Mr. T-like pain for Detroit, China, and old tech
After a two-week hiatus for summer break, Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, is back (lucky you) with all the tidbits, insights and sarcasm you expect on the WEEK THAT WAS, and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.
I guess the financial demise of Detroit should also come as no shock. They have been working on it for the last 60 years. The numbers are scary. Only a third of the ambulances work. The homicide rate is at a 40-year high. Some 78,000 structures have been abandoned.
You will read 100 horror stories about Detroit in the next few days. So let's offer an alternative—to celebrate the city for its enduring contribution to music.
It is after all, Motown.
Look at this range of artists from the city: Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Al Green, Alice Cooper, Eminem, Iggy Pop, Kid Rock, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and yes, even Ted Nugent.
Detroit may not know how to run a city, but it sure knows how to carry a tune.
Google & Microsoft
This week, I really started to feel my age because Microsoft and Google (both missed on earnings) suddenly feel old. I guess Microsoft should be no shock. It's been years since Microsoft has launched a product that has caught Wall Street or Main Street's eye. Every new product (er, Surface?) seems like a late reaction to its competitor's innovations. And in the old days, a new Windows launch was a huge event.
The past launch of Windows 8 felt more like a wake. Even I've gone Apple—switching to a MacBook Pro (I also have an iPhone and an iPad). But Google!? Google's working on Google Glass, Sergey and Larry had a party plane. Google was hip and new-tech, right?
Pease don't tell me they are becoming just an old school "search engine" that relies on click ads? Maybe it's an over-reaction. Maybe Google will still take over the world like we once feared.
Or maybe I really am getting old!
Jim Chanos and Mr. T
From the "It's-Better-to-be-Early-Than-Late" file. Hedge fund specialist Jim Chanos reflects on his four-year short position on China and what investors should expect in the next four years.
Here's a hint from "Rocky 3" in the words of Mr. T:"Prediction? … Pain." (story and video)
Peltz and Pepsico
Squawk was at the Delivering Alpha Conference, and show co-host Andrew Ross Sorkin got to sit down with famed investor Nelson Peltz, who thinks Pepsico should buy Mondelez. Peltz also pointed out that Mondelez sounds more like a disease. Company name change anyone? (story and video)
Squawk Master Mohamed El-Erian checked in this week about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's "high-wire" act in front of Congress, where the Fed gets its economic projections, and outflows from bond funds like his. (story and video)
What do you remember as a kid? For Andrew apparently it was cool limos at Tavern on the Green (the historic New York City restaurant in Central Park) and a creepy guy who gave him saltines. Check out this video, courtesy of @BrianWSteel (our CNBC PR guru).
"Brief" exchange between co-host Joe Kernen and Jake Bronstein, the CEO of men's underwear maker Flint & Timber
Joe: "Can I wear that? I mean the CEO of Lululemon sent me underwear but I needed instructions because there was no flap."
Jake: "No Flap? And do they even make men's underwear?"
Joe: "Yes they make men's underwear, and yes, no flap, so you have to figure out how to pull it out."
Speaking of which, here's why "I want to be a cicada" is a good example of the hardcore business news content you can only get on Squawk
Joe: "If you were an insect, what kind of insect would you be?"
Andrew: "I don't know?"
Joe: "What a cockroach? A tick?"
Andrew: "Maybe, sometimes I feel like one."
Joe: "You know what I'd be? I'd be a cicada. Did you hear them out there? They are alive for only three weeks, and its three- straight weeks of sex. They are just out there pounding away. In and out. Every moment of every day. What do you think that buzzing sound is? And as soon as they're done with one, they fly around to find another. Now that's good living!"
News tidbits you can (kind of) use
Joe always has his ear to the ground, searching for the important news you need to know about every morning before making crucial financial decisions. Case in point this week, an Alabama post office was shutdown due to a sex lubricant spill. You can't make this stuff up! (story)
Joe: "Would you book a guest based on what you like? You like underwear. Is that why that underwear guy was on?"
Andrew: "No. No, but I do like good underwear. I'm a Tommy John guy."
Joe: "But you are not wearing any today."
Co-host Becky Quick put Joe on the spot: "How do you know that?"
NBC-owned Syfy announced plans this week to make a sequel to the wildly popular B-movie "Sharknado" starting Ian Ziering of "90210" and Tara Reid of "American Pie" fame.