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.

The fated glory of Detroit: an abandoned building on the outskirts of Motor City
Getty Images
The fated glory of Detroit: an abandoned building on the outskirts of Motor City


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.

(Read more: Detroit emergency manager: We had to draw a line somewhere)

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!

Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T in Rocky 3
Source: MGM
Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T in Rocky 3

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)

Chanos also gave us an update on his short position on Hewlett-Packard (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)

High-wire act

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)

Sorkin's saltines

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)

Squawkward moments

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.

In the original, freak tornadoes suck up man-eating sharks from the ocean and deposit them on a storm-soaked Los Angeles. In the sequel, the sharks invade a flooded New York City.

Joe Kernen and his family are huge fans, and he is secretly hoping for a way to land a cameo.

So as his producer for the past 18 years, this is my lame attempt to start a viral Internet campaign on Joe's behalf. Please tweet to @SyfyMovies #SharkNado and start the #kernencameo movement.

Fish Stories

Speaking of angry fish—every flagship, No. 1, cable, early morning, business news TV show needs an official economics reporter. So we have @SteveLiesman (for like 12 years now).

But he also happens to be the official fly fisherman of that flagship, No. 1, cable, early morning, business news TV show. So once in awhile, we throw him a bone (or a fly in this case) and let him show off.

He caught this version of Striper-Nado off of Cape Cod.

'Fast money'

Becky: "Yahoo is buying Qwiki (a mobile app for creating videos on the iPhone) for $50 million."

Joe: "Qwiki! That's what I call you. Your nick-name is Quickie."

Becky: "We'll at least I don't come cheap. $50 million."

Joe: "What … for a Quickie?"

Tweets of Note

@CramersShirt wrote:

for her birthday on Thursday.

(This is absolutely positively the last year we will wish you a happy 28th!)

Birthday wishes

Joe: "Happy birthday Becky, what sign are you?"

Becky: "I'm a crab."

Joe: "Do you feel any different?"

Becky: "No, not really. Do you feel different on your birthday?"

Joe: "Um, yeah. I feel angry and depressed."

Becky: "No, I said do you feel any different."

Hair nation courtesy of Squawk Director @pauldefabo and our finally-no-longer-Twitterless Technical Director Keith Falcone (follow him at @keith_falcone; he needs the help since he only has three followers)

Oh wait, Keith was out this week, Rob Vanrhyn did this one (a good example of why Falcone has 3 followers).

Joe got a little jealous by all the happy birthday wishes to Becky this week, but this was going a little overboard.

Must Follow Them @

@carney wrote:

(Not sure what we think either, But John, Just don't change NetNet too much because we love it!)


Yahoo's Marissa Mayer keeps trying to make a splash and get her company noticed. So when your revenue outlook fails to impress Wall Street, what's a young hip CEO to do? How about a video conference call! (Analysis of the video conference call begins at 2:21 in this video clip)

Not sure if it worked or not, but it sure did seem like the next morning the newspapers were all buzzing about the video conference, while the revenue outlook part got bumped to paragraph No. 5.

Kudos to the intern

The Squawk blog has been on a two-week hiatus, while I did a little traveling. But kudos to Squawk intern John Torrisi who was able to keep my daughters' hermit crabs alive while I was gone.

You just can't get this kind of educational experience in the classroom. Follow him on Twitter at @JCTorrisi.

Earnings calendar

Full swing on the earnings front next week. Here's a quick preview.

"Squawk Box" co-hosts Joe Kernen and Becky Quick keep a handwritten record of their daily Word Jumble standings going back years.
Matthew J. Belvedere | CNBC
"Squawk Box" co-hosts Joe Kernen and Becky Quick keep a handwritten record of their daily Word Jumble standings going back years.

Word Jumble

After a long hiatus due to vacations, Becky and Joe finally got back to playing the jumble this week. They've been competing against each other every day after the show for the last seven years!

Weekly Scoreboard: Becky has one win and Joe has two.

Words Joe stumbled on when jumbled: None

Words Becky stumbled on when jumbled: NEYROD=yonder

Let's give them both a bonus word.

*Joe's bonus jumbled word of the week: FTFELUR

*Becky's bonus jumbled word of the week: SSDEEAI

*Answers at the end

Mark Your Calendar(or Set Your DVR)

  • Monday: Howard Dean, the former Democratic governor of Vermont
  • Tuesday: Wilbur Ross, WL Ross & Co. LLC
  • Wednesday: Byron Wien, Blackstone Advisory Partners vice chairman
  • Thursday: Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO
  • Friday: James Paulsen, Wells Capital Management

Next week's economic calendar

Quiet week expect for Durable Goods and Jobless Claims on Thursday.

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

"Our favorite holding period is forever." —Warren Buffett

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

*Joe's jumble bonus word answer: FTFELUR=fretful

*Becky's jumble bonus word answer: SSDEEAI=seaside