Movies Watched -- Blue Ruin

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Revenge tale ... but about an avenger who is unable to plan ahead ... things go wrong, very wrong.  It's a downer. Overly violent.  White trash America not very realistically depicted.  But it was exactly 90 minutes long which wins big points with me.

Movies Watched -- Snowpiercer

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Dystopian future vision ... heavy-handed moralizing ... had some wonderful weird bits, but also gory over-the-top violence and an ultimately dumb story ... also too long at over two hours.

Engaged in an Interaction with a Killer Whale

Added on by C. Maoxian.

From the SeaWorld prospectus:

Featuring animals at our theme parks involves risks.
Our theme parks feature numerous displays and interactions that include animals. All animal enterprises involve some degree of risk. All animal interaction by our employees and our guests in attractions in our theme parks, where offered, involves risk. While we maintain strict safety procedures for the protection of our employees and guests, injuries or death, while rare, have occurred in the past. For example, in February 2010, a trainer was killed while engaged in an interaction with a killer whale. Following this incident, we were subject to an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which resulted in three citations concerning alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and certain regulations thereunder. We have appealed certain of these citations and the appeal process is ongoing. In connection with this incident, we reviewed and revised our safety protocols and made certain safety-related facility enhancements. This incident has also been the subject of significant media attention, including television and newspaper coverage, a documentary and a book, as well as discussions in social media. This incident and similar events that may occur in the future may harm our reputation, reduce attendance and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, seven killer whales are presently on loan to a third party. Although the occurrence of any accident or injury involving these killer whales would be outside of our control, any such occurrence could negatively affect our business and reputation.
We maintain insurance of the type and in amounts that we believe is commercially reasonable and that is available to animal enterprise related businesses in the theme park industry. We cannot predict the level of the premiums that we may be required to pay for subsequent insurance coverage, the level of any self-insurance retention applicable thereto, the level of aggregate coverage available, or the availability of coverage for specific risks.

Incidents or adverse publicity concerning our theme parks or the theme park industry generally could harm our brands or reputation as well as negatively impact our revenues and profitability.
Our brands and our reputation are among our most important assets. Our ability to attract and retain customers depends, in part, upon the external perceptions of the Company, the quality of our theme parks and services and our corporate and management integrity. The operation of theme parks involves the risk of accidents, illnesses, environmental incidents and other incidents which may negatively affect the perception of guest and employee safety, health, security and guest satisfaction and which could negatively impact our brands or reputation and our business and results of operations. An accident or an injury at any of our theme parks or at theme parks operated by competitors, particularly an accident or an injury involving the safety of guests and employees, that receives media attention, is the topic of a book, film, documentary or is otherwise the subject of public discussions, may harm our brands or reputation, cause a loss of consumer confidence in the Company, reduce attendance at our theme parks and negatively impact our results of operations. Such incidents have occurred in the past and may occur in the future. In addition, other types of adverse publicity concerning our business or the theme park industry generally could harm our brands, reputation and results of operations. The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years has compounded the impact of negative publicity.

You Can't Make Comedy a Rubber Doll

Added on by C. Maoxian.

From an AP story in May 1981:

An interview with Jonathan Winters is an odyssey, a tour through a strange and childlike region peopled by the many facets of this pot-bellied original.
His Reds cap perched squarely on his head, his ample belly sparring with the edge of the formica table in the NBC publicity conference room, the characters living in Winters' head interrupt incessantly, turning the interview into a performance.
You don't interview Winters, you become an audience.
''You know, you get labels in this business, a wild person, 'Jonathan Winters is a wild person. How do you get a net over him? Was he really in a crazy house?'
''But I enjoy my insanity. And I say 'insanity' because when people say to me, 'There's nothing the matter with me,' that's the person who puts the telescopic sight here (he levels an imaginary rifle out the window, aiming into the NBC parking lot) and says, 'Let's see how many we can get before we lose light. There's one (he pulls the trigger).' That's the sort of person who says there's nothing wrong with him.''
That kind of craziness, that senselessness, alienation and blind brutality of modern life, crashes into the conversation relentlessly. There's reason for this. Winters has said that it's the child in him that's funny, and it's the child in us that laughs. The times are tough for all his children.
''It's harder to reach that little boy now. When I was growing up, the little boy saw six cars in the high school lot. Now, in some cases, there's no high school, just cars. We were confused, too, but we were confused in a wonderful way.
''That was the world of imagination. Now, times have changed. It was one thing to live when there was no atomic bomb, another thing to live with the atomic bomb. And a completely different thing to live in a time when you wonder whether there will be total holocaust by Friday at 12:30."
''We've got used to assassinations, we've got used to guys in the Dallas towers, we've got used to guys taking shots at our leaders. I think the hardest thing, for the little boy in me to break through to the little boy out there, is this terrible paranoia we're all in. My little boy has to work 200 per cent harder.''
Another character, 8-year-old Tommy Brichton, comes forth to demonstrate the point.
Man: ''You're little Tommy Brichton.''
''Yes I am.''
''Tommy, how are you doing in school?''
''Well, it's difficult to know what's going on from one day to the next. I watched a man on television who said the school situation is going to turn around by July. But we're going to be out of school by July, so what does he mean?''
''You're talking about busing . . ."
''Yes. I'd like to ride a bus.''
''Why not walk to school?''
''No waaaay. Eddie Terrell was stabbed to death by a 91-year-old man. He couldn't see. Thought it was a dog, that's what he said. C'mon, he killed him.
''That's terrible. How did you feel?
''Eddie was bad. He would have died before he got to high school because he was bad news. He passed out gum balls with stuff in them.''
Point taken. It's kind of strange to find so much grim in a fellow so thoroughly comic. Maybe not so strange, come to think of it.
Winters shrugs and says: ''These are the things that are happening, in Atlanta, everywhere. It's tough to take. But you can't make comedy a rubber doll. Then you've got nothing. You have to go with a piece of reality."
''The key is, somehow we've got to slip in a little more truth and still keep the world a fantasy.''
If such is possible, Winters can work it.

JW a fascinating guy ... an American original.

Performing Open-soul Surgery

Added on by C. Maoxian.

From a David Kleinberg profile of Robin Williams in September 1985 (SF Chronicle):

Williams ... was born in Chicago in 1951. He grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and he moved to Marin county with his family when he was 16. He doesn't think it's that unusual to be a comedian coming from what he defines as ``the middle-upper class.'' His father was an executive for Ford Motor Co. who retired to Tiburon.
Though he had older stepbrothers, Williams considered himself an only child, and spent a lot of time playing ventriloquist to hundreds of toy soldiers in his bedroom.
In Marin, he attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, Claremont Men's College in Southern California for a year, returned for a brief period to College of Marin, and spent three very important years at the Theater Center of New York's prestigious Juilliard School. ``My father said, `Do whatever you want, but be ready to have a second profession.' ''
In 1976, the first profession started to pan out. In San Francisco's first Comedy Competition, Williams finished second to Bill Farley, a man who unfortunately will have to live with the stigma of being the answer to the ultimate San Francisco comedy trivia question, ``Who finished first the year Robin Williams finished second in the comedy competition?''
Williams feels it was no surprise that he came in as runner-up. He wasn't a good comedian then. In fact, he referred to a 1976 review of his work by the late Chronicle critic John Wasserman, who stated that Williams' material had yet to reach curb level. ``John was right. It was all pee-pee, ca-ca. Everyone starts off at a certain level . . . Usually you imitate someone's style that you admire . . . Then you break away.''
Jonathan Winters' style is the one that Williams' initially grabbed; he and Richard Pryor are the two names Williams mentions as his favorite comics. ``Jonathan . . . just because he's a gentle soul with a madness and wild, out-there vision. It comes from a very sensitive man who talks about things that are very painful but makes them funny.
``As whimsical as Jonathan is, Pryor is deep. He's not afraid to perform open-soul surgery at any moment. Deep, deep stuff.''
As far as new comics go, Williams likes Steven Wright, whom he compares with Woody Allen. And, as he told GQ magazine recently, ``Bob Goldthwait, very high energy, does a kind of nervous breakdown on stage. Wow, there's Whoopi Goldberg! There's Paula Poundstone, Sandra Bernhard, Elayne Boosler. There's Jay Leno . . . Rick Overton, Charlie Fleischer, A. Whitney Brown, a young guy named Dana Carvey - all of them doing different things.''

Throw Your Skinny Body Down, Son

Added on by C. Maoxian.
Oh, I can smile about it now 
But at the time it was terrible 

A lyric I often say to myself, now in my dotage. Old Morrissey ripping his shirt as usual ... thank god he had Johnny Marr simply ripping it behind him.

Reviewing Netflix Trade

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In the great tradition of reviewing the trades that occasionally, nay, rarely work while conveniently ignoring all our many losers, here's a 15-min chart of Netflix.  How are you managing your open long?  Move the stop to breakeven yet?

You've Exposed Too Much

Added on by C. Maoxian.

BEHIND THE BEST SELLERS; 'PREPPY HANDBOOK' by Dudley Clendinen, NYTimes, 4 January 1981

Last spring, Jonathan Roberts was 25 years old, a graduate of the Cambridge School in Boston and Brown, a funny young man who wanted to write. ''Usually, people tell you to write what you know,'' he says. ''For years, I thought - 'What do I know? I'm just a Preppy.'''
Then he thought again and confided his idea for a book to three Preppy friends, all single, clever, mid-twentyish and residents of Manhattan: Lisa Birnbach of the Riverdale School and Brown, Carol McD. Wallace of Country Day and Princeton and Mason Wiley of The Episcopal School and Columbia University. They agreed to collaborate. Miss Birnbach took on the chores of editor, writer and manager of the budget. She paid everyone else out of a checkbook imprinted with her nickname, ''Bunny,'' and a stemmed martini glass. [Roberts, Wallace and Wiley have WASP cred ... Birnbach, er, no.]
What emerged in September from the Workman Publishing house was ''The Official Preppy Handbook,'' by its own definition, the ''In book of the season.'' It is about Mummy and Daddy, whose lives and family rooms are imprinted decorously with the repeated images of ducks, whose Saturdays in the fall are given to tailgate picnics before the old school game, whose children are nicknamed Muffy or Missy or Buffy, Skip or Chip or Kip.
By the time Muffy and Skip become Mummy and Daddy, they will have mastered these and the million other details involved in living the elite and proper life of Prep. Or they can buy this book. Anyone can. ''You don't have to be a registered Republican,'' the preface says invitingly. ''In a true democracy, everyone can be upper class and live in Connecticut. It's only fair.''
That may or may not be true, but it is funny. On the other hand, its authors say the book itself, 224 pages of wry detail, is a true account of being Preppy. ''Our feeling was that it is such an inherently amusing subject that we don't have to make jokes about it,'' says Mr. Roberts. ''All we have to do is tell the truth.'' Who cares? Anyone to whom it matters, or who wants a laugh.
The Library of Congress, which by function is pedantic, has the book catalogued under ''Preparatory schools - United States - Handbooks, manuals, etc.'' Elsewhere, there are 415,000 copies in print, and much laughter. The $3.95 book is No. 1 on the trade paperback best seller list for the second successive week. The four authors, who spent only a summer and a budget of $15,000 on writing and illustrations, find this most amusing.
When Mr. Wiley went home to Rocky Mount, N. C., this year for Thanksgiving (an event described in the college years section of the book as: ''First major break of the year. Almost everyone goes home by Wednesday afternoon, humming 'We Gather Together'''), he discovered that his summer project had not been without some social cost. ''My parents' friends were all embarrassed,'' he recalls. ''They said, 'You've exposed too much.' One woman went home and counted 15 ducks in her family room.''
The book's style is youthful, the prose wry and clean. The response has been bemusing. When Miss Birnbach, who has been on the road promoting the ''Preppy Handbook'' since mid-November, arrived in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, Mayor Francis S. Buck proclaimed it ''Preppy Day.'' The department store carrying the book greeted her with ''Welcome Lisa'' banners of Preppy pink and green. In Charlottesville, the book is said to be the biggest seller since ''Dr. Zhivago.''
In the midst of such attention, Miss Birnbach attempts to maintain a Preppy sense of humor. When she is asked by interviewers if the men she dates are Preppy, she has a stock reply: ''No synthetic fibers touch any man that I will touch.'' 

Something Enduring, Secure, Top-drawer

Added on by C. Maoxian.

PAPERBACK TALK by Ray Walters, NYTimes, 4 August 1980

Lisa Birnbach, who once covered ''the scene'' for a Manhattan weekly, puts it this way: ''In this time of jittery economics, shifting values and uncertain self-identities, it's nice to feel you belong to something enduring, secure, top-drawer, outstanding - like the world of preparatory schools that date back to the mid-18th century.''
That world and its alumni are celebrated by Miss Birnbach in ''The Official Preppy Handbook,'' which Workman will be publishing next month - just in time for the fall term - at $3.95. In 160 pages, it charts and illustrates, in somewhat tongue in cheek fashion, the proper preppy's progress from silver spoon to obituary in The Times. Along the way it offers counsel on how to bear up under a legacy of good taste and breeding, how to get into a good school and how to get out, how to dress and behave with members of the opposite sex, what games to play and where to ''waterhole,'' what to do at a reunion.
The distiller of all this received wisdom is a native New Yorker who acquired many preppy friends during her progress through Riverdale Country School and Brown ('78). She was tapped for the assignment by an old friend and Workman author Richard Smith (''The Dieter's Guide to Weight Loss During Sex''). Miss Birnbach - who longs to be called ''Bunny,'' a proper preppy name - got her project going at a party where 20 preppy friends - lawyers, bankers, advertising people - contributed ideas.
Isn't all this terribly, provincially Northeastern? Not at all, Bunny Birnbach says. There are large preppy enclaves from San Diego to Kansas City, from Grosse Pointe to Shaker Heights. The South is clustered with them. Stores from coast to coast feature their rep ties and button-downs.
Isn't all this very undemocratic? Not at all, Bunny Birnbach insists. If you weren't born a preppy, her book will tell you how to be one. 

Lisa Birnbach also attended the 92d Street Y Nursery School, which goes unmentioned, and is the granddaughter of the late Dr. Norman Salit, a rabbi, a lawyer and a president of the Synagogue Council of America.  Can Jews be Preppy?

Xiaomi's Handset Supply Chain

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Nice table from Nomura.  My elevator surveys tell me that Xiaomi is growing by leaps and bounds ... it's no longer seen as embarrassing to carry one, I guess. Going to be huge in the emerging markets, I'd bet.  Apple won't be able to gouge people forever. I looked at getting a smartphone recently, but actually couldn't find a Xiaomi at the Internet price of 1,499 RMB -- no supply. 

China Money Market Fund Yields

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Nice chart from HSBC of the yields of Yu'e Bao (Alibaba), Licaitong (TenCent), and Baifa Baizhuan (Baidu). Still convenient but yields less compelling ... and deposits capped at one million RMB mean no big depositors can take advantage of them.

Movies Watched -- American Hustle

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Had some funny bits but way way too long ... close to two hours and twenty minutes, that's crazy ... indulgent filmmaking.  If they had been able to cut it down to 90 or 100 minutes it would have been better.  Amy Adams was pretty good, much better than Jennifer Cheekbones.  Lots of good songs on the soundtrack.

Movies Watched -- Philomena

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Quit an hour in (with 40 minutes to go). Slow, cliche riddled, annoying "emotional cue" soundtrack, it didn't hold me. And the adopted son turned out to be gay? Ugh, I'm really glad I didn't watch to the end.

Q's Set Up on Monday

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Here's my view of the Qs on Monday ... SQQQ is the ProShares 3x bear fund.  Cross-currents across time frames, tricky biz. 

Movies Watched -- We Steal Secrets (The Story of Wikileaks)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Assange strikes me as an egotist, the flowing mane, the sunglasses, the clothes ... he wanted to be a rock star (and became one).  Manning is a troubled character ... feels like he would have imploded if Lamo? hadn't exposed him first ... of course there are atrocities being committed in war zones, probably every day, nothing that Ma and Pa back home want to know about ... anyway, movie is dated now in the "Snowden Era."