Author Archive

Letterman and the Future of Media Consumption

The past month has seen an outpouring of tributes and praise for the just-retired “Late Show” host David Letterman. I have been linking to some of the more informative (and amusing) discussions in the morning reads (see this and this). None have really captured the context I was looking for: what does this tell us about the future of media consumption in the changing technology, media and social landscape?

The arc of Letterman’s career has run parallel to those changes. Many of the companies that were central to the changes either were, are or will be in your investment portfolio. Isn’t competition grand?

I didn’t watch much TV as a kid (parental restrictions), but as soon as I was on my own, I went wild. I got one of those new fangled VCRs once I could afford one, and the first show I began taping regularly was “Late Night With David Letterman.” I never found Johnny Carson, whose show aired before Letterman’s, especially funny; he was too bland. Letterman had edge, he was unpredictable.

At the time, most of us had no idea what drove Letterman’s antics. The 12:30 a.m. time slot was owned by Carson’s production company, and he wanted as little overlap between the “Tonight Show” and “Late Night” as possible. The strictures included no sidekick like Ed McMahon, no big band like Doc Severinsen’s. Only four jokes were allowed in the monologue. Carson’s old school guests and routines were also off limits — as if anyone under 60 wanted to book Zsa Zsa Gabor or steal a tired  shtick like “Carnac the Magnificent.”

Letterman and crew were forced to innovate. Thus, we were givenStupid Pet Tricks, Top 10 lists and all of the inventive remote segments — Letterman working the drive-through window at a Taco Bell, Letterman driving a rented convertible through a car wash with the top down and so on. For someone discovering television beyond “MASH” reruns, it was glorious. The show became a cult favorite, especially with the college and stoner crowd.


Continues here: How Media Is Consumed After Letterman


Category: Humor, Television, Web/Tech

Minimum Wage by City

Good chart, relevant to our discussion of fast food minimum wages in Seattle and earlier elsewhere this week.   click for ginormous graphic Source: NY Times

Category: Digital Media, Wages & Income

10 Friday AM Reads

Three day weekend! Get it started right with our artisinal morning train reads: • Seven Lies Investors Tell Themselves (Total Return) • Meet Generation Subprime (USN&WR) • Mark Zuckerberg Just Wants a Little Privacy. $100 million and 750 Acres of It. (Slate) see also Top CEOs Make 373 Times the Average U.S. Worker (Real Time Economics) • What’s Wrong With ‘Mathiness’…Read More

Category: Financial Press

1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Source: Classic Driver

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Category: Weekend

Asterank: Asteroid Database and Mining Rankings

Click through the source for a full simulation.

Source: Asterank

Category: Digital Media, Science, Video

Stovall: Inflation/Rate Adjusted Stocks Don’t Look Expensive

  “When an inflation overlay is included, P/Es don’t look as expensive” -Sam Stovall   The U.S. equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ suggests that one must include low yields and low inflation rates when determining if stocks are expensive. The chart above shows average price-earnings ratios for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since…Read More

Category: Inflation, Valuation

Guest Hosting: Bloomberg Radio 8-10:00AM w/Tom Keene

click for live radio >   If you are anywhere near a radio this mornings, I will be the guest hosting “Bloomberg Surveillance” with Tom Keene once again from 8:00 – 10 am. On the list of subjects will be the lumpy uneven economic recovery, Fed hikes, the Minimum Wages & Fast Food. Our guests…Read More

Category: Media

10 Thursday AM Reads

Its Fleet Week in NYC — say hello to a sailor — and full sail ahead into our morning train reads: • Why Liquidity-Starved Markets Fear the Worst Bankers, investors and hedge-fund managers are rattled by the lack of liquidity in the markets (WSJ) but see Market Is Becalmed, With No Reason to Rally or Sell (NYT) • The…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Dilbert Does Keynes

Inspirational words: Source: Dilbert

Category: Humor, Philosophy

Adam Sandler’s Musical Farewell to David Letterman

Tonight is the final Letterman show — I thought this Adam Sandler tribute was worth sharing:  

Category: Music, Television, Weekend