Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Where there’s a whim, there’s a way. (Or, who says the one per-centers aren’t job creators?)

One of the best thing about having a cadre of one per-centers is that they are job creators.

Oh, they may not be job creators in the way that the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts once were. They’re not creating jobs for hundreds of thousands of oil derrick roustabouts, steel mill workers, and train switchmen. But create jobs they do. In fact, you might say that they’ve created an entirely new category of work: the whim caterer.

Whim caterers may be mere go-fers, there to fill low-skilled positions in the entourage. (You’re the coffee-fetcher.) Or they may be highly-skilled artisans. Skilled or unskilled, they operate under the umbrella mantra: your whim is my command.  And, of course, the more skilled among them do more than their share of whim-creating.

(Ah, the virtuous circle of job creation: one-percent-ers have whims and moneys; they create jobs carried out by whim-caterers; whim-caterers come up with more whim ideas… See how it works? All we need to do to guarantee lifetime employment is figure out how to catch the eye of those with the money to pursue every whim. Where there’s a whim, there’s a way, I always say…)

One of the outfits that’s been lapping up the trickle down is Becker Automotive Design, which tricks out Mercedes Sprinter JetVans and Cadillac Escalades so that, when a client is stuck in traffic, he or she can have all the comforts of home or home office.

Take Dr. Dre:

His latest purchase is a stretched Cadillac Escalade with a flat-screen television and a digital system that allows him to browse his home film library in the car. “I like to close the curtains, relax and watch Martin Scorsese films,” says Dr Dre. (Source: The Economist – may need a subscription to access full content.)

The vans are highly customized, but the outfitting tends toward the ability to be entertained (as in watching Scorsese films) or comfortable (as in bathrooms – wouldn’t want to have to pee in a bottle while gridlocked, would you?). But one Becker client ordered up:

…an exercise bicycle welded to the floor so the owner could work out.

No surprise that Becker is located in LA, where there’s that unbeatable combo of lots of traffic and lots of money.

Good thing, because the most basic models cost $150K and can run up to $500K+ if you add the armor plate. (If you’re wondering, it’s the innards that get tricked out. When it comes to the outers, owners want to keep it simple and not draw any attention, beyond the run-of-the-mill attention that a honking Escalade with tinted windows is going to get to begin with.)

That armor plating, of course, being for the more security conscious.

In addition to selling to celebs, Becker works with a lot of Middle Easter potentates and African poo-bahs. The client list includes plenty of Princes, Sheiks, and HRH’s. Not to say that celebs aren’t security conscious, by Sheiks definitely are.

Alongside all that royalty, the client list is a veritable who’s who of something or other, a mix of folks I’ve heard of (current celebs and has-beens), folks I haven’t heard of, and folks I’ve heard of who I’m pretty sure are dead (a who’s was)?

Tiger Woods. Eminem. Will Smith. Ben Affleck. Barbra Streisand. Johnny Depp. Mike Tyson. Jada Pinkett.  Paul Allen. Neil Diamond. Don Johnson. Mark Wahlberg. Corbin Bernsen (whose name is misspelled, but he’s a has-been, so who cares). Bruce Springsteen. And I’m guessing that “Whoppi Goldberg” is one and the same as “Whoopi Goldberg.”

But, hey, they’re whim-catering artisans, not spell-checkers.

As always, when there’s a list of famous celebs, there will be many whose names I will not recognize, however diligent and careful my reading of People.

Into this category fall: Steve Bisciotti, Gary Winnick, and Joe and Lisa Sachen (who, unlike Will and Jada, make their cameo as a couple). While I haven’t directly heard of Mitzi Perdue, I correctly assumed she’s the missus of the late Frank.

And I don’t know why you’d keep dead folks – which I believe Elizabeth Taylor, Carroll O’Connor, Joan Collins, Mel Tormé, and Burt Bacharach are. (Ooos, sorry Joan and Burt. I just googled, and you’re both still very much alive.)

David Hockney is on the list. I’m wondering if he paints in his ride? Did Sidney Sheldon write in his? Does Jerry Lewis practice “hey, lady”-ing?

My last car was a Beetle.

Even if I had had it tricked out for when I was gridlocked, it probably wouldn’t have been worth it. I think for these “mobile palaces” to work, you need a driver.

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