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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Max Roach; TV Golf; Funny Political Bedfellows

When Max Roach passed away a couple of weeks ago, Jazz lost perhaps the last of its founding generation of superstars. It was Roach who was the drummer of choice for the Bebop bands of the forties and fifties. He was in The Quintet that played Massie Hall (with Parker, Gillespie, Mingus and Powell), and the CD of that concert should be in every jazz collection. Then, he created history as a co-leader with Clifford Brown of a band that was destined to be the greatest in jazz history until the auto accident that ended Brownie's life in his early 20's. I'm not sure Roach ever fully got over the loss of his macro talented partner, but he went on to build a career as perhaps the greatest drummer ever (#1 on the redwavemusings list), and to make his artistic and spoken statements that profoundly impacted the civil rights movement. He worked until a few years ago when Alzheimer's disease made that impossible. Max Roach was a truly great artist and a very important American.

This was not just a beautiful Labor weekend to be out at the beach or the golf course, it was also a pretty good sports weekend, especially now that the Mets are back to playing well, tennis is in full flower at the Open, college football games count (too bad for Michigan), and we had one of the truly great golf telecasts with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson trading bombs like two heavyweights, supported by a cast of outstanding, if more anonymous, contenders. This time, Phat Phil won out, but not before giving his fans the usual indigestion in the form of a double bogie that sliced his lead in half, just as Tiger started to do his thing. When they got to the Par 3 16th and both made spectacular birdies, NBC's blunt spoken commentator, Johnny Miller, was moved to exclaim, "if you don't like this and it doesn't get you excited, switch to the tennis!" There was no chance of that, of course, certainly not on my tube. Then Phil capped it off with yet another magical up and in for birdie on 18. Great stuff.
If the music world faced its sorrow at losing another of its giants, and sports provided the drama, politics, as it often does, provided the comedy. The Republicans in high dudgeon, all but excommunicated poor Senator Craig for the crime of ...whatever it was he may have been up to in the bathroom at the airport in Minneapolis, when unfortunately the object of his interest turned out to be an undercover cop. I guess I agree he has to go, if only because it appears he might be too stupid to be a Senator. Then there was the amazing revelation that one of Senator Clinton's big fundraisers turned out to be wanted for some old theft, though one has to believe that his fundraising tactics couldn't quite be on the up-and-up either given the incomes and assets of those contributing low four figure amounts to various Democrats and Hillary in particular. Hillary graciously gave the money that Mr. Hsu donated to charity, but not the money that he raised. So she keeps the bulk of the money and that still leaves her at risk for the next shoe to drop, but somehow these fundraising snafu's never quite stick to the Clinton's.

We've also got Senator Thompson trying to revive his campaign on the Republican side, the only Presidential try in history to peak before it even officially started.

Finally, we have the NY Governor and the Senate Majority Leader continuing their Hatfield McCoy feud while nothing gets done and the Assembly Speaker waits for them both to self destruct, when he and Attorney General Cuomo expect to pick up all the pieces.

While all this was going on, the all but forgotten lame duck President Bush decided to pay a surprise call on Iraq, since no hurricanes threatened the US mainland. It was also a chance to demonstrate that the troop surge is working, no surprise to WSJ or redwavemusings readers who have heard about our progress there for months. Apparently it was news to Democrats, who while grudgingly admitting progress, continued to make the "essential" point that such progress in no way justifies the original decision to start the war in the first place (which most voted for at the time).

GIven all this hilarity, wouldn't you think someone could write a decent sitcom anymore?


So anyway, you still have to keep making investment decisions, even as the summer wanes. On Wednesday, I bravely bought 100 shares of Centex (CTX), homebuilder best of breed, at 28.38. Today, I sold 100 shares of Kaydon (KDN) at 50.91 on the opening, a decision I made last night, and stubbornly refused to change in the face of a pre-opening downgrade this morning. The shares were purchased 9/21/01 for 20.25.

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