Archive for the ‘mirth and joviality’ Category

This past week at Florentine saw the entire gang gathered to screen the second visual pass of a documentary on the Dust Bowl (release date 2013, I believe). For the two days afterward, the bigwigs gathered for script rewrites, which offered me my first chance to see Ken Burns in creative action. I observed, I bantered, I poured a few cups of my fresh-brewed coffee, and I learned.

Realizing that not everyone gets such an opportunity–and it being the season for giving–I thought I’d share some things I learned about KB from an unlikely source: The Simpsons. In the first clip (skip to 5’20”), we learn from a lesser-known documentary by Ken Burns about Ken Burns that his twin love of baseball and jazz explains his famous boyish coif:

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In the second (17’55”), we learn that Ken and his brother Ric are direct descendants of Colonel Burns, who is C. Montgomery Burns’ father:

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Dah duh dah dling!


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This past weekend’s imu roast was a gratifying success. Not only had 20 hours in the imu steamed the pig to perfection, but just as the first cuts were being tossed on the grill for a finishing sear, storm clouds also darkened the sky and the first shower of the rainy season began. I and others were beside ourselves that our imu had pleased Lono, who had clearly sent the Pineapple Express our way.

Problem is, while Lono does exist in Hawaiian mythology, and the Pineapple Express is indeed the layman term for a genuine meteorological event, nearly everything else I included in that e-mail/post was harvested from my well-irrigated imagination; any resemblance to real persons or events was entirely coincidental.  Nonetheless some at the party did and as far as I know do still believe the tale to be true, and their innocent credulity fills me with mirth.

I’m reminded of a perhaps apocryphal story about Niels Bohr:

One of his students once noticed a horseshoe nailed above his cabin door and asked him: “Surely, Professor Bohr, you don’t believe in all that silliness about the horseshoe bringing good luck?” With a gentle smile Bohr replied “No, no, of course not, but I understand it works whether you believe in it or not.”

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Today Felix Salmon highlighted some Chuck Norris facts pertaining to his experience in banking:

# Little-known Chuck Norris Fact: Chuck Norris does not mark to market. The market marks to Chuck.

# More: Chuck Norris does not go bankrupt. Chuck Norris ruptures banks.

# Source of hedge fund survivorship bias?: Funds that pay Chuck Norris 2 and 20 survive; others don’t.

# Private equity: Chuck Norris does not believe in leverage. Chuck Norris believes in crowbars.

# Investment banking: No-one defers Chuck Norris’s compensation.

# Capital structure: No-one subordinates Chuck Norris. All his equity is preferred.

# If Chuck Norris devised the bank stress tests, not even the Treasury Department would survive.

Felix then invited readers to submit their own in the comments, so I gave it a shot and came up with these:

  • Chuck Norris’ tears would solve all the banks’ liquidity problems. Too bad he’s never cried. Ever.
  • Chuck Norris is too big to fail.
  • Some think deposit insurance is what prevents a run on the bank. It’s not–it’s the fear that Chuck Norris is lurking in the vault.
  • Basel rules stipulate that if Chuck Norris is within 100 feet of a bank, he can be counted as Tier 1 capital.
  • The risk-free rate is not computed using US treasuries, but the length of time it takes Chuck Norris to complete a roundhouse.
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t target interest rates, he pummels them into submission.
  • Whenever Chuck Norris visits a country, yields on that government’s debt fall 150 basis points.
  • Only Chuck Norris can issue secured debt. The rest is at his mercy.
  • Beta is just a measure of Chuck Norris’ mood.

They are admittedly geeky, but they were funny enough to get a shout-out by Felix. My 15-minute joy was tempered, however, when a banking friend forwarded along this article from September 2007:

A famous series of jokes uses the actor Chuck Norris, martial artist and star of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” as a paragon of masculinity and omnipotence. ..

Similar thinking can be applied to the current state of financial markets. Here, then, is the world of money recast in Chuck Norris terms.

Chuck Norris doesn’t target inflation. He roundhouse-kicks it until it begs for mercy.


The tears of Chuck Norris would supply enough liquidity to solve the credit crisis. Too bad he never cries.

I’m pretty sure I never saw this article before, so I plead innocent to plagiarism. The real sting comes from realizing that my humor wasn’t quite as original as I thought it was. Of further humiliation is that the tears I’m crying now are good for nothing. *Sniff*.

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I, like undoubtedly millions of others, enjoy greatly the guerrilla-style train station dance routines of the past couple years, and the Antwerp Central Station is indeed a beautiful locale in which to have one:

So chipper and sprightly for a country with one of the world’s highest suicide rates!

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Because I’m such a fan of Eric Idle, I strive always to look on the bright side of life (doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo doo); thus I chortle mirthfully at the following news:

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States recorded its largest drop ever as consumer demand continued to wane and oil prices slid, a prominent industry analyst said on Sunday.

And joy of joys, the price of food and ultimately inflation is going down with it as well. While the credit crunch is reducing wealth creation all over the world–an unqualified bad thing–it does seem to be having the positive effect of constraining demand and reducing the price of some basic commodities that are especially dear to the poor. What’s more, inflation’s slowing allows central banks more freedom with monetary policy to encourage the creation of credit and prevent a deep recession.

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