July 21, 2004

Rant Statement on Celebrity-Related Discord

By HARRIS SCHWED
Financial Rant

HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Benjamin Kepple's Daily Rant Inc., an Internet content provider based here, today issued the following transcript from a conference call discussing celebrity-related matters:

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Mr KEPPLE, Chief Executive Officer: Good morning! Thanks, everyone, for your time. We know you're busy.

ANALYSTS: Good morning!

Mr KEPPLE: We have joining me today Quinn Quimbley, our vice president of sales and marketing, as well as senior vice president of finance Ted Hamilton. First, we'll deliver some short remarks, and then open the floor to questions.

After careful consideration, the Company has determined the entertainment industry's top performers have contributed to a general rise in discord among certain segments of the North American market. We understand that while only a fraction of these performers are responsible for this phenomenon, the result has been a general upward tick in negativity directed towards celebrities as a whole, and a significant increase in negativity vis-a-vis this fraction. The Company, after performing due diligence and thorough analyses of these data, sees fit to offer guidance that while there may be some risk, perhaps even high risk, of economic consequences for the aforementioned performers, the general effects upon the Company's activities will range from negligible to considerable, and that on the upside.

ANALYST: What?

Mr HAMILTON: Twenty -- percent -- margin!

ANALYSTS: YIPPEE!

Mr HAMILTON: Good gravy, folks, we mean the pot is clean! People can't get enough of all these crazy celebrity shenanigans! It's unbelievable! We've got rising indicators across the board!

Mr QUIMBLEY: I just bought a boat!

(EXCITED CROSSTALK)

ANALYST: Sir, this is Pieter Henrie with Land o' Shinar plc. What's this mean for the future of The Rant's celebrity coverage?

Mr QUIMBLEY: We see coverage on this front holding about steady, perhaps a slight increase over the next quarter. A thorough analysis of our past content shows no heated condemnation of celebrity antics, but rather a detached bemusement with it all that still makes our points. We will continue avoiding comment on these pronouncements of theirs. However, we believe the increased interest among certain market segments will drive revenues related to this sector higher.

ANALYST: A question for Mr Hamilton, if I may. Sir, this is Mark McAdoo from CuttlefishSpork Dominion. Do you see any expansion in terms of your labor force?

Mr HAMILTON: Did I mention we're having a stock buyback next quarter?

ANALYSTS: YIPPEE!

Mr HENRIE: I'll get my bonus. I'LL GET MY BONUS!

Mr QUIMBLEY: Everybody SAMBA!

(EXCITED CROSSTALK)

Mr McADOO: Um, you didn't answer my question.

Mr HAMILTON: Oh. Yes. Right. Well, Mark, as you know, we've always maintained high staff levels both here at our Bermuda headquarters and in our satellite offices, particularly in Grand Cayman, Hong Kong, and the Isle of Man. Plus, as you know, we recently established an office in Liechtenstein to further pursue our integration plans with our European distribution arm.

Mr McADOO: You still didn't answer my question.

Mr KEPPLE: Ha, ha! Mark, that's just a polite way of saying, "No, and you must be insane for wasting your one question on that." Next question, please.

ANALYST: Mr Kepple, this is Herbert Jones with ASK GmbH, and ...

Mr KEPPLE: Oh! How are things at Achtung Schnell Kauf?

Mr JONES: Fair to middlin'. Anyway, sir, how did the Company arrive at these conclusions?

Mr KEPPLE: Well, we gave considerable thought to this matter, especially given our past product lines, but we do think we arrived at a satisfactory conclusion to the question at hand.

We knew going into it that we cared little for what celebrities thought about such matters, as we had already made up our minds long before they came out with public pronouncements on this or that issue. Further, we knew that our sources of information -- namely, everything from Government reports to essays from respected writers -- proved better-sourced when compared with the one-off statements which these celebrities presented as gospel. The end result was we had no reason to even pay attention to these celebrities' opinions on anything, thus leaving us free to "enjoy the music," as the kids say.

Mr HAMILTON: Speaking of, I've got a Bose stereo in MY Lamborghini!

(EXCITED CROSSTALK)

Mr JONES: So these opinions were nullities, in your view?

Mr KEPPLE: Well, no, that's far too harsh. Our point is simply that people don't generally form their opinions based on what a celebrity thinks. Obviously, if a celebrity has truly studied an issue carefully, reading up on it and perhaps calling some of the experts on both sides, their opinions on that issue -- provided they are reasonably formulated -- could sway us. For instance, plenty of musicians have written eloquent articles about the business practices of the recording industry, which we have read with interest.

Mr JONES: Do you think celebrities' opinions change people's minds?

Mr KEPPLE: Not particularly. They're behind the curve. Well, except for Bono. But he was clever -- he picked an issue few people care about, and studied up on it. So whether one agrees with him or not, you have to at least give him a bit of respect for bringing up debt relief. As for whether celebrities should offer up these opinions in the first place ... hey, that's their business. It's their business, of course, that will prosper or suffer as a result.

ANALYST: Mr Kepple, this is Scalawag McGillicutty of Harpoon Hedge and Pequod. Does this mean you'll cut back on criticizing celebrities' actions?

Mr KEPPLE: Oh, God, no!

Mr McGILLICUTTY: Thank God for that.

Mr KEPPLE: Good Lord. The very idea! No, we can assure you that we'll continue being right bastards when it comes to the quickie marriages, inappropriate public behavior, and general stupidity. Oh, and by the way, we're going to float some long-term debt soon. Any takers?

Mr McADOO: WE'LL DO IT!

OTHER ANALYSTS: US! PICK US!

(EXCITED CROSSTALK)

Mr KEPPLE: Well, thank you all for joining us today, and -- ah -- yes, we'll talk regarding the subordinate debentures. No, we don't know if they'll be callable yet. What? Two percent? Heh. Try one.

Thank you all, and good morning.

(END TRANSCRIPT)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 21, 2004 09:11 PM | TrackBack