Monthly Archives: March 2008

Dildosytters of Nantucket – Chapter 3

Man, it’s been a crazy couple weeks.  I got sooooo much to tell you.

Coming back from Nantucket on my last voyage the time machine developed some weird electrical issues.  In the middle of the voyage the lights started blinking like a bad string of Christmas lights.

Not sure what was the issue, however, I got back in one piece.  After getting back I ran the time machine through a battery of tests and everything seems OK.

So, I figured what the heck, fire up the damn thing and go see how G., G., G., G., Grandpa Johnson is doing filling the orders he got in when we were last there.

Off we go – THhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhppppttt

Whoa, that was a bizzaro ride.  I am standing out in the backyard, behind Johnson’s Dildosytters of Nantucket.  Same weird light thing occurred during this trip.  Hmmmm, wonder what the heck is wrong.  Everything seems okay.  I am in one piece and I am where and when I set the controls for.  Nantucket July 18, 1825 – the date is important because it’s the Friday after my last visit and I want to see how Grandpa Johnson made out with those customer orders.

So I walk around to the front of the building and walk in through the open door.

“Hey there fella, how can I help you today,” asks Grandpa Johnson.

I stood there stunned, unable to speak.  Shit, something is very wrong.  The beautiful thing about the time machine is that it typically renders me invisible so I can move about the time I traveled to undetected.  Obviously, since Grandpa Johnson can see me, something went terribly wrong with the time machine.

“Ah, ah, I am not sure.  Just thought I’d take a look around,” I replied with a shaky voice.

“You’re not from around here are you?”  Grandpa Johnson asked.

“Ah, ah no, I am from the western part of Massachusetts,” I said.

“Figured you weren’t from here. 

“Where’d ya get those crazy clothes?  What are ya some kind of poor pirate?

“Oh, shit,” I said to myself.  Here I was standing in 1825, in Nantucket with a grateful dead tshirt on and bright green Crocs on my feet.

“Ah, poor pirate, not sure what you mean grandpa, I mean Mr. Johnson.”

“Well lad, ya got a shirt with some kind of weird skull design and your shoes have holes in them,”  Grandpa Johnson explained.

“No Mr. Johnson, I am not a poor pirate, this is a shirt for a musical group I like and these shoes are brand new and designed to have holes in them, for, ah, ah, for the water to run outta.”

“If that’s what you say, you’re welcome to look around, what’s your name?”

“My name is Pat and thanks for letting me look around.”

“So what is it you’re looking for, Pat?” 

“Ah, not sure Mr. Johnson.  I was intrigued by your sign out front and decided to wonder in.”

“Lot of people don’t know what to make of that sign,” Mr. Johnson said laughing. 

“I carved it out of a whale rib bone that was given to me by an old sea captain friend of mine,” said Mr. Johnson beaming with pride.

“It does catch ones eye,” I said laughing along with grandpa.

Note:  The sign was a six foot long carved phallus with the words:  Johnson’s – “Dildosytters of Nantucket,” carved down the length.  It might be one of the largest pieces of dildo scrimshaw ever.  I wonder if anyone has ever inquired about purchasing the monolith.  I’ll have to remember to ask grandpa that one day.

“Glad you like it, have a look around and let me know if anything catches your eye” replied Mr. Johnson with a chuckle as he retreated to the back of his shop to continue his work.

Christ on a crutch, what the hell am I gonna do now.  I know one thing, I can’t let anyone else see me.

As I look around I am amazed by the collection of dildo’s grandpa had amassed.  There are ones made from everything imaginable.  Every size too.  Long and short, fat and thin, some with weird gizmo’s on them and others, well, I am not sure where you’d put it and frankly, I don’t want to know.  Wood, bone, stone, plaster, metal and shell….you name it and Grandpa Johnson has a dildo made of it.

I slowly crept out of the shop and made my way to the back yard where my time machine was standing in the corner.

The time machine sort of looks like an exercise treadmill with a television bolted onto the front of it with way too many wires sticking out.

I walked over to the time machine and was fiddling with some of the wires when I startled by the sound of Grandpa Johnson’s voice – “what the hell is that thing and what’s it doing in my backyard?”

“Shit, shit, shit, shit,” I thought to myself.

“Mr. Johnson, I can explain it to you, however, we’re gonna need a couple hours and a bottle or two of rum cuz you ain’t gonna believe me.”

“Listen hear son, I got all the time in the world and I gotta nice bottle of Rum I received in trade for one of my dildo’s, yep , I think it was for the Whale Wand, so why don’t you start talking,” said Mr. Johnson.

To be continued…..

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Laugh Loud & Long

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” Mark Twain

As today is the anniversary of me being hatched from the magic egg that some oversized pidgeon left on my parents doorstep, I think it’s only appropriate that we take Mr. Twain to heart and have a good, loud and long laugh today.

What, you weren’t hatch from a magic egg.  Weird. 

Share the laugh with somebody.  Never laugh at someone unless they are:

1.  Being paid to make you laugh
2.  A member of congress
3.  A presidential candidate
4.  The president or vice president
5.  A former governor who got caught paying for sex.  Ha, paying for sex.  Can you imagine paying for sex.  Damn, if that was the case my right hand would have more money than Bill Gates.  Oops, that may be too much information. 
6.  Any member of the religious “rite”

So smile all day, sprinkle in a laugh and most importantly if a funny looking bird leaves a magic egg on your doorstep, take care of it and nurture it – you just never know what might come from that egg.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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The Spin Cycle

I was doing my laundry at the Laundromat the other day when I found myself thinking about everything going on in my world (good and not so good).  I was starting to get a little overwhelmed when all of a sudden I found myself  staring at my clothes, hypnotized by them spinning around in the front load washer.   Who the hell knows how long I stood in front of the damn machine watching my clothes go round and round.  Faster and faster they spun around.  Weeeee, weeeee, weee, weee they went.  Sort of like a roller coaster for lost socks.  Weee, weee, weee, weee.  Then all of a sudden they switched direction and I snapped out of my blissful spin cycle  state.  Wow, that was better than a head full of synaptic provocateurs.  Damn. 

My thoughts refocused on how to better manage the not so good.  See I learned from my earlier experience this month.

I thought about one thing – expectations.

Expectations are so integral to every relationship we have or experience.  How we set, communicate, deliver, manage and measure those expectations are critical.  I like to call it the expectation cycle or EC.

Much like an exercise  bicycle, the expectation cycle does no good if you don’t know how to use it.  Unused, the EC will sit in the corner collecting dust as your relationships deteriorate.

I believe that every interaction we participate in today is grounded in the EC.  In business it is paramount to customer satisfaction and business success.  In personal interaction it is critical in relationship management whether it be at an individual or group level.

The components of the EC are pretty simple – or at least you’d think that.

Establish – this ones a no-brainer.  If you don’t establish an expectation there is no expectation cycle to ride.  No cycle to ride, no where to go….end of story. 

Confirm – once an expectation has been established it is critical that you understand it’s components and ramifications.  Make sure the expectation is realistic.  Unrealistic expectations are so commonly the undoing of personal relationships.   Don’t try to communicate an expectation that you don’t fully understand.  Sort of like feeding Gremlins after midnight.

Communication – only after you fully understand the expectation and it’s components should you communicate the expectation to the desired recipient(s).  This is the opportunity, along with acknowledgement to ensure the expectations you have for someone or some group are realistic and attainable.

Acknowledgement – this is critical.  Once communicated you must get an acknowledgement back from the parties involved that they understand the  expectation.  Thereby you create a dynamic in which all parties understand the expectation. 

Note:  It is so very critical that folks understand your expectation.  Too often I see breakdowns in personal relationships based on failed communication of expectations. 

Performance – OK.  You established the expectation, understood it, communicated it, got acknowledgement for it, now comes the easy part – meet or exceed the expectation.  Funny part is that failure to meet the agreed upon expectation comes with an expectation too.

Management – expectation management ensures the long term success of the relationship with the expectation recipients.  Often an expectation isn’t singular in nature.  It may govern a business process or a relationship commitment.  Either way, once established it is very important to manage the ongoing expectation process.

Measurement – results – you have to measure and track the success or not of your EC.

Example:

Take the Pizza Business – please.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha….

If you get a call to deliver a pizza and you tell the person that it will be there in 30 minutes, you’ve established an expectation with that person.  If the pizza shows up in 45 minutes you have failed to meet the expectation that you established with the recipient of the pizza.  Chances are they will be disappointed and look to another Pizza Shop when the next order a pizza.

Or maybe it’s the expectation within the realm of relationship.  Do you know what is expected of you by your friends, collegues, siblings, children,  business partners, lovers, etc?  Are you sure you know?  Do you think they know?  Do they know what expectations you’ve set for them? 

As you can imagine the EC develops into a web of commitments, performances and outcomes.  What I’ve tried to document above is at the most simplistic level – the EC is far from simplistic.  The EC is a multi-threaded tapestry that is woven by every action and interaction you have in your life.  It will continue to grow everyday.  Use that pozitoodinal energy to make your tapestry strong.

I am sure there will be some days that you may feel like you’re out of thread or you might even have a day when you break a thread.    Shit, there might even be a few days when you jam the needle right into your thumb. 

Have faith, communicate and most importantly let that pozitood shine through.

Good luck and remember – if you fall off it’s easy to get back on -just like riding a bicycle.

Cheers

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Happy Ether

Weeeeeeee, I love ether. 

Woke up today and rolled outta bed and ran to the door where I was pysched to see that the ether bunny left chocolate baby jeebus eggs at my door.  Not sure how a bunny poops out eggs, never mind chocolate ones that look like baby jeebus but thats for science to figure out.  The good news is that since the ether bunny did leave chocolate jeebus eggs at my door it means that we only have 2 more weeks of winter weather left.  Weeeeeeeeeeeeee.

I wonder if baby jeebus found chocolate eggs when he rolled outta bed on ether a couple thousand years ago?

In all seriousness, I celebrated ether last night the way I have for 40 years.  Yep, I watched the academy award winning movie, The Ten Commandments.  Simply one of my favorite movies of all time.  It has everything – drama, special effects, a burning bush, hot egyptian babes, the red sea parting, walking staffs turning into serpents and most importantly Yul Brynner in the role of Rameses II and Charlton Heston as Moses.  What a movie. I love the part where Yul has the line,”Moses, Moses, Moses where is your idol God now Moses?” as he struts about like a proud rooster with his hands on hips.

Never mind Edward G. Robins as Dathan.  He of the distinctive “yea, Moses, that’s right Moses.”  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Have a great day and enjoy those chocolate ether eggs.

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on the road to riches

Man, oh man, oh man.

I go away for a few days to Minnesota on business and the whole world goes to hell.  Not really the whole world unless your name is Eliot Spitzer aka Client 9 or if you held significant shares in Bear Stearns.  Damn, I guess I should have been asking him where the ho’s were.  You know how they say opposites attract….well if client 9 is a Spitzer – would that make his $5K friend a  _ w _ l l _ r ….hehehehehe

I would assume that there is some serious high-fiving being done by the Greenberg boys (Hank and son Jeff).  You probably don’t remember that Client 9 led an aggressive investigation that led to the ouster of the CEObergs – Hank (AIG) and Jeff (Marsh) for a series of financial improprieties.

In all seriousness, Spitzer was very effective at bringing a sense of reality to Wall Street.  His work on improper trading, bid fixing and subprime intuition were all right on.  It’s sad that he is now best known as the butt of many jokes rather than making Wall Street a safer place for you and me.

Speaking of Wall Street, gotta love the Bear Stearns debacle.  Happy St. Patty’s day you fucksticks!

What the FUCK!

Here is a company that prior to the subprime mortgage issue was trading at $171 a share a recently as January 2007.  Heck on March 11, 2008 it was trading at almost $63.00 – FYI the same day, repeat after me, same day, that the well known CNBC stock hawker (Cramer) was recommending not pulling your cake outta Bear Stearns.  Oops so much for that insight.

Zoom forward a week – On 3/17 after a significant save by the Fed, Bear Stearns was acquired by JP Morgan for $2 a share on Monday pending votes and all that legal shit. 

Good news is that the stock hit a high of $8 a share on the 18th.  So right now if you dumped your BS portfolio you’d only lose $55 per share.  My recommendation – hold it and hope that JPM increases their original offer.  Then again I’ve read the Call Transcript from JP Morgan regarding the Bear Stearns acquisition and this particular exchange jumped out at me:

Guy M – Merill Lynch

That’s fair enough thank you. Let me just follow up with one last question. On the mortgage businesses as you sort of compare what you already had in place in terms of the capital market side of your mortgage business and what you find at Bear how much overlap is there? How complementary are their platforms with your own?

Steve Black – JP Morgan, Co-Head Investment Bank

Guy, we’ve actually had a chance to be in there for exactly a day and a half. So I’d say it is probably too early to tell but clearly they’ve had an outstanding platform for an extended period of time. We have been growing and building ours. We’ll go in and do what we always do and figure out where it is complementary. Where there might be some overlap. What we think the normalized business looks like over the next 12, 18 to 24 months and then make the appropriate alternations that need to be made at that time. But it is way too early for us to tell at this stage.

Needless to say, a very, very good strong business and one that in the long run will be very additive and as you know from the conversations we had at investor day it is a business we are looking to pick up market share in and it is a great environment to be able to do that.Michael Cavanagh – JP Morgan, CFOGuy as you can see on page five to the first part of your question, the commercial mortgage backed security, prime and sub prime disclosures are not dissimilar in size to JP Morgan’s. Thehedging approach at Bear Stearns was not dissimilar to JP Morgan. As we stated on investor day we felt that we had not as much of that exposure as we really wanted to carry and hence the decent chunk of the mortgage related risk positions at Bear Stearns are being financed with the FED on non-recourse facility.

Guy M. – Merill Lynch Analyst

Just to cap it off, it certainly doesn’t sound as if when you went in there you found a massive problem with respect to risk management or hedging. It sounds like, given what you are saying it is very similar to your own, it sounds like you’ve found something you are fundamentally comfortable with. Is that fair?

Michael Cavanagh

That’s correct. To say that it was a very well run, tight operation with good risk controls and a risk discipline that was very similar to our own.

Ok, let me get this straight – the CFO of JP Morgan is saying the Bear Stearns was a well run, tight operation with good risk controls and discipline….same as JP Morgan. 

Hmmm as an investor, how would I feel about watching my investment go from $63 to $2 per share in one week.  How inclined would you be to believe Mr.  Cavanagh.  But what the fuck do I know, they’re the ones making multi-millions every year as thousands of investors watch their life savings get pissed away by meglo-maniacal fucksticks.

But I digress.  Here’s the deal folks, when investing in stock or anything else, use your head and always remember the saying – “Buyer Beware.” 

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About Me

Like many blog hosting sites, WordPress  provides the blogger with a page in which one can add some information about themselves.  Tell the folks out there in blog land about “me.” Hi folks, this is me!

To tell you the truth, I’ve been staring at this damn blank “about me” page for over a year.  Every-time I try to write something on it I end up deleting the entry and exiting the page.     

After a hundred failed attempts to include any information about me on this blog I came to the realization that it’s not about me.  It’s about you.  Well, sort of.  In a voyeuristic way I get true enjoyment out of sharing my thoughts and insights with you.  You may agree or disagree, I don’t care.  I only care that you have an opinion.  Don’t get me wrong, the cathartic experience of writing and getting these thoughts out of my head is good for me.  No, it’s great for me.  Keeps me sane….or something close to sane.  What is the saying….sanity is in the eye of the beholder.  Hehehehe

I’ve never been very comfortable talking about me.  Unless of course its when I am making fun of myself.

For example:

In 1996 we were having a huge 3 day party celebrating the fourth of July.  To be honest, it wasn’t so much about the fourth of July, it was more about 3 days of beer drinking, firework shooting and pool floating fun.

I am not clear as to when I actually made the decision to shave my head, however at some point I was motivated to go upstairs to the bathroom and shave the nappy, short fur off my noggin.  Thinking back on it, I am not sure I was motivated to do this or it was simply the fact that the beer had broken down that last “vanity barrier.”  Note:  I was sporting one of those “in denial” buzz cuts so my hair was very short already.

So I head downstairs, back to the party sporting my new look.

Boy was I devastated.  After an hour of chillin with my new doo no one, yes no one, had noticed I had shaved my head.  There were only a couple conclusions I could draw:

a.  Everyone was so drunk they didn’t notice (not likely)

b.  There wasn’t that much hair to begin with so no one noticed….(most likely)

At the time there were not a lot of us around.  You know, shaved head, goatee (have to have some hair on my face to prove I can still grow it).  Little did I know that in a few short years there would be legions of dudes with shaved heads and goatees.  AHHHHHH.

I remember the first time I walked into an airport terminal and realized how many of “us” are out there.  Scary.  The one thing I would say to all these guys – if I had hair to grow, I would grow it.  I had and continue to have no interest in tending to some random patch of fur on my head just to say I have hair.

Not sure what that hair story was about….strange….

I’ll leave you with a great quote from Jim Morrison, yes, he of the band The Doors.

“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with a soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.”

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Stoke that Pozitoodinal Light

I failed myself yesterday and felt like crap all day.

I had to let an employee go yesterday, actually had to tell them to leave after a particularly nasty confrontation.

I failed myself because I allowed the person to “get to me” and I reacted in a way that was negative and destructive.  This person was screaming at me about how I have failed to meet any of the expectations they had of me.  They also identified a number of perceived failings of my team and me.  In addition to a stream of profanity about me and fellow co-workers.  God bless small business!

Instead of simply listening to the rant and understanding that it was simply rhetoric they were using to justify their feelings about “their world,” I reacted to it by matching their level of intensity.  Not good.  The proverbial throwing gasoline on a fire.

The fallout, as expected, was not great.  I physically felt like crap all day – couldn’t sleep at all last night and the person is no longer an employee.  I didn’t help them (not sure I could of) but I should have tried.  

Man I hate being human.

Here’s a great lesson.

You can’t change the past.  It is done.  As I have written before the value of the past is to learn from it and use it to shape today.

Sometimes you can get a feeling from somebody that things just aren’t right.  It could be in the workplace, at home or both.  It is critical to be able to recognize potential signs and even more critical to provide a path for that person to share those things that may be challenging them in life and/or work.

Too often the easy path is to simply ignore those signs.  The old, “let the sleeping dog lie mentality.”  Well, as I learned the hard way yesterday, sometimes it’s better to gently awaken that sleeping dog before it wakes up angry and bites you.  I admit – I saw the signs and choose to take the path of least resistance.

There is no magic plan to get someone to share troubling or negative feelings.  Everyone is different (that’s what makes us humans so much fun to be with).  Heck I’ve worked with a number of people who are far more comfortable being negative than being positive. 

My goal today is ensure that everyone I come into contact with walks away feeling the bright light of pozitoodinal energy that I am radiating.  I will be the first to admit, there are days when it is exhausting to keep the pozitoodinal light lit.  Today, for me, I need to make sure it burns bright cuz I need a little of it myself.

Cheers and thanks.

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