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Best in Show! Squawking jobs, Fed and hot wheels

Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights, and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

Danil Melekhin | E+ | Getty Images

Data deluge

It was a literal flood of economic numbers this week, ending with Friday's employment report.

The government said the U.S. economy added another 162,000 nonfarm jobs in July—a number that missed expectations of 183,000. The nation's unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, a shade below the predicted 7.5 percent. (story)

On Wednesday, we got a better-than-expected private payrolls report from ADP showing 200,000 jobs in July and a better-than-expected 1.7 percent GDP growth rate in the second quarter. (story)

All of which brings us back to the only real question the market cares about right now: Can the economy grow on its own after the Fed takes away the punch bowl? Pimco's Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Thursday the Fed's tapering is "almost a given" this year, but there won't be enough economic growth to justify the reduction. (story and video)

Ack is back

Move over Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman is back! Squawk co-host Becky Quick and CNBC's hedge fund specialist Maneet Ahuja (follow her @WallStManeet) broke the news this week that Ackman's Pershing Square has taken a 9.8 percent stake in Air Products & Chemicals. The stake, which cost Ackman $2.2 billion, is the biggest initial investment Pershing Square has ever made. (story and video)

And the breaking news didn't stop there. While Becky and Maneet had Ackman on the phone, they also managed to get him to comment on his thus-far-problematic Herbalife short. (story and video)

Comcastic Results!

Our mothership, Comcast, reported better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, and Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told us the timing of the decision by Comcast to buy out the rest of NBCUniversal "looks great" so far.

Here's our interview with our very handsome boss. Did I kiss-up enough? (story and video)

Ian McDonnell | E+ | Getty Images

'Night of the Living Fed'

As the week went on, we became more convinced that nothing was going to come from this week's FOMC meeting, which of course proved true. This forced us to find other ways to entertain ourselves. In Squawk co-host Joe Kernen's case this often leads to zombie references, which sparked a mini in-house contest for the best Federal Reserve-zombie headline. Winner: "Night of the Living Fed," which beat out "The Walking Fed" and "Evil Fed." (story and video)

Summers vs. Yellen vs. Kernen?

Of course, the other Fed story of the week was the building fantasy-WrestleMania match between Janet Yellen and Larry Summers in the contest to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman. Joe has been all over this story. So the guys in the control room gave us a glimpse of what a Kernen candidacy might look like. (It could be his secret hope that somebody throws his hat in the ring.)

'Moron of the Week Award' goes to…

Yours truly! Evidenced by my Tweet early this week:

(Yes, just in case you didn't catch that, I managed to drop my iPhone in the bay while playing with my daughters in a kayak, followed less than 24 hours later by running over my iPad after I left it on the roof of the minivan while loading my 2-year-old son in the car seat on the way to the town pool. Stay back; I'm becoming a health hazard.)

Surface observation

Transition my iPad stupidity to what's wrong with Microsoft. This week we learned that Mr. Softee is officially losing money on its Surface tablets.

Case in point, I had just ran over my iPad but when asked by our ultra-geek star intern, John Torrisi, if I would consider a Surface tablet because they are practically giving them away for under $300, I shake him off like he's crazy.

Two hours later, I was spotted in an Apple store literally holding my wallet open and asking them to hook it up to the vacuum cleaner. Then $875 later, I can now once again surf the YouTube channel in style for Elmo videos to keep my son quiet. It's official; I'm an idiot!

The Apprentice

Bill Rancic (follow him on Twitter @BillRancic) won the first season of NBC's "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump. Now, he's teaming up with Intuit in a new campaign to give small businesses a big push to the next level. (video)

Bugatti Vitesse
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Bugatti Vitesse

Hot Wheels

Got an extra $2.3 million lying around? Let's pretend! Then maybe I can interest you in a new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse? (Maybe it's time to trade in my 1997 Suburban!) We're talking 1,200 horsepower and a speedometer that goes to 280 mph (although so far its top speed has been clocked at 254 mph).

We had one right outside the set this week for a test drive. But before you buy, you might want to check with your insurance company to see about the "potential slight rise in your premium." (story and video)

'Squawkward moments'

Becky: "David [Faber] did report earlier this week that Air Products could be the company Bill Ackman was taking a stake in."

Joe: "Really?"

David: "Yeah, you go home after the show and don't watch 'Squawk on the Street.'"

Becky: "We'll that's not true, Joe does LIKE to WATCH!"

Becky Braveheart Quick: CNBC unscripted

Becky spent a few minutes with CNBC's own media relations guru @BrianWSteel talking "Braveheart," "The Hobbit" and my personal number one movie of all time, "Jaws"! (video)

Dog days

Becky: "Take a look at shares of the major fertilizer producers. All down double-digit percentages on news Russia's Uralkali quit the world's largest potash cartel, heralding a price war among companies that produce the key fertilizer ingredient."

Joe: "A price war in the fertilizer sector? Holy Shih-TZU!"

Tweets of Note

From @beckyquickcnbc:

(This was in response to a report by Ross Westgate on the British development of a 'stem cell burger'. OK, that's officially gross!)

Ben White (a.k.a. ‏@morningmoneyben):

(Love it! Now we can officially torture Ben in Squawk style by making even more fun of his non-Google Glass glasses and calling him at all hours of the day and night just to tell him his appearance the next day will probably be canceled due to more important news.)

Hair Nation (courtesy of Squawk Director @pauldefabo and our technical director @Keith_Falcone who's holding steady at 5 whole followers. Wow Keith, you must be the life of the party!)

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars Teresa Giudice and Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice made the front page of the New York tabloids this week due to allegations of a serious federal fraud rap. This, of course, got Joe talking about it on the show. The next thing you know, the control room made its own version.

Must follow them @

Checkout @MarcusLemonis, he's "The Profit" of the new CNBC prime show @cnbcprimeTV

Earnings Calendar

Overheard on the set

"Hey, check out this really cool blog called "NetNet" on CNBC.com. It's written by this really awesome guy John Carney. I think you can follow him on Twitter at @Carney." (Really awesome Jeff Cox also writes it, and you can follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxCNBCcom.)

(Hacked again by "Net Net!" We need a new firewall!)

Word Jumble

It was disastrous week for Becky in the word jumble competition (seven-years-plus and still going)! She got blanked 4-0 by Joe.

Joe's bonus Jumbled word of the week is PWREOPH.

Becky's bonus jumbled word of the week is MLHAKAOO.

*Answers at the end

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR)

  • Monday: Barry Knapp (Barclays) and Glenn Hubbard (Columbia business school dean)
  • Tuesday: Harold Ford Jr. (NBC political analyst) and Sheila Bair (rormer FDIC chief)
  • Wednesday: Squawk Master Jeremy Siegel (Wharton School)
  • Thursday: Jurrien Timmer (Fidelity Investments) and Thomas Lee (JPMorgan)
  • Friday: Charles Kantor (Neuberger Berman)

The "corny-sappy motivational business-based inspirational quote" for the weekend

"I've learned that mistakes can often be as good a teacher as success." —Jack Welch

(He's our No. 1 CEO of all time here on Squawk! Follow him on Twitter at @jack_welch)

—By CNBC's Matthew Quayle. Follow him on Twitter @matthew_quayle.

*Joe's Jumble Bonus Word answer: PWREOPH=whopper

*Becky'sJumble Bonus Word answer: MLHAKAOO=Oklahoma

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