Weekend Open Thread

Nothing much to comment on, so I thought I’d drop some music in on you. Aloe Blacc is one talented guy:

But, of course, there is always the incomparable Aaron Neville:

Happy weekend, all!

Tribute to MCA

This may or may not be your thing, but I found this to be hilarious. The only flaw that I can see is the use of guns, which were not in the original.

And here’s the original

Mourning Report

RIP Jim (Guv’nor) Marshall – the man who made heavy guitar sound so awesome

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1388.0 -5.2 -0.37%
Eurostoxx Index 2373.3 -25.1 -1.05%
Oil (WTI) 101.66 0.2 0.19%
LIBOR 0.4692 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.046 0.268 0.34%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.16% -0.06%
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 170.92 0.3

Markets are continuing the sell-off that began when the Fed hinted that QEIII isn’t going to happen. Bonds are up over a point and MBS are up half a point. Euro sovereign yields are wider again, and you are starting to see   bids in bank credit default swaps, particularly in some of the traditional European ne’er do wells – Dexia and Intesa SanPaolo. Spain is the new one to watch.

Today is the first Thursday of the month, which means retailers are reporting same store sales for March. Generally, they appear to be strong, particularly in department stores and Men’s / Women’s apparel. Discounters and Teen Apparel were weaker with some exceptions (Zumiez and Target).  Overall, the numbers look good and a few took up Q1 earnings estimates. The “yes. but…” is that March had some unseasonably warm weather, and that undoubtedly helped get people out of the house and into the stores.

Initial Jobless Claims came in at 357k.  Continuing Claims were 3,338k.

REO asset managers may want to watch this developing situation – allegations of discrimination regarding the maintenance and upkeep of homes in minority neighborhoods. The National Fair Housing Alliance put out a report alleging that REO properties in predominantly minority neighborhoods lack “for sale” signs, have boarded-up windows, and trash, as opposed to REO in white neighborhoods. This study was put out with a grant from HUD and will undoubtedly be fodder for a lawsuit.

The US is far behind on reforming the country’s housing finance system, Geithner said at a speech at the Chicago Economic Club. The reality is that our current housing finance system is more or less nationalized and we are far from being in the position to have private capital carry the load.

The Census Bureau released a study discussing the changes in growth patterns since 2010.  Interestingly, of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas over the last decade, only 24 were still in the top fifty since the 2010 census. Unsurprisingly, the areas most affected by the real estate boom fell out (Las Vegas, Palm Coast FL) fell out of the top 50 and it appears some of the energy-centric areas (TX, ND) are entering.

The two best “Funny Valentines”

IIRC, this song first became popular when the great, then young, west coast jazz trumpeter, Chet Baker, sang it.

A couple of years later, it was made popular again when Ella sang it on the Rodgers and Hart Songbook.

Still later in the 50s, Frank Sinatra sang it.  But for reasons that are part of a funny story I will tell here someday, I do not play Sinatra.

Sting butchered it in a live concert.

Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, along with Brubeck and Desmond, defined west coast “cool” jazz.  When we were in high school, we really loved that stuff.  Baker did not often sing, but until he died in the 80s, whenever he played he would be asked to sing this.  Like any jazz guy, he never sang it the same way twice.  This first rendition was my favorite, and the one that put the song on the map as a “standard”.

And Ella was Ella.  I met her once.  I was 14.  She was gracious, as if it mattered to her that I knew who she was.  She was with the blind singer, Al Hibbler, at the time, and although I did not recognize him, when she introduced us, I knew who he was – he had made a hit of “Unchained Melody”.  I fumbled in embarrassment, but Ella made it AOK.

Happy Valentine’s Day, all.

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