Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Dread Next Week

Not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it was insufferable when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992; everyone around me -- I was working in a television production company, so yes, Virginia, everyone around me -- was walking on air. The world was saved and order was restored to the Universe. We see how that all turned out. This time I'm told the oceans will recede, the polar bears will eat, and there will finally be peace in the middle east.

No, what I really dread about next week are all the sanctimonious Germans, who have already started coming out of the woodwork to tell me how they can't understand why America can't pull its head out of its posterity and do elections right ... you know, the way they do them here in Germany. Granted, the Germans have had a relatively good run of elections in the recent past, but at some point I grow weary of the piety and find myself ending the conversation with a weary reminder that German electoral history also included 1933.

I might suggest that since a number of people in the US insist that it is discriminatory to require ID to vote that maybe we could have people dip their fingers in purple ink, just like we required of the Iraquis. But that seems to have been made moot with early voting, which allows people a couple days to get home and wash off the ink before queuing up to vote again on the real election day.

In my personal view, early voting is evil as it only serves to open the door to cheating. So, as if to throw gas on the fire, what does Mr. Bush do for this election? He votes early and absent. What leadership. Perhaps for that last spit in the face of the republic, the Republicans truly deserve to wander in the desert for another 30 years.

Meanwhile, we have an election that is going to be close in any event, and we seem to have ample evidence that there is going to be more than a little mischief in a number of places, meaning it will be a long night, week, or maybe even a month. Maybe Mr. Bush should consider inviting a few Iraqui election monitors to observe and police the US polls next week. Turnabout, you know.

And it reminds me of that old Chicago saying, "It's election day. Vote early ... and often!"

I really dread next week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

36 Hours -- Other Observances in the US This Week

Things you don't think of when most of your waking hours are spent listening to a language other than your own:

1) All the politicians are talking like they are from fly-over country, i.e their 'g' endings (or would that be 'endins'?) have been stripped away. It seemed natural coming from Palin, but not from McCain, Obama, or Biden.

2) It seems like everybody in America has trouble uttering a complete sentence without having at least one, sometimes several, 'umms' or 'uhhs'. What is that all about? The Partnerin assures me I don't do that ... I hope she is, uhh, right.

3) Everyone is yakking almost constantly on a cell phone, as if they were afraid to be left alone with their own thoughts?

4) US cashiers are chatty-cathy's (or chatty-charlies) with you as they pack your goods in your no-additional-cost paper or plastic bags ... German check-out cashiers say practically nothing to you as they swipe your goods and toss them out of your reach before you can bag them in the plastic or cloth tote for which you were charged.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Back
Sorry, C.N. !

I'm back ... The markets may now resume their correction. Sorry C.N.

It's amazing how easy it is to slip back to American life in just 36 hours. I was there for business, so I didn't get to do as much personal stuff as I would like, but I squeezed some into the schedule. You can sleep on the plane, right?

What is funny is going back to the hotel and seeing all the room-service trays outside the doors. I forgot about that aspect of US business travel ... over here we go out, back there they seem to go back to the room and watch TV.

Well, time to go to the office ... ugh! If I didn't like my job, I might hate it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

At the Risk of Being Immodest ....

I came back to the US today, and the Dow closed up 936 points ... coincidence???


Friday, October 10, 2008

Things I Thought I Would Never Say

So we're all gathered around the Bloomberg screens to watch the Chimp give the same tired old speech about the markets' continuing melt down today and what his administration is doing about it, and my boss turns to me and says, "We could buy GM now." He means the whole company.

Me: "You don't want to do that ... you don't want to inherit their pensions and other obligations."

So he fires back, "I just want to give you a chance to add a couple digits to your portfolio."

Me: "You know, after the first billion or so, it really all starts to look the same."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fed to Bypass Banks
Airdrops of Cash Directly to Sub-prime Victims Start Today

Photo Source: US Air Force Link,
Washington -- In a move that literally went over the heads of the Treasury Department, the Fed announced today that it will start air-dropping cash directly to the populace of the US in the hope that their spending will jump-start the faltering Bush economy.

"It's clear from market movements over the past week that the Treasury Plan ... the Paulson Plan ... is a non-starter," stated Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben "Helicopter" Bernanke. "It appears that the Banks are the problem, and the solution therefore is to take them out of the loop."

Disappointed that the banking system might never restart the lending of money, no matter how many trillions of dollars had been pumped into it, the Fed decided that a massive air-drop of $20 bills over the Continental US was perhaps the best measure to boost consumer confidence.

Another Fed source, quoted on background, offered the following: "Banks, Wall Street, stocks, bonds, savings accounts ... whatever. That stuff is like so 1990's. My Grandma had that stuff. The future is people trading stuff directly with one another over the internet, like on e-bay. By the time people realize what the dollar is worth, they'll embrace that paradigm. But for now we just have to get them through the next thirty days."

Noting that most of the US military's inventory of helicopters were deployed to the middle east, the Fed Chairman opted to use the heavy-lifting capabilities of the Air Force's fleet of C-17's. A C-17's payload is approximately 85 tons, which is approximately $1.7 billion worth of $20 bills. The Federal Reserve estimates indicate that 200 such flights, or sorties as the military calls them, would blanket every man, woman and child in the US with approximately $1,133 each.

As one Fed official noted, "Hey, that will give a real kick to the next quarter's numbers, and we don't have to take on all that crap the banks have been generating the past couple of years ... do you have any idea what kind of pay you have to offer to get anybody to deal in that Mortgage-backed stuff? In the end, simply dropping money across the country is probably less than one-third the cost of the Paulson plan when you factor in all the hidden costs. People can get a nice MacBook for the kind of money we're talking about, and then they can trade stuff on e-bay."

A Fed spokesperson had no comment on why Alaska and Hawaii had been left out of the plan.

No, that is not really a bag of cash; it is a leaflet drop over Afghanistan

So, How's That Bail-out Thing Working Out for You?

I had a friend ask me how my 401k is doing, and I joked that it was more like a "200.5e" these days ... in all honesty, it's really a 351i, as it is only down 12.5% for the year. But I've had a lot of friends back in the States moaning about how they no longer had any retirement savings left ... seems that making a killing in real estate was not enough for them. They bet the farm and the nest egg. Too bad.

But hey, that bailout thing seems to be going well, right??? It passed six days ago and it seems that the markets have only dropped another 20% or so in the last six straight days of declines.

The only bright spots in the last few days were watching Sarah Barracuda go after Obama and his associates, and a precious piece on Saturday Night Live spoofing a democratic press conference on the economic crisis and its victims.

The latter can be seen here ...

The former ... Many of you find her simple, even scary ... You say "Potato" and I say "Potatoe" and let's call the whole thing off. Whatever!

Let's just say I will call her the "Northern Star." At least she is true to her character, and she is fun. Much more fun that those other stuffed shirts on the ticket. I'll say it again, we could do worse, and we probably will if the polls keep trending the way they are.

Til next time, if you keep money in your mattress, please don't talk about it in coffee shops!

Stay warm.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's a German Thing #001
Bakers who are ISO certified

The sandwich was good, but I don't know if it really needed the ISO certification.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Paul Wellstone Mental Health & Addiction Equity Act

I kid you not ... this is the title of the Bailout bill, which passed the Senate yesterday, cleared the House today, and has already been signed by Prez Whatshisnameagain.

So you mortgaged your children today.

Don't wait for the Bankers to thank you, and no, you and your cherubs didn't even get kissed.