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.”


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