Monday, April 22, 2013

Investment Lessons from 'The Walking Dead'

Here's a snippet from my latest MoneyBeat post, "Investment Lessons from The Walking Dead."
Gene Page/AMC
You can learn a lot about investing by watching a show about a zombie apocalypse. 
I’ve been moonlighting as a TV critic for our Speakeasy blog, writing the recaps for AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead. I’d watch the show, then watch it again, then watch it again, looking for themes, angles, the human element that raised the story above a mere zombie gorefest. 
What I also realized is that there’s some good lessons in the show for investors, as well. Because, really, investing these days is not exactly unlike trying to survive in a plague-riddled Georgia countryside after a zombie apocalypse hits.  
Here, then, is a short list of lessons that investors can draw from The Walking Dead, with relevant market analogies from two long-term, value-focused money managers and fans of the show, Jim O’Shaughnessy of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management in Stamford, Conn., and John Schwinghamer of ScotiaMcLeod of Montreal. 
Don’t toy with zombies, kid. In season two, young, curious Carl Grimes comes across a zombie trapped in mud. Rather than run, Carl plays games with the zombie. He toys with it, throws rocks, pokes it with a stick. Of course the zombie gets loose, nearly eats Carl, and creates havoc down the road.
Relevant market analogy: “A lot of companies are like zombies that are stuck in the mud, they’re moving but the lights aren’t really on,” said Schwinghamer, who’s also author of the book Purple Chips. “These are companies that keep diluting earnings, are top-line oriented and don’t do any favors for investors.” 
 You can read the rest at MoneyBeat.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

William Shatner on the Euro Crisis and the Best Trek Movie

Here's one of the Markets Hub shows from October 2011, when we were surprised on the set by William Shatner. Click in at the 15-minute mark to get an idea of what we were talking about before Shatner came on. He comes on set at the 16-minute mark.

Back then the shows were a half-hour (they're only 20 minutes now) and we had two anchors. So Michael Casey and I were interviewing Shira Ovide about banks in the U.S. and Europe when who do I see getting mic'd up on the set, but William Shatner. I think to myself, wow, William Shatner's here. But I'm wondering where he's going (you can see at one point in that 15-minute frame where it becomes obvious I've noticed him). I didn't think he was coming onto my show.

That's because Shatner was not scheduled to be on the show.

Emmitt Smith Doesn't Like the Outdoor Super-Bowl Idea

 This is an interview we shot back in January on the Markets Hub, with the Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, with his take on the Super Bowl and his opinion on playing the next one in New Jersey, in the outdoors in February.

The Star Trek Reboot, Rebooted

With the new Star Trek movie coming out soon, I've been thinking more and more about the 2009 Star Trek reboot, too much probably but that's another story. I've grown to both hate it and have an unhealthy fascination with it. It's not a good movie. But you can see where it could have been a good movie, and that's where the fascination lies.

The movie actually has a lot going for it. The special effects are superb without seeming cartoonish (like the Star Wars prequels or Avatar). The sets are well designed, the casting is good to even inspired, the movie's fast-paced, doesn't take itself too seriously, has fun with itself, and throws a ton of welcome homages and references to the original series.

It's just the story that's an absolute wreck.

Really, there's so much going on in this movie, and it moves so fast, you don't even really notice at first one key thing: the plot is absolutely incomprehensible. It literally makes no sense. Let's review it, in detail.

Okay, look, I can't do that here. It's too convoluted and it'll take too long (Red Letter Media does a very good job of breaking it down, anyway). Besides, I only want to bash the story as a setup for my alternate story. So I'll assume you're familiar with the plot. If you want to debate me on this its putridity, have at it.

Here's just one example of a plot hole you could, well, pilot a starship through.