new year’s resolutions:
All my New Year resolutions basically come down to “Try to be somebody else.”:: Michael Ian Black ::
M: dinner monday night?
D1 [moments later]: that was a weird [iphone] autocorrect. i meant to say ‘yes!’.
autocorrect [delayed] success:
D2 [on vacation]: what’s your address?
me: [my address]. i am now expecting a husky puppy in the mail!
D2: ok , btr. u giyd habe got a postcrd. dckig. postsrd vcimmimg rnway!!
D2 [two days later]: just saw this – sorry. translation (i think): you’ve got a postcard coming your way.
me: literal, delayed “auto”correct!
i don’t celebrate christmas much, but i’m all about giving — to myself. i have gifted myself a domain name: http://www.cinnamontwists.net. look at me, learning internet! go ahead and click. experience an impossibly fast URL redirect right back to where you started. side note: cinnamontwists.com costs $1545 per year! i am aZn so i know how to save for rainy days when i need a dotcom URL. i put myself on a 30-year plan, $1 a week.
my sister, though, celebrates christmas and admirably. she gave me one of my best presents ever: an advent calendar!
from december 1 to 25, i started each morning in chicago, aspen, and the OC with a lovely little surprise, ranging from a pigs mini-calendar (two of my loves in one) to christmas socks, to chocolate. especially helpful for the holidays when without work or school, it typically takes me more than thirty seconds of hard thought to remember what day it is.
D1 found some less affordable giftables. items highlighted below may be given to people who celebrate both or may simply be added to my growing “things to explore once i am less indebted” list. side note: when i settle into an airplane seat, i toss in my last moves in words with friends, set “airplane mode” on my phone, and then i peruse sky mall like it is my job. i love the hammacher schlemmer catalog. it is the home of dreams & crazy & ideas every guy you know swears he had ten years ago.
i) the jetlev
ii) the flying car
iii) pet umbrella
the christmas doughnut tradition continues: five years and going strong! photo evidence of D3 taking a painful(ly delicious?) bite below:
you can’t quite tell, but know that in this superskillfully photoshopped photo, D3 is ingesting a piece of a petrified doughnut. born five years ago at Old Firm, the christmas doughnut has traveled near and far and currently resides in austin. each year, my dear ex-coworkers get together to take a bite. the whole is not pictured, but D3 describes, “Just picture a donut broken into about 5 pieces with lots of half inch diameter cubes lying around, and that’s this donut.” presumably, it is dry and rock hard (like its wit and will to survive), but still delectable as ever, right, D3?
Fabolous and Big Boi are bigger Words With Friends fiends than Alec Baldwin! (highlights from their GQ interview below, via KN)
GQ: So when did you get into Words With Friends?
Big Boi: I started playing ’cause my wife was on it. Her and her friends, they were playing the game on the phone all the time. I was like, “What the fuck is this?” They said, “Just start playing, you’ll get into it.” So then we started playing for a $100 a game. When we started she’d kick my ass. She can’t beat me no more.
GQ: Do you have a default strategy?
Fabolous: I definitely play it defensively. When you first start playing you start playing with an offensive mindset, just trying to make words. And as you learn how to play, you get better. It becomes clear that you wanna play on defense, to let other people not get words, and not get the spaces that get you points.
Big Boi: I’m a little strategic but it’s different each game. It’s whatever strategy for me to get my championship belt.
GQ: When you get jammed up with bad letters, do you swap out letters?
Big Boi: I swap it out. I swap my shit out.
Fabolous: I swap it out sometimes. Sometimes. Depending on how close the score is, I might not swap out. I might just try to hold steady. But if you can’t make a word, definitely, swap out the letters.
GQ: Do you have a favorite word that you’ve played?
Big Boi: I think I played ‘zooms’ for like a 107.
Fabolous: If I get over a 100, I tweet the screen shot. But I had an issue where I did that before. I put it on Twitter because I’m thinking that I wanna shit on somebody and show the whole world what I did, but they seen my [WWF user name] and I got so many friend requests that it ended up freezing my account…
GQ: Do you think that the fact that you guys are rappers, and therefore are uniquely proficient in wordplay, makes you better at the game?
Big Boi: I think it’s true, but it’s not all of it. There are plenty of people I play that ain’t savvy rappers such as ourselves.
Fabolous: I really didn’t even know that this many people played. I can’t believe we even doing this interview.
Big Boi: I mean, the dude Alec Baldwin got kicked off the plane for playing Words With Friends. He wouldn’t turn off his phone!
Fabolous: [animatedly] That’s what dude did?! I heard he got kicked off the plane but I ain’t hear for what. That’s crazy.
Unprovoked, Fabolous starts rattling off a few suggestions for the game.
Fabolous: One thing they gotta fix is that if someone be taking days to make they move, you should be able to resign motherfuckers. Like, they be taking days to make a move.
Big Boi: Yeah.
Fabolous: And the other thing is that the kid in the studio, when we was playing in the board game, like, you can’t just be trying shit. Like, just plugging in words and letters. I think you should get like three, four tries and that’s it.
- that might be my approach to life generally.
- i’d like “To be real life friends with Big Boi” for $500 please, alex.
only slightly less important than what C.R.E.A.M. stands for.
is it “bottom up” investing or “bottoms up” investing? “bottom up” is the only option that makes any sense (i mean, the alternative involves a “tops down” pairing, which sounds insane), but bizarrely i continue to spot “bottoms up fundamental research” in job descriptions.
KW: As far as I know, bottom up is about investing and bottoms up is about beer. Depending on the job, they both may have a place in your cover letter.
hmmm. how about this:
I think your bottom-up investing style may jive with the top-down convertible I picture myself driving in three to five years post-MBA. Hire me.
in other news, two unbelievable things happened at the CCQ: i) cops came ii) we shushed them away… !! can we all just marvel at that?
finally, andy samberg as mark zuckerberg:
S&P Negative CreditWatch Placement And The Knock-On Effects
We have placed S&P on CreditWatch with negative implications, as we believe S&P may be deficient in the 3Rs. Consequently, we could lower its ratings within seven days. We highlight our primary concerns below:
- Reading: CC+. S&P continues to publish in the font, Courier, despite that it is 2011. We believe that the jig is up. Readers have caught on to the fact that S&P is not punching out credit opinions from behind a manual typewriter. We recommend that S&P use something easier on the eyes of readers, who are likely using a backlit screen. Given S&P’s verbosity, S&P should consider a font with serifs, such as Times New Roman, Cambria, or Garamond.
- Writing: BBB-. S&P writes convoluted sentences in our view. We believe this may be easily remedied with commas and daily parsing exercises. Of greater concern is the impact that S&P has on everyone else’s writing. Its influential publications have prompted The Wall Street Journal to write about “Treasurys”, The New York Times to write about “Treasuries”, and online readers who ‘comment’ to use both interchangeably in the span of three sentences. In our view, it should be “Treasuries”. We recommend that S&P confront the confusion by applying its preferred spelling in its next splash-making headline.
UPDATE: The Financial Times and the Economist also use “Treasuries”, and they are better writers than we are. Our revised recommendation is as follows:
shamedowngrade WSJ parent, News Corp. As in its downgrade of US debt, S&P should address politics, insert a sad face emoticon, state the obvious that we got 99 problems but poor spelling ain’t one, and sign off with a super sad face.
- ‘Rithmetic: D-. S&P’s $2 trillion rounding error falls outside of every confidence interval in the history of the world. We recommend Kumon.
Outlook: Negative. Most of all, we are concerned by the persistence of S&P’s inane ratings system. Republished below in its own words, we note the lack of a logical, even-beat crescendo from the low of D- to the high of AAA+.
The general meaning [emphasis mine] of our credit rating opinions is summarized below.
‘AAA’ — Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.
‘AA’ — Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.
‘A’ — Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.
‘BBB’ — Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.
‘BBB-‘ — Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.
‘BB+’ — Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.
‘BB’ — Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.
‘B’ — More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.
‘CCC’ — Currently vulnerable and dependent on favorable business, financial and economic conditions to meet financial commitments.
‘CC’ — Currently highly vulnerable.
‘C’ — Currently highly vulnerable obligations and other defined circumstances.
‘D’ — Payment default on financial commitments.
Note: Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.
In particular, we observe the following worrisome symptoms:
- There is no DDD or DD when all other letter grades have that spread. There is a BB+, BB, and no BB-
- “Considered lowest investment grade by market participants” versus “Considered highest speculative grade by market participants” as the difference between BBB- and BB+ means little to market and non-market participants alike
- The plus (+) / minus (-) footnote suggests that a rating of BBB- (minus), for example, could be rated BBB –+ (minus plus).
In our view, the “general meaning” scale detracts from S&Ps credibility, as it emphasizes how opaque and subjective ratings may be. Worse, the cumbersome notation forces the industry to keep a copy of the reference key, even after decades of experience. We acknowledge that peers, Moody’s and Fitch, offer no better, but we also believe S&P likes to make splashes. Below, please see an excerpt from our initiation report on S&P’s risk-taking profile. As evident even in this early portrait …
… S&P exhibits an industry-best proclivity for puddle-jumping. From what we have observed, its backpack does not contain adequate risk reserves. Indeed, S&P has disclosed that it carries a Rainbow Brite Thermos with a leaky top, an unopened box of Kumon flashcards, a Gameboy, and a one-way pager. While individually these items are harmless, we note their potential to shock if S&P falls in a puddle, lands on the power button of the Gameboy, and Sunny Delight from the leaky thermos and water from the puddle penetrate the Gameboy and pager. This is a recipe for disaster. Actually, this improbability suggests a downgrade … well shitballs. This is a manual typewriter and there is no backspacing on this inner-turned-outer monologue. Okay CCD+ minus plus with outlook negative. There. Final answer.
We therefore suggest that S&P may achieve its most meaningful splash not by shaking global consumer confidence, but by asserting a universal system for the credit ratings industry. We recommend a simpler scale from 1 to 10, with ‘+’ and ‘-‘ used to refer to the Positive or Negative Outlook call. We believe that the number rating should stand for itself, supported by discussion and metrics featured in a full report.