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Showing posts from March 9, 2008

I love a millionaire

Lust corrodes my body I’ve lost count of my lovers but I can count my money forever and forever… Our far flung correspondent, Mr. T., being a hard boiled New Yorker, is ho humming Nostradamas’ prediction that Bear Stearns is toast. As he sees it, it just means someone’s going to get lucky at the fire sale – shed no tears for the scapy, déclassé financial house as it gets that look on its face like the wicked witch of the West after Dorothy slopped the pail of water on her. Hmm. I can never impress the wise guy crowd. You Gothamites! eating raw steel spikes for breakfast. They talk out of the side of their mouths up there, and never say howdy. Unfortunately, there is no video for the most appropriate song for today – the Mekon’s Soldier from the Retreat from Memphis album, which I’ve quoted before. But here’s a link to the second most appropriate song for today – which is a song that stands outside from the society of men in chains, and men who hang themselves in chains. An imp

Men of chains

“The Roman law as to the payment of borrowed money (pecunia certa credita) was very strict. A curious passage of Gellius (xx.1) gives us the ancient mode of legal procedure in the case of debt, as fixed by the Twelve tables. If the debtor admitted the debt, or had been condemned in the amount of the debt by a judex, he had thirty days allowed him for payment. At the expiration of this time, he was liable to the Manus Injectio and ultimately to be assigned over to the creditor (addictus) by the sentence of the praetor. The creditor was required to keep him for sixty days in chains, during which time he publicly exposed the debtor on three nundinea, and proclaimed the amount of his debt. In no person release the prisoner by paying the debt, the creditor might sell him as a slave or put him to death." This story, under the entry Nexum in William Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities, is of interest not only for the amusingly suggestive idea that the creditor was named an

me and my nostradamus

In other news – LI’s estimate of a three trillion dollar recession is the same sum talked about in Martin Wolf’s new Financial Times column. We get to that sum in different ways – Roubini, who Wolf quotes, comes, as it were, from the grassroots up, estimating the fallout from an extreme estimate of mortgage failures, whereas LI came to it from the top down, taking the figure of the excess of consumer spending and borrowing over income over the last ten years. Well, my fine readers, there you go – whilst some might take this for amateurish wankery, others will find my figures to be eerily prescient. Why? Because every night, the ghost of Nostradamus visits me and whispers sweet apocalyptic nothings in to my ear. It is the only way to do predictions, man. Oh, one other thing Nostradamus told me: Bear Stearns is toast. Or was it that he said all men will turn to toasteating as the Angel of Death, looking remarkably like Gloria Graham playing in a movie that prefigures Elliot Spitzer’s

the Götterdämmerung as staged by Disney’s seven dwarves

LI can only regard the current festuche, the harmonic convergence of lavender buncombe (Mencken’s phrase) and the thug masters, with something approaching that musical feeling Nietzsche used to get from hiking around Switzerland in his fancy boots. It the Götterdämmerung as staged by Disney’s seven dwarves. We have, on the one hand, our vice president, fresh, apparently, from having some new virgin’s heart tucked into his breast cavity, going to Saudi Arabia to ask them to kindly give us cheaper oil Tuesday for repayment on Friday, on the same day the Fed decrees that banks can trade old socks, diaries, lamps, and broken chairs for loans in a brand spanking new entity that is determined to pump 200 billion dollars into the system. Everywhere one looks, the governing class is displaying a totally cute imbecility. Gosh, that CEO class, which has gotten so awful smart over the last two decades that they had to increase their compensation packages by a good 1000 percent, are showing what

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN

Atheists received a real blow today when it was announced that the Carlyle Group – the Carlyle Group – the Carlyle Group’s “troubled mortgage-debt investment fund, Carlyle Capital” is about to fall to the first run (oh, okay, counting Northern Rock, second) of the New New New Economy. Oh sure, there’s no Goooooood . Chump. Then how to explain this instance of a poetic justice so breathtaking that we’d reject it as the impossible happy end sequence of some movie? I mean, we are talking about the Carlyle Group – did I say that? The henhouse for old, corrupt, murderous politicos – the Bush family Mafioso – which was the very model and exemplum of the new private equity vehicles that provide corrupt, murderous pols with an easy transition space to the money they have, as legislators, made available to the most murderous and corrupt. Hmm, did I put in here, yet, the part about them being murderous and corrupt? So – averting my eyes from the crash of that motherfucker, Spitzer – there is som

the Werepoet's Tolstoy

I have a feeling the werepoet is growing weary of her long posts about War and Peace. Well, this is too bad. Winn has a rare talent for not only cutting a plot down to its elements (something I am always trying to do as a reviewer), but rebuilding it as a comic tour de force. How terrible to subject my hero Tolstoy to such fine sacrilege! yes - sometimes Winn shivers my timbers, especially when she casts an evil eye on Tolstoy’s regrettably sexist lapses. But the werepoet is no snark meister – like certain NY writers – for instance, Matthew Sharp, in Jamestown – Winn has the ability to merge spleen and an oddly innocent humor. I believe this is the temperament of our era – we (Americans at least) all have this odd combination of imperial experience and disappointed expectation, it creeps into the way we talk, the way we pre-load failure into our hopes. The way, in essence, we try to trick our own naivete. It is another transmutation of irony - and I'm not speaking of post moderni

Michael Walzer, moral midget

It is a bright shiny morning – oops (or erm, as IT says) now that I look out the window, I see that it is a gray, lifeless morning. A good morning to read about our wonderful celebrities in the NYT Magazine. There’s Angelina Jolie with some person in the photo on the cover – oops, that’s not Angelina Jolie. It is Natalie Portman . In truth, celebrities are a bit of a mash to LI – they blend into each other so that telling them all apart becomes one of those intellectual tasks that I, like Sherlock Holmes, have decided to leave to my reference books – or Google. I have never exactly seen Natalie Portman in a movie, but apparently she is a strong advocate for micro-lenders in Mexico. Hurray! Except that it is notorious that village usurers have usurped the title micro-lender to loan out small sums at rates of interest that are almost unbelievable – 300 percent per month, for instance. But such factoids have no place in the grand sweep of this article. Hmm, LI has been thinking that i