Good afternoon. I hope you are all enjoying your vacations. I mean, you can’t possibly be working because if you were MANKA BROS. WOULDN’T BE HAVING SUCH A HORRIBLE YEAR! If you are working, then you obviously suck at your job and should immediately quit for the good of the company!
Last weekend, I went fishing with Barry Diller up at Pyramid Lake (it’s a man-made lake about 60 miles up from Los Angeles off the I-5 freeway). It turns out, Barry likes to go there a lot. He has a little boat parked there in a shed.
He picked me up on Saturday in his Toyota Tundra which was loaded down with a lot of supplies (fishing gear, cooler of beer [Coors], a little BBQ, a shotgun, some granola bars, etc.).
I don’t know the first thing about fishing. I went one other time in my life – a couple of years ago – at a daddy-daughter weekend in Aspen with some other media moguls. When Connie, my daughter, tried to cast out a fishing line, the hook got caught in my nose and pretty much did a full on Roman Polanski / Jack Nicholson nose rip from “Chinatown“. I vowed never to fish or camp again.
But Barry Diller is very persuasive. He said he needed to get away from everything before heading back to New York for an IAC first quarter earnings call this week.
Pyramid Lake is not your typical mogul hotspot. It’s mainly a place for drunken jet skiers from the Inland Empire.
The first thing I noticed as we drove up the I-5 was Barry’s taste in music. He is a huge Southern Fried Rock guy (Lynyrd Skynrd, the Outlaws, BTO, etc). I had no idea. Maybe the drunken jet skiers from the Inland Empire were his cup of tea.
It took a while to get to the lake (he insisted on stopping to help a stranded motorist change a tire) but once we were there, it was surprisingly serene. Not too many rednecks. The weather was nice.
His boat – THE VON FURSTENBERG (badly stenciled on the side) – is very small. It barely had enough room for two people. Throw in a cooler full of Coors and the fishing supplies and there was very little space to move.
Once we finally got out on the lake, Barry attempted to show me what to do but I had no interest at all. He pulled a Nightcrawler out of a can of worms and quickly baited his hook like a pro. He handed me the can and expected me to do the same.
“Fuck that,” I said. “Look, Barry, I just want to sit here, talk and drink beer. I’ll never go fishing again after today.”
Barry looked a little hurt, sighed, and deftly cast his own line into the lake. “I like to imagine different people when I stick the hook through the worm”, Barry said. You know, John Malone, Ben Silverman, Michael Eisner… it’s kind of like a fun game, you know?”
I immediately wanted to grab that can of worms and start sticking hooks into them – Jay McBee [stick], Robin Rafe, Ethan Rubidoux… all those in Manka Bros. senior management who suck at their jobs and deserve a sharp hook.
Suddenly, Barry’s line tensed and his rod started to bend – “Got one! Grab the net!”
I won’t go into any of the actual fishing details (there are people out there better than me to describe what happens when one fishes) other than to say we bagged that fish and eight more.
The rest of day we spent out on THE VON FURSTENBERG drinking the entire cooler of beer and talking about the digital transition and how it is affecting our companies. It was a nice day with an old friend. (Perhaps one day I’ll write about our digital transition conversation – it was really interesting and I think we solved the problem – or I’ll just have Jill Kennedy at OnMedea write about it.)
I don’t remember much about the rest of the trip but I would like to thank the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club for bringing me back home. I’m not sure how Barry got home – but he obviously made it back for his earnings call.