How bail-outs work—here, let me rewrite that for you

First, read this deranged metaphor by Sue Cameron, columnist for the Financial Times. The crazy, it burns.

So I decided her fairytale needed retelling. I am not saying mine is more realistic, I just want to show how easy it is for a metaphor to lose its magical powers.

The rain beats down on a small Irish town. The streets are deserted. Times are tough. Everyone is in debt and everyone’s credit is cut off. A rich German arrives at the local hotel, asks to view its rooms, and puts on the desk a € 50 note for reasons only crazy Germans know. The owner gives him a bunch of keys and he goes off for an inspection.

As soon as he has gone upstairs, the hotelier grabs the note and runs next door to pay half of his debt to the butcher. The butcher supplies the hotel owner with € 100 worth of meat on credit, then hurries down the street to pay half of what he owes to his feed merchant. The merchant supplies the butcher with € 100 worth of feed on credit, then heads for the pub and uses the note to pay half of his bar bill–the bar owner is so happy that he extends the merchant’s credit with € 100. The publican slips the € 50 note to the local hooker who’s been offering her services on credit. She gratefully gives him the full service, all € 100 worth, and all on credit. Then she rushes to the hotel to pay half of what she owes for room hire. As she puts the € 50 note on the counter, the German appears, says the rooms are unsuitable, picks up his € 50 note and leaves town.

People did lots of work. Everybody except the wealthy German is 50 euro further in debt. Everyone is feeling better, for a very short while. And that is how a bail-out works?

Old joke

Blah-blah-blah-blog. I’ve got nothing to say. My mind is empty. May I entertain you with a joke you’ve probably already heard?

An uggly man walks into a bar. He has got a parrot on his shoulder. “I will sleep with anybody who can guess what I’ve got on my shoulder. For free!”

Silence descends on the room. People carefully back away from the man.

A pretty woman feels sorry for the man and figures she’ll guess wrong just to humour him: “An elephant!”

“No,” says the man, “but it’s close enough.”

(Where’s my rim-shot? I am sure I left it here somewhere?)

That 2011 thing

Here’s the Happy 2011 e-card I sent to people whose snail mail address I do not possess. If I forgot to send one to you, call me names in the comments. And a happy 2011 to you, too.

Snowy saddles

This is old stuff (about two weeks old). We no longer live the life of the Blizzard People.

[photo of snowy bikes]

(Amsterdam at Station Zuid/WTC, the rest is in Zoetermeer.)

[photo of snowy trees]

[photo of snowy cars]

[photo of a red light in the snow]