________________________Please do not hesitate to direct all comments, questions, and inquiries to grahamarader@gmail.com_____________________________

Friday, April 1, 2011

Buffet vs Sokol - "See an old unhappy bull, / Sick in soul and body both, / Slouching in the Undergrowth / Of the forest beautiful,"

"See an old unhappy bull, sick in soul and body both, slouching in the undergrowth..."

This fire up between Sokol and Buffet has everything to do with Warren fighting to keep control of his baby. Old guys with huge companies do this all the time. Warren has the "Sumner Redstone" and "Armand Hammer" disease. He is going to try to find a way to dump anyone who even dreams of taking his place. Only people very good at bowing are going to survive at Berkshire while he is around.

Plus it is a well known fact that Warren feels that American Management is paid far too much and he practices HIS form of his view of appropriate remuneration first and foremost with Berkshire.    Of course his managers see that they are being grossly underpaid compared to their fellow American business executives and it drives them crazy.  So there is a built in ejector seat for everyone that works for Buffet.   Anyone that would be the right person to take over Berkshire is not going to be able to stand working there and will do dumb ass, self destructive things like Sokol did to get himself booted.

Ralph Hodgson wrote a WONDERFUL poem about this phenomenon.  It sums up Warren Buffet's behavior now and how he will behave in the future.  Even a man with a mind as great as his will find that holding on to his business will become increasingly emotionally important.

Many years ago my team won a tennis tournament in Omaha.   We all paid $7500 to Omaha Charities per guest to participate because Warren Buffet was the featured speaker at the awards dinner.   It was amazing.  The heads of industry, politics, sports all hung on every word he said.  He is the absolute "rock star" of the business world.  We all were at the edge of our seats like teenagers in love while he spoke.

And we were right to feel that way.  All of his predictions came true the following year.  It was absolutely amazing. That year he predicted the crash of internet stocks seven months before it happened! 

After the dinner all the swells went off to the airport to fly home in their jets.  EXCEPT ME.  My commercial flight in economy was the next day!!!

So with my momentary status as the winner of the tournament, I screwed up my courage and asked Tom Murphy then head of ABC if he would let me fly back to NYC in his Gulfstream. 

On the flight back he entertained me with this thought about Buffet, "All this hub bub about Warren is ridiculous.  I am sick of it.  He is just a normal guy like all of us.  He put his pants on one leg at a time.  The only difference is that his IQ is 200 points higher than everyone else."

It is true.  The guy is a genius.  But even a genius is going to have a very hard time allowing anyone to replace him.  Read the poem below.  It sums this syndrome very well.

It is a great poem.

The Bull

    See an old unhappy bull,
    Sick in soul and body both,
    Slouching in the undergrowth
    Of the forest beautiful,
    Banished from the herd he led,
    Bulls and cows a thousand head.
    Cranes and gaudy parrots go
    Up and down the burning sky;
    Tree-top cats purr drowsily
    In the dim-day green below;
    And troops of monkeys, nutting, some,
    All disputing, go and come;
    And things abominable sit
    Picking offal buck or swine,
    On the mess and over it
    Burnished flies and beetles shine,
    And spiders big as bladders lie
    Under hemlocks ten foot high;
    And a dotted serpent curled
    Round and round and round a tree,
    Yellowing its greenery,
    Keeps a watch on all the world,
    ALl the world and this old bull
    In the forest beautiful.
    Bravely by his fall he came:
    One he led, a bull of blood
    Newly come to lustihood,
    Fought and put his prince to shame,
    Snuffed and pawed the prostrate head
    Tameless even while it bled.
    There they left him, every one,
    Left him there without a lick,
    Left him for the birds to pick,
    Left him there for carrion,
    Vilely from their bosom cast
    Wisdom, worth and love at last.
    When the lion left his lair
    And roared his beauty through the hills,
    And the vultures pecked their quills
    And flew into the middle air,
    Then this prince no more to reign
    Came to life and lived again.
    He snuffed the herd in far retreat,
    He saw the blood upon the ground,
    And snuffed the burning airs around
    Still with beevish odours sweet,
    While the blood ran down his head
    And his mouth ran slaver red.
    Pity him, this fallen chief,
    All his spendour, all his strength,
    ALl his body' breadth and length
    Dwindled down with shame and grief,
    Half the bull he was before,
    Bones and leather, nothing more.
    See him standing dewlap-deep
    In the rushes at the lake,
    Surly, stupid, half asleep,
    Waiting for his heart to break
    And the birds to join the flies
    Feasting at his bloodshot eyes, --
    Standing with his head hung down
    In a stupor dreaming things:
    Green savannas, jungles brown,
    Battlefields and bellowings,
    Bulls undone and lions dead
    And vultures flapping overhead.
    Dreaming things: of days he spent
    With his mother gaunt and lean
    In the valley warm and green,
    Full of baby wonderment,
    Blinking out of silly eyes
    At a hundred mysteries;
    Dreaming over once again
    How he wandered with a throng
    Of bulls and cows a thousand strong,
    Wandered on from plain to plain,
    Up hethe hill and down the dale,
    Always at his mother's tail;
    How he lagged behind the herd,
    Lagged and tottered, weak of limb,
    And she turned and ran to him
    Blaring at the loathly bird
    Stationed always in t skies,
    Waiting for the flesh that dies.
    Dreaming maybe of a day
    When her drained and drying paps
    Turned him to the sweets and saps,
    Richer fountains by the way,
    And she left the bull she bore
    And he looked on her no more;
    And his little frame grew stout,
    And his little legs grew strong,
    And the way was not so long;
    And his little horns came out,
    And he played at butting trees
    And boulder-stones and tortoises,
    Joined a game of knobby skulls
    With the youngsters of his year,
    All the other little bulls,
    Learning both to bruise and bear,
    Learing how to stand a shock
    Like a little bull of rock.
    Dreaming of a day less dim,
    Dreaming of a time less far,
    When the faint but certain star
    Of destiny burned clear for him,
    And a fierce and wild unrest
    Broke the quiet of his breast,
    And the gristles of his youth
    Hardened in his comely pow,
    And he came to fighting growth,
    Beat his bull and won his cow,
    And flew his tail and trampled off
    Past the tallest, vain enough,
    And curved about in spendour full
    And curved again and snuffed the airs
    As who should say Come out who dares!
    And all beheld a bull, a Bull,
    And knew that here was surely one
    That backed for no bull, fearing none.
    And the leader of the herd
    Looked and saw, and beat the ground,
    And shook the forest with his sound,
    Bellowed at the loathly bird
    Stationed always in the skies,
    Wating for the flesh that dies.
    Dreaming, this old bull forlorn,
    Surely dreaming of the hour
    When he came to sultan power,
    And they owned him master-horn,
    Chiefest bull of all among
    Bulls and cows a thousand strong.
    And in all the tramping herd
    Not a bull that barred his way,
    Not a cow that said him nay,
    Not a bull or cow that erred
    In the furnace of his look
    Dared a second, worse rebuke;
    Not in all the forest wide,
    Jungle, thicket, pasture, fen,
    Not another dared him then,
    Dared him and again defied;
    Not a sovereign buck or boar
    Came a second time for more.
    Not a serpent that survived
    Once the terrors of his hoof
    Risked a second time reproof,
    Came a second time and lived,
    Not serpent in its skin
    Came again for discipline;
    Not a leopard brght as flame,
    Flashing fingerhooks of steel,
    That a wooden tree might feel,
    Met his fury once and came
    For second reprimand,
    Not a leopard in the land.
    Not a lion of them all,
    Not a lion of the hills,
    Hero of a thousand kills,
    Dared a second fight and fall,
    Dared that ram terrific twice,
    Paid a second time the price. . . .
    Pity him, this dupe of dream,
    Leader of the heard again
    Only in his daft old brain,
    Once again the bull supreme
    And bull enough to bear the part
    Only in his tameless heart.
    Pity him that he must wake;
    Even now the swarm of flies
    Blackening his bloodshot eyes
    Bursts and blusters round the lake,
    Scattered from the feast half-fed,
    By great shadows overhead.
    And the dreamer turns away
    From his visionary herds
    And his splendid yesterday,
    Turns to meet the loathly birds
    Flocking round him from the skies,
    Waiting for the flesh that dies.

No comments:

Post a Comment