Sunday, March 8, 2009

There's a Fly in My Coffee

It's another lovely day. Outside. Inside, not so much.

Daylight Savings is here. Time to 'spring forward.' Woo-hoo. Usually I don't care one way or the other about this sort of thing, but today I'm looking forward to losing an hour. Because so far it hasn't been the best of days.

First, the morning paper arrives without the comics section. Usually I read this with my sons, and it's never simply not shown up. The rest of the paper is there, intact, but no funny papers, which stinks because it's part of our traditional Sunday ritual. We usually discuss whether anyone could still find Beetle Bailey or Blondie funny, and how Prince Valiant hasn't aged a bit in forty years even though he takes all those zany voyages and never seems to use sunblock.

The boys turn up their noses at Family Circus, until I explain that parents are hard-wired to find the stupidest kiddie things amusing. They stare at me.

"Basically, it guarantees we don't kill you," I explain. They nod.

To make matters worse, a fly has landed in my coffee. Not sure how long he has been there. Wish we could choose which Daylight Savings hour to lose. I know which hour the fly would take back, and I'd probably agree with him.

Then there's the dismal economy. Then there's the media talking about the dismal economy. Then there's the media, realizing that people are tired of hearing about how dismal the economy is, meekly trying to find the bright side of the dismal economy. All this doom and gloom probably sucked the life out of the comics section, which would explain its disappearance. This would all be very amusing if it were a Coen Brothers movie. They'd even find a way to save the fly.

On a mixed blessing note, my old company was implicated in the Madoff scheme. Lucky for me, they were kind enough to not pay me decent wages, so I could never afford to invest in their IRAs. They then laid me off, along with a lot of other people, so I transferred my meager investments out of there. I would laugh, but there are still a couple of good people working there, and of course they're the ones being hurt. The evil brokers are long gone, probably now working as bailout lobbyists for the banking industry.

I saw that as somewhat good news, because this company was exposed for unsurly business practices. However, if they go under, locally they'll lay off another few hundred people, putting them in direct competition with me for a job. They've been hemorrhaging staff for a couple of years now, chasing that almighty stock rating by cutting expenses in the form of payroll. That can only work short-term, because the smart employees smell the coffee and fly the coop before the rest of the euphemisms hit the fan, so it's only a matter of time before they shut down. I'd just as soon have a job before all those people flood the job market.

After a brief memorial ceremony, I dump the fly from my coffee. We make our own comics which, in our opinion, are much funnier than the usual ones. I could have done without so many fart jokes, but at least today I don't have to see Kathy obsessing about her weight/dessert/mother.

The economy issue's a bit tougher. We try making our own currency, but apparently Madoff has already spoiled that game.

Recently the US government fined UBS, the Swiss banking giant, $780 million for providing illicit tax shelters to US citizens. The Treasury estimates the tax revenue lost through this money-laundering is over $100 billion a year. That's $100,000,000,000.00 per year, or a little over $11,415,525 per hour. And you thought losing an hour was no big deal. (thanks, Insom, for correcting my math- big numbers make me skittery and prone to error)

Why not take the UBS fine and fund some education for some future financial rain-makers? Why not train me and a few other intelligent, unemployed schmos to chase down the mini-Madoffs of the world, and all the others who think the rules don't apply to them? The fines we could levy would be enough to fund our payroll, and we could close down a few banking loopholes to help stabilize the industry and pacify Wall Street.

This is similar to what the police department does with the seized assets of drug-dealers - sell them off to finance better bad-guy finding equipment. Let's finance the bailout with Madoff's lavish New York apartment, hidden assets, and left kidney. As we know from watching Cops, kicking bad-guy butt feels good. It's time for us to do it white-collar style.

In the meantime, I'm going to scour the park for financial scofflaws. It's such a lovely day outside.


Wyo Cowboy said...

at least baseball's still legal.

Anonymous said...

(100 billion is 100,000,000,000.00 )-insomniac

Kristina said...

If it helps, you can find a lot of comics online now. I do that instead of relying on the newspaper - for one thing, that way I can read the comics I like.

I probably shouldn't admit that I still like the Cathy cartoons, but I do. Some of the comics are more like old friends who never say anything new, but you like having them around anyway.

Here's some addresses:;_ylt=AuiUSMKdapEBotqzDB2lSR0P_b4F\

Annie said...

Thanks, insom, for the correction. I was in shock at the numbers. I don't count well when I'm in shock.
Thanks, Kristina. I've often gone online and looked at comics, but there's something about looking at the newspaper with my kids that appeals to me. It gives me a warm fuzzy and makes me wish they've never ever grow up. Let's freeze this moment forever. So I sound like a Hallmark card, but it's a time that goes away all too quickly.
Maybe someday we'll have 'magical family memories' of computer time, but not yet. :)