Thursday, June 30, 2016

Things You Hear on Trains

Your faithful reporter's got a lot of time to kill on his train trip from Manhattan to Washington, DC, and not a lot of burning ambition to tackle these TPS reports, so the Man's loss is your gain. Free-flowing freshly-pressed wine from these mindgrapes follows in the form of a story I couldn't help overhearing from the reasonably loud but generally likable chap who sat in the row in front of me from New York to Philly. I assume stuff like this happens to TR all the time during his commute into the maw of the financial beast, but the DC to NYC commute is still fresh and new to me.

None of these are our guy
The guy in question is a financier-type roughly my age. Given his garb and bearded countenance and a handful of context clues dropped into conversation, he parlayed his first 20 years on Wall Street into his own gig and gets to run other people's money in flip flops and cargo shorts. Like a socially adept Michael Burry. Apparently our hero randomly bumped into a former fraternity brother (Columbia, Class of mid-90-something - I think I heard a Marcellus Wiley namedrop in there somewhere, too) who was traveling for work with a colleague. The fraternity brother convinced flip flop financier to tell the story of his mid-90s interview with Salomon Brothers - the same fixed equities desk made famous by Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker.

Seems that our guy had been through nearly a dozen rounds of interviews when the HR Department called him back for one final discussion. He was told that if this last guy liked him, then he had the job. So he shows up at 7:30 am and sits down with a middle-aged exec. After an exchange of pleasantries, the Salomon guy tells the kid that everyone likes him, but the final call is his. He then asks what position our young candidate plays on the Columbia baseball team. "I'm a pitcher," he replies.

After which the Salomon gatekeeper, who's probably pulling down $20m a year or so in that go-go era (check my math, TR), but thinks nothing of fucking with a college kid, opens his desk drawer and pulls out a baseball-sized stress ball. He points across the trading desk to a water fountain on the other side of the room. "If you can hit the middle of the water fountain with that ball, the job is yours. If not, you can go fuck yourself."

It's early, our guy is nervous, and there's a whole floor of traders watching. And he's not entirely sure what's happening. But he does his best, winds up, and lets fly. The ball starts out on a true path, but as those flimsy things do, spins off target and rises high and away, just nicking the upper corner of the fountain.

"Go fuck yourself," says the bondsman.

And so our hero does, leaving the building never to hear from Salomon again.

Things worked out okay for him, judging from many of the other things he had to say, so it's now just a funny story. And a whole lot went to hell for Salomon Brothers not long after this incident, so we can only hope bad things happened to the interviewer, though it's just as likely that he landed on his feet and tortured other young masters of the universe. Hell, maybe TR works for him.

97 comments:

Squeaky said...

I'll leave this here from the last post.

Don't think this was a funded research option at W&M. Maybe some self study. http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/06/most-women-shave-their-nether-regions-for-hygiene-doctors-facepalm/?comments=1

For an Ars article there are some awesome comments. Yeah, nerdy guys living in their parents basement.

rob said...

10% of the population of iceland is in paris for sunday's match between france and iceland. that's bonkers.

zman said...

Lots of skyr.

Danimal said...

mike tirico is going to nbc? just discovered this factoid today.

rob said...

coastal carolina won the national baseball championship. also bonkers.

TR said...

That news is 6 wks old, D-Money. Bad job by you.

Danimal said...

I figured I was a little late on the take. Per usual.

Danimal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

The Lakers gave a guy who couldn't off the Cleveland bench 4 years/64 M? Oh man. God Bless the Buss family.

TR said...

That's better than a 4-yr /$72 MM deal for an over-the-hill big man who will play 60% of the games during that run. Do the Knocks know that recreating a 2011 All-Star team in 2017 will not work?

Douchey Dolan and the Knicks are firmly gunning to be perennial 5-7 seeds in the playoffs. While that is no man's land, it distracts the tabloids, gives the team a couple home playoff games, and minimizes booing. Their ceiling is a poor man's Raptors.

And with the new cap, we have to wipe out mental assessments of skill and comparable pay. The inevitable $20 MM/yr contract for Harrison Barnes will prove that.

TR said...

Knicks, Knocks, Donks, whatevs.

rob said...

indeed, the new cap is going to make for a lot of 'he got what?!?!'.

T.J. said...

wait until Baze gets 20M a year...

rob said...

rumor is that he'll get at least 17 per

T.J. said...

the best will be when Ernie G gives Ryan Anderson 24/yr and Wiz fans throw themselves in front of moving traffic

zman said...

Speaking of funny/goofy/silly decisions, on my way to work I saw a late model Toyota RAV4 with a brush guard on the front, an NRA sticker on the side window, and a Reagan '84 sticker on the rear window. Nothing says tough-guy old-school Republican off-roadin' gun-slinger like a Japanese cute-ute.

Mark said...

I realize Noah isn't what he used to be but you can't really think signing Mozgov for $2M less per year than Noah is the better of the two signings. Mozgov averaged 1.2 ppg in the playoffs. Noah would've averaged far more than that and is a better passer and defender. Mozgov is garbage.

I say this all fully aware that many of these contracts will look bad but will simply be products of the new environment. Barnes, Derozan, Bazemore, Marvin Williams and scores of rotation players will get far more than they "should" (looking at you Tyler Johnson) but I'd rather have all of them at their absurdly high salaries than Tiny Timofey at $16M annually.

rob said...

tiny timofey!

Mark said...

The Knicks are going after Eric Gordon?? Do they have the Maester who brought The Mountain back to life on their training team? What. The. Fuck.

rob said...

brad beal just got paid.

Mark said...

They have a professional polygraphist interviewing Stugotz on the LeBatard Show today. It is radio gold.

Mark said...

Beal is really good and worth the money if he can stay healthy. But he can't. Wiz didn't have much choice though.

rob said...

i'm about to turn onto big beaver blvd in beaver falls, pa. i'm also 12 years old.

zman said...

I saw Felch Road the other day. I did not turn onto it.

Danimal said...

i heard the last few minutes of that mark and instantly knew i missed out on something good.

rob said...

can we get an obft headcount? tr, zman's bringing you. hope he's already told you.

zman said...

TR will have to go solo. I'll be away for work.

rob said...

dude

TR said...

NOBFT for me

rob said...

this is an unacceptable failure of prioritization by both of you

zman said...

I might get some amazing content on this trip--my counterpart at the affiliate I'm visiting has been described as "all about smoking cigarettes, red meat, and strip clubs."

Mark said...

So you're going somewhere (other than Austin) in Texas?

Danimal- it was fantastic. So good, in fact, that they're going to make it a semi regular segment.

Mark said...

To Rob's comment about being 12: Were you one of those guys who hit your current height in 8th or 9th grade and then just stopped growing? Because that would be a bummer.

I'm not tall (5'10") but I was around 5'5" as a junior in HS and then grew 5 inches over the next year and a half (thank you Jesus).

Mark said...

Also, what's OJ Mayo's drug of choice? Coke or Molly?

Mark said...

Not that anyone cares but I'm totally good with what Orlando is giving Evan Fournier. Even more so when I saw what Portland is giving Evan Turner.

Mark said...

Apparently Evan Fournier's nickname is Don't Google. I should've listened.

Danimal said...

this Wales Belgium game has been entertaining.

Danimal said...

My kid and his best pal and next door neighbor have been on this kick of making skateboard half pipes out of cardboard boxes. They aren't even skate rats. It's weird bc it is has consumed them over the last week or so. Anyway, the neighbors parents are nice, but square. They don't touch alcohol or socialize with anyone. (My old man always said, "never trust anyone that doesn't drink"). The boys came over looking for boxes and I just happened to return from Costco. A Bud Lite box and a Crown Royal (half gallon) were salvaged from the trash, brought next door and turned into sweet pipes, perfectly done, logos centered and everything. This took a little while so no question the parents saw them. She's the kind of chick that will judge. Oh well. Fuck it.

Shlara said...

The cap floor for 2014-15 was like $56M
For the coming season--the one where all of these deals are based--the floor will probably be $86M
That's a $30M jump in the FLOOR in two years.

Next season, if there's not a work stoppage, the cap will definitely be $100M+, with an emphasis on that plus

The guys who played in the 90s and early aughts are quietly steaming in their homes this week.

rob said...

mark, i was a runt from the jump. worked hard to eke out as many inches as i could.

Mark said...

We're similar in that regard then, Rob.

Wales-Belgium was great!

zman said...

How much would Scottie Pippen get today? I recall he had some tuuuuuurrible deal in Chicago.

Mark said...

I think Mike Conley is very, very good. But he's not a top 5 PG. He's going to make over $30M a year. Woooow.

Danimal said...

Lochte lochs up an individual spot for Rio, coming in 2nd in the 200 IM. Phelps beat him by a hair...3rd place was about 3 seconds behind. They are still in their own class.

Danimal said...

Rowdy Gaines gettin rowdy up in here ya'll!

Mark said...

In 1997 Scottie Pippen was in the second year of a 7 yr/$22M contract.

Mark said...

Pardon me, he was going into the last year of his contract in 97. Still. He's pretty bitter today.

TR said...

Vince Wilfork in the ESPN Body Issue! Likely to be the biggest breasts in the mag.

rob said...

baze got 4/70 from the hawks. turned down 4/72 from the lakers. the world is amazing.

TR said...

Obama should veto the 5/153 deal for Conley.

Has anybody done the math go figure out what LBJ can get (approximately) if he re-ups for 1-2 years, and then maxes out into the next big cap spike?

zman said...

NBA players who made $30M in one year:

Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
Mike Conley

One of these things is not like the others.

Mark said...

He's absolutely doing that, TR. He'll opt out again in 2017 and take a super max deal. He doesn't get enough credit for how well he's played his career from a financial stand point. I haven't done the math but read that he'll make north of $35M. He'll still be underpaid.

Oh, I almost forgot. Go Germany.

T.J. said...

lol wut r the lakers doing

T.J. said...

oh my

Aaron Bruski @aaronbruski
Clippers meeting with Durant was “intense” and “at one point Steve Ballmer was crying” but everyone grew closer and a big lesson was learned

Mark said...

I have no idea what that means.

I really enjoy Bill Simmons on his podcasts. That said, his 'free agency' podcast with Joe House was/is God fucking awful.

rob said...

spending the weekend at my sister- and brother-in-law's lake house. at dinner last night, another guest told us that his two primary influences in life are ayn rand and howard stern. you can imagine my delight.

zman said...

How does that even come up in conversation?

Danimal said...

Tony Shaver and who else Rob?

TR said...

Did the guy pronounce it "Ein" Rand, or did he say "Ann" Rand. If it's the latter, he's not a true fan.

TR said...

DC folks - WWPJ is in Vienna tonite. Sold out, but you should try to finagle yer way in.

rob said...

he pronounced it correctly, tr. he also complained that the economy had passed him by, right after he told us about the lake house and boat he'd just purchased. he's an ass.

it came up because some moron (not this moron) started dinner with, 'okay, let's get it out - trump or hillary'. good times ensued.

Mark said...

Weren't you and your wife propositioned at this lake house last summer? Who the fuck does your sister hang out with? And why do you keep going back to this house?

Mark said...

Also, what adult lists their primary influences? I understand your primary influences as a child but as an adult? How about determining your own standards and morals?

I've got a lot of questions about this guy and this lake house. Obviously.

zman said...

TR has a long history of finagling his way through the back door.

rob said...

it ain't my sister, man. my wife's sister hangs with an interesting crowd - lots of money living in a bubble.

zman said...

And his biggest influences are the Iron Sheik and Ron Jeremy.

zman said...

rob's are shaver and Constanza.

TR said...

I want to create and wear a shirt that says "I hate your political party." Now that I think about it, I want that phrase to be above the iconic photo of Johnny Cash giving the camera to a photographer:

Somebody do that and mail it to me. I'll mail you $15.

Shlara said...

I was off by about $1.5M
The NBA team salary floor is $84M
Cap is $94M
Tax line is $113M (owners pay tax when they go above this)
Owners ALSO writing a shortfall check of $131M to the players--and last year's shortfall was $57M

mr kq said...

Jai Alai from Cigar City is the tits.

Mark said...

Just getting around to this and I hope I'm not spoiling anything for y'all but that was the most pathetic display of penalty shooting I've ever witnessed.

Shlara said...

$131M SHORT of a 50/50 split and the cap was $70M
Both the cap and the shortfall are going UP next season too.
The NBA is making serious $$$.

rob said...

mark, that shootout was incredible in its ineptitude.

rob said...

just had a pineapple sculpin. it was...okay.

Mark said...

I put TJ on to some high top Nintendo themed Vans today so you can blame me when he goes full hipster.

Mark said...

Beer talk: I thoroughly enjoy the Pineapple Scuplin. Had it for the first time about a month ago. Had it again last night. I think I like it more than the grapefruit Scuplin.

Cigar City Jai Alai is indeed the tits. It's my go to at the local brew pub. Cigar City doesn't make bad beers IMO. Hey, not everything in Tampa sucks!

As for the penalty shootout, I literally laughed out loud by myself as I sat on my couch and watched Schweinsteiger air mail his attempt.

zman said...

Hoho Cook owns a brewery?

rob said...

delly's getting 4/38.4. jon leuer is getting 4/42. end times, kids.

Danimal said...

There's a new chick in American swimming and her name is Dirado, Maya Dirado.

Rob, I gather you're all not sitting around a campfire passing a spliff during said conversations? That's too bad.

Mark said...

I pay no attention to swimming at all with the exception of Olympic years. But during those years, I'm on board. It's an oddly entertaining sport on TV.

Danimal said...

Phelps has 55 US Olympic and other world championship medals. The combined total among his competitors in his last event, the 100 fly: 2.

Danimal said...

I'm watching an hour behind as usual. And he was. By a swimmer's chest hair. Call him what you will, like Tiger I'm not confident we will see another like them in our lifetime.

Danimal said...

By "not confident" I mean no fucking way.

Mark said...

Al Horford is getting PAID. PAAAAAAID.

TR said...

I'm gonna combine three thoughts into one, drunken comment!

1) two of the big PK misses were Man U guys (Darmian, Schweinsteiger).

2) How many visible cigarette burns in one's hotel room merits checking out within minutes of checking in? We have found three. We are trapped in the Berkshires and need to stay overnight. All nearby hotels are full and the Travelodge room we found is a level of sadness that not even my Best Western-visiting family used to reserve. I'm not racist, but the food smells from the clan of Indian folks who appear to run the joint and reside here are not helping.

3) In better news, we found yet another kick-ass local eatery (Prairie Whale in Great Barrington). I had one of the best appies of my life. It was Tuna Crudo: thin slivers of raw tuna accompanied by fresh scallions, strawberries, sesame seeds, a splash of buttermilk and some chili oil that gives a potent kick to offset the strawberries' sweetness. Almost made me forget the sadness factory at the Travelodge.

Danimal said...

TRavelodge.

TR said...

TRavesty.

Back to NBA - why the fuck would the Magic pay Bismack Biyombo after trading for Ibaka? Ibaka's agent must be pissed about this. Isn't he in a contract year?

Mark said...

Factory of sadness might be the best thing TR has ever said. So I'm in for any and all iterations of it.

I don't have any idea what the Berkshires are. I do know what a Travelodge is though. Bummer.

Free agency is officially interesting as hell. Could the Celtics really get Durant now? I'm not even a Celtics fan and I want that to happen.

TR- will you record your kid cursing KD to death of that happens? Please?

Danimal said...

The 35 year old Anthony Ervin heading to the Olympics in 3 events. Took off for about 10 years. Won a gold 16 years ago.

Danimal said...

I'm sure you read that Brady was present for KD's pow wow in Boston today.

Mark said...

Courtney Lee is the best signing the Knicks have made so far.

Danimal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TR said...

Can they get KD after $28 MM/yr to Horford? My kid knows KD may switch after seeing SportsCenter hump the story so hard for the last week.

I am sipping beer in my bed in the dark hotel room while the boys watch Jurassic Park Lost World. It is rare to see three talented performers mail it in so hard (Goldum, Moore, Vaughn).

TR said...

Goldum, Goldblum...

zman said...

If you liked that tuna crudo and you're in MA then you need to go to O Ya on East Street in Boston. They have a bunch of insanely delicious variations on that theme. They also serve what may be the single best bite of food I've ever had (fried kumamoto oyster with squid ink foam). Yes, I know where the Berkshires are in relation to Boston and your house, but if you're that close to O Ya then you'd be a fool not to go.

Mark said...

TR's not going to O Ya.

Celtics still have enough room to sign KD. And I did see that Brady was at the meeting. An odd strategy but whatever works I guess. Tom can wear his Yankees hat whenever the fuck he wants at this point.

Mark said...

Burratta is delicious and I'm saddened that it took me until my 30s before I knew this.