The Voice Of God Is Silent

Movie trailers and television commercials simply will not be the same.
Don LaFontaine, the “Voice of God”, the king of movie trailer voiceovers, passed away yesterday.
Lots of people have tried to imitate his delivery over the years, but this guy truly was the best at his business, ever. As someone who often spends more time enjoying the trailers than I do the movies they are promoting, I can definitely say he’s going to be missed.

The Police Pack It In

Last night, D and I attended the final concert of The Police, ever (or at least, that’s the official story). It was quite the “celebrity affair” … Mickey Dolenz, Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Leonardo DiCaprio, Debbie Harry, James Gandolfini, we saw them all. (In fact, to a certain extent I saw too much of Gandolfini, as — two rows behind him — every time I moved my head to be able to see one part of the stage it seemed like his head followed *chuckle*). D even joked a little bit about how weird it was to see “Tony Soprano” bopping and dancing with the music.
From start to finish it was full of pleasant and humorous surprises – from the NYPD marching band providing ample assistance on Message In A Bottle, to Sting’s daughters (and later everyone’s kids) coming out on stage and dancing along with Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, to a (literal) “Fat Lady” singing at the end of the show over the Warner Bros. “That’s All Folks” anthem, there was no lack of entertainment.
It’s a little sad that the reunion tour is over, but I’m glad to have been able to attend a couple nights of it, especially this one.
Video of the “final song ever” (with occasional appearances of the back of Gandolfini’s head) here and Flickr stream here.

MicroHoo, The Aftermath

So a bunch of my friends have been asking me what I think of the Yahoo/Microsoft situation, now that it’s over.
As a former Yahoo…
I’m glad Microsoft didn’t complete the acquisition. It would have been a bloodbath in multiple ways. The “suicide rate” as people who hate Microsoft with a passion jumped ship would be huge. Then there would have been the inevitable layoffs as competing products were culled, or HR departments were merged, or whatever.
Even my friends who are “unhappy” at Yahoo would not have been happier with their new Microsoft overlords.
Now, as a shareholder?
I have to agree with Bill Miller from Legg Mason (Yahoo’s second-largest shareholder). He told the New York Times that if you’re going to climb up on the grandstand and say your stock is worth $37.00 a share, and you’re sitting on $2.3 Billion in cash reserves, then the absolute smart strategy is to buy back your stock from the market whenever the market is valuing it so far below what you think it’s worth.
And if you’re NOT buying it back, then how can you honestly say it’s worth $37.00 a share?
And if it isn’t really worth $37.00 a share, and that’s why you’re not even willing to pay $24.37 a share for it to buy it back from the open market, then why didn’t you accept $33.00 a share for it from the potential buyer?
Shareholders don’t care about whether or not people like their new corporate overlords, they care about stock performance.
If Yahoo starts snatching up a crapton of stock from the market, then IMHO, they’re putting their money where their mouth is with regard to the stock valuation. If they don’t, then that was just a crappy excuse for not selling out to Microsoft, and is an affront to their responsibilities to the shareholders.

The Government Makes Counterfeiting Money Easier

This past week, the gov’t released into the wild the new $5 bills. Among the various things they claim is that the newest bill makes it harder to counterfeit, blah blah blah.
I contend that the new bill makes it easier to counterfeit currency. Why?
They keep changing the bills so goddamned often, it’s impossible to keep up. Someone could come up to me a year from now and have a totally new design they worked up in Photoshop, and say “Well, that’s the new design, I just got it from the bank this morning, crazy huh?” and y’know what — it’d be believable.
Paper currency hadn’t changed that much – visually – for a really long time. Now it seems like it gets a completely new design every couple years, reducing civilian confidence in “what a $5 bill is supposed to look like”.
Your gov’t at work…..