March 2008

The Indefinite Article is delighted to bring you a world-exclusive interview with Li Tei who was the one who actually had to sit with the Olympic Flame in his lap all the way from Athens to Beijing. 

TIA:  This must have been a huge honor for you. 

Li Tei: This was a great honor.  Usually I transport organs for transplant so the Olympic Flame was a big change for me. 

TIA:  Did you receive any special training? 

Li Tei:  I am at liberty only to tell you certain facts.  I am not at liberty to discuss a secret location in what may or may not be a bar in South Florida.  I did receive some training in sitting still for long periods and breathing second-hand smoke to prepare me for the fumes from the Olympic Flame. 

TIA:  I see.  What are your plans for the future? 

Li Tei:  On Friday I have an audition to be one of the Jingjing Panda mascots. 

TIA:  Well, good luck with that. 

Li Tei:  Thank you.  Competition this year is very fierce.  I have heard that Jack Nicholson wants to be a Nini swallow mascot.  Personally I don’t think he has the chops any more.


The Department of Intrusive Customer Service here at the Indefinite Article recently provided me with their analysis our the readership which I would like to share here with same. Our readership they find is highly educated, urbane, sophisticated, interested in the broader world, of above average intelligence and mostly visiting The Indefinite Article ON THEIR EMPLOYERS’ TIME.

The Interjecting Reader: Hang on a second! That’s not true!

TIA: Is it not?

The Interjecting Reader: Well, not entirely. It’s Saturday and I’m in here aren’t I?

TIA: For all I know you might work a weekend shift.

The Interjecting Reader: For all you know I might.

TIA: Do you?

The Interjecting Reader: Sometimes. But I still come in here on my days off!

TIA: I see. That is very warming and encouraging.

The Interjecting Reader: Glad to be of help. But I have to run. Here’s me boss!

[Loud groan of recognition from the cheap seats in the balcony]

President Bush II announced in 2004 that he was all for an ownership society.  Some would argue in view of the current housing/mortgage/market meltdown crisis that this was foolishness but the question requires deeper analysis.  Who was supposed to own what?  The general interpretation was that low and middle-income “folk” should be able to own their own home.  The President and the administration partially achieved this goal.  They allowed the financial industry to conduct itself without adult supervision and it came to pass that a lot of low and middle-income “folk” got to borrow money they could never pay back at an initial low repayment rate that would eventually skyrocket so they could feel what it was like to “own” a home until it got taken away from them.  They got a temporary S-7 visa into the Ownership Society.  When it expired, they had to leave. 

This was not a failure on the part of the administration but more of an interpretative expectancy differential on the part of the public.  Yet again it is the public is to blame.


The real Ownership Society is an exclusive agglomeration of our betters who have owned and will continue to own most of what exists.  Some of them live here.  You should rest assured that these people and their forefathers have had generations of experience in owning most of what exists.

Some of you may remember our secret climatologically enhanced Olympic training facility in south Florida.  When last we heard all was going swimmingly in the hands of our able operatives Meyers and Harrison

Well, I have just received an urgent communiqué from them and would like to poll our readership (cheaper than hiring a consultant; easier than thinking about it ourselves) as this involves something of a moral dilemma.

Should The Indefinite Article Consulting Group, a hardly-owned subsidiary of The Indefinite Article provide additional training to the athletes of the country that persists in insisting on continuing to remain nameless in the following events?

1500m Crowded Square Tank Steeplechase

4 x 100 Protester Rubber Bullet relay 

To vote no, click here.

To vote yes, click here.

The avid and not so avid followers of The Indefinite Article will have noticed a brief hiatus in outpourings. The Principals of The Indefinite Article spent the weekend and deep into Tuesday in negotiations with the beleagured investment bank Jai, Alai, Threecard Monty. The Indefinite Article has now made a buyout offer of $1.25 per share. Obviously Jai alai was worth a lot more than that on Friday but what can one do? Even at this low price price The Indefinite Article is taking a risk so the Federal Reserve is underwriting the deal.
The Puzzled Reader: The WHAT is WHAT?
TIA: The Federal Reserve is underwriting the deal to the tune of $300 gizillion.
The Puzzled Reader: What does that really mean?
TIA: Well, you see Jai, Alai, Threecard Monty own a lot of illiquid assets, the value of which is difficult to ascertain
The Puzzled Reader: You mean they own worthless crap?
TIA: They own investments that may or not be worthless. We won’t know until we try to unload them but they paid $300 gizillion for them so the Federal Rserve will guarantee that $300 gizillion. If we sell them all and only get $17.50 then the Fed will make up the difference.
The Puzzled Reader: They will? With what?
TIA: Tax dollars.
The Puzzled Reader: Excuse me I have to go vomit.
TIA: Try not to get it on your shoes.

As we look back at 5 years of Operation Cakewalk to Freedom and all the progress that has been made as the Surge provides levels of stability that allow the Iraqi government to disintegrate in relative peace, it is good to remind ourselves of who planned it, cajoled people to get behind it and how life has rewarded them for their brilliance. 

This is my favorite quote about the war.  It sums up everything that Paul Wolfowitz, neo-conservative thought and the meritocracy that is America  mean to me.  If only there were a Nobel Prize for prognostication

 “There is a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people. We are talking about a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”

– Paul “Did-I-Really-Say-That-Out-Loud?” Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, testifying before the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, 3/27/03 

Choose your favorite Iraq quote here

Last night I had a telephone call from my man at Jai, Alai, Threecard-Monty LLC.  For continuity’s sake I continue to refer to him thus even though he is no longer at the firm.  And that brings me to the phone call.  He called me from somewhere beside the sea from what he referred to as his “disposable phone” to let me know he would not be handling my financial affairs anymore.  When pressed, he told me he had retired.  When further pressed, he elaborated: 

“This is how it is, see?  Monday the Feds pump a huge wad of cash into the system.  Tuesday the Dow Jones goes up 400 points cos everyone is feeling confident.  Wednesday all the people like me dump every stock they have, take their winnings and leave the table.  The Dow Jones drops 300 points and a chunk of the Feds’ money is now safely in my pocket and going nowhere near Wall Street again for a very long time.  Money doesn’t just evaporate, it goes somewhere, you just need to know where.” 

Applications for the post of Financial Consultant to The Indefinite Article may be left in the comments section.

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