October 2008


The Concerned Reader: Anyone home?


TDIA: I’m under the stairs.


The Concerned Reader: What are you doing in there?


TDIA: Looking for masking tape.  How did you get in?


The Concerned Reader: You left the door open.




The Concerned Reader: We were worried because you’ve been so quiet since you came back.


TDIA: Oh I’ve just been really busy with the book handling.  I had to hire a whole team of temps.


The Concerned Reader: Really.


TDIA: Yeah I haven’t been this busy in years.  I had hundreds of temps dog-earing and making notes all over drafts of the bailout bill.  The last time congress threw all their leftovers into a bill to bulk it up like that was the PARTIOT Act.  300 pages of add-ins!  Insane!  I was getting calls from congressional aides, interns at all the think tanks.  You know none of the elected suits ever read these things.  Every time there is one of these recycling bin bills filled with every piece of legislation that couldn’t get nailed into some other bill, my business explodes.  So now, to relax, I’m going to paint the shed.  Before you know it, there will be another “Bailout Bill – the Fastest Fix in the West” filled with subsidies for hawk breeders, ammunition import tax breaks and assorted crap, amendments to outlaw spandex bikinis within 400 yards of a place of worship.


The Concerned Reader: Ah I see.  Well, let me know next time you need book-handlers; I could to with the extra cash.  I wonder if Bailout Bill is friends with The Derivative Kid and Joe the Plumber and Lidia the Dental Hygienist, Trevor the Taxidermist, Montague the Mortician, Axel the Database Administator, and all the other “Insert First Name” “Insert Occupation” folk so beloved of the Republican Presidential Campaign these days?



This would probably brighten up my morning commute a lot more than being threatened with eternity as an extra in a Bosch painting with a piccolo through my head.


Oh!  It’s good to be back.  You would not believe how tedious it is being locked in a floodlight crate with  REO Speedwagon being blasted at you all day and night.


The Concerned Reader: You’re back?


The Definitive Indefinite Article: So it would seem.  You all seem to have done fine without me.  I liked the recycling posts thing.  That was very efficient of you.


The Concerned Reader: So how did you get out?


TDIA: The Department of Untold Conformity went bust.


The Concerned Reader: Oh.  When?


TDIA: Three weeks ago.  I think it was a partly-owned subsidiary of Haverly-Gromax Banco de Argamasilla Group that was just bought by two bar owners Almódovar del Campo for 2,000 pesetas in old currency that isn’t even legal tender any more.  They let me go cos I badmouthed Real Madrid.


The Concerned Reader: What took you so long to get in touch?  We have been worried sick.  You could have been….


TDIA: I had to make some money.  Someone’s got to pay Borja Donosti’s ridiculous fees.


The Concerned Reader: Oh, right.   So what have you been doing?


TDIA: Book-handling.


The Concerned Reader: Crooked accountancy?


TDIA: No.  The bottom just fell out of that gig.  Book-handling: half-doing New York Times Sunday crosswords; manhandling and dogearing The Economist and 100 Years of Solitude in the original; spilling coffee on copies of Proust and making marginal notes in French; taking tatty tickets to the opera and using them as bookmarks in Gibbon’s Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire –  for people who like to have the trappings of reading on display in their homes without all the tedious effort of actual reading.


The Concerned Reader: Is there much money to be made at that?


TDIA: Not as much as you would think.  The real cash is in secret reading. 


The Concerned Reader: What is that?  Reading under the blankets?


TDIA: Reading for pseudo-anti-intellectuals who want to have all the public posturing of Joe Multiple-Beer-Container Contact-Sport-Parent book-burning low-brows but are actually interested in how the world works.


The Concerned Reader: Who are these people?


TDIA: You would be very surprised to know who they are but I have signed confidentiality agreements with them all to guarantee the safety of their know-nothing public personae.  Nevertheless, I can tell you there are a lot of them and they are very prominent.  So be slow to dismiss people who publicly sound like idiots: chances are they are on one of my secret J. K. Galbraith Digest © or Wittgenstein Today! © or Derrida, Lacan and Spandex Bikinis © distribution lists.  You can’t even trust the idiots to be really stupid any more.


The Concerned Reader: And I thought the economy was scary.


TDIA: There!  You see!  It’s all about perspective!  It’s not the economy – it’s the people!  You don’t have to worry about the “market.”  There is no “market.”  It’s just lots of individuals and institutions acting out of self-interest or fear.  When it’s up, they’re wolves buying ruby-encrusted speedboats, when it’s down they’re lemmings.


The Concerned Reader: Uhm.  Yeah.  OK.  Well, anyway.  Welcome back, I suppose.


[A face suddenly appears at the kitchen window]


The Concerned Reader: Hello?  Anyone home?


Borja Donosti: [Startled] ¡La madre que te trajo!  Who are you and what do you want?


The Concerned Reader:  I was a little concerned that there was something wrong, what with all that’s going on and there so little being posted here.


Borja Donosti: I’m still working on getting The Definitive Indefinite Article released from New Gitmo as people have started calling it.  People are just very busy and it is hard to get a hearing.  Here, have a look at this.


The Concerned Reader:  But you already posted this!


Borja Donosti: Yes but the reality is a re-run too, just bigger.  I changed some of the numbers but I don’t have time to do any more.  If you want some current news, try this: “BREAKING NEWS- NO ONE IS PUSHING TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY THIS WEEK.  FEW SURPRISED”  “SPANDEX BIKINI FUTURES PLUMMET!”




Busy graphs help rattle punters

Busy graphs help rattle punters

This morning the Dow Jones stood at 10,850, the NASDAQ at 2,082 the FTSE at 5,000, the DAX at 5,807 and the Hang Seng at 18,016, Standard & Poor’s 500(remember them from the sterling work they did giving credit ratings to the exploding mortgage salesmen?) at 1,166.  But most importantly the HHI is up 102.63 to 1,428.42.  This indicates a…




The Attentive Reader:  The what?  What are you talking about?  I’ve never heard of this HHI!  Is this more of your Jai Alai bollocks?


TDIA:  [Somewhat testily] It’s pronounced Double-H Ai.  It stands for the Hedgeer Hemlien Index, named after the Swiss mathematicians Rakish Hedgeer and Fawling Hemlien. 


The Attentive Reader: [Oozing sarcasm]  Ooooooooh!  Swiss mathematicians!  Then it MUST be good!  Tell more!  Do!


TDIA: I will ignore your childish ourburst.  Hedgeer and Hemlien’s Combined Derisory Field Theory ® provides the theoretical underpinnings, and the HHI is a AAAA-rated index exclusive to Jai Alai 3Card Monty. 


The Attentive Reader:  So it IS more of your Jai Alai bollocks? 


TDIA:  You should see the investment pouring into Jai Alai since they and Hedge Funds for Hegemony ® endorsed John McCain.  They are set to double their investment in Hunger Futures.  Anyway, rather than engage you in a public shouting match about the HHI in this virtual thoroughfare, Attentive Reader, I will read to you from the recent article in The Financial Times of London, OH.


The Attentive Reader:  Does that OH mean Ohio?


TDIA:  [Hastily] Did I say oh?  Anyway, I quote:


“The Hedgeer Hemlien Index, recently launched by newly-reorganized and reinvigorated Jai Alai, Three Card Monty, LLC has met with enthusiastic welcome from the financial sector.  One source close to the financial giant Credit Suisse, DDB, Drimnagh Citi Credit Union Co. described it as ‘the most momentous leap forward in financial analysis since the spreadsheet.’ 


“Analysts point out that the major feature of the crash of the 1930’s was the prevalence of hats for men and women and the below-the-knee skirts for women and J Edgar Hoover. 


“Earlier attempts to analyse these factors such as the ill-fated Milliners 300 or the Hatters’ Mercury Average failed to take into account the complex hemline swish matrices.  Only now, with the advent of quantum computing, can the complex calculations be performed fast enough to be useful. 


“Previous versions of the HHI were so complex and slow to calculate that they could only identify a recession or depression 6 to 12 months after it had actually happened, making them no better than Ivy League economists.”


The Attentive Reader:  [somewhat appeased] So how is this double-aitch ay supposed to work then?


TDIA:  When the key indicators are normalized for deviation and passed through the secret patented operator matrix they produce an actualized pro-rated regression curve benchmarked against baseline parameters…


The Attentive Reader:  Blah, blah, blah.  So….?  And…?


TDIA:  When it hits 1,500, we’re screwed.  It’s time to consider using tinned food as a weapon.


The Attentive Reader:  I have to go!  Here’s me boss!


TDIA:  Alt+Tab is the lifesaver of the office drone!