As I sit here wondering when spring will actually appear, purveying my brown grass and twiggy trees, my thoughts are being drowned out by The Imus Ranch Record.
Yes, it's true. I am being held hostage by a crazy conservative country-loving Don Imus fanatic. Bill purchased tickets last month to see Imus' radio show, LIVE, in Boston. He managed to convince my liberal-minded brother-in-law, Mark, to also wake up at 4:30 a.m. to accompany him downtown to the Wilbur Theatre, where Imus was joined onstage by his cronies and a full line-up of other conservative Boston radio hosts. John Kerry, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Mike Barnicle also phoned in to make the presentation seem particularly "Bostonian," while Deirdre was there to hand out signed copies of her book, "The Essential Green You!" I was only a back-up date, if Mark couldn't go, which he did, so I was saved, at least temporarily. Now, the Ranch Record plays on, and on, full of twangs and country melodies that I swear never to allow even near my ipod.
Bill wasn't always this way. Or, if he was, he hid it extremely well. I knew early on he loved Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. Many times I've wondered how he ended up married to me instead of my sister, who also knows all the words to dogs songs like "Shannon" and "Mandy" (aka "Brandy"). We've already discussed our different political perspectives; he also hates playing Scrabble, cards, and doing crosswords, though participates when called upon.
In all other ways he's perfect! I love him madly. And am very glad he returned safely from his (second) golfing trip. The kids and dogs are glad, too. They can only deal with mother-love for so long before they start retreating to their separate corners, desperate for some father-love that doesn't require constant explanations of what they are thinking and what they did in school every minute of every day. At one point last week I found myself telling Julia that I wanted her to take notes so she could describe for me every detail of her day at school; I must have been completely over-caffeinated at the time. Of course, just when I think of trying to kick my coffee habit, there's another article on CNN about the "real" symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Forget it! Who needs that? I love my morning coffee and I'm sticking to it.
What I really have been thinking over the past two days is the similarities between the Somali pirates and the investment bankers who bundled up and sold mortgage-backed securities. Nothing even remotely similar about them on the surface, but a little digging and the obvious comparisons hit you over the head like an over-enthusiastic spring rake. Take a look:
(1) Both groups of entrepreneurs were huge successes, making bundles of money for their originators ($80 million last year alone in ransom monies paid to the pirates).
(2) Each of the business ventures is uniquely novel and obviously risky, yet the originators are willing to assume the risks because of the enormous potential monetary payoff.
(3) Several experts around the world recognized and warned of the danger of each enterprise well before the world at-large knew of the danger, yet warnings went generally unheeded.
(4) Both ventures were allowed to proceed with daring and cunning, facing little or no intervention or obstruction from the political and business groups that could curtail their activities.
(5) Alas, both ventures were relatively short-lived, because
(6) As soon as Americans entered obviously into harm's way, the U.S. government took steps to shut down the ventures.
Interesting, don't you think? Of course, there are just as many differences between the two ventures, and it's not entirely fair to compare money manipulators with gun-toting killers. But, it still is interesting in a way .....