J Larsen

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Everything posted by J Larsen

  1. LF: Hatology CDs

    Hope ASNL77 doesn't mind me piggy backing on his thread, but I'd be willing to pay generously for Braxton - Santa Cruz 1993 on HatART.
  2. Jazz Ignorance.

    OK, this is OT but I've got to share it anyway... A couple years ago I saw Turandot at the Met. We had very nice seats. At the first intermission, I heard the guy behind me remark to his friend: "This is really interesting... it is the first opera I've ever seen in Chinese."
  3. I always thought Over the Hills and Far Away was the most musically interesting Led Zeppelin song, but I'm not sure how well it would translate to hand bells.
  4. "Academic" Salaries

    The $1 million figure for coaches is an average, not a median (unless a coach is somehow considered an "administrator," which would be a bizarre categorization). It is a very believable figure to me; the universities compete with the pro leagues as well as with each other. The tenured professor numbers look right to me to. In physics, for example, I remember that the median was around $120,000 in 2005. In areas like finance and law the numbers are much higher (at least in top programs).
  5. I haven't taken as bad of a market hit as most, so I've been lucky there. OTOH, my company is slow and I'm not optimistic about my bonus, which is a significant component of my compensation. All in all, I guess I can't complain.
  6. What, no thread on the banks?

    Yes. The basic connection is that right now there is an extreme fear of risky assets (what people call a "flight to quality"), hence a massive outflow of capital from Russia's stockmarket. Furthermore, if Russia's banking system is similar to that of others around the globe, its banks have "exposure" to Lehman/whoever or someone who does. It's like a giant ball of yarn, once you pull on one end you may end up unraveling the whole thing. Guy Ironicly, I can remember a time in the recent past (2000 - 01) when the "fligth to quality" was the explanation for the run up in AIG shares.
  7. What, no thread on the banks?

    I think that is the plan.
  8. What, no thread on the banks?

    A government bailout of AIG is very BAD news. Worse than AIG actually going under? Again, I don't profess to know the particulars. I'm reading the posts of those who do with great interest. There have been estimates that AIG may be effectively "in the red" by as much as $100 billion, so it could prove to be a very expensive tab for the taxpayers to pick up, even if you gave the bondholders (largely pension/retirement funds) $0.
  9. What, no thread on the banks?

    Doubt it's just CDO investments. I've been hearing that AIG trading desks have some seriously underwater/mishedged CDS (credit default swap) positions. This may betray my ignorance, but prior to your post I would have considered a CDS to be a type of CDO. Isn't a CDS essentially a firm-specific CDO?
  10. What, no thread on the banks?

    Yeah, thank goodness we had the rating agencies to tell us that we might not want to buy any Lehman securities today... The rating agency industry is almost certain to be the next in line for major reform. I'm not sure what form it will take, but I doubt that in 5 years firms will be paying the agencies millions of dollars to rate them. Given all the problems of late, the appearance (at minimum) of conflict of interest is not sustainable.
  11. What, no thread on the banks?

    If they passed muster with supposedly-sophisticated institutional investors, chief risk officers at major financial institutions and all the "smart" people in national policymaking circles, I don't think you can be so harsh on state insurance regulators. Guy Point taken, unlike the other agents you mention, the role of state insurance commissioners is to ensure that the companies writing in their states have suitably conservative, traditional investments to ensure the solvency of the firm beyond any reasonable doubt. You're typically looking at a portfolio dominated by treasuries, with a smattering of investment grade corporate bonds.
  12. What, no thread on the banks?

    Any large financial failure is bad, but a credit downgrade does not mean that AIG is in danger of failure. It means that it costs them more to borrow and attract customers. It's not the same thing. Reports today on TV indicated that AIG is not saddled with loads of debt, although I haven't really checked it on the internet or anything. There's a little more to it than that. Statutory capital requirements for insurance companies are a function of their ratings. Insurance companies can (and have) failed when these capital requirements have increased to an unsustainable level. I have been involved in 11th hour talks with ratings agencies on behalf of clients for this very reason. Given how cash-strapped AIG is right now (thanks to CDO investments, the extent of which I cannot believe passed muster with 50 state commissioners), this is a very real risk. Given the fact that the stock touched $3.50 today (95% below where it was less than a year ago), I think it fair to say that many others share this assessment.
  13. What, no thread on the banks?

    AIG, WM and UBS all seem to be fighting to be first in line to go next... The last couple of months have renewed my appreciation for my job (consulting). A very large percentage of my friends are wall streeters, and many of them have lost their jobs recently.
  14. Saw Signal do Music for 18 Musicians tonight. It was awesome - the best performance I've heard after the original ECM recording. Actually, I think it was every bit as good as the old ECM record.
  15. 100 - perfect score.
  16. Tomorrow is the day. Any concerns?

    Before a mini black hole occurred. FWIW, I am not remotely concerned.
  17. Tomorrow is the day. Any concerns?

    You're really never out of the woods. At a given energy level, there is essentially a "probability per unit time" of creating a given particle - I don't see why this would not apply to mini black holes as well. So if the probability is 10% per year of creating one, several years of experiments could be conducted before it occurred.
  18. I'm booking a hotel for my first trip to Tokyo. I have it down to a hotel at Shibuya Station vs. one at Roppongi Station. I'm looking for something as central as possible and with lots to do at night. Can anyone recommend one area over the other? Thanks.
  19. Tokyo advice needed

    Thanks again for all the help. I look forward to meeting you both when I get there. Do you have any advice on where to stay in Kyoto? I'm only planning on being there one night. I was thinking maybe the eastern part of the city? Do you know of any Ryokan that would welcome a foreign couple? Thanks!
  20. How Many of Us Consider Ourselves to Be "Audiophiles?"

    I guess I consider myself to be a rational audiophile, meaning that I am willing to spend more to get better sound, but I am not willing to spend 100 times more for a 10% improvement, and I have no patience for debating claims about equipment that defy the laws of physics or that ignore biological realities about the limits of human audio perception. I'm also not an "upgrader." I plan to get a lot more use out of my B&W/Rotel/NAD set up. That said, someday I might get a consumer turntable to use in place of my Technics 1200.
  21. Whoa... thanks! Got to look for that one myself then...
  22. I thought this was an 11 disc set. Are there two sets with the same name, or am I confusing things?
  23. Tokyo advice needed

    Time permitting, I'd be happy to translate for you. Awesome! Shall we check in as the date approaches?