Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In Defense of Bankers

I'll be writing this when I have the time... ie sometime between the hours of 2am and 5am one day this week........

However, after a conversation with a friend last night, I find myself with no other choice than to defend the profession known as Investment Banking. Why? I know, we are loathsome creatures. But academics (from the social science spectrum) with no business (especially with no finance) experience have no business making blanket statements concerning the profession. Why? Well, it shows their blatant ignorance and lack of understanding; their inability to remove personal bias and politics from their academics; and their true biases and bigotry. Rather sad since they spend a vast majority of their time accusing others of the exact same thing........

So, eventually I will get around to this defense.

For the time being - isn't it slightly funny how once the Wall fell and Communism was no longer the dominant threat to the world, the villains in movies became businessmen, capitalists, and Western white males? (This did exist before the Wall - example Gordon Gecko as the bad guy, but it has become oh so prominent in the last 20 years.... rather disturbing)

Side note for the night: Lifetime might be the worst channel ever created. I ask you, have they ever showed a single movie where, out of two characters - a man and a woman, the woman is the evil, horrible, disgusting and murderous one? Can we say discrimination, bias and stereotyping????

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chalk This Up to Another Thing in Life Which Baffles Me

I am a little stumped. How on Earth are sports reporters and columnists so damn liberal? Ok. I understand that the vast majority of "journalists", "reporters", broadcasters, media types, etc are left leaning, and of them, the preponderance are pretty darn leftist. One study has it pegged that over 70% of media member from local papers to those on the major networks vote a steady left ticket. All right. Fine.
However, I just can't see how sports journalists can really be so leftist? I mean really. Sports, in some ways, is more real than life. Let us look at a few franchises in particular - Red Sox, Yankees, Cowboys, Patriots; as well as certain colleges - The Ohio State University, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, LSU, etc. The lists in these cases could go on and on and on, especially in the case of colleges. Ok, those last couple of thoughts didn't necessarily make sense. Allow me to clarify -
1) sports being more real than real life. With the exception of certain professions (finance and medical), there is always "live to see another day." So the report isn't perfect, no one died... deadlines? Consultants live to battle deadlines. Research? Let's throw some more money at it with a government grant. The product line isn't perfect? The website has flaws? Eh, the consumer is dumb enough, why bother to fix it. There is always another day - there is always another chance. Heck, most bosses and companies are concerned about your emotional health, making sure you "feel" fulfilled and emotionally satisfied, rather than the bottom line. For most professional franchises, as well as the top tiered collegiate teams, life is about one thing - the bottom line. All that count are Ws and Ls. No one cares about anything else except for winning the ultimate prize - Super Bowl, World Series, BCS, etc. It is do or die. You lose, you're fired (unless your employer signed you to a ridiculous contract with buyouts even though you can't win a bowl game and have put up the worst season in school history despite a "decided schematic advantage"). Winning. That is the only thing that counts.
2) All that being said, I realize that sports is a game. Yes, it is a business and a very serious one at that for the players and more importantly the management. However, at the end of the day it is a game.... one played in backyards, courts, fields, pitches, driveways, ponds... everywhere all over the world. How many kids gather the entire neighborhood to practice their accounting?...... thought so!
So, how, how on earth does a culture and a profession that cares only about the bottom line fit with a journalistic style that whines about race and "feelings"? How does it fit with a cultural line of thinking that cares about "feelings", self-esteem, group hugs, and emotional self-fulfillment mesh with a culture that cares about winning with little regard for lives or cost? Sports, is in almost every way militaristic. As a player your job is to sacrifice yourself for the prize and to hell with your body. (Unless you are T.O., then who cares as long as your embarrass yourself to the degree of being a sideshow entertainment package....but still put up some numbers........ or unless you are A-Rod and don't understand how the game is about the World Series and not about your personal stats) How, how does this mesh? This truly confuses me.
However, as I write this, it is almost as if I am answering my own questions. Athletes, are at least split down the middle. This may not be the best example - but Red Sox - Curt Schilling (Rep), Theo Ep. (Dem). My answer (at least partially) is that the athletes understand the do or die nature of the sport. Management and journalists, for the most part do not. Especially the journalists.
In some ways, I can understand a journalist in a war zone being jaded, etc. But come on folks - I have no desire to hear Bill Simmons, Keith Olberman's, Bob Costas', Jason Whitlock's, Scoop Jackson's (learn how to speak and write English please... it is pathetic... stop trying to be "ghetto") take on politics. Your life is a freakin' joke. Seriously. What on Earth do you do? You write about A GAME. Your job is to "seriously" cover a game. You spend your days watching TV and psychoanalyzing A GAME. Yes I know sports is a business. If I ever got into sports as a career, I wouldn't leave. However, what perspective do these people... these so-called "journalists" have on life and the real world. Does spending a weekend in Las Vegas watching a bunch of druggies and gang-bangers "throw down" on the hardwood have anything to do with the real world? You do NOTHING with your lives. You are sitting in front of TVs every night of the week writing about games and this and that, when most people are reading their kids to sleep... or young people like me are still slaving away in the office. Nothing (and by nothing I mean about 99%) of your life gives you the ability to get on a soapbox and preach... none of your so-called "experience" gives you any credibility to insert social or political commentary into your work. Most of the time your complete lack of experience as a player (ie the fact that you NEVER WERE A PLAYER) means that the vast majority of your conclusions are ridiculous.
You harp on Manny for the "sun will come up tomorrow" comment. Please... you harp on that for what reason? That is the same sort of attitude that you attempt to pump our children full of in the lackluster public school system... accept mediocrity since the white man is keeping you down and just focus on your own self esteem.
No, here is what Manny really meant. Life goes on. The sun comes up tomorrow. The fans in Boston will get over it and we will go back to work to improve. This had nothing to do with this attitude... this wasn't Manny being Manny. This was Manny being honest. He understands what you, Bill Simmons and the rest of you guys don't. While this is his job, this is a game and he is truly blessed to be able to go out and play a game for his job - to have fun for a career. Of course he cares - look at his performance. He wanted to win. He understands that sports is a "what have you done for me lately" world. But, he knew that if they gave it their all and did not win. That, everyone would recover and come back the next year to win again... yes it would be hard... but in some ways, the fans would get over it much faster than the players.
So no, I don't need or want to hear the political and philosophical thoughts of you sports reporters. You do not have the life experience or credibility to discuss even the most basic of these issues. Stick to trying to understand the sports you cover... because, as a former player, you're usually pretty off-base. Grow up, get over it. Oh, and please, please S.A. Smith and Scoop Jackson, learn to speak English. It is embarrassing. Really, it is.

Oh and finally - Peter King.... college sports is different than pro football... no sh*t! The pro coaches interview in a different style.. NO SH*T. They don't owe you (or the fan) anything. Their job is to win rings and bring home Lombardi trophies.... so who cares if they are crusty in their interviews. Their job is to coach, not spend their time being nice to a fat guy writing about sports. If they are like Tony Dungy and do more with your life... I honor and respect you. But if you are Bill B. in New England... I again respect your diligence to the task at hand and expect nothing more out of you unless you choose that option.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Investment Bankers do Models

*minimizes Excel, kicks off loafers, pushes back from desk, puts up feet and places keyboard in lap*

Ok, so now I have your attention with my post title... let's get started.

First off, the title is just an attention grabber. I'd say I am not an egotistical person. However, I believe that whenever a person has to claim that they are not something or place extra emphasis on what they "are" that, they are, in fact, really hiding their identity. (Yes, that was a bit confusing... just read through it a couple of times and it will make sense.) I am, me - I wake up, eat breakfast (if there is time), put on my pants, shirt and occasionally tie just like anyone else and proceed to crtl and alt my way around Word and Excel just like anyone else. I like my job and I am proud of the work I do. My work is a gateway to securing my future and having a safe and secure life later on.

Now, with that fluff out of the way. Let's get on to today's issue - honesty. Since all of you are out there in/on the interwebs (or the Internets, as our occasionally speech-impaired President says), you can raise your hands in complete anonymity. So - how many of us are honest? I mean truly, completely and unequivocally honest? All the time, when it counts and even when it doesn't count? With the people that matter the most to us? Serious question. How many of you are 100% honest all the time with everyone? on the things that really truly matter/count?

Yep. Ok, after a quick count.... I am pretty sure that all, that is right, every single one of us, fails to be truly honest with the important people in our lives... This is somewhat discouraging. I know I attempt to be honest, but there are countless occasions when I know that I have failed to be honest as well. This is sad. I realize there are occasions where one cannot be completely honest, where it would not be tactful, or where it would cause more harm than good. However, this is most likely less than 5% of the time where we have the opportunity to be completely honest with others. As I said before, this is discouraging. People deserve our best and they deserve our honesty, especially if they are family members or friends. I believe, I thoroughly believe that in many cases this is because we are weak as a society. We are weak as people and fear rejection or conflict should we speak our minds, as well as the fact that we know the other person cannot handle the truth. The most disappointing aspect is that this can apply to our nearest and dearest of friends.
I believe this is something on which we all need to work.
Anyways, I will write more later. Now, back to work!

(Note: Not referring to people I know, this is a societal observation)