Saturday, 28 February 2009

America's Best Days Lie Ahead....

Warren Buffett says "America's best days lie ahead". That is the most-likely-to-be-accurate forecast issued this year.

At the end of his interesting letter released this morning, he discusses his annual shareholder's meeting, aka "Woodstock for Capitalists". Promised entertainment will feature a blindfolded chess player, and a magician. After that, word of the week, one can have a steak. And shop too. Jets, knives, and insurance will be on offer. P.T. Barnum would be proud. Psychologists would be worried.

And a Bad Bank

Friday, 27 February 2009

A Good Bank

Go stand in the corner Missmarketcrash

What a complete non-ending.  Missmarketcrash, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Yes.  They certainly have been thinking.  But, what about you, dear girl?  You have left nothing of note behind on that last post.

Why?  Because you were busy.  Off you went, bored with the machinations of world rescue, onward on your own tangent.  You read about steak.  and stake.  You learned a steak is a steak because it used to be a stake.  A hunk of meat, on a stake, roasted.  You learned about steak fillers, specifically alginates (seaweed), and streptomyces mobarensis (protein and yes it is from skin and hair).  You resolved never to eat a "restructured steak" again.

Next, you went wandering off, into tangents too tangled.  Then you came back emptyhanded, and wrote the dry goods.  And all that you left behind, especially the restructured part, would have come in very handy with regard to the Citigroup thing.  Nobody would willingly eat that stuff.  Now go write your name on the blackboard 100 times and think about what you have done.

missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash,
missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash, missmarketcrash.....

Citigroup Day...

It is Citigroup Day.  Missmarketcrash has not read anything remotely cheerleader-y about what is expected to be announced.  It has been anticipated all week, and, what better day than a Friday?  Word has it that bailout number 3 has been structured in a way so that it is "not nationalization" and will depend on an equal contribution from private investors to justify the phrase "Government Stake" rather than the N-word.  On the news-for-the-people side, the criticism is massive by those that have deconstructed the rather complex plan down to its naked self.  From the murmurs of the investment world, it is "unclear" whether private investors would convert preferred stock, but, word has it both the Singapore Government Investing Fund and that Saudi Prince will be converting.  From the gambling side of individual investors, there seems to be some momentum to short the stock which will not particularly help matters.  With that, a Missoni-knit up and down chart is on the deck for the time being.

I shall await the announcement and get back to you, but, I must say, it does seem an awful lot of thought and discussion has gone into rescue number 3.  And no matter what, anything the banks or the U.S. government does will be met with criticism.  Perhaps a star or two can be given out to the Government for at least thinking about this one a bit more.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


There are two news stories that have been stuck in my head and I've just realized what they have in common.  Forever in my brain, a potato is a communist as well as an entertaining children's toy.

A few weeks ago, India announced that no further Chinese toys would be imported into the country.  Toy Wars.  Of course, there are always potatoes...Potatoes were a favorite toy of my first son - endless armies of potatoes have been arranged on my kitchen floor, rolled into battle, poked, decorated and transformed into various creatures. 

Potatoes were also recommended to me by my first political science professor, who was unabashedly Marxist.  He thought it would be more fruitful for me to devote more time to my studies, rather than work the small part-time job I had.  I explained I needed the income for food.  He said "You should just eat more potatoes".

Last night I saw photographs of 750 elderly communists staging an economic protest in Russia. The last photograph here is most fantastic.  Thanks to one of my old professors, looking at it made me think of potatoes.

Ah. Next I shall have to write on "Government Stake" and Potatoes.

The Waste Land

T.S. Elliot used to work at Lloyds Bank.  It is said that he suffered a nervous breakdown whilst working there and took a leave of absence to write The Waste Land.  The impact of the first world war was imbedded in society and the shift in the forms of poetry and painting are reflective of a change of psyche.  Much has been made of the fragmentation and incoherence of The Waste Land, but, to a modern reader used to a bit of a mash-up, it seems perfectly formed.

And perfect for a new read, through the lense of the financial crisis.  I do wonder myself if April will be the cruellest month....

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out or the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Then off he went, out of the breeding and death metaphors to escape and skip happily into nostalgia, avoidance and escapism for the rest of the paragraph. Continuing on (here if you'd like) he goes on, off and onward with various tangents of universal despair, myth and bad sex.

Any aspiring ex-banker poets out there?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

More Steak...

Missmarketcrash herself will now be able to personally guarantee to you that Bank of America and Citigroup will not be nationalized.  Why?  

From the Marketwatch website comes the following:

"Bernanke refuted notions that the conversion program would lead to nationalization. He said that as long as there were some private shareholders in the biggest banks, any government investments in the banks would not constitute nationalization".

I knew there was a reason I still had those shares...I can now save you all from the N word.

Globalization according to Crustaceans

A jolly little book entitled "Economics 2.0" landed on Missmarketcrash's desk today.  With a rather academic looking white cover in a serious font and grassy green banding, the subtitle had a practical air and a promise:

what the best
in economics can
you about business and

The co-authors, Norbert Haring and Olaf Storbeck traipse through various topics backed by economic research in an engaging and witty fashion.  The sub-headings are one good reason to get your hands on a copy.  "Globalization according to Crustaceans" is a personal favorite.   My imagination drifted off to a beach, with a few cartoon crustaceans discussing globalization in depth and what it means for my life.  I was rather hoping the crustaceans themselves would have some witty guidance to offer.  But, maybe I am expecting too much.  Or, too little. Yes.  This is a studious book with a humanist lean.  The studies cited throughout the book are well-researched, dry, and academic; this clarity is infused with an easy and entertaining relevance. In other words, it goes down like a good martini.  

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sharing Vices

What we need to create is an addiction to banking stocks.  Right now.  Let's pair up Bank of America and Citigroup with Philip Morris and sell those stocks.  To the people. 

Inside every pack of Marlboro Lights could be a share of one of the banks.  Or two, in the case of Citigroup.  Take the tax off the cigarettes and use it to pay for the share.  

You could also pair up with brewers and bottlers like Jack Daniels.  All those toxic assets would be owned once again, by fans of vice.

And to be safe, let's say the shares are not sellable for a laddered number of years so they don't all fly back in the market at the same time...
Yes it is a flawed and twisted idea.

Nostalgia and simple pleasures...

Children, school, drawing, cricket, apples, gardening, marbles, tea, father, holiday, seaside, grey skies, countryside, trains, dog, harbor, hardy fishermen, grandmother's cottage, fireplace chat.

It is all here...a bit dull, but in a very pleasant way.  I'm really trying to be a believer, but, somehow, it just does not seem as enticing as Courchevel....

The Power of Positive Thinking

Not to be outdone by the website in the U.S., Gordon Brown has launched

"Action is being taken all around the country to help the economy come through the recession sooner, stronger and fairer."

Fairness is an a very British choice of adjective.  In the above quote, it makes me think of the economy on a sunny beach, hair going fairer, blond perhaps.  In the section entitled "What does the future look like" fairness gets another run relational to the concept of trust: values of "hard work, integrity, enterprise, fairness and responsibility" are spelled out in a winning combination to assure us.

It is a really lovely purple website, and, whenever I am in need of good news, I shall click on the London button to see what nice things are being done. 

Monday, 23 February 2009

Rare or Medium Rare?

Pass the sauce.  It is not going to be called nationalization.  It is going to be called

Government Stake.

Yes this is my third post today.  The markets have just bled down to 1997 levels.  Citigroup has appears to have failed its stress test in a big way.  Worrisome bloody week even though it all seems so obvious.

And, no.  You can't have it well-done.


Missmarketcrash wants to rename herself.  A brochure from Heals (the furniture shop) arrived in the post today with a most fantastic name emblazoned across it.


Wow.  I want to be that.  When and if this moment of economics and market madness progresses to a more favorable level, I shall have a new nom de plume.  And Chiconomics is an utterly delicious phrase.  

Effortlessly stylish here we come.  And I'll still be allowed to read the FT as Miss is pink after all....

Green Banks

We are back to a state of Zugzwang in the banking crisis.  Whether it is a bad bank, a good bank, a zombie bank, a split bank or a nationalized bank has become secondary.  

The word nationalization seems to be the problem this week.  From a metasemantic perspective, there are overarching determinants for the word "nationalization" that are in conflict with America's system of "free enterprise".  

A quick journey into a dark room....(a reduced sauce)...
If one were lost in the dark, and, had a perception of which way the exit was, how "real" that mental map is is not predicated by whether the door is actually found.  The "realness" cannot be determined but, the picture inside ones head used to navigate can still be valid.  If the exit is found, it could be "luck".  On the other hand, perhaps there is a correlation between one's internal map and the external world that is not only linked, but also correct.  If one exits correctly, is it because the internal representation is an accurate map of the the dark room, or, is it due to some kind of natural instinct such as "always walk to the right"?  Lastly, it may be a reference to a past experience: perhaps it is a memory of a room one knew well as a darkened space (such as one's bedroom).

The word "nationalize" may be looked at in relation to the dark room problem.  It is a word we picture and project meaning on.  It is a word without context standing in a dark room.  We may have a valid picture of what nationalization means.  Or we might not.  If we do have an idea of what it means, the correlation of our idea of nationalization to the reality of it might be a match.  This could be down to luck, it could be down to instinct, or, it could be something resting on prior knowledge.  On the other hand, perhaps our understanding or the concept does not match up to the reality.  That only leaves us stumbling around in the dark if we do not shift the inside of our head to correlate it with the room itself.

Nationalization does seem a word that is burdened with conflict.  The handling of the banking crisis is becoming a minefield of semantics - choosing the correct word seems to be harder than choosing the right actions.  The naming of actions must be accurate and understood from a wide range of understanding.  How does one go forward into such complexity with simplicity?

The eco-labeling movement has had much success with marketing a slew of items -- why not twist the concept into action?  Green has a nice ring to it and the cleaning up of toxic sludge has a nice eco foundation to place it upon.  The Green Bank sounds like a marvelous place to relax.

Of course, I am talking nonsense.  But sturdy names are needed for sturdy concepts.  And, with diminished faith in governments these days, the term nationalization lacks credibility irrespective of the effectiveness of the concept.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Blog on Holiday: Property Sales

Missmarketcrash dreads today.  And next week.  A large chunk of the market is crumbling.  And it is bank-failure-Friday.  Now that the dread has tripped off my fingertips, I shall try to go back to living in the moment.  The instant moment.  Not a second before or after.  

Back on holiday:
The Florida paper in front of me has some for sale ads in the back.  The old fashioned classified kind.  You can size up a local demographic pretty quickly with a read of these.  In this particular paper, there are a lot of upper middle-class things up for sale.  But, Florida is also filled with retirees, and, with that, brings a column entitled "cemetery lots/crypts".  

And.  Death has been deeply discounted.  Placed on fire sale.  Plots are between 40-50% off.  "Urgent", "must sell asap" and, my personal favorite, "will sacrifice".  Most are ads by individuals featuring one plot, or, two, side by side.  Some with views.

These people have embraced living in the moment and are tossing their beloved plots aside.  I imagine though, that the type of person who would pre-buy a burial plot would have a hard time parting with it.  Especially at 50% off.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Blog on Holiday - foreclosure tour

Missmarketcrash is still on holiday.  Here is a marvelous video by Jim the Realtor of foreclosed mcmansions in California.  About a minute into the footage, there is a most bizarre dolls-house structure ...worth a view.  Missmarketcrash will be back in full-form on Monday...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blog on Holiday: Lizards...

You can eat them, you can worship them, you can break their tails off...

Missmarketcrash apologizes profusely for being off the economy topic this week.  I'm on holiday this week with the children.   You might want to come back next week..or bear with me.  I seem to be knowledgeable about lizards today...

So, you wonder...what can you eat, worship and torture?  Lizards of course.  The seven year old is doing a report on them for homework, hence the topic.

Lizards are consumed in Central America, Africa and India.  A lizard cookbook would no doubt be filled with delicious spicy recipes given that culinary range.  Lizard with Plaintain and chili sauce?  Cassava and Lizard with pineapple chutney?  Or perhaps just a good old-fashioned Lizard curry.  

Missmarketcrash had better stop now lest she take over the homework assignment.  But, one last thought on a fact that I most sincerely cannot explain to the seven year old that we unearthed.  The largest and ugliest lizard, the Komodo Dragon can give birth without ummm...the male's contribution. See here.

I see a lot of tangents forming between Komodo Dragons and Zombie bank survivalism, but, I shall refrain.

Never listen to Alan Greenspan while puking

Missmarketcrash must have been cursed.  In the midst of yesterday's marketcrash, Missmarketcrash had a day of food poisoning.  The markets and I were in unison, moaning and groaning, spewing, sweating and utterly frozen for the whole day and into the evening. 

The last meal where I ate anything different from anyone else was at a 50's style restaurant, color scheme orange and pies in the entryway to greet you.  After that, the cousins descended and we had a jolly day.  Cousin number one said "Drinking is one of our family hobbies". 

At that point, the lush inside missmarketcrash had left the room.  The wine seemed positively disgusting and was traded for water. We played an interesting game called Quiddler which gives Scrabble a run for excitement.  And I wondered why Quiddler, the oh so exciting Quiddler, was making my head throb.  It was clearly the onset of food poisoning time.  

I woke up yesterday morning and that was the beginning of the end.  Words of wisdom: never listen to Alan Greenspan while puking.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Blog on holiday

Ah.  Missmarketcrash is in sunny Florida after what seemed to be the-longest-plane-ride-ever with a four year old and a seven year old.  Thirteen hours and no sleep and hardly any movie time later, we arrived.  I shall have to teach the children that movies are an activity that culture expects them to consume.  Bad parenting on my behalf, they have never been movie or television fans.

A reader I shall call Mrduke has saved me from (yawn) describing the 13 hour flight with them by sending a link.  It is so bizarre as an item, I need not say anything.  Thank you Mrduke, a million seashells to you this morning.

p.s. Any other fine links are appreciated as Missmc is on holiday with the children and the brain is already filled with sand.  Links may be sent to

Friday, 13 February 2009

Surreal Numbers

Missmarketcrash has been dwelling on the bank thing whilst painting her nails in preparation for a holiday in Florida.  The idea of all these inspectors crawling like spiders over bank data is clearly Hollywood bound.  Especially as the numbers are bound to be surreal.

Surreal numbers are an actual mathematical construct by John Horton Conway and popularized in a geeky math novel by Donald Knuth with the most stunningly retro-chic title of "Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness".  I must order that.  

"Every real number is surrounded by surreals, which are closer to it than any real number." states Wolfram Mathworld.  

Pitch that at the bank inspectors and the data will disperse in meaning all over the place as it should.  I now can go to bed happily without fear of dreaming of spiders again.

Instead, I was stuck with the spiders

"It wasn't me, it was my brain that did it" said the four year old.  Ok then.  Not you, but, your brain started shouting at 530am to wake up the entire house.  With things going the way they are in the world, I'm surprised my brain did not clasp hands with yours and shriek in unison.

My brain was quietly dreaming. I  watched thousands of spiders crawl through black text, scurrying this way and that, in jerky motion.  Acting lost, reacting in panicky little bursts which carried them to and fro, meeting each other and repelling.  The surface was a steep vertical, almost two-dimensional.  It was obviously the bank investigation thing.  

If I had only filled my brain with something different and delicious before sleep.  Instead, I was stuck with the spiders.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Half-term Holidays Commencing...

Missmarketcrash is headed to the land of the free and the brave tomorrow for half-term holidays. We are going to visit Grandmothermarketcrash in her winter abode in sunny sunny Florida.  A fine break after so many grey London skies of late.  It will be interesting to be in America, in retiree central.  More than likely I will be surrounded by Madoff casualties.  With that in mind, the posts might drift a bit to the daft side for the next week - stick with me, xoxoxo, missmc

p.s. if anyone has any good links next week I can post to cheat down the writing side, I wouldn't mind a little help whilst I am away.  Suggestions on interesting things can be sent to


"Russian and US Satellites Collide" announced the BBC this morning.  A first for history, there is a cloud of space debris is being tracked by scientists at this very moment.  Gosh.  Missmarketcrash has enough to worry about without visions of things falling from the sky.  It is hoped that much of it will burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.  The BBC mentioned it will take a number of weeks to be clear about the implications of it all.  Fingers crossed then.

Sir Isaac Newton would be just the man for this moment in history.  Especially as he knew not only about such topical things as gravity and orbital dynamics, he also held a stint as "Master of the Mint", a position loosely equivalent to Alastair Darling's present day post.  Newton moved sterling onto the gold standard and spent a good amount of time hunting down and hanging counterfeiters.

So, what would dear old nutty Newton make of it all?  Well, he would probably go deconstruct the Bible as that was another one of his inclinations.  Preferably only in regard to the satellites. In addressing the ills of the world economy he most likely would have some brilliant insights.  

I'm afraid I've leaped back to the margins again.  But as far as I can see, this team of experts on the case seems to be from a narrow slice of academia.  A couple of brainstorming Newton-types would at least provide some entertainment to the topic.  And, who knows...we might just get iRescue conjured up by a mix of scientists, IT fellows, and product designers might just do the trick.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Is economics the new church?

Truly paradigm-shifting ideas often come from the margins and sometimes arrive completely accidently.  And it almost always takes a long time for the value of new theories and discoveries to be evident.  Challenging conventional wisdom is not something society encourages.

The how-to-solve-it announcement yesterday gathered up all the discourse to appease conventional wisdom as it was speaking to Society.  The complexities of politics demand that. 

The announcement is better looked at in philosophical terms.  It was a humanist kind of offering rather than an economic one.  It offered a religion rather than a cure.  The masquerade of a cure revealed itself through the use of medical terminology, such as "stress test" for financial institutions.  It offered an illusion of power to us by the promise of transparency which will be available on the comically unfinished website

Does that mean it was bad?  Of course not.  It just did not speak in the kind of detail everyone had hoped for.  And, if the plan had proposed something truly radical and innovative, what would happen then?

What are we asking for?  Is economics the new church?  If so, yesterdays sermon was a from the American Universalist Individualist New Capitalist sect.  Here are my notes:

1. They will look at these things we call financial institutions in great detail.  Like a doctor rather than a scientist.

2. There will be a Thing designed.

3. The gentle Talf will roam the fields, eating and growing.

4. You the individual will have somewhere to live.

5. They will talk to the rest of the world.

6. The plan will adapt and change.

The economic paradigm has already shifted and the prescriptions outlined above keep that in mind.  In other words, vagueness is the new black.  Where we will end up is a complete mystery.  In that regard, it is not a church.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Does anyone else find this funny?

The Prince of Poyais

"I think that this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s..." uttered Ed Balls, U.K. Cabinet Minister.  If you would like to read more, look here courtesy of the BBC.  The Prime Minister's office explained he was talking about the global financial economy, not the real one in the U.K.  Oh.

Well then.  Time for a resurgence of that amusing aptly-named genre, Rogue Literature, popular pamphlets published in Elizabethan times.  How does one keep from being conned or taken advantage of?  Small booklets on the seamy side of life provided amusement to all kinds of readers back in the days of old.  Many of them were written by the upper classes and provided the sensationalism of the day.  Samuel Rid, a man with no apparent biography wrote a pamphlet entitled "THE Art of Iugling or Legerdemaine" which detailed common con art tricks of the time.  

That was street crime.  But what about big schemes?  Gregor McGregor was the Bernard Madoff of his time, though far more romantic.  McGregor invented an island named Poyais and wrote an amazing book about it entitled "Sketch of the Mosquito Shore, including the territory of Poyais".  McGregor proclaimed that the islanders had declared him Prince of Poyais, and, were eager for settlers to join them.  He gathered investors, issued shares and minted his own fictitious island currency.  He sent ships of investors and settlers to the island.  This true story ends in a bad way as one might imagine.

There must be a good combination of the Gregor McGregor scheme and the world financial system rescue that could be hatched... 

Monday, 9 February 2009

Whole, like a snake...

Missmarketcrash had another technicolor dream last night.  She was at the beach and there was snow on the sand dunes.  Cobbled together shacks clustered on the edge of a cliff and many of Missmc's friends were there as well as an assortment of strangers.  We were all bitterly cold.  A large group decided to sit on the seaside in front of the cafe where the sun was and folding chairs were carried along a narrow bumpy cliffside path.  Missmc unfolded her chair and looked down.  It was a long drop down and a terrifying place to sit.  Panic.  Not a good spot.  Everyone carried the chairs back around to the bayside and a seating map was drawn up. Meanwhile, Mrmc was inside the cafe working.  A good friend came in, dressed in a most comical crustacean costume with a wry look on her face.  She ordered a cup of coffee to go.  Missmc asked if she could join her, and crustacean-friend said no, as she thought Missmc had asked her out of pity rather than interest. Just then, out the windowless windowframe there was a commotion.  A beige pig was eating a muddy-colored pig whole, like a snake.  The pig with the pig inside stumbled into the cafe, its mouth open to partially reveal the snout of the muddy pig.  The muddy pig mouth started screaming "Get me out of here, get me out of here".  Everyone stared.  No one had any idea how to remove the muddy pig without slaying the beige pig.  And no one wanted to touch either. Everyone just wanted the pig-pig to go away but dreaded the suffering they would endure as two pigs in one. The muddy pig would be able to eat and grow and the insides of the beige pig would be not only squashed, but, malnourished.  It was so gruesome and there were no solutions at hand. 

Missmarketcrash woke up.  Who needs fiction with dreams like this?  This morning's news mumbled that the U.S. treasury has delayed its much anticipated bank bailout plan announcement until Tuesday.  Market futures are plummeting in response.  I do hope my dreams can find the comedic side of it all this week - another night of pig-pig fills me with dread.  The comedic well-armored crustacean had better have a coffee with me tonight.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


A most worthwhile morning was spent in the Tate with the children.  We took in the Tate Triennial which, from a curatorial perspective, was one of the best "of the moment" exhibitions Missmc has seen in a very long time. Entitled "Altermodern", it was pitched as a theoretical exhibition but it was easy to digest; much of the art expressed a great deal of sentiment.   Most surprisingly, it entertained the children as well.  A discourse about These-Modern-Times and how they are shifting is lost on a child: the perspective of a child is always in flux and an ever-shifting perspective is a given.  Humor and menace were the prevailing attractions for the small ones.  Clearly, they are my children.

Altermodern - the ideas of alternative ways sprouting and intermixing in a global world was the base concept and a nice broad one so that the art covered tangents across the spectrum. There was a strong bleakness to much of the work but the humor of many of the pieces lifted it out of the apocalypse.

The exhibit nailed the credit-crunch moment but the moment is changing rapidly.  The artist Charles Avery contributed a piece that will survive the "momentness" - his head of Aleph and associated drawings are divorced from the present and float in an imaginary narrative.  It is the absurdity and escapism of the piece that places it in the now.  The idea of discourses in art, literature, philosophy and well, anything, being in a rather large state of flux is exciting and this snapshot of current sentiment will be glanced at again in the future.

I'm still mulling over the exhibition title "Altermodern".  A reasonable choice perhaps --Postcrunch sounds too much like a cereal and postcrunchinism brings to mind a hobbling one-legged thing...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Come talk to me later

It is terribly unfair that the world economic crisis has given out homework again this weekend.  New acronyms are spinning about and the gentle sounding Talf is wandering around the field again with a big new friend consisting of Things-To-Be-Announced-On-Monday-But-Known-Beforehand and all the groupies and enemies of big new friend are mobbing around chattering madly.  Missmarketcrash is staring with wide hungover eyes, courtesy of spending an evening with a Glaswegian who is officially classified as a Giant (6'7"), a crushingly intelligent Irishman, a few flirty girls and a Ewan McGregor look-a-like.  We spent much of the evening discussing "when is it literature and when is it porn and when is it both...". But I digress.  I can see where this is all going if I am mixing last night's conversation with this mornings homework.  No no no. Come talk to me later.  

to be continued...

Friday, 6 February 2009

Intelligent Civilizations...

"Intelligent life forms are out there and there could be thousands of them" said the BBC yesterday.  Well then.  Where are they?  Do you think they know how to fix a broken economy?  

Rockets ahoy - we are talking about alien life forms again.  According to research published in the International Journal of Astrobiology paraphrased by the BBC, "there are at least 361 intelligent civilizations in our Galaxy" and the possibility of many many more.

Intelligent Civilizations?  Did the scientists say that, or, the BBC?  Because if they really truly mean civilizations in the finest sense of the world, I'd like to migrate.  Missmarketcrash is a fan of intelligent civilization as a concept and thinks it ought not to be a utopian one.  Here on earth we are challenging the term "Intelligent Civilization" with our world economic crisis.  Perhaps just "civilization" would suffice as a description at the moment.

The word "civilization" carries a kind of intelligence within itself.  The old school latin meaning of the word implies a delineated area where people dwell governed by laws.  As in a town.  To be "civilized" may carry a cultural connotation of proper manners and/or love of the arts.

So, then, what about the phrase "Intelligent Civilization"?  Perhaps this is a science term employed by alienologists and I am missing the point completely here.  Indeed, it seems to be. A quick google reveals it to be nothing more than a classic case of transference - not unlike humanizing animals in childrens storybooks. 

Pity.  I could use a new place to live.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

David Attenborough channelling Willem Buiter

One of the pleasures of living in London is listening to Sir David Attenborough.  It is his voice, a gentle fog, comfortable as a good friendship.  The steady wisdom of an ideal father has resonance with everyone, and, he has the knack.

Why then, is Missmarketcrash obsessing over David Attenborough this morning?  Well, imagine if the Financial Times had a television feature about the current state of world would be most wonderous to have David Attenborough channelling Willem Buiter to discuss the state we are in, and, where we might be going.  No matter what he said,  he would place a warm cup of tea in our hands and goodness would descend.  His naturalist perspective would be a fitting sidekick for discussing economics.  

Attenborough's upcoming broadcast beginning 11th of February is entitled "Nature's Great Events".  There are six episodes:
1. The Great Melt
2. The Great Salmon Run
3. The Great Migration
4. The Great Tide
5.  The Great Flood
6. The Great Feast

There is, or could be, a clear parallel here to the goings on in the economic world...a nimble leap of topic is all it would take...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

An aside on nationalism...

Missmarketcrash has been curiously looking on at the ongoing strikes in the U.K. regarding the use of foreign workers.  It is, and will continue to be, something to keep an eye on.  

Nationalism is big news of late.  A good friend of mine from Amsterdam once covered a cabin with a fantastically large dutch flag while she was in the midst of an idyllic Maine visual arts residency.  She then proceeded to upholster  the inside of the cabin in pink foam insulation.  It was her response to her first-ever-visit to a Wall-mart.

Her art gesture was the only kind of Nationalism I've ever understood. 

Nothing but a decapitated snowman...

Nothing.  Missmarketcrash is floating about today with an empty brain.  Complete silence has descended and the chirps of the outside world, the real universe, are taking precedence.  And what am I hearing?  The sounds of my neighbor installing a security alarm.  The sounds of a grocery delivery truck crunching through the still-uncleared snow in the street outside.  And the cleaner is singing.

So - sounds of fear.  Sounds of struggling commerce.  And the sound of employee joy.  

And what do I see?  Out the window there is a decapitated snowman in the street out in front of my house.  He is taking up a parking space and he is not melting.  He is disfunctional as far as snowmen go, and, a bit sad looking.  Snowmen are supposed to melt gracefully, head on.  Insert your world economy metaphor here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Google Global Markets...

Yesterday I was pondering the buried part of the financial industry - the landscape of debt which lies unseen.  Charts and graphs of economists & market men have all tried to portray a picture of what is happening to the world, with little consensus and varying models.  It is the unseen that cannot be charted and that is the unknown.  Way back in October Missmarketcrash read somewhere about the (debt) value of credit default swaps and various other things hovering around 72 trillion dollars.  Missmarketcrash is now kicking herself for not bookmarking said article, which was from a reputable source.  72 trillion is of course a variable number based on success or failure of instruments, and, some of that has been reduced slowly but surely by institutions in various ways.  I would not venture to even guess where that number lies now, but, it must be still rather large on the negative side as one can see from the scramblings of world politics and economies.  

Google Earth has saved my metaphorical soul this morning by releasing Google Oceans.  Yes.  One can dive into the great vast bit of the globe that used to be represented by a rather nice plain shade of blue and discover what lies underneath.  It is most amazing to have our map of the world expanded so greatly and I am an instant fan.  Look here for a glimpse into the great unknown.  

Come on Google.  The next application clearly ought to be Google Global Markets - we would all love a glimpse below the murky surfaces...

Monday, 2 February 2009

Blog cancelled today on account of Snow...

Snow, snow and more snow!   The private school sent us a text advising us school was cancelled, but, the state school was a mystery as to what the situation was.  So, we donned our wellies and hopped on the triple tandem bike and slid our way down the hill.  A nice big sign out front announced school was cancelled.   Being a former Connecticut gal, Missmc could not understand why closures were not announced via radio or something...but it was truly lovely to enjoy the fresh London snow.

After spending a day in the park building two snowmen and cycling slippy-slidey back up the hill Missmc has had little time to think about writing today.  In fact, exhaustion has set in and a hot whiskey is probably in order.  Especially after looking at the world markets.  They are behaving worse than my children.

I promise something more exciting tomorrow, unless school is cancelled again....nine inches of snow thus far and still falling steadily...

*late note: I've just found out school is cancelled for tomorrow, so, it will likely be a lame blog again as I'll be sledging with the boys -- apologies.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Missmarketcrash has another dream...featuring Val...

Val felt like she had just woken up though she was sure she had been awake.  Yes.  They were there.  100's of small pebbles had been hurtling themselves toward her, then, they turned and retreated and dashed toward the horizon en masse and disappeared.  Last ones sucking in a strung-together curve as if something was pulling them all off the edge of the earth.  Adjusting her dark glasses, she glanced out the window at her reflection in the side mirror.  Still here she thought.  The car was stopped somewhere and he was gone.  She sat in the passenger seat and wondered how long it had been since he had left.  It never occurred to her to wonder where he was or whether he was coming back.

To know what to believe was the phrase that kept running through Val's head.  Her upper lip started to tremble again.  She tilted her head sideways against the cool glass to stop the thought and the trembling.  The angle was familiar to her and she thought again about sleep.  Time had changed and was going really fast and then really slow.  Then fast again.  And everyone's clock was different.  Under her cool breath against the window the fog formed before she drifted off.