Tag Archive: The Wolf of Wall Street


Are free dinners the same as free lunches?

Almost DailyBrett is simply amazed by the sheer volume of invitations received every day since the onset of his retirement.

There are annoying robocalls, carnivorous telemarketers, “personal” letters, informational packets, not to mention a slew of digital and broadcast ads.

Dinner for two at the nicest places in town … free of charge.

New “friends” wanting to lend a helping hand in managing your author’s investments, providing a swell place to take vacations year-after-year, distributing retirement savings or taking over residential equity and kicking-back crumbs month-after-month.

Why does one need a middle-man for your own retirement nest egg?

There is a thriving industry to provide Almost DailyBrett and everyone else with a spiffy “vacation club,” spending quality time annually with family (assumes one wants to spend more time with family).

“You deserve it.” How do you know?

Conversely, there is reciprocal industry to extract (for a fee) pigeons from foolish time-share contracts.

Too much time with the family? Too good to be true? Didn’t read the contract? It must suck to be you. Only we can help.

Buy a time-share, get out of a time-share … either way the Land Sharks win and you lose.

Somebody is making money and sad to say, it’s the salesmen/saleswomen.

These apex predators all have the gift of gab with wonderful smiles and they are all well dressed, hiding their dorsal fins.

They have a deal … such as deal … for you.

Their basic proven strategy: Get your derriere into a comfy seat with a nice drink (or two or three … ) and soon it will be time for the contracts … time share, annuity, reverse mortgage … all waiting to be signed.

Just affix your signature right here on the bottom line … muther sucker.

“Die And Go To Hell”

“We don’t sell annuities. I would die and go to hell before I would sell an annuity.” — Ken Fisher of Fisher Investments’ 60-second advertisement

Can’t forget the image of Leonard DiCaprio giving the middle finger to a vacillating on-the-phone investor in Martin Scorsese’s over-the-top plethora of gratuitous F-bombs, drugs and skin: The Wolf of Wall Street.

What value to society is created by time-shares, annuities, reverse mortgage sales dudes and sales dudettes?

Do they really care about their clients? 

As we grow more mature, there seems to be a mindset that retirees in their sixties … let alone older … are losing it upstairs. They are ripe for exploitation.

It seems that new friends are popping up here, there and everywhere. They are always ready to help. Trust us.

Almost DailyBrett detests the hard sell. The harder the push, the greater the personal resistance.

Your author gravitates to proven friends. A prime example is Charles Schwab, which has managed my retail investment portfolio for a generation.

Is publicly traded Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) intrinsically interested in driving the top and bottom lines, consistent with its fiduciary responsibility to investors? Absolutely.

Schwab’s core business … providing a low-cost trading platform (e.g., $4.95 for equity, mutual fund and bond transactions) … may be a tad boring and predictable, but the client is provided with real shareholder value.

Didn’t CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer write a book entitled, “Get Rich, Carefully?”

Does anyone think he or she is going to get rich carefully with a time share, annuity or reverse mortgage?

Didn’t think so.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/hasta-la-vista-to-timeshares-annuities-and-reverse-mortgages/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/07/14/has-it-come-to-this-tom-selleck-and-henry-winkler/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/506-f-bombs/

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/timeshare-salesman-says-he-lied-for-a-living-062615.html

https://www.cnbc.com/mad-money/

 

“Read my lips: No new taxes.” – Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush

Taxes were raised.

Back in my early 30s, I accompanied my boss, Governor George Deukmejian, to the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

The sweltering Big Easy is not the best place to be in August. And national political conventions are not just Thursday nights with all the falling balloons, chanting, cheering and sign waving, but rhetorical endurance contests.

Reflecting back on those heady younger days, I relished the opportunity to defy the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) stronghold on the agenda and instead placed my governor on network television as much as possible. A photo of ABC’s Sam Donaldson interviewing The Duke with a beaming me behind them sits on display in my office.

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

One essential point: The author of Almost DailyBrett never worried for a nanosecond about personal safety in attending a national convention in 1988. Were there protesters outside the New Orleans Superdome despite the fact it was indeed, “Morning in America”?

Of course. Can’t remember what they were yammering about. Doesn’t matter now.

Two months later, yours truly attended the last presidential debate between Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

“Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” — CNN Bernard Shaw’s opening question of the debate

Robotically Dukakis swung-and-missed on this controversial question, and the debate and the election were over on the first question of the night.

Was there heavy security at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on October 13, 1988? The question seems silly. Certainly. Yet once again, there was never an issue of personal safety that evening even though the stakes are always high in a presidential election, especially with an open seat.

Fast forward to today: Would a parent think twice about her or his daughter or son attending a major political convention, rally or presidential debate?

Unfortunately, these questions need to be asked as the pages of American history have turned to darker chapters.

Distinguishing The “Lovers” From The “Haters”

Almost DailyBrett three years ago dared to take issue with Martin Scorsese and the record 506 four-letter F-Bombs, which were unloaded during the three-hour-plus cinematic orgy of nudes, ludes and coke, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Today, a new four-letter invective is being dropped on political opponents in order to intimidate and silence: The H-Bomb.lovetrumpshate

Certainly, it is clever to champion that “love trumps hate,” even putting all the words in lower case to keep people from wondering if the verb is a double-entendre (which it is, of course).

The intended divisive net-result is the “lovers” are on one side and the “haters” are marginalized on the other side.

And what happens if the “haters” hold a political rally or attend a political convention? Do the “lovers” come out en-masse?

Of course there are sinners among the “haters,” but are all the “lovers,” saints?

Watching the video from usually calm-and-bucolic Costa Mesa with police cars being shattered, rocks and other projectiles being thrown all in the name of love, Almost DailyBrett wonders whether the two opposite terms – love and hate — are rapidly becoming synonymous.

Or am I confusing this video with the raucous scene from Chicago a few weeks ago? How many more 1968 Windy City scenes will be digitally transmitted in the new few weeks and months? How much blood will be shed? Will the carnage mercifully stop on election day? Don’t count on it.

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

How far are we as a coarsening society from a daily display of torch-lights and pitch-forks all in the name of “love”?

Before Dropping the H-Bomb

Considering there are 323 million Americans, can we conclude they are all “lovers” as the term in being defined in some circles?

Alas, there are more than a few who are genuine haters based upon their targets being a different race, ethnicity, gender and/or orientation. But does everyone who does not fully subscribe to the definition of “love” by default become a “hater?”

Should the rhetorical H-bomb be dropped on these dissenting souls? Should they be forced to eternally wear a Scarlet “H”?

How about a little public relations instead? How about some friendly persuasion? How about the marketplace of ideas, where dissent is welcome and tolerated?

Sure beats the ugly pictures on television and mobile devices all in the name of “Love.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2007/04/questions-that-kill-candidates-careers-003617

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/506-f-bombs/

http://www.census.gov/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/29/politics/donald-trump-protests-republican-convention-california/

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2016-04-29-US–Trump%20Rally-Protests/id-3d26c5d9dc7441b3b9e1ce8fc898e736

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wolf of Wall Street now holds the cinematic record for the most uses of the F-bomb in a non-documentary film.

Congratulations?

How long will it be before some other director beats Martin Scorsese’s “record” for the use of the world’s most prevalent four-letter word?

scorsesedicaprio

Do we really give a f… about this word anymore?

Little did I realize that yours truly along with his new bride and one and only biological daughter witnessed history being made with 506 F-bombs on Xmas Day. Kind of makes you feel all tingly for the Holidays.

Reportedly, Scorsese had to exercise restraint in the use of sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence in order to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.

Whew! That was close.

So why did I indulge in this three-hour film, and drag along my loved ones (and apologize afterwards) on Christmas Day? Good question.

The first is that I am a Wall Street junkie (equities and mutual funds; not the cocaine and ludes that seem to pop up in between tons of flesh in this film). I have written and lectured repeatedly about the synergy between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility, IPOs, SEC disclosure compliance and many other Wall Street-related strategic communications issues.

The film revolves around the book, The Wolf of Wall Street, about the Internet Bubble era of stock-pimpster (e.g., Steve Madden IPO), fraud-master, money-laundering, Jordan Belfort, and his stock brokerage, Stratton Oakmont.

In the end, Belfort ignored all the warning signs and a possible settlement with the SEC, broke a plea bargain with the FBI, and ended up in a federal pen in Nevada and paid $110.4 million in fines. Today, he is a motivational speaker.

Couldn’t Scorsese have told us this story without pouring-it-on in the form of yet another clip of drug ingestion and gratuitous nudity? Leaving the theatre, I was wondering whether The Wolf of Wall Street was a good film or a bad film. I knew that it could have been better, particularly with Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Reiner and Margot Robbie lending their names and talents to the movie.

leonardomargot

Please don’t discount my comments by concluding that the author of Almost DailyBrett is a prude. After all, the blog earlier bared its soul commenting on the Playboy pose or no-pose decision from a reputation management point of view. My conclusion? It all depends.

Almost DailyBrett earlier examined Bill Maher’s lovely use of the vulgar C-word to describe former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and the New York Times’ decision to use the F-word in a recent news story.

All of these examples, and Scorsese’s new film, bring up the question of the coarsening of society. Have we become immune to profane language? Will the F-word eventually serve as an adjective modifying every noun? Will we get to the point that the F-bomb is reduced to a cliché?

Should we thank Hollywood for our present cultural state of affairs?

What is the Almost DailyBrett take on the obsessive use of the F-bomb to the point it is almost di rigueur in our society?

There is no doubt that Jordan Belfort would never be confused with Mother Teresa. He obviously used the F-word, and was addicted to/obsessed with drugs, sex and money. Can that point be made without dropping 506 F-bombs in 179 minutes or an average of 2.8268156424 uses of the F-word each minute or one every 20 seconds?

One would hope so.

My former boss, Governor George Deukmejian, remembered fondly debating Democratic leader and future San Francisco Mayor George Moscone on the floor of the California State Senate. Being the minority leader, George Deukmejian, was on the wrong end of the final vote more times than naught. Still when the debate was over, the two Georges were friends and no F-bombs were dropped.

hamiltonburrduel

Contentiousness is not new to our society and undoubtedly will persist. Consider the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. How about the Free States and the Slave States that led to the Civil War? Next year we will commemorate the start of The War to End All Wars. Everyone has got along swimmingly since the end of World War I in 1918.

Besides leaving massive debts to our children and their children, will we as the fading Baby Boomer Generation bequest to them a coarse-and-vile society? Is there a way that we can put the brakes on, at least slowing down, the animosity, vitriol and the degradation of societal discourse?

At a minimum, let’s hope we don’t see a Christmas movie with 507 F-bombs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Belfort

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_%282013_film%29

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1719590/wolf-of-wall-street-margot-robbie-nudity.jhtml

http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/12/martin-scorseses-wolf-wall-street-review-excessive-movie-about-excess

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-f-bomb-r-i-p/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

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