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Better Be Good…to Me

What Sam Zell Taught Me About Markets and Life & Firenze, Italy

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Prada billboard in Italy
OOH alive and well in Italy
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OOH …Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company

With memorial day long in the rear view window and July 4th seemingly right around the corner Johnsen why the heck would you go back to Memorial Day?  

Well first, because I missed an entry on memorial day weekend and my God because I have lived my whole life in peace and prosperity without a second thought about getting drafted or killed in some God forsaken place. But for all those that did so so that I didn’t have to, I am immortally grateful.  Seriously…Grazie Mille as the Italians say..  

And second because I thought it might make sense to pay homage to two of the greats of our time, both ground breakers in different fields who recently passed on..  

First…Tina Turner.  Anyone else remember the first time you saw her on video or in person?  Holy Shit.  And I really mean Holy Shit.  As Vanilla Ice says…rock a mic like a vandal…  She came down from a different planet!  Motown, but oh so much more.  She left an indelible mark on music forever but she also broke so much ground for womanhood at the same time.  She was a lightning bolt.  Sexy yet fierce and fiercely independent.  Very hard to pick a song that exemplifies her talent but here is one that far from sucks…


Johnsen, what the heck, she didn’t even write that song?  Tru dat, but did you see her in Tommy?  Most people who have seen Tommy (and if you haven’t…com’on man…that’s like telling me you haven’t read Crime and Punishment) don’t remember that Tina Turner lit, and I mean lit it up as the Acid Queen.  Okay, okay, for all you pikers who haven’t seen the movie, here is the scene:


Second, Sam Zell. Okay Johnsen have you lost your mind?  Okay, so maybe Sam Zell was a full frontal capitalist…and some would say an asshole to boot…but oh there is so much more.   The week he died Barrons has this short (and I mean short!) blurb on him:  “Sam Zell, Chicago real estate impressario and pioneer of real estate investment trusts at Equity Office Properties died at 81.  Zell’s Polish parents fled to the U.S. in World War II. He was known as the “grave dancer” for his skill as a distressed investor.”  Barron’s, really, that’s it?  Maybe you hated it when he bought the Chicago Tribune?  Maybe there was some bad blood there?  I mean nobody is making a statue of me when I am gone, but a guy who created at least $40 billion of wealth for he and his investors and was on the cover of Fortune several times. Sso get more than that, no?

Do not fret.  All is well with the world.  The very next week Sam Zell’s good friend Oscar Schafer recognized Barron’s incredible faux pas and followed up with a tremendous Op Ed titled “What Sam Zell Taught Me About Markets and Life”.  Here is a stellar snippet:  “No doubt some people will say that it is easy to invest or live like Sam when you are already rich and successful.  They are wrong.  I know plenty of people who are rich and boring.”

The entire article is well worth the 3 minute read.  You can find it here:

What Sam Zell Taught Me About Markets and Life | Barron’s (barrons.com)

Signing off from Firenze.  You will be glad to know that outdoor is alive and well here



Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC
Johnsen, Fretty and Co. is an advertiser with OOH Today

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