The Nobel-winning solution to your 401k drawdown?

Paul Krugman thinks we need to deter financial speculation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/opinion/27krugman.html?_r=1

Places I’ve been in the world where financial speculation is ‘deterred’ include Tijuana, Detroit, the Banlieue of Paris. Walking around these places, talking to people, hearing the stories of squelched hope, failed attempts to get out and the very real speculation in underground markets, where the players gamble with their lives. The idea that a serious economist like Krugman (writing in the newspaper of the capital of capitalism no less) could believe that the world needs *less* financial speculation reminds me of a Dead Kennedys song

Thinking about storytelling form

Catching up on some reading this week. One piece that caught my attention, besides reminding me that I have bookmarks going back 6+ months that I still haven’t looked at, is this one about Joyce’s Ulysees in the NYTimes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/opinion/16mccann.html

The form of the first three paragraphs – the story that leads you into the essay – is what really caught my attention. There’s three steps here, what you might call paint, punch and fade. The character is the catalyst for the punch. The fade explains why.

Paint your character

A LONDON nursing home. The shape of a figure beneath the sheets. My grandfather could just about whisper. He wanted a cigarette and a glass of whiskey. “Come up on the bed here, young fella,” he said, gruffly. It was 1975 and I was 10 years old and it would be the first — and probably last — time I’d ever see him. Gangrene was taking him away. He reached for the bottle and managed to light a cigarette. Spittle collected at the edge of his mouth. He began talking, but most of the details of his life had already begun slipping away.

Throw the punch

Long wars, short memories.

Fade away

Later that afternoon my father and I bid goodbye to my grandfather, boarded a train, then took a night boat back home to Dublin. Nothing but ferry-whistle and stars and waves. Three years later, my grandfather died. He had been, for all intents and purposes, an old drunk who had abandoned his family and lived in exile. I did not go to the funeral. I still, to this day, don’t even know what country my grandfather is buried in, England or Ireland.

Manchester on a fall morning

Up at first light. Clear morning after all night pouring. Stop for an 87 cent double espresso, well-pulled with a layer of oily crema. Dodging downed branches all the way. Parking lot’s empty, nobody else on trail yet. Crunching steps, all the maple leaves blown down overnight. A fox up ahead, doesn’t hear me at first, all red fur and squat legs making a blur as he tears outta there. Then a deer down in a thicket – we spook each other – white tail vanishing into a fir stand. Back up, to the muddy meadow. Withered blackberries on bushes going gnarly. Seals arping down in the cove. The wood stairs go down into the cedars, slippery, have to hold the hand rail. At the edge of the cliff, out of the cedars, full sunlight, Seattle way out over the whitecapped Sound. Standing in the warm sun, sending down a joyous stream onto the rocks below.