Archive for September, 2005

Is a Flight Attendant a Professional?

Kaiser inadvertently raised another point in his post (below). When did flight attendancy become a profession? Yes, the word can be used in a broad sense but doesn’t a “professional” usually hold as an occupation requiring specialized training? Lawyers, doctors, scientists; those are people you can call “professionals.” Flight attendants are (sometimes) lovely people but last time I checked they didn’t have to attend graduate school, pass any grueling exams, or even show me how to buckle my seat belt now that they have those new-fangled TV screens.

Recommendation: Short unions and pretension, in size.

Hey Unions – Get Over Yourselves

The Association of Flight Attendants and Transport Workers Union has this week called for a national boycott of the new Jodie Foster movie, Flightplan. In a press release announcing the boycott the TWU claims that

“The film, which portrays a flight attendant and Federal air marshal as terrorists and the lead villains, also depicts flight attendants as rude, unhelpful and uncaring.”

I couldn’t agree more. Ever since I saw Flight Plan I don’t trust flight attendants further than my oxygen mask will reach. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me either. After I saw Boiler Room I hated stock brokers, after Tombstone I hated cowboys as well as cowgirls, and after Aladdin I had a severe distaste for Royal Viziers (ie. Jafar).

After all, movies shouldn’t be about good stories, they should be about positively depicting individuals with important professions, especially unionized professions.

Recommendation: Long Anything, Short Unions.

Translating Corporate Speak: Auto OEM’s

Executives and companies love to obfuscate. Since it’s hard to understand the real meaning of their statements, we have provided a handy translation. Here are the words of automakers Ford and GM run through our propietary translation algorithm.

Corporate Speak:

Employee Discount for Everyone


-We give back to you the profits that we weren’t making anyway.
-Step 1 in our five year plan for bankruptcy and continued diminution.
-Step 2 will be new models of even bigger cars which nobody wants to buy.

Corporate Speak:

Ford Family Plan


Selling today for much cheaper, that which would have been sold tomorrow.

Corporate Speak:

We will not do business with suppliers who are in bankruptcy.

-GM’s Purchasing Chief Bo Andersson


Since most Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto suppliers are either in bankruptcy or on the brink thereof, and since we are a big reason for that situation, we plan to compromise our principles shortly.

Judge Shows Investment Savvy

From the NYPost:

September 28, 2005 — AMERICA’S first black female billionaire just got remarried. Sheila Johnson, the ex-wife of BET founder Robert Johnson, tied the knot with Judge William Newman at her Salamander Farm in Middleburg, Va., on Saturday. Newman met Johnson when he presided over her 2002 divorce case against Robert, her husband of 33 years. Newman’s decision evenly split the $3 billion Johnson netted after Viacom bought BET.

I have to give credit where it’s due. This judge ruled over a divorce case involving a billionaire, split the $3bn evenly, and then marries the now-divorced-but-also-a-billionaire woman? Wow. That’s how you use the law to your investing benefit.

Mr Juggles Investing Commandments (#1 & #2)

People often ask me, “Mister Juggles where should I invest?” or “How should I decide whether to buy Company X’s stocks, bonds, options and exotic derivatives?” To that end, I have decided to create a list of investment rules that will allow readers to quickly qualify or rule out certain companies as potential investments. This process will continue over time as these rules come to mind.

Commandment #1: Avoid any company if the company’s CEO responds to a legitimate question with profanity and/or personal attacks. This applies double if the profanity occurs during a quarterly conference call. Consider shorting the stock or buying out-of-the-money put options.


Patrick Byrne (Overstock) responded to certain allegations by a research firm suggesting that the authors should be “be beaten, f—ed, and driven from the land.”
Jeff Skilling (Enron) swore at an analyst who asked why Enron couldn’t produce a balance sheet and cash flow statement along with the income statement at the time of the quarterly conference call.

Commandment #2: Avoid companies that engage in transactions wildly unrelated to their core business.


When Delta filed for bankruptcy both EDS and Disney disclosed writedowns related to aircraft leasing arrangments with Delta. EDS is a business process management company and Disney, of course, offers media and family entertainment. Neither company should, despite their disclosures of the leases, be in the business of aircraft leasing. Last time I checked the synergies between running a company that creates animated films for the pre-K set and vetting leasing arrangements with bankrupt companies were fairly low.

Expect more rules in the future to help you decide burning questions such as “Can I trust a CFO who cheats at golf?” and “What level of private jet use is abusive-but-tolerable and what level indicates a kleptocracy?”
Note: Rules are not ranked in order of importance.

Doing My Part: Hoarding Gasoline

It’s midnight my time, thinking about Rita, realizing my tank was close to empty, I hopped in my car and filled my gas with soon to be more expensive gasoline. $2.93 per gallon. Gas station was completely out of regular. At midnight, before Rita has even hit. Good omen? I’m all about hoarding.

Recommendation: Long hoarding and black gold.

Cockpit Humor United

From the captain on a recent flight:
“Thank you for flying United. We know you have your choice of bankrupt carriers and we appreciate your choosing United.”

Nice work United captain! Color me amused. I hereby pledge to help alleviate your company’s fiscal situation and fly United on my next journey as long as you offer me the lowest price.

Learned/Heard/Seen This Week at BofA Conference

• After seeing that clip, I wish I was in the virtual ammunition business.

• Guy with a button on the back of his collar. The dress shirt equivalent of the superfluous third nipple.

• I have been replaced by my wife’s scottish terrier.

• We looked at Meow Mix, but we passed because we didn’t think we had the platform for it. But then, neither does Cypress [private equity shop who bought MM], but what do financial guys know anyways. [pause] Don’t tell them I said that.

• You can have a cup of Starbucks, or you can clothe your child.

• Buy our bonds, short our stock, try some capital structure arbitrage!

• Everyone from Lord Abbett seemed to be over 70 and at least part troll. Picture the last scene in Rosemary’s Baby. Now picture everyone who wasn’t John Cassavetes or Mia Farrow or the antichrist. Those are the people managing money for Lord Abbett.

• Puppie adoptions were up 40% after 9/11.

• My hunch is that there were far more people from Bank of America at the Bank of America Equity Conference than people not from BofA; the ratio of suits to non-suits speaks to this. Who wears a suit to a business casual conference?

Points are awarded to who can attribute which thing to which session. Note that we only have 14 points. Also note that not all points are equal.


Dear Girl, I’m long you

I realize that, given our exploding traffic patterns, you have probably already read my colleague’s callous post. Unlike him, I think you’re cute as a button. I want to be long you, in size. Please contact me so we can make babies and live happily ever after.

Mister Juggles

P.S. I am completely serious about this.

Hurricane Rita is Overblown

Shaken from Katrina, people and stock markets are over-reacting. When everyone assumes the worst, plan for slightly better.

Recommendation: Short Hurricane Rita, Long puns.

This Girl is Not Attractive, so Short Her

Or more appropriately, you need to separate nubility from future attractiveness. [This is a response to Juggles and Edamame]

  • This is a flattering photographic situation. Slightly shaded, one side of the face, not too close. She could have giant legs and a fupa complementing her subpar bosoms. We don’t know.
  • Her face could be anything. She’s 19 and while she has the blush of youth, she does not seem to have the structure either in face or in body to withstand age and maintain any attractiveness, which she may or may not currently have. She will trend down, and then lose all she’s got by 31 when she will have the superficial sexual appeal of tapioca pudding.
  • She appears to have a chalky residue on the side of her feet. That is unacceptable and it’s example as to why you always have to check out the feet before consummating the relationship.
  • I guarantee you she is awful in bed.
  • While you both may agree, there is nothing that precludes you from both being wrong.


Background: Juggles linked me to this NY Times article, which focuses on girls who are on high riser tracks, are ambitious career-wise and attend prestigious schools but fully plan to end their careers and become stay-at-home mom’s at some as to yet undetermined point in the future. He wrote “she is cute, sign me up” (he actually writes like that) and that Kaiser agreed with him.

Recommendation: Short Emily Lechner and also Edamame and Juggles’s projection of women; long JD.

Shaving: The Future, but Now

Hi. I’m here to tell you the history of shaving. It all began with cavemen, they had long hairy beards and the beards were sweaty and dusty.

Then, in 1904, a company called Gillette invented the “safety razor“. The safety razor was a single-blade razor that made shaving cool and fun and everyone did it. The single-blade safety razor set off a wave of innovation that would last for the next 100 years.

In 1971, after more than 60 years of research, Gillette realized they could double their revenues if they sold a razor that had (get this) TWO blades. That’s right, the dual-blade Gillette Sensor Excel took the shaving industry by storm and it was another 30 years before the inventors at Gillette could improve this model.

At the turn of the millennium, Gillette surprised the world when it rushed to market the Mach 3. This razor had 3 blades and a cool name that made you feel like you were shaving at three times the speed of sound. I was in college at the time and before every dorm dance all the guys would shave with the Mach 3 and then talk about it. However, Gillette did not know this would wake a sleeping giant and the giant’s name was “Schick” and Schick was very tired of losing the race to see how many razor blades you could convince someone to buy at one time.

Schick decided to give Gillette a dose of its own medicine and launched the Schick Quattro. For those of you that don’t already know “quattro” is Slovakian for “four”. The Schick scientists had surprised even themselves by fitting four full size razors onto one apparatus, unbelievable. Unfortunately for Schick, Gillette was already a step ahead of the game . . .

Yesterday, in what could herald the proximity of the millenial time of the six blades , Gillette announced it would begin selling the Fusion. The Fusion has a five-razor “shaving surface” and you won’t believe it until you see it. Ok, ready to believe it? Here you go:

The president of Gillette’s razor division compared shaving with the fusion to “a nuclear reaction in which nuclei combine to create power.” Sounds very comfortable to me. If you’re not pumped about shaving with the fusion yet you should check out these comments from the Gillette CEO and on their investor webcast:

Innovation is, and always has been, the life-blood of the shaving business. As the leader in shaving, Gillette always innovates. We always push technology to the limit. We always seek to provide superior consumer satisfaction, and men are always looking for a better way to shave.

They want superior closeness, superior comfort, superior overall shaving performance and a superior shaving experience, and they want this extraordinary shave on every part of their face. That includes those difficult areas like shaving under the nose, trimming side burns and shaping facial hair. Let me tell you that facial hair is not a concept Gillette usually mentions at an event like this, but today about 50% of men support some form of facial hair, whether it is moustaches, goatees, chin straps or soul patches. And, there is no easy way to shape or trim it. That is until now because our new brand will bring every man a better way to shave.”

You heard it hear first, Gillette has brought to the soul patch market the most sophisticated facial topiary technology available to date. What will they think of next? We don’t know, but we hope it involves more razor blades because we can’t get enough.

If it isn’t obvious by now we are long Gillette and see a soft market for unkempt facial hair. Sorry this post is so long, hopefully your facial hair is short enough to make up for it. Thanks for your time.

Recommendation: Long Gillette. Short unruly facial hair.

Long Self-Involvement

Our last two posts have been about ourselves, I’m sensing a trend. When I sense a trend, I lay down the big bones.

Recommendation: JD = Long Self-Involvement

Short Blogsnob/Pheedo

Blogsnob sucks. Pheedo sucks.

Long or Short has served roughly 4,000 impressions for Blogsnob/Pheedo. It’s supposed to be such that for each impression we serve we get a credit for 2/3 of an ad of ours to be served on another part of the Blogsnob network. This is the idea of traffic sharing. Our ads have been served at a rate below 20% of the amount we have served. This is the idea of traffic thieving. We have 2 clickthroughs to our site. What is the point? Pheedo is a bad service. When we short you, we crush you. Pheedo, you are crushed.

Recommendation: Short Pheedo.

Next Page »