09/20/19

Living Large

Imagine if you were this beautiful sleeping baby. [Hey, I said imagine. Try it.] Full disclosure this is My Perfect Granddaughter Tempe — faith, hope, charity, temperance, it’s a Southern thing.

Her Mimi is a Tempe and there are a lot of Tempes on the various branches of that family tree. This particular Tempe is what is called a “spirited” child with a lovely bubbly personality. She is perfect.

You are allergic to eggs (Momma carries the EpiPen with her) and thus you have never tasted pancakes, French toast, a hot dog bun (though you are strong on hot dogs), a blueberry muffin, pizza, spaghetti, or a croissant. You may let the list go where it feels like it needs to go.

Now, imagine that you just found out you are still allergic to scrambled eggs, but you can now eat cooked eggs — see the list above.

In the next few days, this baby will come face to face with her first pizza. She will eat pancakes and French toast. Spaghetti with croissants.

Isn’t life grand? Just imagine the moment at which you discovered the grandeur of pizza! The nobility, the deliciousness, its intelligence expanding quality. Wow!

Is this a great country or what?

 

 

09/20/19

The American Presidency

No man, with the possible exception of General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower, has ever been ready to become President of the United States on day one.

The job is bigger than any man, more complex than any man’s experience, throws him into a malestrom of competing voices and opinions while uniquely challenging its holder to make life-and-death decisions beginning day one. Looking at that sentence, I believe that Ike was ready to go right after the Inauguration.

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09/19/19

Amazon Hiring

Big Red Car here on a rainy day along the Houston coast. They are saying Houston might get TWO FEET of rain. Wow!

So, Amazon has been holding a hiring extravaganza. They held a multi-city job fair on 17 September 2019 in Arlington, Boston, Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle. This is where the job fair is being held, but the jobs are all over the country.

Young lady pointed out to me that the “a” and the “z” on the logo are connected by the arrow ’cause Amazon will sell you whatever the heck you want from A >>>> Z. OK?

You will note that they did not hold a job fair in Long Island City because the local Dem politicians ran Amazon and its proposed HQ2 off. That ended up with places like Austin By God Texas and the places noted above getting more of the hiring tasking.

You may credit the savant Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for that move. Well played, AOC. Who needs those stinking jobs, eh?

Yeah, I did that. Ran off those 25,000 Long Island City Amazon jobs. Me. Green New Deal rules! (Notice I have my “smart girl” glasses on.)

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09/13/19

Reading History With A Critical Eye

I believe that the United States of America has produced two superlative leaders in its entire history: George Washington and George C Marshall.

I have been a student of history (said the guy with degrees in civil engineering, economics, math [the economics and math degrees come from the electives I took for civil engineering wherein I had 28 more credit hours than I needed to graduate], and finance, but no history) for as long as I have known how to read.

In the last 40 years, I have been enthralled about learning about leadership by reading history — primarily biographies about Presidents and military leaders — to see what lessons I can glean from them that are applicable to my own little sphere of influence as a CEO and a CEO coach. I was a CEO for 33 years, an Army officer for 5 before that, and a CEO advisor/coach for 7 years.

The case for Washington’s greatness as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, the first President of the United States, and an entrepreneur is easy to find. He is sufficiently removed in time that his life is well documented by progressively better and better research and books about his life and the lives of those around him.

My favorite “starter kit” on Washington is Ron Chernow’s biography, Washington, A Life. [Chernow’s books on Hamilton and Grant are also excellent.]

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09/6/19

Apple Bonds — Making Applesauce

Beautiful day in the lovely city of Atlanta enroute back to Savannah from whence I fled Dorian the Hurricane Monster. It was a pleasant diversion with one of the highlights being the Georgia Aquarium, a recommendation from a pal/reader. Great recommendation.

So, Apple has just sold some corporate bonds. Corporate bond yields are trending down with the general flight from equities into bonds. But, Apple doesn’t pay general corporate bond yield prices — about 6% for others.

No, sir.

Apple placed $7B of 3 to 30 year maturities at very tight spreads above Treasuries. They had intended to place $3-4B, but the book grew so quickly (more than $25B in offers to buy Apple bonds), they went with the bigger number.

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09/3/19

Fleeing From Hurricane Dorian

Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, your Big Red Car agreed to do some light babysitting for My Perfect Daughter who is vacationing for the next two months — OK, just ten days, but it seems like a couple of months — with Her Perfect Husband, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and her saintly and gracious mother-in-law.

I had signed up for some timely deliveries of the Perfect Granddaughter to her school, long walks in Forsyth Park, some pool/beach time, early wake ups, early bed time by 6:30 PM, and an orderly, peaceful regimen, but fate intervened.

This Hurricane Dorian — female name or male name? — crashed the party causing the Big Red Car to have to relocate the good times to Atlanta from Savannah.

The good times include My Perfect Granddaughter, Bella the Labrador (winner of the “best traveler” award), Mimi, and mois. Short, little babies require a huge amount of personal infrastructure, have picky eating habits, and demand specialized entertainment (who is this guy Elmo?) that must be carted along.

There was, of course, that “mandatory” evacuation order for everybody east of Interstate Highway 95, but that’s just a technicality.

So, ten or so hours later, here we are encamped in Hot ‘Lanta enjoying the sunshine and the change of scenery.

Atlanta is the New South, hip AF and moving at speed. The people are nice. It may be the New South, but it is still the genteel, pleasant, friendly South. You notice it right away. Texas is the west, but Atlanta is the South. I love the South.

I hate you, Hurricane Dorian. Would you please just blow yourself out, turn north and ravage the Atlantic? Go away.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.

 

08/23/19

Trump’s Folly — Greenland

Don’t let the title fool you, I am in favor of the United States buying Greenland and its 844,000 square miles of ice. I don’t really care that it was President Trump’s idea meaning I could like something even when it is disqualified by being an idea from “that” guy. [Tongue, meet cheek.]

Of course, it is not President Trump’s idea.

That distinction belongs to Senator Owen Brewster of Maine who spun the idea up in 1945. That idea was first proposed to the Danes by President Truman’s Secretary of State in 1946 and the US’s opening bid was $100,000,000. Classified archives burst open in 1991 revealing this nugget.

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08/20/19

Failing v Quitting

Yesterday, somebody sent me a link to the formal ritual whereby the freshmen/women (called “Rats”) of the Virginia Military Institute are pried loose from their parents’ loving arms and deposited with a third class corporal to be whipped into hard men and women during four demanding years at the nation’s oldest state military school.

At a school founded in 1839 which has provided warriors to fight our wars since then, ritual is an important element in the process — the unique process that turns an unshapen lump of clay into a hardened vessel in four years.

Sixty-one percent of the Rats will study math, science, or engineering and they are from 34 states and 4 foreign countries. They have an average GPA of 3.7.

It is a touching ritual. If you are bored today, watch it. Do you know of any other school that takes its students in in such a fashion?

The man speaking, the Superintendent of VMI, General JH Binford Peay III, VMI ’62, was the commander of the 101st Abn Div in the First Gulf War which conducted the longest airmobile movement in combat of any division in the history of warfare, setting up shop behind the Iraqi invaders of Kuwait. He was also the Centcom Commander as a 4-star General. [He has whipped VMI into the best shape it has ever been in since 1839. Personal view. He is also an inspiring leader and a good guy.]

One of the speakers, the Commandant, a warrior with almost three decades of military service made the distinction between failing and quitting. It is an important distinction.

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