Advertisements


10 Timeless Wall Street Lessons

The best way to deal with the market's unpredictable pressures is through firsthand experience, which is what Andrew Rocco brings to the table. Learn how to decipher what the market is telling you right now with a few timeless, real-world lessons. I grew up in a household with parents who have a combined 80 years on Wall Street. Both worked at Merrill Lynch (which later became Bank of America, where my father was a commodities trader and my mother an equities trader. As a child, I had an early interest in markets. From the flashing lights of the quotes on TV, the fast-moving pace, and the uniqueness of each trading session, my interest was piqued. While other kids dreamed of being professional athletes, I wanted to be an investor. Luckily, I had two role models and mentors in the business who passed down much of their wisdom and answered all my questions.On Wall Street, theoretical knowledge and formal education can certainly provide a foundation for understanding financial markets and strategies. However, the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the financial world often necessitates real-world experience for a comprehensive grasp of its complexities. The practical application of concepts learned in classrooms is where individuals encounter the nuances of market dynamics, risk management, and decision-making under pressure.That said, it’s one thing to swing at a fastball from a minor league pitcher, and a totally different feeling when you’re in the batter’s box versus a major league pitcher throwing 90-mile-per-hour fastballs. Market conditions, investor sentiment, and economic factors are constantly evolving, and navigating these intricacies requires the adaptability and intuition that can only be honed through firsthand experience that refines these tools into effective instruments for success on Wall Street. Furthermore, many Wall Street adages are misleading, while others are spot on.Below are timeless, real-world lessons I have learned that transcend trading strategies that all investors should understand.Markets Can Remain Irrational Longer Than You Can Remain SolventThe “efficient market hypothesis” suggests that financial markets incorporate and reflect all relevant information into price. However, the quote “markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent” underscores the unpredictability and persistence of irrational behavior in financial markets. You don’t have to look very hard to find proof. In January 2021, GameStop (GME) soared more than 1,600% for no fundamental reason. Instead, a group of retail investors on Reddit orchestrated a short squeeze. Clearly, the market was irrational. However, the consequences were real.“Black Swan” Events Occur Every Handful of Years A black swan even refers to an unexpected and highly improbable occurrence that has a profound impact, often deviating from conventional wisdom or historical norms. These events are characterized by their rarity, extreme consequences, and the challenge they pose to predictability. While such events do not occur annually, they do occur more than most investors anticipate due to the cyclical nature of the market and economy.For example, in 2022, we had the brutal tech bear market spurred on by 40-year highs in inflation, where the Nasdaq shed more than 30%. Just two years prior, the COVID-induced crash occurred in equities. Before that, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. While it is an uncomfortable truth, in a complex and global economy, something is bound to break every five to ten years.Valuations are Not a Timing Device  Investors often look at any stock or asset class rising dramatically and think of a bubble. In my experience, bubble is not a four-letter word, and more often than not, it represents an asset class that said investors missed out on.Warren Buffett is the most famous value investor. However, Buffett is not known for his market timing but rather his holding period of “forever.” It’s crucial that investors don’t fall into the trap of believing that valuations are a precise timing device for market entry or exit. Remember, in 1999, Yahoo! started the big part of its run with an “overvalued” p/e ratio of 100x. By the end of its move, YHOO shares had a p/e north of 1,100x. Using valuations in a vacuum to time stocks would have meant missing out on the life-changing gains in the late 90s and several other periods. Something I am not willing to do.Cut Your Losses, Run Your Winners Legendary trader Ed Seykota once said, “There are old traders, and there are bold traders, but there are very few old, bold traders.” Unlike being a lawyer, accountant, or surgeon, on Wall Street, being a perfectionist works against you. That’s because even if you are the most brilliant investor in the world, you will be wrong occasionally. The market has a funny way of humbling even the most brilliant minds. In the long run, investors who cut their losses and run their winners survive and thrive.Personally, I became a profitable and consistent trader after reading billionaire Paul Tudor Jones’s advice: “5:1 risk/reward. Five to one means I’m risking one dollar to make five. What five to one does is allow you to have a hit ratio of 20%. I can actually be a complete imbecile. I can be wrong 80% of the time, and I’m still not going to lose.”Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Deadline: Zacks 7 Best Stocks for December BreakoutFrom 4,400 stocks, the Zacks system distills only 220 Strong Buys. This list beats the S&P 500 more than 2X over.Our experts just combed through the Strong Buys to hand-pick 7 compelling companies most likely to jump the soonest. Previous 7 Best reports have caught quick and substantial gains like +47.4% on WING… +44.0% on SLB… and +67.5% on GDYN… all within one month.¹Report distribution is limited, so don’t miss out. Deadline is Sunday, December 3.See 7 Best Stocks Now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen to What the Market is Telling You Stanley Druckenmiller is known for having the most consistent track record on Wall Street – more than 30 years of money management without a single losing year. If you watch a Druckenmiller interview, he always seems to lean bearish from a macro perspective and jokes about how he has called “seven of the past two bear markets.” Though Druckenmiller has a bias, ultimately, he is consistent because he listens to what the market is telling him rather than trying to force his bias on it.Sometimes When You Pick Bottoms, All You End Up with is Stinky Fingers“The trend is your friend until the end when it bends.” Trends on Wall Street tend to persist in both directions. What seems high often moves higher, and vice versa. While, in theory, it may be enticing for investors to try to pick bottoms, most would be better served to latch onto existing trends and ride them until the trend breaks.Macro Should Take a Back SeatIf the market traded strictly off math and economics, math and economics professors would be the best investors in the world. While the macroeconomy can be interesting to try to dissect, it has one major issue – it is lagging. Stocks trade off liquidity (the Fed, dry powder, etc.) and are forward-looking. The proof? In the past three major bear markets, stocks bottomed long before earnings did. In other words, if you were strictly focused on the macro, you were caught flat-footed.Stick to Institutional Quality Stocks  Institutional-quality stocks have several advantages over other stocks. First, they provide somewhat of a safety net. For example, if Fidelity Contrafund owns a stock, it means their 500+ person research team has done their due diligence on the company. Second, they offer liquidity. If bad news hits a stock, the importance of liquidity becomes abundantly clear. Finally, institutions accumulate shares over months and years, not days. Meaning retail investors can “piggyback” onto these stocks for significant gains.75% of Stocks Follow the Market Direction The best thing investors can do is stay on the side of the market. When the S&P 500 is above the 200-day moving average, it’s in a bull market; when it's below, it’s a bear market. Because most stocks follow the market direction, investors must be aware of the overall market’s direction. Furthermore, investors should never confuse brains with a bull market.Journal Your Trades Brand new investors want to be led to the next hot stock. Amateur investors study the market and stocks to make informed decisions. Professional investors learn the market, stocks, and most importantly themselves. My performance began to improve rapidly when I started journaling my trades. At a minimum, investors should conduct a year-end post analysis where they do a deep dive into their 10 biggest winners and losers for the year. Plot on the chart where you bought, sold, and any other relevant information you can gather. While the process may be tedious, I can guarantee you that it will pay immediate dividends.Pay YourselfAfter a big run in your account, you should “pay yourself.” Extract money from the market to pay your mortgage, rent, or put away in the bank. The best time to do this is when you feel smart. Never ever suffer from visions of grandeur.How to Profit from What The Market Is Telling Us NowYou’ve seen the market climbing higher over the past several weeks. We have plenty of reasons to believe that trend will continue into the new year (especially after seeing the record-breaking Black Friday/Cyber Monday numbers). As I mentioned a moment ago, 75% of stocks move with the market. That means right now is a time to be bullish.And while data shows a majority of stocks are likely to be climbing, a select few are set to outshine all the others.To help you take advantage, Zacks has just released a brand-new 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days report, and you’re invited to be one of the first to see it.Our team of experts combed through the latest Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys and hand-picked 7 exciting companies poised for significant price increases. They’re likely to jump sooner and climb higher than any other stock you could buy this month.Recent 7 Best recommendations climbed +47.4%, +44.0%, and +67.5%... all within one month. With the market’s momentum, the new picks could be even more lucrative. ¹Today, you can access the 7 Best Stocks report for just $1. When you do, you’ll also get 30-day access to all of Zacks private portfolios for the same dollar.I encourage you to take advantage right away. The earlier you get in, the greater profits you stand to make. But don’t delay. We're limiting the number of investors who share our 7 Best Stocks, so this opportunity will end Sunday, December 3 – midnight tomorrow.Download 7 Best Stocks and check out Zacks’ portfolios for 30 Days for just $1 >>Andrew RoccoStock StrategistAndrew Rocco is Zacks' technology stock strategist. His passion is education, where he aims to provide valuable insights from both a fundamental and technical perspective. Andrew also manages Zacks Technology Innovators portfolio.¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position. Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free reportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2023

Discover the 19 Best Comedy Films of All Time!

Is there anything better than curling up on the couch, watching a great comedy film, and laughing the night away? We don’t think so! But with so many funny flicks out there, which ones are worthy of your time? We compiled a list of the best comedy movies ever made, perfect for your next Netflix […] The post Discover the 19 Best Comedy Films of All Time! appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Is there anything better than curling up on the couch, watching a great comedy film, and laughing the night away? We don’t think so! But with so many funny flicks out there, which ones are worthy of your time? We compiled a list of the best comedy movies ever made, perfect for your next Netflix night. (Or, if you’re more in the mood for a suspenseful whodunit, click here to check out the 20 best mystery films of all time.) We are drawn to comedy films because we all love to laugh. Sadly, many of us don’t laugh nearly enough. The Mayo Clinic notes that, “Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.” Along with boosting your mental well-being, laughter has a positive impact on your physical health by releasing endorphins in the brain and increasing blood flow to major organs. Laughter may also boost the immune system and even relieve pain. Spending an evening watching one of the funniest movies of all time might be just what the doctor ordered, literally. These great comedy films are guaranteed to split your sides, raise your spirits, and maybe even boost your health. Let the chuckles, chortles, cackles, and cachinnations commence! To determine the best comedy movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of October 2023, weighting all ratings equally. We considered only movies with at least 5,000 audience votes on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. Directorial credits are from IMDb. Most of the greatest comedy films of all time were created during Hollywood’s golden age (1910s-1960s). In fact, only four of these 19 films were produced after this golden age of motion pictures. Don’t let their age sour you on these movies, though. These great comedies still hold up after 60, 70, 80 years, or more. Like all great art, the performances by iconic actors such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Danny Kaye are timeless.  (Some of these actors are part of Hollywood’s most famous acting dynasties. Click here for the full list.) 19. His Girl Friday (1940) IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (56,106 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (24,333 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 99% (67 reviews) Directed by: Howard Hawks This 1940 screwball comedy starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell was adapted from “The Front Page,” a 1928 play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. In the film, Walter Burns, editor of a major Chicago newspaper, is about to lose his star reporter, Hildy Johnson. She is fed up with Walter, who is not only her editor but also her ex-husband. She is determined to quit journalism and marry her milquetoast fiancé, Bruce Baldwin. Walter refuses to let Hildy go without a fight. She is not only his ace reporter, but she remains the love of his life. He offers her the chance at the story of a lifetime, the impending execution of convicted murderer Earl Williams. Walter knows that Hildy’s journalistic passion will compel her to take the assignment. He also attempts to sabotage her engagement by arranging for her fiancé to be arrested multiple times. Walter pulls several other people into his diabolical and absurd scheme. The Library of Congress selected “His Girl Friday” for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry (NFR) in 1993. The comedy film is available for streaming on a myriad of platforms including Pluto TV, Crackle, Tubi, Sling TV, Prime Video, Redbox, Vudu, and many more. 18. Sullivan’s Travels (1941) IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (25,347 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (8,614 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (35 reviews) Directed by: Preston Sturges “Sullivan’s Travels” is an adventure comedy centered on a wealthy filmmaker named John Sullivan. He was a successful director, but he developed a disdain for his work. He believed all his movies were overly simplistic and shallow. John desperately wanted to produce a film with “social significance,” so he decided on a project that focused on the trials and struggles of those living in poverty. Studio executives scoffed at his idea, pointing out that John was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth and knew nothing of such hardships. They strongly encouraged him to keep making his standard lightweight comedy films, which meant big money for both him and the studio. John was determined to make his consequential film, so he decided to immerse himself in a world that he had never known. He went on the road posing as a homeless person. John set out on his journey with only a dime in his pocket. However, he soon found that he relied on the protection of his wealth and privilege more than he realized. When a struggling actress joined him in his quest to live an impoverished life, the foibles and shenanigans rose to a whole new level. “Sullivan’s Travels” was added to the NFR in 1990. It is available for streaming on Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, Vudu, and other platforms. 17. Annie Hall (1977) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (258,110 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (153,824 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (84 reviews) Directed by: Woody Allen “Annie Hall” is a self-described “nervous romance” starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. Allen plays a neurotic stand-up comedian who reflects on the downfall of his relationship with Annie Hall, played by Keaton. The movie features a series of flashbacks as the comic tries to figure out why his relationship with Annie failed. Could it be that she is as neurotic as he is? Some of the funniest and most memorable scenes in “Annie Hall” are when Allen’s character breaks the fourth wall. The so-called “fourth wall” is the imaginary wall that separates the fictional film from the real-life audience. Actors “break the fourth wall” when they look into the camera and speak directly to the audience. Allen masterfully employed this technique in the film. “Annie Hall” dominated the 1978 Academy Awards, taking home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Keaton), Best Director (Allen), and Best Screenplay. Allen was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The comedy film was selected for inclusion in the NFR in 1992. It is available for streaming on Hulu, Prime Video, Redbox, YouTube, Apple TV, and other streaming platforms. 16. Paper Moon (1973) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (44,587 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (11,421 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (41 reviews) Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich “Paper Moon” is an adaption of “Addie Pray,” a 1971 novel by Joe David Brown. The 1973 film was set in Kansas and Missouri during the Great Depression and was shot entirely in black-and-white. The plot centers on Moses Pray, an unscrupulous huckster who posed as a Bible salesman. Moses read the obituaries each day to find grieving families to scam. His M.O. was to falsely claim the deceased had ordered a Bible engraved with the name of the loved one. They could possess that Bible ordered by the dearly departed, as long as they paid Moses’ exorbitant fee. Moses was tasked with delivering a young girl named Addie Loggins to her aunt in Missouri, for a fee, of course. Moses and Addie soon realize that they may be biologically connected as father and daughter. Addie grew wise to the swindling nature of her potential father and joined him in his capers. Moses and Addie were played by real-life father and daughter, Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. “Paper Moon” was nominated for four Academy Awards. Tatum O’Neal won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. At 10 years old, O’Neal was the youngest actor to ever win an Oscar, a record that still stands today. (Click here for a list of other actors who won Oscars before the age of 30.) The comedy is available on Max, Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, and other streaming services. 15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (948,653 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (571,910 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (250 reviews) Directed by: Michel Gondry This 2004 film is the most recent on this list of the best comedy films of all time. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” tells the story of Clementine Kruczynski (played by Kate Winslet) and Joel Barish (played by Jim Carrey). The couple simply could not navigate a romantic relationship with one another. Clementine became so fed up with the drama and tumult that she underwent an experimental procedure to permanently erase Joel from her memory. Joel was so hurt and upset by this that he decided to undergo the very same procedure so he could forget all about Clementine. However, as his memories began to fade away, Joel discovered that he still loved Clementine and he set out to stop the effects of the procedure before his memories of her were completely eradicated. The film won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. Winslet was also nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. The film also won Best Science Fiction Film at the Saturn Awards. These annual awards are presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Fans of science fiction often hold the Saturn Awards in even higher esteem than the Oscars. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” can be streamed on Peacock, Google Play, Redbox, Prime Video, Apple TV, and Vudu. 14. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (14,002 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (5,423 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (30 reviews) Directed by: Charles Reisner Buster Keaton stars in the 1928 silent film, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” Keaton is famous for his physical comedy and sight gags. In the absence of dialogue, Keaton’s fast-paced slapstick antics keep the audience laughing and engaged. The film contains what is likely the most famous stunt Keaton ever performed. The entire front façade of a house crashed down around him, but Keaton remained untouched due to a fortuitously placed upstairs window. It was a full-weight wall rather than a lightweight movie prop. Half of the film’s crew chose to walk off the set rather than be part of filming the stunt that could have killed Keaton had he not been standing in the exact right spot. In this classic comedy film, Keaton plays William Canfield, Jr. His father, William “Steamboat Bill” Canfield, operated an old steamship. He was in danger of being run out of business by a new state-of-the-art paddlewheel steamer owned by J.J. King. The elder Canfield hadn’t seen his son for years and was quite underwhelmed by the boy’s thin build, pencil mustache, and ukulele. Bill, Jr.’s college acquaintance, Kitty King, also showed up. Kitty was J.J.’s daughter, and neither he nor Bill, Sr. was happy when a romantic relationship blossomed between Bill Jr. and Kitty. The Library of Congress selected “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” for preservation in the NFR in 2016. The film can be streamed on PLEX, Tubi, Pluto TV, MGM+, Prime Video, YouTube, Philo, and Sling TV. 13. The Court Jester (1955) IMDb user rating: 7.9/10 (12,327 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (9,213 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (30 reviews) Directed by: Norman Panama & Melvin Frank Danny Kaye stars in the 1955 musical comedy, “The Court Jester.” The film is set in medieval England. The throne had been usurped by the evil King Roderick I when he ordered the massacre of the entire royal family. One rightful heir remained, though: a baby boy who bore the royal birthmark of the purple pimpernel. The Black Fox and his band of rebels (based loosely on Robin Hood and his Merry Men) sought to return the throne to its rightful heir. Hubert Hawkins, played by Kaye, was charged with caring for the infant king until Roderick could be deposed. When Hubert met Roderick’s jester, a man named Giacomo, a new scheme was hatched. Hubert subdued Giacomo and assumed his identity as the jester to Roderick. Hubert could infiltrate Roderick’s palace under this new guise, meaning the mission of deposing the false king seemed to be within reach. However, the plot would take unforeseen twists and turns with new characters, love interests, and plenty of slapstick antics. “The Court Jester” was added to the NFR in 2004. It is available for streaming on YouTube, Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, and Vudu. 12. The Apartment (1960) IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (172,183 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (38,259 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (72 reviews) Directed by: Billy Wilder “The Apartment” focuses on C.C. Baxter, a clerk at the Consolidated Life insurance company in Manhattan. With tens of thousands of employees in the company, Baxter finds it difficult to make inroads with the company’s leadership so he can move up the corporate ladder. That would all change when he hatched a new plan. C.C. began loaning out his bachelor pad apartment to some of the company’s senior leaders. These men would take turns using the apartment for their ongoing extramarital affairs. In return, they would sing C.C.’s praises to the company’s big boss, Jeff Sheldrake. When C.C. is called into Sheldrake’s office, he is hoping to receive his long-awaited promotion. Instead, Sheldrake wants to use C.C.’s apartment for a tryst of his own. This could solidify C.C.’s aspirations to move up in the company, but an unexpected problem surfaces. Can C.C. continue with his plan, rise through the corporate ranks, and also have a romantic relationship of his own? The subject matter in this 1960 romantic comedy film was controversial and denounced in some circles, but it made a big splash at the Academy Awards. The movie won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards overall. “The Apartment” was selected for NFR preservation in 1994. It can be streamed on The Roku Channel, Sling TV, MGM+, Philo, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Apple TV, and Prime Video. 11. Safety Last! (1923) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (19,650 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (3,761 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (35 reviews) Directed by: Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor This 100-year-old silent film starred Harold Lloyd, one of the giants of Hollywood’s silent era. He played a country boy named Harold Lloyd (the same name as the actor) who moved to the big city in search of a job. Harold wanted to earn enough money so he could marry his sweetheart, Mildred. However, life in the city was nothing like he had planned. Harold was only able to secure a low-wage job as a sales clerk at De Vore Department Store. In his letters to Mildred, though, Harold tells her that is making big money and will soon send for her. He even sends her expensive gifts, which he obviously cannot afford. When Mildred shows up unexpectedly, Harold has to keep up his ruse without arousing the suspicions of his boss. Lloyd performed many of his own stunts in the film, including one of the most famous scenes from the silent era. In an attempt to earn big money by drawing people to the department store through a daring stunt, Harold finds himself hanging from the hands of a clock high above the city. “Safety Last!” was added to the NFR in 1994. It is available on Max, Prime Video, and Apple TV. 10. Some Like It Hot (1959) IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (254,537 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (82,393 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (65 reviews) Directed by: Billy Wilder “Some Like It Hot” features a star-studded cast from Hollywood’s golden age, including Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and George Raft. The film is set in Chicago during the Prohibition era. Two musicians, played by Curtis and Lemmon, are employed at a speakeasy. When police raid the establishment on a tip from an informant, the two men narrowly escape. Later, the men unwittingly witnessed the owner of the speakeasy and his henchmen murder the informant. Knowing the gang members saw them, the two men ran for their lives. They desperately needed a place to hide from the murderers who were hot on their trail, so the two male musicians ended up dressing as women and joining an all-female band that was boarding a train for Miami. As if that wasn’t absurd enough, the men begin having romantic feelings for the band’s lead singer, but they cannot divulge their true identities since they are on the run from mobsters. This 1959 comedy film was controversial since it featured cross-dressing, a violation of the Hays Code. This code was a self-imposed set of guidelines that moviemakers used to censure content. The success of the movie contributed to the code’s eventual retirement. “Some Like It Hot” was nominated for six Oscars, winning one (Best Costume Design in a Black-and-White Film). The Library of Congress chose to add the film to the NFR in 1989. The movie is available on Hulu, Max, Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube, Redbox, Vudu, and Apple TV. 9. To Be or Not to Be (1942) IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (33,747 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (6,029 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (47 reviews) Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch This World War II-era comedy film is set in Poland. The movie centers on Joseph and Maria Tura, a married couple who operate a theater in Warsaw. When the Nazis invade Poland, the theater was forced to cancel its production of “Gestapo,” a satirical play about Adolf Hitler. Instead of focusing on their theatrical careers, the two actors are forced to employ their talents to support the war effort and stop the delivery of a list containing the secret identities of resistance fighters to the Nazis. “To Be or Not to Be” was released in the middle of World War II and some critics lambasted it for satirizing Nazis, potentially stoking the flames of the conflict even further. The film only received one Oscar nomination. However, the film’s legacy grew over time. It is now a beloved classic and was selected for inclusion in the NFR in 1996. The movie is available on Max and The Criterion Channel. A remake of “To Be or Not to Be” was produced in 1983 but was tepidly received by both critics and audiences. 8. The Great Dictator (1940) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (213,266 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (43,757 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (45 reviews) Directed by: Charles Chaplin “The Great Dictator” is another World War II-era film. Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, and starred in the film that satirized Adolf Hitler. Chaplin was told that the movie may be banned in the United States and the United Kingdom due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. A satirical comedy film that directly poked fun at Hitler during World War II was sure to be a sensitive issue. Chaplin heard these warnings but pushed forward with the film anyway. While the movie was produced during World War II, the setting of the film was the fictional nation of Tomania during the final days of the First World War. Chaplin stars as a private serving in Tomania’s army. He rescued Commander Schultz when their plane crashed, but injuries from the crash left the private with amnesia. When the private, who was a barber by trade, returned to his shop 20 years later, he was unaware of how the world had changed. A dictator named Adenoid Hynkel, who is a doppelgänger of the barber, had taken control of Tomania and was ruling with an iron fist. Schultz, who the private had rescued two decades prior, was now a high-ranking officer in the regime. The private was Jewish, and Tomania was now under the control of an anti-Semitic regime. Through a wild turn of events, the private and Schultz were arrested by Tomanian forces, but the private was mistaken for Dictator Hynkel. He was afforded the opportunity to give a speech on the radio which was heard by millions. Chaplin’s radio speech is considered by many to be among the greatest speeches ever captured on film. There was uncertainty about the film upon its release, but it was a box office smash in both the U.S. and England. It became Chaplin’s biggest commercial success. The film was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Original Screenplay. It was added to the NFR in 1997. “The Great Dictator” is available on Prime Video, Max, and Apple TV. 7. It Happened One Night (1934) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (98,815 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (33,748 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 99% (97 reviews) Directed by: Frank Capra Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in the 1934 comedy film, “It Happened One Night.” Ellie Andrews, played by Colbert, is a spoiled socialite who married against her father’s wishes. Her father, Alexander Andrews, was a wealthy, powerful, and controlling man. He took control of his daughter and placed her on his yacht off the coast of Miami. However, she jumped overboard and swam to shore, planning to rendezvous with her new husband in New York. In her escape to New York, Ellie met an out-of-work newspaper reporter named Peter Warne, played by Gable. Peter recognized the high-profile socialite, but instead of returning her to her father and collecting a handsome reward, he offered to help her on the journey to New York. There was one caveat, though. Peter wanted exclusive rights to her story. Such a scoop would surely open the door for him to regain his old job. The two agreed to this arrangement, but things did not go as planned (to put it mildly). “It Happened One Night” dominated the Academy Awards, taking home five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gable), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Colbert), and Best Director (Frank Capra). The film was selected for preservation in the NFR in 1993. This 1934 comedy is available on Vudu, YouTube, Prime Video, Apple TV, and Google Play. 6. Monty Python & the Holy Grail (1975) IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (536,985 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (250,000 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (79 reviews) Directed by: Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones This 1975 comedy classic may be the most often-quoted movie on this list. Fans of “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” love to recite lines such as, “I’m not dead!” and “She turned me into a newt!” If you know, you know. The film is set in 10 century England. King Arthur mounts a horse and rides through the countryside, searching for men worthy of joining the famed Knights of the Roundtable. A number of men answer the call but then change their minds and plan to leave until a divine encounter stops them in their tracks. God speaks to them from heaven, instructing them to find the Holy Grail. With their new God-given charge, they set out in search of the Holy Grail. Along the way, they encounter a host of characters such as Tim the Enchanter and the evil Black Knight. The movie is chocked full of absurdities, following in the Monty Python tradition. “Monty Python & the Holy Grail” can be streamed on Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, and Prime Video. 5. The Cameraman (1928) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (11,259 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (2,467 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (18 reviews) Directed by: Buster Keaton & Edward Sedgwick “The Cameraman” is the last Buster Keaton film where the actor maintained full creative control of the production. It is widely believed to be among the very best of his iconic comedy films. In this 1928 silent film, Keaton plays a photographer named Buster (the actor’s real first name) who fell in love with Sally, a secretary at MGM Newsreels. In an attempt to win her over, Buster abandoned photography and took a job as a news cameraman. The technology was very different from taking still photographs, and Buster clumsily learned how to operate the motion picture camera. Another cameraman named Stagg also took a shine to Sally. Buster was forced to quickly master the art of the motion picture before he lost both his job and the love of his life. As in virtually all of Keaton’s silent films, the slapstick action is fast-paced with nary a dull moment. “The Cameraman” was added to the NFR in 2005. It can be streamed on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, Prime Video, and Vudu. 4. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (467,737 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (209,644 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (92 reviews) Directed by: Stanley Kubrick A nuclear apocalypse wouldn’t seem to be a source for comedic material, unless you are Stanley Kubrick. He turned potential atomic cataclysm into comedy gold in “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (commonly known simply as “Dr. Strangelove”). It is widely regarded as Kubrick’s greatest cinematic achievement. This 1964 satirical comedy film centers on the fears of nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the film, an insane U.S. Air Force General named Jack Ripper is convinced that the Soviets are contaminating the “precious bodily fluids” of Americans, so he unilaterally orders a B-52 bomber to attack the U.S.S.R. When U.S. politicians and commanders hear of this mission, they frantically try to stop it. The Soviets have promised that such an attack would prompt them to unleash their “Doomsday Machine” which would destroy all life on this planet as we know it. “Dr. Strangelove” was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Sellers), and Best Director (Kubrick). The Library of Congress added the film to the NFR in 1989. It is available on Vudu, Prime Video, and Apple TV. 3. The Kid (1921) IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (120,168 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (15,470 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (48 reviews) Directed by: Charles Chaplin The top three greatest comedy films of all time were all directed by Charlie Chaplin and they all feature Chaplin’s most famous character: The Tramp. The character was a lovable vagabond with a good heart, but somehow he always managed to find himself in trouble with the authorities. The character is quite possibly the most iconic symbol of Hollywood’s silent era. “The Kid” is a silent movie released in 1921, making it the oldest entry on this list of the best comedy films of all time. In the movie, The Tramp finds an abandoned baby. The infant’s unwed mother could not care for him, so she left him in the backseat of a car with a note asking the finder to love and care for him. The car was stolen, but the thieves left the child in an alley where he was found by The Tramp. The Tramp was reluctant to get involved at first, but his big heart eventually won out. He could not ignore the helpless child. The Tramp comes to love the boy as his own son. As the boy grows up, he and The Tramp find themselves in one comedic exploit after another. “The Kid” was added to the NFR in 2011. It is available on Pluto TV, Max, The Roku Channel, MGM+, Prime Video, YouTube, Philo, and Sling TV. 2. Modern Times (1936) IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (228,754 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (40,314 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (108 reviews) Directed by: Charles Chaplin “Modern Times” marked the end of the long run for Charlie Chaplin’s character, The Tramp. The character had been a mainstay of the silent era. Fittingly, the last film featuring the character centered on the modernization of the world, which The Tramp found utterly confounding. Perhaps in a nod to this confusing modernization, “Modern Times” is a mostly silent film even though talkies had taken over by the early 1930s. In the movie, The Tramp is employed on a factory assembly line but has a nervous breakdown due to the stress and the never-ending frantic pace of the job. He is institutionalized after the episode. After his release, he picks up a red flag on the street and is arrested as a supposed Communist sympathizer. After his release from jail, he meets a homeless girl named Ellen. The two work together in one failed attempt after another, trying to navigate the perplexities of these “modern times.” The comedy film was added to the NFR in 1989. It can be streamed on The Criterion Channel, Prime Video, Apple TV, and Max. 1. City Lights (1931) IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (176,008 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 96% (27,144 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (54 reviews) Directed by: Charles Chaplin The top comedy of all time is another classic silent film from Charlie Chaplin. Although talkies had debuted four years earlier, Chaplin insisted on producing “City Lights” as a silent film. In the movie, The Tramp befriends a millionaire with quite a drinking problem. The Tramp saves him from a suicide attempt. The Tramp then falls in love with a young blind girl who sells flowers on the street. After offering the girl a ride in the millionaire’s car, she believes The Tramp to be a rich man. The girl falls in love with this kind and “wealthy” stranger. After hearing that a costly operation could restore the girl’s sight, The Tramp does whatever he can to raise the needed funds, including entering a boxing competition. However, if her sight is restored and she sees that he is nothing but a shabby vagrant, will her feelings for him change? We won’t spoil the ending of this iconic film. Suffice it to say that it is considered one of the greatest and most moving scenes ever filmed, comedy or otherwise. (Click here for are the 55 best movies ever made.) “City Lights” is widely seen as Charlie Chaplin’s crowning achievement. The film was selected for inclusion in the NFR in 1991. It is available on Prime Video, Max, Vudu, Apple TV, Google Play, and YouTube. Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post Discover the 19 Best Comedy Films of All Time! appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstNov 17th, 2023

Discover the 20 Best Animated Films of All Time!

Though animated films are a mainstay of modern cinema, techniques of creating animation have existed long before movies. Be it puppets, shadow play, or even flip books, people have been creating moving pictures for thousands of years. Cinematography burst onto the scene in the 1890s, but it took another two decades before animation saw its […] The post Discover the 20 Best Animated Films of All Time! appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Though animated films are a mainstay of modern cinema, techniques of creating animation have existed long before movies. Be it puppets, shadow play, or even flip books, people have been creating moving pictures for thousands of years. Cinematography burst onto the scene in the 1890s, but it took another two decades before animation saw its way into movies. The first animated feature is arguably, “The Haunted Hotel” by J. Stuart Blackton in 1907. This short film inspired Emile Cohl to create what is considered the first hand-drawn animated movie with “Fantasmagorie” in 1908. From there, animation saw a slow, but steady incorporation into the movie industry. What started as crude stop-motion has evolved into multi-million-dollar, computer-generated animation epics. To determine the best animated movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of October 2023, weighting all ratings equally. We considered only movies with at least 5,000 audience votes on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. Directorial credits are from IMDb. Some are funny, some are heartbreaking, but all of them are testaments to the illusive, magical power of animation. (Explore the best Disney movies of all time.) 20. Finding Nemo (2003) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (984,204 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (33,356,856 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 99% (268 reviews) Directed by: Andrew Stanton The film follows clown fish Marlin, who is overly protective of his son Nemo due to the child’s shortened fin. Soon, Nemo swims too close to the water’s surface and is captured by fishermen. To save his son, Marlin must undertake a perilous journey. Along the way, he enlists the help of amnesiac blue reef fish Dorey, along with a motley crew of sea creatures to help find Nemo. What makes “Finding Nemo” a great animated film is the illustrious beauty Pixar creates for its underwater odyssey. The movie is bright, colorful, and enchanting. It also succeeds in incorporating riffs on contemporary culture with a timeless story of family and adventure. (Learn about the best Disney movie not part of a franchise.) 19. Aladdin (1992) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (386,940 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (939,996 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (74 reviews) Directed by: Ron Clements & John Musker Charming street kid Aladdin meets the beautiful Princess Jasmine. After being invited to her palace, Aladdin stumbles upon a magic oil lamp and unleashes a powerful Genie. Befriending this supernatural character, Aladdin and the Genie set out on a dangerous mission to stop the evil wizard Jafar from taking over Jasmine’s kingdom. “Aladdin” is one of the best animated films of all time because it works on multiple levels. Fun for both children and adults, its animation is crisp and breathtaking, and it features some classic song-and-dance numbers. Ultimately, “Aladdin” is a witty story of love and triumph that reminds us of the magic hidden in all of our hearts. 18. Castle in the Sky (1986) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (157,473 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (79,551 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (26 reviews) Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki The film follows orphan Sheeta after she is kidnapped by Colonel Muska. While flying her to a military prison, they are attacked by a gang of air pirates. Sheeta escapes, however, due to a magic crystal around her neck. Soon she meets fellow orphan Pazu and together, they discover the magical floating city of Laputa. A strong showing from famed director Hayao Miyazaki, “Castle in the Sky” is a breathtaking visual feast. Featuring unique details and an epic backdrop, the film is entertaining, imaginative, and resolves into one of the better adventure stories for children made in recent decades. 17. Monsters, Inc. (2001) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (850,959 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (1,254,638 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (197 reviews) Directed by: Pete Docter Set in an alternate dimension populated by monsters, “Monsters, Inc.” tells the story of the scare factory. There, monsters enter children’s dreams to source energy via children’s fear. After a young girl manages to slip into the monster’s dimension, two of the top-scoring monsters must reckon with her unprecedented visit. “Monsters, Inc.” has been lauded since its release due to a combination of energy, imagination, and fun. Though ostensibly a spooky story, the film humanizes even the scariest monster, resulting in a story that is enduring, charming, and delightfully strange. “Monsters, Inc.” also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. 16. Toy Story 4 (2019) IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (222,860 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (53,157 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (452 reviews) Directed by: Josh Cooley Following the hijinks of the living toys from previous iterations, “Toy Story 4” picks up with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the crew embarking on the road trip. During the journey, Woody runs into his long lost friend Bo-Peep. Soon, however, Woody and Bo realize how different their perspectives are on living as a toy. What makes “Toy Story 4” one of the best animated films of all time is how well it manages to keep its well-worn world fresh and interesting. Even four movies in, this sequel stays funny, inventive, and soulful till the credits roll. For its success, “Toy Story 4” won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. 15. Persepolis (2007) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (91,738 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (50,465 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (162 reviews) Directed by: Marjane Satrapi & Winshluss “Persepolis” follows the life of young Persian girl Satrapi. With a backdrop of the tense political climate in her native Iran during the 1970s and 80s, Satrapi grows into a punk music-obsessed, rebellious teenager. Things take a turn, however, when members of her family are detained and executed by Iran’s increasingly brutal regime. Though “Persepolis” is rendered in stark black and white, the animated film is a classic coming of age story with real stakes. It is a true gem with emotionally captivating moments, careful, delicate storytelling, and a setting that feels real and organic. For its storytelling strength, “Persepolis” was nominated for an Academy Award. 14. Inside Out (2015) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (653,819 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (137,195 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (375 reviews) Directed by: Pete Docter Riley is a happy-go-lucky midwestern girl with a love for hockey. Her world turns topsy-turvy, however, when her parents move the family to San Francisco. There, her emotions become manifest, and Riley must learn to deal with her various, disparate feelings during a major, life-changing event. Another instant Pixar classic, “Inside Out” is one of the best animated films of all time due to its sensitive but affirming portrayal of a child’s complicated, often confusing feelings. The film is ambitious in scope, but effective in its endeavor. This results in a powerful yet delicate statement on the importance of emotions. 13. WALL·E (2008) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (1,042,798 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (598,663 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (260 reviews) Directed by: Andrew Stanton Set in a trash-filled, dystopian future, “WALL·E” follows a lonely robot as he cleans up the planet, one piece of junk at a time. Soon, however, the robot discovers a probe sent from outer space named EVE. To learn more about her, WALL·E follows EVE across the galaxy in the robot’s most exciting adventure yet. Another in a long line of Pixar classics, “WALL·E” is a heartfelt, yet esoteric take on classic sci-fi stories. The film is strange but still accessible, resulting in a story that finds optimism in a relatively human-free apocalyptic future. For its success, “WALL·E” won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. (Explore movies so important they are studied in college.) 12. Zootopia (2016) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (458,551 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (101,803 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (297 reviews) Directed by: Rich Moore & Byron Howard “Zootopia” takes place inside a metropolis run by various creatures. When rabbit Judy Hopps joins the city’s police force, she quickly learns how hard it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Hopps teams up with the sly fox Nick Wilde to solve a mysterious case. “Zootopia” succeeds in taking classic animation tropes and reinventing them in a fun, edifying way. The film asks its viewers to look beyond stereotypes and pursue inclusivity even when faced with extreme differences. Ultimately, “Zootopia” acts as a fun and thought-provoking parable about tolerance and trust. (Find out more about the highest grossing kids movies.) 11. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013) IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (42,434 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (14,047 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (96 reviews) Directed by: Isao Takahata This film follows the story of a young nymph who lives in a bamboo stalk. As she develops into a beautiful young woman, the nymph commands her lengthy list of suitors to prove their love through a series of seemingly impossible challenges. Another classic from Studio Ghibli, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” is one of the best animated films of all time due to its breathtaking, intimate, watercolor-like visuals. More than that, however, the movie has a narrative weight and honesty in its storytelling that results in a timeless tale about the trials of love. 10. Up (2009) IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (975,977 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (1,204,358 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (298 reviews) Directed by: Pete Docter Seeking to live out his dream, elderly balloon salesman Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the South American wilderness. Soon, however, Carl’s worst nightmare is realized after he discovers a young stowaway on board his homemade airship. Starting with a tear-inducing saga of Carl and his wife, “Up” manages to convey both fun and pain without emphasizing too much of either. Though some stretches of the movie are taxing, ultimately “Up” succeeds due to moments of sheer poetic beauty and wisdom. For its success, “Up” won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. 9. Toy Story 3 (2010) IMDb user rating: 8.2/10 (786,394 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (607,826 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (309 reviews) Directed by: Lee Unkrich This sequel to the classic “Toy Story” follows the owner of the toys, Andy, as he leaves for college. Now a relic of Andy’s childhood, the gang of living toys are accidentally thrown in the trash before finding themselves in a kid’s day care center. Together, the crew of toys hatch a plan to escape and find their way home. Though ostensibly a fun sequel in a series of children’s movies, “Toy Story 3” accomplishes so much more. It is a meditation on the inscrutability of love, the wake left by loss and grief, and a parable about the impermanence of things. For its success, “Toy Story 3” won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. 8. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (693,881 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (312,983 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 99% (212 reviews) Directed by: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders This film follows Hiccup, a norse teenager from an island where dragon-fighting is a way of life. After entering dragon fighting school, he is determined to prove his worth as a Viking. He soon meets a toothless dragon, however, and their growing friendship shows Hiccup how to chart a new path for his people. What makes “How to Train Your Dragon” one of the best animated films of all time is its perfect mix of visual excitement and insightful storytelling. The movie finds a careful balance between emotional depth and visual heights, resulting in a thought-provoking tale of friendship between man and beast. 7. Princess Mononoke (1997) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (364,905 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (222,309 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (112 reviews) Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki Set in a world where harmony between man, animal, and spirit is disrupted, the film follows Ashitaka. After being bitten by an animal and seeking help from the deer god Shishigami, Ashitaka witnesses the growing war between men and animal spirits. While “Princess Mononoke” first gained acclaim due to his crisp, enchanting visuals, the film is so much more. Not only a deeply moral tale on destruction and balance, “Princess Mononoke” deftly incorporates lessons of philosophy and love into a deeply exciting and emotional animated feature. 6. The Lion King (1994) IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (983,962 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (1,269,333 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (130 reviews) Directed by: Rob Minkoff & Roger Allers “The Lion King” tells the story of Simba, heir to his father Mufasa’s savannah kingdom. After his evil uncle Scar takes over the kingdom, kills Mufasa, and exiles Simba, the young lion sets out on a long, storied journey to take back what is rightfully his. What made this film into an instant classic of animated film is its careful, yet accessible retelling of certain Greek tragedies and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. “The Lion King” is entertaining yet insightful, succeeding in an emotional portrayal of loss and triumph. For its success, the film won Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. 5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (427,664 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (21,190 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (392 reviews) Directed by: Peter Ramsey & Bob Persichetti After being bit by a radioactive spider, teenager Miles Morales starts developing untold powers. Soon, however, he meets Peter Parker and a host of others with powers like himself. Together they must battle the evil villain Kingpin. Utilizing the classic Spiderman vibe, as well as innovations in animation, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse succeeds in combining multiple comic book stories and plotlines. It’s a funny tale, and poignant too, ultimately standing out as one of the better adaptations in the Spider-Man movie series. 4. Toy Story (1995) IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (927,161 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (1,109,209 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (91 reviews) Directed by: John Lasseter The original “Toy Story” follows Woody, who is comfortable in his standing as Andy’s favorite toy. This equilibrium is soon shaken up, however, after Andy receives the new Buzz Lightyear toy from his parents. When Andy’s family moves into a new house, the collection of toys must put aside their differences to escape the clutches of evil neighbor Sid. A revelation in animated films upon its release, “Toy Story” became an instant classic due to its imaginative take on the nature of toys. The film is funny, thought-provoking, and helped establish the delicate heart that has come to typify future Pixar animated films. For its groundbreaking success, “Toy Story” was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. (Click here to find out some cool little-known facts about the Oscars.) 3. Coco (2017) IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (432,055 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 94% (28,505 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (352 reviews) Directed by: Adrian Molina & Lee Unkrich Though he dreams of becoming a musician, young Miguel is hampered by his family’s generation-old ban on music. Soon, however, Miguel finds himself in the magical Land of the Dead. There, he meets endearing trickster spirit Hector, and together, they embark on an adventure to discover the real story behind Miguel’s family and music. Arguably a high watermark in a long line of Pixar animated films, “Coco” is a visual and emotional delight. It blends complicated themes like love, family, and death into a rich tapestry that is musically enchanting and spiritually fulfilling. For its success, “Coco” won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. 2. Spirited Away (2001) IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (693,872 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 96% (337,321 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (191 reviews) Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki A true classic from visionary director Hayao Miyazaki, “Spirited Away” follows a young girl, Chihiro, and her parents on vacation. After they stumble upon an abandoned amusement park, her parents are turned into pigs. From there, Chihiro is forced into a supernatural resort where she must work to free herself and return her parents to human form. “Spirited Away” is one of the best animated films of all time due to its dazzling visuals, emotional depth, and overall scope. The fairy tale story is one of incredible imagination, and compels viewers to take a closer look at the world around them. For its unparalleled success, “Spirited Away” won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. 1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (279,931 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (69,069 reviews) Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (40 reviews) Directed by: Isao Takahata The film follows Seita, a teenager who must take care of his sister, Setsuko, after a firebombing by Americans during World War II separates the children from their parents. Together the children must struggle against increasing odds to survive. The best animated film of all time and one of the better anti-war films, “Grave of the Fireflies” is a heartbreaking meditation on war, loss, family, and survival. A far darker story than any other film on this list, this movie plunges viewers into a haunting yet fulfilling experience. Ultimately, it will make you cry, but you’ll be glad you saw it. (Click here for the saddest movies of all time.) Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit. The post Discover the 20 Best Animated Films of All Time! appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstNov 10th, 2023

I visited the viral tinned fish store in NYC"s Times Square that sells $19.60 cans of tuna and $44 hand-deboned sardines with edible gold flakes

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine opened in Times Square about a month ago, at the height of the tinned fish trend going viral on TikTok. The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine is located in NYC's Times Square.Kylie Kirschner A luxury Portuguese tinned fish store just opened in the middle of Times Square in NYC. Sardines deboned by hand and mixed with gold flakes are sold in a gold ingot-shaped can for $44. Tinned fish has gone viral on social media over the last year, in part because of affordability. A store entirely dedicated to tinned seafood recently opened in the middle of NYC's Times Square — right under the giant Olive Garden, across from the M&M store, with a view of the New Year's Eve ball from the front door.Tinned fish has been having a viral moment this past year. Videos on TikTok featuring different types of canned seafood have amassed millions of views, and brands like the buzzy LA canned-fish startup Fishwife have blown up. Although the affordability factor likely had a hand in the trend's popularity — tins often come in at under $3 — luxury and premium tins that cost up to $50 have also been spotlighted.Decorated in a whimsical magical library-type theme with floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with stacks of canned fish, the Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine definitely falls into that second luxury and premium category (at least in terms of its prices), and the store has seen its own share of social media attention. But its launch at the height of the trend in the US might be more of a happy coincidence than anything else.Tinned fish is an important and engrained part of other food cultures outside of the US, like in Portugal and Spain. The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine is already an established brand across Portugal, but the Times Square store is its first international location.Though — like many New Yorkers — I typically avoid going to Times Square as much as humanly possible due to the crowds, I made a special trip to 48th street to see what this tinned fish fantasy was all about.The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine is in the middle of Times Square.The over-the-top storefront attracted a lot of curious people.Kylie KirschnerI saw lots of passersby do a double take at the store's window display and peek inside.The interior of the store is decorated in a 'magical library' theme, and the walls are lined floor to ceiling with shelves all filled with cans of fish.The interior of the store is decorated in a "magical library" theme.Kylie KirschnerJoana Quaresma, the store's project manager, told me that for her the store is about bringing a cultural staple to an American audience and putting Portugal on the map."We decided to create this fantasy around the sardine because it's a very important product for us — the Portuguese," Quaresma said. "It's one of the best things that our country has to offer, and we want to make sure that we're giving it the special attention it deserves." There's a lot of attention to detail in the store's decoration.A lot of the decorative elements were also imported from Portugal.Kylie KirschnerThe decorative ironwork in the store was all made in Portugal by Portuguese craftspeople and then shipped to the US ahead of the store's opening, Quaresma told me. Even the books at the top of the shelves were shipped from Portugal.Circus-y marching band music plays through speakers, including "Stars and Stripes Forever," the official national march of the US. A wall plaque in the shop talks about the music choice, and notes that the march's composer, John Philip Sousa, was of Portuguese descent.Individual cans range in cost from $12.80 for regular sardines to $46.40 for smoked sole.Prices per tin vary, but most are on the expensive side.Kylie KirschnerMany of the tins are on the pricier side. A can of tuna costs $19.60, as do all of the sardines with flavors like lemon, peppers, or tomato. Smoked salmon costs $29.30, marinated eels cost $32.30, and a can of sea bass is $32.40. There are only two items that cost under $15: regular sardines — not the small sardines, timeless sardines, skinless and boneless sardines, or any of the flavored sardines — and the Jack Mackerel.The "Portuguese Gold" sardines cost $44 per can.The "Portuguese Gold" sardines cost $44.Kylie KirschnerThe cans are designed to look like gold ingots, and the sardines inside are packed with edible gold flakes. They're also individually deboned and deskinned by hand, a meticulous process — each can takes about 15 minutes to prepare by hand, Quaresma says."We wanted to kind of elevate the sardine the maximum we could," she said. "The way to do that was to actually make it gold, to actually make it a treasure."Regular skinless and boneless sardines — no gold flakes — cost $30.The art on the individual cans and boxes is just as whimsical and playful as the store is.One collection of fish came in a comic book-themed box.Kylie KirschnerSome of the cans are decorated with art inspired by certain Portuguese traditions, while others take inspiration from comic books and Pop art.The store's window display and two walls of the store's interior are lined with cans stamped with different years.The store sells sardines stamped with every year going back to 1916.Kylie KirschnerThe store's "Timeless Sardines" collection has cans stamped with every year going back to 1916, meant as a marketing gimmick so customers can buy cans as gifts to commemorate a birth year, anniversary, or other dates of significance. Each can also includes a historical fun fact from the year it carries or denotes the birth of a celebrity.I met one customer in the store — Andie Fuentes, 25 — who told me that she found the store on TikTok and came in to buy the "Timeless" sardines as gifts for her Portuguese boyfriend."His birthday is coming up and I thought it would be cool — since he likes sardines a lot — to do personalized cans based big stuff like the year he was born, the year he graduated high school," Fuentes said.No need to worry about eating hundred-year-old sardines, though. All fish were canned recently, regardless of the year on the can.There's also a collection of canned cod with cans showing different Portuguese cities.Another collection has cans representing different cities in Portugal.Kylie KirschnerThere's a can for each of the cities where the company has a store — this includes Lisbon, Porto, and Madeira.Before I left the store, Quaresma gave me two cans to take home to review: a tin of sardines and a tin of octopus.I tried two tins from the store, the sardines and the octopus.Kylie KirschnerThe store first opened selling just sardines, but soon expanded its offerings to include other seafood like octopus, which Quaresma said has been a bestseller. Though there are plenty of recipes for how to cook with tinned seafood, I opted to just buy a loaf of bread to eat the seafood with.The sardines were pretty good.The can of sardines had about 8 intact filets.Kylie KirschnerI'm absolutely not a tinned fish connoisseur and admittedly don't have a huge sardine data pool to compare these to, but I thought they tasted fresher and less fishy than other grocery store sardines I've had in the past. I liked the taste of the olive oil they were packed with, which I soaked up with more bread.I've never had canned octopus before, but enjoyed eating this tin.There were about 10 pieces of octopus tentacle in the can.Kylie KirschnerThere were about 10 tentacle pieces packed in the can, each about an inch in diameter. It was tender and not at all chewy, like good fresh octopus is, and had a bit of brininess. Having octopus at home was fun and kind of novel, since it's one of those things that I'm unlikely to ever attempt to cook myself, but at $29.80 per can I can't say I'll make this a regular thing. I think I'd rather stick to ordering it at a restaurant.I think the store achieved its goal of making canned fish feel special.I found my own birth year from the "Timeless sardines" collection.Kylie KirschnerQuaresma has lived in Portugal her whole life, but moved to New York ahead of the store's opening to oversee the process and operations. I told her I thought she must be very passionate about tinned fish to change countries for it."Once you understand the importance of the product and the value there is behind it, there's no way to not be passionate about it," she replied. "I think that the trend is the universe saying, 'I think you're doing the right thing.' And we're very happy about it."Though the prices are probably too high for me to add the Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine as a stop for my grocery list, I do think that the existence of a magical fantasy sardine library in the middle of Times Square is something special, and I could imagine going back.Plus, I found my birth year sardine and learned that I was born roughly 100 years after Enzo Ferrari was. What more could I ask for? Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 23rd, 2023

Raffles Boston Shares Update Ahead of Summer Debut 

 One of Boston’s most exciting developments in decades, Raffles Boston, is set to open later this summer and announced today that the hotel is now available for booking for stays beginning September 1, 2023. The property will mark the first mixed-use development in North America for the illustrious, world-renowned, 136-year old Raffles Hotels... The post Raffles Boston Shares Update Ahead of Summer Debut  appeared first on Real Estate Weekly.  One of Boston’s most exciting developments in decades, Raffles Boston, is set to open later this summer and announced today that the hotel is now available for booking for stays beginning September 1, 2023. The property will mark the first mixed-use development in North America for the illustrious, world-renowned, 136-year old Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand, and writes a new story for Boston’s hospitality and real estate industries alike. The 35-story, $400 million+ LEED Gold building will be an urban oasis where global cultures and local influences converge. Offering an unprecedented hotel experience in the heart of the city’s Back Bay, Raffles Boston features 147 guestrooms and 16 distinct gathering spaces. From top to bottom, Raffles Boston will showcase and celebrate what makes the Raffles brand so special: a sense of adventure and style, gracious and intuitive hospitality, and thoughtful, locally inspired design, all while enhancing the cosmopolitan charm of the Back Bay. The first Raffles property opened its doors in 1887 in Singapore, and for more than a century, it has been known and loved as one of the world’s most iconic hotels both for its luxurious design and its exceptional hospitality. At Raffles properties worldwide, visitors are said to “arrive as guests, leave as friends, and return as family.” As part of its storied history, Raffles is renowned for introducing private butlers, creating the Singapore Sling, and serving as a haven for writers, artists, film stars and royalty, from Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling to Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Elizabeth II. Raffles currently offers a collection of 18 individually unique and timeless properties in fascinating cities and vibrant destinations around the world: Singapore, Paris, Bali, Warsaw, Phnom Penh, and the Maldives to name a few.  Along with Raffles Boston, the brand has exciting upcoming openings in London and Macau this year with many more properties under development. Raffles Boston offers 147 hotel guestrooms, including 21 Signature Suites, 8 Premier Suites, and a spectacular presidential Raffles Suite. Guestrooms are found on the 6th through 14th floors. Award-winning hospitality design firm Stonehill Taylor fashioned all hotel rooms and the majority of hotel amenity spaces, infusing its work with an elegant and comfortable residential atmosphere. Stonehill Taylor took inspiration from the city’s Emerald Necklace and Raffles Boston’s historic cultural surroundings, carrying botanical influences throughout the property, emphasizing art and sculptural design, and choosing materials and patterns that play off of Boston’s iconic history and architecture. Copper accents are prevalent throughout the property, in a nod to Paul Revere’s copper plating company; historical illustrations adorn custom wall coverings; whimsical lighting is inspired by florals; and greenery references the window boxes found throughout the Back Bay.    In a first for the City of Boston, Raffles Boston features a Sky Lobby on the 17th, 18th and 19th floors. This three-story space is more than just a place to check-in for a hotel stay; it connects residents and guests with a diversity of amenity spaces. The three-story Grand Stair, one of Raffles Boston’s most memorable architectural features, spirals through the lobby’s atrium, making a dramatic impression with its curved oak stairs and copper balusters.  Throughout the Sky Lobby are four more distinct venues in which to find dining, cocktails and more. Acclaimed Chef George Mendes will launch the hotel’s signature restaurant and oversee its food program.A first-generation American born to Portuguese immigrants, Mendes grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. After years of honing his talent in the kitchens of David Bouley, Alain Passard’s Arpege in Paris and Tocqueville, he went on to open Aldea to critical acclaim and a Michelin star, which he maintained for more than a decade. Chef Mendes will launch the hotel’s signature restaurant, Amar, located on the Sky Lobby level, an intimate space featuring moody, softly lit walls and dazzling metal finishes. Amar promises to become a new gathering spot for guests, residents and members of the local community. It will feature modern Portuguese cuisine with influences from Boston’s seafaring culture and history in a space overlooking the Back Bay, Charles River, and Cambridge, allowing Chef Mendes to return to his New England roots while honoring his heritage. A dramatic Long Bar & Terrace pairs cocktails with expansive views of the South End, while a soon-to-be unveiled Signature Sky Bar will provide a dramatic space for drinks and small bites. In a hidden corner, tucked away from the surrounding bustle within the Sky Lobby, a clandestine Speakeasy seduces guests with a cocktail experience harkening back to an earlier era. On the 17th floor, guests and residents will also find a cozy enclave for relaxation in the Writers’ Lounge. This signature Raffles space, located within the flagship Raffles Singapore and a number of other Raffles hotels around the world, is named for the esteemed literati who have frequented and even composed works at Raffles worldwide, such as Ernest Hemingway, W. Somerset Maugham, and Noël Coward. Ascending the Grand Stair, Raffles Boston’s Sky Lobby offers two full floors of meeting and entertainment spaces. The hotel’s Ballroom is unique among Boston hotel event spaces in that it sits on the building’s 19th floor with views spanning from the Financial District to Cambridge. Spacious pre-function space and a variety of beautifully designed meeting rooms, from a Board Room to smaller breakout rooms, offer residents and guests yet more in-house options for entertaining and business events. Capping off this world-class array of amenities, guests and residents will also find a sanctuary on the 4th floor, which features an exclusive state-of-the-art gym, Raffles Spa and 20-meter indoor pool with expansive city views. As North America’s first Raffles hotel and residences, Raffles Boston will reinforce the Back Bay’s global reputation as a first-class international neighborhood. Situated next to The University Club and conveniently adjacent to Boston’s Back Bay train station, it is also within a block of Copley Square, Trinity Church, and premiere upscale shopping at Copley Place. Other notable Boston attractions, also within a short walking distance, include the world-renowned shops and galleries of Newbury Street and the Prudential Center, Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, Symphony Hall, the Charles River Esplanade, and dozens of restaurants, bars and cafes. The project will provide over $22 million in public benefits in total, including street and public realm improvements, seven on-site affordable housing units, and a contribution of over $13 million to the City of Boston’s affordable housing fund. A predominantly local team, united by its members’ deep appreciation for Boston, leads the project. At the helm is Trinity Stuart Development LLC, which is a partnership between two Boston entities: developer Jordan Warshaw of The Noannet Group and hotelier Gary Saunders of Saunders Hotel Group, alongside their equity partner Cain International, the privately held investment firm led by CEO Jonathan Goldstein. Accor, a world leading hospitality group and the Paris-based parent of Raffles Hotels & Resorts, is the hotel management partner, and Madison Realty Capital provided construction financing. For more information about Raffles Boston Hotel & Residences and to begin placing bookings for stays starting September 1, 2023, please visit www.raffles.com and follow @rafflesboston with hashtag #rafflesboston. The post Raffles Boston Shares Update Ahead of Summer Debut  appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyJun 5th, 2023

Trinity Place Holdings Secures LEED Silver Designation for Jolie on Greenwich

Trinity Place Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TPHS) (the “Company”) announced that Jolie on Greenwich has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Located at 77 Greenwich Street in the heart of Lower Manhattan, Jolie is a boutique glass tower... The post Trinity Place Holdings Secures LEED Silver Designation for Jolie on Greenwich appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Trinity Place Holdings Inc. (NYSE: TPHS) (the “Company”) announced that Jolie on Greenwich has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Located at 77 Greenwich Street in the heart of Lower Manhattan, Jolie is a boutique glass tower with 90 luxurious residences overlooking New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and Battery Park. Jolie is crowned by a penthouse and a rooftop-level suite of amenities, Cloud Club 77. Deborah Berke Partners designed Jolie’s well-crafted interiors and its amenity suite, in collaboration with FXCollaborative as Jolie’s base building architect. In addition to its 90 condominium homes and over 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, Jolie is also home to a brand new public elementary school, PS 150. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification is a distinguished rating system that serves as a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification enables residences to use less energy, fewer resources and entails the use of safe building materials. Jolie underwent a rigorous vetting process, including the incorporation of green strategies to achieve energy efficiency and provide for healthy indoor environments.  “Jolie’s status as a LEED-certified building signals our enthusiasm for the wellbeing and quality of life for its residents and it also passes along significant cost savings to buyers,” said Matthew Messinger, President and CEO of Trinity Place Holdings. “We’re proud to work with FXCollaborative and Deborah Berke Partners as Jolie gets completed this year.” “FXCollaborative’s passion is creating sustainable projects that contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities,” said Dan Kaplan FAIA, LEED AP, Senior Partner at FXCollaborative. “Achieving LEED Silver is a prestigious milestone for Jolie — an exceptional high-rise in Lower Manhattan — and a testament to the commitment of Trinity Place Holdings and our design partners at Deborah Berke Partners to make a positive impact on healthy building and living.”  “Our practice believes in creating timeless architecture and interiors that promote community and wellness,” said Stephen Brockman, LEED AP, Partner at Deborah Berke Partners. “We are pleased that Jolie has achieved LEED Silver affirming our goal to be good stewards of the environment.”  Jolie is a sculptural tower of reflective glass, rising from a cast stone base, designed by FXCollaborative, the celebrated architectural firm behind acclaimed New York City residential developments including The Greenwich Lane and the new Statue of Liberty Museum. Topping out at 500 feet tall, the 42-story LEED Silver-certified mixed-use condominium features a mixture of one- to four-bedroom homes, all with views of the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The building’s residential façade features a pleated glass curtain wall that provides sweeping water views from each of the homes—which begin on the 15th floor, approximately 150 feet above street level—and offers a graceful juxtaposition to the heavy masonry of its historic neighbors. The building’s warm interiors, emphasizing expert craftsmanship and natural materials, were designed by the renowned Deborah Berke Partners, representing the firm’s unique vision for Lower Manhattan. The design of the project was led by Deborah Berke, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, along with her partner Stephen Brockman. Residential floors include natural light-filled corridors and residences that combine natural beauty with the comforts of an exceptionally appointed home. With white oak flooring throughout and ceiling heights in excess of 10 feet, the residences boast floor-to-ceiling windows that provide unobstructed water and skyline views from the expanse of pleated crystalline glass. Adding to the graciousness and comfort of the layouts, every home includes a powder room, a rarity in new luxury development in New York City. Filled with natural light, each of the custom Deborah Berke Partners-designed Poliform kitchens features state-of-the-art appliances from Miele, Sub-Zero, and Wolf, along with honed Blue de Savoie marble countertops and backsplashes. The master bathrooms offer a calming combination of honed warm gray Haisa marble floors, walls, and counters, accented with quarter-sawn sycamore millwork, and radiant heated floors. Secondary bathrooms are outfitted with honed Venice terrazzo tile floors and quarter-sawn oak millwork cabinets, while the powder rooms in every home include custom-carved Calacatta Lincoln sink bowls and backsplash panels enhanced by sandblasted and brushed Bianco Mist quartzite floors. Designed to exacting LEED standards, the homes at Jolie are both environmentally sustainable and luxurious. A suite of amenities, expected to be completed in the coming months, designed by Deborah Berke Partners emphasizes entertaining, wellness, and play. Headlined by a top-floor lounge known as Cloud Club 77, every resident is afforded a penthouse view in its expansive spaces that include an art-filled lounge with a fireplace, a private dining room with a catering kitchen, a children’s playroom, and a double-height fitness center. There is also a multi-purpose game room and training studio with terrace access. Jolie also offers residents multiple outdoor spaces designed by Future Green Studio, the Brooklyn-based landscape design firm behind a number of notable commissions including the Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These areas include a 3,600-square-foot rooftop garden featuring a grassy lawn with a play area for children, a meditation deck, and grill stations with ample dining areas and chaise seating. The amenities located on the Cloud Club level below open up to a 950-square-foot outdoor terrace including a Japanese rock garden, while a 2,350-square-foot 14th-floor terrace features pergolas and a dog run. Pricing for remaining inventory begins at $1.75 million for a one-bedroom residence. For more information about Jolie on Greenwich, please visit: www.jolieongreenwich.com.  The post Trinity Place Holdings Secures LEED Silver Designation for Jolie on Greenwich appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyMar 2nd, 2023

Ten Great Lessons From “Casablanca”

The foremost cinematic love story of all time, perhaps the greatest motion picture of all time, Warner Brothers’ “Casablanca” (1942), is now available in 4K Ultra-High Definition, as enthralling, immediate and gripping as ever: Eight decades have not diminished Casablanca’s ability to evoke head-shaking laughter, cheek-soaking tears, heart-pounding passion and unabashed patriotic pride in our […] The foremost cinematic love story of all time, perhaps the greatest motion picture of all time, Warner Brothers’ “Casablanca” (1942), is now available in 4K Ultra-High Definition, as enthralling, immediate and gripping as ever: Eight decades have not diminished Casablanca’s ability to evoke head-shaking laughter, cheek-soaking tears, heart-pounding passion and unabashed patriotic pride in our nation, once again an arsenal of democracy, bringing light and hope to a brutal, blood-soaked world. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   From the many powerful lessons of Casablanca, here are an even ten: Spoiler alerts apply, if you need ‘em. 1) "The Cliches Are Having A Ball" - Umberto Eco Few American films feature so few Americans as “Casablanca.” Of the credited actors only Humphrey Bogart (Rick), Dooley Wilson (Sam) and Joy Page (Annina) were native-born US citizens. Instead “Casablanca” brims with authentic Europeans portraying the very refugees they, in fact, were. Seasoned players, major and minor figures of stage and screen in their home countries, put heart and soul into their performances: witness their unforgettable rendition of “La Marseillaise,” trumpeting freedom, liberty and democracy, dim rays of sunshine in the dark days of 1942, when “Casablanca” was filmed. Champions of liberty and democracy classically eschew stereotypes, but in “Casablanca” these well-worn national cliches---charming Frenchman, “mad” Russian, martial German, effete Englishman, and, finally, rugged can-do American---create the semblance of reality. One stereotype offends but a full palette suspends disbelief. Of course, as Americans we know Rick best. So when, in the course of less than two hours, this embittered isolationist turns impassioned freedom fighter, discarding a lover’s torch to uphold his dearest values, how we identify! And we cry, both for Rick’s lost love and his moral triumph. 2) Size Matters, But Not On The Screen Not since “King Kong” (1933) and its mechanical star has a lead player grown and shrunk to match set and ensemble as much as Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca.” A giant on screen, Humphrey Bogart was actually a slight man. When astride petit Peter Lorre (Ugarte) or dapper Claude Rains (Captain Renault) his actual size is only slightly augmented: lifts, padding and hairpiece. But confronting Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser) and Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo), both six foot-three, nose to nose in their face-off at Rick’s Café (in reality the two actors were friends, see below), Bogart’s shoes were fitted with massive blocks lest he be dwarfed onscreen by these towering men. And for the central relationship of “Casablanca,” Rick’s romance with Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), tallest leading lady in all Hollywood, direction and set design work magic: When Bogart and Bergman are together usually one or both are seated. Upright together, Bogart stands on a step or a sloping road or they both are leaning. At the classic airport scene Bogart dons lifts and his trademark fedora. But the greatest sleight of size in “Casablanca” is a prop: the roaring plane that will carry “Mr. and Mrs. Victor Laszlo” to safety in Lisbon and thence to the freedom of the New World. As wartime regulations prohibited nighttime filming at Van Nuys airport---setting for Major Strasser’s arrival in Casablanca’s opening reel---the “airport” from which the Laszlos depart is a mere sound stage. The “airplane” is a miniature wooden mockup, masked by imaginary desert fog; the “ground crew,” some of Hollywood’s veteran little people in coveralls. 3) Unsung Heroes of “Casablanca” I: Conrad Veidt Conrad Veidt (Major Heinrich Strasser) was an international star of the silent screen, first in Germany, then in Hollywood. Trained in Weimar’s Berlin theatre he survived, as few silent film actors did, the transition to sound in 1929. Still Veidt’s English was not yet adequate for film and he returned to Germany to continue his career. But with the Machtergreifung of 1933 all motion picture actors were obliged to complete a disclosure of “race” as a condition of employment in the German film industry. A fervent anti-Nazi, though not Jewish himself, Veidt’s wife was, and Veidt bravely identified as Jewish, effectively stalling his career in German film. A major star, Veidt could easily have blown with Captain Renault’s “prevailing wind,” divorced his Jewish wife as Nazi law provided, and as many did, remained in Germany and flourished in the Nazified German film industry. But such was not his character. Now a marked man, Veidt fled with his wife to England, narrowly escaping an assassination squad. In revenge Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels ordered that Veidt never appear in German film again. It proved an empty gesture. For Veidt continued a storied career, appearing in a total of more than one hundred feature films. In Weimar Germany Veidt had portrayed Cesare, the murderous somnambulist, in the expressionist classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920). Later he shone as the titular star of “The Man Who Laughs” (1928). His face, bearing a permanent grimace, would inspire Batman’s “Joker.” Upon arrival in England, Veidt sought and obtained British citizenship. As war broke out, he testified on behalf of his friend, fellow immigrant and soon-to-be “Casablanca” co-star, Paul Henreid, lest Henreid be deemed an “enemy alien” due to his Austrian birth and then, post-Anschluss, his ostensible German citizenship. The very apex of Veidt’s career was his powerful performance as the fiendish grand vizier and sorcerer, Jaffar, in the lavish Technicolor spectacular, “Thief of Baghdad (1940), begun in England but completed in Hollywood with the onset of war. Veidt’s Jaffar inspired the character of the same name in Disney’s popular “Aladdin” (1992). You can enjoy this delightful and underappreciated fantasy, complete at Before leaving England for his second run in Hollywood Veidt donated his life savings to the Children’s War Relief, one of many donations to the Allied war effort he made freely throughout his brief lifetime. For tragically, Veidt never lived to witness the success of his role in “Casablanca.” Like Bing Crosby he died on the golf course, pronounced by his physician, who had accompanied him that day: April 3, 1943. Of his role as Major Strasser, Veidt recalled: “I know this man well. He is a man who turned fanatic and betrayed his friends, his homeland, and himself in his lust to be somebody and get something for nothing.” 4) Unsung Heroes of ”Casablanca” II: Michael Curtiz In the pantheon of storied directors---Welles, Wyler, Bergman, Fellini, Fleming, Truffaut, Ford, Hitchcock, Wilder, Spielberg—the forgotten man is always Michael Curtiz, unsung director of “Casablanca” and a raft of classic and varied motion pictures: “Captain Blood” (1935) “Charge of the Light Brigade” (1936) “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) “Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938) “Four Daughters” (1939) “The Sea Hawk” (1940) “The Sea Wolf” (1941) “Mildred Pierce” (1945) “White Christmas” (1954) Hungarian immigrant, plucked from Berlin by Jack Warner in the silent era, Curtiz (ne Kertesz) never learned English beyond the rudimentary. Born in Hungary, Curtiz spoke Magyar, a Uralic language, more similar to Finnish and Korean than any other European language, making a transition to English even more daunting. Especially so for this visual thinker, whose sound films are no less image-centered than his silents. When supported by a crackling script, a Michael Curtiz movie never feels dated. While Curtiz’s brilliance and professionalism were not questioned in Hollywood, he was widely disliked. Where Alfred Hitchcock famously called actors “cattle,” Curtiz treated them as such, displaying open contempt for cast and crew. Brutal and dominating on the set, he bullied even Bette Davis unto tears. His impotent rages are legendary: “Next time I send a dumb son of a bitch to get a Coke I go myself!” When he demanded a “pu-uddle” in the midst of rain-soaked street scene, an obedient grip brought a poodle for the fuming director, whose fractured English had sent the grip on a fool’s errand. Curtiz’ famous command: “Bring on the empty horses!”---meaning riderless horses—provoked helpless laughter on the set. The line later became famous as the title of David Niven’s autobiography. And when Curtiz finally won the Best Director Oscar for “Casablanca,” he recalled his many near-misses: “Always a bridesmaid, never a mother. Now I win, I have no speech.” But as they say in Brooklyn, what goes around comes around: actors took their revenge: Bogart and Henreid walked off the set of Casablanca to protest Curtiz’ behavior. Prankster Peter Lorre famously miked Mike Curtiz’ trailer: cast and crew tuned in to Curtiz’ afternoon dalliance with a hopeful ingénue. 5) “Play It Again, Ella” Hal B. Wallis, storied producer of “Casablanca,” considered some thirty black actors for the role of Sam: Rick’s friend, confidant, protector and profit-sharing pianist, singer and bandleader. Imagine, if you will, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne or Hazel Scott in that singular role, as all were seriously considered. A casualty of the McCarthy era, Hazel Scott may be the least well-known of these accomplished jazz artists. Brilliant pianist and singer, with a storied career in Hollywood through the 1940s, Scott went on to host an early television variety show on the fledgling DuMont network in the early 1950s. Boldly and perhaps, innocently, Scott elected to appear voluntarily before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Never a Communist, not even a “fellow traveler,” nonetheless within a week her TV show was cancelled. She left for the Continent, as did so many ill-treated black jazz artists. Here she performs alongside Lena Horne in “I Dood It,” a Red—no political implications---Skelton comedy from 1943: Ultimately, as we all know, Wallace shied from the potential plot and socio-political pitfalls of casting a woman in the role of Sam. Dooley Wilson, a professional drummer who mimed his piano- playing for “Casablanca,” won the part---now iconic---along with his rendition of “Casablanca’s” love theme, “As Time Goes By.” Savor it here, complete: 6) The Power of Paradox With no basis in historical fact, the fabled and fabulous “Letters of Transit signed by General Weygand” (not DeGaulle, as many mishear; DeGaulle was persona non grata in Vichy) are the “MacGuffin” of “Casablanca,” providing free passage to the holder out of Vichy Morocco to the safe haven of Lisbon. “MacGuffin” is Alfred Hitchcock’s term for any device upon which a plot can turn: a “Maltese Falcon” statuette, microfilm (“North by Northwest”), even ruby slippers (“Wizard of Oz”). As every “Casablanca” fan knows, stranded Czech freedom fighter, Laszlo, and his paramour- secretly his wife - Ilsa, desperately need those Letters lest the couple languish and die in Casablanca. Bitter and angry over his abandonment by Ilsa, Rick will not surrender the Letters to his romantic rival, Laszlo, or even sell them, at any price. Rick tells Laszlo why: “Ask your wife…I said, ask your wife.” Laszlo is noble but, as “the leader of a great movement,” he is neither naïve nor weak. He has survived torture in a concentration camp and, near-impossibly, escaped. He understands human nature and the art of paradox or, as it is popularly known, “reverse psychology.” Laszlo tells Rick: “The first evening I came here in this café I knew there was something between you and Ilsa. Since no one is to blame I ask no explanation. I ask only one thing. You won’t give me the Letters of Transit. All right. But I want my wife to be safe. I ask you as a favor to use the Letters to take her away from Casablanca.” Rick has one question: “You love her that much?” Laszlo answers: “Apparently you think of me only as a leader of a cause. Well, I am also a human being. Yes, I love her that much.” Instantly gendarmes crash the door. (Curtiz never lets a love avowal linger in cinematic air.) Laszlo is under arrest. The scene leaves Rick paradoxed. Like a wise therapist, Laszlo has turned the tables. Where he cannot convince, he can persuade, by changing the stakes. Rick loves Ilsa so much that life is a living death without her. (“Go ahead and shoot. You’ll be doing me a favor.”) And Ilsa has agreed to return to Rick and never leave again if he will but grant the Letters to Laszlo. But now Laszlo has paradoxed Rick! Ilsa may love Rick more than Laszlo. But Laszlo has proven he loves Ilsa more than Rick does. For his love is unselfish: Laszlo would surrender Ilsa to Rick to save her, even as he remains behind to face death in Casablanca. Plainly, greater love hath no man. Rick cannot but rise to the challenge Laszlo has set for him. Laszlo’s paradox makes the right choice Rick’s only choice. At movie’s end he will make it. 7) East of Casablanca: “China” (1943) Success invites imitation. Mirroring the themes, if not the lasting fame of “Casablanca,” is Paramount Pictures’ “China,” starring Alan Ladd as David Llewellyn Jones, a tough-minded war profiteer indifferently selling oil to the Imperial Japanese Army in pre-Pearl Harbor wartime China. Like Rick Blaine, Jones is “carefully neutral,” financially astute and romantically detached. But Jones’ indifference to love is shattered when his heart is stolen by China-born American schoolteacher, Carolyn Grant, played by beautiful Loretta Young, and her endearing Chinese schoolgirls. And that same heart hardens against the merciless invaders, as Jones bravely halts the most hideous wartime atrocity ever depicted in classical Hollywood film and dispatches the perpetrators in a burst of machine gunfire. The scene beggars description; once viewed it can never, regrettably, be forgotten. Of interest now only to cineastes, “China” remains noteworthy for its brilliantly realistic tracking shots of air, sea and land battles and fearful bombing raids. And, most importantly, its oddly familiar portrayal of David Llewellyn Jones: his jaunty fedora, worn leather jacket, crumpled khakis, facial stubble, wise-ass attitude, ready fists and blazing guns. If this all sounds uncanny it should: Ladd’s Jones was the inspiration for George Lucas’ and Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones” and his daredevil exploits, battling tyrants and their minions, wherever they arise. Indeed, Jones’ radicalization in the face of atrocity is echoed in “Star Wars” (1977), when Luke Skywalker surveys wordlessly the skeletal remains of his murdered aunt and uncle, their devastated home and farm, and joins the Rebel Alliance. 8) "Everybody Comes To Rick’s" - Original title of “Casablanca” It’s a question no one thinks to ask: “Why does everyone love Rick Blaine?” He’s not handsome, tall or rich. He drinks and smokes too much. He runs a crooked casino. He rarely smiles since his romantic debacle in Paris and never lets anyone get close. But Rick embodies nine key virtues, which, I have been taught, when sustained and compounded, yield love. For Rick is: Trustworthy: Even unctious Ugarte trusts Rick: “Just because you despise me you are the only one I trust.” Principled: “I don’t buy or sell human beings.” Courageous: Ran guns to Ethiopia and fought in Spain on the Loyalist side. Competent: Escaped occupied Paris for a strange land and built the storied “Café Americain.” Loyal: “Abdul, Carl and Sacha. They stay with the place or I don’t sell.” Kind: Gifts a small fortune to Annina and her husband to preserve the sanctity of their marriage and lead them to safety and freedom in America. Understanding: Rick “gets” Captain Renault: “Just like any other man, only more so.” Forgiving: To everyone but Ilsa, until he learns she has never betrayed him and still loves him. Unselfish: To everyone but Ilsa and Laszlo, until he learns they were man and wife when he knew Ilsa in Paris. So at the close of “Casablanca” Rick has embodied all nine virtues, presented Ilsa and Laszlo the precious Letters of Transit, and received their blessing. “Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win.” - Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo, in “Casablanca” In a final act of moral courage, Rick guns down Major Strasser to secure the Laszlos’ getaway. And incredibly, but understandably, blindsided Captain Renault deflects his gendarmes with the legendary command: “Round up the usual suspects.” - Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault, in “Casablanca” And Louis walks his beloved Rick across the rain-soaked tarmac to begin their “beautiful friendship” as soldiers of the Free French Army. And we believe that Louis loves Rick enough to do it, even to die for him, for Rick has replaced Renault’s and Rick’s aimless and corrupt lives for lives of meaning. And Louis cannot but follow him into war, as soldiers follow great generals. You can view that brilliant climax here, in all its timeless power: 9) “Don’t Worry About Logic. I Go So Fast No One Notices”---Michael Curtiz, Director, “Casablanca” In the breathtaking whirlwind of “Casablanca,” the brilliant script, the beautiful cinematography, the great characterizations and performances, rousing orchestrations and period jazz, the love, the heartbreak, the passion, we have nary a moment to think that, though everything seems very real, much of “Casablanca” makes no logical sense. For example: Q: Why do people not duck, cover or flee when bullets fly? A: Interrupts the story. Q: Why doesn’t Rick grab Ugarte’s flailing pistol, as any seasoned soldier would? A: Distracts from the drama. Q: Why are freedom fighters immaculately tailored and coiffed? A: Audiences want their stars to twinkle. Q: Why does Major Strasser rush to the airport alone, without his troops? A: So he and Rick can go mano a mano. Q: Why is there rain and fog in the desert? A: This is film noir. Q: Why does no one but Ugarte perspire in Casablanca? A: Sweat is unattractive. Q: Why does Rick publicly pass a small fortune to Annina’s husband at the roulette wheel and not discreetly in his office? A: It’s a movie! Amazing such an imperfect thing can yet be perfect. But again that is true of all humanity. 10) Oedipus Rick’s “You’re neither right nor wrong because other people agree with you. You’re right because your facts are right and your reasoning is right---that’s the only thing that makes you right.---Warren E. Buffett The scientific and public reputation of Sigmund Freud has, of late, in the words of Eliza Doolittle, been “trod in the mud.” Freud’s ideas are exotic and untestable, born of musing, reflection and intuition, are bound to his culture and his time and cannot, perforce, include the scientific findings of the intervening century or address current issues surrounding sexuality and gender. But if you are searching for the operating system quietly humming inside “Casablanca,” what makes it so dear to the hearts of millions, despite the obvious sentimentality and passing decades, you need look no further than Freud’s theories of the Oedipus Complex and the unconscious mind. In classical psychoanalytic theory the Oedipus Complex refers to the love and desire of a child for the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant jealousy and rivalry with the parent of the same sex. The Oedipus Complex is resolved when the child tempers that love, identifies with the parent of the same sex, and moves on to more appropriate love objects and life plans. The Oedipus Complex is named, of course, for the character of Greek legend who slew his father and married his mother. Oedipal themes abound in literature (“Hamlet”) and film (“Back to the Future,” “Star Wars”) but never so plainly as in “Casablanca.” Follow me closely, listen with your heart and not your head: Rick fell madly in love with Ilsa in Paris, City of Love. Told in flashback, it is a whirlwind romance with an adoring beauty, the stuff of dreams.   Ilsa is, as Captain Renault tells Rick, “very beautiful [who knew?], but you were never interested in any woman.” Rick replies that Ilsa is not just “any woman.” She is an ideal woman, the essence of womanhood: she is maternal. Thus the choice of Ingrid Bergman to portray Ilsa is casting genius. For unique among Hollywood beauties Bergman was never a “glamour girl.” She never posed for “cheesecake.” Her hair is natural. She wears little makeup. Her eyebrows are full. She exudes not sexuality but boundless love. Even at maximal stress Bergman’s Ilsa is and remains warm-hearted, kind, loving, caring, understanding and forgiving. She is all that. And, finally, she is, incredibly, in Rick’s unconscious and in ours, his mother. And like any mother, she has “betrayed” her son with his father, if only to bear him. Indeed Victor Laszlo is Rick’s spiritual father. For Rick, like Laszlo, is a born freedom fighter. It is in his blood. Like Laszlo Rick hates and fights injustice and tyranny. Unsurprisingly, Laszlo is the only man in the film who holds Rick’s complete respect: “We all try. You succeed.” So when Rick turns over the Letters and bids farewell to “Mr. and Mrs. Victor Laszlo” on their flight to safety and freedom he has so brilliantly engineered, Rick has at last resolved his Oedipus Complex. Even more, he has saved the lives of his parents and begun, albeit belatedly, his quest for purpose and manhood. He has abandoned his selfishness: running a crooked casino and seducing and coldly abandoning young women. And, in his gunfight with Major Strasser, who proudly envisioned conquest and domination “from Russia to the Sahara,” even unto London and Rick’s home in New York, Rick hath slain the tyrant who, like his childish self, desired Rick’s mother and would murder his father. Endings don’t get better than that......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkFeb 7th, 2023

Transcript: John Mack

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Mack, Morgan Stanley CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters… Read More The post Transcript: John Mack appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Mack, Morgan Stanley CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, boy, do I have an extra special guest, John Mack, legendary CEO of Morgan Stanley. Man, this is just a masterclass on leadership, on team building, on understanding a business and understanding what to do for your clients. So not only that they give you business, but they give you their loyalty and their ongoing respect. I don’t know what else to say other than my conversation with Morgan Stanley’s John Mack. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for quite a while. As soon as I saw the book came out, I have to really get the inside dope from John. And so let’s start with the beginning. You start at Smith Barney in 1968. What was so compelling about a North Carolina kid from Duke going to Wall Street? JOHN MACK, FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, MORGAN STANLEY: Well, it’s pretty simple. So I was on scholarship at Duke, an athletic scholarship and cracked C5 in my neck. So my scholarship was only valid for four years, and I needed one class to graduate. I had very little money, and my father had passed away when I was in college. So I needed a job. And I went down and knocked on the door at a company called First Securities of North Carolina. A guy named Bill Bonner said, look, you know, nothing about the business, I’ll put you in the back office. And you can go to your one class every day ahead, and then go on your lunch hour and come back and go to work. So it was me and nine women in the back office, and they had the old IBM computer punch cards. That’s how long ago it was. So I got a sense and a feel for the business. And I got to know a lady named Fannie Mitchell, who ran job placement for Duke University. So when people would come down and say, you know, Procter & Gamble or IBM, whoever it may be, she would say, you got to talk to this John Mack. And I think, you know, I would see her in the cafeteria and most students would ignore. I’d sit down, have a cup of coffee with her or have lunch with her. So that’s how I got involved with the securities business. And then the Smith Barney was in town and they were going to open an office in Atlanta, and they ended up hiring me to go to their Atlanta office. So I come up to New York in ’68 and I’m working at Smith Barney, and they decided because of the explosion of volume, the New York Stock Exchange stopped all new branches from opening. So I got a chance to go in the municipal bond department. That’s what I did. I was a trader-salesman, and I learned a lot about risk. And I also learned a lot about drinking at lunch, and you got to be very careful. RITHOLTZ: Going out with clients, having a couple of drinks. Hey, you come back to the desk, a little buzzed, what happens? Can you make a trading mistake that way? MACK: Well, not only you can, I did. We went down to Chez Yvonne, if you remember that years ago, down on Wall Street. U.S. Trust was my client, a guy named Jimmy Degnan. And U.S Trust was the advisor for the state employees of New York, which is a huge pension fund. RITHOLTZ: Giant. MACK: So we sat there and we drank for at least three hours. RITHOLTZ: Now, wait, are you normally a drinker during lunch, or if the client is drinking, you got to keep up? MACK: I’m a client guy. No one wants to drink alone. So if he’s drinking or she’s drinking, I’m drinking. I came back and I made a mistake. And thank God, they didn’t fire me. And over time, we eradicated that and fixed it. And then I learned be very careful when you go out to lunch on Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: So tell us a little bit about the culture on the street in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. What was it like? MACK: It was a crazy time. The thing of politically correct didn’t exist. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. MACK: All right. So I’m 21, 22 years old. I’m at Smith Barney. I’m a municipal trader. Then I go into the corporate bond market. And I hear about these crazy parties that Wall Street was throwing and I only went to one and left. I mean, it was basically strippers and people getting drunk. And you know, I came from a town of about 12,000 people in North Carolina, a Baptist religion, mainly. It was a new world for me, but it taught me a lot. You got to pay attention and you got to make sure that you don’t get drunk at lunch and you got to make sure you tell the truth. RITHOLTZ: Telling the truth is certainly a key part, and that’s a theme that comes up again and again in your book. We’ll get to that in a little bit. You mentioned the New York Stock Exchange didn’t allow any new branches to be open. I have a vague recollection of Wall Street being closed on Wednesdays to catch up on the paperwork. Tell us a little bit about that. MACK: That’s correct. They closed on Wednesday to catch up on the paperwork, and all the firms, whether it was, first of all, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley at that time didn’t have a big secondary business, we had to clear up the back office. So you’d shut at noon and try to figure out the securities go to Y and these securities go to Z. RITHOLTZ: Literally paper certificates, runners up and down the street — MACK: Absolutely. Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: — and delivering. MACK: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: Talk about, you know, ancient technology. One of the things you mentioned was that by the 1980s, there were two key forces driving changes on Wall Street; deregulation and technology. MACK: Right. Correct. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about that. MACK: Well, the markets were changing, they were global. And as they became global, and you were competing around the world, it was clear that you needed to free up our securities business to be more active on a global basis. So we got rid of a lot of regulation. We got more oversight, but not regulatory control. I mean, clearly reported to the SEC, York Stock Exchange, et cetera. But it wasn’t smothering. I mean, you know, we were not used to it. But it was the right thing for the New York Stock Exchange to do. There had to be more regulation. And you know, as I said earlier, it’s a global market, and you want to make sure that we represent in New York Stock Exchange and really America the proper way, and it worked. And the U.K. was much stricter than we were; and in Germany, they restricted than we were. And clearly, the Japanese were stricter than we were. And over time, all these different regulatory areas from around the world, came up with a conclusion that we need kind of an overall management system for risk and regulatory oversight. So if you took a big risk in China, in Japan or in Europe, you needed to roll that up, so the U.S. regulator or the U.K. regulator could see what your overall risk was. I think that was a huge and a very important move. RITHOLTZ: You spent the first part of your career primarily in fixed income. First, you mentioned municipals — MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: — then corporate. What was the appeal of the bond side of the business? MACK: Well, originally, when I joined Smith Barney, I was going to go to Atlanta in the retail office and cover Florida and other southern states. And then I got to know a guy named George Wilder who had been in the municipal bond business, and a guy named John McDougall who was a municipal bond trader. And they convinced me, you know, I want you to stay in New York, you’re a great salesman, and you can sell and trade munis with us. And I like New York and I like the business, and I like the investment world of large pension funds, money managers and things like that. So we did a combination of things, we covered clients, and then we satisfied the desire of retail salesmen who wanted to buy munis in New York state or in California or Florida. So that’s how I got into the bond business. RITHOLTZ: What was it like trying to build a team on a bond desk that described in the book, could get a little frenetic? MACK: Yeah, it was. But you know, we built it over a long period of time, and we all grew up over that period of time. And you’ve learned that, number one, you had to be upfront. You had to focus on your clients. You couldn’t get drunk at lunch, which occasionally, we all got drunk at lunch and sometimes made a mistake. And you learn to focus on your client and you know, it became a very personal business. And you got to know who they were, you got to know their families. And I remember when I was at Smith Barney and then at F.S. Smithers, I was given the worst accounts because I went from trading to sale, so we’ll dump all these accounts on John Mack. RITHOLTZ: Give it to the kid. MACK: You got it. And there was a gentleman named Dick Vanskoy at the Mellon Bank, who managed and advised the state employees of Pennsylvania teachers and retirement funds. Huge — RITHOLTZ: That’s a big account in Pennsylvania. MACK: It was huge. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. MACK: But he was tough as nails. And you learned very quickly, that you better be on your toes when you deal with Dick. And I got to know him, he was a great mentor, taught me a lot about the business. And I spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh, even to the point that my wife and I would go out. I mean, I remember going out to Pittsburgh with these huge funds, it was probably the largest account in the country, at Mellon Bank at that time. RITHOLTZ: Really? MACK: And a guy named Jackie Kugler at Salomon Brothers, and Salomon was the dominant player in the bond market. They were the number one broker-banker for the pension funds for the state of Pennsylvania, both the teachers and the employees. And I just kept digging away, working hard at it. And over time, I became the number one dealer they dealt with. And George Polachek (ph), who came over from Ukraine after the Russians back then took over in World War II, was running it. He had been at Sun Life in Canada. And I got along with him well, and I did a lot of business with the Mellon bank, to the point I became their number one broker-dealer. And Polachek (ph) who loved martinis, walked onto the Salomon floor and screamed out to Kugler, how does it feel to be number two? That’s the environment we’re in. And I’ll tell you, I mean, I think business is personal. And we got to know the people at Mellon bank, whether it was, you know, Sally Yeh’s daughter who was in med school, or George Polachek (ph) who was going back over to Europe for a while. We really worked at getting to know people and building trust. And at the end of the day, it’s all about trust and it’s all about delivering what you say you’re going to do. And with the help of a lot of people, that’s what we did. And of course, my partner in all this was Christy Mack. And as I said earlier, my clients say, look, John, we really don’t care about you. It’s on Christy, yeah. RITHOLTZ: Your wife? MACK: Yeah. No. She was awesome, and is awesome. RITHOLTZ: So you eventually become head of the Fixed Income Department. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And what was it like to go from sales and trading to managing a whole team of salespeople and traders? MACK: Well, it was very different and I learned very quickly, thank God for Dick Fisher, that you have to be more balanced and not as, I don’t know what the word is, aggressive, ruthless, uncouth, all of those words. We used to sit in clusters of four salespeople together, and we probably had five clusters. And one of my rules were that the desk can never be empty, you always need one person there. Because, you know, if no one is there and the phone rings, no one is picking it up. RITHOLTZ: Right. MACK: Occasionally, you know, no one was there. And I’d walk in and be really pissed off about it, and reach over and I would just clean the desk off on the floor. RITHOLTZ: Like, wipe everything — MACK: Everything. RITHOLTZ: — onto the floor? MACK: Right. And thank God for Dick Fisher and he said, look, John, you got the biggest gun in the firm, in that division. Your job is never use your gun. So I learned a lot from him and I calm things down. I wasn’t as aggressive, wasn’t as pushy, but I was still demanding. And look, it’s a great business with great opportunities, but you got to pay attention. You got to pay attention to the people around you. You got to pay attention to your clients. And this idea of especially at Morgan Stanley, the surest way to be fired at Morgan Stanley is the word got back, you got a client laid somewhere, you’re gone. There’s no debate, no discussion. So we really focused on trying to get close to our clients, give them what they needed, introduce them to other clients that also had similar asset management responsibilities. And Morgan Stanley at that time was really growing from a pure investment bank that covered, you know, AT&T, IBM, Southern Cal, you name it, they had it, the Government of Japan. And we really worked at imbuing that culture of first class business in a first class way into the Morgan Stanley sales and trading business. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about some of the things you discussed in the book. You described how different Wall Street is today from when you began. Tell us a little bit about the process of finance being institutionalized, and how the culture has changed. MACK: Well, I think the biggest change is the markets became so big and global, that Wall Street had to change. So if you go back to when I started the business, basically, your client base was here in the United States. But over time, as globalization took place, your clients would be all over the world. And people were more and more focused on what are the maximum returns we can make in investing. And it got to be a 24 hours a day trading, whether you’re in China or Japan or Europe or U.S. So you had to be on your game, and you also had to be available to do business at night. And our traders oftentimes will stay up all night to satisfy inquiries coming in from China or be there early in the morning for London. So globalization was the big change, and then technology added to it. Technology allowed people to see markets and here we are at Bloomberg, they were looking at machines. They could tell you what was going on in Hong Kong or what was going on in Europe. So the markets became 24/7. And as a result, you had the staff and in my case, the fixed income division, you needed people around the world to be able to satisfy clients who are investors, and at the same time, satisfy clients who are raising money through Morgan Stanley. So if AT&T was doing a big bond deal, we want to make sure that, you know, the Japanese, the Chinese and just go around the world, the Middle East, London and back to New York, that all of our clients got a chance to see and talk to a salesman who had information about the transaction we were doing for AT&T. So globalization was the big change. Then add to that, and here we are at Bloomberg, technology. You know, when I got in the business, there was no technology. You had a little machine that would do interest rates for you. You know, you’d put in a price and it would give you what the yield is. But now, you go into Morgan Stanley, you go into JPMorgan or Goldman, it makes no difference. Every desk has a box with data and information. And if you go back when I got in the business in early, early ‘70s, matter of fact, in the late ‘60s, that didn’t exist. I mean, people would go out for lunch, and you know, take a couple hours. You didn’t miss anything. But today, you don’t leave your desk. RITHOLTZ: Right. And I’d say the very least. So you helped to build a very special culture at Morgan Stanley. What goes into building a competitive investment bank? How do you create and sustain that culture? MACK: Well, I think by and large, people who come into the business are competitive. They want to achieve and they want to do well. What I was trying to do was to take all this, I guess courage is the wrong word, this aggressiveness, this ability to build business, and how do you make it into a one firm versus the guys in San Francisco, they get an order, don’t share it with New York. If we do it, you know, we’ll get more of a commission. So what I was trying to do when I took over the fixed income division is to create a one firm entity. I call it the one-firm firm. And I brought in a guy named Tom DeLong, who I’ve met on an airplane. So Christy and I were out in Utah, we were looking at buying a house because we started picking up skiing. And by the way, I’m a terrible skier. So I’m talking to this guy on the plane and I said to him, what do you do? And he said, I’m a professor at BYU, and I’m coming back to talk to AT&T, their management group about, you know, managing people and evaluations, et cetera. And I said, well, look, I’d like you to come in and see me when you have time. I’d like to talk to you. So Tom comes in. And by the way, now, Tom is a professor at Harvard University. So Tom comes in and he interviews my senior group. And he comes in, he said, well, here’s what people think, to get ahead at this division, they have to be your friends. RITHOLTZ: FOJ. MACK: Exactly. That’s right. And if they’re not your friend, they don’t make it. And he said, that may not be reality, but that’s what they all believe. RITHOLTZ: That’s the perception. MACK: So he said, what you should do is set up an independent group of people. Let them make a presentation to you of the talent that should be promoted. And you know, if you have a strong objection, you can say that, but by and large, you should accept what they put in front of you. So that’s exactly what they did. They took me picking who’s going to be promoted. And there was a promotion committee, and also a compensation committee. And then they would come to me and make recommendations. And so you didn’t favor one person, you had somewhere between four and eight people on these committees. And when they brought it to me, unless I had something very specific that I’d say, well, let me tell you why I disagree, I accepted the recommendation. And that move really changed the culture of the division, and it came into, you know, you don’t have to be Max’s friend (ph) or anyone else. It’s about being professional, direct and honest. And your peers would do the evaluation on how you’re doing, what you’re doing and what you should be doing. RITHOLTZ: This is the full 360 review. MACK: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: And the peers would also anonymously review their managers. MACK: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: And what was the results from those sorts of things? MACK: Well, in some cases, we found that managers were not setting the right tone as far as being energetic and working with them. They were reluctant, oftentimes, to go out with salesmen and help them entertain with clients or spend time with clients. So it really put more pressure on managers to be involved and not just sit in an office or on a trading desk at the far end, and just, you know, take advantage of people working hard, but they’re not involved. So we got more involved. And it also got us to eliminate some of the managers. When you saw these 360 reviews and some of the data, and then you would dive into it and find out they’re right, we’re not going to have people like that at this firm. So not a lot of reduction at headcounts, but a few people we asked to leave. RITHOLTZ: And you talked about the willingness of senior management to assist with clients. You seemed to be ready to jump on a plane to go anywhere in the world, China, to Tokyo. It didn’t matter if you could help close a deal. You were there. MACK: That’s true. I mean, number one, I love the business. I mean, to go to China and build the relationships we built in China, or go to Europe, it didn’t make any difference where I went. I love the business. And you know, China was just opening up. And one of the guys who used to be at the World Bank said, you know, John, what China really needs, I think it was Ed Lim, it needs an investment bank. So we formed a small investment bank owned mainly by the Chinese, but Morgan Stanley on 30% of it. And we built a securities business with the Chinese in China. And Wang Qishan, who was the Vice Premier, he was the gentleman I worked with. And it took a lot of time, but the Chinese wanted create their own capital markets. They wanted to be independent, and they wanted the ability to go around the world and raise money, because we do in any American investment bank. And I’ll tell you one of the things that really touched me. We’re talking about China, but let’s say China Communist. We’re talking about diehard communists. Wang Qishan who was running the central bank at that time, and then he was given the responsibility by Zhu Rongji to build a securities business. And I’m working with him to do this joint venture and he flies over to New York, and we’re sitting in my office on whatever floor at Morgan Stanley. And we’re there for about an hour and a half, we’re making zero progress. We’re not getting anywhere. And I’ve been in Europe with him and talked to him over there. We were making progress there. And now here he is in New York and there’s like a big heavy stone on him. I looked at him and I finally figured out he’s a chain smoker. I said Qishan, light him up. He said, I can’t do that. I said, what do you mean you can’t do that? He said, in New York, you can’t smoke inside. I said, in my office, you can do anything you want. Light him up. And he smoked Luckys. Can you imagine smoking Luckys? He smoked Luckys, he lit up, we got the deal done. RITHOLTZ: No filter, right? MACK: No filter. We got the deal done. And I keep reflecting back, you got to pay attention to the person who’s in the room with you. RITHOLTZ: But I’m impressed that he knows the local rules and customs in New York. MACK: Yeah. Very respectful. RITHOLTZ: That’s really impressive. So you open this joint venture in China. Is Morgan Stanley the first U.S. Bank to open a joint venture in China? MACK: It was. I know the U.K. banks, Hong Kong bank out of a U.K. ownership. But we were the first bank. But you know, I’m sure JPMorgan had some kind of outlet there, but more for banking and taking deposits and doing traditional banking business. But from a trading point of view, securities business, thanks to Ed Lim, who as I said, worked at the UN said, you know, China really needs capital markets and this investment banking business. And with his help, we started a small investment bank there which continued to grow. RITHOLTZ: So not just the division in China grew, but all of Morgan Stanley grew. And eventually, you came to realize, hey, we have all this investment banking and trading experience, but we don’t have a retail force, the way somebody like Merrill Lynch does. And lo and behold, along comes Dean Witter — MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: — potentially a great merger candidate. Tell us a little bit about why that seemed like a good idea at that time. MACK: Sure. Well, what we saw in Merrill Lynch, which traditionally had been a pure retail firm, because of their huge network, number one, they had better information not only from what’s going on in the retail market, but also from institutions. You know, if you were in Des Moines in Iowa, and you knew the local president of the First Bank of Iowa, you got better information. And if they were going to buy Treasury securities, or municipals, you got that order. So we saw that we were getting limited information. And then Sears, who had bought Dean Witter. I think it was Ed Brennan and Phil Purcell had been a management consultant I think from McKinsey, but not sure of that. And he convinced Brennan that, you know, if you really are going to be in retail, you have Sears stores everywhere. Every city of 100,000 people, there was a Sears store. And he said, you know, we ought to open up Dean Witter offices in all these Sears stores, and that’s what they did. And it grew and grew. And then they came to the point that Purcell convinced Sears, let’s spin it out and take this company public. So Morgan Stanley was chosen to be the lead underwriter on the spin-out of Dean Witter from Sears. So Dick Fisher calls me and I meet Purcell, who I liked, and I looked at their business and the information they were getting from clients versus what we were getting. And they were in every, well, how many Sears stores are there? They were everywhere. RITHOLTZ: At their peak, I think there were like 3,000 something. MACK: Yeah. So they had better information. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. MACK: So, you know, we talked and talked. And finally, we came to the conclusion on a handshake to do the deal. Sears and Dean Witter was much larger in market cap than Morgan Stanley. So it was agreed upon, and he wouldn’t do it without being the CEO. And we had a couple of dinners in New York with Dick Fisher and him, Ed Brennan. And to get the deal done, he had to be the CEO. So Fisher says to me in a private meeting in his office, I’m not going to let you do this trip or do this management training. I said, well, Dick, at that point, it’s not our firm, it’s shareholders’ firm. And for me to say that to Dick Fisher was kind of ridiculous because he was always teaching me about the business. And he was a wonderful man and a smart man. So I said, look, this is what makes sense for shareholders. I’ll take the number two job. Phil is a good guy. I’ll get along with him. And let’s do this merger. And we did. And what we also inherited when we did that merger was Discover card. RITHOLTZ: Which was also a money machine. MACK: It was a money machine. But you know, we clashed, and we clashed in the sense, like I said I think earlier, if I were out in Sacramento, seeing the state funds of California, and I had an extra hour, I would drop by, you know, the local office, the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter office, and go and talk to a salesman. And clearly, you know, salesmen who are on commission, by and large, do a good job, but always have complaints. And I heard the complaints and I came back and I talked to the manager of all retail, and I talked to Purcell. And then Purcell said to me, you know, John, you can’t do that. I said, what do you mean I can’t do that? You can’t just drop into office and talk to them. I said, well, last time I checked, you know, you’re the CEO, but I’m president of the firm. I’m in Sacramento, seeing Safeway stores, and you’re telling me I can’t go into the office and talk to them? He said, well, you know, Ed Brennan would never do that at Sears. And I said, you know, this is not serious. And so right then, we knew we had an issue. RITHOLTZ: Right. He was very risk averse and you were very hands-on. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: It seems like from day one, a clash of the Titans was teeing up. MACK: Yeah. But not from day one. I mean, look, they had built a great business in retail, Dean Witter. They had brokers all over the country doing business. They didn’t have an international business. I think they thought international was going to Canada. It was just two different cultures. And no one challenged or spoke up either to a guy named Jimmy who ran the retail business or, clearly, Purcell who ran both retail institution and the credit card business. And my view at Morgan Stanley and I did this with Dick Jake Fisher, and people did it with me. In my office, I don’t care what you say to me. I want to hear it and it didn’t matter whether you didn’t do that. And that was the big cultural change. RITHOLTZ: So given the sort of head to head in terms of culture, Purcell’s team, at least for a while, seem to have won. You eventually came to realize he was reducing your authority — MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: — step by step. And at a certain point, you’re like, I don’t want to just be a figurehead. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And so you resigned. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: Tell us what that was like too, you’d been at Morgan Stanley for quite a while. MACK: Yeah. Well, it was difficult, but I couldn’t stay there under a philosophy or a management style where you’re not allowed to go to your boss and tell them, you know, I think you’re a jerk. And I had a number of people say that to me and I didn’t get even with them. I just changed some of the things. Sometimes they were right. I wasn’t sure. It’s just two different cultures. I mean, Morgan Stanley built its business on telling clients exactly what they thought. They didn’t sugarcoat it. They didn’t try to say, you know, maybe a little this, a little that. They told the client, these are the issues. And that’s the way I grew up, and that’s the way Dick Fisher was. So as much as I tried to change, I was miserable. I couldn’t do it. And he put me in charge of the retail system, but everything was bounced through him before I could make any decisions. Look, it’s their style, it had been successful. The retail business was important to the firm. And by putting retail and institution together, we had tremendous clout. But from a managerial point of view, it’s not the culture I wanted to be in. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about a period where you were just bored golfing. You leave Morgan Stanley. You’re really not sure what the next chapter in your life is going to be. And then you get a phone call about the mess that was Credit Suisse. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: What made you attracted to coming in and trying to clean up Credit Suisse First Boston? MACK: Well, I got a call from Lionel Pincus and I assume — RITHOLTZ: From Warburg Pincus? MACK: Right. They had a big investment with the Swiss and they were not happy with what was going on. So I met with him, and I met other people in the management of Credit Suisse. And I said to Christy, I would rather do this job and regret it than not do this job and regret it. So that’s how I made the decision. RITHOLTZ: Regret minimization framework. MACK: Exactly. RITHOLTZ: A good way to think about it. We should talk more about your wife because it seems like she regularly gives you good advice and send you off to apologize for something you said. MACK: That’s true. RITHOLTZ: And you talk about that in the book. We’ll circle back to that later. So I’m amused by the headline, Wall Street Fears Big Mack Attack. What was the expectation post Morgan Stanley? What did the street think you’re going to come in and do with Credit Suisse? MACK: Well, in Morgan Stanley when I thought, especially in the fixed income division and at that time, it’s the only thing I ran, that we were too fat. You know, we need to do a reduction. So I did and — RITHOLTZ: And this isn’t just headcount. You described some pretty egregious spending — MACK: Oh, yeah. RITHOLTZ: — going on at Credit Suisse. MACK: Yeah. Well, it was totally out of control. And you know, the Swiss were kind of absentee landlords. And they were used to getting all this money in a Swiss bank account and a lot of money coming in, I assume, from other parts of the world. So it was pretty easy when I got there, that we had to do some headcount reduction. When I got there, through my bankers who had worked for me at Morgan Stanley, who were big in technology, Frank Quattrone — RITHOLTZ: Sure. Giant. MACK: — and his team. And when I saw what kind of money they were making, it was mind-boggling. So I flew out to see them and I said, look, guys, I’ll pay you a lot of money. There’s no question about that. But what you’re doing, and the amount of money you’re making now versus the rest of the firm, and using the balance sheet in the firm is unacceptable. So we’re going to have to figure out a way. I want you to make a lot of money. I think it’s a great motivator. But this is totally out of control. And I wish I could remember exactly some of the numbers, but they were numbers like I’d never seen before. RITHOLTZ: It was order of magnitudes larger than the rest of the street? MACK: It’s big. They got a piece of every deal. They did. RITHOLTZ: Personally? MACK: Personally. So you know, one of them says, you know, John, this is in our contract. But I think this compensation is way out of kilter. And just to add a little color to this, when I said to them I want to come out and I want you to come to New York, and we got to talk about these contracts. And this is after 9/11. And they say, well, we’re afraid to do that. I said, well, tell me why. Well, after 9/11, we don’t go to New York. I said, okay, pick a city, I’ll meet you in the city. So I met them in Denver. When I think about that, how absurd that is. So I flew out to Denver, and I took Steve Volk who had been at Shearman & Sterling as the lead lawyer, lead partner. He had joined me to help clean up Credit Suisse. So I sit with George Boutros, Quattrone and I think a guy named Brady, and I said, look, I want you to make a lot of money. I don’t have any issue with that. But this is craziness and I can’t do that. And they said, well, look, it may be craziness, but that’s our contract. I said, it may be your contract and I’ll see you in court and we’ll fight it out. And I gave up the contracts, but I still paid them a lot of money. But you can’t create a culture when you have one-offs doing whatever they want to do. RITHOLTZ: You described it as anyone with a personal fiefdom is a terrible idea for a firm. MACK: Absolutely. And they’re good. They were smart. You would like a room full of Frank Quattrones. But you got to be managed and you got to be a team player. RITHOLTZ: So someone said to you around this time, hey, we’ve given up a lot of money. What about you, John, what have you given up? MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And what was your response? MACK: I gave up the contract. RITHOLTZ: So you gave up about a third of your salary? MACK: Yeah, I did. RITHOLTZ: That’s a big chunk of cash. MACK: But if you’re going to ask people to give up their contract, you can’t be different than them. This term that I run from Tom DeLong, it’s a one-firm firm, we all have to be in it together. So for me to keep the contract, it’s just not the right thing to do. And also, I learned so much from Dick Fisher. I’m looking way down the road. I’m not looking about what’s going to happen next week or two weeks from now. RITHOLTZ: Well, that’s a good strategy in investing to say the very least. You wrote in the book, the Swiss and Swiss bankers were unlike any other bankers you work with in the U.K., in China, in Japan. What made the Swiss so much of a one-off? MACK: Well, they were very independent. They had a lock on certain clients, whether it was leaders out of the Middle East or oligarchs in Russia, they got a lot of money coming in because they were Swiss. They had a great franchise, and they really lived off their private banking business. And in their investment banking business, they had a guy who was very talented, very smart named Allen Wheat and they had other people that come in. But everyone was running it for their own return into their own pocket. And so when I got there, I cut commissions. I got Frank and his guys to give up some of their money. And someone said, you know, we’re cutting commissions and getting less. Will you give up your contract? And I did. So it just wasn’t being managed. And the Swiss, you know, they make a lot of money because they get money from all the places that maybe JPMorgan and others wouldn’t take. They did a lot of investing with that money. They got to carry on some of it. It’s a great system for running a very profitable business. But the world was changing, and disclosure was becoming more and more open. People want to know, you know, who has the money, where’s it going, how’s money being transferred. And we finally got that to start moving and changing in Switzerland. And I was pretty tough on them. And of course, they thought I was the most arrogant person they ever met, and I thought they were the dumbest people I’ve ever met so — RITHOLTZ: In the book, you described actually saying that to their face. MACK: I did. RITHOLTZ: Given how secretive they are and how less than team focus they were, you knew this match wasn’t going to last forever. How long did you last at Credit Suisse? MACK: I think I lasted at least two years, maybe three. RITHOLTZ: Long enough to start showing a profit in the firm. MACK: Oh, yeah. We started making money. It was great. I mean, I remember the Olayan Group out of the Middle East said to me, and they were a huge investor in Credit Suisse, John, you’ve done a great job. We’re finally making money again. But I can’t take people telling me, you know, you don’t have access for this, you don’t have access for that. My view, which drove him crazy, was to open up their vault and let the European Jews come in and say how much money Credit Suisse took when World War II started. RITHOLTZ: Right. MACK: You know, how about the paintings they had? What’s a bank doing with a Renoir in a safe? RITHOLTZ: What was the response to that? MACK: They didn’t like it. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. I can imagine. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So you ended up leaving Credit Suisse not long after. MACK: Well, they wouldn’t renew my contract. RITHOLTZ: Right. So it wasn’t like you were out and then fired. It was after your contract ended. MACK: No, I was fired. RITHOLTZ: So non-renewal and what was the firing like? Tell us a little bit about that. Was it relatively polite and pleasant? The Swiss, they’re not quite German, they’re not quite French, their customs are a little bit different than the rest of Europe. MACK: Well, when I went to Credit Suisse, they said that I could pick someone that I liked and trusted, a friend to go on the board. And I asked a guy named Tom Bell, who’s a close friend of mine, he used to run Y&R advertising agency, and then he ran Cousins Properties in Atlanta, to go on the board. Then he called me after their meeting and said, John, be prepared, they’re going to fire you tomorrow. I said, well, thanks for heads-up. So I went in, they fired me. And I sat and I said, you know, Walter, what do you think of this? Trying to get them to talk, but they didn’t want any part of talking. And look, you know, I don’t have any issue with the firm. I guess you could say I was aggressive or obnoxious, one or the other. But we turned the place around. RITHOLTZ: Right. MACK: We started making money. But, look, I don’t think in general, we have to ask my friends and people who know me. I don’t think I’m arrogant. But clearly, I came across as arrogant know-it-all. And they shot me so, you know — RITHOLTZ: But you had done a good job there. Let’s talk a bit about Mack the Knife, right? MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: So there’s Chainsaw Al, there’s Neutron Jack. I don’t get the sense that you were as blase about having to reduce headcounts as some other CEOs were. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: It struck me that Mack the Knife sort of rankled you a little bit, at least that’s how it comes across in the book. MACK: Yeah. I didn’t mind it. I mean, being known as Mack the Knife, it kind of built a reputation for me. I’d go to a bar somewhere, I’d go to Christmas party with a lot of Wall Street guys, and invariably, someone would be pointing and says Mack the Knife. RITHOLTZ: Right. MACK: I have an ego. I like that. I am Mack the Knife. RITHOLTZ: That’s pretty good. So now, you get fired at Credit Suisse. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And meanwhile, Morgan Stanley run by the somewhat risk averse, Phil Purcell, starts falling behind all their competitors. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And lo and behold, there is an agitation to have some change — MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: — at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Tell us what happens next. MACK: Well, I’m at Pequot which is a hedge fund with — RITHOLTZ: Art Samberg. MACK: — Art Samberg and having a good time. And Morgan Stanley is falling on. And then Parker Gilbert, who had been the chairman of the firm, and I think going all the way back, his stepfather was one of the original partners. And JPMorgan spun out and started Morgans — RITHOLTZ: Wasn’t he related to Henry Morgan also? I mean — MACK: That I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I don’t know that. Charles Morgan was related to Henry Morgan, who was not on the Management Committee, but there was a relationship going all the way back to the Morgans. So Parker got together with a number of retired partners who own a tremendous amount of Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter stock now. And they went on a campaign to force personnel out, and at the end of the day, they were successful. RITHOLTZ: And you get the phone call? MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: You, again, briefly thought about it. What did your wife say to you? MACK: Well, she said I had to do it. She said, John, that firm is part of you and you’ve done so much. You got to go back and do this. RITHOLTZ: So that you return. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: Your first day of work, you walked into the trading room to deliver just, hey, I’m back. What is that experience like? MACK: Well, I think Christy, who’s my wife, would say, other than having our kids, it was the happiest moment of her life. She would say that, John, we grew up at Morgan Stanley. We knew the culture. And to come back, and to have people just running to get to the door to welcome us in, it was emotional. I guess a lot of it is just the circumstances. They hadn’t been managed the way I think they should have been managed. They didn’t have a connection with the leadership of the firm. They had become risk averse. And it was no longer, you know, the sense of you do well, you get rewarded. So the meritocracy thing had just dissipated away. So to walk in and have people scrambling to, you know, get to see me or — RITHOLTZ: Had it felt good? MACK: Yeah, it did. It did good. And I’ll never forget when I got up into the auditorium to talk to people and I said, you know, I always wanted to see all of you again, but I never thought I would see you by coming back in here, back to Morgan Stanley and doing it. But it was a thrill. I mean, you know, you don’t get many chances to redo, or recorrect, or change what had happened and go back the way it was. And we were able to do that, and it was a high. And you know, I get Christy and hear me. To her, as I said, other than the kids, that was the highlight of our marriage. So I got to work on it and do some other things. RITHOLTZ: And I mentioned when you first came in, and I’m sure you don’t remember this, the day you were brought in, you were doing a media tour. And I have a vivid recollection of sitting in a makeup chair in the greenroom at CNBC. MACK: CNBC. RITHOLTZ: And you and some other people blow in, hi, I’m John Mack. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: Hi. Nice to meet you. What was that about? I asked and someone said, oh, that’s John Mack. He just came back to run Morgan Stanley. I’m like, oh, isn’t that great? And that was, I don’t know, was it ’05? It’s like 15, 17 years ago? MACK: Yeah, something like that. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. Really, really fascinating. And you very quickly rebuilt the firm’s culture. Tell us what you did to bring back the one-firm firm — MACK: Sure. RITHOLTZ: — and the meritocracy. How did you get Morgan Stanley back on the straight and narrow again? MACK: Well, number one, you had to return it to meritocracy. And we had a lot of meetings either in big groups, small groups. Christy and I, one of the things we did early on, if there was a golf outing at Morgan Stanley with clients, if you went out, it’d be all men. And occasionally, there’d be one woman who played golf. So Christy and I said, well, let’s do things. I want women to be in charge of entertaining them than doing their own golf outings. So we got David Ledbetter and his guys come in, and we did golf lessons up in Purchase, New York for our women professionals. And then we took them down to North Carolina six or seven months later, at a club we belonged to called Landfall and we had, you know, the golf teachers come up and work with them. And the beauty of it is now the women have their own golf outing women-only, which I think is terrific. So what we tried to do is pull people together and talk about how do you make this a great firm again, because the roots are there, the bones are there. And it was about reaching out and bringing people together, and working for our clients and making sure that we treated people fairly. RITHOLTZ: So there’s a quote of yours in the book that I found fascinating. You wrote, certain risk-taking behavior multiplied exponentially when investment banks were converted from partnerships to publicly traded companies. I couldn’t agree more. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: Tell us your thoughts. MACK: Well, the thought was when it was a partner’s money, they were much more conservative. RITHOLTZ: They were literally joint in several liabilities, literally on the hook — MACK: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: — if the firm lost money. That’s got to focus your attention. MACK: Oh, it does. And depending on where you were, which firm, but the culture, Morgan Stanley had been a pure investment bank, and they really didn’t have sales and trading either in equities or in fixed income. But what became apparent that firms like Salomon Brothers, were making huge inroads because Jackie Kugler at Salomon could call the CFO at IBM or AT&T and say, hear what pension funds are thinking and doing with your stock. We think there’s an opportunity you could float $100 million equity deal or bond deal. They had better information. And Morgan Stanley didn’t have that sales and trading business. We were not talking to portfolio managers as traders. We were talking to them as we’re pricing AT&T at 7-1As (ph). How many do you want? That’s the way it worked. But other firms, including Goldman Sachs, they were a two-way shop. They were buying and selling debt and equities with pension funds, and get a lot of information. What were they looking for? And what were they doing? And then you take that back and you show it to New Jersey Bell Telephone or you show it to, you know, AT&T or IBM. You’re bringing that CFO or that treasurer more information, so he can figure out what’s the next move for AT&T or Southern Bell? RITHOLTZ: So was it inevitable that these firms had to go public just so they had access to those pools of capital to expand into trading and underwriting and everything else? MACK: Yeah, because at the end of the day, the risk component went up dramatically. And you know, if you go through the crisis, probably if you were not a public company, you’d have wiped out the partnership. So you needed to have a strong base of capital and selling equity, and being in the public market gave you that. It also gave you the liquidity to go in the market to raise more equity if you need it, or do a bond do. RITHOLTZ: I used to think, hey, big mistake going from partnership to public — MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: — because of the change in risk profile. But it sort of sounds like it was inevitable that all these partnerships would eventually go public. MACK: Yeah. Well, you know, what’s interesting, if you look at Lazard, they still do business. It was truncated. It’s not what it used to be. If you’re a CFO or a CEO, you want to know what are the hedge funds doing? State of California, State of New York, big pools of money in their pension funds, what are they thinking? What do they need? You want that kind of data. You want to know what are investors looking for? And I think, you know, if you look back, and it was difficult, we went through a hard time. The Dean Witter merger really changed the firm. Now, you had unbelievable banking, with the retail. And the amount of information that you could bring to a CEO or CFO about markets and then the distribution network you now had was a huge advantage. And I think that’s one of the reasons Morgan Stanley has done so well. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. We’ll talk about books in a little while, but you seem to throughout your book, quote Ron Chernow’s House of Morgan a lot. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: How helpful was that in doing your research to write this? MACK: Well, I had read the book years ago, so I didn’t do a lot of work to dig down. So I would say very little. RITHOLTZ: Oh, really? MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Because he just goes berserk on the research side. MACK: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: Everything he does is so deeply and richly researched. MACK: He was never a bond salesman like me. RITHOLTZ: Well, you were actually on the inside, so it’s a little different. One of the other things you wrote was everybody got the financial crisis wrong. And in the run-up to it, people just didn’t expect the bottom draw (ph) out that much. Tell us a little bit about what took place with Morgan Stanley, leading up to the financial crisis? MACK: Well, number one, we had too much risk. There was no question about that. But we were not alone. And we did not have a fortress balance sheet like a JPMorgan would have or even a Citibank. You know, no one knows when the bullets come in, but the bullet came and shot a lot of us. And a lot of these companies either merged or went out of business. And all I can say is thank God for the Japanese and what they did. I mean, that was the lifesaver. They got us through. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Mitsubishi with Morgan Stanley. MACK: Yeah. And as I said to you earlier, they remembered our culture because we would always have Japanese trainees. And they stood up, and that’s what saved us. RITHOLTZ: So you tell a story in the book, you have Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner coming to you to say, hey, you guys have to find a merger partner. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And the response is we have $180 billion in capital. This is going to be a painful period, but we’ll survive. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: What was their response? MACK: They didn’t care. RITHOLTZ: Didn’t care? MACK: No. RITHOLTZ: Get more capital. MACK: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: So you reach out to Bank of Mitsubishi. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And you’re waiting for the term sheet to come in. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And it’s midnight, and it’s 2:00, and it’s 4:00 a.m. It’s 6:00 a.m. And then Tim Geithner calls, and then Hank Paulson calls, and then a third time, Tim Geithner calls. What happens next? MACK: Well, what happens, the check flew in to Boston, and we had to send one of our bankers up to pick up the check and fly back. So he was at home. It’s over the weekend. And he went up in his dungarees and running shoes, and picked up a check for, I don’t know, a billion some, and brought it down. I got a copy of it framed in my office back at the townhouse. The Japanese saved us. They saved us because they remember our culture. And we used to train tons of Japanese bankers at Morgan Stanley. RITHOLTZ: So you’re waiting for the final word from Bank of Mitsubishi. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: I think you know where I’m going. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And now, Geithner calls for the umpteenth time and your secretary pokes her head and then says, it was the head of New York Fed — MACK: Of New York Fed. Right. RITHOLTZ: — Tim Geithner and he’s insistent. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And you basically said, we’re going to figure this out ourselves. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And you did. MACK: And we did. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And what’s your relationship with Tim now? MACK: I liked him. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. MACK: I mean, listen, to me, I hope it’s not personal to him. And the point was I’m trying to save the firm. I can’t take all these calls when I’m talking to the Japanese. So you know, we’re under the gun. He’s a decent guy. But he had his job to do and I had my job to do. And at the end of the day, it worked. RITHOLTZ: And in fact, the Treasury Department taps Morgan Stanley to help with the AIG bailout. MACK: Yeah, they did. RITHOLTZ: So that was a good working relationship. You actually had a good relationship with Hank Paulson — MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: — from when he was CEO of Goldman. MACK: Yeah, he’s the best. Well, look, he’s honest. He’s smart. He’s straightforward. He gets things done. I have a lot of respect for Hank Paulson. RITHOLTZ: Before we get to our favorite questions, there were a couple of little curveballs I wanted to throw you. There’s a story in the book, you talked about somebody who you go to, who you know is a giant Duke basketball fan. And you asked him to give up part of his bonus, as you were doing. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And very begrudgingly, he did it for the team. MACK: Right. RITHOLTZ: And then you get Coach K involved. Tell us that story. It’s charming. MACK: Well, he was a huge fan of Duke and I needed him onboard with what I was trying to do. And he gave up some power and money to accommodate me. And Mike Krzyzewski is a good friend of mine, a close friend of mine. So I called Coach K and I said, Mike, do me a favor. Will you call this gentleman and just tell him how much I appreciate what he’s done and that you are happy that you helped my friend John Mack out? So Mike calls the guy and he said, look, I want to tell you what you did is really something. John Mack is, he didn’t call me an a-hole, he said John Mack is a selfish tough guy, and what you did just warmed his heart. And I want to thank you because he’s my friend. The salesman was on cloud nine. RITHOLTZ: I can imagine. And then another curveball I got to ask you — MACK: Sure. RITHOLTZ: — you once stole Barton Biggs’ car. MACK: We hid it. His car was a dump. RITHOLTZ: Right. It was a clunker. He had a broken rear window. MACK: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: He just taped it off. He didn’t even replace the window. MACK: Yeah, we hid the car and he was like — RITHOLTZ: And then you had a make-believe sheriff from North Carolina call him? MACK: Right. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: And what was his reaction? MACK: Well, he laughed at the end, but he had no idea what was going on. And Bart is a wonderful man, but he is a good guy to pull pranks on. So what I’ve learned in pulling pranks — RITHOLTZ: Of which there are numerous examples in the book. MACK: But here’s what I’ve learned, though. When the prank is on you, laugh. Because everyone is trying to get me in one way or another. RITHOLTZ: Very, very funny. So we only have a few minutes left. MACK: Sure. RITHOLTZ: Let me jump to some of my favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Tell us about your early mentors who helped to shape your career. MACK: Number one, Dick Fisher, just hands down. He would call me and say, look, John, you got to do this. I know you’re aggressive. You’re a great salesman. You can’t manage people and try to threaten them and scare them. You got to ease up. So he did that. Also, I could go to him if I had a problem, a question. So he was without question, my best mentor. And the other person is not that she mentored me, she’s my wife. She’ll say, John, you know, you want to reach out to that person and you know their kid is sick. You got him into Children’s Hospital, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. So she’s been a wonderful partner in telling me, you know, you’re being a little too aggressive, back down. And I think she’s right, I have softened up. Yeah, I think I have softened up. And that’s another thing. Morgan Stanley got behind us and we built this Children’s Hospital, which the employees love. They go up there on the weekends, and they read stories to kids. RITHOLTZ: Wow. MACK: That’s how you build a culture, that you do things like that. And I’m trying to thank Frank Bennack who’s at Hearst Corporation. He said to me he thought that was the best sign of corporate philanthropy he’s ever seen. So if some time you’re up near New York Presbyterian Uptown, if you go into the Children’s Hospital, Morgan Stanley Children’s, you’ll see on the wall that Morgan Stanley gave a lot of money. And then you’ll see names of hedge funds and other clients, when they heard what we’re doing, they gave money. And you know, New York is huge. You got, you know, the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. You got them in Boston. New York City didn’t have a standalone children’s hospital. And our employees will go up there now and read books to the kids on the weekend sometimes. RITHOLTZ: Wow. MACK: It is a wonderful thing we did. We’re really, really happy with it. RITHOLTZ: You should be very proud of that. You mentioned books. Let’s talk about some of your favorites and what are you reading currently. MACK: Well, actually, I just read my book again. My favorite book all-time is Gone with the Wind. Can you believe that? RITHOLTZ: That’s a big book, right? MACK: It is a big book. So I’m taking history of the south at Duke University. And one of the things you had to do, you had to read 50 pages every other day about a history or something with a sound. So I picked up Gone with the Wind. I didn’t put it down until I finished it. RITHOLTZ: Really? Wow. MACK: If you haven’t read it, you got to read it. RITHOLTZ: Seen the movie, never read the book. MACK: The book is awesome. RITHOLTZ: Really? MACK: It’s just awesome. So — RITHOLTZ: What sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career in finance or investing? MACK: Well, number one, you have to pursue it. You got to get in the door. Hopefully, you have a background that will help you. If your education, let’s say you’re a history major, I was a history major. If your education doesn’t put you naturally into that glide path, then take courses and get into that glide path. Go to school at night, get your MBA, that helps. But more importantly, figure out how do you get to know people within that company. Make sure your job you have now, you’ve performed well in it. And get to know people in the company and get introduced by them to the head of a division or department. But you can get in it. I mean, there’s a lot of ways to get in this business. And one way of doing it, go work for JPMorgan, their asset management business. Go work for a hedge fund. Go work for a lot of people who are in the business and learn kind of the day-to-day sales and training business. And if you want to be an M&A specialist, my advice is you need to have a degree in accounting or an MBA where you can really zero in and have the training that you need to do and do that. You can do that business. If you didn’t have any experience, if they give you a chance, my point is you got to give them enough information that they want to give you a chance. And the way you do that is do extra work, or work for a hedge fund, or work for, you know, whoever it may be and you’ll get that shot. RITHOLTZ: And our last question, what do you know about the world of investing today that you wish you knew 50 years or so ago, when you were first getting started? MACK: That great companies that you invest in, you should hold. And I always was looking for the profit and I made money on it. But some of these companies, well, take Apple Computer. RITHOLTZ: Perfect example. MACK: I’ll give you a great example. My son, 11 years old, Morgan Stanley takes Apple public. I buy him a computer. He says, dad, this is a great company, I want to buy stock in it. And he’s like 11 or 12 years old, and he buys shares on it. I think that small purchase is well worth over a couple million dollars when he did. RITHOLTZ: Wow. MACK: So he understood great companies and his father did. You hold them. He’s never sold a share. RITHOLTZ: Wow. MACK: And it’s just been a home run. So I believe — RITHOLTZ: Well, dad is a trader. The son is an investor. MACK: An investor. That’s right. A smart investor. So I believe you buy great companies and hold them, and that’s what we do now. We have a family office that helps me, we work with them. And we still meet and talk to a lot of investors. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. John, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with John Mack, former CEO of Morgan Stanley, and author of the fascinating book Up Close and All In: Life and Leadership Lessons really from a Wall Street Warrior. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of our previous 500 we’ve done over the past eight or nine years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. Check out all of the Bloomberg podcasts on Twitter at podcasts. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Justin Milner is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is my project manager. Sean Russo is my head of Research. Paris Wald is my producer. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~     The post Transcript: John Mack appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJan 10th, 2023

Transcript: Kathleen McCarthy

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Kathleen McCarthy, Global co-head of Blackstone Real Estate, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This… Read More The post Transcript: Kathleen McCarthy appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Kathleen McCarthy, Global co-head of Blackstone Real Estate, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: Strap yourself in for this one, it’s absolutely fascinating. Kathleen McCarthy is the global co-head of real estate for private equity giant Blackstone. She and her team manages over $565 billion in real estate assets. And if you are at all interested in commercial real estate, residential real estate, logistics, warehouse, laboratory and medical facilities, multifamily and apartments, offices, on and on in the U.S., in Western Europe, in Asia, India, Japan, this is just a tour de force education on how to invest in global real estate. Blackstone has been in this space for over 30 years, according to their 10-K filings, their opportunistic fund is up 16 percent a year over those 30-year periods. That’s really an astonishing return. Kathleen has been with Blackstone since 2010. And I just can’t say enough as to how absolutely fascinating and knowledgeable and intriguing this conversation is, that you won’t hear the gaps between her answers and my questions because we edit that out. But she answers a question, I’m just sitting there dumbfounded by how she’s just like, oh my God, that’s just an absolutely comprehensive explanation about something I had no idea about, and now I feel like I really know. I don’t even know where to begin other than saying strap yourself in, this is monster podcast. My conversation with Kathleen McCarthy, global head of Real Estate for Blackstone. Kathleen McCarthy, welcome to Bloomberg. KATHLEEN MCCARTHY, GLOBAL CO-HEAD, BLACKSTONE REAL ESTATE: I am so excited to be here, Barry. RITHOLTZ: So I’m excited to have you here because, wow, what perfect timing to talk about real estate, just towards the end of the year, rates are going higher, real estate prices are getting a little wobbly, and I have a million questions about all of that. But before we get to that, let’s talk a little bit about you and your background. You started your career doing M&A at Goldman Sachs. Tell us a little bit about that experience. What was that like? MCCARTHY: I’d back up actually a little bit further in thinking about how did I get there, because I don’t think it was very obvious actually that I would come out of Yale with an ethics, politics and economics degree — RITHOLTZ: Perfect really, right? MCCARTHY: — and end up in M&A on Wall Street. But so much, of course, for all of us probably comes back to those formative years with our families. And in my house, I was the eldest of three girls. My mom was a high school science teacher in our public high school, and my dad worked for a cosmetics company, Avon Products, you know, like the Avon ladies. RITHOLTZ: Sure. MCCARTHY: And so for most of my life — I mean, really, for all my life that I remember, his company — and if I would go to visit, they’d have things on the wall that says the company for women. He routinely had women who were his managers, his bosses, and there was a female CEO for a really long period of time. And so as people were thinking about, okay, what do you do after college? I was thinking any number of things and mostly that I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was not kind of at all informed by, you know, gender norms that people asked me a lot about now, in particular how do you know a woman, how did you think about ending up in this thing? RITHOLTZ: So how did that color, what you focused on at college, and how you molded your career? MCCARTHY: Well, I thought about — when I thought about college and what I did there, and why I selected going to Yale, it was largely, I think, the start of me recognizing that I’m a person who loves to learn, and loves to just keep expanding skills. And so I, in college, did a lot of reading and writing and thinking. It’s what you do, I guess, with a liberal arts degree. RITHOLTZ: Sure. MCCARTHY: And then when I was going to Goldman, there were a couple of objectives, I guess. One was you wanting to be able to pay for my life in New York and pay off — RITHOLTZ: And pay for your tuition. MCCARTHY: Pay off student loans. Exactly. And then also build a set of skills that could be used anywhere. And I wasn’t, at that point, sure if I would end up in a corporate role, or I would end up, you know, in the Peace Corps or something like that. And so, what investment banking I thought offered and I’d say, ultimately, really delivered was an experience where you could learn a ton of different analytical skills, writing skills for business context, persuasion skills, you know, the opportunity to be in a boardroom watching senior professionals, whether it was the chairman of the board, or the CEO of the company, or the investment banker leading your deal, getting to ideas and outcomes that were influenced based on information. And so I felt that my experience doing M&A at Goldman gave me this whole stable of skills that set me up for really just about anything. RITHOLTZ: And how did you shift into real estate principal investment at Goldman Sachs? That seems like a big leap from traditional M&A? MCCARTHY: Well, I would say that probably the vast majority of folks who are in my analyst class at Goldman, particularly in the merger group, when they were looking for their next thing to do, we’re looking more towards private equity, more traditional private equity, kind of like what my colleagues in our BCP team do, which is investing in companies. Some people maybe were going to hedge funds as well. But I’d say, overall, folks are more kind of corporate-oriented, you know, investing in companies. And for me, that was interesting. I definitely wanted to gain investing skills. I found one of the things that was a little unsatisfying as a merger banker is you’d work on a transaction, you’d help a company buy something or sell something, or merged with another business. But then you really never knew whether your model was at all close to accurate. How did it work out ultimately? All of the things you thought were going to happen, did it ultimately happen? And so I wanted to be part of that kind of follow-through, and that’s why moving to the investment side was interesting to me. But I would say when it came to kind of what part of investing, I think being a merger banker did inform what I wanted to do next. Because when you’re doing that, every day, you’re interacting with different clients in different industries and having to learn a whole new set of vocabulary, whole new business. And I thought, you know, if I want to start to be a great investor, and in particular, I didn’t know this term at that time, but you know, Steve Schwarzman refers to it as pattern recognition. Great investors are really great at pattern recognition. I want to start building that — building expertise. I felt I wanted to move into something that was still large and wasn’t going to pigeonhole me or pigeonhole me at a very young age in my career, but where I could be working in and out of a common vocabulary that could apply across all kinds of geographies and asset classes. And real estate offered that. I’d also say, you know, interestingly, when I was going to interviews at different private equity firms or different real estate firms, it was noticeable that in the real estate brochures of those companies, there was a huge amount of diversity in the kinds of people that worked at these firms. And it was all sorts of dimensions of diversity, including kind of the nature of people’s degrees. You had people who never had a college degree, folks who were architects, folks who were lawyers, folks who had a more traditional MBA. And what I found was these were all people who were really interested in participating in a people business ultimately, which is where do people live and work and shop, and you had great cities come together and things like that. And I really wanted to be attached to those kinds of those people, and they’re passionate about what they were doing. RITHOLTZ: So let me engage in a little bit of pattern recognition. M&A, the success of a deal depends on that structure, the price paid, how it is structured in terms of upfront costs, ongoing costs, what you’re getting. And real estate, in many ways, especially commercial real estate, kind of parallels that thing. What are you paying? What’s the structure the deal? How is it financed? Am I oversimplifying, or is that a fair comparison? MCCARTHY: No. I mean, again, there are so many things that carry over from one thing to another. And interestingly, I’m happy to come back to these things I learned in helping companies through mergers, particularly around things like communications and shareholder relations, and employee engagement that have now served me really well, couple decades later in my career. But I’d say those are all similar things, whether you’re talking about, you know, companies that make something, or companies that own real estate or real estate assets. And I’d say when I think about Blackstone and how we work on our transactions and what has served us so well over time, it certainly has to do with buying great quality real estate and the price we pay for it. Big part of it also, though, is the capital structure you set up. RITHOLTZ: Right. MCCARTHY: And is it able to withstand anything that can come your way, including tough environments that you might not control? RITHOLTZ: So I’m glad you mentioned that because before we get to 2010 when you moved to Blackstone, let’s talk about a tough environment. You’re at Goldman Sachs, in the real estate division, in the middle of 2008, 2009, right through the worst of the financial crisis. So I have to ask, what the hell was that like? MCCARTHY: Well, it was definitely a difficult time. I’m not laughing out of joy, but out of, you know, kind of — RITHOLTZ: Listen, it’s a — MCCARTHY: — it’s always at least stunner when I think about it. RITHOLTZ: Can I tell you all of us who were in markets and real estate and derivatives and trading, and anything who survived that baptism of fire, people have told me stories that they came through that and that affects you the rest of your career, that colors — it leaves a mark and colors you forever. MCCARTHY: Yeah. Well, I would say I feel like in the first decade of my career, I actually had two somewhat similar experiences in that way. Because, remember, I came out of college three months after dot-com bubble burst. So I was sitting at graduation, and classmates were getting emails saying their offers were rescinded because their company was going out of business. And I went from, again, this merger group at Goldman which was focused only on the biggest possible deals to working on what were relatively small transactions, but for important clients. RITHOLTZ: Right. MCCARTHY: And by the way, you know, for me, again, with the learning agenda, there’s learning in all of that. But environments change quickly, and whether it’s the investment you make, or you personally, it’s your ability to kind of keep putting one foot in front of the other and move through that. 2008 through 2010 was a particularly tough and very formative experience. And I would say there are so many important lessons learned for me. One, as an investor, the importance of buying super high-quality assets, putting resilient capital structures in place, having access to reserves, so that in a moment where you need to invest more capital in your transaction or where you need to, we have an opportunity, I should say, to buyback debt at a discount. And being able to capitalize on those kinds of opportunities is so important. And frankly, we didn’t have all those opportunities, and we hadn’t set ourselves up as well at — RITHOLTZ: Really? I’m surprised to hear that. MCCARTHY: — at Goldman. Blackstone, meanwhile, we’ll get to that, had, and that’s a big part of how Blackstone has been set up for so much success in the decades that followed. But I would say — RITHOLTZ: Let me interrupt you one sec. MCCARTHY: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So everything you described are the sorts of things that you would imagine, everybody should be prepared for does. And I’m kind of surprised to hear that one of the largest and savviest shops on the street kind of wasn’t prepared for it. Is that the sort of thing that the lesson we learned from it? Is that the takeaway? Obviously, Goldman has so many different moving parts, and the derivatives group on that side might be working across purposes with long-term real estate investment on this side. So hold that aside. But is the takeaway from the financial crisis that you have to be resilient, you have to have reserves, you have to purchase assets that are robust enough that they can withstand a beating, and you have to have enough dry powder that when these opportunities come along to buy high quality assets at distressed prices, you have to be ready to jump? MCCARTHY: I think you pretty much have it, Barry. I mean, I think about, for example, Blackstone’s track record. We’ve been investing in real estate for over 30 years. And then our opportunistic funds, so these are the funds where we’re trying to generate higher returns for customers in a relatively short hold period for the assets we buy for them. We’ve had 16 percent net returns on all of the capital we’ve invested over 30 years. RITHOLTZ: 16 percent annually, net of fee? MCCARTHY: Net IR — net of fees. RITHOLTZ: Are we going to get a red flag from a compliance, or is that an official statement we could use? MCCARTHY: It’s in our public statements. RITHOLTZ: Oh, that’s — so — MCCARTHY: It’s our opportunistic real estate strategy. RITHOLTZ: 16 percent per annum net of fees 30 years. MCCARTHY: Net of fees over 30 years. RITHOLTZ: That’s an amazing return. MCCARTHY: It’s an amazing return. And when you look across that and what I always think about is there were a lot of different kinds of environments we were investing in, things that felt great, things that felt really terrible, things that felt good when we bought real estate and didn’t feel so good a couple years later perhaps. But what you just touched on is what I think is most important, you can’t control the environment you’re in, but you can control the decisions you make leading up to that and through it. RITHOLTZ: That’s good. MCCARTHY: And the things that I think really distinguished what we were able to do at Blackstone and what got us to the other side of the financial crisis in a way most real estate investors did not were these things; good assets, resilient capital structures, access to reserves, access to new capital to go on the offensive, and take advantage of moments where there’s distressed pricing for our customers. RITHOLTZ: So you’re at Goldman and you’re looking around at the end of the financial crisis, and you’re aware of, hey, we missed opportunities here. This could have been a little tighter. This could have been a — and you run into Blackstone, and it’s like, wow, these guys — I wish we had that where we were, how do I get involved with that? MCCARTHY: It’s interesting. It was a little — it came out I think a little differently than that. I would say is I had an amazing experience at Goldman, including, I’d say, the learnings that I had an opportunity to access through the financial crisis. And particularly getting those learnings at a relatively early part of my career I think is so important. What really got me thinking about doing something different was just, you know, was continuing to learn? Was there a will to keep investing in real estate, having had some of those traumatic experiences as a firm? And I felt like I wanted to make sure I was in a place where I personally was not treading water, and I had an opportunity to keep learning. And I knew that I wanted to continue to be in real estate, I was not sure exactly in what aspect. And I was actually quite surprised when Blackstone reached out to me about a role to work with institutional clients and do capital raising and investor engagement. And I was surprised, mostly, because I had no experience with that at all. I had come at Goldman, almost all of our capital had come from high net worth clients. Also, I had done acquisitions. I didn’t have investor experience, really. And what Blackstone was just kind of, I think, looking at it a little differently and saying, if there’s a person who understands real estate and can understand markets, but also can you help our clients understand better, what are we doing with their capital, or if they’re not yet a client, why — RITHOLTZ: Should they be? MCCARTHY: — is what we are offering compelling? There could be an interesting match there. And I think just generally feeling like we — and probably our performance was strong for the financial crisis. We were able to open doors and keep open doors with clients. But it was all about stewarding those relationships, and how do we do that better. And so what got me ultimately really excited about the Blackstone opportunity was not so much that I had any confidence that I want to do investor relations, or you know, that was going to be my long term career destiny. It was that I wanted to work with these people who were really focused on doing a great job not only through the investments they made, but through the interactions they created with their clients. And I felt like that move would allow me to continue to learn and grow, and frankly, diversify my skill set so I’d be better set up to be a leader in a bunch of different capacities in the future. RITHOLTZ: So let me ask you a very obvious question. You shift from high net worth individuals. And no matter how high net worth they are, they’re individuals. They react to markets. They can be emotional. I remember, I have a vivid recollection in the midst of the financial crisis, the news flow was just really — and we were on the right side of it, but it was so relentlessly negative. Even people making money in the downturn were unhappy of it. And then you shift to institutions that have a much longer time horizon and a very different headspace, even though there are individuals at those various endowments, institutions, what have you. How does the energy and the vibe and the conversations change? Is it still people are people and they’re freaking out? Or, hey, we have a perpetual lifespan, and so we don’t care about next quarter, we care about next century? Am I exaggerating or — MCCARTHY: Well, I would say I think for all investors of any type, whether it’s size, or whether you’re an individual investor, or institutional investor, really what matters most is performance. In the end, and especially we as a manager, if we can show up and say we continue to generate great performance on your investments, it could be any kind of client on the other side of the table. That is what’s most important. RITHOLTZ: That itself is a lot of pain. Yeah, I can imagine. MCCARTHY: That is what’s most important. I think, from my perspective, the biggest difference, and this may evolve over time, but the biggest difference between an institutional client so that state pension plan or charitable foundation or university endowment versus an individual investor, I think, for the most part, institutional investors have decided that they want and need real estate to be a core position in their portfolio in and out of cycles. RITHOLTZ: Right. MCCARTHY: And that’s because real estate in strong economies can generate a basically very strong alpha in weaker times or in an inflationary environment we’re in right now. For example, as a real asset, a hard asset, it preserves value as cost to replace those assets go up. It’s a cash flowing asset where you can remark your rents to market in a rising cost environment. And so I think those institutional investors are really committed to real estate. Individual investors, for the most part, have not yet determined that real estate is something they want to need to leave as core to their portfolio in and out of cycles. I think that is changing. And I think in particular, when you look back to environments similar to what we’re in now, where you see rising interest rates, persistent inflation, you think about how well real estate has performed in those moments. I think individual investors are starting to appreciate, you know, how attractive this is as a part of their portfolio. But that is a different kind of approach to portfolio construction. RITHOLTZ: And for individual investors, I always run into the — when we discuss real estate, I find I have to say stop focusing on individual homes. That’s just one tiny aspect of real estate. You have to think in broader longer terms and commercial sides, not your neighbor’s house sold for $30,000 less than expected. Let’s talk about warehouses. Let’s talk about farmland. Let’s talk about things that it doesn’t matter necessarily what the economy is doing. People got to eat. Goods are still being moved around the country. MCCARTHY: A 100 percent. I mean, I think separating the for sale residential market from for rent commercial real estate, including rental apartments is so important. These are different things. And I think you can’t just mark what’s going on in the single family for sale housing environment with what might be happening in warehouses, or rental apartment complexes, or office buildings, et cetera. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your team that you run, how large is the real estate team at Blackstone? MCCARTHY: The real estate team at Blackstone is about 900 people globally. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s a big chunk of the firm. MCCARTHY: It’s a big chunk of the firm. And I think what actually that understates is the impact we have through all of the portfolio companies we own in our funds. So we own 55 portfolio companies, and that really forms a huge extension of what we’re able to do, and then also see in terms of people on the ground across the world operating in specific real estate sectors, and then sending back the information they’re working with every day. RITHOLTZ: So when you say portfolio companies — MCCARTHY: Yup. RITHOLTZ: — I immediately think of like Vornado, or are you talking about specific privately held companies who themselves own lots of various commercial real estates? MCCARTHY: So these are specific privately held companies by our funds, and these are companies that for the most part, we own and control 100 percent of the company. RITHOLTZ: Oh, really? MCCARTHY: And sometimes we buy companies and then continue to help grow them by new asset acquisitions, or just growth in their cash flows. In other circumstances, we will build up companies through a series of smaller acquisitions. So an example would be in the U.S., we’re one of the largest owners of warehouse properties. We have a company called Link Logistics and owns about 400 million square feet of warehouses. RITHOLTZ: Wow. MCCARTHY: That is a company that we have built through a series of acquisitions. We identified a world-class management team, and we said we want to build a great company. But we’re not doing it through just kind of one acquisition of one company, we’re going to build it up through a series of transactions. RITHOLTZ: And the idea is as things grow, there’s massive economies of scale and expertise. And what might have been a reasonable investment at 1x, when it becomes 100x, it becomes a very, very different experience. MCCARTHY: I would say yes. And I think one of the things that’s so important about the scale of these businesses and the scale of our business together across all of these companies and our funds is that we have a huge information advantage. We get data real time proprietary to us constantly, coming off these businesses, and it really helps us make better decisions that you otherwise would be able to do if you didn’t have access to this. And so rather than wait for a research report to tell us what’s really happening in apartment rent growth or in new leases for warehouses in Northern Europe, we’re getting those data points real time. And that can help us inform on whether we’re going to buy more of something, want to sell something, pivot how we’re managing assets. And those are all just important decision-making tools for us. You know, so much of what our work is, is not just mine real estate, but it’s all about what is the value we can create? How can we grow cash flows? Most of the time how you make money in real estate is growing the cash flow. And those data points coming from all across the world in what’s really happening in these assets, how are our tenants making decisions, help inform those strategies as well. RITHOLTZ: I have heard from a variety of different companies that their internal data creation and analytics is just a huge thing. It used to take like a year or two, you get reports out back from the field, what’s selling, what’s not selling, what’s rising? Now, it’s almost real time. It’s almost instant. MCCARTHY: Yeah. We definitely benefit from that. And I think we have the good fortune that there’s been a heritage kind of from day one of using insights that we uniquely have access to. And the technology, infrastructure around that has definitely improved. It’s needed to improve at our scale for us to really be able to use all that information. But I think, you know, even just 12 or so years ago, wh.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 14th, 2022

I visited the flagship stores of Nike and Adidas in NYC to compare the shopping experiences and it was clear which store was more popular

The Nike and Adidas flagship stores stand like sportswear palaces on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. See what it's like to shop at these massive stores. Sarah Belle Lin/Insider I visited the flagship stores of two of the world's largest athletic brands, Nike and Adidas, to see which shopping experience was better.  Adidas' flagship store was soccer heaven and paid homage to the FIFA World Cup.  Nike's store took me to an otherworldly space and wowed me with its Sneakerlab collection. You don't need to be a sneakerhead to own at least one pair of Adidas or Nike shoes — or maybe one of each — as well as a cache of athletic apparel from both brands. The two multibillion-dollar, multinational corporations have continuously blazed trails and faced challenges as they continue building their respective empires.Nike remains the industry powerhouse, with $46.7 billion in sales in its most recent fiscal year. Adidas reported $21.2 billion in 2021 sales.The companies' Manhattan stores are at the leading edges of their bricks-and-mortar retail strategies and often preview technologies and features that will roll out to other locations.With that in mind I felt it was worth visiting both flagship locations to compare the shopping experience. Follow my trek through these retail palaces. I first stopped by the Adidas flagship store.Adidas flagship store on 565 Fifth Avenue in New York City.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe store is equidistant from Times Square and Grand Central Station. It's on the corner of 46th Street and Fifth Avenue in a bustling neighborhood that drives much of the city's tourism. The store opened in December 2016 and spans 45,000 square feet. The entrance tunnel might bring some visitors back to their high school football days.An Adidas store associate greets customers at the end of a short, glowing tunnel.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe store's design is based on Adidas' "stadium retail concept," which takes inspiration from US high school sports stadiums, Insider previously reported. The Adidas store's tunnel, albeit a little underwhelming, did make me feel like I was about to enter a stadium. The first floor was covered with soccer jerseys for fans planning on cheering on their team at the World Cup.'World Cup Couture' on display.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI visited in late October and again in early November, and upon exiting the tunnel, I saw the theme was not football, but soccer, in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off Nov. 20 in Qatar.  Adidas, which is an official FIFA World Cup supplier, had outfitted its first-floor displays and mannequins with soccer jerseys of all stripes and colors. I'd safely assume every team playing for the cup was well-represented inside the Adidas flagship store during my visits.The first floor is where you'll find the most personalized Adidas shopping experience.There are four levels inside the Adidas flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe Adidas flagship store offers real-time fitness consultations from EXOS trainers, healthy juices and snacks co-created with Brooklyn-based Grass Roots Juicery, a concierge desk, a same-day hotel delivery service, personalized shopping experiences such as the Run Genie gait analysis tool, and more. The customization lab allows walk-ins. Prices range from $10 to $35 depending on the service.There is an area on the first floor for customers to customize their own Adidas apparel.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderCustomers could customize World Cup national team jerseys or shorts by adding names or numbers for $35.The Adidas customization area is modest in size and approachable.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderAs someone who enjoys table sports, I loved seeing a foosball table on the first floor.A foosball table awaits players at the flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderAn employee told me the foosball table was there for the World Cup.Adidas was having a sale on women's pants at the moment and there were a lot of good deals: $40 tights for $16, and $75 track pants for $53.These mannequins were wearing apparel representing Mexico's national soccer team.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIt's fall in New York City and I'm sporting black joggers and sweats everywhere I go. I've always been a fan of the Adidas tracksuit look, and how it's evolved within popular culture in the US: from Run-DMC to the deep-teal tracksuits on Netflix's "Squid Game."  Some of Adidas' shoe collections: NMD_V3, Stan Smith, Superstar, Nizza, and Y-3.Adidas' popular shoe collections on display.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIn my opinion, both the Superstar and Stan Smith are classics that will live on.The Adidas Superstar shoe in a display case.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIn 2016, the Superstar was the top-selling sneaker in the US in terms of dollar sales, according to The NPD Group. But its popularity diminished. Sales of the Superstars fell by $565 million from 2017 to 2018, Insider reported.Still, I say nothing beats timeless style.I'm not really on board with this whole purposely dirtied look.Forum 84 Low AEC shoesSarah Belle Lin/InsiderAdidas has given its Forum 84 Low AEC shoes a "well-loved look" to reflect a bygone era. I noticed this Adidas shopper wearing Yeezys.Adidas shopper wearing Yeezys.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderAdidas reportedly is expected to lose $246 million in profit this year after terminating its Yeezy partnership, Insider reported. It's estimated that Yeezy generated $1.7 billion in annual revenues for Adidas — 8% of Adidas' total sales in 2021.  The soccer section was the busiest area on both days that I visited.The soccer section with its jerseys took the most real estate at the flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI saw several people carrying Argentina national team jerseys. The men's section had far more variety, tracksuits, and foot traffic compared with the other floors. I'd almost describe the environment as lively.The women's section had various interpretations of the traditional sweatpants.Purple was a dominant color in some of the displays.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThere were birds of paradise designs, pants with crisscross seams on the sides, yoga tracksuit pants, and sky-blue pants with three orange stripes.I saw these Adidas-branded wireless bluetooth earbuds that piqued my interest, but not enough for me to convince me to drop my over-the-ear, noise-canceling headphones.Adidas earbuds.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThere were a few clothing options for youth. Many items were marked with the brand's signature three stripes.The youth section at the flagship store.Sarah Belle LinThe youth section carried several different soccer cleats and running-shoe options.Shoes for youth, including options for soccer players and runners.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThese were the most fashion-forward shoes I saw at the Adidas store.The Adidas x Ivy Park mule shoes go for $150.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderGrowing up I didn't associate Adidas with high fashion, but seeing these shoes showed me that the brand is evolving, for better or worse.I thought these "Rick and Morty" soccer cleats had the coolest colors out of all the cleats I saw in the soccer section.The X Speedportal soccer cleats, in partnership with "Rick and Morty."Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderKnowing that "Rick and Morty" is such a popular show across the world, I think these collaborations are a smart idea for Adidas.The bleachers, with a statue of Adidas founder Adolf Dassler, were cool and unexpected.The interior design was built to match a high school stadium.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThere are also elevators on each floor for customers who have mobility challenges or prefer to skip the extra steps.The all-black ensemble has grown on me, so I liked the vision of Adidas' newest clothing release.Adidas Y-3 is the company's latest collection.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI thought this was the most innovative pair of shoes I saw at Adidas. Would I wear it? Probably not.The Human Made x NMD cheetah-print shoes from the Pharrell Williams x Adidas collection.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI thought that the golf section was hidden towards the back of the third floor and harder to spot from the main walking area. It could have been better lit, as well.The golf section was small and towards the store's corner.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe checkout section had grab-and-go items including sliders and socks.The checkout area.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI think it's great that Adidas invites customers to round up their total costs to support charities like the Boys & Girls Clubs.Customers can round up their total to donate to the Boys & Girls Club.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderAfter my Adidas visit, I walked up five blocks to 650 Fifth, where Nike's flagship House of Innovation occupies most of the block.The Nike flagship store at 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderNike's flagship store has two more floors than the Adidas store. It occupies 68,000 square feet of prime real estate on Manhattan's famed Fifth Avenue.I visited the Nike flagship store twice: once in the morning and again in the late afternoon.A very busy Nike flagship store entrance.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderAt 4:30 p.m. the store was almost overflowing with people going in and out.Nike also had an archway. This one transported shoppers to an out-of-this-world dimension.Nike entrance archway leading to the first floor.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderWhile Adidas had a founder's statue to commemorate its history, Nike placed tons of mementos within the entranceway.Nike history was captured in memorabilia items within the archway walls.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe display features Nike cofounders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, and honors the legacies of female athletes like world-famous runners Jacqueline Hansen and Joan Benoit. I liked seeing the mishmash of Nike artifacts, but think they could have been strategically placed elsewhere in the store. Because they're located at the entrance, you can't really stop for too long without potentially disrupting traffic flow.Staff were more approachable and greeted people. Music was a big part of the experience, playing at a much louder volume than in Adidas.Nike associates and shoe displays greet customers at the store's entrance.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderOnce I made it into the first floor of the Nike flagship, I realized that space was a huge theme.Seeing this Nike display, I felt transported to the inside of a spaceship.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderShoe models were incorporated into futuristic displays that looked like they could belong on the surface of Mars. I felt like this theme could be enjoyed by all athletes, as opposed to Adidas' soccer setup.There was a small booth on the first floor to make purchases, and two employees checking customers out.The checkout area on the first floor was small relative to the size of the store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIt seemed like a small area relative to the rest of the store, and I wondered if bottleneck situations are common at this checkout point.There are free Essex Squeeze drinks for Nike members.Nike's House of Innovation for performance running shoes.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIt seems like Adidas and Nike are going head to head with their apparel, with Nike also offering New York City-branded clothing, but with what I felt like are bolder designs.The flagship store has six levels for customers to explore, and on both visits, sometimes it felt like I was competing for roaming space with throngs of visitors.There are six levels in the Nike flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderMany of the visitors were international tourists. I most often heard French and Spanish being spoken at the store.I found out that there were self-checkout kiosks located on each floor, which I guess helps ease the flow of traffic. However, these kiosks are only for people who have the Nike app.There is a self-checkout kiosk for Nike app users on the second floor.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderNike has far more sports bra selections and they are displayed in a more spread-out fashion, really utilizing the space.Sports bras are arranged by size and support level.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe sports bras seemed to be made with better materials, and were pricier than the Adidas sports bras.Nike had its own tech display, featuring the Apple Watch Nike.Nike flexes its partnership with Apple Watch in the women's section.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThese watches are aesthetically different from other Apple Watches, with unique bands and watch faces. I thought it was interesting that the watches were placed on the second floor in the women's section and wondered if they were trying to target women.Similar to the Nike-wearing customer at the Adidas flagship, I saw a Nike shopper wearing Adidas apparel, reaffirming my belief that both brands are held up almost equally in public perception.A shopper wears an Adidas backpack in the Nike flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe men's apparel section on the third floor wasn't heavily frequented, so I continued to follow the crowds as they meandered up the stairs.The men's section is on the third floor of the flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI did notice that black and neon green were common color schemes for men's apparel.I knew I'd reached the hot spot once I hit the fourth floor and Nike's Sneakerlab, holding the largest assortment of Nike shoes in the world.Nike's Sneakerlab is on the fourth floor of the flagship store.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe music seemed more deafening here, and the chatter was at its loudest in the store on my visit so far.The Sneakerlab was the busiest part of the flagship store.One of the pickup areas at the Nike Sneakerlab.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe bright-white light really brought out the displays and kept my energy level up. There were shoppers waiting around for their shoes, while others were checking out the displayed models. It looked like a museum.I spent the most time examining the Nike Air Maxes and VaporMaxes, which I felt like were the boldest and most inventive.There was a dizzying array of Nike Air shoes – from the VaporMax Plus to the Air Max 1.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI found the Nike Air Force 1 section, which was almost blindingly white, the signature color for Air Force 1s. Each shoe boasted ample display space and each Sneakerlab area felt like an exhibit.The Nike Air Force 1 shoe section.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI passed through a section with mirrored walls and an animated display featuring sneakers that were soon to be released.This Nike mirror offers a sneak peek of sneakers coming down the line.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderIt was one of my favorite parts of the Sneakerlab because of its ingenuity and innovation. I thought it was a great way to engage with customers.I made an effort to glance down at customers' shoes while walking around and wasn't surprised to see many people wearing Nikes. But I also saw Adidas, Reebok, Vans, and Pumas.Nike-wearing customers don't seem to get enough of Nike.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderWhile Adidas had its slips hung up next to the checkout counter, Nike's slips had their own displays just like the sneakers.Nike's sliders and slip-ons had their own spot in the Sneakerlab.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderNike's customization lab has its own floor and is only available for NikePlus members.The top floor is the spot to get your Nike products customized.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe lab takes same-day appointments for 30-minute time slots, but you have to schedule in-person on the 5th floor. The costs run from $3 for small graphics, to $7 for medium, and $8 for large. On both of my visits, the fifth floor had only a few people mingling about the customization lab. I wonder if it's by virtue of the appointment system the store has set up.The top floor was less frequented and swathed with Nike basic essentials.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI still enjoyed checking out what amenities were offered for NikePlus members.I passed by these fitting rooms, which I thought elevated the shopping experience. The fitting rooms on this floor look like futuristic space yurts.Fitting rooms on the fifth floor of the flagship.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe Nike By You bar came with different designs people could use to customize outfits.Nike customers looking to get a little creative with their clothes.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderBoth times I visited, there were people in the middle of their projects and designing sweatshirts with small graphics. In a city like New York, customized items are all the buzz. I saw a sweater for $130 and a t-shirt for $61.Examples of customized sweatshirts and Air Force 1s.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe stairs to the kids section were tucked at the back of the first floor, which took me some time to find. It actually felt out of the way.The kids section is on the basement level.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderYouth had an entire floor to explore – plenty of clothing and shoes to mix and match. There were many more options for children than what Adidas offered at its flagship store.There were several racks of clothing on the kids floor.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderI got a real kick out of seeing this wall of preschool and toddler shoes.Teeny-tiny 1s and Js for preschoolers and toddlers.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe integrity of the AF1s, Js, and Dunks were preserved in these teeny-size versions.After my visits, I could easily see how distinct the store experiences were between Adidas and Nike.Customers can do returns and exchanges on the kids floor.Sarah Belle Lin/InsiderThe interior designs, for one, were vastly different: Adidas went for stadium appeal — clearly catering to its soccer fans — while Nike went for multidimensional outer-space vibes.As for retail offerings, I felt like I could go to Adidas for fitness wear and Nike for their street style and shoes.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 4th, 2022

How small-town Maine embraced a family that fled the Taliban

In fall 2021, an Afghan family was resettled in Maine. This is the story of how they rebuilt their lives, and the community that welcomed them. Omid, left, and Nasir walk on a path winding through farm fields near their homes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.Jodi Hilton for InsiderIn the fall of 2021, a family from Afghanistan was resettled in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This is the story of how they rebuilt their lives, the community that welcomed them, and a friendship that bridged two cultures.CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Last November, at about midnight, Omid was lying in bed in his new home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine — exhausted, but unable to sleep. He texted Nasir Shir, his old friend from Afghanistan who lived down the street. Was Nasir awake, and was he up for a walk?Nasir was awake; he often stays up late to talk to friends and relatives in Afghanistan, nine and a half hours ahead. On this night, and on many nights during Omid's first few months in Maine, Nasir was soon at his door. The two men set off. Under the night sky, they passed driveways with basketball hoops, porches with American flags, and the occasional boat parked in someone's yard.Omid and Nasir had met in 2004 on the site of an international development project in Kabul. At that point, Nasir had been living in the US for 20 years, but his work in geographic information systems took him all over the world, and sometimes back to Afghanistan, for international development contracts. Omid, 14 years younger, was an IT specialist.A deep friendship began, and the two stayed close. When Nasir's family would pass through Kabul, Omid would host them. "Anyone who travels to Afghanistan goes to his house," Nasir told me. "He's the ticket agent, the hotel, and the food place." Omid got to know Nasir's extended family — "cousins, uncles, aunts, everybody." The two men share a similar sense of humor and laughter comes easily when they're together.When the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan weeks before the planned US withdrawal, Omid fled with his wife and their four young children.Nasir urged them to come to Cape Elizabeth. "I warned him about the cold weather, and that there are not many Muslims there," Nasir said. He also talked up its virtues. "I said: 'If you want to make money, don't come to Maine. But if you want to raise your family, come to Maine.'"But it wasn't just Nasir who welcomed Omid. The whole town had. In the weeks before Omid's family arrived, an army of neighbors had rolled up their sleeves to help get the house ready, dropping by at odd hours to scrape up subfloors, install a new kitchen, mount cheerful decor, and plant flowers.Omid felt immense gratitude toward everyone who had helped his family. "I will never stop appreciating them," he told me. But the transition to his new life in Maine was still hard — even with all the goodwill in the world.  Omid's family arrived in Maine just before Halloween in 2021 and recently celebrated one year in Maine.Jodi Hilton for InsiderKabul The call came in the afternoon. It was August 27, 2021. Twelve days earlier, Kabul had fallen to the Taliban. Now, Omid was being told to gather his family and head to the airport immediately. For days, Omid had lived with a constant feeling of dread. He worried that the Taliban government would target him as a collaborator for his work on US and United Nations-backed development projects. In case he was killed in a blast and no loved ones could be called upon to carry out the Muslim funeral ritual of ghusl, in which the body of the dead is washed before it is laid to rest, he took care to wash himself every day. In 2018, Omid had applied for a Special Immigrant Visa, which was still in process. (Editor's Note: We are using a pseudonym for Omid and his family members.) Omid and his wife, Palwasha, hurriedly filled a suitcase with clothing for their four children. They grabbed diapers and a swaddle for the youngest, Safa, who was just a month old. From the roof of his apartment building, Omid could see Kabul's international airport, where thousands of people had been lining up but most were denied entry. Just the day before, a suicide bombing had killed nearly 200 people. Omid was still not sure that he would be leaving Afghanistan that day. Everyone wanted to leave, but not everyone was able to. "No one wants to leave their country," Omid would tell me later. "All your friends, your family members, your culture, your language. But the thing that you are missing is security. For the sake of your children, you know you should leave everything and get out of that hell."At the airport, Omid's family was ushered through a gate. Others tried to use the moment to scramble through, and a cloud of tear gas exploded around them. Inside, Omid was told he wouldn't be able to board the plane with a suitcase. "I left everything there in the airport," he told me. "But at the time, it was important for me to save my life, not my clothes."Wearing bracelets with barcodes wrapped around their wrists, the family was led onto an airplane bound for Doha, Qatar. As the plane took off, Safa, the baby, was still red in the face from the tear gas.In all, 124,000 Afghans were evacuated in the final two weeks before the US withdrawal, which was timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and more would follow. Of the 76,000 who were resettled in the US, most went to Texas, California, and Virginia — places with established Afghan American communities. But evacuees ended up in nearly every state.For Omid and his family, that final destination would be Maine — the whitest (91%), oldest (the median age is just shy of 45), and most rural (60% of Mainers live in rural areas) state in the US. How that happened is the story of a community that banded together to welcome a family of strangers, and a friendship that has bridged two cultures. The Portland Head Light is Maine's oldest lighthouse and an iconic tourist destination.Jodi Hilton for InsiderFriends in need Back in Cape Elizabeth during those tense days in August 2021, Nasir's phone was ringing off the hook as friends and former colleagues in Afghanistan desperately sought help getting out. He and Omid were speaking every day. On one call, Nasir could hear gunfire in the background and Omid, alone in his family's apartment, seemed to be in a state of shock.  Nasir also left Afghanistan as a refugee, during the Soviet-Afghan war, and had come to Portland, Maine, in 1984 when he was 13. Nasir's sister, Shukria, who's six years younger, recalled learning English by watching Bob Ross' painting shows and "Sesame Street."Both she and Nasir received full scholarships to attend Waynflete, a highly-regarded private school in Portland. While the school was mostly white, they had classmates from Cambodia and Laos. Nasir and others were encouraged to share stories about their immigrant experiences, and he said he developed pride in his background and an appreciation for the value of listening to one another. said the school encouraged him to take pride in his background. "Back then, the state was new with refugees," Nasir told me. "There were hardly any Muslims, never mind any Afghans." Halal meat wasn't widely available, and Nasir remembers going with his grandfather to local farms to help slaughter lambs, and then packing the meat into bags to store in the freezer.  There is a saying in Maine that people who are not born there or do not come from a long lineage of Mainers are from "away." In some communities in Maine, families have lived there for so many generations that roads and bodies of water are named after them. If you tell people the town you grew up in, and they are familiar with it, they might know your whole family, and all of your neighbors too. In the 1800s, Irish and French Canadian immigrants started arriving in Maine. In the early  1900s, House Island, off the coast of Portland, was used to process overflows of new arrivals to the United States and became known as "Ellis Island of the North." Immigrants and refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos came in the mid-to late 1970s and a Somali community began emerging in the early 2000s in Lewiston. According to the Portland Press Herald newspaper, around 250 Afghans were in Maine before the Taliban's takeover of the country.   Nasir considers himself a true Mainer because it's the place he keeps coming back to. "For most people, any place where they spend their childhood is home. I spent my childhood from 13 on, here, so it's home," he said. "I went to Dubai, Pakistan, traveled the world, but I still chose to come back." Nasir and his wife, Nazia, made their home in Cape Elizabeth, nearby Portland, in the late 1990s, and it's here where they're raising their five children, who range in age from 11 to 25. Once a farming and fishing village, the town of 9,500 people now has a reputation for excellent schools. A few miles away from the multimillion-dollar homes that hug the inlet of Casco Bay, Nasir's neighborhood is dense with suburban homes on relatively small lots. Shukria lives nearby. His two brothers live across the street.Cape Elizabeth is both rural and residential. Ocean House Farm is located near the town's center.Jodi Hilton for InsiderKettle Cove is one of several beaches popular with locals.Jodi Hilton for InsiderAfter the 9/11 attacks, as American troops began deploying to Afghanistan, Muslims in the area were sometimes harassed or intimidated. Nasir, then in his early 30s, was involved in a local mosque and active on local boards, and he started being asked to speak at churches and other community gatherings. People wanted to know about the Taliban, and they had questions about Islam. "It's human nature to fear what you don't know," Nasir told me. The outreach seemed to come naturally to Nasir, Shukria told me. He was patient and knowledgeable — and not one to easily take offense, even when he had every right to. Instead, on the occasions through the years when someone would make a comment that was either subtly or outright rude or derogatory, his responses would be gracious and respectful, and he'd often offer to have more conversations.Nasir's calm approach "takes an unbelievable amount of self-control," said Denney Morton, Nasir's former teacher who's now a friend. "It also," Morton continued, "takes a person who believes that the future is going to be worth putting up with that kind of stuff."Nasir's mission is "to make this country live up to what it says it's going to be," Morton said. "He does it all the time — and he does it with laughter, and joy, and inviting people over to his house."In 2016, after Donald Trump's election, Nasir's daughter Haleema remembers hearing, "Now that we have a new president, all the Muslims will be deported." Nasir's son, who was born in Maine, was told to "go back" to where he came from. Maine's governor at the time, Paul LePage, who coined himself "Trump before Trump," was regularly called out for racist statements. In 2016, he sent a letter to President Barack Obama saying that Maine would no longer participate in resettling refugees. (LePage, who left office because of term limits, challenged his successor, Gov. Janet Mills, in this year's election but lost by a wide margin.)Nasir's response, again, was outreach. He got involved in local politics and won a seat on the school board in 2017. And he and Nazia often invited dozens of locals from the Cape Elizabeth area to their home to break the Ramadan fast with a big meal. By opening their home and sharing their lives with their Cape Elizabeth neighbors, Nasir and Nazia, and his sister Shukria, created a model of community-building for others in town to emulate — "not at Nasir levels, but in some way," said Jim Sparks, a friend who's worked with Nasir on community projects. "He's brought a warmth and generosity and large-heartedness that's pretty contagious," Sparks said. As it happened, Nasir was about to lean on that community as he prepared to welcome Omid and his family to Cape Elizabeth. Unlike his own arrival to the US, Nasir wanted his old friend to "start from the top."'Would others help me, even if they didn't know me?'Two miles away from Nasir's home in Cape Elizabeth, Emily Mavodones was also watching the news from Afghanistan. A video showing desperate people clinging to an airplane as it took off from Kabul International Airport had left her shaken. "What would I do to protect my family, my children?" she asked herself. "Would others help me, even if they didn't know me?"Emily found Nasir's name and contact information in a local paper. They had met once at a kid's birthday party, and she later learned that they had other passing connections: Her father-in-law had gone to school with Nasir and her mother had worked with him. "Our words were in parallel," she told me.Even as she reached out, Emily wasn't exactly sure what helping out could mean. A mom of three kids, she had volunteered here and there at a soup kitchen and she'd donated blood to the Red Cross. But she had never been involved in a long-term humanitarian effort.Nasir replied, hastily, with links to the USCIS website for sponsoring Afghans. Between the $575 application fee and the pledge to support the person financially, at least initially, Emily quickly realized it was too big a commitment for her family. She let it drop.Several weeks later, Nasir had caught his breath. Omid's family was out of Afghanistan. Catholic Charities, the local refugee-resettlement organization in Maine, was working with Omid's family to help them resettle. Nasir expected his friend to arrive in the next few weeks. Nasir circled back to everyone who had reached out to him earlier. For one thing, Omid's family would need a place to live.Emily Mavodones, who was part of the team who helped prepare a home for Omid and his family, holds Safa, the youngest of Omid and Palwasha's four children.Jodi Hilton for InsiderAs an Afghan evacuee, Omid would be given some financial assistance to help pay for housing. A two-story structure, a few doors down from Nasir, seemed like a good choice. It was one of several properties that Nasir owned in the area. When he bought it, it had most recently been used as a dentist's office, which meant there was no kitchen, and there was a large sink in almost every room.Nasir often rented out his properties to refugees and asylum seekers, or families from the area who qualified for Section 8 or General Assistance housing. It was reliable income, and Nasir saw it as a way to help newcomers who often lack the up-front cash or the credit and employment history that many landlords required. He'd bought this house a year earlier, with the idea that a local Congolese family would move in. During the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, their son had given a speech that had moved Nasir, and he had gotten to know them a bit. But the home still needed a lot of work to function as a residential space. After a while, the family had gone someplace else.Now, with Omid heading to Maine, finishing the house was urgent.Emily offered to set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for renovations, and donations poured in — at final count, $12,890 from 142 people.Haleema, now in her early 20s, and Shukria set up a Google doc with a wish list of items. Packages started arriving at the house — mixing bowls, a pressure cooker, mortar and pestle, a bunk bed, a vacuum, clothing, diapers, toys, a crib."It was amazing how many people reached out to us," Shukria told me. "I think people were ready to help. You know, there were things being talked about." Specifically, she said, "We were talking about racism, we were talking about prejudice."What Shukria was referring to was how the residents of Cape Elizabeth had spent the past few years in a period of intense reflection. Trump-era policies, like the "Muslim ban," and then the Black Lives Matter movement had challenged them to talk openly about what kind of community they wanted to be, what their values were, and how to translate their values into action.Along with a handful of other volunteers, Nasir had helped form the Cape Diversity Coalition, which drew up a resolution saying Cape Elizabeth was welcoming to all. The school board passed it quickly. The town council took a bit longer — there was concern that the resolution was political and therefore not appropriate for the nonpartisan body — but, ultimately, it passed it too. A "global competency" goal was set for Cape Elizabeth students to be "personally responsible, aware, empathetic, and engaged local and global citizens."Perhaps this was why, when Nasir presented his neighbors with an urgent need, he had found a ready audience. Volunteers showed up to the house mostly in the early evening after work. They pulled up old flooring, installed new appliances, and painted walls. Some knew their way around a construction site, and others didn't.Nasir and Emily shared the code to enter the building so volunteers could come and go when it suited them. A to-do list was posted at the entrance, with items to be crossed off."He provided a vehicle for community members for stepping up and helping," Susana Measelle Hubbs, who served on the school board and the Cape Diversity Coalition, said of Nasir. "And I think everyone who did was so appreciative of that opportunity." "He walks the talk," she added. One Sunday afternoon, Barbara Leen stopped by. An immigration lawyer, she had been fielding calls all week about getting people out of Afghanistan. She found Nasir at the house and, when she asked what he needed, he pointed to one of the bedrooms and said with a shrug, "Well, it's a nasty job, but you can scrape up the subfloor."Friends Barbara Leen, an immigration lawyer (left) and Emily Mavodones, holding daughter Thea, are among those who helped get the house ready for Omid and his family.Jodi Hilton for InsiderFor the next few hours, Leen went to work scraping up a rubbery substance so a new floor could be laid down. Afterward, when Nasir learned about Leen's day job, he laughed. "I'm not sure scraping subfloors is exactly what I need you for," he said.As the house neared completion, Nasir gave me a tour: "This is where the reception was, this is where the laboratory was, this is where you got your teeth drilled." A drawing of the Cape Elizabeth lighthouse, the Portland Head Light — Maine's oldest — was hung on the wall, beside wooden letters that spelled out HOME. In the front yard, Emily had dug up some evergreen bushes that blocked light from entering the downstairs windows and replaced them with junipers, dogwoods, and irises. From a refugee camp in Virginia, Omid and his family awaited the paperwork to move, then a COVID-19 quarantine, and then a second quarantine after a measles case was identified in their camp.Omid still had no idea about the house, or what was awaiting them in Cape Elizabeth. Nasir had decided it would all be a surprise.Art on one of the walls in Omid's home.Jodi Hilton for InsiderWelcomeOmid arrived in Maine wearing a loose pair of sweatpants and a phone charger fashioned into a belt. The family had almost nothing of their own. They would spend their first night in a hotel, and Nasir promised to pick them up the next day and drive them to a welcome party at his sister's house.The next morning, they all pulled up in front of the old dentist's office.Some 20 members of Nasir's extended family were standing out front. Emily was there too, along with her family. Pink, blue, and yellow balloons bobbed around them, and, inside, streamers dangled from the kitchen ceiling.Nasir led them into the house and showed Omid his new bedroom. "This is your house," he said, as he handed Omid a ring of keys.After a pause, Omid placed his hand over his heart, several times. Omid hugged Nasir, burying his head in his friend's shoulder. Both of them were in tears. They stood there, holding each other for a long time.A sense of belongingWithin two days of their arrival, Omid's two older children, 7-year-old Aref and 6-year-old Farzan, were attending elementary school in Cape Elizabeth. They had been set up with a social worker, a teacher for English as a Second Language, and a translation app. The younger kids, Karimah, 3, and Safa, the baby, stayed home with their mom.Omid worried that his kids had been scarred by their experience at the camps. No one had much of anything, and everyone competed for the clothing and toys that were doled out. "For the first three weeks when we arrived, my kids were completely wild," Omid told me.Nasir, perhaps playing the role of the advocate he wished he'd had when he first arrived in Portland as a refugee kid, met with the school's staff to explain what the children had experienced in the refugee camps. "Please don't judge them — they are really good kids," Nasir said.Omid holds his house keys.Jodi Hilton for InsiderSoon, though, Omid said with relief, things started to feel normal again. Nasir, just a few doors down, was happy to explain playdates, sleepovers, and other ins and outs of raising kids in the US. Emily would occasionally drop by to see how they were settling in. Privately, though, Omid was struggling. He was looking for a job, but nothing had come through yet. In these early days, while he waited to get an American driver's license, he relied mostly on donated Uber rides, a gift from someone in the Cape Elizabeth community. He missed being able to hop in his own car and make spontaneous trips with his wife and kids.For Nasir, the Maine countryside reminded him of the village in the north of Afghanistan where he was born — lots of trees and farmland, and quiet, which he liked. But Omid's life in Afghanistan had been in Kabul, a city of 4.6 million people when he was last there — more than three times the population of Maine. The city required constant vigilance. Driving around town meant navigating the security barriers that had been laid down to deter suicide car bombings. But it was home.In Afghanistan, Omid and his friends believed in seizing the day. They would make plans to go out for billiards and kebabs on a moment's notice. He couldn't adjust to the highly scheduled culture in which he now found himself. When people would suggest doing something days or weeks in the future, Omid would sometimes think to himself: "Who knows that you'll be alive then? Enjoy yourself!"Beyond Nasir and his extended family, neither Omid nor his wife, Palwasha, had found friends they could really talk to. Omid was also losing touch with his community from back home; it felt almost too painful to reach out. Friends of his had ended up in Turkey, England, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan, and others were back in Afghanistan. "My friends say, 'Now you have reached America, and you forgot everything.'" In fact, he'd found that staying in touch had made him miss them too much. Better to focus on the present, Omid thought. "What I am doing, and I'm sure what Palwasha is doing, is all for our kids," Omid told me. "We say to each other, and ourselves, that we lived in Afghanistan, we lived enough. So now, whatever it is, it is for our kids."It was at about this time when Omid and Nasir began taking their midnight walks. On those chilly, quiet nights, Omid could confide in his old friend.One night, during that first autumn, rain was falling, and Omid suggested — absurdly — that they go for a drive to check on one of Nasir's rental properties. Nasir gamely went along with it, understanding that his friend needed the company and the distraction. "Nasir was kind to me," Omid said, recalling the moment. Sometimes, Nasir told me, he'd forget that Omid was "freshly from Afghanistan," and that some of the things he observed in Omid were only natural. "You're fearful of people, you don't trust people easily'... I'm trying to tell him, 'This is America, you have freedom. Don't be fearful.'" "It will take a while for him to feel a sense of belonging," Nasir told me. Safa balances on Omid's palm.Jodi Hilton for InsiderEmily Mavodones, right, visits with Omid, left and Nasir at Omid's home, formerly a dentist's office.Jodi Hilton for InsiderOmid serves tea, nuts and dried fruits to Nasir, who on weekends and special occasions likes to wear Afghan clothes.Jodi Hilton for InsiderNasir, left, plays basketball with one of Omid's sons.Jodi Hilton for InsiderOn a crisp sunny day that first fall, the yellow leaves resplendent against a clear blue sky, Nasir was again playing host, as he and Emily welcomed guests to Omid's front yard for an official welcome party. Nasir's extended family prepared baklava and other treats. A local radio station was there, as well as Anne Carney, a Maine state senator. Neighbors stood about, holding cups of apple cider and cans of seltzer.Nasir climbed to the top of a chair and beamed down at the crowd. Wearing a vest over a long white tunic and loose pants, he joked that he looked the part of a traditional Afghan, while Omid, dressed in a navy-blue fleece and jeans, easily passed for an American. Omid stood beside him, looking slightly uncomfortable, as Nasir told the story of Omid's journey."I don't have words for Nasir," Omid told me later. "Thank is a small word. I love him, simply," Nasir tells him that, if he is trying to repay him, Omid is "in the wrong friendship."The length of your blanketOn a Friday afternoon in late July of this year, Omid's two older kids — Aref and Farzan — were hurtling through the house and yard, switching happily from game to game. Aref was demonstrating his karate kick. Farzan had taken a blue marker to their whiteboard. "Look what I'm drawing, a ghost!" he said. Then he lined up the dry-erase markers, red, green, and black. "It's the flag of Afghanistan," he said.By now, the boys spoke nearly perfect English. Omid told me that Farzan, in particular, preferred English. Palwasha is teaching their kids how to read and write in Pashto. She's also teaching Nasir's kids; they were all born in the US, and it's their first time taking lessons.  Later, as the boys looped around on their bikes, a neighbor from across the street came over with three zucchini from his garden. "We had extra," he said. His family is from Ukraine, and the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag hangs in his doorway. While the kids were living very much in the moment, the adults were still finding that more difficult. They are the keepers of too many memories, and too much hinged on their decisions.The house in Cape Elizabeth.Jodi Hilton for InsiderIt's not as if you can just snap your fingers and transform your life, Omid told me. But the family's progress in Cape Elizabeth was evident.After the welcome party, a neighbor had connected Omid with an IT job in Portland. He started in December, once he'd received his Social Security number. It was a contract role, from afternoon to evening, but it allowed Omid to support the family. In early January, Omid got his driver's license and started leasing a black Highlander. "It gave me the power to get out of the house," he said. So far, the family had made two big trips — to Virginia, nine hours away, and to Boston. On both trips, they delighted in time spent with Afghan Americans. Palwasha struck up a conversation with a woman from Pakistan, and the two women have stayed in touch. "Here, you will not find any Afghans, to at least talk with and share your feelings," Omid told me.Still, the progress could feel halting, and Omid was still seeking a permanent legal status for his family. Omid had an unexpected surgery in the spring and took a leave from his IT job; he'd been doing food-delivery service for extra income while he planned his next steps. Eventually, Omid would like to save up for a house, and start a business. He'd like to find work that feels challenging. He was accustomed, previously, to a comfortable life. Now, he worries that he will not be able to keep up with the wealth he sees around him, and that his kids will feel bad about it. He quoted an Afghan proverb that says you should wear the blanket that is your size, not the size of others; otherwise your feet will hang out the end and get cold. "Stretch your feet to the length of your blanket," the proverb says.  Palwasha, meanwhile, had been studying to get her driver's license. "We're having a lot of problems with the driving stuff, so she can at least come out of the house," Omid explained. "In Afghanistan, ladies drive, but it is not common. People there, if they see a lady driving, they tease her. 'Hey, you don't have a husband? Do you want a husband?'" He looked over at his wife. "She is my power. She is my advisor," he said. "She seems quiet, but she is not."Their neighbors have been a gift, they said. One of them, they refer to as "uncle." At various times, neighbors have dropped by to help fix the kids' bikes, lent Omid protective gear for his ears and eyes when he was spotted using a weed wacker without them, and inviting them over to pizza dinner. Together, they play basketball in one another's driveways and celebrate birthdays. "It's nice to look out the windows and see kids out there, and hear laughter," one of their neighbors told me.On a recent evening, the power had gone out while Omid was out delivering food. The neighbors came by with flashlights and games and kept the kids company until Omid got home. In the dark, Palwasha brought out a big tray of fruit. It was a cold evening, and they all sat together, huddled under a quilt to stay warm.The family visited an apple orchard in nearby Falmouth.Jodi Hilton for Insider'We had a beautiful life'Omid took a seat next to Palwasha on the couch, as Safa wiggled between their laps. Omid held up his laptop and they flipped through photos, starting with their wedding.Theirs had been an arranged marriage. It was held in Kabul, where they're both from, and 1,000 guests were there to celebrate. The two grew animated as they pointed out relatives and friends and memories from their former life. In one photo, Omid wore a shiny gray suit. Palwasha had picked it out for him. "I had about 20 suits while I was living in Afghanistan," Omid said. "And I left it all behind." He paused. "I'm the guy who never went to the office with jeans."Omid clicked on a photo of their apartment in Kabul. It had high ceilings, and they had painted every room a different color — pink, maroon, light gray, and white. "If you get bored in one room, you go to the next room, and your mind will be changed," Omid said. "We loved these colors." After Omid's family escaped Kabul, members of his extended family came by to collect some of their more precious items, and gave other things away. The apartment is no longer theirs. Omid pointed to the living-room rug, with its bold flowers, and said he had paid about $3,000 for it. "I was fond of this stuff," he said. "We had a beautiful life." Then, a photo of Omid in his office, at his last job in Afghanistan. "It was a big project," he said. "I miss it."They paused over a family photo from the day they left. Omid stiffened on the coach and the room went still. The portal had closed, and the mood, broken.They'd taken the picture to send to the US Marines at the airport so that they would be recognized. No one was smiling; they all looked straight at the camera, except for Safa, who stared up at the sky.Transported back to the present, Omid stood up and stepped away from the couch.Carnival They'd had a late lunch — creamy shola rice — so no one was hungry. Omid and Palwasha suggested an outing.They climbed into the Highlander, and the voice of Ahmad Zahir, singing in Dari, came on from the speakers. Palwasha relaxed into her seat. Aref's voice came from behind her: "I love family time."Crossing the Casco Bay Bridge, Omid drives into Portland. One of his first priorities upon arriving in Maine was to get his U.S. driver’s license and acquire a car.Jodi Hilton for InsiderThey drove a bit, and then Omid pulled up to the Old Orchard Beach carnival. Spotting the lit-up Ferris wheel and roller coaster, the boys jumped up and down, as their mother carefully transferred Safa, already fast asleep, to a stroller.Once inside, they passed an arcade, which Omid said reminded him of the video-game arcade they liked in Kabul. He bought a bundle of tickets, and Palwasha and the boys headed over to the Matterhorn and then the Pirate's Ship, snapping selfies as the boys shrieked with delight. Karimah, too little for most of the rides, poked her head through a cutout of a lobster's body and a Southwestern-themed scene called "Tortilla sunrise."The family reunited at the carousel. "It smells like the ocean," Aref murmured as his horse glided up and down a gold pole.Before too long, Karimah had claimed Safa's stroller, and Palwasha was carrying the baby. Requests for ice cream were met with gentle reminders that they had ice cream at home.They climbed back into the Highlander, content and sleepy. Omid took out his phone. "Siri, take me home," he said. "Siri, take me home."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 18th, 2022

I shopped at Sephora and Ulta to compare the 2 beauty stores and saw how they serve different customers

When it comes to beauty stores, Sephora and Ulta dominate the market. We compared the two and found that Ulta is the perfect one-stop shop for beauty essentials. Inside the Sephora Herald Square location in New York City.Ann Matica/Insider Sephora and Ulta are strong competitors when it comes to the retail beauty industry.  I decided to shop at the two beauty stores to find out how they compare.   When it comes to beauty stores, Sephora and Ulta dominate the market. Ulta has 1,308 stores across the US as of January 2022, while Sephora has an estimated 2,700 stores worldwide.Ann Matica/InsiderSource: Ulta and Sephora Both companies work with a plethora of beauty brands, ranging from high-end lines to more affordable options. Sephora has more than 340 different brands in its stores, while Ulta carries upwards of 600.Ann Matica/InsiderI decided to visit the Sephora and Ulta store locations in Herald Square, New York City, to find out which one carries more sought-after beauty brands, has more affordable pricing and offers a better in-store experience overall.Ann Matica/InsiderAs I approached the entrance to Sephora, I noticed a sign that advertised the location's professional makeup services. The services were priced between $30 and $90, depending on the length of the session.Ann Matica/InsiderOnce I was inside, my eyes were immediately drawn to the high-end makeup brands that were strategically placed at the front of the store.Ann Matica/InsiderA sparkly golden wall displayed Pat McGrath eyeshadow palettes that were priced between $62 and $128.Ann Matica/InsiderA Dior makeup section was also close by.Ann Matica/InsiderI saw more affordable makeup options, like those from Benefit, for customers hesitant to splurge on a $38 Dior lip gloss.Ann Matica/InsiderSephora also carries brands such as Milk Makeup that have the "Clean at Sephora" sticker, which means the products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, or other potentially harmful chemicals, according to the company.Ann Matica/InsiderIn the middle of the store is the beauty studio, where professional makeup artists were giving Sephora customers makeovers.Ann Matica/InsiderAlong with well-known makeup brands, Sephora also carries celebrity lines like Haus Labs by Lady Gaga.Ann Matica/InsiderI also spotted Rihanna's highly coveted Fenty Beauty line. Sephora carries the brand's makeup and skincare products.Ann Matica/InsiderThe skincare section at Sephora seemed just as big, if not bigger, than the makeup area.Ann Matica/InsiderThere were already limited-edition holiday bundles on display. The Tatcha skincare sets ranged from $72 to $88.Ann Matica/InsiderWhile the extensive skincare department is great for customers looking for popular brands like Drunk Elephant and Supergoop, it may not be the place to go for someone looking for a cheap cleanser or moisturizer.Ann Matica/InsiderThe most affordable brand I could find was Clinique, with products starting around $20.Ann Matica/InsiderThe clean skincare display with Sephora-branded face masks and makeup wipes also offered cheaper prices compared to most of the other brands.Ann Matica/InsiderSephora offers a free rewards program that gives loyal customers points on every purchase they make, which they can later redeem in exchange for free products. However, the in-store rewards display was unorganized, making it difficult to figure out how many points each product was.Ann Matica/InsiderFor hair care products, the selection was limited to brands like OUAI and Olaplex that sell shampoo for $30 a bottle.Ann Matica/InsiderI also only found a couple of hair curling and straightening tools in the entire store, all of which were from the pricey Drybar brand.Ann Matica/InsiderThe entire back wall of the store was completely dedicated to perfumes.Ann Matica/InsiderEvery designer scent I could think of seemed to be available, including a variety of Gucci perfumes that were priced between $73 and $153.Ann Matica/InsiderSephora also carries men's cologne, although a few Tom Ford testers seemed to be missing.Ann Matica/InsiderThe store was filled with shoppers browsing the shelves of products, and a long line of customers were waiting for an available register to check out.Ann Matica/InsiderOnce I was done at Sephora, I walked less than a minute down the street to the neighboring Ulta location.Ann Matica/InsiderUnlike Sephora's black and white floor design and dark shelves, the interior at Ulta was almost shockingly bright with an orange and white color palette.Ann Matica/InsiderThere were holiday-themed products on sale by the entrance, like an Ulta Beauty 12 Days of Nails advent calendar for $22 and NYX Halloween eyeliners for $10.Ann Matica/InsiderI noticed straight away that Ulta has more affordable makeup brands that Sephora doesn't carry, such as Morphe, which has eyeshadow palettes priced between $13 and $34.Ann Matica/InsiderThere were some popular makeup brands that Sephora also carries in its stores, like Urban Decay.Ann Matica/InsiderUp until this year, Fenty products were only sold on the Fenty website or at Sephora. I was surprised to see that Ulta had a larger selection of makeup from the line than the Sephora location I had been at.Ann Matica/InsiderSource: ElleI was disappointed to find out from an employee that Ulta doesn't carry the Fenty skincare line along with its makeup.Ann Matica/InsiderA corner of the store was dedicated to Benefit products and the brand's "Beauty Bar," where a customer was getting their makeup done.Ann Matica/InsiderThe other side of the store had a Chanel display and table for shoppers looking to splurge on higher-end items.Ann Matica/InsiderMost of the brand’s makeup and skincare products started at $50.Ann Matica/InsiderFor slightly cheaper options, Ulta also carries brands like Osea (which is not carried at Sephora) and Kopari (which has limited products sold at Sephora).Ann Matica/InsiderUlta also has Clinique products and drugstore skincare brands like Cetaphil.Ann Matica/InsiderThe perfume section at Ulta paled in comparison to Sephora's large selection.Ann Matica/InsiderI did see some fragrances, like Ariana Grande's line of perfumes, which cannot be found at Sephora.Ann Matica/InsiderAt the back of the store was the entrance to the Ulta Beauty salon, where customers can book appointments for everything from haircuts to 30 minute makeup lessons to its recently added ear piercing service.Ann Matica/InsiderThe salon at Ulta had an upper level that offered more privacy compared to the one at Sephora, where customers were getting their makeup done surrounded by other shoppers.Ann Matica/InsiderUlta had a large selection of hair dryers for sale from varying brands and at different price points.Ann Matica/InsiderThere was also a hair straightener and curler table for customers to check out.Ann Matica/InsiderMultiple walls in Ulta were devoted to shelves of shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products.Ann Matica/InsiderI came across a hand washing station and mirror for people to use while trying out tester products.Ann Matica/InsiderA section of Ulta close to the front of the store felt reminiscent of a drugstore makeup aisle. I found affordable L'Oreal mascaras and beauty sponges for as little as $2.49, which is a steal compared to the $20 beauty blenders available at Sephora.Ann Matica/InsiderUlta also had a whole section for nail polish, press-on nails, and nail care equipment.Ann Matica/InsiderBoth Ulta and Sephora offer options for customers to buy online and pick up their purchases at their nearest store location.Ann Matica/InsiderThe registers at Ulta were sectioned off with protective plexiglass dividers. There was a smaller line of customers waiting to get check-out compared to the hectic line at Sephora.Ann Matica/InsiderAfter visiting the two stores, it seemed clear to me that Ulta appeals to a wider demographic of customers by offering a mix of high-end brands and more budget-friendly options.Ann Matica/InsiderUlta also had a wider selection of hair care and nail products, while Sephora takes the lead with its perfume offerings and luxury skincare and makeup brands that can't be found at most retail stores.Ann Matica/InsiderUltimately, I found Ulta to be the more cost-effective and well-rounded option for those looking for a one-stop shop for all their beauty needs. It's the store I'll be returning to next time I run out of my favorite mascara.Ann Matica/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 13th, 2022

I"m a private tennis instructor who also makes up to $800 a month reviewing gear. Here"s how I leveraged my summer gig to get clients year-round.

Mario Musa only had to work four hours a day over the summer — the rest of the time, he got to work on his business and explore the campgrounds. Mario Musa on the tennis court.Mario Musa Mario Musa, 25, became a certified tennis instructor because he grew up loving the sport. He makes up to $800 a month reviewing tennis products and made $800 a week teaching summer camps. He says it's an easy summer job that, for him, doesn't require an instructor certification. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Mario Musa, a 25-year-old certified tennis instructor who spent the summer working as a tennis camp counselor. It has been edited for length and clarity.When I was 9 years old, I discovered just how much I loved playing tennis. Growing up in Albania, tennis wasn't such a popular sport, but during school we'd play on these old street courts. That's when I began to love learning how to play the game.I never thought I could make money off of my passion for tennis. I just looked at it as a timeless hobby. Then, last year, I decided to get my US Professional Tennis Association certification and launch my own website so I could begin teaching private lessons to kids throughout the year. I also started making between $400 and $800 a month by reviewing tennis products and gear and earning affiliate commission when readers made a purchase.But the real money-making opportunity happened this past summerMy nephew was telling me how excited he was to go to a camp called "Summer Camp Adventure" in New York's Adirondack Park, and when I started to research it more, I noticed it was in a beautiful location and looked luxurious.The camp's website mentioned it was looking for a summer tennis counselor, and the job came with a lot of perks. Not only was the pay really good at $800 a week, but all additional expenses were taken care of, like three free meals a day, laundry service, and on-site accommodations. Plus, the job only requires staff to work and live at the camp Monday through Friday, so I knew I'd have weekends off to go back home to my apartment in Queens, New York.The application process wasn't tough since the main requirement was to have prior experience coaching or working with groups of children. I had that from my own private tennis-coaching offerings. After I submitted the application, I was contacted for an interview, which involved sharing my experience with tennis and working with children. I was hired on the spot and started in June.My responsibilities were easyThe job came with two primary responsibilities: The first was facilitating tennis lessons to a group of campers, ages 7 to 15, each day. The second part was to ensure their safety by sleeping in the same cabin with them at night.Since the camp had so many activities, from horseback riding to extreme sports, the number of people who would come to the daily tennis program was usually quite small. Some days, nobody would show up, and then I'd have the day off. Other days, a group of anywhere between four to 12 of campers would arrive, and I'd spend two hours running a program for them and one to two hours cleaning the court after.After that, the rest of the day was mine. I'd spend my free time working on the computer, running my tennis website and business, going for hikes, and enjoying the amazing scenery of Adirondack Park.Since the majority of kids weren't interested in learning tennis at an advanced level, the lessons I gave were simple. I'd help them with their form and facilitated games. The toughest part was having to be a cabin counselor for a group of campersEvery week, a new group of anywhere between four and 12 campers would arrive in my cabin. While I did have my own room, it was still located next to where the group slept. A big part of the job was to supervise the campers, making sure they got up and ready in the morning and went to sleep at a decent hour at night. What made this so challenging was that sometimes the kids would be mean to each other, and I'd have to step in and break up any verbal arguments. They would also play pranks. For example, one of the kids in my cabin put a fake snake on the floor. The first time this happened, it scared me. After I realized what these kids were capable of, I became more aware of their pranks and was on the lookout for what they would do next. A popular recurring prank involved kids throwing water balloons out the window to hit passerby.Anyone could do this job — even if you're not a tennis professionalTo be honest, you don't need to be a tennis professional to do this job. You don't even need to be a certified instructor. The camp will train you and help you with programming. But you do need a certain kind of personality, because without that, the job could become really hard and not worth the money.To be successful in this role, you need energy, a positive attitude, and a true love and empathy for working with children, since you're around them day and night. If you're a tennis instructor already, the job comes with more benefits that can help you throughout the yearWithout this job, I would've had to work extremely hard to find enough clients to make $800 a week on my own. But with this side hustle, you're working two to four hours a day, receiving extra benefits for free, and making really good money for a summer job. I already have some of my campers signed up to do private lessons with me this year. Now that the summer is over, I'm planning on using most of the money I made to reinvest in my own tennis business to help get more clients and build my reputation. I want to open my own summer camp one day, but for now, I plan to continue working this lucrative summer job.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 2nd, 2022

Pro-Antifa California Teacher Who Vowed To Turn Students Into "Revolutionaries" Is Paid To Resign

Pro-Antifa California Teacher Who Vowed To Turn Students Into 'Revolutionaries' Is Paid To Resign Authored by Bill Pan via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A California teacher who bragged about using his position to radicalize students into far-left “revolutionaries” has been given three years of pay by his school district to resign, according to a report. People hold Antifa flags in a file photo. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images) Gabriel Gipe, a teacher of Advanced Placement government at Inderkum High School, agreed in January to leave his post with a $190,000 payout from the Natomas Unified School District, according to The Sacramento Bee, citing district records. Gipe, whose annual base salary is about $60,000, received a final paycheck of about $100,000 after taxes were withheld, according to the newspaper. The teacher drew outrage from the school district community last year after he was featured in a video by undercover news organization Project Veritas. In the video footage, Gipe says he gave students extra credit for them to attend left-wing events, including counter-protests to the “right-wing rallies.” He also allegedly kept track of his students’ political inclinations to make sure they drifted further left as time went on. “So, they take an ideology quiz and I put [the results] on the [classroom] wall. Every year, they get further and further left,” he tells the undercover journalist, who was posing as a left-wing sympathizer. “I’m like, ‘These ideologies are considered extreme, right? Extreme times breed extreme ideologies.’ Right? There is a reason why Generation Z, these kids, are becoming further and further left.” Gipe says he displayed on his classroom wall an Antifa flag, which he claimed was “meant to make fascists feel uncomfortable.” The video footage also shows a poster of Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong on a wall in the teacher’s classroom. When asked about his views on the Chinese Communist Party, Gipe says in the video footage that Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which took place after a disastrous economic campaign that triggered mass starvation and famine, provides lessons for how socialism can take root inside the United States. “You need propaganda of the deed—your economics—and cultural propaganda as well. You need to retrain the way people think,” he says. “We have to hit both fronts. We have to convince people that this [socialism] is what we actually need.” Later, when a Project Veritas reporter confronted Gipe on the street, the teacher was wearing a T-shirt with a hammer and sickle on the front. Gipe didn’t respond to the reporter’s questions regarding his persuading of students to adopt far-left ideologies. Following parents’ outrage, the school district placed Gipe on unpaid leave pending an investigation, acknowledging that Gipe’s “educational approach” was “disturbing and [undermined] the public’s trust.” An administrative judge later ordered that Gipe be put on paid leave as the district’s investigation continued. The report of the investigation revealed more details about Gipe’s problematic conduct, including replacing typical AP government curriculum with lectures about communism and pinning photos of students who expressed conservative ideas on a wall next to a swastika. “You used your position of authority with a captive audience of impressionable teenagers to promote your own political ideology, including advocating or teaching communism with the intent to indoctrinate or inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism,” the district report reads, according to The Sacramento Bee. In response to a request for additional information, the Natomas Unified School District officials said in a statement that they have put the matter behind them. “We have put this behind us and have moved forward,” the statement reads. “What’s most important right now is welcoming our students back to the start of a new school year.” Tyler Durden Sat, 08/13/2022 - 21:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 13th, 2022

96+Broadway, Striking Gateway to the Upper West Side, Launches Sales of Residences

Sales have launched at 96+Broadway, the much-anticipated Upper West Side luxury condominium building situated on 250 West 96th Street, between Riverside Park and Central Park. Developed by JVP Management, a private real estate development and investment firm, and designed by NYC-based Danish designer Thomas Juul-Hansen, 96+Broadway delivers chic sophistication and... The post 96+Broadway, Striking Gateway to the Upper West Side, Launches Sales of Residences appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Sales have launched at 96+Broadway, the much-anticipated Upper West Side luxury condominium building situated on 250 West 96th Street, between Riverside Park and Central Park. Developed by JVP Management, a private real estate development and investment firm, and designed by NYC-based Danish designer Thomas Juul-Hansen, 96+Broadway delivers chic sophistication and timeless design—combined with a suite of premium amenities designed for modern living—to an iconic city intersection that is being redefined for generations of New Yorkers, both new and established. The 23-story building features a diverse mix of 131 skillfully-crafted residences ranging from one- to five-bedroom layouts with pricing starting at $1.395 million for a one bedroom. “As a long-time Upper Westsider myself, this project was very personal. In fact, my family will live in the building when it is completed,” says the developer, Van Nguyen of JVP Management. “In taking on this project, we saw a truly unique opportunity to help define a prominent corner of the Upper West Side.  Guided by the experience of living in New York, we wanted to develop a building which meets future residents’ needs while adding to and improving on the rich history and environment of the neighborhood.” Achieving a balanced aesthetic that celebrates an iconic neighborhood, Juul-Hansen’s design for 96+Broadway incorporates elegant Jura gray limestone imported from sustainable German stone producer Franken-Schotter—a nod to the Upper West Side’s penchant for spectacular limestone Beaux Arts structures. Generous loft-like windows and staggered terraces create a sophisticated grid pattern paired with the limestone, ushering the past into the present through clean, modern lines that are accentuated by burnished bronze-finished framing. Inside, the building’s monumental lobby features soaring 20-foot ceilings, oversized windows that invite plenty of natural light inward, as well as a ground-level courtyard where residents can lounge outdoors. A centerpiece of the lobby is a striking welcome desk that was carved out of a monolithic block of Silver Travertine, emphasizing Juul-Hansen’s dedication to exquisite quality in his design. “This is a building that is meant to last,” says Thomas Juul-Hansen. “96+Broadway was created with practicality and design excellence at heart, maximizing the quality of living for all residents who choose to call it home through generous floor plans, top-tier materials, and master craftsmanship.” Organic materials become a focal point in each home with open-plan living rooms that display extra-wide, 7.5-inch European white oak flooring and lead out into Juliet balconies or terraces with arched, custom-designed, bronze-finished balusters in select residences. Kitchens are defined by Italian-crafted solid oak cabinets and drawers with exposed dovetail joinery and earthy desert quartzite slab kitchen countertops and islands, as well as equipped with Sub-Zero Wolf appliances. Primary bathrooms are finished in heated herringbone-patterned Truffle White marble flooring and feature a Waterworks soaking tub (and fittings) enveloped by Bianco Dolomiti marble, which also extends its cladding to the walls and floor. In addition to spacious, refined homes, 96+Broadway will offer an impressive indoor and outdoor amenities package with comprehensive wellness features. At basement level, a grand 75-foot saltwater pool features wall-to-ceiling geometric Hemlock wood paneling and travertine floors for a sauna-inspired experience; while an invigorating spa suite creates moments for indulgence and self-care without having to step outside of the building. For those who prefer an adrenaline rush, 96+Broadway will offer a fully-equipped fitness center and Pilates room as well as a regulation squash court with basketball hoop. Both the indoor pool and fully-equipped fitness center open to a sunken terrace, which allows natural light into the space. To complete the indoor amenities offerings, a children’s playroom and separate entertainment lounge provide spaces for residents of all ages to kick back and relax, while a music room furnished with guitars, a grand piano, keyboard, and electronic drumset facilitates any burgeoning musician—protecting the sanctity of peace and quiet for the rest of the family. Outdoors, an elegantly landscaped rooftop terrace boasts stunning views of the New York skyline and the Hudson River. Atop the expansive terrace, residents can enjoy a truly unique offering: an exclusive outdoor cinema that presents ample opportunities for entertaining along with cozy lounge seating and an outdoor kitchen with multiple adjacent dining areas. Situated at an iconic intersection of a beloved neighborhood, 96+Broadway is minutes away from the Upper West Side’s best dining and cultural attractions, including the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium, Symphony Space, Children’s Museum, Beacon Theater, Jacob’s Pickles, Barney Greengrass, the 91st Street Garden at Riverside Park, and the Central Park Tennis Courts. The development is conveniently located across the street from the 96th Street 1/2/3 train subway stop that runs the length of Manhattan into Brooklyn.   Compass Development Marketing Group is the exclusive sales and marketing agent for 96+Broadway. For more information or to schedule a private appointment, please call 212-926-9696, email info@96andBroadway.com or visit 96andbroadway.com. The post 96+Broadway, Striking Gateway to the Upper West Side, Launches Sales of Residences appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyAug 3rd, 2022

Ten Great Lessons From “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”

Hollywood’s purest gold is in glorious black and white: Warner Brothers’ “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Directed by the inimitable John Huston. Screenplay by John Huston and Robert Rossen from the novel by the mysterious B. Traven. Starring the director’s father, storied stage and screen actor, […] Hollywood’s purest gold is in glorious black and white: Warner Brothers’ “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Directed by the inimitable John Huston. Screenplay by John Huston and Robert Rossen from the novel by the mysterious B. Traven. Starring the director’s father, storied stage and screen actor, Walter Huston, in his Oscar-winning role as the venerable prospector, Howard, the best supporting actor who ever stole a picture. And Huston’s dear friend, leading man Humphrey Bogart, cast against type as, per Bogie himself, “the worst sh-t you ever saw,” Fred C. Dobbs. Set and largely filmed in John Huston’s beloved Mexico, this unforgettable morality tale is rated 100% on “Rotten Tomatoes.” Science teaches: when inter-rater reliability reaches 100% the conclusion can’t be wrong. Or, as my father always said: “If ten people tell you you’re drunk, you’re drunk.” More than a fable, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is a grand tour of the best and worst in human nature, A timeless guide to the benefits and perils of friendship and partnership, love and life, castles and moats, business and investment. Of “Treasure’s” many great lessons here are an even ten: Spoiler alerts apply! "Don’t Take A Risk, Can’t Make A Gain." --- Walter Huston as "Howard" We first meet wizened Howard---Walter Huston reluctantly shed his uppers to appear old beyond his 64 years---at the Oso Negro (Black Bear) flophouse, regaling his fellow down’n’outers with a neo-Marxist analysis of the lure of gold: Gold derives its value from the backbreaking work---prospecting and mining---of production, not its ultimate utility. For gold has little save dentistry and adornment. Is Howard a wayward labor organizer? A fellow-traveler? Even a card-carrying Communist? The answer is D, none of the above. Howard is a “learning machine,” Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger fashion. A mature man of deep vision and moral clarity, a natural philosopher who has compounded skills and wisdom over a well-traveled and closely examined life: A venture capitalist who washed out, but isn’t washed up. So when Howard warily seals the deal with brutish Dobbs and genial Bob Curtin—cowboy-star Tim Holt in the best performance of his career---he blesses their prospecting venture with the fundamental tenant of commercial life: “Don’t Take A Risk, Can’t Make A Gain.” None Are Pure At Heart Like any fable “Treasure” features heroes and villains. And in verisimilitude villains may sometimes do right, heroes can go wrong, and everyone has their reasons. Embittered Dobbs is so certain he will be exploited he is first to do so: “Nobody puts one over on Fred C. Dobbs!” Loathe to share and eager to steal, Dobbs can nonetheless “do the right thing:” He generously tips the Mexican boy who sells him a winning lottery ticket---after previously cruelly dousing him with water in the first reel (“Our Gang” veteran Bobby Blake was fearful of Bogart until they warmed to each other on the set); He helps Howard close the exhausted goldmine, a gesture without reward in this life and a favor for which he seeks no recompense; He contributes the lion’s share of venture capital with a hearty laugh and handshake. But note well Dobbs remains highly transactional: as he freely admits, without his added contribution the venture is sunk. Moreover Dobbs’ spare cash is lottery winnings, house money anyone might casually risk. And, true to his character or lack of it, Dobbs complains of his partners’ supposed ingratitude later in a fit of pique at the mention of the word “hog,” see below. The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend---Ancient Proverb When interloper Cody---formidable Olympian, Bruce Bennett, a Warner contract player---appears uninvited at the campsite Dobbs menaces him and awkwardly punches him. (Though personally intimidating, Bogart shied from fisticuffs, onscreen and off.) Overplaying a weak hand, Cody suggests he might report the find to Mexican authorities if he is not made partner. The threat enables Dobbs to convince reluctant Curtin and Howard to murder Cody rather than share future earnings. Significantly, Curtin and Howard appear sick at heart as they draw their revolvers, whereas Dobbs leads the party and betrays more than a hint of bloodlust. Cody escapes his fate through the fortuitous arrival of Gold Hat, the memorable psychopath played by veteran Mexican actor, Alfonso Bedoya, and his posse of bandits. (Actual bandits in real life, they teased and terrified Bedoya even as his legendary performance—“stinkin’ badges”---frightens and delights viewers.) Thus a prompt reversal of fortune transforms Cody from mortal enemy to brother-at-arms in the desperate gun battle he does not survive. Cody's Widow: Moral Beacon As Howard, and then the more literate Curtin, solemnly read a letter from Cody’s wife---now widow---we learn Cody’s backstory: he sought gold not for himself but to provide a better life for his wife and family. Heretofore in “Treasure” the only on-screen women have been streetwalkers, as mercantile as the men. The widow’s letter is anything but transactional. She loves Cody unconditionally: dismissive of gold, for “we’ve already found life’s real treasure.” Howard and Curtin, unloved and childless men, are moved as we, and promise a share of their find to the widow, as though Cody had been partner from the start. Indeed had Cody not joined them in battle, the outcome might well have been death or worse, as Traven’s novel and the original screenplay forewarn. Selfish Dobbs dismisses his partners as fools who “must’ve been born in a revival meeting.” Cody’s fate is his own bad luck and Dobb’s good. The virtues of Cody’s off-screen widow will figure prominently in the denouement of the picture. Game Theory Rules Every human encounter in “Treasure” rings true, for each abides by classical game theory’s four possible outcomes: Win-Win Lose-Lose Win-Lose Lose-Win Only Win-Win grants enduring mutual benefit. Venture capitalist Pat McCormack is strictly Win-Lose: he hires work crews and “when it comes time to pay off he takes a powder.” Dobbs and Curtin only secure their pay when they tag-team sociopathic McCormick in a vicious bar fight, not easily won. So McCormack goes from Win-Lose to Lose-Win and Dobbs & Curtin go Win-Win, then partner with Howard for a hoped-for Win-Win-Win. But when the going gets tough Dobbs breaks ranks, calls for a default Lose-Lose-Lose, even threatening Howard’s life with a rock. Howard laughs it off: “Without me you two would die here more miserable than rats!” He taunts his flagging partners with another animal analogy, “You’re dumber than the dumbest jackass!” For Dobbs and Curtin fail to appreciate “the riches you’re treading on with your own feet:” Gold! And Howard dances—quite ably---with joy! Suddenly it’s Win-Win-Win, as hoped and dreamed, thanks to Howard, who now educates his partners in the difficult, dangerous and dirty work of goldmining. The Fish That Always Stinks: Selfish Win-Win-Win endures only with generosity and tolerance. Selfish Dobbs possesses neither. He insists on dividing the day’s yield three ways nightly, setting the stage for conflict rather than the mutuality that has heretofore brought success. Dobbs is consistently selfish and intolerant: He does not share water with Cody; He would not exchange tobacco with the Indians (“Why not everybody smoke his own?”) He will not support Cody’s widow; He mocks the Indians’ moral/religious obligation to repay Howard for reviving a drowned boy; indeed he comments that Howard has been duly punished for his kindness. To be sure, Howard’s good deed---the most beautiful, solemn, near-religious moment of the picture---will springload the conclusion of Howard’s story. Bulls Eat, Bears Eat, Hogs Get Slaughtered---Wall Street Maxim Put simply, greed kills. Dobbs, who tellingly bridles at the very word “hog,” is dissatisfied with $35,000 in gold, his one-third share of the $105,000 find. In today’s dollars the total find is 1.5 million and Dobb’s share half a million: the difference between a small fortune and substantial wealth. As Dobbs plainly states, a one-third share might support the remainder of Howard’s life and minimalist lifestyle. But Dobbs is younger, seeks pleasure, luxury and revenge upon the cruel world he inhabits. Selfish to the core, he will not share. Thus when moral duty calls Howard to the Indian boy’s aid and honorable Curtin won’t agree to abandon Howard and plunder his share, Dobbs descends further into greed and paranoia. Dobbs projects his own selfish wishes onto Curtin, then rationalizes Curtin’s murder to take the full pot lest Curtin kill him first. Curtin, too noble to take Dobbs’ life in cold blood, suffers the consequences. "Wars are caused by undefended wealth." --- Ernest Hemingway But Dobbs does not reckon that “one less gun” applies to Curtin’s “death” as well as Cody’s. Now he is alone to face Gold Hat & Co on the long journey back to Tampico, which he never completes. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." --- African Proverb Inversion: From Loss To Learning When wounded Curtin, newly christened medicine man Howard, and the befriended Indians find the empty sacks of gold among the ancient ruins, Curtin is understandably crestfallen. Howard, who has taught Curtin much, mentored and fathered him, wisely laughs off the loss and offers Curtin his greatest gift yet: the thinking tool beloved of Buffett and Munger, inversion: “Laugh, Curtin, old boy, it’s a great joke played on us by the Lord or fate or nature---whatever you prefer, but whoever or whatever played it, certainly had a sense of humor. The gold has gone back to where we found it. This is worth ten months of suffering and labor, this joke is.” And Curtin is a quick study: “You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it’ll be before it’s happened. I’m no worse off than I was in Tampico. All I’m out is a couple hundred bucks when you come right down to it. Not very much compared to what Dobbsie lost.” You can view this brilliant and touching climax here: "Life's Real Treasure" --- Cody's Widow Sheltered beneath a stone wall among ruins now perhaps speckled with gold dust, Howard reveals his plan: He will live out his remaining years as medicine man to the tribe he has befriended, with honor, respect and likely even love, as suggested in earlier scenes where Howard, pampered and adored by young Indian women, breaks the fourth wall to wink at the camera. Remarkably, it was Walter Huston himself who introduced the greatest song of late-life love, Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s “September Song,” from “Knickerbocker Holiday,” heard here and now timeless: The more we learn of Howard’s development as a person—prospector, horseman, marksman and warrior, musician, philosopher, dancer, teacher, healer---the more we admire him; moreover, he is moral compass and guide to this amazing story. Howard is kind, courageous, restrained when need be, bold when action is warranted. Howard eschews worldly wealth even as he sought it: he offers his share of what remains of their goods to Curtin, if Curtin will but visit widow Cody and bring the terrible news in person. And perhaps, with another wink to the camera, Howard suggests that Curtin fulfill the ancient duty to marry his brother-at-arm’s widow, whom we already know to be as good as she is beautiful. Howard, at last, is matchmaker, as well. Bogie's Redemption: "The African Queen" (1951) But what of “Treasure” lead Humphrey Bogart, fallen Dobbs? Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Harvey Roy Greenberg, MD, in his book “Movies on Your Mind,” argues that movie stars inhabit our unconscious as eternal icons, even as they pass from role to role, molding the identities that will enshrine them forever. In the Bogart persona Dr. Greenberg traces the seeds of paranoia from “The Maltese Falcon” (1941) through “Casablanca” (1942) to full flower in “Treasure” where frank psychosis leads Bogart’s Dobbs to his ignominious death in an off-screen beheading. If Greenberg’s thesis is correct, John Huston surely sought redemption for his pal Bogart in “The African Queen.” Spoiler alert! Here grizzled, alcoholic, heretofore marginal Charlie Allnut finds sobriety and purpose, romance and heroism, accepting even death upon the gallows, through the love of yet another good woman, Katherine Hepburn’s iron-willed, devoted missionary, Rose, whom he joins in selfless devotion to flag and country. The role won Bogart his long overdue Oscar for Best Actor: a gold-plated statuette that is the ultimate tribute, of love and respect, an actor can receive. To be sure and to be clear that is Howard’s message at the close of “Treasure,” that love, honor and respect are far greater treasure than gold. Updated on Jan 4, 2022, 12:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 4th, 2022

The 4 best airline-approved cat carriers of 2024, tested and reviewed

We tested airline-friendly pet carriers for flying with a cat. Our top picks for the best airline-approved cat carriers include stylish and budget options. When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreYou'll need one of the best airline-friendly pet carriers to keep your cat safe and comfortable while flying.Amazon; Sleepypod; Chewy; Diggs/Business InsiderAir travel with a cat is stressful, but one of the best airline-approved cat carriers can make it easier. When a cat is flying at your feet in the plane cabin, a durable soft-sided carrier with some key features will ensure your pet's comfort and safety, and your peace of mind.To select the best carriers for flying with a cat, we spoke with a veterinarian and pet travel experts and tested 24 different airline-friendly pet carriers. Our top pick, the Sleepypod Air, is as durable as it is comfortable for pets and humans alike. If you're looking for a more affordable airline cat carrier, the simple Frisco Premium Airline Compliant Quilted Carrier Bag will keep your kitty comfortable from the beginning to the end of your journey.Keep in mind that carrier size requirements vary by airline. Delta, American Airlines, and United allow pet carriers up to 18 inches (L) by 11 inches (W) by 11 inches (H). Some airlines have smaller maximum sizes, so make sure to check the airline's website before embarking with your pet.Read more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches pet products.Our top picks for the best airline-approved cat carriersBest overall: Sleepypod Air - See at ChewyBest expandable: Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable Carrier - See at AmazonBest stylish: Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier - See at AmazonBest budget: Frisco Premium Airline Compliant Quilted Carrier Bag - See at ChewyBest overallOur cat testers weren't shy about expressing their clear preference for the Sleepypod Air. During a recent trip to the vet, they both piled into the carrier, opting for its cozy sanctuary over their other carrier. The Sleepypod Air's plush bedding, just-right ventilation, and spacious interior proved calming and comfortable. For skittish fliers, the carrier includes a privacy screen you can slide through the mesh top, though this significantly reduces your cat's access to fresh air.The carrier stands out for its innovative design and commitment to pet safety — it's certified by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that researches and crash-tests pet carriers to ensure their safety. Rather than doors, it features one continuous zipper that runs end to end. With one pull of the zipper, the carrier transforms into an open bed, converts into a car seat, or rolls up for convenient storage. It's also designed to fold in approximately 2.5 inches at each end, meeting the size requirements of most major airlines. We recommend practicing compressing the bag before your trip. The padded cross-body shoulder strap felt supportive, and the carrier rested comfortably against the body without collapsing inward. With the luggage strap, the carrier easily stayed balanced on a suitcase when rolling over curbs and rough sidewalks.The Sleepypod Air isn't cheap. However, given its versatility, comfort, and impressive safety features, we believe it's well worth the investment. You can return it, used or unused, within a year, and Sleepypod guarantees a replacement if it's damaged in an auto accident.Best expandableOn long travel days with time spent in airports, Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable Carrier offers jet-setting cats extra space to stretch out. It includes a zippered panel on its right side that unfolds into a mesh atrium that nearly doubles the carrier's interior space. While the expandable section can't be used in flight, this feature makes it the best airline-approved cat carrier for cross-country flights with layovers and extended stays away from home.The spacious carrier is front- and top-loading with a roll-up privacy flap over the top door, and it offers plenty of ventilation to keep a cat from overheating. Inside, there is a soft plush bolster bed and safety tether. Outside, it has an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a faux leather carry handle. There is one 10-inch by 4-inch mesh pocket on the backside. With sturdy mesh screens and smooth zippers, Mr. Peanut's carrier excelled in our testing. It was easy to spot clean, and although the bed is labeled hand-wash only, it came out of the washing machine looking nearly new after air-drying.When we tested the luggage strap, the carrier remained mostly balanced on our suitcase, slipping only about an inch to one side. Carrying it on the shoulder was comfortable, and the strap was easy to adjust to the correct length.Best stylishThe Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier not only looks great but also prioritizes safety. Like the Sleepypod Air, it is crash-test certified by the CPS. It also has an interior safety tether and a zipper-locking mechanism to prevent unintentional openings during transit.  The cushy interior mat provides maximum comfort for your kitty copilot while the padded cross-body and secure luggage straps ensure that your precious cargo has a smooth journey from point A to point B. We also appreciate the thoughtful conveniences for human travelers, including three pockets for storing your or your cat's belongings, including a large 16-inch by 6-inch front zipper pocket. There's a D-ring to clip your keys too. In case of accidents, the carrier comes with one custom-fitted pee pad (more sold separately) that you can access via a side panel to minimize disturbing your pet. The nylon fabric carrier has a moisture-resistant quality that causes liquids to bead up on contact, so bigger messes won't readily adhere. However, the mat has a bolstered edge where gunk can get stuck, so you'll want to thoroughly spot-clean the interior cushion once you reach your destination. Despite the carrier's 20-inch length, each side compresses by an inch, ensuring it meets most in-cabin airline regulations. Despite the carrier's 20-inch length, each side compresses by an inch, ensuring it meets most in-cabin airline regulations. The width of the carrier also exceeds airline regulations by a half inch but as long as you don't overstuff the side pocket, it can compress. Best budgetAlthough this carrier is a fraction of the price of our other picks, it still performed well in durability testing. At home, it was also the carrier our tester cats consistently chose to lounge in time and time again. Simply put, the cozy Frisco Premium Airline Compliant Quilted Carrier Bag is an excellent budget airline cat carrier.Susan Nilson, a cat and dog trainer and behavior specialist, recommends leaving a carrier with the doors open at home so your cat can get accustomed to it before travel. We did just that, and the carrier quickly became one of our cats' favorite spots to nap. Even after machine washing the interior fleece mat, it didn't lose its softness or cat appeal.The carrier has two doors, top and side, and two storage pockets: a secure Velcro pocket to stash your keys and phone and a mesh pocket to keep your cat's treats and travel documents easily accessible. The included collapsible silicone bowl and ID tag ticks two essentials off your packing list.The adjustable shoulder strap and carry handle lack padding and may become uncomfortable on longer journeys. Similar to pricier options, the Frisco carrier includes a luggage strap designed to attach the carrier to the telescopic handle of your suitcase. However, the strap doesn't keep the carrier well-balanced on curbs and sidewalks, so you'll want to have a free hand for added support. What to look for in an airline cat carrierCat carriers come in many different styles at varying price points. To ensure you get the best value for safety and comfort, our experts recommend considering the following factors when shopping.Safety: Unlike child car seats, there are no universal safety standards or inspections for cat carriers. However, some brands go the extra mile by subjecting their carriers to rigorous testing by reputable third-party or nonprofit safety organizations. Among our recommended picks, the Sleepypod Air and Diggs Passenger Travel Carrier have been crash-test certified by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that studies the safety of pet products. Currently, CPS studies do not extend to air travel and flight safety. Despite the absence of standardized air travel safety tests, crash-test certification remains the gold standard. As Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of CPS, points out, you'll want to consider your entire journey, including driving from your home to the airport and transportation at your destination. Wolko says carriers are most susceptible to failure at seams where the mesh connects to the carrier body. She recommends inspecting carriers for any signs of loose threads, weak spots, or faulty zippers to ensure their overall safety and reliability throughout transit.Size: A carrier should be roomy enough for your cat to comfortably turn around and lie down while still being compact enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Carrier size requirements vary by airline, so double-check your airline's specific requirements.  Fortunately, size isn't usually a limiting factor for cats. More often than not, they prefer to curl up in a small ball and hide during the trip, says Dr. Jo Myers, a veterinarian with Vetster. She says extra room for playing, eating, drinking, or using the litter box during the flight is typically unnecessary. However, if you anticipate a long layover and want extra legroom for your cat, an expandable carrier like Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable Carrier is a good choice.Weight restrictions: Many in-cabin cat carriers are suitable for cats weighing up to 15 or 18 pounds. If your cat is on the heavier side, double-check the weight limit for the carrier you're considering purchasing and make sure your cat has room to comfortably move around in the carrier. Ventilation: Most carriers are designed with enough ventilation (at least 16%) to meet the International Air Transport Association (IATA) minimum requirement. Some carriers may have less or more, so the amount of ventilation you choose depends on you and your cat's preferences. Since Myers says most cats prefer to hide in stressful environments, carriers with privacy walls and flaps may be beneficial. Alternatively, she recommends bringing a towel or blanket that you can place over the carrier if your cat becomes stressed. "Even if you cover the carrier with a towel, it's far from airtight," she says. "Simply check on your cat occasionally, without disturbing them any more than necessary."How we tested airline-approved pet carriersOur cats had plenty of time to explore the cat carriers we tested.Janelle Leeson/Business InsiderWe developed our selection and testing criteria for this guide to the best airline-approved cat carriers with advice from our experts. The 24 carriers we evaluated underwent the tests described here.Feature comparison: After conducting interviews with our experts, we created a point rubric for scoring each carrier based on the following features:Shape and designInterior matLoading doorsCarrying straps and handlesPocketsVentilationPrivacy flapsInterior safety tetherID tagLuggage strapDimensions and in-cabin airline capabilitySafety certificationsEase of storageScrape test: We scraped a mesh section of each carrier 50 times with a fork to test its durability, noting any damage or discoloration. Zip test: To test the durability of each carrier's zippers, we completely zipped and unzipped one of its loading entrances 50 times. In the process, we observed changes in the zipper's ability to smoothly run its course.Luggage test: If a carrier included a luggage strap, we evaluated how well it remained balanced on top of a suitcase. We placed a 10-pound weight inside and attached the carrier to a suitcase handle so it rested on top of our luggage. Then we rolled it over a curb, up a ramp, and along the sidewalk and street of a city block. Ventilation test: According to Wolko, ventilation is important to prevent a cat from overheating during travel. We measured the dimensions of each carrier's mesh panels and calculated the percentage of the total surface area they comprised. We favored bags with more ventilation. According to IATA live animal regulations, pet carrier bags must have a minimum of 16% ventilation. Walk test: We took each soft-sided carrier containing a 10-pound weight on a 15-minute walk around a neighborhood. Each was carried using the shoulder strap and held at the front of the body the way a person would if they had a real cat inside. For the last block of the walk, we switched to using the hand-carry straps. The backpack carriers were taken on the same walk but were not carried by hand. With each one, we paid attention to how comfortable it was to carry, how much it bounced, and whether it collapsed inwards.Goop test: We devised this test to determine how easy it would be to clean the carriers if a cat vomited or defecated in transit. We mashed together cat kibble, canned food, and water with a mortar and pestle to make the goop, then spread a tablespoon on an exterior wall and interior mat of each carrier. After 48 hours, we wiped the goop from the exterior using dish soap and water and cleaned the mats in the washing machine. Drop and stomp tests: We brought the carriers to a local park, loaded each one with a 10-pound weight, and threw them off of a 10-foot play structure, looking for any damage that occurred upon landing. We then rolled the bags several times on the ground with the weight still inside, looking for damage to the stitching, mesh, or zippers. Later, at home, we placed each carrier on a rug and stomped on it a dozen times with bare feet, noting whether its frame changed shape or the bag suffered any other damage.Airline cat carrier FAQsWhat is considered an airline-approved pet carrier?To fly with a cat in the cabin of a plane, you'll need a soft-sided carrier that fits within the allowable dimensions of the airline, which vary a little from airline to airline. Regardless of the carrier you use, Wolko says to make sure your cat has enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Additionally, there should be at least 2 to 3 inches of clearance from the top of their ears to the interior roof of the carrier.How much does it cost to fly with a cat? Fees for flying with a pet in the cabin of a plane vary between carriers. At United Airlines, a one-way flight for your cat adds $125 to your ticket price. At Delta, there is a $95 fee for domestic flights. Flying a cat in the cargo hold on a domestic flight is typically about $300 per trip. Sending a cat on an international flight can cost up to triple that amount.How much ventilation should a carrier have? For soft-sided carriers, Wolko says mesh ventilation should be on at least three sides of the bag. In cargo, airlines require that a kennel is ventilated on all four sides. According to the IATA live animal regulations, both soft- and hard-sided pet carriers must have a minimum of 16% ventilation. Do cats need to go to the bathroom on a flight? Unless a cat has a medical condition, they will be fine without access to a litter box for the duration of a flight. "Just based on the physiology of cats, they could probably go from Boston to Hawaii without needing to void," says Dr. Bob Murtaugh, a veterinarian and chair of veterinary medicine for the National Academies of Practice.In the cargo hold, kennels cannot be outfitted with a litter box or anything other than an absorbent liner and a soft bed or blanket. "If the travel day will be more than eight hours, during a layover pet owners can arrange a comfort stop for cats to be let out of their carrier," says Elaine Mathis, pet travel specialist and project manager at Happy Tails Travel. When you let your cat out of their carrier, you'll want to make sure your cat is safely secured with one of the best cat harnesses attached to a leash.Do cats need food and water on a flight? On shorter in-cabin flights, it's unlikely your cat will require food or water. However, if you're flying your cat in cargo, Mathis says a food bowl and water bowl should be in the carrier regardless of the flight length. She recommends using dishes that fasten to the crate's door and can be refilled easily from the outside, such as Lixit's Quick Lock Crock 10-ounce bowls.What are the signs that my cat may be in distress in flight?According to Murtaugh, a few obvious signs may indicate your cat is in distress during a flight, either due to fear or excessive heat. A cat that is panting, restless, and vocalizing could be experiencing significant anxiety or overheating. If the membranes in their gums turn bright red, the latter is most likely, and it's important to cool them off quickly. If a flight attendant approves, placing the carrier on your lap so they can feel the air blowing from the vent above your seat or wiping them down with a wet cloth may help lower their body temperature. Before your travel, Nilson recommends lightly spraying the carrier with calming pheromones. How to prepare a cat for flyingIn the weeks before their trip, introduce your cat to their carrier or kennel in a positive way. "Make the carrier feel like a cave or a home or something that's comfortable, something that they're not just jammed into the first time they're on their way to the airport," says Murtaugh.Place the carrier in an area of the home where your cat spends a lot of time and encourage them to explore it by placing catnip and treats inside or by playing with them in and around the space. Murtaugh says that taking your cat on a car ride or other forms of transportation while in their carrier may also be helpful in the weeks before the flight. He recommends placing a bed or blanket that smells like home inside the carrier and using a pheromone spray or collar to help take the edge off. If your cat has a history of experiencing debilitating stress during travel and will be flying in the cabin, you can speak to your vet about prescribing an anxiety-relieving medication. However, it's important to test medication out before your flight. "Make sure there won't be any untoward side effects," says Murtaugh. "Your vet can help you tailor that to your cat's needs."The IATA recommends against sedating a cat before flying in the cargo hold. It can be fatal for older, chronically sick, or highly stressed animals. Nilson says calming pheromones such as Feliway or Pet Remedy are safe alternatives.Best soft-sided: Wild One Travel CarrierWild One makes the best airline-approved cat carrier that's both stylish and durable.Shoshi Parks/InsiderDimensions: 17.5" L X 11" W X 10" HTotal ventilation: 31%Folds flat for storage: YesAvailable colors: Spruce, black, tanWarranty: Limited one-year warrantyPros: Three ways to load, unzips into a bed, machine-washable mat, secure luggage strap, padded detachable shoulder strap converts into a leash, folds flat for storage, comes in three colors, limited one-year warrantyCons: No padded carry handleThe innovatively designed Wild One Travel Carrier converts from an easy-to-transport bag to a comfortable, open pet bed in just a few zips. With a detachable padded shoulder strap that doubles as a leash and a cushioned machine-washable interior mat, this carrier is an ideal home-away-from-home at the airport and your destination.The Wild One Travel Carrier has two important safety features: an interior tether and snaps on the zippers that prevent them from opening in transit. On the outside, there are two wide zipper pockets on one side and two small pockets on the other. The front and back doors both have zip-out privacy screens. A pet can also be loaded through the zippered top.Wild One's carrier shined in testing among the best airline-approved cat carriers. It earned the highest scores in our scrape, zip, and goop tests, and its wide luggage strap kept the bag completely balanced on a rolling suitcase. It also has the most ventilation of any bag we tested.It is comfortable enough to carry this bag by hand, but it lacks a padded carry strap. While it's among the pricier carriers we tested, for the wide range of features included in its modular design, it's well worth the extra cost.Get $25 off each carrier you purchase from Wild One with code INSIDER20 at checkout.Best expandable: Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable CarrierThis expandable airline pet carrier gives your cat room to stretch out at the airport.Shoshi Parks/InsiderDimensions: 18" L X 10.5" W X 11" HTotal ventilation: 18%Folds flat for storage: YesAvailable colors: Platinum gray, deja blueWarranty: NoPros: Front and top-loading carrier, expandable compartment increases carrier's size by more than 50%, secure luggage strap, padded detachable shoulder strap, washable interior plush bolster bed, comes in five colors, folds flat for storageCons: Limited pocket space, expandable section can't be used in flight, no warrantyOn long travel days with endless time spent in airports, Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable Carrier offers jet-setting cats extra space to stretch out. When unzipped, a panel on its right side unfolds into a mesh atrium that more than doubles the interior space.The spacious Mr. Peanut's Gold Series Expandable Carrier is front- and top-loading with a roll-up privacy flap over the top door. It has plenty of ventilation to keep a cat from overheating. Inside, there is a soft plush bolster bed and safety tether. Outside is an adjustable padded shoulder strap and a faux leather carry handle. There is just one 10-by-4-inch mesh zip pocket at the back. When not in use, this bag folds flat for storage.Mr. Peanut's carrier excelled in testing. The mesh remained intact in the scrape test, the zipper moved smoothly in the zip test, and the bag's interior and exterior came completely clean in the goop test. Although the bed is labeled hand-wash only, it looked nearly new after machine washing and air drying. On one side, this carrier has a luggage strap for slipping over the handle of a carry-on suitcase. It remained mostly balanced on luggage as we walked, slipping only about an inch to one side. Carrying on the shoulder was comfortable, and the strap was easily adjusted to the correct length.While the expandable section of Mr. Peanut's carrier can't be used in flight, this feature makes it the best airline-approved cat carrier for cross-country flights with layovers and extended stays away from home.Best budget: Elite Field Soft-Sided Airline-Approved CarrierIt's not perfect, but this $35 carrier is easy to carry, rides smoothly on a carry-on suitcase, and has great comfort and safety features.Shoshi Parks/InsiderDimensions: 17-inch carrier: 17" L X 9" W X 12" H19-inch carrier: 19" L X 10" W X 13" HTotal ventilation: 27.5%Collapses flat for storage: YesAvailable colors: Black, pink, purple, sky blue, charcoal gray, sapphire blueWarranty: NoPros: Padded detachable shoulder strap, padded carry handle, secure luggage strap, multiple pockets, washable interior mat, collapses flat for storage, comes in six colors and two sizesCons: Not top-loading, seam of interior mat ripped in washing, no warrantyThe cozy Elite Field Soft-Sided Airline Approved Carrier is an excellent budget airline cat carrier. The bag not only has many of the features of our pricier picks for the best airline-approved cat carriers, but it also scored well in testing.The Elite Field carrier has a soft fleece mat and safety tether inside and five different pockets outside, one of which unzips to convert into a luggage strap. The strap kept the carrier well-balanced on curbs and sidewalks. An adjustable padded shoulder strap and carry handle are comfortable to use. When carried on the shoulder, the bag flexes inward somewhat.A whopping 27.5% of the Elite Field is covered in mesh ventilation, which earned the highest scores in our scrape and zip tests. While the bag's exterior and interior mat came completely clean in our goop test, a seam along the length of the mat split open in the washing machine. It still fits over its interior panel, and because that panel is covered in polyester, the tear doesn't compromise the mat's utility. It collapses inward to store flat.The only significant features the Elite Field lacks are a top-loading door and a warranty. The carrier comes in two sizes and is flexible enough that even the longer version fits in a box measuring 18 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 11 inches high.Best backpack: Mr. Peanut's Backpack CarrierMr. Peanut's Backpack Carrier is a convenient way to get through the airport with your cat.Shoshi Parks/InsiderDimensions: 17" L X 10.6" W X 11" HTotal ventilation: 17.5%Folds flat for storage: YesAvailable colors: Platinum gray, charcoal ash, deja blue, purpleWarranty: NoPros: Comfortable padded back and straps, plush wrap-around interior mat, fits under seat in most airlines, several exterior pockets, locking zippers, folds flat for storage, available in four colorsCons: Backpack straps are not removable, no warrantyIf you aren't traveling with a rolling carry-on suitcase, a backpack carrier may be a more comfortable way for you and your cat to navigate the airport. Convenient, durable, and comfortable for both you and your cat, Mr. Peanut's Backpack Carrier is ideal for use before, during, and after a flight.The carrier has adjustable padded straps, padded back panels, and an adjustable chest strap for you. For your cat, it has a luxurious plush mat that wraps around the interior for a soft ride on the back and when laid flat beneath an airline seat.This backpack has two important safety features: an interior tether and buckling safety zippers. A roll-up privacy flap over the top panel serves as the front-loading door when the carrier is laid flat. There is a 7-by-7-inch zipper pocket on one side, and on the other, a mesh water bottle holder and two smaller pockets. At the end of the journey, the carrier folds flat for storage. Mr. Peanut's Backpack Carrier did well in testing, earning the highest scores in our scrape, zip, and goop tests. It also has more ventilation than the other backpacks we tested, with 17.5% of its surface area covered in mesh. The interior mat is labeled hand-wash only, but it held up well in the washing machine with air-drying.Best for cargo: Gunner G1 Medium Dog KennelThe durable Gunner G1 Kennel is a worthwhile investment for frequent fliers who travel with their cat in cargo.Shoshi Parks/InsiderDimensions: 29.5" L X 20.5" W X 23.5" HTotal ventilation: 7%Folds flat for storage: NoAvailable colors: Gunmetal, tanWarranty: Limited lifetime warrantyPros: Five-star crash-test rating, extremely tough, escape-proof, lifetime warrantyCons: Expensive, heavy, does not fold for storage, limited ventilationIf you want to be sure that your cat will reach their destination safely when flying in cargo, Gunner's G1 Kennel is our top recommendation among the best airline-approved cat carriers. With double walls, a reinforced aluminum door frame, and a welded nylon and aluminum door, Gunner's G1 Kennel is the toughest crate we've ever seen. In crash tests conducted by the Center for Pet Safety in 2018, the Gunner G1 Medium Dog Kennel earned a five-star safety rating for pets up to 45 pounds, and it was the only kennel to withstand our drop testing. The Gunner G1 Kennel's door is escape-proof with a built-in key lock and a door that can be hung to open from the left or the right. At the bottom of the crate are elevated nonslip feet, and there are two extra-sturdy handles and built-in stainless steel tie-down pins on the top. The interior floor is recessed, so if your cat goes to the bathroom or spills their water in flight, the liquid will be funneled away from their bedding. At 38 pounds, the Gunner G1 Medium Kennel is the heaviest of those we tested, but that weight lends itself to the kennel's durability. It did not suffer any damage after being dropped 10 feet with a 10-pound weight inside, and when a bag of 30-pound weights was dropped on it from 10 feet above, it left behind only a small exterior divot.The Gunner G1 Kennel does not have much ventilation or fold down for easy storage. Starting at $550, it's also the most expensive carrier we tested by far. Despite these downsides, there's no stronger, safer crate on the market. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty. How we tested airline-approved pet carriersShoshi Parks/InsiderWe developed our selection and testing criteria for this guide to the best airline-approved cat carriers with advice from our experts. The 20 carriers we evaluated underwent the tests described below.Feature comparison: After conducting interviews with our experts, I created a point rubric for scoring each of the 17 soft-sided carriers based on the following features:Shape and designInterior matLoading doorsCarrying straps and handlesPocketsVentilationInterior safety tetherNo-escape petting holeID tagLuggage strapDimensions and in-cabin airline capabilitySafety certificationsStorageScrape test: I scraped a mesh section of each soft-sided carrier 50 times with a fork to test its durability. When complete, I noted any damage or discoloration. Zip test: To test the durability of each carrier's zipper, I completely zipped and unzipped one of its loading entrances 50 times. In the process, I noted any changes in the zipper's ability to smoothly run its course.Luggage test: Each soft-sided carrier with a luggage strap was attached to a suitcase handle, then rolled over a curb, up a ramp, and along the sidewalk and street of a city block. Inside the carriers, I placed a 10-pound weight and watched to see how well they remained balanced as we traveled.Ventilation test: According to Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of Center for Pet Safety, ventilation is important to prevent a cat from overheating during travel. I measured the dimensions of each carrier's mesh panels and calculated the percentage of the total surface area they comprised. I favored bags with more ventilation. Walk test: I took each soft-sided carrier containing a 10-pound weight on a 15-minute walk around my neighborhood. Each was carried using the shoulder strap and held at the front of my body the way I would if I had a real cat inside. For the last block, I switched to using the carrier's hand-carry straps. The backpack carriers were taken on the same walk but were not carried by hand. With each, I paid attention to how comfortable it was to carry, how much it bounced, and whether it collapsed inwards as I walked.Goop test: I devised the goop test to determine how easy the carriers would be to clean if a cat vomited or defecated in transit. I mashed together cat kibble, canned food, and water with a mortar and pestle to make the goop, then spread a tablespoon on the exterior wall and interior mat of the contenders. After 48 hours, I wiped the goop from their exteriors using dish soap and water and washed the mats in the washing machine. Drop test: This test was designed for hard-shelled cargo kennels. I brought the candidates to a local park and, with the help of my partner, loaded each kennel with a 10-pound weight and threw it off of a 10-foot play structure, looking for any damage that occurred upon landing. In the second test, we dropped a bag of 30-pound weights on top of the kennel from the 10-foot play structure to test for structural integrity.Airline cat carrier FAQsWhat is considered an airline-approved pet carrier?To fly with a cat in the cabin of a plane, a soft-sided carrier must fit within the dimensions allowed by the airline, which vary a little from company to company. Within their parameters, make sure your cat has enough room to stand up, turn around, and comfortably lie down inside, says Wolko. Additionally, there should be at least 2 to 3 inches of clearance from the top of their ears to the interior roof of the crate.How much does it cost to fly with a cat? Fees for flying with a pet in the cabin of a plane vary between carriers. At United Airlines, a one-way flight for your cat adds $125 to your ticket price. At Delta, there is a $95 fee for domestic flights. Flying a cat in the cargo hold on a domestic flight is typically about $300 per flight. Sending a cat on an international flight can cost up to triple that amount.How much ventilation should a carrier have? For soft-sided carriers, Wolko says mesh ventilation should be on at least three sides of the bag. In cargo, airlines require that a kennel is ventilated on all four sides.Do cats need to go to the bathroom on a flight? Unless a cat suffers from a medical condition, they will be fine without access to a litter box for the duration of a flight. "Just based on the physiology of cats, they could probably go from Boston to Hawaii and without needing to void," says Dr. Bob Murtaugh, a veterinarian and chief professional relations officer at Thrive Pet Healthcare.In the cargo hold, kennels cannot be outfitted with a litter box or anything other than an absorbent liner and a soft bed or blanket. "If the travel day will be more than eight hours, during a layover pet owners can arrange a comfort stop for cats to be let out of their carrier," says Elaine Mathis, pet travel specialist and project manager at Happy Tails Travel.Do cats need food and water on a flight? On shorter in-cabin flights, your cat will unlikely require food or water. However, if you're flying your cat in cargo, Mathis says a food bowl and water bowl should be in the carrier regardless of the flight length. She recommends using dishes that fasten to the crate's door and can be refilled easily from the outside, such as Lixit's Quick Lock Crock 10-ounce bowls.What else does my cat need to fly?Most airlines require a health certificate provided by a veterinarian to prove that a cat is safe to fly in the cabin or cargo hold.What are the signs that my cat may be in distress in flight?According to Murtaugh, a few obvious signs may indicate your cat is in distress during a flight, either due to fear or excessive heat. A cat that is panting, restless, and vocalizing could be experiencing significant anxiety or overheating. If the membranes in their gums turn bright red, the latter is most likely, and it's important to cool them off quickly. Placing the carrier on your lap so they can feel the air blowing from the vent above your seat or wiping them down with a wet cloth may help lower their body temperature.How to prepare a cat for flyingThe best way to combat a cat's flight anxiety is to tackle it before getting on the plane.Shoshi Parks/Insider In the weeks before their trip, introduce your cat to their carrier or kennel in a positive way. "Make the carrier feel like a cave or a home or something that's comfortable, something that they're not just jammed into the first time they're on their way to the airport," says Murtaugh.Place the carrier in an area of the home where your cat spends a lot of time and encourage them to explore it by placing catnip and treats inside or by playing with them in and around the space. Murtaugh says that taking your cat on a car ride or other forms of transportation while in their carrier may also be helpful in the weeks before the flight. He recommends placing a bed or blanket that smells like home inside the carrier and using a pheromone spray or collar to help take the edge off. If your cat has a history of experiencing debilitating stress during travel and will be flying in the cabin, you can speak to your vet about prescribing an anxiety-relieving medication. However, it's important to test medication out before your flight. "Make sure there won't be any untoward side effects," says Murtaugh. "Your vet can help you tailor that to your cat's needs."Sedating a cat before flying in the cargo hold is not recommended by the International Air Transport Association. It can be fatal for old, chronically sick, or highly stressed animals.Rules for flying with a cat in cargoWhile working with an animal shipping professional can help make preparing your cat for travel less stressful, it is not required in the United States. International destinations may have other regulations for air-shipping pets. Always confirm your airline's requirements well in advance of your pet's flight. To air-ship a cat, the kennel must meet the following standards established by the International Air Transport Association:Crate size: The interior width of a crate or kennel must be at least two times the width of a cat. The kennel's length must be at least the length of a cat plus half their height. The height of a carrier must be at least as tall as the animal's natural height in a standing position from the tip of the ears to the floor. Mathis recommends using a medium-size crate for cats that is at least 2 to 3 inches taller than this minimum. If you have a cat with a snub nose or smooshed face, the kennel must be 10% larger than for non-brachycephalic pets.Crate material: A crate must be made from rigid plastic, wood, or metal with a solid roof containing no doors or ventilation. There should be only one metal door that closes securely. "If the crate looks cheap and flimsy, it's not suitable for air travel," says Mathis. Crate extras: Crates in cargo cannot have wheels, plastic doors, or plastic latches. They also cannot be collapsible or have a door in the roof.Crate interior: The only items allowed inside an animal crate during a flight are an absorbent liner or potty pad, a soft pad or blanket, and clip-in water and food bowls that attach to the crate doorRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt2 hr. 3 min. ago

20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA

In this article, we will discuss the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. You can skip our detailed analysis of the tourism and travel industry, and go directly to the 5 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. The art of tourism involves exploring uncharted territory, finding comfort in the embrace […] In this article, we will discuss the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. You can skip our detailed analysis of the tourism and travel industry, and go directly to the 5 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. The art of tourism involves exploring uncharted territory, finding comfort in the embrace of unfamiliar surroundings, and fully integrating oneself into the tapestry of various civilizations. This voyage has the power to transform, revealing hidden gems, igniting the spirit of adventure, and cultivating a deep connection with the natural world. The worldwide tourism market is projected to surge at a CAGR of 5% over the next ten years, with an estimated value of $10.5 trillion in 2022. It is anticipated by analysts at Future Market Insights that the tourism market would reach an estimated value of $17.1 trillion in 2032. It is predicted that the proliferation of new trends like adventure tourism, art tourism, and so forth will speed up the development of the global tourist sector. Adventure tourism, which includes activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, excavation, kayaking, and other sports, has been an important driver of the tourism market share in recent years. Second, the use of tourist websites plays a crucial role in the management and monetization of all forms of tourism. It is additionally expected that social networking sites’ growing popularity would present a great opportunity for the expansion of the travel industry. Countries with a thriving tourism industry, including the United States, France, and other European nations, are among the most renowned travel destinations worldwide. However, in recent years, several lesser-known Asian and African nations have emerged in popularity as getaways for foreigners, as per Future Market Insights. To take advantage of the possible financial gains from this shift, global travel service providers are realigning their services. According to a recent survey conducted by Forbes, despite facing challenges, travel remained popular among Americans in 2023, with an average of 2.1 leisure trips per person. Out of the respondents, 36% took three or more trips. Looking ahead to 2024, 92% of participants expressed their intention to either maintain or increase their travel plans, although there was a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Specifically, 40% planned to take more trips, down from 49% in 2023. Notably, 39% of respondents anticipated spending more on travel, indicating resilience in their budgets, albeit slightly lower than the 45% reported last year. In light of concerns over inflation, 46% of participants adjusted their travel plans. This adjustment included 19% opting for fewer trips and 18% favoring road trips over flying. Additionally, the utilization of travel benefits on credit cards decreased from 66% in 2023 to 57% in 2024, reflecting evolving financial strategies in response to changing economic shifts. Despite economic pressures, the desire to travel remains a top priority across generations, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. A significant 56% and 49% of these age groups, respectively, have expressed plans to embark on more trips. As for popular travel choices in 2024, visiting family and friends takes the lead with 46%, followed by beach vacations at 36% and road trips at 34%. Amid inflation concerns, 30% of respondents are uncertain about changing their travel plans, adopting a cautious approach. Travelers prioritize experiences despite economic uncertainty, utilizing reward points and looking for ways to cut costs.  As reported by the European Travel Commission, in 2023, European tourism showed promising signs of recovery, nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels despite visitors being 1.6% lower than in 2019. However, a 23% inflation surge significantly impacted travel expenses, particularly with a 49% increase in international flight costs and a 35% rise in hotel rates. While Southern Europe experienced robust growth, Eastern Europe lagged. Notwithstanding a major 67% decline in Chinese arrivals in contrast to 2019, North American markets rebounded. Despite pricing challenges, Europeans prioritize safe and affordable destinations. The European Travel Commission additionally forecasts that the travel industry will persist and expand in 2024, with a focus on sustainability throughout this period of transition.  As we shed light on sustainability, recently, The Sustainable Flight Fund of United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) has surpassed $200 million in investments, marking a noteworthy landmark. United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) business partners, which emphasize working together to address environmental issues, include Aircastle, Air New Zealand, and Alphabet Inc. They represent various sectors within the aviation supply chain. Furthermore, since February 2023, over 115,000 United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) customers have donated almost $500,000, demonstrating the broad support that the company has received for sustainable initiatives.  In addition to establishing strategic investments exceeding $200 million, the Sustainable Flight Fund has attracted 22 business partners. Notably, portfolio companies like EH2 and Cemvita are pushing the technology development and manufacturing of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) has included a contribution option in its booking process to involve customers in addressing climate change. Acknowledging the significance of SAF in reducing air travel’s carbon footprint, United Airlines Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:UAL) is leading the way in creative solutions, including collaborations and customer involvement. By funding businesses, this innovative project seeks to lower emissions and advance the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Another renowned US-based company is Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB) which runs an online marketplace for experiences and short- and long-term home stays. In 2023, Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB) acquired GamePlanner.AI, an artificial intelligence company started by Adam Chyler, the man behind Siri. The latter is an AI startup with 12 employees that has been prospering outside of the public eye since it was founded. The acquisition price and the terms of the arrangement were not disclosed by Airbnb, Inc. (NASDAQ:ABNB). However, CNBC reported, citing people involved with the negotiations, that the deal was valued at “just under $200 million.”  According to Airbnb, the GamePlanner.AI team will incorporate its tools into the platform and concentrate on boosting specific AI initiatives at Airbnb. Therefore, this demonstrates the company’s seriousness about its dedication to incorporating AI. With that said, here are the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. Susan Hoffman/Shutterstock.com Methodology: To pick out the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA, we have used a consensus-based approach using a variety of credible sources to determine the best-kept secret locations. To give you the finest result possible, we picked places from numerous forums on Reddit, as well as websites such as Travel & Leisure and Via Travellers amongst others, assigned them a score based on their number of appearances, and ranked them accordingly. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.  20. Estes Park, Colorado    Insider Monkey Points: 2 Situated amidst the majestic and iconic Rocky Mountains, Estes Park, Colorado, located 90 miles northwest of Denver, provides magnificent scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking and observing wildlife. It is a well-liked vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The picturesque downtown area with its stores, eateries, and galleries is open for exploration by tourists. Estes Park is among the places that are very special to the United States. 19. Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota  Insider Monkey Points: 2 The vast Black Hills National Forest, which is 125 miles long and 65 miles wide, is located in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. It is home to Black Elk Peak, the highest peak in the state of South Dakota, at 7,244 feet. This area features rough rock formations, gulches, and canyons, wide-open grasslands, cascading streams, clear blue lakes, and unusual caves. Travelers can take leisurely drives, trek through pine forests, and observe the magnificent wildlife that inhabits this region. Black Hills National Forest is one of the secret vacation spots in South Dakota.  18. Molokai, Hawaii Insider Monkey Points: 2 For travelers seeking an unforgettable Hawaiian island adventure, Molokai, a hidden gem that is the fifth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, offers an ideal destination. Rich in Hawaiian culture and genuine experiences, Molokai caters to those desiring to explore some of the most pristine and unspoiled natural landscapes in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is one of the least visited places in the US and a hidden gem vacation spot in the world.  17. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida Insider Monkey Points: 2 Santa Rosa Beach, an appealing town in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, is celebrated for its immaculate white sand beaches and emerald waters. An array of recreational activities are available to visitors, including swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. They can also explore quaint seaside towns and dine at waterfront restaurants. Santa Rosa Beach offers a typical Florida beach vacation with its natural beauty and laid-back vibe. Santa Rose is one of the most unique places to visit in the US. 16. San Juan Island, Washington  Insider Monkey Points: 2 Located in northwest Washington, the United States, San Juan Island is the second largest and most densely populated of the San Juan Islands. As of the 2020 census, 8,632 people called this land area home. Washington’s San Juan Island is a tranquil island retreat notable for its breathtaking scenery and plethora of species. Tourists can discover the stunning coastal scenery, trek scenic trails, and observe whales from the shore. Charming towns provide local cuisine and cultural attractions, making San Juan Island an ideal getaway for leisure and outdoor pursuits.  15. Holland, Michigan Insider Monkey Points: 2 Unknown to many, Michigan’s Holland is a vibrant city known for its beautiful scenery and extensive Dutch culture. Holland, which is home to the yearly Tulip Time Festival, is recognized for its breathtaking tulip fields and historic windmills that are a throwback to its Dutch heritage. In addition to taking in the beautiful panorama of the Lake Michigan shoreline, visitors can stroll through the quaint downtown streets that are dotted with unique shops and cafes. Holland is a charming place to visit because it provides a beautiful fusion of culture, history, and scenic beauty.  14. Gardens of the Gods, Colorado Insider Monkey Points: 2 When surveyor Rufus Cable first laid eyes on the towering fins of rock rising more than 300 feet into the air at Pikes Peak in 1859, he exclaimed with enthusiasm that it was “a fit place for the gods to assemble!” This enthusiastic outburst inspired the name Garden of the Gods, which we now know for this gorgeous Colorado Springs park.  The Garden of the Gods is a natural wonder known for its enormous red rock formations and breathtaking natural beauty. Wander along the park’s picturesque paths, which give sweeping vistas of the soaring sandstone formations against Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The Garden of the Gods is an essential stop for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike because of its distinctive rock formations, varied species, and extensive history. 13. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park  Insider Monkey Points: 3  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a breathtaking natural wonder known for its active volcanoes and unique ecosystems. The prominent Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, as well as steam vents and lava tubes, are among the striking landscapes sculpted by volcanic activity that are visible to visitors in the park. In one of the most distinctive settings on earth, this park enables tourists to explore the evolving forces of nature and Hawaiian heritage through hikes, scenic drives, and cultural experiences. It is one of the most beautiful hidden places in the world.  12. Fredericksburg in Texas Insider Monkey Points: 3 Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a captivating town distinguished for its appealing beauty, German heritage, and wineries. Popular attractions, including the National Museum of the Pacific War, Texas Wine Country, world-class shopping, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, are all found in Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg provides a lovely getaway for visitors, as it is one of the best kept secret places to visit in the USA. It is one the number one vacation spots in the US. 11. White Sands National Park, New Mexico   Insider Monkey Points: 3 White Sands National Park in New Mexico not only has the largest gypsum dune field in the world, with gypsum hearth mounds that are unique to the planet, but it also has the largest collection of Ice-Age fossilized footprints in the world, which tells the story of over 20,000 years of human habitation while offering unforgettable recreational opportunities. Visitors can experience the surreal scenery by hiking, sledding down the dunes, or driving around the park. The ever-changing scenery formed by the shifting sands provides many opportunities for adventure and photography. White Sands National Park offers both nature enthusiasts and thrill seekers an unparalleled experience because of its distinct beauty and tranquil surroundings. 10. Sedona, Arizona  Insider Monkey Points: 3 Sedona, one of the best-kept secret places to visit and known for its breathtaking natural beauty and spiritual energy, is a compelling location that lies in the heart of Arizona’s red rock country. Explore the striking red rock formations, go on spectacular treks through the natural landscape, or treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment. The town is also noted for its thriving arts scene, which includes various galleries displaying local artwork and crafts. For those looking for inspiration and rejuvenation, Sedona offers a life-changing experience with its stunning scenery, calm ambiance, and ethereal charm. 9. Kanab, Utah Insider Monkey Points: 3 Kanab, Utah, which is one of the most hidden states in the USA, is among the best-kept secrets in not only Southwest Utah but also the USA. It is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts, film buffs, and everyone else. It has an abundance of natural landscapes to explore, a rich history, and an incredible location in the center of Southern Utah’s most well-liked attractions. Utah, Kanab is a quaint town encircled by magnificent natural landmarks like Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim. Hence, this park is renowned as the “Gateway to the Parks.” 8. St. Augustine, Florida Insider Monkey Points: 3 For over four centuries, St. Augustine has captivated and delighted tourists. As the earliest continuously populated European-established community in the mainland United States, one of the oldest cities in the US boasts more than just beautiful cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and pristine beaches.  One of the most interesting facts about St. Augustine is that it has the narrowest street in the United States. Treasury Street is just seven feet in width.                                                             7. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada Insider Monkey Points: 3 Valley of Fire State Park is world-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops buried in gray and tan limestone, as well as old, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back over 2,000 years. The most ideal location to see petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire is Petroglyph Canyon, next to Atlatl Rock. In the heart of Nevada’s breathtaking desert scenery, visitors can explore the canyon’s walls embellished with these ancient artworks, offering an unparalleled and fully immersive experience. 6. Block Island, Rhode Island  Insider Monkey Points: 4 Eleven miles off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island is a picturesque 11-square-mile beachside resort known as “One of the Last Twelve Great Places in the Western Hemisphere.” It possesses a timeless charm with its majestic cliffs, lush green hills, and immaculately maintained Victorian hotels. The 17 miles of pristine public beaches and scenic walking trails that wind through meadows, forests, and along the sea are its main attractions. Old Harbor, situated on Block Island, has a wide variety of shops and eateries. Block Island is among the 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA.  Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA. Suggested Articles: 25 Best Colleges with High Acceptance Rates 15 Reasons Why Millionaires Think They’re Middle Class 20 Biggest Cosmetics Brands in the World Disclosure: None. 20 Best Kept Secret Places to Visit in USA is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 26th, 2024

19 Coolest Cars Released in the 1980s

The “yuppie” decade of the 1980s gave way to some incredible car releases to match the flashiness of the times. There is no doubt the 1980s gave way to dreams of fast cars with kids making lists of cars they one day hoped to own. Most notable about cars from the 1980s is that these […] The post 19 Coolest Cars Released in the 1980s appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. The “yuppie” decade of the 1980s gave way to some incredible car releases to match the flashiness of the times. There is no doubt the 1980s gave way to dreams of fast cars with kids making lists of cars they one day hoped to own. Most notable about cars from the 1980s is that these are cars people still remember today. This list is full of cool cars from the 1980s that people desperately wanted to own. It’s the latter that is the focus here as you look back at the coolest cars released in the 1980s.  Introduction  The Ferrari Testarossa was undoubtedly on lots of wall posters during the 1980s. As you look at a list of the coolest cars released in the 1980s, there are not too many surprises. Lamborghini, Bentley, Ferrari, and Porsche all unsurprisingly have a place here. What’s more surprising is that some of the coolest cars are also the most understated. The Saab 900 Turbo could handle weather Ferrari could never dream of while the AMG Hammer took sedans to new heights.  AMG Hammer The AMG Mercedes gained instant fame during the 1980s the fastest sedan on the road. In the 1980s, the most recognizable performance sedan was undoubtedly the AMG Hammer. First released in 1986, the Hammer was a modified version of the Mercedes W124 E-Class. Adding a 5.6L V8 engine to the vehicle, AMG was able to create a vehicle faster than the Lamborghini Countach from 60-120 MPH and 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. AMG would up the ante with even faster modern cars in the 1990s where it would finally become an official part of the Mercedes family.  Audi Quattro The Audi Quattro wasn’t a supercar, but it sure gave off sports car vibes behind the wheel. While the Audi Quattro looked nothing like the supercars of the 1980s, it sure performed like one. In its S1 trim level, the Quattro packed a whopping 591 horsepower. A total of five turbochargers were in place to push this all-wheel monster toward super-fast speeds. Originally designed as a rally car, Audi brought it to market and produced right around 11,500 units.  Bentley Turbo R Defining luxury through the 1980s, the Bentley Turbo R remains a beautiful vehicle inside and out. No car better stood for the opulence of the 1980s than the Bentley Turbo R. Grey Poupon anyone? This production car hit the road in 1985 where it had a price tag beginning at $195,000. The opposite of sporty, the Bentley Turbo R featured a beautifully wood-trimmed dashboard and a mobile phone antenna as standard. This was the car for the business executive who wanted the world to know they were the Gorden Gecko of their industry.  BMW E28 M5 The BMW M5 E28 offered pure driving pleasure without the supercar price tag. When you look up understated in the dictionary, you get a picture of the 1984 BMW E38 M5. This was one of the most understated vehicles of the decade as it produced 282 horsepower. A total production run of 2,241 vehicles was built over the next few years making this one of the rarest cars BMW has ever produced. Although it didn’t look like it wanted speed, the BMW E28 M5 could easily run 0-60 in 5.7 seconds outrunning just about every other sedan of the 1980s.  Buick Grand National GNX Buick’s surprise Grand National GNX release helped keep muscle cars alive in the 1980s. Released in 1987, the Buick Grand National GNX was an opportunity to keep muscle cars alive in the 1980s. Released 5 years after the initial Grand National release, the GNX model was limited to only 500 units. What’s notable about this vehicle is that the idea for it came during the 1985 Indianapolis 500 when Buick and McLaren met to discuss automobile performance. The result was close to 300 horsepower and an engine sound that is still memorable to this day.  Chevrolet Corvette C4 After disappointing sales years prior, the Chevrolet Corvette C4 reinvigorated the beloved muscle car. Chevrolet needed a home run with the Corvette lineup after some bumps in the road with the third-generation C3. With the release of the Chevrolet Corvette C4 in 1984, the most recognized American muscle car found itself back on stable ground. The C4 model was so successful that Chevy wouldn’t make any dramatic changes to its styling until 1996. Even the release of the popular ZR-1 edition didn’t force Chevy to make any big styling updates. The modern look was an absolute hit with customers who longed for an improved Corvette model.  DeLorean DMC-12 Made famous with its role in the Back to the Future movie, the DeLorean remains instantly recognizable. Arguably the most recognizable 1980s car, the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 was never close to being a commercial success. However, its unique design caught the attention of Hollywood and it would soon become a part of movie history. Made famous in the Back to the Future movies, the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 has both a fascinating backstory and pretty disappointing performance. There were few owners of this car in the 1980s who gave it a ton of praise, but it’s a pop culture icon all the same.  Ford Country Squire  No car was more comfortable on your way to Wally Word than the Ford Country Squire. You can’t do any list of 1980s cars without talking about the age of the station wagon. Millions of families owned these vehicles and for many 1980s children, this was the first experience anyone had with cars. In fact, for many kids, the wood-paneled Ford Country Squire station wagon would be their first car as a hand-me-down from parents. It was slow and long but it sure was comfortable to sit in during all of those family road trips.  Ford Mustang GT 5.0 The Ford Mustang 5.0 GT was a ton of fun to drive and one of the best Mustangs ever. There were plenty of memorable Ford Mustangs over the years but the Ford Mustang GT 5.0 is one of the most fondly remembered. The two-tone design was instantly recognizable and Ford sold this Mustang model as fast as it came off the production line. A 4.9L V8 engine got 225 horsepower in both the hatchback and convertible trim levels. Capable of hitting 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, the Ford Mustang GT 5.0 topped out at 137 MPH which made it perfect for police adoption on highways around the country.  Ferrari F40 The Ferrari F40 was the last vehicle Enzo Ferrari personally approved. How can you look back at the coolest cars from the 1980s and not think of the Ferrari F40? Arguably one of the most popular supercars of the decade, the Ferrari F40 is still worth owning. The F40 more than earned its position as the fastest car Ferrari released throughout the entire 1980s. Personally approved by Enzo Ferrari, it was originally released in 1987. Only 1,311 models rolled out to customers with a retail price of around $400,000.  Ferrari Testarossa The Ferrari Testarossa was famously used in the Miami Vice TV show driving plenty of sales. If the Ferrari F40 was the premiere supercar of the Italian automaker, the Ferrari Testarossa was its everyday driver. First released in 1984, the Testarossa is undoubtedly one of the most memorable models from Ferrari. A two-door coupe, the Testarossa is a cultural icon thanks to a lengthy role in the popular 1980’s show Miami Vice. Sega even put the Testarossa into its OutRun video game which sold millions of copies worldwide.  Jeep Cherokee The Jeep Cherokee’s release in the 1980s helped ignite the SUV era. When it comes to style, the Jeep Cherokee may be the least attractive vehicle on this list. However, its importance as an off-road plaything in the 1980s made it one cool car to own. Introduced in 1984, the Jeep Cherokee was jumped on by car buyers who wanted something more than just the typical family sedan. The 4×4 capability provided opportunities for camping, family trips, and every kind of event where extra storage was a must. Jeep helped define the SUV genre and for that, you can be extra grateful.  Lamborghini Countach  The Lamborghini Countach remains one of the manufacturer’s most beautiful designs. Not to be outdone by Porsche or Ferrari, Lamborghini released the 25th anniversary edition of the Countach in 1988. Remembered as the fastest Countach ever made, the Lamborghini could hit 0-60 in 4.7 seconds while pushing upward of 183 MPH. Unfortunately, the Lamborghini Countach never officially supported U.S. emissions standards so customers who purchased this model had to pay extra to modify the car to meet the appropriate regulations.  Lotus Esprit Turbo While the Lotus Esprit never achieved Lamborghini popularity, it’s just as fun to drive. Hiding in the shadows of Ferrari and Lamborghini, the Lotus Esprit Turbo started hitting roads in 1981. This special edition of the Lotus Esprit could hit 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 150 MPH. The aerodynamic body of the car was similar enough to Lamborghini that the two cars were easily mistaken. Even so, the Lotus Esprit Turbo had to be specialized for the U.S. where it was the first fuel-injected engine from Lotus.  Porsche 959 The Porsche 959 lives in infamy thanks to its status as the fastest street-legal car in the 1980s. The biggest competitor to the Ferrari F40 was undoubtedly the Porsche 959. Manufactured between 1986 and 1993, the Porsche 959 was at the time the fastest street-legal car ever. A top speed of 197 MPH offered race-car performance with traditional Porsche luxury. Guinness World Records noted the Porsche 959 was the fastest road-tested vehicle with a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. There is no question the Porsche 959 is the textbook definition of excess that defined the 1980’s decade.  Porsche 944 The Porsche 944 appealed to the upper middle class that wanted to say they drove a Porsche. With the launch of the Porsche 944, perhaps a little bit of fate intervened for Porsche. Originally designed as a joint Porsche/Volkswagen production, VW backed out of manufacturing. This led Porsche to move into production with the 944 alone. The result was a total of 163,000 models produced as the Porsche 944 became the best-selling Porsche until the release of the Boxster in the 1990s. Something of an everyday driver, the Porsche 944 hit 0-60 in just under 9 seconds.  Toyota Celica Supra The Toyota Celica Supra never offered supercar speed, but it was far more reliable. There’s just something about the 1980s Toyota Celica Supra that still stands out to this day. It wasn’t cool like a Ferrari or as fast as one, but it was a whole lot more reliable. With its 1982 release, the Celica Supra engine was upgraded to give it a 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds, which was plenty fast for the price tag. This model year also included standard power windows, power door locks, and power mirrors for the first time in the Toyota Supra’s history.  Toyota MR2 The Toyota MR2 proved that fast car looks don’t have to cost you hundreds of thousands. When it was released in 1985, the Toyota MR2 gave the Japanese automaker something to be excited about. The MR2 was instantly praised for its performance compared to its biggest rival, the Pontiac Fiero. The MR2 was a two-seat roadster that didn’t require a significant financial investment. Instead, the MR2 was designed to be one of the first truly economical sports cars that everyone could own.  Saab 900 Turbo The Saab 900 Turbo was old faithful as a vehicle that lasted forever in all weather conditions. Most people never looked at a Saab 900 Turbo twice but looking back on the 1980s, it was a very sweet ride. Unfortunately, Saab is gone as a brand but it lives on with memories of the 900 Turbo. Saab emphasized safety above all else while still managing to add a bit of power. Running 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, the Saab 900 Turbo was able to go an impressive 135 MPH. Saab also lives on as one of the first brands to add a turbocharger to a family sedan.  Conclusion Ultimately, the 1980s were one of the best decades for cars in modern history. Technology advancements in both performance and safety really started to show throughout this decade. You saw glimpses of the future with the likes of AMG and Mercedes as well as Ferrari’s quest to become the best supercar ever. There is no doubt the 1980s will continue to be fondly remembered for all of the many cool cars released.   Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. The post 19 Coolest Cars Released in the 1980s appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstFeb 24th, 2024

Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NYSE:NOG) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NYSE:NOG) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 23, 2024 Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Greetings and welcome to the NOG’s Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Earnings […] Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. (NYSE:NOG) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 23, 2024 Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Greetings and welcome to the NOG’s Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in listen-only mode. The question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It’s now my pleasure to introduce your host Evelyn Infurna, Vice President, Investor Relations. Thank you, you may begin. Evelyn Infurna : Good morning. Welcome to NOG’s fourth quarter and year end 2023 earnings conference call. Yesterday after the close, we released our financial results for the fourth quarter and full year. You can access our earnings release and presentation on our Investor Relations website at noginc.com. Our Form 10-K will be filed with the SEC within the next several days. I’m joined this morning by our Chief Executive Officer, Nick O’Grady; our President, Adam Dirlam, our Chief Financial Officer Chad Allen and our Chief Technical Officer, Jim Evans. Our agenda for today’s call is as follows. Nick will provide his remarks on the quarter and our recent accomplishments, then Adam will give you an overview of operations and business development activities, and Chad will review our financial results and walk through our 2024 guidance. After our prepared remarks, the team will be available to answer any questions. But before we begin, let me go over our Safe Harbor language. Please be advised that our remarks today including the answers to your questions may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the expectations contemplated by our forward-looking statements. Those risks include, among others matters that we’ve described in our earnings release as well as our filings with the SEC, including our annual report on Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, we disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. During today’s call, we may discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures including adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income and free cash flow. Reconciliations that these measures to the closest GAAP measures can be found in our earnings release. With that, I will turn the call over to Nick. Nick O’Grady : Thank you, Evelyn. Welcome. And good morning, everyone, and thank you for your interest in our company. I’ll get right to it with four key points to start the year. Number one, scoreboard, execution delivering growth and profits. On our second quarter call, I spoke about the importance of delivering growth in profitability year-over-year. I’d like to use that framework today to put the results from the fourth quarter into context. Our fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA was up 52% year-over-year, and our quarterly cash flow from operations excluding working capital was up 55% year-over-year. Over the same period, our weighted average fully diluted share count was up about 17% significantly less reflecting the impact from our October offering, but not the impact of our fourth quarter bolt-on deals. We achieved outsized growth in profits despite a more challenging commodity backdrop than the prior year. Oil prices were down over 5% and natural gas prices were down 52% versus the prior period a year ago. Even more impressive is the fact that our LQA debt ratio was 1.1 times this quarter down about 17% versus the prior year. So in summary, our leverage was down, our per share profits up markedly even as commodity prices were down. The point I continue to make is that our company is focused on the same simple philosophy, finding ways to grow profits per share through cycle and overtime for our investors. We believe that is the path to driving sustainable share price outperformance. While oil and gas prices go through down periods that can and will affect our profits. Again, it is our job to find ways to grow the business through such times. The scoreboard we share with you is something that keeps us honest, being a cyclical business does not afford us a perfectly linear path and we will have our ups and downs. But we are actively investing hedging and looking to drive consistent long-term growth to profits and cash returns. This has and will drive dividend growth and share performance. I’m pleased to say as Chad will highlight in a bit that our guidance for 2024 reflects 20% production growth on a budget that is very similar to last year’s look across the upstream sector and you’ll find very few companies offering that. Once again, we stand out and I believe we have a lot more levers to pull, which brings me to my next point. Number two, be greedy when others are fearful. The fourth quarter was ground game one on one, highlighted by what happens when people run out of money. We saw operators pull forward activity even as budgets were exhausted. We chose to turn the ship directly into the storm and take on some of the best returning small scale acquisitions we’ve seen in some time. And these should help capital efficiency as we head into 2024 and beyond. We are diligently chipping away one opportunity at a time, and Adam and his team continue to innovate with creative structures of every kind to solve for our operators’ needs. This does mean we will spend money counter-cyclically at times. But spending money is what provides longer term growth opportunities for our investors, growth isn’t free. And as a non-operator, sometimes our capital commitments will accelerate and come sooner. And the timing of our projects can vary somewhat, as we saw in the fourth quarter, but it doesn’t change the soundness of these investment decisions. As we track well performance through our loopback analysis and review our return parameters internally, we continue to see excellent results across the board. Number three shareholder returns. I typically leave this category for last, but I’m going to address it sooner this quarter, particularly as I’ve observed weaker relative and absolute performance for our equity out of the gate for the start of this year. We talked a lot of energy about dynamic capital allocation, and we get asked about share repurchases and where they rank in the stacks. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, we try to seize on opportunities and allocate capital accordingly. Our valuation has compressed in recent months. So in 2024, our stock may well be front and center in our capital allocation stacks. We don’t buy back stock with reckless abandon only one flush with cash and when times are good, and when our valuation is high. Instead, stock repurchases legitimately compete as a use of capital to maximize the long term returns on the capital we employ, which by nature means focusing on the point of entry and being discerning on when we do so. You’ve seen us be aggressive and repurchasing equity during times of value compression, like in early 2022. We tried to allocate capital efficiently and seize on the opportunity when the time is right. From this vantage point, it certainly seems as though this is the moment when the macro outlook has been more influx, and commodities have been more range bound and volatile, and our own value has compressed. If the market gives us lemons for the first time in a while, we’re more than happy to make some lemonade. Number four, I have not yet begun to fight. Sailor John Paul Jones immortalized that defined phrase during the American Revolutionary War, when asked to surrender by the British and the naval battle. My use of it here is meant to convey that while our team has grown our business tremendously over the past six years, you’d be mistaken if you think our growth story is over. Far from it. We’ve worked hard to claim the mantle of the non-operating partner of choice. Given the opportunities and landscape in front of us, I believe we can with thoughtful execution, double the size of our company again, if not more over the next five years. And this time, I believe we can do it more creatively. It’s an enormous goal, and will pose a tremendous challenge. But I believe the opportunity is there for the taking. We will stay humble to our roots as a small company. But we had great ambition to grow the business to the benefit of our stakeholders. And our board has incentivized this and aligned us with our investors to do so for the long term and to do it the right way. And done right it will add tremendous per share value row dividend significantly and drive market outperformance all while continuing to lower the business risk. It would be stating the obvious to point out that it’s been an active time in the M&A sphere in oil and gas of late as we’ve seen many mega merger transactions, as well as many private to public transactions in 2023. The fallout from these mega transactions is likely to create even more opportunity for our company overtime, providing both improved cost efficiencies on our properties, and a broad variety of potential acquisitions as combined portfolios are rationalized. We’re already seeing signs of significant cost benefits on our properties from some of these mergers. While I just spoke about our dedication and focus on shareholder returns. I also want to highlight that NOG’s path to grow through acquisition also remains very, very strong. We are involved in as many if not more conversations today than at any point in my history of the company. And the quality of these counterparties is very different, as are the nature of these discussions. That is largely because our company today has become de facto the only viable entity for complex solutions for our partners that is truly upscale and commercial. We believe we built a reputation as creative problem solvers. Our balance sheet is locked and loaded with capacity for deals in 2024. While we remain selective, I have no doubt there will be a myriad of opportunities in front of us this year. But it should go without saying that our main goal is to grow our business the right way. One of the first questions we always ask ourselves when we look at an opportunity is will this make our company not just bigger, but will it make it better? We pass on a lot of things that would certainly make us a lot bigger, but we question whether they’ll make us a better company. Asset quality governance, if needed value, operatorship, inventory and commodity price resilience are all factors that go into driving these transactions. These questions have driven us to where we are today and will continue to drive us as we move forward. Adam will fill you in further on the deal front but expect an active 2024. I’ll close out as I always do by thanking the NOG engineering, land, BD finance and planning teams and everyone else on board our investors and covering analysts for listening our operators and contractors for all the hard work they do in the field that actually creates what you see in NOG’s results quarter-after-quarter. We entered 2024 formatively positioned with our strongest balance sheet, the highest level of liquidity and largest size and scale since our formation. And as always, our team is ready to pounce on the opportunities to drive the best possible outcome for our investors, whether that’s growth through our ground game, through our organic assets, through M&A or through share repurchases in our quest to deliver the optimal total return. That’s because we’re a company run by investors for investors. With that, I’ll turn it over to Adam. Adam Dirlam : Thanks, Nick. As usual, I’ll kick things off with a review of operational highlights, and then turn to our business development efforts and the current M&A landscape. During the fourth quarter, we saw production increase to over 114,000 BOE per day, driven by the closing of Novo in the middle of Q3, as well as an acceleration of wells turned in line during the quarter. We turned in line 27.6 net wells evenly split between the Williston and Permian, which included roughly half the net wells in process acquired through our ground game in Q4. While well performance has been in line with expectations, we have been encouraged by the outperformance of our Mascot assets. The new wells completed since closing forge in the New Mexico results from our Novo assets. As we navigate the rest of the winter, we expect to see a typical seasonal deferral on IPs from the Williston in the first quarter with the reacceleration in completion activity, as we move into the spring and summer. Overall, we expect a relatively balanced completion cadence in 2024, as activity is more heavily weighted towards the Permian, which accounts for about two thirds of the estimated tails. Our drilling program has remained consistent over the last three quarters as we spun an additional 20.8 net wells in Q4, with our organic acreage seeing continued focus from our operating partners. Our Permian position pulled roughly 60% of the organic net well additions, and if we include the contribution from our ground game, we saw three quarters of our activity come from the Delaware in Midland basins. Our acquisitions over the past few years are driving growth in the Permian, as locations are converted, and we head into 2024. At the end of the year, the Permian wells in process were sitting at all time highs of 35.7 net wells, and now account for more than 50% of our total wells in process and over two thirds of our oil weighted wells in process. We expect this trend to continue as the Permian accounts for the majority of expected new drills in 2024. As our drilling program has remained consistent, so have our inbound well proposals. During the quarter we evaluated over 180 AFEs with our Williston footprint contributing over 100 proposals in every quarter of 2023. Our net well consent rate remained at over 95% in Q4. However, we continue to actively manage the portfolio by comparing what’s in the market at a ground game level and what is being proposed. For example, given the commodity market volatility, we non-consented approximately 16% of gross AFEs, which collectively accounted for just half a net well in the Williston during the quarter. As certain operators have stepped out, we have redeployed that capital into our ground game at higher expected returns. This highlights our flexibility with capital allocation and our ability to quickly react to changing environments, in contrast to operators that have to stick with their drill schedules. With that said, our acreage footprint continues to produce some of the highest quality opportunities available as our 2023, well proposals have expected rates of return north of 50% based on the current strip. Looking ahead, we have seen cost reductions come through with our operating partners, yet we remain conservative with our budgeting process for 2024. Through 2023, well, costs were relatively flat. However, as of late, we have seen some of our larger operators coming in below their cost estimates from original well proposals. Notably, we have seen evidence from our planning sessions and recent AFEs have a potential 5% to 10% reduction in well costs related to our Mascot Novo and Forge properties. As gas prices remain under pressure, some drilling and completing resources may also be reallocated to our oily basins, where we could then expect some additional tailwinds. Shifting gears to business development and the M&A landscape, the fourth quarter kept up another banner year for NOG, both on our grounding and in larger M&A. As Nick alluded to earlier, we were able to take advantage of the dislocations we were seeing during the fourth quarter, executing on a number of short cycle grounded in acquisitions. While competitors’ budgets were running dry, we were able to step in and deploy meaningful capital consistent with our return requirements. During the quarter, roughly half of the locations we closed on were also turned in line, which will contribute to our 2024 plans and growth profile. Our small ball focus was almost entirely in the Permian during the fourth quarter in caps off a record year for our ground game, where we picked up roughly 30 net wells, and 2,500 net acres. While, we buy non-op interest day in and day out. We’ve also used our co-buying structures, joint development programs, and have acquired operated positions with our ground game to generate these results. During the quarter, we expanded our footprint as we signed and closed our Utica transaction. Similar to our approach in building scale in the Permian, we’ve elected to walk before we run, deploying a modest amount of capital in the core of a new play under some of the top operators. Since the Utica announcement, we’ve been inundated with additional opportunities, and we will methodically review each of those, as we think about our footprint in Ohio and Appalachian in general. In January, we closed our previously announced non-operated package in the Delaware, where we have significant overlap with our current position and grossed up many of our working interests in New Mexico. With Newburn [ph] as the operator on 80% of the position, we’ve aligned ourselves with one of the most cost efficient and active private operators in the basin, which drive future growth for NOG. The scale that we’ve been able to achieve over the past few years has opened doors for us that were previously unavailable. And the creative structures that we’ve been able to implement have created mutually beneficial outcomes with alignment for both NOG and our operators. Given the ongoing consolidation in the industry, we have been engaging in more frequent and substantial conversations with our operators. To put the landscape in perspective, there are currently $46 billion of assets that we’re reviewing, both on and off market. Even more than that, we’ve been in discussions with some of our large independent and mid cap operators, about how we can be helpful whether they are pursuing assets or digesting recent acquisitions. As consolidation continues, we can provide capital to help rationalized combined portfolios, accelerate high quality, longer dated inventory, or facilitate debt reduction initiatives through sales to NOG. These off-market transactions can be tailor made for both parties, and with our growth in size and liquidity can be as large or larger than any of our recent transactions. Simply put, the option to deploy capital on top tier assets is in no way slowing down for NOG. Depending on the needs and wants of the operator, the solutions could include simple non-op portfolio cleanups, joint development agreements, co-buying operated properties, minority interests carve outs of operating positions, or any combination thereof. At NOG we pride ourselves on finding win-win solutions through creativity and alignment. Our priority is not to chase growth for growth’s sake, but three main returns focused over the long term and doing right by our stakeholders. With that, I’ll turn it over to Chad. Chad Allen : Thanks, Adam. I’ll start by reviewing our fourth quarter results and provide additional color on the operator update we released on February 15. Average daily production the quarter was more than 114,000 BOE per day, up 12% compared to Q3 and up 45% compared to Q4 of 2022 marking another NOG record. Oil production mix of our total volumes was lower in the quarter at 60%, driven primarily by gas outperformance. Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was $402 million, up 52% over the same period last year, while our full year EBITDA was $1.4 billion, up 32% year-over-year. Free cash flow of approximately $104 million in the quarter was up 90% over the same period last year despite lower oil volumes, CapEx pull forward to fund accretive 2024 investments as well as commodity price volatility and widening oil differentials. Adjusted EPS was $1.61 per diluted share. Oil realizations were wider as expected in Q4, with the increased production and other seasonal factors in the Williston driving wider overall pricing. For these differentials, particularly on the Delaware were modestly wider. Natural gas realizations were 97% of benchmark prices for the fourth quarter, a bit better than we expected, given better winter NGL prices and in season Appalachian differentials. LOE came in at $9.70 per BOE is driven by a few factors. We had highlighted in the third quarter we expected more normalized workovers in the fourth quarter after a lighter quarter in the prior period. We also incurred approximately $4 million of firm transport expense as a result of refining our accrual process based off historical data. And with the curtailments in our Mascot project that had the effect of artificially inflated the per BOE numbers. As we reach mid-year 2024, we expect our LOE per BOE to trend down as production ramps. On the CapEx front, the investment of $260 million in drilling, development and ground getting capital the fourth quarter, with roughly two thirds allocated the Permian and one third to Williston As a result of having access to high quality opportunities, success on the ground game along with a pull forward of organic activity has shifted more investment into the fourth quarter from 2024. The pull forwarding activity is most apparent because we are seeing a 5% to 10% decline in expected spot to sales development timelines. And we with over a billion dollars of liquidity comprised of $8.2 million cash on hand, and $1.1 billion available on a revolver. Our net debt to LQA EBITDA was 1.15 times can we expect that ratio remained relatively flat throughout 2024. I want to point out that we did build our working capital significantly in the fourth quarter and expect that trend to continue through the first quarter of the year, and then begin to ease for the rest of the year as we convert the tremendous amount of capital that is currently in the ground into revenue producing wells. We have remained discipline on the heavy front and has been adding significant oil and natural gas hedges to this year through 2026 given the increased commodity price volatility we’ve seen over the past several months. The oil portfolio consists of over 40% collars in 2024 maintaining material upside exposure while providing a strong floor near $70 per barrel. With respect to shareholder returns in 2024, everything’s on the table. As we’ve shared in the past, we adhere to a dynamic approach with the objective of achieving optimal returns for our shareholders. And while Nick alluded to potentially an active year for NOG. Those activities may include share buybacks if there’s a dislocation or share price, and if returns are competitive with other alternatives we are evaluating. Turning now to our 2024 guidance, we are guiding to 115,000 to 120,000 BOE per day, with 72,000 to 73,000 barrels of oil per day. You’ll see typical seasonal declines in the Williston in the first quarter, exacerbated by some fruit in January, but our production cadence will build throughout the year. We anticipate adding about 90 tills and 70 spuds reflecting the midpoint of our guidance. After a significant build in our D&C list in 2023. The conversion of IP wells in 2024 should materially help our capital efficiency, as the D&C cadence returned to more normalized levels. This will bring some large amounts of working capital that we have drawn back on the balance sheet started in the second quarter. On the CapEx front, the 2023 pull forward lowered our 2024 CapEx from our prior internal estimates. So we are making the assumption that the pull forwards are likely to continue given the acceleration and pace of drilling that we’re seeing across our core basins. Or CapEx expectations this year are in the $825 million to $900 million range. This level of CapEx will be driven by ground game success, commodity price driven activity levels throughout the year, and overall wall costs with for the time being, are forecasted to say flat despite recent evidence of savings and AFEs, particularly from our larger JV interests. We have significant capital in the ground right now and expect our larger ventures specifically Mascot and Novo to run materially in the first half of the year. So the capital will be first half weighted around 58% to 60%. On the LOE side, our guidance is purposely wide, at $9.25 to $10 per BOE. This is due to the inclusion of our firm transport charge on a quarterly basis, as well as the anticipated rent we just discussed. We expect LOE to start on the higher side before trending down throughout the year. I believe there will be room for improvement. We want to be conservative out of the gate. And with the firm transport charges being accrued for a quarterly our LOE expense runway will be less lumpy than in the last several years. On the cash G&A front, we’ve seen a modest tech done an average cost per BOE driven by increased production volumes year-over-year, offset by some inflation and costs and services. On the pricing front, given the low overall price of natural gas, we expect lower gas realizations year-over-year, even as NGL prices have thus far been better than we expected to the seasonal demand for propane used for heating in the winter months, would expect higher realizations of 85% to 90% in Q1 benefiting from winter NGL prices and differentials. However, we remain cautious based on the typical pattern for pricing as we enter the spring and summer. If we were to see material curtailments from natural gas producers to benefit the overall NYMEX price and 2024, obviously this could help guidance throughout the year. As a reminder, our Q3 reporting embeds transport costs and pricing instead of a separate GP&T line item, and the fixed costs that are absorbed like realizations go down when the absolute price is so low. To the extent gas prices rise materially or a flat prices and NGL stick around. There’s room to the upside. But for now, this is where we’re starting. Thankfully, we’re well ahead on the gas front, which offsets much of the weakness in the near term. On the oil front, while regarding wider on differentials to start at $4 to $4.50, we will reevaluate this in the second half of the year. Williston volume growth has widened differentials materially over the past five months versus what we’ve enjoyed over most of 2023 but we believe the Canadian TMX pipeline may pull away some demand from Canadian crude as it comes online in the coming months. We’ll remain conservative until then, but this could lift pricing in the back half of the year. Overall Midland Cushing differentials have been solid, so on the Delaware realized deducts has slightly wider. I’d like to touch on some other items related to guidance. Our production taxes will be tracking an estimated 50 basis points higher in 2024, given the shift in production volumes towards the Permian production taxes are generally higher than our other basins. And our DD&A rate per BOE will also be higher in 2024, reflecting over $1 billion of both on and ground game acquisitions completed in 2023. This of course does not impact free cash flow as it’s a non-cash item, but it does impact EPS, and is provided to help with analysts modeling. Before I turn the call over to the operator for our Q&A session, I’d like to provide an update on cash taxes. Given the volume of acquisitions and organic growth completed in 2023, our oil and natural gas properties balance has grown by $1.9 billion year-over-year, which in turn impacts the magnitude of our tax cost to policemen deductions, which reduces our taxable income. We’re now anticipating becoming a cash taxpayer in 2025, with a potential tax expense of less than $5 million over the following two-three years, which is a significant reduction from our prior forecast. This is a material improvement for our shareholders, with potential of over $150 million of additional free cash flow over the next several years. With over 20% growth in year over year production abroad opportunities that are available in front of us. And a strong balance sheet, NOG is well positioned to execute in 2024 and beyond. With that, I’ll turn the call back over to the operator for Q&A. See also 12 Best Rising Penny Stocks To Buy and 30 Most Walkable Cities In The World. Q&A Session Follow Nogin Inc. Follow Nogin Inc. or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Operator: Thank you. [Operator Instructions] We’ll go to our first question from Neal Dingmann at Truist. Neal Dingmann: Good morning, guys. Thanks for the time, Nick is really just on timing. Could you just go over I guess time your cadence that is, can you talk about maybe just looking what’s the 4Q CapEx and maybe why that doesn’t translate into call it immediate production? Maybe just talk about timing, if you would? Nick O’Grady : Sure. Good morning, Neal, I definitely think I’m the one to answer this, because, like a lot of the buy and sell side analysts, I’m not an accountant, I’m a former buy side analyst. And, I can read a financial statement, but the nuances of accrual accounting versus cash CapEx accounting. And I should be clear, a lot of operated companies like a Diamondback, or a lot of the operators follow cash CapEx, we’re an accrual CapEx company. And so that means we’re going to account for our wells by well status and percentage of completion. And just to be clear, 70% of the cost of a well is in the completion. So as the wells become more complete, the cost of a well we account for goes way up. So, in the fourth quarter is an example we have, say, 30 wells that we budgeted to go from, say, 25%, in the third quarter to go to 50%, in the fourth quarter. And instead, they went to 75% to 90%, complete, that’s a lot of capital. And it doesn’t necessarily translate into any incremental production in that quarter. And it’s just an accounting exercise, it’s not any more capital over the long run, it’s just you have to account for that capital in a given quarter. So it’s not that we choose our spend, you just have to account for that in that period. So in Excel, you might think, well, why did you choose to spend that it’s — and that’s why we, we put this in our release, our till count didn’t really change that much. Now, the ground game spending that was elective that $25 million, and we capitalize on that. And some of those did turn to sales towards the end of the quarter, but when they come online in December, they’re obviously not going to contribute much. They will help in Q1 somewhat, but of course, seasonally, that’s one of our slower quarters. If you look at the overall midpoint of our ’24 guidance, you will see a partial benefit to the midpoint, clearly we it’s about a $25 million benefit from the pull forward. But from that sort of overrun, but the reason it’s not the full sort of $50 million, is because our assumptions are that the shorter spot, the sales times that we’ve been seeing, on average, in our total portfolio, you’re talking about a full 7% acceleration of spud to sales times is that we’re assuming that that continues sort of in perpetuity. So that means that all of the capital in perpetuity is going forward. So you’ve got 2025 capital that we would have assumed is also coming into 2024. So there’s sort of a half cycle effect to that. So I would also just say, you know, for all the listeners out there, we have sort of a mock accrual model that we can make available for anyone with that can walk through how a D&C list and a percentage of completion will actually drive CapEx, versus the tillies and model does better. So if anyone would like to reach out to Evelyn, she’d be happy to walk them through it. What I can assure you is that overtime, these are just moments in time and the overall spending won’t change a ton over it. It’s really just a function of timing. In the first fourth quarter or till games is right on track. And we can’t really control how we account for wealth status, we can, of course control our capital decisions. We made the decision to spend the $25 million on the ground game, because those were great economic decisions and relatively modest dollars. But the $50 million plus is not really incremental, the timing of the production cadence of this stuff, frankly, we’re more focused on making sound investment decisions with our budget than the optics of the timing on a three month time horizon, when on a 12 to 18 month, for the longer term investors that will come out in the wash. Number of the wells are the same, the cost is roughly the same, the amount you’re accounting for in a given quarter is different. That’s about it, we’re not sure. And also, just say, we’re not cherry picking single IRR, well, IRR plots we did publish in our earnings presentation, the cube of all our wealth plots year-over-year. And if you look at the data in aggregate, in our earnings presentation, 2023 was amongst our best well performance years in history. So, optically, I recognize it’s a bit noisy, but it’s just noise. And I want to reassure people, I’m sympathetic, because I don’t like the optics of it any more than anyone else. And I can understand why you might draw the wrong conclusions, but they’d be the wrong conclusions. Because the well performance is a testament to everything’s going according to plan. So over the long term, everything’s going great. Neal Dingmann: So it does sound like a capital on the ground is going to really pay dividends. So I’m glad to hear about the timing. And then might, just follow up, could you just talk a little bit about, what opportunities that unanimous seeing out there right now Permian versus Bakken? Is it pretty split? Or could you just talk about there is one reason that you’re seeing predominantly more potential spends. Adam Dirlam : Hey Neal, this is Adam, I would say that the opportunities that we’re seeing right now are generally weighted towards the Permian, in the Permian, most of that’s in the Delaware. So I don’t think anything’s necessarily changed. I think one emerging theme that we’ve seen kind of evolve, has been around Appalachia and kind of the commodity price. Volatility there, you’ve obviously seen the pain ongoing for the last 12 to 18 months. Some of those conversations are tabled a couple years ago, or a year ago, when you’re seeing $7 and now you’re obviously on the inverse of that. And they would things settling out. And having some of these operators truly feel a pain. I think there’s some ability for us to potentially capitalize there. But I think it’s across the board, in terms of the conversations that we’re having. We’re certainly seeing things in the Bakken that are interesting. Looking at our deal tracker right now, I think we’ve executed about 10 NDAs. There’s about 17 different immediate processes that are either in market or coming to market shortly. And so I think we’ll obviously parse through that, a lot of that might just go immediately into the garbage. So I don’t think we’re necessarily changing our stripes in terms of underwriting or any of that. But I think you’ve got a few different dynamics that are going on that are in interesting, especially on the consolidation front with operators, and then having to kind of wrap their head around their new assets and then potentially rationalizing those assets, whether or not those are core assets to them, regardless of the economics. Nick O’Grady : Yeah. The only thing I would add to that would be on the Williston front, I think you’re not seeing as much small scale activity. But I think there’s the opportunity for bigger chunkier transactions overtime. I think there’s there are bigger things that couldn’t move overtime there, which does give us some excitement. I think it’s — we did hit record volumes in the fourth quarter. It’s been amazing how resilient it’s frankly surprised even us how our Williston asset just keeps growing both organically and frankly and organically. We’ve continued to find ways to grow our footprint. Our small foray into the Utica, we have been inundated with Utica opportunities. And we’ve actually, even in the last month or two, we’ve probably gotten another half a dozen shot to us. So we’ve been building up our technical expertise and we’re evaluating through those we would use view at this point as an extension of Appalachia. It is technically the Appalachian Basin but that’s a really a distinct play. And obviously, the Utica is a broader play in the sense that, there’s a dry gas, white gas and oil part of it. So it’s a couple of different plays in some ways. But just having planted our flag there to some degree by doing so, we’ve suddenly found ourselves in another set of deal flow. Neal Dingmann: Thanks, guys. Congrats. Operator: We’ll move to our next question from Charles Meade at Johnson Rice. Charles Meade : Good morning, Nick, Adam and in Chad. And, Nick, I want to go back to this this question of the 4Q CapEx. And I know you’ve already spent a lot of time on it, but I wanted to maybe take a slightly different angle. I think I understand the dynamic of the opportunities out of the ground games was looking good at year end. And I think I understand the dynamic of your accrual accounting. What I don’t get is the magnitude of it, particularly with respect to kind of what you knew on November 1, when you report it 3Q. And so I’m wondering if there’s something that I don’t understand, like, maybe that that you what you call your ground game, D&C, if that would get loaded into that line item? Is everything you’ve done from the ground game, year-to-date? I don’t know, maybe you could just address it from that angle. Nick O’Grady : Well, Charles, I mean, as a non-operator, well, status updates come from the operators on delay. And so we’re only as good as the information that is provided to us, right? So oftentimes, it can be, we can provide this stuff, sometimes months on delay, right. So we can be told that it well is hasn’t been even spud, and then you’ll get a report that has been completed. And so I don’t have any answer beyond that. Adam Dirlam : Same thing could be said with the ground game, right, depending on the complexity and the due diligence that’s going around that. Some of these deals get closed within weeks, and some of them take months. And then you get up into year end. And there’s different from a seller standpoint, different tax consequences, and so different levels of urgency there. And so we’re trying to be as accommodating and commercial as we can without obviously sacrificing any other protection from a due diligence standpoint, but these things ebb and flow on a real time basis. Charles Meade : Got it. So if I understand correctly, if you’ve got both volatility, and also maybe would be fair to characterize the song as is out a period of adjustment catch ups? Chad Allen : So this is Chad. I don’t think it’s necessarily out of period adjustments. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s the pull forward. I think, look, we had record D&C levels at Q3 and the timing of when those come out come off, really depends on like, Nick mentioned that the well status and where it’s at. I think we look, we went from a typical D&C list, percentage of completion of 40%, all the way up, excuse me all the way up to just over 60%. So I think you’re going to see you see that bill, and that’s kind of ebbs and flows each quarter as we receive well status from operators. Charles Meade : Got it. Adam Dirlam: Charles, maybe just to put it into perspective, in terms of the accrual accounting, and operator is collecting all of the service invoices and everything else. And they have to aggregate all of that and then bill it up to the various non-ops. And every operator does that at a different cadence, right. And so you have these accruals out there until we’re confident that all of the costs that have been incurred from actual have been appropriately billed. And so those accruals, depending on the operator can hang out there a few months far long relative to the IP day, because we need to make sure that we’ve got the coverage that we need. Nick O’Grady : Yeah. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really change the aggregate dollars. It’s not anymore. Well, it’s just a factor of time. Adam Dirlam : Looking at it on a three month basis. I mean you need to be looking at it 12 — Nick O’Grady : So what I can tell you is we’re not electing day anymore. We’re not making any different capital decisions, we’re looking to the same number of wells. We’re electing, we’re tilling the same number of wells. It’s just a matter of how much money is being spent. It’s not a matter of these wells costing more or performing worse. It’s a matter of truncating the amount of capital and when you’re accruing for women, I mean, optically, I’m not any happier about it than anybody else. Adam Dirlam : On a dog tails in the ’24. Right, and what the projected well costs are we’ve had some great conversations with our operators. And what we’re seeing in field estimates, and we alluded to as much right, I think we expect 5% to 10% kind of under run from these AFEs. But we’re going to take these AFEs at face value. And depending on the operator and build AFEs might be three months old, they might be 12 months old. But we’re not going to change our accounting practices based on what that mix looks like. Nick O’Grady : Yeah, and let me walk you through worse, Charles. So let’s just say Midland Petro send a AFE, gross AFE for $12 million in November. So they sent us that and we’re accruing for that $12 million on a percentage of completion starting in November through the completion of that, well, let’s just say it’s an April. And we’ll continue. And then that accrual is held until probably — and then there’s a period where it’s held out until the final billing, which is probably at least 90 days until after the well is on sales. And then if there’s no more billing after that, that accrual falls out, and it’s finalized. We’re getting field reports along the way that that, well, maybe it’s costing $10 million, right? But so there’s a $2 million savings, but only at some point later in 2024, will you see in our results, that that reduction to the capital. So there’s a lot of conservatism built into this. If you’re typical cash operator, when they tell you when they guide to you, and they say we’re going to spend $12 million in this quarter, and then they actually spend 10, they’re giving you the immediacy of that benefit, we’re not. And so what I would tell you is there’s inherent conservatism and how we’re doing this, but overtime, you will see the benefits of those. And so while it obviously is the inverse, certainly in the fourth quarter overtime, I think you’ll see it doesn’t really change the outcome in the long run. And in some ways, I think, throughout 2024, and certainly into next year, you will see the benefits of our accounting. And it’s like I said it will all come out in the wash. Charles Meade : Got it. And thank you for all that that added detail. And if I can transition away from accounting, and more towards pictures. Adam Dirlam : Thank you very much. Charles Meade : Yeah, I like pretty pictures. Slide 10. I appreciate that you guys put this this gun barrel view of your Mascot — of your Mascot project in one short question, one bigger question. So the first question is, it doesn’t look at — the first question is those yellow circles, I’m interpreting that as kind of completion batches is what it looks like, is that right? And then the second thing I want to ask you guys are more open ended. I really liked this picture. It helps fill in the, the dynamics for me. But what, I guess when you guys first looked at this, you recognize it maybe as much as a year ago. But what are the lessons there? What insights did you generate? Or what insights came to you when you first looked at this? Jim Evans: Yeah, hey, Charles, this is Jim. Yeah, what you’re looking at there, the kind of the yellow amoeba, those are completion batches. So they will do a min two, three, four wells at a time. And then what we’re showing is, you’ve got several rows where you need to shove wells in behind it, whether it’s due to the drilling or, or fracing to protect yourself. So when we looked at this about a year ago, really all you saw on here, in terms of the wells that were we’re producing was the charger unit. And so the Mudbank, Rebel [ph] and Bulldog units were all undeveloped at that time. Discussions around development time and completion with MPDC at that time was that we’re going to do smaller batches. And so we’re you see the yellow dots, we maybe do three wells at a time. We build wells, turn them online, go another six months to complete the next three to four wells. What we saw with the first batches is that we started to see some interference issues, some frac heads, because we were drilling and fracing all the same time as we moved from west to east across this project. And so the decision was made, let’s do bigger batches. And so what that did is it obviously causes delays. And when we thought the project was going to peak in terms of production. But what we’re seeing is that because we’re doing that we’re getting better well performance. Overall, the project is outperforming by 5% to 10% versus our original estimates. Obviously, there’s delays, but we think in the long run, it’s actually going to benefit from a return on investment IRR, overall project economics. And so what we’re learning is that obviously, things change overtime. And this is a big working interest project. So it’s more impactful than our typical Novo package would be. So our learning is just make sure we’re in full communication with the operator at all times and that we’re all in agreement on how the development plan is going to go forward. And like say we’re acceptable to the changes, obviously, that hurts us from a guidance standpoint and trying to understand when these wells are going to be coming online. But overall, we’re very happy with the project and we’re comfortable with how things have changed. Nick O’Grady : And what you can see in this, Charles, is that you’re pretty much almost all the way there right. You’re down to your last at pretty much eight wells to be drilled. Your frac schedule, you’re really all — and when you can see is where the Charger [ph] and Mustangs which are really the ones that are remaining, there, you’re going to have fewer shut ins on the back end you’re going to have to in terms of you will have to shut some in when you go to frac those wells later on. But in the last wave of shut-ins, which will be sort of towards the end of this year into 2025 it will be reduced. So the one thing I can tell you about this project is it while it won’t produce that peak rate that it would have, it will produce it will cume way more barrels and a much flatter production profile than ever would have before. And so the total ROI on the project will be much more superior to what it would have been originally. And we’ve obviously we’re also saving because you’re doing much more continuous drilling and fracing, we’re saving a lot of money. I mean, that’s still be to be determined until we finished the project. And I think we want to be a bit tight lipped and conservative on that, and we’re done. But I think we feel very confident at this point that it’s gone swimmingly. And obviously, it doesn’t feel that way. But the strip was about $70 this year when we underwrote this program. And obviously, we’re in the mid to high 70s today, so we’re earning higher returns than we would have otherwise underwritten. Charles Meade : Great detail. Thank you. Nick O’Grady : Yeah. Operator: We’ll call next to Scott Hanold at RBC Capital Markets. Scott Hanold : In your prepared comments, you mentioned about wanting to accretively double the company in five years. Can you give us a sense of how you achieve that? I mean, since you kind of came on you, you first pivot out of the Bakken into other basins. And, obviously, your next significant move was doing JVs. What’s next? Is there other basins you’re looking at? Would you consider being an operator like, how do you double a company from here?.....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 24th, 2024

AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 23, 2024 AngloGold Ashanti Limited isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the AngloGold Ashanti Full Year Market Call. All participants […] AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 23, 2024 AngloGold Ashanti Limited isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here). Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the AngloGold Ashanti Full Year Market Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. There will be an opportunity for you to ask questions later during the call. [Operator Instructions]. Please note that this event is being recorded. I will now hand the conference over to Stewart Bailey. Please go ahead sir. Stewart Bailey: Thanks very much Chris. Good afternoon, everyone, and to those of you joining us from the Americas, good morning, and welcome to our 2023 market call. You have Alberto and the full expert team here to help run you through our performance. But before we start, let me call your attention to the fact that we’ll be making forward-looking statements and we will reference certain non-GAAP financial information during the course of the remarks. Slide two is our Safe Harbor Statement. It’s important and I would ask you please to refer to it. I’d also just like to apologize for the delay in releasing the report today. We had a glitch on our side that was a little tricky to overcome. So thanks for your forbearance on this and we hope this call will be fulsome enough to talk you through the detail in a way that’s helpful. Over to you, Alberto. Alberto Calderon : Thank you, Stewart. Good day and welcome to our results call. Before we get into the details of what has been a very good year for us, I’d like to address an issue you may have picked up in our release today. During our year-end audit AGA, AngloGold Ashanti, found a potential error in the calculation of a deferred tax asset at Obuasi in 2022. This potential error that could impact our earnings by up to $146 million between 2022 and the first half of 2023. The error is non-cash and has no impact on production, cost, cash flow, value of the asset or anything related. Let me be clear, the facts and the numbers are very clear. For all practical purposes, this is an impairment of $146 million. However, there is still an on-going discussion with our previous auditor about whether and how much of this error should be accounted for in our eventually reinstated 2022 accounts. Any potential restatement is a time-consuming complex process, made so more by the fact that we’re working with two sets of auditors. All parties must agree on the nature and quantum of any adjustments before we are able to issue our 2022 results, which we will do as soon as possible. That’s that. Now, let’s move to what really matters. A strong set of results we are all very proud of. The [inaudible] is a joint AGA in late 2021 was simple. Close the value gap with our peers. To do it, we’ve worked to address several interlocking initiatives that together will substantially improve our business. We still got work to do, but we made good progress on our original priorities. Most important of all, we’ve closed the cost gap with our major peers. We’ve done it safely. We’re now among the safest mining companies anywhere in the world. We’ve improved predictability, again achieving guidance on production and cash costs. This increasingly sets us apart in the peer group. We’ve been decisive on loss making operations and projects that don’t fit our portfolio. That allows us to narrow our focus on the things that drive value, but its recovery strategy is progressing to plan. We’ve declared a new 9.1Moz Inferred Mineral Resource at Merlin, which almost doubles our resource position in this new gold district. We’re more than rebased reserve pre-depletion [ph] in the past five years. We’re building on a strong climate track record with a series of new emission reduction projects. And finally, last but not least, our primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange gives us exposure to the world’s deepest pool of capital. We’ve recorded a strong H2 performance after a series of challenges in H1. Gold production was up to 15% with a standard performance from Iduapriem, Tropicana, Geita and Kibali. Cuiabá simplified the resilience we’re building in the business. Even after losing much of Q1 in the pivot to concentrate production, it delivered ahead of budget which in turn drove our 9% improvement in cash costs. And Obuasi recovery from poor ground conditions in Q3 is proceeding to plan. Perhaps more importantly, the better production results have tried $314 million in free cash flow in H2, showing the much improved health of the underlying business. .: On safety. We have a clear safety strategy that pairs risk awareness with robust controls to manage the most critical workplace hazards. Our industry frequency rates remain well below industry peers. I’ve been around for long enough to know that we can never afford to be complacent and that we’re only ever as good as our last injury free shift. 2023, it is important to get the basics right. That starts with meeting our commitments. We delivered just under $2.6 million of production within guidance. Cash costs were also within our guidance range. All-in sustaining costs increase to 1038 an ounce, that reflects the higher cash cost and a plan increase in sustaining CapEx. Full potential is working exactly as intended. We will show a detailed graph of $215 million savings realized in 2023, played a key role in helping to offset inflation and also to increase impact of production disruptions. Pre-cash flow was $109 million for the year. That’s a big turnaround after 205 outflows in H1. We took the decision to pay a dividend of one more payer policy, declaring a dividend of $0.19 per share, following the strong H performance, the strong balance sheet and our confidence in the future. The payer demonstrates confidence in the robustness of the business and our commitment to return to shareholders. We showed you a different view for the portfolio at the interim results. The steering lens shows more clearly the geological realities of each side, their flexibility and performance and potential for growth in both production and margins. This in turn determines their place in our capital allocation hierarchy. T1 assets have scaled life or at least the potential to increase life. They are at the lower end of the internal cost curve or have the potential to get there. Tier 2 has our steady performance. Ore bodies are well understood and operations are reasonably well optimized or on their way to be there. Some may be on the higher end of the cost curve, but they are all well run, predictable and steady cash contributors. The Tier 1 assets produce 1.6 million ounces of gold this year at a cash cost of $990 an ounce. Geita had a strong finish coming back strongly from the Q1 shutdown. In fact, Q4 ounces were 45% higher than Q1. Obuasi recovered very well. As you see, Q4 production was a third higher than Q3. I’ll talk more about that shortly. Kibali made a solid contribution of 343,000 ounces and higher grades drove an increase at Tropicana. Turning to Tier 2, Cuiabá as I mentioned had a stellar recovery from a standing stock generating $78 million free cash in H2, even at a discounted coal price being this a concentrated operation of $1,790 an ounce. The mine is fully converted to a concentrated operation. Sunrise was the poster child for both full potential, with a cash cost of all-in sustaining well below the year end. Siguiri has a steady second half as it recover from the Q2 tax collapse – quarter two tax collapse. By year end throughput rates have normalized and the team is now working to calibrate the plan to lift recoveries. CFSA production was lower year-on-year in line with its mine time. Full asset potential. The full asset potential program has started to gain traction across the asset base. At Sunrise, we’re seeing a step chain in underground ore tons, which are now consistently above 220,000 tons a month. The better haulage performance was underpinned by improvements in stop availability and a fleet utilization. We look to sustain these levels in 2022. Tropicana’s underground ore tons were up around 25% in H2. That initiative has been successful. So successful that now we’re working on solid ventilation constraints before we can achieve further improvements later this year. There’s better availability and utilization of stopes progress and quicker re-entry for crews which has increased effective work time. In the plant we made improvements to the high pressure grinding roll circuit to support a throughput increase of 9.5 million tons. Iduapriem had an excellent year. We’ve driven improvements in drill and blasts, as well as processes to get better fragmentation. We’ve optimized the load and haul processes to get better ore delivery to the plant and we’ve sharpened our maintenance practices to achieve better overall equipment availability. At data, underground tons from Nyankanga were 29% ahead of our full-acid potential target. We’ve delivered backfill directly to stopes via drill holes from surface rather than using trucks. This in turn has the bottleneck, their underground materials handling capacity and improved overall stope availability. We’ve also redirected from Star and Comet to Nyankanga bringing forward production into Q4. The full asset potential what you see in the graph is $250 million of an incremental EBITDA that was driven by improvements across four sites. Cost savings are adjusted for uncontrollable economic factors including inflation, exchange rates and royalties, as well as oil and other commodity movements. Benefits include both productivity improvements measured at increment gold production and cost reductions compared to the flex or expected costs. Incremental gold production includes increasing plant throughput, metallurgical recovery and mine tons. The dollars of benefit of $215 million is very significant as you are well aware of, but this program has been this year absolutely vital in offsetting the massive, both inflationary pressures using the road margins right across the center, and also providing additional resilience to the business to counter the production interruptions we had at Siguiri and Cuiabá. In sum, the reason why we have delivered cost guidance is we have similar sort of issues than our peers or we have a program that helps counter those costs. Brazil update. Our Brazil operations have been a drag to earnings and cash flow. Last year we took a decisive step forward to address this and the results are clear in our numbers. The most important step was to restructure our leadership team. We reduced senior management roles by 25% and introduced new experienced talent. At the same time we’ve carefully to properly locate accountability and drive performance. -: The cumulative benefit of these initiatives have greatly stemmed the cash lead and were looking to a significantly better performance this year. We’re prioritizing full asset potential, which will further improve production stability and increase efficiency. Let’s take a step back to look at Obuasi. This remains one of the world’s greatest gold ore bodies. It has grade well in excess of eight grams per tonne over its life. It has size over 17 million ounces of resource and 7 million ounces of reserve and it has life. This is a flagship mine sample data and it enjoys small devices to work. We’re also regaining momentum in the range of [inaudible] or more than 400,000 ounces a year by 2026. You see in the slide we are forecasting a range between 275 and 320 for ’24 and between 325 and 375 for ‘25 and then plus 400 in 2026. So let’s look how we get there. The V30 reamer is doing exactly what we said. To recap, we’re establishing our conventional stones with a much wider reamer head, which is showing itself more capable in soft higher grade rates. We’ve already getting better results after the blast. For the past four months you can see our mining bed rates have stabilized and are now around a 28% higher than for the first nine months of the year. And by the way February is going very well also. We expect another increase to around 110,000 to 120,000 tons from during this year. The Underhand Drift and Fill trial will show how to safely mine the high grade areas with poor ground conditions that we saw towards the end of last year. It’s going very well. We’ve shown that we can develop through pace backfill in an old stope which demonstrates pace competency. We’ve developed the top drive from 3,300 level and installed ground support. We’ve established the pace reticulation line close up the levels with bulkheads and completed the pace backfill. We are focused now on developing a parallel drive alongside the pace fill drive. This will allow us to expose and test the pace strength. After that we’ll develop our first drift on pace. But it’s very important we continue to use the data from the trial to inform our cost models. And at this stage we see a $50 per ounce improvement at steady state from Underhand versus Sub-Level open-stope with higher mining costs more than offset by significantly better extraction efficiency. Page thee is the refurbishment and return to service of the KMS shaft and associated infrastructure. This will provide direct access to the very high grade block 11 and other areas. It will double our current underground materials handling capacity to around 12,000 tons per day. If you look at the red block on this slide it shows the significant advantage we’ll have when we can move waste ore and other materials down the shaft with no congestion rather than transporting it via a 12 kilometers decline. The added flexibility will be a significant one. We estimate completion by an end of this year. The next key problems, [inaudible] that will be soon, rail system and new pump stations as well as ore passes between the upper mine and rail transport level. What progress is being made to clear mud between 5,000 levels and shaft wall? Let’s move to Nevada. A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a picture of a gravity concentrate from a high grade intercept at Merlin in Nevada. As we continue to progress with our drilling and metallurgical programs, we are finding strong indications of visible gold in multiple areas of the project. We have moved quickly to build a world class new gold district in Southern Nevada. We’ll dig into the details of our new 9.1 million ounce discovery at Merlin in just a second. But as you all put the pieces together, we have a number of new deposits emerging that now together contain more than 16 million ounces. Our focus for now is mainly on near surface oxides with simple metallurgy first of this modern North Bullfrog project in the northeast of our property and then at the new Merlin discovery, which is a truly spectacular piece of geology in the heart of the world’s best gold district. We believe costs will be extremely competitive and a number of potential development scenarios that will test match the project to our own capital return and needs. In short, the continued exploration success we’re enjoying suggests the potential at this stage for this research to support peak production of around 500,000 ounces over a multi-year period and this is a multi-decade gold district. North Bullfrog is our starter project. It is the most advanced in our current Nevada pipeline, already in the permitting process and we declared a first time mineral reserve of 1 million ounces today. The feasibility study is complete and detailed engineering is underway. Aside from the new low cost ounces, it will contribute to the group. North Bullfrog will provide us practical understanding of the permitting process, the opportunity to build the best-in-class project team and current experience of building and operating a project in Nevada, all of which will be invaluable as we roll forward to the much bigger Merlin development. This project has a very attractive return profile. Our updated estimate of first production is around mid-2026 assuming all goes to plan. This is based on correspondence from Stantec, the BLM agency which estimates the timeline of the record of decision to be around April 2025. We’re engaging closely with the regulators to ensure we’re best able to support the process and their timeline in the best way possible. Our study which has been approved by our board pending receipt before the necessary permits assumes total goal of around 800,000 pounds average of leverage rate of 1.4 and initial life of 13 years. We expect Tear 1 all-in sustaining cost of around $854 an ounce. When you amortize the project capital of around $370 million, you will get an all-in cost of about $1,300 an ounce. We assume a conservative goal price of $1,600 an ounce for the study, which would give us an IRR of 13% and a payback of just over seven years. However, at the spot, the return drops to 30% and the payback shrinks to just four years. The expanded silicon project covers the silicon deposit roughly in the center of our land holding and Merlin immediately south. Today we report a new 9.1 million ounce of inferred mineral resource at Merlin. As far as we can tell, this is the largest Greenfield discovery, gold discovery in the U.S. in well over a decade. It’s the fruit of a 2023 exploration program that beat all expectations. We drilled 144 holes totalling more than 100 kilometers of drilling. There is still significant upside particularly to the west. At first pass in our concept study the economics look very strong. This year we’re focused on the PFS, which is already underway. This includes infield drilling to test the significance of high grade mineralization within the inferred mineral resource study. This slide shows clearly why this is a potential game changer for us. In this section, you see the extent and size of the deposit, along with some very exciting intercepts, which validates the extent and quality of the ore body. You will obviously look through this cross section in your own time, but I’d like to just highlight there’s 103 meters of 7.3 grams a ton. There’s 185 meters of around 4 grams a ton and there’s just over 236 meters of 3.4 grams a ton. Mineralization remains open primarily to the west of the inferred mineral resource. This makes down our – we’re moving to exploration performance last year. Exclusive mineral resource addition totalled 10.3 million ounces from exploration and modelling and of course the introduction of Merlin. There were offsets which resulted in a net gain – one gain to gain of a year of 5 million ounces. Mineral reserve addition is total 2.5 million ounces. Two came from exploration including the addition of the million ounces at North Bullfrog. After the completion, another changes, we saw net reduction year-on-year of 0.7 million ounces. This slide shows exactly why we’re excited about the potential within our portfolio. We’re in the midst of a program to increase investment in mineral resource development and Brownfield exploration. This will aid reserve conversion, extend mine lives, improve operating flexibility and supplement knowledge of our ore bodies. We’re making strong progress. Over the past four years we’ve added 14.4 million ounces of mineral reserve, which have come into our inventory at only $62 an ounce. When you compare that to multiples being paid even for resource ounces, you can see the enormous value that we’ve been able to generate organics. I’ll now put Gillian on the financial listing. Gillian Doran : Thank you, Alberto, and hello everyone. Let’s first take a look at the macro environment and the impact on our business. The average gold price received last year was up around 8% compared to 2022 at around $1930 an ounce. We hedged just under 5% of production with a zero cost color between $1950 an ounce and $2029 an ounce which had a positive realized gain of $2 million. For this year we’ve used the same structure to hedge 347,000 ounces with a floor of $1,993 an ounce and a ceiling of $2,132 an ounce. This provides upside – provides downside protection for our assets in Brazil. You may recall, we anticipated inflation of 6% in 2023. As we look back, that was a little optimistic as we ended the year at an average CPI of 8%. We’re seeing inflation easing somewhat, although it does remain sticky in Ghana, Guinea and Argentina, and we also believe the labor increases are structural and this impacts 40% of our cash costs. We see continued weakness in the Aussie dollar, the Argentinean peso and the Ghana CD. Currency weakness will not help inflation going forward and this is something we’ll continue to watch. Oil continued to drift lower and our year-end position on the hedge was a realized loss of $7 million. We have no oil hedges in place for 2024. As Alberto mentioned, we saw strong sequential quarterly performances from a number of our key assets in 2023. As you can see in aggregate 15% production growth, half-on-half with all regions delivering stellar performance in the last quarter, particularly bolstered by Iduapriem, Geita, Tropicana and Cuiabá. The stronger half two production performance had a commensurate impact on our cost base. Total cash costs were 9% better half-on-half at $1,060 an ounce. Our cash costs for the full year were $1,108 an ounce, up 11% year-on-year, with lower production, higher operating costs, fuelled by the sustained inflationary pressures, planned higher waste stripping at Tropicana and one-off costs related to Brazil and the tank failure at Siguiri. When we flex for macro factors which we don’t control the increase almost halved to 6% and that includes the big disruptions we saw at Cuiabá and Siguiri. We would say we’re really quite pleased with this performance and it really demonstrates the value delivered from our full asset potential program. On ASIC, we did see an increase year-on-year as a consequence of investments made in three key areas. OID and waste stripping as we accessed new areas in Geita, Iduapriem and Tropicana. Mineral resource development in our underground mines, supporting greater mine flexibility and stability, and of course, infrastructure development and tailings facilities particularly at our Brazil operations. We also increased investment in exploration and evaluation to comfortably replenish mineral reserves as well as additional investment required in an environmental rehab. Moving to cash flow or free cash flow, the strong cash flow performance despite the higher CapEx in the second half, by a specific focus on optimizing working capital, higher sales volumes, improved cash costs and higher dividends from Kibali. There is a greater focus on working capital management and cash conversion which we highlighted as a strategic priority last year. As expected, most of our assets saw stronger operating improvements in the second half with tailwinds from the higher phase. Importantly as Alberto mentioned, decisive action taken in Brazil played a key role in managing cash outflows. With this strong free cash flow performance in the second half, today we announced an interim dividend of $0.19 per share incremental to the first half of $0.04 per share, bringing our 2023 dividend to $0.23 per share. Our focus on maintaining a strong balance sheet and decreasing debt levels remains intact. Long-term balance sheet improvements achieved through disciplined capital allocation and the self-funding of our redomicile quasi expansion program, Corpus and Coeur Sterling acquisitions and our major U.S. exploration program. Moving on to guidance for 2024, gold production for the portfolio is expected to be between 2.59 million ounces to 2.79 million ounces. At the midpoint, we expect production growth of about 4% relative to 2023. This is driven mainly by a step up at Obuasi and Siguiri where we expect year-on-year recovery from the CIL tank failure. Total cash costs for the group are expected to range from $1,075 an ounce to $1,175 an ounce, which at the midpoint is a reduction in real terms given where current inflation sits. We are able to do that given the traction we are seeing in our full-ass in our inside of our business and specifically our full-ass of potential program. Sustaining CapEx is expected to grow slightly, mainly because of increased investment in mineral reserve development. Year-on-year ASIC is also little changed despite the inflationary pressure. The increase in growth CapEx is due to additional investment in Nevada. For 2025 guidance, gold production is anticipated to grow 2% year-on-year, driven primarily by the expected continued ramp up at Obuasi and modest gains across multiple mines. Total cash costs are expected to decrease as continued full-asset potential, maturity and production efficiencies are anticipated to drive unit costs lower. The expected increase in non-sustaining capital expenditure reflects the anticipated incremental investment in the construction of North Bullfrog. It does not however include capital for the construction of the project. I will now hand back over to Alberto to comment. Alberto Calderon : Thank you, Gillian. This is another year for delivery. Safety is our priority. We have two large climate projects to complete this year, which will significantly reduce our emissions. We’re focused on driving operating improvements and delivering more consistent predictable results. The full-asset potential program is working as intended. Our Q1 assets are performing well with improvements in the pipeline. We’re focused on further optimizing our Tier 2 mines and determining the best path forward for our remaining assets. There’s a good pathway for Obuasi’s ramp up with clear milestones against which we can judge our success. Our technical team is progressing on a lot of opportunity to surface the enormous value we have discovered. Our world-class exploration team continues to add value to the drill bit across our properties. So why Anglo Gold? We’re a U.S. company and one of two primarily listed senior gold producers in the New York Stock Exchange. We have one of the industry’s largest resource space supported by high reserve grades. Our safety performance is among the best in the industry, in the mining industry, and we have a strong climate record. We have two partnerships in our host communities where we deliver tangible benefits. We have a highly motivated leadership team with world-class technical expertise and experience across development and developing jurisdictions. We have a diverse portfolio and are rapidly closing the margin gap with peers, with lower cost balances in the pipeline. Our track record on competitive and replenishing our mineral inventory is among the best in the industry. Our balance sheet is robust with capacity to fund our capital needs, share all the returns and growth. We’ve disciplined and allocating capital with a clear dividend policy and leverage targets. I’ll finish where I started closing the value gap. An important part of the strategy to achieve that aim is to regain cost competitiveness. When we started this journey in 2021, our cost inflation was right at the top end of the peer group. As our various interventions have been tractioned, we moved first to the midpoint and then to the lower end of the range. You can see our guidance for 2024 and ‘25. The cost will be within $100 of the all-in-sustaining cost of the guidance of the main sort of competitors. I just want to highlight that that would be about a third of the gap that existed three years ago. But we are far from finished. I know we’ve not been perfect, and I know there’s more work needed to ultimately to better our own costs going forward. We face challenges and overcome many of them. We’ve learned lessons that we will apply. We’re stronger, more competitive and better placed than we were this time last year. We are proud of our team. We are proud of our people. And what we have accomplished this year, we eagerly look forward to what is yet to come. Thank you. Stewart Bailey: Thanks Alberto. Chris. Operator: Thank you very much sir. [Operator Instructions]. Our first question is from Raj Ray of BMO Capital Markets. Please go ahead. See also 12 Best Rising Penny Stocks To Buy and 30 Most Walkable Cities In The World. Q&A Session Follow Anglogold Ashanti Ltd (NYSE:AU) Follow Anglogold Ashanti Ltd (NYSE:AU) or Subscribe with Google We may use your email to send marketing emails about our services. Click here to read our privacy policy. Raj Ray: Thank you, operator. Good morning, Alberto and team. My first question Alberto is on the full-asset potential. I know you are going into the implementation phase at various operations. Can you give us some visibility as to what remains to be done and are you happy with the way things have gone across the various assets? Second is on the cost impact. The cost is flat year-to-year, you did say that. But against your initial guidance at the beginning of 2023, 1395 to 1455, it’s a substantial increase. So, if you can comment on that. And then lastly, with respect to Nevada, can you talk to what do you see as the potential permitting timeline with respect to North Bullfrog and when you expect to get into construction? And secondly, when can we expect some visibility on the expanded silicon economics? Alberto Calderon : Thank you. Okay, let me – lots of questions, but good ones. Thank you. Full-asset potential, look, we track – you saw two slides and one of them are the hard metrics, and that is really what we track. Are we structurally and permanently improving the tons we’re moving and the recovery we’re having or the metallurgical recovery or whatever hard metric? And that is what is tracked with the operators, with the CTO, with the COO, and all of our teams. Now, that slide you saw on finance was actually done by the finance team. And they just made a reconciliation and said, okay, what can we see from this whole-asset potential in the bottom line? And this is an exposed fact. And you can see that they can find $200 million clearly of improvements of increase in the EBITDA because of what we have done in full-asset potential for 2023. So I thought we would share this for the market. What is yet to come? I can’t put out – we haven’t put out targets, but we will continue. We think that there is still yet a lot to improve. So I haven’t done it in the past and I won’t do it now. But I believe that with a little bit of not bad luck. Again, we did have very significant events both in Siguiri and in Cuiabá. And so if we hadn’t had full-asset potential, we would have been in real trouble. I hope that this year, we don’t have – maybe we have only one, I don’t know. In mining you always have something. And then probably we can see that more clearly, not offsetting, but in the bottom line. But we believe there’s still a lot of value to be uncovered by full asset potential, let me put it that way. In terms of cost, as we said, we met the guidance in cash cost and we’re quite happy about that, $1,108. You’re right, in all-in sustaining, we’re about 6% higher. It is two areas that we wouldn’t expect Obuasi and tailing stamps in Brazil really sucked up that additional 6%. The good thing is, if you see, we finish at 1538. Our guidance for 2024 is 1521, which is a slightly lower nominal turn, but significantly lower in real terms. And then we have another guidance of 1525 for 2025. So we’re stabilizing the all-in sustaining cost. If you look at the guidance, and I’ve looked briefly at the guidance, about three or four of our peers, they’re all, they’re all in sustaining is going up. So, I think we’re happy that we’re able to contain this for 2024 and 2025. If we look into Nevada, we’re expecting, we had said probably last year we were expecting production at the end of 2025. Right now, we’re going to first quarter of 2026. The good news is that we got very clear feedback from the Bureau of Land Management and the organizations that are, which are going to give the license. So we have even more sort of understanding of when they will give us the permission and then how long it takes. And so I think that now we’re sort of comfortable that saying right now that production would be in, let’s say, 2026, which is still quite good we believe. And then expanded silicon, we told you about six months ago, ‘look, we have an objective. We want to finish the concept study for silicon at the end of the year. And we want to finish the feasibility study’. We did both. Now we are entering the phase of the pre-feasibility study that may take between 18 and 24 months. Things can change significantly. We don’t know right now, nobody knows how to tackle in an optimized way this magnificent boardwalk. Is it going to be a huge pit? Is it going to be a smaller pit? Is it going to be underground? We just don’t know. And so the way we end up optimizing the project will determine a lot of things that we don’t know right now. I can tell you right now is, we right now have a target of 18 months. We will be telling you about progressing. And then when we finish the pre-feasibility study, as we are doing without a doubt, we will be able to tell you much more about silicon. It is however, you can see already, it is and we said like, one of the probably the best discovery in more than a decade in the U.S., and it’s a massive, massive ore body. So we’re very excited. Raj Ray: Alberto, thanks for that, very clear. One last follow-up question, if I may, on Obuasi. It’s good to see that last four months in the tonnage have stabilized. The grades have picked up. In 2024, how comfortable are you with your development rates and how much flexibility you have in the operations? The reason I ask is, is there any risk you see with respect to volatility similar to we saw in Q3, to Obuasi? Alberto Calderon: So look, last four and now five months, because we are in the third week of February, we’re averaging this 90,000 tons, which would give you about a 250,000 ounces of gold for the year. And we’ve said that we believe we can ramp up a bit from about 95 to 110. That would then put us into the 270 to 300. So at this stage, everything is looking good. And we stand by our guidance. Honestly, right now, we are already at the lower end of that guidance. So if we can improve a bit more, which we believe we can, then we should get into the midpoint of that guidance. V : And so I think we have good instruments now, as we move forward to give us comfort on the guidance that we put forward today on that range for ‘24 with the KMS shaft on the increase now for between 325 and 325 or ‘25. And then eventually when by then, by ‘26, we will be very comfortable with both methods and hence we have the confidence of above 400,000 in ‘26 and beyond. You want to? No. Thanks Raj. Raj Ray: Thank you. Operator: Thank you. The next question is from Josh Wilson of RBC. Please go ahead. Josh Wilson : Thanks very much. So I just wanted to recap a comment that I think Gillian had made earlier on the on the capital front. What was the item that was not included in the guidance? Was that North Bullfrog? Gillian Doran : For 2025, yes. The capital for Nevada. Josh Wilson : Okay. So the project capital guidance. Yeah. So the project capital was something like 400 to 450. What would be that spending directed towards? Gillian Doran : So there’s studies in there for Nevada and also our kind of usual growth program as well. So that of expansion of tailings facility and some other growth projects that we have in some of our assets, sort of like the normal envelope of growth capital that we spend annually. Josh Wilson : Okay. So let’s so assuming the project were to be advanced in let’s say, mid-25, first half of ‘25, assuming the permit to come in, what sort of – what balance of the CapEx would be added to that figure in 2025? Gillian Doran: For now, it’s on where we are with the study. We don’t – the level of confidence in the study, we haven’t – we don’t want to repine on what that range would be, because the team are still of course assessing a number of options in the region. Alberto Calderon: But it’s not the construction phase or what else. Its pre-feasibility study, and so it’s not like going to be something that would be very, very material. But we just don’t know, so we’ll be telling you where the pre-feasibility ends. Josh Wilson : Okay. We’ll stay tuned for those numbers. All right. Thank you very much. Alberto Calderon: It could be 30, it could be 50, it could be 60. It’s not 100, I think. So that’s sort of what I’m trying to say. Operator: Thank you very much. Alberto Calderon: Okay. Go ahead Josh, anything more? Chris? Operator: The next question is from Leroy Mnguni of HSBC. Please go ahead. Leroy Mnguni: Hi. Good afternoon. Thanks for the opportunity. It’s, quite pleasing to see that the — and the underhand cut in fill at, Obuasi is progressing really well. I was just wondering if you have a sense yet of how the costs of that method compared to the sort of previous long haul open-stopeing mining method. And if you could also please provide some guidance on what you expect of Obuasi all-in sustaining costs to be when it reaches steady state production. And then the decline in all-in sustaining costs into 2025 compared to 2024 is also quite pleasing. I was just wondering, I know you mentioned that it’s asset optimization and improved deficiencies. I was just curious as to, is that just generally across the group or are there specific assets within the group that are driving those improvements? Alberto Calderon: Leroy, you broke up a little in that last question. Could you just repeat for us please? Leroy Mnguni: Oh yeah, sure. I was saying that the guidance, all-in sustaining cost guidance for 2025, the fact that it’s declining is quite impressive. I know you said its asset optimization and improved efficiencies. I was just wondering, is that just broadly across the group or are there specific assets that are driving those improved efficiencies? And then maybe if I could just add, what are you currently seeing as underlying mining inflation across the group? Alberto Calderon: Okay, thanks. That’s clear. Thank you. So first question, underhand cut and fill. So look, in the trial that we already did and completed, what we found is that the cost per ounce was around $800 – $750 I’m sorry. And the equivalent cost with the existing method would be $800. And the reason for that is because what in the underhand cut and fill, as Richard explained very well last time, there’s no dilution and there’s no pillars. So you take all the gold. So when you are in high grade areas, if this method just reduces the cost per ounce of extraction. So that’s what is quite exciting that this now, this number of $50 an ounce, lower cost per ounce is now a proven one in this trial that we have been doing for the past weeks. Regarding all-in-sustaining costs for Obuasi, it would be in the $950s, $980 an ounce for Obuasi. So Tier 1 in costs. Asset potential, I think that there’s two things why also the all-in-sustaining costs for ‘25. In the numbers that we have for ‘23, there’s still a lot of tailing stamps from Brazil. And if you look at the numbers of Brazil and this difference between all-in-sustaining costs and cash costs, it’s the highest in the group. It’s about $700. So we expect that that number should start coming down, and so that’s part of the reason. But of course, we are counting on full-asset potential. I would not highlight any particular one. This is an initiative that is done across all the group and all classes. So we now have a detailed budget, let’s say, for ‘25. And so this is – I want to say this clearly. When we put up these numbers, there’s a lot of thought through them and we aim to achieve them. If I may say so, we put in in February of 2023, in March, the numbers for ‘24. If you go back to then, you will see that our current guidance for ‘24 is exactly in the range of what we said a year ago. And so I go back for ‘25. We were putting in a lot of attention, and we believe that this is achievable, so that’s that third question. And then mining inflation, it’s still that 5%. Unbelievable, but that is still pervasive. We’ve seen commodities go down slightly, oil goes down. And we are trying to do everything to renegotiate with our procurement people and the other ones when we age and send in ammonia, ammonia nitric explosive, that should come down. But wage inflation, I would say it’s 5% an average across the group, and that’s still 50% and very pervasive. Any follow-up? Leroy Mnguni: No, I’m covered. Thank you. Operator: Thank you very much. Then the next question is from Adrian Hammond of SPG Securities. Please go ahead. Adrian Hammond : Yes, good afternoon, everyone. Alberto, thanks for the detailed presentation and I appreciate the transparency increase here with a 2025 outlook on cost included. And as you know, transparency drives ratings, so well done on that. I would just like to know if you intend on increasing it further with the three year outlook in the future, perhaps on a mine-by-mine basis, that’s the first question. Secondly, the prospectivity around the Nevada looks obviously very attractive. I was wondering whether you’ve had expressions of interest for JVs and would you entertain that? That’s the second question. Also, a bit more color if you may. I’m not seeing much detail on the asset potential program for within the business itself......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 24th, 2024