music at Loser's (basically next door). Loser's was a great atmosphere with an entertaining house band playing mostly country rock hits from the 80's and 90's. We worked our way up front by the band because there was no stage, which added to the honky tonk feeling of this roudy collegiate atmosphere bar. Our final stop was Lonnie's Karaoke bar in Printer's Alley. I'd never been to a karaoke bar, and found it quite entertaining. Lonnie's has a stage right behind the bar so those poor souls who want to embarrass themselves get up in the middle of the place and belt out to their heart's content. My business partner, Shawn Thomas sang an old Journey song. He sang pretty well, but not as well as a rendition of My Girl that had the whole place singing, from another patron, to the best of my recollection. With the clock fast closing in on 2:00 AM, we headed back towards the burbs in our swanky tour bus. We had originally planned on late night dessert and cappuccino but alas, we were all ready to head to our respective homesteads.

All in all, it was a truly unforgettable evening with the fabulous company of Chip and Mary Loch Smith, Shawn Thomas and Carla Stokes, Jeff and Mary Ellen Morris, Mike and Claire Robbins, Peter and Kim Oldham, and lastly Louis and Cynthia Kirkpatrick who thought the snow was going to cancel the event, so they ended up being no shows, the little weenies. It was definitely their loss.

 And in case you're wondering, we will have a much larger celebration in May, entitled  "125 reasons to celebrate" --100 years of combined living for Sharon and myself plus 25 years of marriage. If you are reading this, you will most certainly be on "The List" , since my blog is not that widely read, because I don't promote it , but that's another topic altogether. 

And I'd just like to say publicly on my blog about how much I value the support and love from my wife,  Sharon , for over 25 years of marriage. Thanks for all you do! We had a blast on my 50th! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Turning 50--A Palindrome

from Jim Merenda, an affiliate publisher with Uniguest
You must watch this link
A palindrome reads the  same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite  backwards as forward.  Not only does it read the opposite, the  meaning is the exact opposite.
This is only a 1 minute, 44  second video and it is brilliant.   Make sure you read as  well as listen forward and backward.
This is a video that was  submitted in a contest by a 20-year old.   The contest was  titled "u @ 50"  by  AARP. This video won second place.  When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke  into spontaneous applause.  So simple and yet so brilliant.  Take a minute and watch it.

So much for Rumors, ATT beats out Verizon for IPAD/ IPHONE still with ATT too

AT&T Inc. won the right to carry Apple Inc.'s high-profile iPad in the U.S., a coup for the company but on terms that further erode the wireless industry's carrier-centered model.

Here is the full article from the Wall Street Journal, which may or may not be behind the paid wall. More and more content on WSJ is free, so it's hard to tell. As a paying subscriber to WSJ, it's great to have access to the whole site, but it's a crock that they charge an additional fee for a mobile app. So if one wants access to the full site and to the mobile app , there are 2 fees. Kinda strange. 

Anyway, here is the link to the article about the continued lovey dovey relationship between ATT and APPLE. It's probably because ATT continues to give Jobs the upper hand, which the article points out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Turning 50

Half a century old. Half a century young. The cup is half empty. The cup is half full. These are some of the thoughts that are going through my head as the calendar slips towards February 1st, where my 50th birthday awaits me. Numbers don't lie. But I sure wish I could prevaricate and say that I'm younger. I feel a lot younger, and yearn to be younger as we all do, but when it's all said and done, I'm comfortable with 50. It's a milestone for sure. I really wasn't sure if I was ever going to live this long, which, by contemporary standards, is not that old. But it's good to be here and to still be kicking! It's fairly typical to reflect when one reaches a milestone such as 50. I have no regrets. Absolutely zero!  It's been a wonderful first 50, and am now hoping to make it another 50. Wonderful wife, family, career. So much for which to be thankful and so much for which I take for granted, it's ridiculous. I got a great head start from wonderful parents, and great brothers to boot. As they say, life is a journey and not a destination, but my overall favorite quote about the journey of life is the following:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ???  WOO HOO what a ride!??? 

Carpe diem!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm predicting a fairly major snow event for Friday 1/29/10

And this just in from the National Weather Service:



Friday, January 22, 2010

Apple to announce Verizon as Iphone carrier--RUMOR

As a previously long time Verizon customer (1992-2006), I switched the day the Iphone came out  and went  with ATT, since that's the only thing a Mac lover could do....It's hard for me to fathom why Verizon passed on the Iphone deal, and it's a fact  that the executive who detested Steve Jobs at Verizon recently took "early retirement". If the below rumor from Mac Daily News is true, then I will switch back to Verizon just as swiftly. Not sure whether to short ATT stock or to buy call options on VZ. Probably neither. It's just a rumor...

A tablet still might not be the only new hardware we see from Apple next week -- the rumor mill is still churning out news that the "one more thing" next week will be a brand new version of the iPhone, set up on the Verizon network," Mike Schramm reports for TUAW.

"It comes not from an anonymous source, but Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek," Schramm reports. "If you ask me, this is one too many rumors not to be true -- eventually, we'll see an iPhone on the Verizon network. But I'm hesitant to agree it'll be announced as early as next week."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Derek Dooley is the Man

With a son named Peyton, and with five years coaching under Nick Saban,  what could be wrong with the coaching skills and thought processes of Derek Dooley??!

I believe for the record that we have found the man to lead the VOLS for the next 5 years, until Peyton Manning is ready to coach, that is, perhaps that might be 3 years, perhaps 10 years. Average of 5 years. Whatever.  Peyton Manning will be our next coach. But yet,  I wonder why Peyton would want to work that hard after having amassed a huge fortune playing professional football for the Colts. But, I digress.

Derek Dooley, despite his Georgia upbringing, is absolutely perfect for the challenge of leading the Vols. After having consumed the Kool Aid of Lane Kiffin, I have hereby vomited it out, and live for the day that Kiffin is laughed out of Southern California, or fired, whichever comes first.

As for Derek Dooley, I am hereby already a huge fan and ready to rumble next fall.

This expert sees a bubble in China; Crash coming

Most people talk and read about how great the overall economy is in China, and how they are kicking everyone's butt in terms of economic growth, output, and every other economic indicator. Could it be that China is similar to Japan  in the 1980's--and  that China is near or at it's peak given the history of other nations in  attempting to industrialize to the max? The road cannot be straight up all the way, there has to be some downhill from time to time.  Read this from the New York Times as written by David Barboza.

HANGHAI — James S. Chanos built one of the largest fortunes on Wall Street by foreseeing the collapse of Enron and other highflying companies whose stories were too good to be true.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
James Chanos made his hedge fund fortune predicting problems at companies and shorting their stock.
Now Mr. Chanos is betting against China, and is promoting his view that the China miracle has blinded investors to the risks in that economy.
Now Mr. Chanos, a wealthy hedge fund investor, is working to bust the myth of the biggest conglomerate of all: China Inc.
As most of the world bets on China to help lift the global economy out ofrecession, Mr. Chanos is warning that China’s hyperstimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most economists predict. Its surging real estate sector, buoyed by a flood of speculative capital, looks like “Dubai times 1,000 — or worse,” he frets. He even suspects that Beijing is cooking its books, faking, among other things, its eye-popping growth rates of more than 8 percent.
“Bubbles are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation excesses,” he said in a recent appearance on CNBC. “And there’s no bigger credit excess than in China.” He is planning a speech later this month at the University of Oxford to drive home his point.
As America’s pre-eminent short-seller — he bets big money that companies’ strategies will fail — Mr. Chanos’s narrative runs counter to the prevailing wisdom on China. Most economists and governments expect Chinese growth momentum to continue this year, buoyed by what remains of a $586 billion government stimulus program that began last year, meant to lift exports and consumption among Chinese consumers.
Still, betting against China will not be easy. Because foreigners are restricted from investing in stocks listed inside China, Mr. Chanos has said he is searching for other ways to make his bets, including focusing on construction- and infrastructure-related companies that sell cement,coal, steel and iron ore.
Mr. Chanos, 51, whose hedge fund, Kynikos Associates, based in New York, has $6 billion under management, is hardly the only skeptic on China. But he is certainly the most prominent and vocal.
For all his record of prescience — in addition to predicting Enron’s demise, he also spotted the looming problems of Tyco International, the Boston Market restaurant chain and, more recently, home builders and some of the world’s biggest banks — his detractors say that he knows little or nothing about China or its economy and that his bearish calls should be ignored.

Time will tell if Mr. Chanos is correct or incorrect.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fulmer and Peyton Manning

Let's face it, Peyton Manning is 35 years old and has about 2-3 years left max in his pro career. I don't look for Peyton to pull a Brett Favre and play until he is a senior citizen.

Let's face it, what happened with Lane Kiffin is not what Tennessee football is about. Those left coast Cali whale huggin' turds just don't think the way we do here in Tennessee.

We are all about tradition. Sure we are mad when we lose, but we don't want to play in this circus going on out there in the ranks of the elite college coaches.

So here is my idea. Make Phil Fulmer head coach again for a maximum of 36 months. Get Peyton Manning to agree to become head coach at the end of his pro career. Who knows, he has a bum knee now, and may win the Super Bowl this year. He may want to go out on top.

Either way, have Fat Phil hold down the fort for a while. Let's not poach another coach the way USC did to us.

When Peyton is ready to "come home" to coach, kick Phil upstairs and find a nice place for Mike Hamilton elsewhere, likely in fund raising or similar.

Tennessee fans would go NUTS!

Blogging about Lane Kiffin

How can a coach (or anyone for that matter) sign a long term contract, and then break it go to elsewhere with little recourse, and yet, if that same coach were to get fired, he would be paid his salary in full for the years not coached? Is that not a double standard?

It turns out that Lane Kiffin has to pay $800,000 over 36 months as a penalty. But if you ask me, he should have to pay his remaining years in salary per the contract he signed less than 14 months ago. To be exact, that would 4 years of time left on his contact (x) $2 million per year, plus the break up fee, for a total of $8,800,000. That would certainly cause dweebs like Kiffin to think twice about bolting. And it's fair b/c the UT administration would do the same thing if they fired Kiffin.

And I've not even touched on the integrity question. College Football is out of control. It has become a big business with few ethical concerns amongst the coaching elite.  And when ethics are brought up by the NCAA, it covers such important topics as whether or not a booster took someone out to dinner. Give me a break. The real ethical concerns to me are the actions of people like Lane Kiffin.

To put it another way, here's what ESPN's Bob Wojciechowski says:

If there were a stock car race between all the frauds, egomaniacs and two-faced weasels I've ever covered, Lane Kiffin would have the pole position all to himself.
Kiffin is a spin doctor without a medical degree. He thinks truth comes in different shades of gray. He demands loyalty, but gives none himself.
Kiffin is a used car salesman with a whistle. Wait, that's not fair to used car salesmen. He ditched Tennessee for USC after just 13 games. The remaining five years on his contract, the players he left behind, the nine high school recruits who planned to enroll early, they all meant nothing to Kiffin.

That pretty much sums it up for me.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Don't fear the 2010's ! Or ?

There is a very interesting article by Nick Gillespie in the  Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition about whether or not to fear this coming decade of the 2010's. Here's the opening paragraph---Few decades have been as resolutely and relentlessly dismal as this past one, which is thankfully all over but the shouting (a note to calendaric purists who insist that the decade really runs from 2001 to 2010: You're part of the problem). Contested elections, international terrorism, more bubbles blown (and burst!) than on a Lawrence Welk special. Did we really survive the Y2K bug, avian flu and the unstoppable proliferation of saggy pants for this?

The article goes on to point out some of the frivolous arguments that have erupted in past decades like the following and muses about what irrelevant dramas might come up in this new decade:

What will be the great hysterical fears of the coming decade? By definition, such worries need to be simultaneously undocumentable and just plausible enough to convince politicians, celebrities, civic do-gooders, captains of industry and media types that our very society hangs in the balance...
For a classic example, think back to the 1980s, when Tipper Gore, the wife of then-Sen. Al Gore, helped form the Parents Music Resource Center and addressed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the pressing topic of sexual, violent and occult imagery in pop music. As Mrs. Gore wrote in her best-selling (and now hard-to-find) 1987 book "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society," "By using satanic symbols on the concert stage, and album covers, such as those used by Ozzy Osbourne...certain heavy metal bands lure teenagers into what one expert has called 'the cult of the eighties.' Many kids experiment with the deadly satanic game, and get hooked."
It is probably only thanks to the intervention of the Gores that we managed as a country to wrestle free both of Beelzebub's and Ronnie James Dio's bony grasp.  What a classic example of the media running amok with the thoughts and rantings of the Gores. 

Will "Inconvenient Truth" from Al Gore suffer the same fate as we look back in coming decades? Most likely. The global warming debate will surely be looked back upon as a farce, much like the impending "Mini Ice Age'" debate from the late 70's. 

Here are some thoughts from various readers  in the opinion section of the WSJ (and from me)  about concerns for the upcoming decade---

Keynesian economics
Corporate controlled media bias with disinformation and half truths and obvious agenda cheerleading
People that still believe that one political party can save us
Continued take over of our goverment by a financial oligarchy and multinational corporations
Saving investors and businesses that made horrible financial decisions at taxpayers expense
The fed
The money printing press
Destroying savers to help debtors
Continued and escalating wars
Our goverment selling our childrens future away with insane debt levels
The casino stock market
Goldman sachs
JP morgan
Politicians passing massive legislation without reading it themselves
Cap and trade
People that saved and worked hard never being able to retire
Ben bernake
Larry summers
Christine romer
Robert rubin
Far right wingers
Far left wingers
Horrible public schools
Growing prison population
Ever expanding goverment
Small business loss of faith in future opportunities
Killing the spirit of the entrepreneur
Good people that want to work but cant find jobs
To big to fails
Smart people that are avoiding the obvious destruction of our country but are pretending that all will be well when they themselves have studied history and know better. 

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Relationships and Moderate Capitalism !

Welcome to 2010 everybody! 10 years ago on New Year's Eve, my wife filled our bath tub with water and we all awakened wondering if our computers were going to work and if the world would function properly as we moved into the year 2000. Our children were mere young kids, life seemed simpler, and the world a little less complex. I was into trading stocks, focusing on making money, and running a business. I was pretty certain that making a lot of money was my primary goal in life, behind being a good husband and father, which fortunately, comes fairly naturally to me. Building solid relationships was a loose concept that was distant to my mind. I sort of did that without thinking, and I wish I had focused more on building solid relationships sooner in life.

Looking back and looking forward at the same time, I'm certain that making a lot of money should be way down the list of priorities for most everyone in this world including me. Making money is actually very unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The problem is that greed starts to take over. Am I taking a swipe at Capitalism??...hardly. It's still the best economic system in which to operate, but dang those people who take advantage of it for the purpose of serving themselves and no one else at the expense of building relationships. Madoff comes to mind. They are in "the game" for themselves only.

 Could "Moderate Capitalism"  be entered into the lexicon of available business terms? And could the definition of a successful Moderate Capitalist  include one who builds solid relationships in his or her quest to conquer the world in a financial sense? It just makes sense that those who build a solid base of relationships would then not take advantage of those people from a capitalist perspective. A Moderate Capitalist would not or could not have a net worth over $25 million. (that would exclude Madoff)  A Moderate Capitalist would have to be personally involved with 3 non profits, would have to demonstrate giving back to children in some way, shape, or form, and of course, could not have a criminal record. What are some of the other requirements for a successful moderate capitalist? Comment below..

My goal this year is to try to focus on building more solid relationships in my quest to be a "Moderate Capitalist"    Money is great, but too much money is over rated.  So many people get greedy and are never happy when they have enough. They just want more. I know it's a fine line... I'd rather have a solid mix of great relationships, and a successful business all rolled into one happy and productive life.

Make it a great year!