Tuesday, September 30, 2008



“Wilma, don’t start. I’m not gonna watch John and Barry strip to their loincloths and throw mud at each other.”

“Suit yourself, Fred. I’m barbequing wooly mammoth.”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

Pebbles came in carrying a birthday cake.

“Hi dear,” Wilma said. “Whose birthday is it?”

“GoogleRock turns 10 tomorrow.”

“That’s great,” Fred said. “Another WashingRock WallStone week: WaMu is eaten by JP Morganstone. Congressman Raptor wants to vote for $700 billion to take over and rebuild the entire financial canyon. Meanwhile $45 trillion in unregulated credit default swaps are circling the globe like so many starving Hitchock birds.

“We’re falling behind on the cave payment at the Fifth Second Bank of Bedrock,” said Wilma.

“Who are they gonna eat next?” Fred continued. “And who’s helping me keep my bronto crane running at the Slate Rock Gravel Company?”

“Not either one of these Yahoos,” said Pebbles. “My class took a field trip today.”

“Where did you go, dear?” asked Wilma.

“We went to visit the big stinking corpse in the canyon,” said Pebbles. “But now I understand what happened.”

“Then you can explain it to me,” said Fred.

“You had to buy mortgage insurance on the cave, right?”

Wilma nodded. “So if we failed to make the payments, the Fifth Second Bank of Bedrock wouldn’t be left holding the bag.”

“Right. A collateralized debt obligation is similar, it’s a form of insurance. JP Morganstone came up with the idea. AIG sold insurance that bet that corporations would pay their debt and people would pay their mortgages. Then they sliced and diced the mortgages together to spread the risk around. It was like if you bought all the brontosteaks at the market regardless of their expiration date, cut and cooked them up together and bet no one at the barbeque would get sick.”

“Ewww,” said Fred.

“So as the value of the mortgages fell,” said Pebbles, “the banks holding the securities behind the mortgages got nervous and demanded their money. That caused a run on cash. That AIG cave lost $25 billion in their last quarter.”

They watched John and Barry argue over whose war bracelet was better.

“Honestly,” said Wilma. “Like we’re supposed to choose between the mother who doesn’t want her son to have died in vain and the mother who doesn’t want another boy to die.”

“Why does John keep talking about earmarks?” Pebble asked. “Isn’t he too old to have a tattoo?”

“Stay the course, we need change,” said Fred. “Blood and treasure are in harm’s way. Where is the Rosetta Stone when we really need it?”

They heard blam, blam, blam at the front of the cave. “I’ll get it,” Wilma said.

“Hey guys,” Barney, their next door neighbor cried. “Come on over and see Bam Bam’s art project.”

They traipsed into Barney’s yard. A bird ran around in circles, chortling, “Hi! I am an apteryx, a wingless bird with hairy feathers.” Three of BamBam’s friends played a mournful dirge on their Guitar Gyros.

Bam Bam sported a purple streak down the middle of his spiky blond hair. Dino rode a bicyclops which powered a windmill that blew ferociously across the canyon. The wind tore the hanging chads spewing from the 50 united states of Bedrock and shredded the mortgages owned by the three remaining banks, which featured a neon ticker tape of who had just eaten who. “Watchovahya eaten by Citifuhgettaboutit. . .” scrolled across the screen. A huge block of ice drowned the shredded paper.

“Yabba dabba doo!” yelled Fred. “It’s the first thing I’ve understood in weeks. While the world spazzes over financial meltdown and the election, global warming is melting the polar ice caps.”

Bam Bam gestured at Fred and swept his arm toward Pebbles. “Brighter than he looks.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Barry on the High Road

Barry on the High Road

Barry swung a long leg over his horse and dismounted. An acrid smoke hung in the air, the stench of blood and decaying flesh.

“Be careful!” Joe hissed. “You’re approaching a tragedy of a mockery of a sham of a farce.”

The pile of animal remains towered above them, hydra-headed and still steaming. Barry calmly put a rubber glove on his right hand and reached in. “Some of these entrails are really old – in fact, I smell EnRock at the bottom of all this. And Keating 5.”

He stood up and reached a lanky arm way up into the carcass. “Bank of Amerocka ate Merrill’s lunch.” He extracted a handful of long, blue glass shards which appeared to have come from a New York skyscraper.

“No more thundering bulls or stern bears,” Joe said. “And Freddie should never have left Wilma and run off with Fannie Mae.”

Barry continued his reading of the entrails. He pulled out the remains of a domestic automobile industry. “Whatever excreted this is a true force of nature. Even Ike didn’t do this much damage.”

“CNN hardly knows where to send the Wolf Blitz first,” Joe agreed. “Note that no one will ever again use the phrase “I like Ike.”

Barry walked somberly around the towering carcass. He picked up his binoculars and looked south. A lone cave stood on a shore of splintered wood, rock shards, twisted metal. Waves crashed against the coast. “Even Smith Barney never saw this much rubble.”

“I really wouldn’t want to be Paulstone or Bernankrock right now,” Joe continued. “Not that it’s a piece of cake being us. Even Bush came out of his burrow, smelled 6 more weeks of winter and asked for a new copy of “My Pet Goat.”

Barry dusted off his hands, removed his glove and took a long pull on a tall drink of water. “We’ve got miles to go before we sleep.”

“No, Barry, no!” Joe said. “This is no time for quoting poets. Football analogies, dude, or Nascave.” He slid his feet into the stirrups of his donkey.

“Joe, I’m not going to talk about being in the red zone. This is not about red caves and blue caves.”

“I know, I know, Barry, it’s about change we can believe in. But we’re standing in front of something nobody can believe. No one has ever seen this particular animal. No one even knows what it is.”

“Just don’t call a Palintologist, Joe,” said Barry “You’ll never get a good diagnosis that way.”

Joe’s infectious laugh echoed throughout the Rockies. “You can be funny, Dude, I’ll give you that. Just don’t put it in Lehman’s terms.” He chortled.

Barry climbed back on his horse, riding around the carcass, studying it from each side. “A rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born.”

“You’re a poet and your feet show it, they’re long fellows,” mocked Joe. “Let’s go, you’re going to be late for your meeting with Rubin, Rock, Reich and Volcker incorporated.

They rode east through the Rockies, along a clear stream, aspens quivering in the brisk wind.

“Have you talked to Hillary lately, Barry?”

“She saddled up the sabre-tooth and went to Florida for me.”

“What about Bill?”

“Bill said ignore Sarah and don’t take Hillary’s pack for granted. I think he’s still mad at me.”

“What do you expect, Barry? You kept quiet when he was accused of being a racist.”

“Wasn’t it enough that I let Billary hog the stage at the convention? How many more times do I have to hear about 18 million cracks in the cave ceiling?”

“Until you admit she would have made a fine Veepstone, like I did. You are such a stubborn son of a rock. Besides, having Bill and Hill ride the tiger in Denver drove our TV ratings to the moon. Not that anybody even remembers Denver at this point.”

They rode along, munching on trail mix and arugula. “Why don’t you campaign with Hillary?” Joe asked. “Take the Pterodactyl out with Oprah or Bruce Springstone! You’re the celebrity candidate, brother – don’t let Sarah get away with being Princess Dianaslab.”

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I need some company on the high road.”

“You need to find the middle road, dude. Or in your words, the path not taken.”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Dinosaurs, Part I

The Dinosaurs

John Flintstone padded through his Sedona adobe abode, one of his seven luxury caves, grumbling.

“Cindy, where are my flag coveralls? Sarah’s going to be here any minute. We’re getting in the Dinomobile and off to Colorado again.”

“Consuela is washing them, you grumpy old man,” Cindy called. She was standing near the fire pit, trying on one of 400 potential inaugural outfits. “It’s in the spin cycle.”

He heard the club hitting the front door bam, bam, bam and stumbled off to answer it. “Keep your mini-skirt on, Sarah,” he yelled. “I was a POW, remember?”

He opened the door. Sarah stood there with her slingshot and club, panting, pointing proudly behind her. On the ground lay a dead moose, bleeding. “I brought you a present, Gramps,” she said.

“Sarah, how much moose do you think we can eat?”

“You have to be ready for end times, John. Hang it over the fire and smoke it.”

Consuela rushed forward with his flag coveralls. She stopped to gape at Sarah, who was wearing a mid-thigh-length skirt made of dinosaur hide, an Amazonian-style brassiere and a boa made of auk feathers.

Jose came out from the pump behind the house where he had gased up the Dinomobile. “Senator,” he called. “We’re getting low on FossilFuel.”

The Dinosaurs had been in power for the last 8 years and for 20 of the last 28. Oil was going fast. The wars in IRock and Afghanistone had not brought cheaper oil as planned.

“Sarah will help you drill when we get back,” John shouted. “She’s got a nose for it.”

Karl, the driver, opened the doors. They climbed into the Dino and headed out.

“Alright Karl, get us briefed, damn it.”

“Rein in your PTSD, Senator,” Karl called.

“What’s PTSD, John?” Sarah asked.

“Politics Too Stressful Dinosaurs syndrome,” Karl answered. “You’re speaking to a convention of Luddites called the Bush League. They chip words onto the sides of caves with auk bone. None of this email for them.”

“Email?” John said. “Is that when the elephant brings me fan mail?”

“The women will be in one room. Sarah will talk to them about having it all: drop more babies, hunt, fish, schmooze, drill, get and spend pork. You’ll be with the guys, Senator, reminiscing about war and your time on the Maverick ranch.”

“You’re going to blast Barry,” Karl continued. “Remember – my opponent is not ready, not ready, not ready to lead. We want 8 more years just like the last eight.”

“What are you talking about,” snarled Sarah. “I am too ready.”

The muddy road was bumpy. The Dino began to buck and sway. “What the hell’s going on up there, Karl?” John yelled.

“Looks like the flood washed the road out again,” Karl called. “Barry says it’s global warming.”

“Doesn’t he know the earth is flat?” John said. “I read that Tom Friedman book.”

Karl gunned the Dino and it stalled. “Damn it, Karl,” John shouted. “Barry’s on his high horse. He takes that high road. He’s going to beat us there. Get going!”

Next week:

Barry on the high road

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