Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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WWE in talks with state gambling regulators to legalize betting on scripted match results by Alex Sherman (CNBC)

Seeking to get in on the sports gambling goldrush, wrestling matches (which are scripted with results pre-determined) are trying to become legally sanctioned gambling events. [Link]

Why Are So Many Guys Obsessed With Master and Commander? by Gabriella Paiella (GQ)

An investigation into the enduring popularity of a mid-budget sailing movie set during the Napoleonic Wars which has persisted to become a near-obsession for men of a certain age. [Link]

The Stunt Awards by Bilge Ebiri and Brandon Streussnig (Vulture)

An important corrective to the glaring omissions of the traditional Academy Awards, which conspicuously overlook the stunt professions which make movies great. [Link]

Doom Loops

The Dollar’s Imperial Circle by Ozge Akinci, Gianluca Benigno, Serra Pelin, and Jonathan Turek (Liberty Street Economics)

A new model characterizes the dollar’s role in the global economy as a procyclical force which wrecks factory activity and commodity prices as the greenback gains steam. [Link]

North Carolina trucking company to shut down after top customer pulls out by Clarissa Hawes (FreightWaves)

Demands for “massive rate and volume concessions” from customers led FreightWorks to shutter the doors, laying off 200 employees including 140 drivers. [Link]

Real Estate

Millionaires row no more: Number of houses that cost seven figures nationwide is dropping by Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy (USAToday)

Only about 7% of the US housing market is worth more than $1mm, a drop of 1.6 percentage points versus the peak of the market but still almost double the 4% at that price level from January of 2020. [Link; auto-playing video]


Dispatch From Kyiv: Ballet in a Time of War by Carol Schaeffer (The Nation)

Ballet, bombs, and the strange world of Kyiv which has been spared Russian occupation but is still a acutely war-time city as the invasion pushes through its second year. [Link; soft paywall]


This geothermal startup showed its wells can be used like a giant underground battery by James Temple (MIT Technology Review)

A Nevada geothermal company thinks it may be able to turn its wells into what is in effect a giant battery, with important implications for keeping amperage flowing when renewable generation is no longer operating. [Link]

Unhappy Customers

How ‘Excuseflation’ Is Keeping Prices — and Corporate Profits — High by Tracy Alloway and Joe Wiesenthal (BNN/Bloomberg)

Corporations have been eager to push prices higher and take advantage of unique disruptions, driving prices higher with input costs but not returning the favor after input disruptions calm. [Link]

As Customer Problems Hit a Record High, More People Seek ‘Revenge’ by Katie Deighton (WSJ)

The National Customer Rage Survey has been run since 1976 and its 2023 edition showed a uniquely poisoned relationship between businesses in aggregate and their customers. [Link; paywall]


Bodyguards Follow Elon Musk Everywhere at Twitter HQ, Even to Restroom, Says Engineer by Philippe Naughton (The Daily Beast)

Employees report Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk gets followed around the social media company’s headquarters by two bodyguards. [Link]

Elon Musk Is Planning a Texas Utopia—His Own Town By Kirsten Grind, Rebecca Elliott, Ted Mann, and Julie Bykowicz (WSJ)

The company town is back, this time plotting itself outside of Austin, TX. A “Texas utopia” is in the cards near SpaceX and Boring Co facilities in the Lone Star State. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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