Friday, October 22, 2010

Where are they now?

This morning someone left at USA Today outside my hotel room door.  I didn’t request it and really don’t read it (actually I don’t think it’s a paper you read, you sort of just look through it and I give the founder credit for recognizing early the era of ‘the short intention span.”) But there was a story called, “Where are they now?” which reported on the whereabouts of such entertainers as Rick Springfield, Vanilla Ice and the girl that played “Blossom” on TV.  But the headline is what got me thinking about what’s going on in our industry.  Almost not a day goes by anymore without some announcement about someone leaving a firm to either join another one or start their own.  And many of these are pretty established people and while not senior citizens by a long shot, they are senior people in the industry.  As I’ve written before, the institutional/commercial real estate industry is going through a metamorphosis and while the foundation of income-producing real estate is still the same and some of the long-standing firm names, particularly the real estate families are, for the most part, solid as ever, there’s a lot of disturbances in the people field.  Btw, congratulations to my good friend and good friend to the industry, Jeff Barclay, who was named to head a new core real estate business at Goldman Sachs.  

On October 17, 2010, one of the page one stories in the Sunday New York times had the headline, “Japan Goes from Dynamic to Disheartened.” More than just describing the huge fall from the mountaintop that the Japanese economy has experienced, it talks about the eroding of belief, especially in young people.  There has been concern that the U.S., and other developed countries risk themselves slipping into a Japanification.  Some characteristics clearly exist in America today with consumers refuse to consume, corporations hold back on investments and banks sitting on cash.  The erosion in belief of young Japanese somewhat be summarized in a few pull quotes from the article. “Scaled-back ambitions.”  “Crisis of confidence.”  “High-flying ambitions have been shelved, replaced by weariness and fear of the future and an almost stifling air of resignation.”  “Loss of gumption.” “Consumers see it as irrational or even foolish to buy or borrow.”  “Business people have been forced to invent new ways to survive in an economy where prices and profits only go down, not up.” 

This last comment is poignant as the Fed is now talking about new ways to stimulate the economy (stimulus has become a bad word.)  One noted economist is quoted in the article as saying, “We’re not Japan.  In America, the bet is still that we will somehow find ways to get people spending and investing again. “   Bet?  Somehow find a way?  Doesn’t make me feel too confident.

There's a kid named Logan in New Jersey who is the nephew of one of my oldest and dearest friends (and one of the best writers I've ever known personally) Logan has a chromosomal defect known as hypo diploid which means he has less than the number of chromosomes with full genetic composition that normal humans should have. This complicates his leukemia and worsens his prognosis. Logan’s case is rare.  This week a panel of doctors at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia determined the necessary course of treatment will be a bone marrow transplant. Once the family is tested, if necessary there will be worldwide search for a suitable donor.

As we all know, any medical treatment, let alone something of this nature, is extremely expensive.  Logan's family is not rich.  They could use a little help.  Whatever you can find in your heart will be greatly appreciated by Logan and his family.   Contributions to the "Logan James Parker Fund" can be sent c/o Charlie Oliver, 57 Ballantine Road, Middletown, NJ 07748.  Thanks.  

My brother Jay sent me this.  

After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form, called a 'gripe sheet,' which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the
form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. 
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by
UPS' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, UPS is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.. 

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. 
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.. 
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. 
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.  
P: Dead bugs on windshield. 
S: Live bugs on back-order. 
P: Auto pilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.. 
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground. 

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. 
S: Evidence removed. 

P: DME volume unbelievably loud. 
S: DME volume set to more believable level. 

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. 
S: That's what friction locks are for. 
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode. 
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode. 
P: Suspected crack in windshield. 
S: Suspect you're right. 

P: Number 3 engine missing. 
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search 
P: Aircraft handles funny. 
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious. 
P: Target radar hums. 
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.  
P: Mouse in cockpit. 
S: Cat installed. 
And the best one for last -- 
P: Noise coming from under 
instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer. 
S: Took hammer away from midget

On the road....
Oct. 18-21: Gotham
Oct. 22:  The First State (aka 'The Chemical Capital of the World)
Oct. 26-27: The City So Nice, They Named It Twice (PERE New York Forum) 
Nov. 2-4:  Various places in the Lone Start State
Nov. 5: The City of the Big Shoulders
Dec. 6 & 7: Frankfurt am Main where I'll be moderating a panel at the PERE Forum-Europe
Dec. 8: Mainhattan to attend the INREV investor platform and committee meetings (I'm on their membership committee)

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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