Hawaii Lee-O

I am off to Hawaii this morning to attend the Big Island Film Festival, where my short film REMAINDERED is in competition. I'm really looking forward to the trip…I haven't been back to Hawaii since I was Toastmaster at Left Coast Crime  two years ago and I absolutely love it there, which is why I have set three books on the islands — Dead Space, Diagnosis Murder: The Death Merchant, amd Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii. Who knows, maybe a  fourth book will come out of this trip. 

I'll try to report back with photos and highlights from the festival.


2 thoughts on “Hawaii Lee-O”

  1. I loved Mr. Monk Goes To Hawaii. I also wrote a comment praising you for Mr. Monk On The Road, but I don’t think it went through. Love your Monk books!!!

  2. I’m hoping “Remaindered” does well in Hawaii, Lee. Got my fingers crossed in my mind.
    I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the Q1 2011 Financial Report of CBS, the owner of print publisher Simon and Shuster, to see if they are ahead of their absolutely stellar performance in 2010, where they earned over $720 million, paid down a billion in debt, and bought back shares, raising the stock price in the process about 37%, and earning CEO boss Leslie Moonves over $57 million in total compensation. Is 2011 shaping up so far as another stellar performance from top management duo Moonves and Sumner Redstone?
    Here’s the good news, and there’s lots of it:
    Total revenues in Q1 2011 came in at $3,510 billion slightly down from $3,531 for Q1 2010, but Total Expenses (not including interest expense or taxes) were way down: $3,073 billion in Q1 2011 from $3,378 in Q1 2010: so top management continued to drive down expenses significantly while delivering about the same amount of benefit to their consumers. That’s pretty good.
    As a result, Operating Income (earnings before interest expenses and taxes) came in at a lusty $437 million compared to $153 million in Q1 2010, an improvement of 2.8 times better. So they almost tripled earnings—not too shabby.
    When we factor in interest expenses, other expenses, and taxes—CBS paid $122 million in taxes Q1 2011 versus $21 million in Q1 2010—we get our Net Earnings figures: $202 million in Q1 2011 versus a loss of ($26) million in Q1 2010. This means that CBS is about 9 times ahead of its Q1 2010 results, which must be heart-warming for the top brass.
    On top of this, the stock price has moved from about $20 per share at the beginning of 2011 to about $26 bucks or so now—so it’s up an additional 30%. You could say that the machine is firing on all cylinders.
    And to top it all off, Total Assets increased to $26,372 billion from $26,143 billion in Q1 2010, with their cash reserves increasing to $972 million from $480 million in Q1 2010. If they see an undervalued asset out there, they can buy it.
    Is there any bad news?:
    Actually, there is, and there sort of always is, somewhere, in such a large, diversified company.
    They wanted to buy back shares in order to boost the stock price, and they did: the number of shares outstanding at the end of Q1 2011 was 674 million versus 676 million at the end of Q1 2010. So far, so good. But then they went and issued more shares in Q1 2011 on things like executive stock options, which increased the total shares outstanding at the end of Q1 2011 to 693 million. One step forward, two steps back. So top management still has to prove there are serious about their share buy-back program.
    Then there is the dividend: it was set at 5 cents per share in Q1 2010, and is still 5 cents per share in Q1 2011. If earnings continue to improve, and I have no doubt that they will, top management will face pressure to increase the dividend. But what do they do? Do they increase the dividend, or do they use the money to continue to pay down debt? It looks like a small increase in the dividend would be a prudent move to allay possible shareholder discontent. GE faces the same problem.
    Their long-term debt came in at $5,968 billion down slightly from $5,973 billion in Q1 2010, so they’ve made little progress whittling it down so far in 2011, but that should change as earnings increase throughout the year. It would be stellar to pay down another $1 billion this year.
    It’s also true that Total Stockholders’ Equity came in at $9,780 billion, down slightly from $9,821 billion, but again the rest of the year should top this up again.
    Still, the bad news items are just nit-picking. This company is starting to rock.
    Overall, what’s the score?
    One measure of company health is Net Cash Flow Provided By Operating Activities, and they are up to $894 million in Q1 2011 from $701 million in Q1 2011. This is a healthy increase, and with their increase in cash, I can’t see too much wrong with CBS Corp. Of course, we could go through their businesses line by line, and S&S results would send up a red flag, but it looks from here like CBS Corp is on its way to an even better year in 2011 than in stellar 2010. Moonves is earning his top compensation package.


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