The Ballad of Barack Obama & Sarah Palin (or Manilow’s Nightmare)

Following the success (my targets were small) of Brother, Can You Bail-out My Bank?, and given that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my blog-time blogging about the election, I thought it only right to sign off on the election with a tribute to the election that was.

So, to the unmistakeable tune of – and with sincere apologies to – both Star Wars Cantina and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, here is ‘The Ballad of Barack Obama & Sarah Palin’ (2008):

His name was Barack, he was half Kenyan
With a daughter on each side and a smile five small states wide
He ran for office, he sought election
And while he said “Oh, yes we can”, people worried bout this man
Across all fifty states, would he get the mandate?
But then he went to Berlin where they thought that he was great…

He was Barack… Barack Obama
Not to be confused with Osama
Here he is… Barack, Barack Obama
Jobs and emissions and TV transmissions
He was Barack…

Her name was Palin, she was Alaskan
McCain had set her loose, she loved to kill a moose
She spent a fistful, on her wardrobe
She talked to CBS, it put her handlers in distress
And then the crisis grew, and the bailout too
Didn’t have a chance, she’ll be back in two oh one two…

It was Barack… Barack Obama
Not to be confused with Osama
Here he is… Barack, Barack Obama
Oprah and Kerry, and even Chuck Berry
voted Barack…

His name is Barack, he was elected
But that was two weeks ago, he has to get on with the show
And pick a new dog, one from a shelter
Also a Secretary of State, a human would be great
John Kerry has the hair, or maybe picking Clinton’s fair?
It could have been Lieberman, but let’s not go there…

He was Barack… Barack Obama
Not to be confused with Osama
Here he is… Barack, Barack Obama
Jobs and emissions and TV transmissions
He was Barack…

(and continue through fade out)

The genealogy-grammar paradox & Obama’s endorsement of T&E Plumbing (or maybe it’s the other way around)

The Huffington Post has an excellent collection of pictures from around the world, in response to the outcome of the US election – for more check out Election Day Around The World (PHOTOS).

I had to laugh at one in particular, the one from an hour down the road, Moneygall, County Offaly. The first thing that catches you off-guard is Mr. Obama’s somewhat atypical tan, for an Offaly scion. The second is the photo’s incongruity, following two photos from Kenya. The third thing is the haste to produce the ad, which seems to have produced a somewhat unexpected paradox. While complicated genealogical heritages stretching back over two centuries are no issue for this shrewd plumber, the age-old question of apostrophe or not seems to have suffered!

“WARNING: Your investment may go up as well as down!” and other signs that you’re in a financial crisis

Warren Buffet – no relation to the Pina Colada-swilling Jimmy – has been widely quoted in recent days giving his latest advice for the market. In short, what with everyone being fearful, he’s recommending that people be greedy. Take the long term view, he says, and the US stock market (and, based on his logic, most other stock markets) look like excellent value.

It seems that the value of investments may actually rise. To those of us for whom the period since February 2007 marks the bulk of our market exposure, this came as something of a shock. Not only this, it seems the Financial Regulator has found a clause in its Terms of Reference indicating that, to regulate financial organizations, it’s allowed find things out about them and so is going to employ people to do just that.

Given these twin bombshells, the pressure is surely mounting for the Financial Regulator to change the blurb that they give to their oversee-ees (digression: how many actual English words have the same letter more than two times in a row?) to put in at the end of their ads, to something along the following lines:

XYZ Bank is regulated by the Financial Regulator. No, honestly, we mean it this time. We’ve actually got people on the inside and everything.

Warning – your investment may go up as well as down. Past shocking performance is no guide to actual positive returns in the future.

Some other thoughts on how you know you’re in a financial crisis:

  • References to today’s losses of x billion euro on the stock exchange are the equivalent of the weather. You try your best to pay attention but it all sounds so similar that you just can’t help but switch off.
  • You’re shocked to get through an entire edition of Morning Ireland/Prime Time/Six-One News without one reference to ‘more news from the stock markets’ (as happened on Friday 17th, honest!)
  • Casual conversation in the pub may actually include a discussion of the liquidity and solvency of Icelandic banks. (Pre-post-Celtic Tiger references to Iceland’s economy would surely have just been a reference to some amazing off-the-plans property deal north of Dalvik.)
  • Every ad for your money – and have you noticed that there are an awful lot of them about at the moment? – makes absolutely no reference to average annual return year-to-date or even over the past 5 or 10 years.
  • Jokes not heard since 2001 are being reeled out. (Prime example: “Q: What’s the quickest way to become a millionaire? A: Lose your billionaire status.” Chortle.)
  • There is great demand for punters who even half sound like they know what they’re talking about when it comes to (a) what’s happened Japan since 1990, (b) the Great Depression or (c) the ability to Google Sweden’s early-1990s financial crisis.

Personally, I’m gambling it’ll only be a matter of time before someone wants a pundit on the Long Depression of the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. That’s right… it spanned three decades! And when they do, then… BAM… I’ll make my move.

(Right after this guy.)

Brother, Can You Bail-out my Bank? (1931 revisited!)

Every crisis creates its own artistic genius – take for example Picasso, or the Credit Crunch Blues. Mere mortals mightn’t move in quite the same league, but we can try. So, with sincere apologies for the butchering of Jay Gorney’s lovely music and the usurpation of Yip Harburg’s original lyrics, Weird Al, this one’s for you!

Brother, Can You Bail-out my Bank, lyrics by Ronan Lyons, music by Jay Gorney (1931)

Once I built a hedge fund, I made it fly, made it rise all the time.
Once I built a hedge fund; now it’s gone. Trichet, can you bail-out my bank?
Once I bought a bank share, at the top, lent a mortgage, sub-prime;
Once I bought a bank share, watched it tank. Paulson, can you bail-out my bank?

Once in red braces, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Ghekko Doodly Dum,
Half a trillion bills went slogging through, Hell,
And I hit the NYSE gong!

Say, don’t you remember, they called it wrong; it was to go up all the time.
Why don’t you remember, before it sank? Darling, can you bail-out my bank?

Once in red braces, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Ghekko Doodly Dum,
Half a trillion bills went slogging through by the bell,
And I was the kid with the gong!

Say, don’t you remember, they called it wrong; it was to go up all the time.
Why don’t you remember, before it sank? Sucker, can you bail-out my bank?

(Next stop a recording studio!)

Bush versus Zapp Brannigan

Now, I know it’s very trendy these days to knock George Bush. Fun too. For those reasons and more, here is the world’s first ‘Can you tell whether Zapp Brannigan or George W. Bush said this?’ quiz…

All you have to is have a guess whether each of the following was said by Captain Zapp Brannigan of Futurama or Commander George W. Bush of USA. This is only a simple blog, unfortunately, not a survey, so most untechnologically savvy-wise, the answers are at the bottom!

  • We don’t know anything about their race, history, or culture, but one thing’s for sure. They stand for everything we stand against.
  • They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
  • Rock crushes scissors. But paper covers rock! And scissors cuts paper! Kif, we have a conundrum. Search them for paper! And, bring me a rock!
  • I think — tide turning — see, as I remember — I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of — it’s easy to see a tide turn — did I say those words? (when asked if the tide was turning)
  • Now, like all great plans, my strategy is so simple an idiot could have devised it.
  • I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.
  • Men, you’re lucky men. Soon you’ll all be fighting for your planet. Many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet. They will be the luckiest of all.
  • Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words.
  • I hate these filthy neutrals, Kif! With enemies, you know where they stand, but with neutrals—who knows. It sickens me.
  • Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.
  • One day a man has everything. The next day he blows up a 400 billion dollar space station. And the next day he has nothing. It makes you think.
  • Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
  • If we can hit that bull’s-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!
  • We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates.

Some weird parallels, alright! But as you might have guessed, in each pair ‘Dubya’ was the second of the two, while Captain Zapp was numero uno!