“From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E3 “Opportunity Zone”

Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come, but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m coming home
Mama, I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osbourne

 

TGIF and welcome to The Trader’s Desk. As has been the pattern the last few weeks, I’ll give a brief explanation of what an Opportunity Zone is, some quick observations, and then focus on Axe and why “stinking” of Yonkers is a double-edged sword for him.

What is an Opportunity Zone? (The WSJ review of Billions gives a really great explanation – I use some of it here)

Opportunity zones are real. The idea is part of the 2017 tax overhaul (however the Treasury Department just finalized rules for them in late 2019). Investors who have significant capital gains can take that money and invest it into an opportunity fund, for which they get a tax break. The fund in turn invests in businesses in designated disadvantaged neighborhoods. There’s no limit on how much you can invest, but you need to keep it invested for at least 10 years to get the tax benefit. That makes it less attractive for hedge funds, which likely won’t want to tie up their capital for that long. Consequently, in the real world, hedge funds have not moved aggressively into opportunity zones. There is also the question of just throwing money at these areas. While building shopping malls, business complexes and some housing is nice, if you don’t address the root of the issues, then in a few years all you have are empty shopping malls and business complexes. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Home is Where the Heart Is? Billions S5E3 “Opportunity Zone””

From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully”

Kings will be crowned, and the word goes around
From father to son, to son
“Father to Son” – Queen

Welcome back to the Trader’s Desk. This week Billions seems to have Daddy issues! I’ll get into that, some observations, and then my thoughts on Axe and his audition for the role of modern day Gorden Gekko!

I think it was fitting that this episode opened with the song “Father and Son” (and a big thank you to Damianista and Gingersnap for educating me on the singer and the song, as I had never heard of it!). We all know that Axe and Chuck have some major Daddy issues, and those were on display this week, along with Axe setting some up for his son Gordie. Also, did anyone else notice the plethora of The Godfather references? Now that’s a movie about Daddy issues! And let’s not even start about the state of Wags’ kids because he was an absent father. This episode should have been shown on Father’s Day! Continue reading “From the Trader’s Desk: Sins of The Father – Billions S5 E3 “Beg, Bribe, Bully””

“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED FOR SEASON 5*

**UPDATED FOR SEASON 5**

What metal shirt will Axe reveal in Season 5? I’d love to see (and Gingersnap is with me on this!) an Iron Maiden classic (The Trooper, or Piece of Mind), or Judas Priest. But now we know Axe likes the classic metal bands as well, so it could Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush or even Rainbow.

Yes, I wrote those words back in December, before we were teased with the Billions trailer and Season 5’s metal shirt was revealed to be none other than Rainbow.  I’ll go into who they are and why Axe would be a fan later in the post.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites.  (Gingersnap and I are always trying to predict which band will be featured. We’re holding out Season 6 will finally be the year of Maiden!!) The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music *UPDATED FOR SEASON 5*”

Billions Season 5 Trailer: Anyone Can Be Bought But No One Can Be Trusted *UPDATED*

Damianista’s note: This article was originally published on March 23. I have been able to extract more juice from Official Trailer #2 and “Top Dog” teaser and updated the post accordingly. ENJOY!

First things first: I hope everyone is doing well and staying home during these surreal times.

My earlier “What to Expect When We are Expecting Billions Season 5” post was based on my own thoughts and a few hints from the first Season 5 teaser trailer. The recently dropped official Season 5 trailer, and a second teaser, while answering a question or two I had, makes me ask hundred more 😀

We all know they edit trailers in a way that they do not give away much but a taste of what is coming. Still, I cannot help dive deep into the trailer, dissect it, try to put the pieces together and ultimately have fun! Speculation rocks until we have Billions back on TV on May 3 9:00PM ET/PT.

So shall we?

Continue reading “Billions Season 5 Trailer: Anyone Can Be Bought But No One Can Be Trusted *UPDATED*”

Top Billions Songs: The Tail That Wags The Dog’s Playlist

Being a (somewhat) musician, I am always on alert for the effect of music on a show. I work in musical theater when not teaching, so the music there is often integral to the plot. But for regular movies and TV shows, the music still can add an element of drama and emotion that would hard to obtain otherwise.  Think of movies like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET (sensing a John Williams theme here??) and the impact the music played there in the emotional moments of those shows.

Brian  Koppelman gets this. He has been around music all his life, and if you follow him on Twitter you know he has very strong opinions about music. (Don’t ever ask him about the Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen – trust me, just don’t.)  He and I both grew up in the 80’s alternative music scene. We are both REM fans, although where he prefers “Automatic for the People” I go with “Life’s Rich Pageant”, which leads me to my first musical choice for my playlist, and the one that early on got me paying attention to the song choices. Continue reading “Top Billions Songs: The Tail That Wags The Dog’s Playlist”