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Howie time

January 18, 2007

First of all, if you see me, remind me not to bet on football.  Or better yet, ask me which game I like and then bet the other way.  This entire season, I placed only 2 bets, but now that the playoffs are here, I figured I’d jump in.  Wrong move.  I think that San Diego actually lost because I bet on them.  OK, not really, but that’s what it felt like.  Anyway, I will not be betting this weekend.

On Friday I got invited to the Luxor for dinner and to see Earth Wind and Fire.  We ate at the Steakhouse there, and it was really good.  Not just good, really good.  I didn’t expect the level of service or the quality of food that we got, but what a pleasant surprise.  Then we had 6th row seats for EWF and they were incredible.  Only 4 of the members (including the lead singer, Philip Baily) were original, but they sounded just as great.  Baily must be close to 60 years old, but his voice hasn’t suffered a bit. It was truly amazing, the notes that he hit.  Someone told me that he is one of only a handful of people in the world who has a 10 octave range with his voice.  After the show, since we were in the Luxor already, we went up to Criss’ suite to hang out.  He showed us a new trick that was really cool.  He had my wife pick a card and hold it between her hands, completely covered.  He then had me pick a card and lit the back of that card on fire, so there was a burn mark clearly on the back.   He put the burned card face down on my wife’s hand, and she acknowledged that it was still hot. Then he turned it over and the burn mark was gone.  She opened her hands, and the card she was holding now had the burn mark on it.  Amazing trick.

After that, we all went to Pure (One of the 2 best clubs in LV).  Penthouse was having a party there, and they wanted to get pictures with Criss.  When we got there, the section where Penthouse was partying was jammed shoulder to shoulder.  It was not comfortable or fun.  So my wife and I sat down on one of the beds (booths) in that section.  After a short while, some guy came over and told me we had to leave.  He was drunk, and I had no idea who this guy was, but I wasn’t in the mood, and I wasn’t moving.  It was penthouses party, and their booth, so I had every right to be there.  So, in my own special way, told the guy to F--- off.  We got into it a little, and someone called security.  I got in the security guys face and said that this was Penthouses booth and that I was an invited guest.  The security guy then told me it was not Penthouses booth, but was the booth of the guy I was fighting with.  Oops!  “Nevermind”, and we moved to another section. 

On Monday, Howie Mandel was in the store.  I spent about 30 minutes getting to know him.  We talked about everything from cars to Deal or No Deal to business and family.  He is a really nice guy, and a normal person.  Additionally, he is genuinely funny.  I’ve met many comics, and they’re mostly only funny when they’re on stage, doing their act.  Howie, is so quick and clever, he had me laughing a lot. He said he’s been in the store many times, but just walked around the loop like everyone else.  He was so nice, he even invited me to come to his stand up show at MGM.  Somewhere in the conversation, Criss’ name came up, and Howie said he was a big fan, and that he and his son watch Mindfreak all the time.  So I told him I’d bring Criss to the show if he was available.  So last night, my wife and I, and Criss and Mary went to see Howie.  John Mendoza opened for him, and was great, but Howie was really funny, and really sharp.  After the show, we went backstage to hang out with him for a little while.  He and Criss got along really well, and we all laughed a lot. I think Howie is going to do an appearance on Criss’ show. It was great, and I look forward to seeing him again next time he’s in town.

On the business front, things continue to be strong.  Jenn has made a remarkable difference already in the retail store.  She’s brought in new product, and there’s a buzz of new energy in the store. Having the right mix of people and personalities (chemistry) really is one of the most important issues when building a company. On the car front, we’re doing great, but still need more cars.  We’re starting to target the areas where it’s snowing (southern California?) to see who wants to sell their cars. We’re also doing some big deals on some classic cars.  With Barrett Jackson happening right now, it’s a good time.  I may fly down tomorrow, but I’m not sure yet.  BJ is really an amazing event, and very impressive.  But I fear they’re going to piss off too many people.  I heard that they raised their buyers premium to 10% from 8%.  So now BJ pockets 18% of the sales price 10% from the buyer and 8% from the seller.  That is what you call “a cash machine”.

We also expect to deliver the first Koenigsegg CCX in the next 30 days, which is going to be very exciting.  Cars on their way here include a 2005 gallardo, a 2005 Porsche Turbo S cab, a 2005 430 coupe, a 2003 GT2 with 650hp, a continental GT, at GTC, and a 2007 Yellow/black 430 spider.  We also have another 599, but I don’t have it completely bought yet.  Till next time…..

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