Besides the “obvious” Atoms for Peace, which is basically fine anyway:
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I was kind of alarmed the other night to walk past the Good Records storefront on East Third Street and see it all papered up, with a “for rent” sign in the window. Hadn’t been there in a while, but it is always a tragedy when yet another New York record store shuts down.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Obs. exc. dial.
Shrove-tide, or the merrymaking connected therewith.
1579 in Feuillerat Revels Q. Eliz. (1908) 327 During Christmas ... & Shrove. 1621 R. Brathwait Nat. Embassie, etc. 178 In their wakes, shroues, wassel-cups, or tides. 1913 19th Cent. July 133 Nora was to marry Tom Mahony next Shrove.
b. Comb.: shrove-cake, a small cake made to give children who go shroving (Halliwell, 1847); †shrove-cock = shroving-cock (see shroving vbl. n. b); †shrove-prentice, one of ‘a set of ruffianly fellows, who took upon them at Shrovetide the name of London Prentices, and in that character invaded houses of ill-fame’ (Halliwell).
1638 Davenant Madagascar, etc. 29 More cruell than Shrove-Prentices, when they (Drunk in a Brothell House) are bid to pay. 1659 Lady Alimony V. ii. I4, O ye pittiful Simpletons, who spend your days in throwing Cudgels at Jack a Lents or Shrove-Cocks.
Copyright © Oxford University Press
Repeat: “O ye pittiful Simpletons, who spend your days in throwing Cudgels at Jack a Lents or Shrove-Cocks.”
Monday, February 15, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Headline: “Even in This Day and Age, People Would Rather be A&R Men Than Gangsters or Farmers!”
It’s for “the world’s first music based social network game,” a Facebook app called Hit or Not, which goes like this:
By listening to and ranking songs, players accumulate virtual cash they can use to “sign” and bribe artists and various other nefarious music biz activities. If the songs “signed” by the player rise on the Hit or Not charts, that player can “sell” those songs to make a (virtual) profit. The Hit or Not stock exchange is one financial institution that can never go bust, only perpetually up and down!
It’s not quite the first such site, though. In fact this sounds suspiciously like another service I wrote about a year ago called The Next Big Sound, which started off as a social networking A&R game but is now a data-mining sort of thing offering “actionable intelligence for the music industry.”
Either way, I’m not persuaded that people would rather do this than scoop manure or murder people.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
There’s a Dickensian novel just dying to be written about the plight of EMI. An iconic British institution mired in debt, unraveling quarter by miserable quarter. A tragicomedy of financial hubris, with offshore tax havens in the Channel Islands, betrayals, and corporate vultures circling the sad carcass of a once-great record label.
And the names! Guy Hands, the swashbuckling, baby-faced financier who gambled big and blew it. David Wormsley, his foil at Citigroup, whom Hands accuses of fraudulent counsel (and really is “widely known as The Worm”). Wormsley! Only Murdstone is a better name. Then there’s Elio Leoni-Sceti, the stylish Italian label manager who wears his overcoat loose over his shoulders and once handled Mop & Glo and French’s Mustard. Edgar Bronfman Jr., the cash-hoarding ginger ale heir, waits to swoop in for the kill.
The names of the firms are not quite Jarndyce and Jarndyce, but they’re good. Hands’s company is Terra Firma, whose $8 billion investment ends up on shaky ground, written down by 90 percent after an exodus of artists who objected to being treated like “furniture.” In the bidding for EMI three years ago, Terra Firma competed with Cerberus Capital Management and Fortress Investment Group. So in this drama we have firm ground, a fortress of money, the guard-dog of hell, a Guy who can’t keep his Hands off bad investments, a profligate Citi/City, and a deceitful worm.
(If you haven’t been following every sad update in this tale, read Devin Leonard’s excellent summary in Sunday Biz. The basic plot is that Terra Firma relied on Citi as both advisor and lender, but is now suing the bank, saying that Citi deliberately misled Hands & Co. by failing to report that Cerberus had dropped out of the bidding, causing Terra Firma to overpay.)
I see a young Guy Hands at school, ridiculed for his dyslexia and driven to prove the bullies wrong and win the love of his sweetheart, Julia. He finds his way from the hinterlands to the halls of power in the City of London; makes shockingly risky, obscenely profitable deals; marries Julia; buys Churchill’s house and an estate in Tuscany. He’s a Guy of the world, and he did it all with his own two Hands — as well as the help of his friend Wormsley, with whom he became so close that he invited Lord and Lady Worm to Tuscany for her 40th birthday.
At the height of the credit bubble our hero hitches his do-no-wrong company to a crusty old anchor that sinks immediately to the bottom of the sea, taking endless liquidity with it and leaving Hands dry. That Worm tricked him! Guy thought he had triumphed over the dogs of Cerberus but in reality they were never really there. Then the market crashes, and Hands becomes increasingly isolated at Guernsey, his family life sacrificed for a tax protest. To succeed, and turn it all around, he’ll have to pull off some kind of incredible heist, and do a far, far better thing than he has ever done. (That is, woo Paul McCartney back.)
Serialized for your enjoyment every three weeks in the Financial Times.
Monday, February 8, 2010
- Helped rearrange the living room furniture in search of that perfect balance. (Search for perfect balance still afoot.)
- Freed up a little CD shelf space. A bunch of jazz CDs I have probably never listened to are going in the basement.
- Hung up a new curtain in my office. The tension-rod kind didn’t work, so we just used a regular rod.
- Watched a few old episodes of “The Office” on the computer. Debated with Deepa whether they were pirated/stolen, since they had originally been broadcast for free, and had essentially been captured from that broadcast by somebody, who archived them for future home use. On the other hand, NBC does not stream them because they are too old, and they want people to buy the DVD. Regardless, we both enjoyed those episodes very much.
- Warmed up some biryani. Experimented with putting Greek yogurt on the side, and it was pretty good.
- Played around with email tags.
- Checked iPhone at about 11. Oh wow, the Saints won.
- Thought about the workweek ahead. It’s going to be busy.