My Latest Hiatus

I have a long history of stopping projects. (Say what you will about Jimmy, but he’s still going strong. Whether we like it or not.)

In this case, I got nearly halfway through (16 albums, 13 letters, one concert) before the Buffett grind got the best of me. And thus, about a year-and-a-half ago, The Brothers Buffett became my latest hiatus — which is a frickin’ perfect song title if and when I ever resume.

Anyway, if you stumble across this: sorry. For either stopping or, more likely, starting.


A Very Special Post — Jimmy in Concert

Actual photo.

So after long ago buying tickets to JB’s “Under the Big Top” tour — assuredly putting me on some sort of watch list — I decided… not to go.

Various reasons, among them:

  • (a) I didn’t want to hear — in the far from pristine environment that is Jimmy’s actual voice — the post-1987 music I’ve yet to encounter,
  • (b) I frankly didn’t want to hear the handful of songs I actually like equally butchered by the man who gave them life, and:
  • (c) despite 16 albums of preparation I wasn’t ready to surround myself with the Buffett aesthetes who’ve practiced for this their entire lives.

I ended up there anyway.

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Warren Buffett Letter #13: 1989

Berkshire gained 44.4% in 1989. $1.5 billion, compared to a mere half-bil in 1988.

And of course this is in spite of Warren’s yearly bluster about the impossibility of any future BRK growth. (He does it even more in 1989, this time predicting an imminent loss in shareholder value.) He’s a fiscal Ralph Kramden: “One of these days, investors… POW! Right in the kisser!”

(Did I just date myself? Reveal that I am actually an 87-year-old man? And did you know Jackie Gleason recorded a Christmas album of “lounge” music? I have a copy.)

Anyway, before we head straight to the moon, four segments in 1989’s letter. Let’s break it down, Berlin-Wall-style:

(Are you humming Jimmy’s “Come to the Moon?” Why not?)

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Jimmy Buffett Album #16: Floridays

Go buy this album instead. Or any other album.

So the past few weeks I’ve devoted the bulk of my listening to Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin. It feels a little dirty, but I’m halfway through Jimmy and I deserve a break. Call it the 16-album itch.

Or a palate cleanser. Though it is a little unfair to Jimmy — like rinsing with Lafite Rothschild after a course of Old Milwaukee.

(I had to Google “lafite rothschild” to make sure it was what I thought it was, but rest assured Old Milwaukee I had down.)

And I’d rather write about Brian than Jimmy. Floridays is particularly un-notable and… somehow… just doesn’t stand up to perhaps the greatest pop songwriter of all time, doing frickin’ Gershwin. And say what you will about Brian’s thinning, sexagenarian vocals, the novelty aspects of this particular album, the thematic heavy-handedness inherent in his latter-day efforts, his inability to recapture the magic of Pet Sounds, etc., but Brian wouldn’t be caught dead in the same league as Jimmy.

Or so I thought.

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Warren Buffett Letter #12: 1988

I also have a responsibility to these guys. Don't we all?

Yeah, still here.

Back when I jogged there was a saying: “go out hard, die like a pig.” (It’s probably still a saying.) The point was that if you start out too fast, you’re… liable to die squealing on an electrified killing floor?

That can’t be it. Stupid quote. Why not “afterburn out, burn out after?” Or “go out sprintin’, come in limpin’?”

The point is I’ve maintained too great a clip here. Warren and Jimmy are exhausting. And the past two weeks I’ve dreamed of nothing but turning this project into sweet slices of Buffett bacon. (Smithfield-processed, no doubt.)

But, ultimately, I have a responsibility to my readers. No, not you. My future readers. Specifically my kids. Because one day they’ll end up Googling their father, find this project — unfinished — and discover that Dad is a quitter.

They don’t need to know. So: onward we go, at a conversational pace. The kids can learn about me later, from another project I abandon. But first they’ll learn some glib, superficial finance “lessons” from decades past.

Just like you. (See how I did that?)

Let’s go.

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Jimmy Buffett Album #15: Last Mango in Paris

So I took a couple of weeks off. Like you’re paying attention.

My excuse: either I’m becoming more like Jimmy by the week, and simply don’t care about your Regular Society expectations; or I needed a serious reevaluation of everything in my life after my overwhelmingly glowing experience with Riddles in the Sand.

Either way, let’s move on… to Last Mango in Paris, Jimmy’s worst titled, and chintziest designed, album to date. This is one I suspect even parrotheads are embarrassed to display in their CD racks.

(Note: I wanted to type “gun racks” right there instead of “CD racks.” You can’t really blame me, right?)

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Jimmy Buffett Album #14: Riddles in the Sand

I’m as surprised as you are.

Typically the new album experience for me is a painful gestation. It’s work. But as I mentioned earlier this weekRiddles in the Sand is miraculously… tolerable. In fact after my first listen-through I had to restrain myself from immediately posting my mild praise here, for all the world to see.

After a few days of further digestion and questioning every belief I’ve ever had, I’ll now validate that Riddles is indeed laudably consistent — as even-keeled, probably moreso, than even Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.

Alright, fine. It’s good. Shut up.

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