Monday, March 24, 2008

Idle threat of the week

I've been of the opinion -- and many of the pundits agree -- the driving force behind America's (and the world's) current economic woes is that the complex, derivative-based systems that whiz kid Wall Street mathematicians have developed to manage risk have spiraled out of control, and no longer does anyone really know what to make of the totality of these tangled numerical webs, or what their limitations are.

Which is why we are in the financial mess we are in. And also why last week began with talk of another great depression and ATM machines running out of money, but ended with the stock market up. Some would say this indicates Bernanke and his troops at the Fed, who swooped in to lower interest rates and make emergency loans available directly to investment banks, might actually have a grasp on what is going on. But only time will tell if their's was a short-term inflation-tempting band aid, or the first step out of a bottom.

Since no person has a clue as to what the answer to this question will be, I was prepared to declare all macro-economic knowledge the Idle Threat of the Week. But the panel of judges talked me out of it, and reminded me by doing so I was falsely implying that I had enough knowledge on the subject to be able to identify a lack of knowledge in others.

Instead, did you know that David Hasselhoff and Britney Spears have become new BFFs? A website called Showbiz Spy claims that Britney has been showing up regularly at the Hoff's house, where they watch episodes of Knight Rider and engage in backyard self-affirmation exercises which, according to peeved neighbors, includes primal scream therapy.

The whole story sounds shaky, but just the idea that Spears and Hasselhoff believe combining their greatly diminished capacities is the best way for them to exercise their well-publicized demons wins Idle Threat for March 17-23th. And it's a good thing too. Because if the current king and queen of train wrecks were able to jointly heal themselves and stay out of the tabloids . . . now that would be a blow that reverberates the world over.

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