Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Are the Wizards Behind the TARP?

It seems that ejecting the financial district’s golden parachute-packin' CEOs from Air Force One just wasn’t enough. We gasped when we caught sight of the final package to be thrown out before the jet sped off like an F-22 Raptor. The grand finale was a massive Hot Air Balloon, airbrushed in its entirety with a larger-than-life image of King George looking like a madman. The regal banner underneath his portrait read “Everything is going to be fine.”

Looking up, we stared directly into the frightened eyes of an 8-year old girl in pig tails as she peered over the side of the balloon’s basket while holding on to her little dog named RoveR. She tried not to panic when the hot air-producing flame which fed the balloon’s enormous cavity started to sputter then fizzled out, and the (not-so-hot-air) balloon commenced to free fall.

In our rear view mirror we kept constant tabs on the speedy approach of the two Cannibal King racing minivans we thought we’d lost way back on D.C.’s Donner Pass. We cringed when both drivers eventually slammed on their brakes too close on our tail for comfort. Brakes screeched, rubber burned, back tires peeled then skid, and road stones spewed in every direction upon their dramatic, simultaneous finish right beside us.

There sat Benny (see definition) at the helm of his White SUV, and by the looks of it, he’d picked up a solitary companion along the way. Sitting in the front passenger seat was a scarecrow tightly clutching a paperback of “Atlas Shrugged”.

Hank (see definition), on the other hand, had stuffed his White Minivan (see definition) to overflowing. In the front passenger seat was Dick Cheney holding a shotgun and dripping with the scent of road-kill. The back of the minivan was packed with Hank’s Goldman Sachs fraternity bros plus his most recent pickup, Daddy Warbucks (see definition). Like a bunch of back seat drivers, the riders in his minivan were all screaming to be heard at the same time, each with different advise and its own personal opinion of which way the minivan needed to go. Except Daddy Warbucks, who just smiled like a fox put in charge of the chicken coop.

The Hot Air Balloon crash-landed directly in front of us. Benny, Hank and all of their ride-along buddies (even Daddy Warbucks) exploded from the two white vehicles and ran to the little girl. It looked as if they were rushing to her rescue, but all they did was snatch the ruby slippers right off of her feet and sprint back to their respective vehicles, patting each other on the back and smiling with smug satisfaction.

Unfortunately the dog, RoveR, did what dogs do best and what came naturally. It leaped out of the little girl’s arms (while the shoes were being ripped from her very feet) because it was time to find something to lift its leg on. And Cheney’s own shoe, smelling of road kill, was the perfect target. Business done, the dog pranced off. But it didn’t get far; however, Cheney is a pretty good shot.

Reeling from this shocking display, we wondered who’s going to save the little girl now? Oui. Oui.

For more White Minivan Street Racing, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ September 26, 2008 posting "Who Will Be King?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who’s Burning Bush? (DS)

We had a dream.….and in that dream we saw the last 8 years epitomized in a mirage of President George W. Bush wandering the desert wilderness with the masses of a nation in tow. He was holding the staff of a commander-in-chief in his right hand like a beacon, yet navigating like a blind man without the benefit of any higher guidance. Our dream showed him eventually finding his way to Mount Vernon (home to the original George “W”) and his subsequent discovery of that big burning rosebush in the middle of the Rose Garden.

The fiery rosebush began to speak. “W” clearly anticipated the deliverance of a divine message but instead got the booming voice of Richard Milhous Nixon, who simply said, “Don’t even bother looking behind this burning bush; there’s nothing here." Nixon continued on in a mumble, "And they thought I was bad…”.

And then we woke up and marveled at history’s propensity for repetition. It made us wonder whether we still had 32 more years of wandering in the desert wilderness left to go. So does this also mean that “W” will be denied favorable entry into the promised land of our history books upon his exodus?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Will the Real Pirates Please Stand Up?

Stalled in the middle of the intersection like we’d run out of gas, we sat, alone in the dark, with no true illumination from D.C. to show us the way. Or so we thought, until we heard the thundering jet engines of Air Force One oscillate above us. We looked up high in the sky and witnessed a breathtaking sight. Out of Air Force One’s rear passenger door, and on top of the discharged emergency evacuation slide which flapped spastically in the air, spewed forth all of the financial district’s CEOs with golden parachutes strapped to their backs. Their parachutes glittered in the style of fool’s gold.

Although they fell toward the ground in droves (and randomly like care packages that are dropped into POW camps when the war is nearing an end), we tried to follow each parachute as it opened up and released what we later learned was a new viral strain formally classified as the “Bush Financial Flu”. Subsequent studies eventually confirmed that the virus was carried and transmitted through the small air-borne drops of crude oil that leeched from the edges of the parachutes upon deployment. (For more information on the "Bush Flu", see definition below).

It became evident almost immediately that a majority of those golden parachutes weren’t going to hit the ground, let alone make it down safely. Out of nowhere appeared several old hand-me-down helicopters from a third world country which began to ominously encircle Air Force One. It was difficult to distinguish the origin of these helicopters because the only identifying marks they had were matching mission statements hastily spray-painted on to their side panels that simply read “WE’RE IN IT FOR THE MONEY”. From the choppers' opened side-doors emerged a countless outpouring of Somalian hang-gliders, and we watched in amazement as they swooped in and intercepted nearly all of the golden parachutes after ejection from Air Force One.

From our vantage point in the middle of the intersection, we could see a few of the CEOs slip through the swarm of hang-glider pirates and hit the ground around us. And in the rear view mirror we witnessed a duplicitous spectacle when a swarm of attorneys came running from all directions, clawing over each other as they scurried out to 'meet-n-greet' the fallen CEOs like ambulance chasers. Regrettably, a large portion of the CEOs were seized mid-air by the Somalian pirates because, well, we could state the obvious in saying that “like attracts like”, but the truth of the matter is, they didn’t even know they were high-jacking golden parachutes. They really thought they were getting $700 Billion in subprime mortgage paper that they could convert into quick cash on the secondary market.

If all that glitters isn’t gold (and that includes black gold), then who will survive, or perhaps even build an immunity to, the coming “Bush Flu” season?

For more about the Hedge Fund Castaways, see our ‘Dream Sequence’ September 28, 2008 posting "Wall Street Scrooges Live the Dream".

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Who Took Off With the Bank?

Whew! We just barely missed getting all tangled up in 700 tons of racing White Minivans (see definition below) and we’re back on the road. We admit, we’re looking pretty dilapidated right now as we push our gimpy selves further along D.C.’s Donner Pass, but we’ve side-stepped a mighty large collision and we’re feeling a little lucky!

Chugging upward, and determined to reach the apex, nothing could’ve astounded us more than to see four lonely boys looking like Huckleberry Finn standing on the side of the road trying to hitch a ride to the top. Three of the boys stood together holding a large sign which read “BAIL US OUT” while the fourth stood nearby clutching a large piggybank in his right arm like a football. We couldn’t resist the rescue.

They announced themselves while climbing into our back seat. The biggest boy, and the first to get into our car, was “Bad Assets”, then came “ChaseURMoney”, followed by “Won’t Go Far”, and lastly “CitiGombeens”.

Taking pity on their sorry state, we threw them a quarter. We watched those boys in the rear view mirror fight over that quarter as it flew about, slipping between each of their hands like a hot potato, before the biggest boy in the back, Bad Assets, decisively secured the coin. He quickly inserted the quarter into the piggybank’s slot and that’s when it all began….. the piggy’s eyes lit up and started to spin back into its head as the curly tail whirled around and smoke blew out of the hole beneath it. Yikes! That piggy swiftly grew hungry fangs and squealed out a nursery rhyme we’d never heard before to the tune of “Three Blind Mice”:

Four once united, four now divided
See the money grow, see now what they sow
They won the world in monopoly,
And hid their sins in philanthropy
The Red Shield’s call, “Integrity for All”!!

Finally nearing the highway’s pinnacle and looming right before us, D.C.’s Donner Pass was abruptly dissected by an intersection completely overshadowed in the sun-blocking silhouettes of four of the world’s tallest buildings, one standing on each corner. They blocked out the sunlight like the ninth plague. As we tried to move forward, our car unbelievably stalled right in the middle of the intersection, right in the middle of the darkness. None of this seemed to phase the four boys, however, who collectively shrieked “We’re Home!” And without so much as a thank you or backward glance, those four boys spun out of our car like a pinwheel, each whirligigging toward a different corner and its own respective Big House.

The problem is, as we sat there in the dark, we never saw who took the piggybank. Did you?

For more Bush-Whacking, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ September 20, 2008 posting "Whiplashed or Bush-Whacked?"