Finale: Scottie, Beam Me Off This Train!

Part 4.

Well, at least I got that out of my system.

Now, in case you were wondering…  (And you probably weren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway ‘cuz it’s my blog gosh darnit. )  Here are the Cowboy’s longtime favorites.


Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 23:49  Comments Off on Finale: Scottie, Beam Me Off This Train!  

Scotch on a Train

Part 3.

If we can’t figure out prices at which to buy “bad” assets from the financial institutions so that we can create a “bad bank” (joke is so tempting…must resist), and if the unpredictable dilution and intermittent government action is not helping people settle on a value or establish solvency, then what can be done to sort out the banks so they can get back to lending?


Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 22:51  Comments Off on Scotch on a Train  

Step into the Bar Car – It’s Friday Afternoon

How gauche. Heathens!

Part 2.

Still with me?  Okay.  The next issue revolves around clarity versus opacity.  The fundamental problem with the financial system is that no one trusts what the banks say their assets and liabilities are worth, especially their assets.  There are three ways they have of determining value:

  1. They can use the cost they paid (or received) for something;
  2. They can use a model, like a spreadsheet, that uses forecasts and various other assumptions to determine a value; or
  3. They can use a market price.


Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 23:01  Comments Off on Step into the Bar Car – It’s Friday Afternoon  

Dilution? Yes. Ice? No.

Part 1.

As any connoisseur of Scotch whiskey knows, dilution of the spirit in question with a small amount of carefully chosen water does much to enhance the experience by opening up the whiskey and fully exposing the flavors and aromas to the taster.  Ice, by contrast, brings opacity rather than clarity.  It lowers the temperature, dilutes unpredictably, and effectively closes the whiskey to the taster.  More here.

Nationalization of the U.S. banking industry is the topic du jour in financial circles. The recent announcement of an increased equity stake in Citigroup by the U.S government is another step in that direction.  Amusingly, it came in the same week that Tim Geithner stated that nationalization was not being considered.  Although to be fair, Geithner said quite a bit in that interview.  So what to make of all this talk?  And what the heck does Scotch have to do with the financial system?


Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 22:54  Comments Off on Dilution? Yes. Ice? No.  

Kenneth the Page

So everyone from the Cowboy to Fox News panned Jindal, also known as the “smartest guy in the Republican room”.  Everyone’s also a-twitter over the Jindal/Kenneth comparisons.  Well, here’s Sullivan on Kenneth Jindal.  Between his post and Wikipedia you can figure it out, even if you don’t watch 30 Rock.


Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 21:17  Comments Off on Kenneth the Page  


Irrespective of whom one supported in the U.S.election, it was inspiring to see the first African-American President address a joint session of Congress, the justices of the Supreme Court, and the entire populace of the United States.

Watch here.

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 03:59  Comments Off on Inspiring  

Lovely and Poignant

A French short story in film – by Japanese filmmakers.  It won the Oscar this year.  12 minutes.  Being rather loquacious himself, the Cowboy loves the artful simplicity-that-isn’t of the short form, be it in literature, film, music, or correspondence.  Distill your ideas, your thoughts, and then make them sing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Confession: the Cowboy shed a couple of tears.  Don’t tell anyone.

[Update:  this film keeps gettting pulled, so the video may not work.  You can try Googling “Petites Cubes” as an alternative.]

Published in: on February 25, 2009 at 01:45  Comments Off on Lovely and Poignant  

First and Lex

It looks like Lexington is joining the blogosphere.  It and the other columnists from The Economist print edition are writing blogs starting today.  The Cowboy already enjoys Free Exchange and Democracy in America.  A heartfelt welcome is definitely in order.

In case you didn’t know, The Economist does not have bylines for its articles, editorials (called Leaders) or blogs.  Anonymity has been a hallmark since its founding in 1843.  Its amusing U.S. presidential debate liveblogs were written by several individuals at a time, each denoted by the color of the text used in their contributions (Red, Green, Blue, etc.).

The Cowboy has been a devoted weekly reader of the newspaper since the summer of 1987, when he first picked up a copy at a newsstand in the Alps while working as a janitor for a Swiss boarding school.

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 20:25  Comments Off on First and Lex  

Don’t Check the Label

Is the Cowboy a Conservative or a Liberal?


Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 19:41  Comments (2)  

Off a Cliff. Sober.

Nate scares the Cowboy.


Figures are inflation adjusted.  So much for that excuse.

Published in: on February 23, 2009 at 22:51  Comments Off on Off a Cliff. Sober.