My spirits were flagging. My mind was elsewhere. I couldn't take one more second of coverage from New Orleans. With little breaking news the footage was becoming darkly voyeuristic.
In a fit of desperation, I searched my channel guide for a decent alternative. Something positive. Something uplifting.
I found Miracle and it was near the beginning, just after they introduced Al Pacino's brother in the role of Lou Nanne.
Within moments, before the movie even got to the dark backstory between Rob McLanahan and Jack O'Callahan, my mojo was back. My screens still flickered, the news still flowed but the background music had changed from flooding horrors to Herb and the boys.
I had created the perfect mix. One of the keys to living with ADD is knowing when your assorted "Stimuli Inputs" need adjusting then having the courage to change the mix. I had found new life simply by changing the channel. If we can beat those commie bastards, dammit, then I can write a column on the last day of August.
Even if that column happens to hop around a little bit, focus-wise...
"They aren't booing, they're saying 'Cruuuuuuuude'."
As the price of crude rockets and gas lines form (Just like in 1980, when Miracle takes place!) I find myself dreaming of a better, magical world where America recognized her dependence on oil as a significant national threat. In this magical America the country had vast and sparsely populated lands, rich in natural resources. Lands that were already part of "America" and thus required no unpleasant invading. My dream America drew from these resources, as carefully as possible, to slake her addiction to crude even as she sought ways to make the drilling unnecessary.
Oh, William Seward, if only we had listened to you and purchased the lands of "Alaska" from Russia when we had the chance! It's unthinkable that a country in possession of Alaska's (now "Brrrristan") resources would allow itself to be held hostage by a single-source of local delivery, exposing herself to the ancient winds of Middle East tension the way we are currently.
- "Great moments... are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it."
- If Vitaliy happened to be visiting Casa de Macke at this moment, and we had access to a SuperChex arcade hockey game... things would be getting "spirited".
- I've said it before and I stand behind it, Kurt Russell deserved at least an Oscar "nod" for his performance in Miracle. He spoke Minnesotan ("MIN-eee-SOH-dan") like a native and spun silk purses from a slightly pig-eared script.
Putting the Diss in Dissident
As Carl Icahn and the like make their angry way from company to company, shouting about shareholder's rights and knowing what's best for the firms in question, isn't it fair to ask for a little more "depth" in their "shareholder value" plans?
Icahn mentioned that he got long Blockbuster (BBI), at least in part, because the BBI franchise near his house always seemed crowded. He notes that Time Warner (TWX) has "underperformed the market for 18 months!" and wants to force a Viacom-esque (VIA) chop-up.
Blockbuster is making new lows 4 months after Icahn won a proxy fight to gain board seats. Their credit has been downgraded and the company has many of the earmarks of a "going to 0" story, on the equity side (where it would join Icahn's old TWA).
- Icahn vs. TWX offers a nice illustration of my oft/overmade point regarding the pressures facing CEOs (other than "serving the wicked master of evil from whence our power is drawn").
On August 3rd Time Warner CEO William Parsons went on CNBC and discussed his long-term commitment to making the company function smarter, as a whole. As far as I know, his big picture vision was lauded in exactly one place. Ahem.
Within two weeks Parsons was under pressure from Icahn, who had brought his "Get long then get really, really Loud" strategy to Time Warner.
If anyone knows Mr. Parsons let him know that I've got a friend with whom I think Bill would have a lot in common.
"The important thing? The important thing is that in 20 years those 20 boys know they didn't leave anything on the table; that they played their hearts out. That's the important thing."
It's 75 perfect degrees in Minyanville's West Coast HQ yet somehow I've got gooseflesh.
If I were the type to issue hostile press releases demanding action from the managers of one of my stock holdings I'd most likely write to the folks at TiVO (TIVO). I'd specifically want to discuss: 1. TiVO's absurd poison pill provision, which should be abolished immediately 2. Their complete and utter bungling of the DirecTV (DTV) relationship (a trainwreck for which TiVO execs have to share the blame, regardless of the inbred idiocy plaguing the Murdoch empire) 3. The bizarre and poorly received plan to go more deeply into the virtually-dead free standing box division.
Again, that's what I'd say if I were the type to write those type of letters.
"Here Kitty, Kitty..."
Todd-O's cat, Pheobe, is from the home of Sidney Sheldon, eh?
I guess that explains the curious relationship she and I share. I mean, no wonder she's drawn to me... the poor thing must go through life doing nothing but longing to be around great writers, just like when she was a kitty.
A Parting Shot at the Mailbag
Minyan Chris ("MC") writes: I agreed with Vitaliy's point on getting consumed by Tivo as a reason to say no thanks.......How do you combat the "when is enough, enough" mindset in thinking about the future of consumer technology?
Let me know when you get a chance.
Enough will be enough the moment the consumer electronics industry tells us so and not one instant before that, MC. Don't think of it as being "devoured". Think of it as being "gently enveloped in a womb of pleasure where 'personal choice and/or accountability' are as far off memories as 3-channels of television and your second cyber-spouse..."
Sorry. The movie ended and I'm back to financial television.
There are two questions buried in your note. I'll take them in order: 1. The question with any new gadget or product is "does it change the way you..." do pretty much anything. Google (GOOG) changed the way I interact with the web. TiVO changes the way you watch TV. I don't really care to say anything more about either stock; I'm just saying that they are examples of creating needs where none previously existed.
Which brings us to #2. I'm not sure what's wrong with Vitaliy. Having known him for over a year and gotten to know him and his family quite well, I can tell you that he seems like a great guy. I attribute strangeness like not enjoying DirecTivo to lingering cultural issues.
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