How the Hunt Brothers Cornered the Silver Market and Then Lost it All

From a spot price of around $6 per ounce in early 1979, the price of silver shot up to $50.42 in January of 1980. In the same week, silver futures contracts were trading at $46.80. Film companies like Kodak saw costs go through the roof, while the British film producer, Ilford, was forced to lay off workers. Traditional bullion dealers, caught in a squeeze, cried foul to the commodity exchanges, and the New York jewelry house Tiffany & Co. took out a full page ad in the New York Times slamming the “unconscionable” Hunt brothers. They were right to single out the Hunts; in mid-January, they controlled 69% of all the silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange (COMEX) in New York.

How the Hunt Brothers Cornered the Silver Market and Then Lost it All

From a spot price of around $6 per ounce in early 1979, the price of silver shot up to $50.42 in January of 1980. In the same week, silver futures contracts were trading at $46.80. Film companies like Kodak saw costs go through the roof, while the British film producer, Ilford, was forced to lay off workers. Traditional bullion dealers, caught in a squeeze, cried foul to the commodity exchanges, and the New York jewelry house Tiffany & Co. took out a full page ad in the New York Times slamming the “unconscionable” Hunt brothers. They were right to single out the Hunts; in mid-January, they controlled 69% of all the silver futures contracts on the Commodity Exchange (COMEX) in New York.

Last year’s surprise hit – Monday, Monday – returns for another trip to the ’60s!

I call it the surprise hit of our 2015 summer season – the Palladium debut of Monday Monday in Hough Hall.  We had booked the band because two of the performers  – Liz Hollister and Ed Woltil – are some of the most talented folks I know.

 

But the performance that night surpassed my expectations – and so did the big crowd that showed up – some in ’60s gear – and cheered! The band will be back for another night of great songs and singing this Saturday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Palladium. If there is some tie-dye, love beads, or bell-bottoms in your closet, break ’em out.

 

Monday-Monday_2016_rsMonday, Monday  recreates the songs of  The Mamas and the Papas, but they also pull out other great tunes from that ’60s f0lk-rock era and really bring them home. Just the cover of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills & Nash made the evening for me. If you listen back so many of the ’60s hits were lifted up by great singing. Monday, Monday delivers those songs – by The Byrds, The Beatles, and, of course, the foursome behind California Dreamin’  and Go Where you Wanna Go – and the harmony takes the songs up where they belong.

 

There’s also some wonderful comic bits – mostly at the expense of the air-headed flower child played by Ms. Hollister.

 

And this time around another of my favorite musicians – Jeremy Douglass – will be part of the backing band. Jeremy just put together our sold-out “Bjorkestra” show earlier this summer and will be celebrating the birth of his brand-new daughter!

 

And though I didn’t know the rest of the band in advance – they were all top-caliber performers and singers. Singer Cindy Campione, band founder Michael Taylor-Powers, bassist John DeBellis (a member of another Palladium favorite – The Vodkanauts); and drummer Tommy Kennedy, were all essential parts of the mix.

 

If you lived through the ’60s or just want to hear some of the best songs ever recorded, join us Saturday night for Monday, Monday!

 

A few reserved VIP tickets are still available. The rest of the seats are general admission. For tickets call our box office at 727 822-3590 or follow this link to our website.

 

 

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Justin Rose leads Olympic golf; Bubba Watson in medal range

Justin Rose is one round away from winning golf’s first Olympic gold medal in 112 years.

Rose did a little shimmy when his 10-foot par putt on the final hole Saturday swirled in the back side of the cup for a 6-under 65, giving him a one-shot lead over British Open champion Henrik Stenson going into the final round – the medal round – at Olympic Golf Course.

It’s not a two-man race, even if it felt like one.

Rose was at 12-under 201 and had the lead after Stenson narrowly missed a birdie putt and had to settle for a 68, capping a day in which he poked a caiman with the end of his wedge in the water to the left of the 10th hole.

Marcus Fraser, the leader after the first two rounds, stumbled to a 72 and was four shots out of the lead.

“It’s like a lot of other sports,” Rose said. “You work hard to get into the finals. It’s about a great performance tomorrow.”

Rose, the U.S. Open champion three years ago at Merion, is used to playing alongside Stenson when the competition is more about flag than money. They were partners in the Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles, winning all three of their matches for the European flag.

That won’t be the case Sunday. It will be Britain against Sweden, with other countries still looking to break into contention.

Bubba Watson kept American hopes alive with a 5-under 67 that featured his own surreal moment. Watson had a 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, but when he took his putter back, a clump of mud dropped to the ground. Watson tried to stop his stroke and failed, so the ball traveled only about 6 feet.

He still wound up with a 67 and was in the group six shots behind – and three shots out of a medal – along with Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and David Lingmerth of Sweden, both of whom shot 68. They were at 6-under 207, with Matt Kuchar and Padraig Harrington another shot behind.

Rickie Fowler had the low round of the blustery day with a 64, though he remained nine shots behind.

Rose was four shots out of the lead to start the second round, but not for long. He holed a 75-foot pitch for eagle from just short of the third green, where the tees were moved up to make it a 285-yard hole into the wind. Then, he hit 7-iron to 15 feet on the downwind, par-5 fifth hole and made that for another eagle. He took the lead for the first time with a 35-foot putt from off the 12th green.

Stenson’s day was exciting because of a wedge, just not for a shot that he played with it.

Walking along the edge of the water on the par-5 10th, he spotted a caiman – a small crocodile in these parts – and reached over to poke it with the end of his wedge.

“It was a little lob wedge,” he said. “If it was twice the size, you probably needed to go to a longer iron.”

He wound up making birdie on that hole, and two birdies late on the back nine kept in range of Rose.

For all the talk about the stars who stayed home, this is just what golf needed in its return to the Olympics. Stenson is coming off the lowest score in major championship history when he won the British Open at Royal Troon, among the greatest final rounds played. He is No. 5 in the world, the highest-ranked player in the field.

Rose is another major champion at No. 12 in the world, slowed by a back injury in the middle of his season, but excited about the Rio Games. He was part of opening ceremony and kept busy in the week leading to the golf competition, going to other sports, spending time in the gym with Britain’s other athletes and soaking it all in.

The only thing better would be leaving with a gold medal.

“It would mean an awful lot,” Rose said. “You see what it means to the other Olympic athletes. Once a guy slips a gold medal around his neck, we’ll all understand how important it is.”

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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Alex Rodriguez walks away from Yankees after win over Rays

For a night, he was a conquering hero walking away in glory.

For his career, he was a controversial figure who played in scandal.

It is up to the historians now. Alex Rodriguez has walked away from the game, and the Yankees, and the headlines that plagued him throughout his career. Was he a great Yankee, as the numbers suggest? Was he a cheater, as his history suggests? Either way, we will have eternity to debate it.

Rodriguez, 40, played his final game Friday night, adding an RBI double in the New York Yankees 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. His final batting average was .200, and the decision to part ways was that of the Yankees. But one by one A-Rod’s teammates embraced him, and at the end, they chanted his name. They piped in “New York, New York.” They sent him out to third base in the ninth.

For a moment, no one mentioned steroids or suspensions.

“It was so awesome,” Rodriguez said on Fox-TV. “I want to thank Joe (Girardi, the Yankees manager). That was quite a moment. It was pretty overwhelming.”

Rodriguez, still four home runs short of 700, would not discuss playing for another team.

In his last game as a Yankee, however, the team scored the game’s last three runs to beat the Rays and Chris Archer (6-16). Archer lasted six innings but gave up five runs, including a tie-breaking home run to Starling Castro.

For the Rays, Evan Longoria had two of the team’s four hits, including a home run and a run-scoring single.

A-Rod leaves the game as the all-time home run leader against the Rays with 56. Forty of those came as a Yankee. His 233 hits are tied for second with David Ortiz behind Derek Jeter (317).

The Rays are 46-67 on the season. Today, Matt Andriese pitches against Masahiro Tanaka.

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US-Australia rivalry highlights 1st night in Olympic pool

Katie Ledecky is going for a sweep of the longer freestyle races at the Olympics, a feat unmatched since another American teenager achieved it 48 years ago.

Before she tries to equal Debbie Meyers‘ golden triple, Ledecky could join the U.S. 4×100-meter freestyle relay team when the eight-day swimming competition begins Saturday.

If she wins her three individual events and a relay, the 19-year-old Ledecky would take four gold medals back to her Maryland home, equaling the record for a U.S. female swimmer shared by Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin.

“She knows it, but it’s not what’s driving her,” said Bruce Gemmell, Ledecky’s coach. “I don’t think it matters to her today. Maybe it will matter to her 20 years from now when she has kids or family to talk to about it.”

Michael Phelps, who knows something about golden hauls, gets started with his fifth and final Olympics on Sunday. The 18-time gold medalist is expected to be part of the men’s 4×100 free relay, with the Americans challenging defending champion France.

The women’s 4×100 relay shapes up as the U.S. versus Australia, which won gold four years ago in London and in 2004. The Americans haven’t stood on the top podium spot since 1996 in Atlanta.

“We definitely want to get it started off right,” said Amanda Weir, who is likely to be part of the relay. “We always come here to win no matter what our record has been in the past.”

Ledecky could help them do that, likely as a swimmer in the preliminaries, which will be held in the afternoon instead of the morning. If the U.S. wins the late-night final, she would get a medal, too.

Cate Campbell, the 100 free world record holder, leads the Aussie relay, having helped her team win gold in London.

“Over the years we’ve had a really healthy rivalry,” she said about the United States. “We’ve pushed them and they’ve pushed us. I don’t think America would be where they are today without Australia, and America has pushed us to be the great swimming nation that we are as well.”

Campbell will be joined by her sister Bronte, the 100 free world champion, on the relay.

Sun Yang of China goes for gold in the men’s 400 free on Saturday. He has been an enigma since failing to show for the 1,500 free final at last year’s world championships in Russia. The women’s 400 individual medley is among the four finals on the first night.

The United States and Australia figure to pile up the most medals at the pool.

The Americans won 31 medals, including 16 gold, in London, while Australia won 10 and just one gold. The Aussies have come on strong since then, earning 16 medals with seven golds at last year’s worlds. The Americans weren’t as dominant in Kazan, winning 23 medals and eight golds.

“We really are happy to see our rivals do well, especially on the women’s side,” Weir said. “I think the men get a little more fiery.”

The memories made in Rio will outlast the swimming venue, a 15,443-seat temporary facility featuring 15,000 tiny holes drilled into the structure to give the arena constant air flow. It’s covered in 66 panels designed by a Brazilian artist. Columns in the arena’s four corners will obstruct the views of some fans.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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David Bowie: Confessions of a Vinyl Junkie

“From his collection of 2,500 vinyl LPs, the rock star has selected his greatest discoveries, and some record-buying memories as well…. In December of that year, my band Buzz broke up, but not without my demanding we play “I’m Waiting for the Man” as one of the encore songs at our last gig. Amusingly, not only was I to cover Velvet’s song before anyone else in the world, I actually did it before the album came out.” [From 2003]

Have sonar, will travel

“In August 1868, a double-masted Canadian schooner named the Royal Albert was en route to Toledo, Ohio, loaded down with 285 tons of railroad iron when the heavy cargo suddenly shifted. The iron rails busted the hull open and sent the ship to the bottom of the lake. While the crew survived, the ship was lost for nearly 150 years-until earlier this month, when a group of underwater explorers finally discovered it.”

During the late 19th century, it was common for heavy goods to be shipped to the midwest via ships traversing the Great Lakes. While many other goods were often delivered by smaller canal boats, heavier materials – like the iron used to build the country’s railroads – had to be sent on large ships like the Royal Albert, as Jim Kennard, one of the ship’s discoverers, tells Chris Carola for the Associated Press. During that time, thousands of ships sunk while crossing the Great Lakes, providing plenty of fodder for history buffs and underwater explorers.

The team that discovered the Royal Albert uses side-scan sonar to find wrecks.

They have located many others in Lake Ontario, including a USAF C-45 that crashed into the lake in 1952 after flying, pilotless, for 65 miles (the crew parachuted to safety after an engine failed – the plane kept on going for a while), the Atlas, a commercial schooner that sank in 1839, and the Three Brothers, a dagger-board schooner that sank in 1833.