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September 26, 2005

Why I'm hugely amused by Carl Icahn


From a story about Icahn (above) last month in the Wall Street Journal:

    A self–described "obsessive," Mr. Icahn says nobody can touch his desk.

    "It's a cardinal sin," he says.

    "I keep the papers in a certain way, just the way I like them."

    He says he identifies with aviation pioneer Howard Hughes's obsessive personality.

    Mr. Icahn divides his time between a New York apartment and his estate in East Hampton, New York.

    On the estate's grounds, a total of 55 telephones are available to satisfy Mr. Icahn's constant wish to talk business.

    His wife, Gail, says that "if we're at home and I want to talk to him in the morning about our dinner plans," she'll phone him — it's faster than waiting for him to hang up on another caller.

    Mr. Icahn often stays up until 2:30 a.m., sometimes walking city streets late at night talking by cellphone to a small group of analysts and lawyers.

    Lawyer Peter Wolfson recalls being called by Mr. Icahn on Mother's Day a few years back.

    When Mr. Wolfson said the holiday wasn't a good time for a long business talk, he said Mr. Icahn asked why — "Are you somebody's mother?" — and continued the discussion.

I read somewhere else recently that when Icahn was asked what his hobbies were and what he did to relax, he looked at the questioner with a blank look on his face, then replied, "I don't have any hobbies and I don't know the meaning of the word 'relax.'"

I have no doubt that those words are the honest truth.

The reason I like Icahn is that he makes no bones about who he is or what he does; he doesn't try to make himself more palatable to anyone; he just goes on about his business, doing what he does and making an enormous amount of money as a result.

Shakespeare, in "Hamlet," said it perfectly: "To thine own self be true."

FunFact: To seem smarter than you are, when someone asks who said something reply, very knowingly, "It's from the Bible or Shakespeare."

You'll be right 50% of the time.

Anything to make you look better.

September 26, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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who's blog is this anyway? joe's blog is not the type to discuss what he posts, unless of course that is the direction he is heading. if so, i am outta here.

Posted by: bob | Sep 27, 2005 12:42:08 AM

OK, Science Chic. I know it's been a long time since grad school, but I knew I could not have forgotten that much.

So, if you still don't believe me on Shakespeare's Biblical references, google Naseeb Shaheen, who wrote a three-volume catalogue of Biblical quotations and allusions in Shakespeare. Amazon.com also offers Shakespeare and the Bible by Stephen Marx (and James Rees and Thomas Ray Eaton or Hamilton Coleman or Norman Crawford) or The Bible in Shakespeare by William Burgess.

He was especially interested in the Cain and Abel story, which he referenced often in his work. And Measure for Measure and Merchant of Venice are often cited as the plays with the most Biblical allusions.

I understand that you are saying the stories themselves are not a simple rehashing of the Bible. I agree with that. But they still owe much to the Bible - so if I were going to pick one source to win an argument (or look smarter anyway), I would choose the Bible, as stated above.

Thank you and good night. ;)

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Sep 26, 2005 11:13:22 PM

Oh boy! Are we gonna talk about Shakespeare?
No? Then I spurn thee like a cur out of my way! And don't come around trying to make up to me with your sweet words, low crooked curtsies, and base spaniel fawning!

Posted by: Flutist | Sep 26, 2005 7:35:20 PM

Say what? The writings of Shakespeare are a product of the translation of the writings of the Italian Renaissance and early English historians. There is nothing in Shakespeare that the Christian Bible inspired. There is some reference to the practices of the Catholic Church which makes sense because Shakespeare was Catholic. There is not a single play based on a Bible theme.

Posted by: ScienceChic | Sep 26, 2005 7:17:48 PM

Wasn't it the mostly bumbling Polonius who spoke these pearls of wisdom, along with neither-a-borrower-nor-a-lender-be, etc? The speech is absolutely crowded with advice, all of it good in and of itself, but intended to be overwhelming and thus impossible to take in--a reflection of Polonius's larger tendency to blather on good-heartedly.

So what, you might say? Well. I dunno. It seemed important to post at the time.

Posted by: smarter than your average bear | Sep 26, 2005 2:27:13 PM

And since most of Shakespeare came from the Bible, you could appear even smarter than you are (and more decisive) if you just say "The Bible" - and quote some line and verse they will never remember in time to look up. (I recommend finding a real one now and sticking with it, like Ezekiel 16:49.)

If they don't look like they're buying it, start bludgeoning them with Shakespearean insults, like Falstaff's "Whoreson Achitophel!" Then get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Sep 26, 2005 12:57:22 PM

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