Earlier this morning, legendary hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt popped by the CNBC studios for a little chat with the Squawk Box crew. Things started off friendly enough, with some conversation about the petting-zoo Steinhardt keeps at his home in Westchester (which includes zebras, camels, albino wallabies and a llama named Angel Mike has been known to french kiss), his rare-plant collection that inspires envy in Martha Stewart, the economy and the Fed. Steinhardt noted that, compared to the rest of what's going on in the world, "we live in an inland sea of calm waters while surrounding us are turbulent, horrible places," to which everyone nodded soberly in agreement, unaware of what was coming next. "America seems almost as insular as it has in times past," Mike continued. "Look at the rest of the world compared to America, look what's happening all over and then here the biggest thing we have to worry about is how long it will take Buffett to come down to earth...how long until people like you begin to realize his reality and get off some...cloud."
Oh, he went there.
"What is Buffett's reality," Carl asked with just the slightest bit of defensiveness in his voice.
"His reality is that he is the greatest PR person of recent times," Steinhardt explained, "And he has managed to achieve a snow job that has conned virtually everyone in the press to my knowledge...and is remarkable that he continues to do it."
It was Break Glass In Case Of Emergency time in Englewood Cliffs.
"Really," Carl said this time with a little more get up and go, "so outperforming the S&P, I don't know how many hundred times, over the course of his portfolio...doesn't matter?"
"Ooo, I'm not sure he's done that," Mike told the gang. "What he has done, and this is a great measure of the man's wonder, is he gave away two and a half cents for the first 70 years of his life- he gave away nothing- and then in one fell swoop gave almost all of his money away to one guy. And from that moment on became the greatest advocate of philanthropy and pitched all the bumbling billionaires to do the same thing. That takes a special guy to give away nothing and then in one fell swoop 'boom!' he gives it all away and pitches the other yo-yos to give it away too. Now what does that say? I think that's worth examining."
[The good stuff starts at 7:30]
Bonus round: "SokolGate was common American practice, but not common for Buffett to get caught in that sort of thing. But it's a peculiarly ugly phenomenon, and he's had a number of ugly phenomenon. Like the way he treated John Gutfreund, it was disgusting. Throwing him out of Solomon Brothers for no good reason."
Bonus II: For any future Squawk Box guest, you can in fact say "dumb ass" on air. Kernan explained they "think of an ass as an animal. Like a mule or something."