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Archive for October, 2006

I was surprised by the number of posts commenting on the anger from black activists about Jolie being cast as Daniel Pearl‘s wife in ‘A Mighty Heart‘, currently in production.

Interestingly, this frustration comes at the same time that Halle Berry was cast as white teacher Tierney Cahill in another upcoming movie.

I did a search and haven’t come across any complaints at all about the casting of Berry in this role. How is it a positive thing that bi-racial Berry can play a white woman in a film, but a negative that Jolie is portraying a woman of colour? (Pearl is dutch/afro-cuban it has been reported)

Adding to the story, Mariane herself was quoted saying “I’m delighted Angelina Jolie will be playing my role. I deeply admire her work.

It’s frustrating that in 2006 we still can’t get past the ‘race issue’, even in what is supposed to be ‘just entertainment’. Why can’t it be that any actor can play any role that the director thinks they are suited to? Producers for Halle’s new movie were quoted saying they “felt it was more important to find the right actress to play the role rather than the right white actress.” Sounds good to me.

I am sure Ms. Berry will do a fantastic job as Cahill, and I will not be deterred in the least from going to see the movie due to her ethnicity. Just as I wouldn’t have, and still don’t, care if Angelina plays Pearl.

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Michael Keaton enjoys stopping in for drinks at 2 Cats lounge at 569 King Street E. here in Toronto. I know this because he bought me a couple of vodka sodas (with a splash of cranberry, of course) just last Thursday. Through a curious set of circumstances I ended up heading out on the town with my friend Jen Mohan (MCI) and her friend Sarah (soon to become the object of Mr. Keaton’s attention).

After a lovely dinner at Brassaii we were heading out of the restaurant when we ran into Michael at the bar, along with an associate of his (who turned out to be from the hotel he was staying at and appeared to be some sort of ‘tour guide’ – poor Michael didn’t have any chums in the city to hang with it appears). At some point we invited him to come out with us for the evening but he said he couldn’t (oh the disappointment!). However, his interest in the lovely Sarah seemed to prompt him to say more – he mentioned that he had a prior arrangment to head over to 2 Cats and then asked if we would like to join him (ah, the elation!). So there we are, walking down the street with Michael Keaton, grabbing some drinks, and hanging out just chit chatting.

Weird.

He’s shorter than I thought, and his hair is gray, and he’s looking a bit rough around the edges these days. This man was Batman, THE Batman as far as many are concerned, and I’m thinking he looks like he could stand to head home and have a good nap. *sigh* Oh Batman, say it isn’t so!

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[Updated October 07: So much for Solengo? Hunter moves to Peak Ridge? Also, an interesting article on Mr. Hunter, he’s one tough cookie to get a hold of.]

Six billion dollars.

Somewhere close to six billion dollars down the drain on some natural gas investments, and all of it on the shoulders of has-been golden boy Brian Hunter, infamous at the age of 32. Looking back on the rise of Hunter in the hedge world, it seemed like he had everything going for him, at his young age he was already ranked 29th in the world for best-paid traders in 2005.

Amaranth hired the risk-taker in 2004, after a turbulent exit from his previous place of employment, Deutsche Bank (apparently there are still lawsuits pending). He quickly asserted himself at Amaranth and the dollars rolled in – until he misjudged the market (an understatement if ever there was one) and put the majority of Amaranth’s wealth on the line in one huge gamble on gas.

As someone with little formal education in this area, but who has worked for a private equity placement firm for the last two years, I can’t quite get my head around how it is that Amaranth didn’t see red flags popping up all over the place when Hunter initiated this process with his sole focus on hedging in the gas market. I can only imagine his horror as he watched gas prices take a dive, most notably in futures contracts for delivery of gas for the coming winter. How long could they wait for prices to rebound? Not long enough, and they knew it. Once the firm admitted that its value was dropping by the day they began the massive sell off of the majority of their portfolio – with huge losses for the firm and it’s investors. Wasn’t someone at Amaranth responsible for ensuring that all the proverbial eggs weren’t in one bucket? Was Mr. Hunter such a whiz that he felt he no longer had to concern himself with risk control or the ever present volatility in the natural resources market. What went wrong?

My company recently branched it’s hedge fund business off, it’s no longer under the umbrella of the main organization and now will have to show profits of it’s own and provide for itself. I wonder how a story like the Amaranth failure will affect a small Canadian hedge business such as ours, as well as other new ventures in the hedge space. Time will tell.

Unfortunately for the now unemployed Mr. Hunter and the investors in Amaranth, time isn’t always on your side.

Hedgefund.blogspot.com has another article on Amaranth that you might also enjoy reading.

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