Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Divine Vida

What if Dante Alighieri had chosen to write Cantos of Heaven instead of Hell?

"You will not need any money for the next two days." -- Tia Dora's first words to me after we disembarked from the ferry to dine an the 'getaway isle' of Itaparica, Day 2 of trip.

"La vida dura." -- summary of life with the Lillios Brasilian clan which consists the above, along with a run on the beach, a dip in the bathwater ocean located about 1/4 a mile away from the house, naps in the hammock, churrascado grilled meat off the skewer, mouth-watering fresh mangoes gathered from the yard, and other freshly-made cuisine at our disposal on an ongoing basis.

"We have 5 computers for 4 people." -- Paulo, walking us through his swank urban Rio 4-bedroom pad left at the disposal of Tony and myself after he treated us to inordinate amounts of Brasilian beef and laughter before whisking out of town to be with his family.

These increasingly intense Cantos of Heaven scratch the surface of Brazil, December 2008.

Brasil, Dec 2008: Pelo to Itaparica

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I beg your...

"Extraordinary." -- former Justice Department Attorney
"Quite remarkable." -- (I'm lost as to whether this would be an offense or defense) attorney

This story just gets better and better as it unfolds:

Pardon Lasts Just One Day for Developer in Fraud Case

Administration officials and experts in pardon law said they were not aware of a prior instance of a president’s withdrawing a pardon after it was announced. “This is extraordinary,” said Margaret Colgate Love, who served as pardon attorney at the Justice Department in the 1990s.

The Justice Department official maintained that Mr. Toussie would have no grounds to argue that the president could not take back a pardon....

The Toussie episode comes as more lawyers appear to be going directly to the White House for consideration of pardons, rather than through Justice Department channels, according to people involved in the process. The most notorious recent instance came in 2001, when President Bill Clinton pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich, even though the Justice Department had not offered a formal recommendation.
Which, of course, preceded the other pardon Bill had to ask for.

It's heart-warming to know that even partisanship can be trumped by special interests.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


If the symphony of forces colluding to create our current economic meltdown isn't enough to get you down, throw in some gubnatorial malfeasance, medical misrepresentation and overt fiduciary egregiousness and (if you're anything close to human), you'll soon be in the same place of despair as me.

But the best antidote to despair: The Motor City! Where all things real become surreal.

"It's the Cadillac of mini-vans."
-- Chili Palmer

Friday, December 12, 2008

Economic rap-sody

  • Wall St./Main St.
  • Innovation/Regulation.
  • Short-Term gain/ Long-Term pain.
  • S&P. SEC. Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae. Fed-e-ral Reserve.
  • Overreaching homeowners. Mercenary mortgage brokers. Delusionary derivative creators. Rogue real estate developers. Parochial pension fund managers. Icelandic gubernators. United Autoworkers.
"God made humans upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes."
- Solomon

Today we bling, for tomorrow we die.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Admiration for all things prophetic -cntd-

Do you know his aol account?

I've admitted to geek adulation a few times here; the latest on the radar (though hardly new) is Michael Lewis:

Lewis: [Five years from now] ...a job at Goldman Sachs is about as glamorous as a job at the Chase Manhattan Bank was in 1985 -- it's just not what the brightest sparks want to do. The neatest jobs in finance are venture capital and private equity, but they are smaller, niche jobs. Generally, the financial services sector shrinks quite a bit. There are many fewer people making, taking financial risks.

Greer: And so Michael, I know after Liar's Poker, you had said that you hoped that "some bright kid, say at Ohio State University, who really wanted to be an oceanographer, would read my book, spurn the offer from Morgan Stanley and set out to sea." So are we going to see more oceanographers?

Lewis: I think they are not even going to want to read my book. I think this era on Wall Street will have finally come to an end, and people will look at Liar's Poker as a document from the distant past

I wish we could sell CraigsList postings on eBay....:

2008-12-03, 10:22AM EST
E1 Asset Management is a rapidly growing Wall Street firm with 175+ employees, excellent support staff and top of the line technology. US regulated (SEC, FINRA). We provide a safe home and a clean disclosure record to build and maintain your future business. We want to develop top producers for the long term. Ex-Mortgage, Insurance or Real Estate Sales professionals welcome. Excellent opportunity for recent college graduates! Must be authorized to work in the United States! Paid training & excellent "on the job" training. Send resumes to Rachel Ryu at or call her today at 212.425.2670. Learn what it takes to survive and flourish on Wall Street. For more information about our company please visit our website at

Blogerapy (or, Somebody Stop Me)

Elsewhere I've alluded to the allegedly therapeutic value of this potentially self-absorbed exercise currently known to us as blogging. A cursory glance at the number of my posts per month will prove instructive for anyone with actual interest in the degree of my internal angst in a given period (omit the travelogues from this analysis).

But hark: while both I and my external world seem to be leveling off (omit the Motor City and the economy :-0), I've undergone a change....insanity: I still need to blog! I MUST, in fact, blog!

This post is a perfect case in exists, despite me not really having anything to say....

Am I now officially and unhealthily dependent upon a medium that will never move me to a better place but just feels so good I can't stop?

It's free, though.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's a word thing

"Someone got access to [CheckFree's] account credentials and was able to long in," Wade said. "There was no breach in our system."
Maybe Wade thinks "access" is not a "breach" so long as it's done knowingly?
...or that "breach" only involves violence?
...or that "system" only involves software?

I'm trying, Wade, but these clarifications aren't making me feel better.