Monday, 26 November 2012

The Business November 28th 2012, The "Black Cyber Wednesday Door-buster!" Edition

 Did you shop til you dropped all pretense of human decency and clawed at the eyes or your fellow man to get the last off-brand, 47 million inch TV? Did you laugh all the way to the bank? Did you also cry when you got there and realized you had spent all your money in a tryptophan induced frenzy? If you didn’t shop, did you maintain a vigilant presence on social media so the world knew you were saving it by not shopping?

Either way, The Business wants your business!

We have a super spectacular list of g
uests that are available for lease or purchase.

Drennon Davis is back for a limited time only, get him while he’s hot and fresh!

From his elaborate characters and sketches, to his provocative songs and animation, Drennon has made a name for himself as one of the most innovative minds in today’s comedy scene. His live performances of the Imaginary Radio Program combine live music and beat-boxing with one-man sketches into a show that the Los Angeles Comedy Bureau writes "not only lives up to its name, but exceeds expectation in what you could possibly think it is." Drennon was featured on NBC's Last Call and was a semi finalist on Last Comic Standing. His new animated show The Long Legs can be seen on MTV's rebirth of Liquid Television in 2012.

Drennon comes 2 for 1 with DJ Real!

Nick Stargu is DJ REAL, a San Francisco-based alternative musical comedy act. Performing all original songs, complete with costume changes, bad dance moves, and interactive multimedia, DJ REAL’s live act has been likened to the Talking Heads, The Residents, and Steve Martin. With a wide range of influences, DJ REAL’s songs vary from hip-hop, to folk, to the bizarre.

PLUS we will be joined by Portland darling and beautiful animal Ian Karmel.

Ian Karmel is a Portland comedian whose style zig-zags between the eclectic and the universal, appealing both to crowds who own homes in the suburbs, and crowds just staying with their parents in the suburbs until they figure some things out. Coming from an improv background, including time with The Groundlings and the Upright Citizens Brigade, Ian entered the world of stand-up with a unique perspective that helped him win the 2011 Funniest Person in Portland, 2010 Portland Amateur Comedy Competition and has given him the opportunity to perform at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot, Austin’s Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest, Portland’s Helium Comedy Club, Philadelphia’s Helium Comedy Club, Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club, Seattle’s Comedy Underground and Los Angeles’ Comedy Store. In addition to stand-up, Karmel has appeared on television, playing a character in IFC’s sketch show Portlandia and as a post-game analyst and commentator for the Portland Trailblazers.

We are also happy to have Matt Lieb and William Lushbough. Your regulars will be there as well. Mr. Sinister and Mr. Drucker will be back next week, but Mr. Keane, Mr. Koll, and Lady Gill will be holding down the fort.


AND you can bring a friend for free.

We sell out! Get there early for a seat.

BYOBargain Burrito.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Business November 21st 2012, The "Emily Squared" Edition

This Holiday season, we are thankful for our Emilys. Two Emilys in particular, and they will both be here on Wednesday so we can give them thanks.

Emily Heller is a comedian and writer who likes you very much. You may have seen her on the third season of John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show on Comedy Central, or as one of the New Faces at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. In 2011, She was included in Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch, won Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award, and was named one of
the “Funniest People in Town” by 7x7 Magazine. Praised in San Francisco for what her friends call her “self-deprecating feminist slob poetry,” Emily now lives in New York City and performs stand-up all over the country.

Emily Maya Mills is an actor, writer and stand-up comic based in Los Angeles. She's been seen on Parks and Recreation, Ellen, Conan, Childrens’ Hospital, Key and Peele, Downers Grove, Harry's Law and many of television’s weirder commercials. Emily is a graduate of Emerson College is a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Her three-woman sketch group, Birds of Prey, won Best Sketch Group in a Punchline Magazine survey and continues to produce exclusive videos for and

These fly birds aren’t Turkeys! They’ll cran your berry! You’ll want to do the Mashed Potato with them! You’ll want to fill your body cavity with their delicious stuffing!

Your regulars will be there as well, Sean “Sweet Potatoes” Keane, Bucky “Gravy” Sinister, Mike “Terducken” Drucker and Caitlin “Green Bean Casserole” Gill.

We sell out! Get there early to score a seat.

BYOBurrito de Pavo.

Friday, 16 November 2012

What Were They Thinking? High-Priced Mares at F-T and Keeneland

Now that the fall bloodstock sales are done (look here and here for full results), perhaps it’s time to ask just what was going on at the high end of the market.  While overall results were roughly comparable to last year, correcting for the high-end bump in 2011 from the Edward Evans and Palides dispersals, the top of this year’s market was stratospheric.

Horse of the Year Havre de Grace sold for an astonishing $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton boutique sale, to Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm in Florida, who also bought Grade 1 winner Plum Pretty at Keeneland for $4.2 million. And those weren’t the only extravagant prices. Between the two sales, six mares sold for $4 million or more, and a total of 12 for more than $2 million, not counting the $2.2 million high bid for In Lingerie, who didn’t meet her reserve. 

By contrast, in 2011, only one mare, champion and potential horse of the year Royal Delta, sold for more than $4.2 million (she drew a top bid of $8.5 million, and looked every penny of it at this year’s Breeders Cup), and only five, not counting the Evans dispersal, for $2 million or more.

Multi-million-dollar deals for stallion prospects are nothing new, but a stallion can pump 200 or more babies out onto the market every year. For a mare, in contrast, there are no economies of scale. One year, one baby. And that's if all goes well, which it often doesn't.

So, what were the buyers of those $2 million-and-up mares this year thinking? Is there any way they can reasonably expect to make a profit on their purchases? How much would the mare’s owner have to sell her babies for to get a positive rate of return?

Let’s make some assumptions.  In the interest of simplifying reality, I set up a spreadsheet for the trophy-mare business. Just for the sake of putting some numbers on paper (well, on the screen anyway), here are the basic data:

The breeder insures the mare for a 4% annual premium, starting at the auction value and then reducing the insured value by 10% a year as the mare ages;

Taking care of the mare, including board, vet and other costs, is $25,000 a year;

The average stud fee paid is $75,000, payable when the foal stands and nurses (I may be too conservative here; some of these trophy-mare owners are going to go to the $100,000-plus stallions, but perhaps they’ll get a deal);

The mare has foals in three of every four years, for a total of 12 foals;

Care of the weanling is $10,000 a year;

Care of the yearling, up to the sales, is $10,000 a year;

Sale costs, including the consignor’s and auction company’s cut, sales prep, etc., are 10% of the sale price.

Any one of those assumptions is likely to be way off in any given year, but taken together they’re a reasonable representation of the US cost structure for a high-end mare. So, if that’s the framework, how much would the babies have to sell for in order for the breeder to get her money back?

Let’s start with Havre de Grace. At $10 million, her babies would have to average $1.5 million in the sales ring. And that would be a paltry internal rate of return of 2%. Ain’t gonna happen. So I hope that Mandy Pope didn’t make that purchase in the expectation of turning a profit. And it’s a good thing that the Internal Revenue Service asks all of us in the business to show a profit in only two years out of every seven to overcome the presumption that it’s a hobby. Thank you Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Horse Racing).

What about those mares that were only in the $4 million-plus range, like Plum Pretty ($4.2 million) and Pure Clan ($4.5 million)? At Plum Pretty’s $4.2 million price tag, all the breeder has to do to break even is sell the yearlings for an average of just over $600,000. Piece of cake, right? And to get a reasonable return on investment, say an internal rate of return of 5%, all the breeder needs is an average yearling price of $900,000. So, municipal bonds are safer, more profitable and more reliable, but, damn, they sure don’t look as pretty as those Thoroughbreds racing across the paddock.

At $2 million or so, it might even be possible that the purchase of a top-level mare could be a sensible economic decision. At that price, the break-even number for average yearling sales prices is about $365,000, and an average of $600,000, which is break-even for Plum Pretty, would represent a healthy 8% rate of return for a $2 million mare.

So why did all those folks pay all that money: 12 mares for more than $2 million? One reason may be that the economics are different outside the US.  Of the 12 mares that sold for more than $2 million this year, only four were bought by Americans: Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm; Cry and Catch me ($3.5 million) by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, and Grace Hall (($3.2 million) by agent Reynolds Bell for a New York client. The rest are headed to Japan, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, although Goncalo Borges Torrealba of Brazil, who paid $4.5 million for Pure Clan, apparently will leave the mare in Kentucky, now that he’s entered into a partnership with major US stallion station Three Chimneys.

So the economics of breeding may be different elsewhere; certainly the high purses in Japan suggest that a cash-flow projection might look rosier there than in the US. But for the handful of Americans who paid those top prices, it can’t be about the money. It’s got to be about love of the game. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Business November 14th 2012, The "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" Edition

A friend of The Business is back in town! We’ve missed him since he moved to New York, but he’s been visiting our living rooms every Thursday night via the excellent show he writes for, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Come enjoy him live and in the flesh here in SF! We are happy to welcome Nato Green.

Nato was named SF Weekly’s Best Comedian of 2010 and got his own cover story in 2011 for getting “smarter and faster” and putting on “legendary” shows that keep audiences “doubled over.” Nato is the
creator of Iron Comic, the Iron Chef-spoofing comedy game show that he often co-hosts with Moshe Kasher. Nato's humor commentaries have appeared in Huffington Post, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and more. Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, said Nato is, “Righteous and hilarious, bracing and a hoot, Nato Green is like finding a shot of bourbon at your co-worker's stupid vegan potluck.”

That’s not all! Also joining us will be the hilarious John Roy. He is visiting from Los Angeles, and we are pleased he has time to get down to Business.

John began his career performing in independent rooms in Chicago. After honing his act in clubs around the Midwest, John competed and was crowned the first champion of CBS' Star Search, in 2003. He has performed stand up on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Last Comic Standing, where he was a semi-finalist. He made his debut on Conan, in 2012. John's CD Dressed for Recess, was released in 2008 on RBC records and continues to receive frequent airplay on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Your regulars, Sean “Kosov-O-NO-YOU-DIDN’T” Keane, Alex “Greece-y Turkey” Koll, “Brussels” Sinster and Caitlin “Eisenhower? I barely knew her! I’m de Gaulled!” Gill will be there for you as well.

Make a treaty with yourself to join our organization! Tickets are just $5, and you can even bring a friend for free with one of these handy 2-for-1 coupons.

BYOBurrito, they are the international symbol of peace. Move over,  doves.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Many journalists can't provide the value-added journalism that is needed today

Journalists pretend they spend their time investigating the intricacies of international affairs, covering the inner workings of the economic system, and exposing abuses of political and economic power. Although many aspire to do so (and occasionally do with great effect), the reality is far from the imagined sense of self.

Most journalists spend the majority of their time reporting what a mayor said in a prepared statement, writing stories about how parents can save money for university tuition, covering the release of the latest versions of popular electronic devices, or finding out if a sports figure’s injury will affect performance in the next match.

Most cover news in a fairly formulaic way, reformatting information released by others: the agenda for the next town council meeting, the half dozen most interesting items from the daily police reports, what performances will take place this weekend, and the quarterly financial results of a local employer. These standard stories are merely aggregations of information supplied by others.

At one time these standard stories served useful purposes because newspapers were the primary information hubs of the community. Today such routine information has little economic value because the original providers are now directly feeding that information to the interested public through their own websites, blogs, and Twitter feeds. Additionally, specialist topic digital operators are now aggregating and organizing that information for easy accessibility.

Town councils place their agendas and voting reports on their own websites, many police and fire departments operate continuously updated blogs and twitter feeds that provide basic emergency reports and what is being entered in their blotters and logs, performance centers and concert promoters offer websites and digital notifications of upcoming activities and events, and companies and business information media offer direct distribution of financial reports and news releases to the public. All of these are stripping the value from newspaper redistribution of those kinds of information and making people less willing to pay for provision of that news.

To survive, news organizations need to move away from information that is readily available elsewhere; they need to use journalists’ time to seek out the kinds of information less available and to spend time writing stories that put events into context, explain how and why they happened, and prepare the public for future developments.  These value-added journalism approaches are critical to the economic future of news organizations and journalists themselves.

Unfortunately, many journalists do not evidence the skills, critical analytical capacity, or inclination to carry out value-added journalism. News organizations have to start asking themselves whether it is because are hiring the wrong journalists or whether their company practices are inhibiting journalists’ abilities to do so.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Business November 7th 2012, The "Roseanne Barr Victory Party" Edition

We did it everybody! We made it through another election cycle as a docile populace unwilling to topple our overlords!

No matter how you feel about the election results, you should come to The Business to celebrate/mourn. We have invited Kevin O’Shea, a friend of The Business and one of our favorite guests to join us.

Established in 1984 following the mergers of Steven and Cathy O’Shea, Kevin O’Shea has been one of San Francisco’s leading manufactures of mirth, laughter, hilarity and all around good ti

mes! Kevin has been commonly described as clever, absurd, awkward but in a funny way and too smart for his own good. He has been seen on the Independent Film Chanel and He is a favorite of comedy festivals such as: The SF Sketch Fest and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. Go see him now as his 4th quarter productivity has never been higher!

We will miss Bucky Sinister this week, but the rest of your regulars will be there. All defenders of democracy, all proudly wearing “I Voted!” stickers (probably just cause we’ll be wearing the same shirts we wore on Tuesday. AMERICA).

As always, the show is just $5 American. If you want to bring a friend, bring em for free!! Don't forget to grab your 2-for-1 coupon at the top of this page!
BYOBurrito. Carnitas 2016.