Be careful what you tweet for....

I was doing my usual rounds on the internet this morning, and was reading an article on ESPN about Anquan Boldin firing his agent, the infamous Drew Rosenhaus. I always enjoy reading about Rosenhaus and his antics to get money for his guys. I thought it was great that a player was going to actually fire him, since most of the players just do whatever he tells them to. I read the article and something else popped out that took me a bit to digest. Here is one quote from the article:

"I still believe Anquan will be traded before training camp," Rosenhaus said May 8 through his Twitter account. "I hope to work together with the Cardinals to resolve this situation by then."

You might have to read it again, but it's not what he said, but how it was reported he said it. "through his twitter account." Later in the article, it also said this:

"We recently made a proposal to the Cards for less," Rosenhaus said via Twitter.

Again, he is being quoted from his twitter account. I first found this amusing because Rosenhaus is never one to back down from media coverage or a guy that doesn't like to have a mike in front of his face. (Remember the Terrell Owens episodes from Philly). As I thought about it more, I thought it was strange the way his tweets were reported in the story. If you didn't really read everything carefully, you would have glossed over the quotes as if someone had interviewed him. But they didn't interview him. Nor were these quotes in direct response to a particular question. So, you have an unrelated 160 character blurb from someone being attributed to him as though it were a direct person to person quote based on a person to person question. Is this where we are heading? The person that posted this report on espn, did he clear Rosenhaus' tweets as pertinent to the rest of this story, or did he assume? While the tweets do appear to relate to what the reporter was writing about, when is it appropriate to follow up and ask?

Look, I like twitter. You can follow me @ad1220 if you want. It's a cool little piece of technology that is basically a text message to anyone and everyone that cares to look at it. It's a great way to give quick updates to what you are doing. "I'm at the airport" "I washed the car today" "Boeing stock is down" BUT......people have to remember, especially people like Rosenhaus or other celebrities, or anyone that evidently can be directly quoted from Twitter......these 160 character tweets carry almost no context with them. You should NOT be issuing responses or statements through twitter. If you want to write something that will carry any kind of meaning, get yourself a blog and write a long post about it. If you're important enough that people care about what you're going to say, issue a press release. I'm sure tweets that are taken out of context are already ruining lives across the high schools of the nation, it will be interesting to see which nationally known person is taken down because of twitter.


Idol thoughts....<sigh>

Well, I have some Idol thoughts for tonight's big season finale.  I have to admit I watched most of this year's season.  I did enjoy it (a bit), because they had people on that actually play instruments.  If you're able to play a few instruments, I think that makes you more of a total musician.  And if you're a total musician, I think that gives you a better chance to make it in the industry outside of Idol.  So watching a few of the guys bring out pianos and guitars was a nice change. 

As for the final two, I much prefer Kris.  I think he's an actual musician, where Adam is more of a performer.  I know it today's music world the performer is usually favored (as evidenced by many of the performances by other acts), including Paula's horrible lip sync and dance number.  Adam has done some interesting things with songs, but I question Bridget and I always have is how much help do they get with those alternate arrangements?  I doubt Adam is actually rewriting the music.  Do they just tell someone, "Hey, let's do it this way." and then 3 days later there's a new arrangement?  Or do they just dig up someone else's alternate arrangement?  Regardless, I think the judges put way too much emphasis on having them use different arrangements.  It's interesting every once in while, but it becomes tiresome after a while.  For instance, on disco night, not one person actually sang a "disco" song.  I thought that was the point of different nights, to show how you would sing different styles of songs, not how you use the same lyrics and a somewhat similar melody to sing a song that fits in with your performance style.  Oh well.

Between the two, I think Kris is the much more marketable musician.  He could do country or pop without any trouble.  He does the acoustic guitar, adult contemporary thing nicely.  Plus, he play instruments, which gives his performances something to look at.  I just don't know what Adam would do.  That squeal thing he does went out with wigs and spandex in the 80's.  How could you sit and listen to a 60-70 minute CD with him doing that? 

I just wanted to also make a comment about the atrocious last song.  It was horrible.  It was terrible.  It sounded like the end credits of The Little Mermaid 9, Ariel goes to College.  And did I hear them correctly that the winner has to use that as their first single?  Holy crap, I'd be hiring a lawyer to get me out of that one.  I think Kris tried to take a dive just because of that.  And the song was written to be sung in Adam's lady range, so Kris struggled with it.  Even Kara felt about about sending in the fix once she heard it.  What a terrible idea.

One of my favorite web sites, dialidol.com, actually has Kris winning!  It looks really close, with the margin of error putting both people in play.  If you don't know, Dial Idol uses automated dialing to measure the busy dial tones of each phone line, and then using that data to statistically predict how many people are voting.  For example, if you dial the number 10 times and it's busy 9 times, you're getting a lot of votes.  If it's only busy 2 or 3 times, you're not getting a lot of votes.  I haven't dug into the statistics of how he does it, but it's quite a method.  I believe his algorithm had predicted all of the winners so far, so we'll see how it works this year.


Berkshire Hathaway Weekend in Omaha

I'm a couple days (yikes, weeks!) behind this on this, but Bridget and I went to the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder's Meeting on Saturday! BH is, of course, the company headed by Warren Buffett. I've always been fascinated by Warren and his outlook on business and life. I've been following BH for a year or so I guess. He is a frequent guest on CNBC which I will catch in the mornings sometimes. I've read a couple books on him, including his latest and official autobiography, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. That book is a freakin monster though. It's around 900 pages, and the pages include a lot of text. I'm about done with it, but I've been working on it for a few months. (update: I finished it) It's a good book, but some of the parts are a little too long and wordy and drag on a bit.

So, for our big day, we got down to the Qwest at about 800 and made our way into the arena. It was PACKED. We walked around a bit and finally found some seats ALL the way on one of the sides. Luckily, they had screens suspended from the ceiling, and one of them were right in front of us. So, we couldn't see Charlie and Warren straight on, but we got a good side look. BH puts together a movie that goes over a lot of their businesses. It shows a bunch of commercials from companies like Geico and Coke. There were a bunch of funny parts, including a skit where Warren was working at NFM selling mattresses. One of the mattresses had a pocket under the bed to hide your money. It was pretty humorous. Warren has quite a sense of humor.

The movie ended around 930 and we got to the Q&A. I guess in the past all questions came from the audience and it had gotten to the point where people were just asking random questions, rather than talking about the business. The format changed this year where questions were submitted to a 3 person panel (including my girl Becky Quick), who then asked the questions. They did have some questions from the audience, but it was not too much. I wrote down some quotes I liked:

"I don't think you can teach high finance to people that can't use credit cards." - Charlie Munger
This came in response to a question about finance intelligence. The discussion came to whether the industry should concentrate on education. Charlie makes a great point that you can't just teach people to do something like this. If you don't understand that you shouldn't spend more than you make, how are you going to learn PE ratios, revenue streams, etc. This goes very well into a little theory I have that access to information doesn't equate to higher intelligence. (I'll get to that later)

"If you need a computer to do a cash flow analysis, move on." - Warren
"Higher math can hurt you in investing" - Charlie
Both of these quotes were a part of several discussions on how high level math is actually hurting the industry. Both stressed several times that if the value and earning power of a company doesn't jump off the page, you should move on. If you need to figure out tenths and hundredths of discount rate to see if you should invest, that's too deep in the weeds. Keep to whole numbers and obvious wins. I don't have the exact quote, but they also mentioned that if you have an IQ of 150, you should sell 30 of it and just use 120 to invest. Good stuff.

"Emotional stability is more important than higher math or intelligence." - Warren
This is an extension of the last quote, but also defines it more. It's more important have the cajones to hold onto a stock over time than coming up with a crazy equation to tell you when to buy or sell.

The competitive advantage of BH isn't our ability to pick stocks, it's BH's unique model of buying well run companies and letting them continue to run their business their way. - unexact quote from Warren
As expected, several questions focused on who would take over after Warren and Charlie are gone. They both answered the question well in stressing that the way the company makes money isn't just hinged on their ability to pick stocks. They have created a culture that allows BH to buy good companies, and that those good companies actively lobby for BH to buy them. BH is really the only company out there that does that. Also, the person who is tabbed to take over is from the inside and should do a good job when he is tapped to take over.

"Authority comes with the person, not the position." - Warren
This quote came from a discussion on Ajit, who is the insurance genius. The question was how do you replace him and find someone else who can write the speciality insurance he does. Warren just flat out said you can't replace him, and whoever takes over after him won't have the same freedom. This is a GREAT quote that really should apply to all companies and all positions. Most companies get so worried with positions that they don't take the time to match up the authority with the person. Take the current issues with CEOs for example. A person might be a great leader for a company, but he may not have all of the technical skills. Does that mean he can't be the CEO? No, it just means the Board might need to assign some of the authority else where, or put in some more checks and balances. That's not a bad thing. If you're promoted to a new position, your skills don't change just because the authority of the position changes.

Overall, the day was great. After the QA session we walked around the booths of the various companies under the BH umbrella. We got some excellent peanut brittle from See's, but we did not buy any underwear from Fruit of the Loom. We enjoyed a $1 dilly bar from DQ, but did not buy any boots from Justin Boots. It was quite a scene. We will definitely be attending next year. Hopefully under our own passes from our own BH stock :)


Chrysler dealership closing criteria?

I was enjoying some lunch today (grilled cheese and deli chicken sandwich) and reading my daily Omaha World Herald and found an interesting article regarding the recently released dealership closings for Chrysler.  I have been a supporter of doing a pretty extensive makeover with GM and Chrysler for some time, and I agreed that the number of dealerships needed to be reduced.  I hadn't seen a criteria for closing dealerships, but I had assumed it would be based on location and profit.  I figured they would do a big cut of multiple dealerships in the same town first, and then find the ones that have bad customer service or bad sales records.  I had hoped that there would also be some human eyes to look at special situations other than numbers, but it looks as though that was of course, not the case.

This article, which is a shorter version of the print article, talks about the Kobza Motors dealership in David City, NE.  David City has 1 dealership in town of around 2500 people.  From the article, it sounds like a good portion of the people in town use the dealership.  From looking at the google map and searching on "Chrysler" the nearest dealership is in Columbus, NE, which is 25 miles away.  Are those dealerships poaching each other's business?  I would bet not.  Are they profitable businesses?  I don't have their numbers, but if they have been able to survive in a small town for decades, I would think they do plenty of business.  If the dealership is not "stealing" sales away from other dealerships, and they are able to stay in business, why would you tell them to stop selling cars? 

If I had to guess, I would say they don't sell (or buy from Chrysler), whatever the decided minimum amount of cars is.  So what?  What difference does that make?  How else are you going to get your vehicles into these people's hands?  If we are talking about the middle of Nebraska, I would say they sell a lot of trucks, which is the bigger profit margin vehicle. 

So you have a dealership in a small town, good public relations, been there for decades, low cost (small number of employees, land/rent is probably cheap), no competition from any other dealership, and sells mostly high margin trucks.  Yeah, let's get that closed. 

And we continue to wonder why GM and Chrysler have so much trouble....


Loft Redo Part 1

The time has finally come to get the loft of our new house together. Our house is a ranch, but a portion of what would normally be the attic is a finished loft area. It's about 500 sq ft, so it's a pretty big space. Presently, we're not really using it. My older Samsung DLP, old couch and chair, and the other bed are currently up there. Here's some pics of the before: (Sorry, I didn't clean the pictures up. I'll clean the finished pictures up more to make it look like an even bigger improvement. Similar to the weight loss infomercials when the girl loses 50 lbs, but also has a new haircut, makeup, clothes, and usually new boobs.)

IMGP2260 IMGP2270 IMGP2267

We had been using one of the ground floor bedrooms for the office. It just doesn't work, as I need some room to spread stuff out. I've always been a fan of the L shaped desks, but couldn't ever get a room with the right size. Enter the loft! We ended up getting a Sauder desk from Nebraska Furniture Mart. Here's a link to desk on NFM.com. We didn't get the hutch, as you can see from the pictures that the room slopes into the corners.

I ran by the Mart to pick up the desk this morning and got it home a little after lunch. The thing was heavy, 160lbs in the desk. I carted the pieces up a couple at a time and got to work. A few hours later, the desk was done. The desk is going in the corner where the bed was.


I got the desk put together and in place when Bridget got home. I'm gonna finish up moving the computer and the rest of the office stuff upstairs tomorrow. Luckily, I twisted my ankle pretty good out in the backyard due to some uneven sod settling, so that might get a little sore.

Hopefully more pics tomorrow....


I'm bringing the Po' Boy back

Holy crap.  Bridget and I enjoyed a new restaurant on Saturday night and it absolutely blew me up.  I was astounded, which I haven't been at a restaurant in awhile.  The place of interest is Shucks Fish House and Oyster Bar.  It's a little place up on 168th and West Center.  We got there about 730 on Saturday night and didn't have too long to wait.  Let's get into the ratings:

Style:  Bridget said it best, "It's like a legit Joe's Crabshack."  It had a beachy theme, reclaimed wood on the walls, regular tables and booths.  The restaurant wasn't huge, but it gave it a homey feel.  Music was audible but not overpowering.  People were very nice, you could tell everyone was friends and enjoyed working together.  Good crowd included families and older couples.

Drinks:  They have a nice collection of bottled beers.  It didn't appear to have any beers on tap, but if you have a nice diverse collection of bottled beers, I'll let it slide.  I believe the number of beers was over 60.  I picked the Goose Island IPA, which was terrific.  I like some IPAs and dislike some IPAs, I really liked this one.

Food:  AWESOME.  JUST AWESOME.  I was not ready for how good the food would be.  We got the calamari rings for appetizers.  They were good, but overshadowed by the rest.  For the entrees, we got an order of jambalaya and a Fresh Fish Po Boy.  Both were just amazing.  The jambalaya was nice and spicy.  The po boy was beyond description.  It was packed with fried fish fillets.  Barely fried, though.  They do a great light breading and light frying so it's not overly crunchy or greasy.  The sauce on there was great.  I believe it's called muffetta or something like that.  Louisiana style.  Awesome. 

Price:  Price was good.  Both entrees were under $10.  For that price, and that level of food satisfaction, it may be the best bargain I've ever seen.  Beers were 4.50 a bottle which is a little steep, but it was Saturday night.  They have happy hours from 3-6 during the week, so might need to go there to grab the beers.

I will be back.  Soon.


Windows 7 RC is on baby!

Today was an exciting day.  I installed Windows 7 RC (Release Candidate) on the desktop today.  I followed Lifehacker's guide to setup a dual boot system.  They had a nice write up here.  It ends up sending you to another write up they did when the first beta came out on how to do a dual boot system.  It was really pretty easy, even for a non windows admin like myself. 

I downloaded the W7 ISO and burned to a DVD then downloaded GParted and burned to a CD.  I had to go into my BIOS and reset the boot priority, the default was Removable Drive-HD-CD, which I thought was weird.  I reset it to CD-Removable-HD, put my GParted boot disk in and tried again.  Still nothing.  Hmmm....  I went into the CD priority, and it had my old IDE DVD ROM drive first, followed by my SATA drive.  I had thought that it would try the IDE drive, and then the SATA, but I guess it just checked the IDE and went out.  I reset that priority to do the SATA drive first and tried again.  SUCCESS!  GParted was pretty easy to use.  Shrink the used partition down and create a new one. 

I then threw the Windows DVD in there and went to installing.  Choose the custom option to install W7 on the new partition.  Install was fine, except I got a 2 mixed up with a Z on my product key.  I always do that.  grr.  W7 came up just fine, connected to the internet, and downloaded firefox.  Everything working like a dream.

I restarted the machine, got the option to boot XP or 7, choose XP, and everything over on partition 1 is still golden. 

I must say, I'm feeling pretty good.