The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, March 15, 2010

$38 Million's Worth - The Lehman Report

(And that's double sided without the Appendixes).

I hope to have some commentary on what went wrong at Lehman after I've had a chance to read through and digest the Examiner's report.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winning Is Better Than Losing...A Profound Thought

This afternoon, I took a welcome break from cleaning my garage for Pesach and went to the Yeshiva League hockey championship. Amazingly, for the fifth year in a row (starting with OYS's Junior year), DRS has been to the championship game in both the JV and the varsity.

Sadly, since OYS's junior year, they have lost each game. It is not a small thing for a school to go to, effectively, ten straight championship games. One the other hand, no one likes to be thought of as the Buffalo Bills of scholastic hockey.

Today, all that changed. In an incredibly tense and exciting game, DRS beat TABC, 2-1, breaking a 1-1 tie with about five minutes to go. They then defended a power play with two minutes to go and a five on four advantage when TABC pulled it's outstanding goalie with 30 seconds left.

Congratulations to the team and the wonderful coaches who taught OYS a lot about a lot of things and to whom we owe so much. And, OYS sends his best as well. Despite his immersion in deep Talmudic thought the last three years, he called me back immediately (at well past midnight) when I called him with the news. You can't take the hockey player out of the shteiger.

And, also, congratulations to TABC, DRS's mirror image, who won the JV contest and fought a very hard varsity game today against, in my not so humble opinion, a better team that deserved the win.

As a great sage once said, it is better to win than to lose.


In Real Life

Last night, I had some salmon and spaghetti for dinner. MHW, who is not a fan of white flour foods, made the spaghetti only for me, since I am not a fan of whole-wheat anything, and has given up trying to foist that healthy stuff on me as she does with our children.

The Vance, who was on her way up to bed when I sat down to dinner, and who did not get spaghetti for dinner, asked me "Where did you get the spaghetti, Dad?"

I said, "On a spaghetti tree".

To which the Vance replied, "No, in real life, Dad!"


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bloomberg Headquarters...Way Cool

I had occasion to spend the morning at Bloomberg's midtown headquarters. I attended a legal ethics seminar they hosted and then got a tour of the joint from a loan market reporter with whom I frequently speak.

(Digression: My birthday, and with it, my Continuing Legal Education (CLE) reporting deadline, is fast approaching. Practicing lawyers need 24 CLE hours (including 4 ethics hours) every two years. I have over 60 hours but zero ethics hours. I have so many CLE credits because (a) my firm runs many seminars every year and (ii) I speak on many panels and speakers get triple credit. (Note to self: Next cycle, organize an ethics panel and put yourself on the panel).)

But I digress.

The place is very cool. High tech (as you would expect), completely open (including the radio and TV studios; I got to see Tom Kean whom I love) and circular. Dow Jones (whose offices I visited a few weeks ago), are also pretty cool and similarly open and seem to have been modeled on Bloomberg.

There was lots of energy (it reminded me of a huge trading floor) and the people seemed pretty happy and engaged.

Now, if he could run the City as well as he runs his company....


Monday, March 08, 2010

Six Years

Today is the sixth anniversary of the date I started blogging.

I'm just saying...


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Two Phones

A few weeks ago, Mishpacha ran a cover story on a Chassidishe askan in Israel who, for lack of a better term, was a fixer. He got stuff done, whatever it took. Regrettably, they had him pose for the cover holding two phones, one on each ear.

My reaction was, "how did this guy let himself get photographed in such a ridiculous pose?" But I let it slide.

Then, this week, the Jewish Star published an article about a wonderful young local man who is doing a similar chesed. He runs an organization that helps people find help in a whole range of areas. I happen to know him and his family a little bit and there is no doubt that he is doing G-d's work, entirely lishma.

Sadly, they also had him pose holding a phone to each ear.

As someone who is often extremely busy (albeit not necessarily doing G-d's work (unless you think helping banks and hedge funds is G-d's work), I can tell you that I never have two phone conversations going at the same time, one in each ear. It's not possible, even for the most gifted person.

So, next time a photographer asks you to pose holding two phones, turn him down.


Back on the Road

Today was the first time since my surgery in September that I rode my bike (I did ride four days in Israel on a rented bike back in January).

Since none of the girls in the MMFW Bike club chose to join me, I ended up riding alone, at 7 a.m. It was nice to get out again.

The ride out to Point Lookout was fast and easy, which meant that the ride back would be slow and hard, right into a headwind, which it was. I was very comfortable despite the 40 degree temperature because I have the right clothes. This is why Hashem created Gore-Tex, etc.

On my way back, as usual, I stopped to pick up a muffin and bagel at Toddy's (There's no point in burning 1000 calories if you can't replenish them with a blueberry muffin). Jay just purchased a juice machine and offered me some fresh orange juice, gratis. Yum. Highly recommended.

Next week, if the weather holds up, back to the North Shore and some hills.

In the meantime, this was a nice start to the season.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Very Helpful

I received the following email from US Airwayd at 2:57 a.m. the morning of MARCH 4TH:

We regret to inform you that flight # 2182 from Washington, D.C. (DCA) to Laguardia (LGA) on Mar 3 at 6:00 PM has been cancelled YAT.

Please call 1-800-883-1027 for re-accommodation assistance.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for choosing US Airways.
Very helpful. Thanks loads.
Saved by Little Debbie

I spent all day yesterday meeting with staffers at the United States Senate.

I had taken the Acela Express to Baltimore on Tuesday night and, after a lovely late dinner with OOD, slept over at OOD and THG's apartment.

I arrived in Washington at 8:15 am yesterday. OOD had gotten me a muffin for the train ride and I also had a bowl of cereal. Our meetings started early and did not end until 4:45. Although we took a break for lunch in one of the Senate cafeterias, all I could eat there was a bag of potato chips, a banana and a drink.

Our last meeting was at 4:00 p.m. with Senator Corker's staff. By this time, I was pretty hungry. In the Senator's waiting room was a large basket filled with pastries. What did I have to lose? I took a look. Little Debbie's blueberry muffins and other such stuff. (Little Debbie is part of McKee Foods and is apparently based in Chattanooga, TN) Being a sheltered New Yorker, I had never heard of Little Debbie. To my surprise, they had hechscher from Triangle K.

I stuck a a muffin and a granola bar (a sure sign of desperation) into my coat pocket.

The meeting ended and we raced to the airport. (Only to find out that our 6 p.m. flight had been canceled; about which, more later). Long story short, we were able to get on the 5 p.m. shuttle that had been delayed until 5:30 (but ended up actually leaving 6:15). Bottom line: I didn't even have time to buy a chocolate bar.

We got on the plane and I took out the spoils of my meeting with the staff of the good Senator from Tennessee. Saved by Little Debbie.


Monday, March 01, 2010

The Space Ship Has Landed.

A typical Shabbos at my shul


Oy Canada

I worked for a Canadian bank for 9 years and during that time made countless trips to our neighbor to the north. I watched many hours of Canadian Sportscenter (where the thrill-a-minute "sport" of curling is second in importance to hockey).

I cannot adequately express how bad it would have been in Canada had their hockey team lost to the upstart Americans yesterday afternoon. Like a national Tisha B'Av (l'havdil) that would have lasted a month.

Imagine the U.S. losing to Canada in football at the Olympics hosted by the U.S. Then, multiply that by ten, no, twenty, times.

So, I fargin the Canadians their squeeky victory.

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