26 July 2010

Joo See Da Game Last Night?

[The following was penned by our new sports bureau chief, Ray. Please send your sports-related questions along with a double vodka martini to Ray care of 'sports desk,' Kingston, Jamaica, one four seven seven two.]

Man did you catch the big game again last night? Seeing was a necessary but not sufficient condition for believing! Three points down, six ticks on the clock, Vultures ball with no timeouts ahead, staring into the teeth of the Hyenas' relentless pressure defense and a hostile crowd of panicky wallabees, when the referees motion for the action to begin ... but nothing. Dead silence. Then a pin drops, and then another, and Hammaburthi lofts the ball high in the midnight air, a pink dot describing an indescribable arc, hurling ever upwards until it becomes just one more point of light among the literally billions of stars in the football universe, pausing briefly at its zenith as if deciding all right I have gone far enough with this it's time to get back down to earth, then slowly descending toward a point being estimated and converged upon by several hulking contestants, swiftly churning arms and legs, glancing up every few seconds to adjust speed and course -- when suddenly out of nowhere here comes Johnny "Big Uncle" Brownstone and WALLOP!, he lays it on the guy, completely flattens his pancakes, just cleans out his cellar, throws out all his old yearbooks, and it's game over, lights out, end of story. I'm telling you you never seen anything like that again in your life and I know I can barely imagine it happened myself.

I'm Ray and this is my first sports column ever so in case it's my last I just gotta say right here: that's what I love about sports so much. The thrills, the passion, the pure poetic prowess, the punishment, the pain and the poignancy, and the pretzels, by god those pretzels. The infinite space for creativity within rigid structures, the endless array of dazzling passes and angles, the saga, two great rivals pushing each other to new heights, a bunch of grown men running around in circles while outside the arena the world hurtles toward collapse, the unexpected twists, the invertebratability of the greatest athletes, their uber-ultra-attitude, the egomonomaniacalism, macrocosmic over-the-top confidence, or plus-de-chalance if you will. Sorry, I'm getting a little worked up here, thinking back on the time we won our first cup, holy frijoles what a fine group that was, the way they conquered The Demons in the final minutes and grabbed their slice of immortality, by god I will never forget that team, what was number 47's name?, etc. etc.

15 July 2010

In Financial News

This simple and easy-to-use blog post offers a generic financial article which will save the reader from ever having to consult the business section again.

Step 1. First choose a headline. Depending on real-world conditions, one or more of the following headlines may apply:

Stocks Fall as Supply Outstrips Demand
Stocks Rise as Demand Outweighs Supply
Stocks Even as Supply and Demand in Approximate Equilibrium
Stocks Rise on Wild Optimism
Stocks Fall on Negative Sentiment
Stocks Plummet as Collapse Approaches

The text of the story is then roughly as follows.

The stock, bond or whatever market rose or fell today, or it was about even, in heavy or light trading that could be attributed to a jobs or earnings report, or some geopolitical news or perhaps another natural disaster (e.g. the recent Black Hole That Swallowed Baltimore, which darkened sentiment), but which in truth is due to an impossibly complex interaction of factors, known and unknown. Don't say we didn't warn you.

An economist is quoted expressing qualified optimism, based on the rise or fall of some particular indicator or another towards some level that her theories predict will optimize economic growth to the max. The guy who works at the investment firm, on the other hand, is wildly bullish, pointing out that only suckers stay on the sidelines and there has never been a better time to buy.

Specific details of the performance of some firm of presumed importance are then offered, e.g. a big steelmaker experienced a rise or fall in sales this quarter due to the vagaries of market forces in the commodities sector.

If the above still does not fill the target number of column inches, a photo from the trading floor, or perhaps one of cargo being unloaded at a port may be displayed.

In conclusion, the fact that bond prices and yields move in opposite directions may be noted, without further explanation.

Conclusion of generic financial article.

10 July 2010

Trees Go On Strike


Humans were stunned recently to discover that plants are not only conscious but intelligent, that they communicate with each other and despite some disputes here and there in general they are united and ready to reassert the position of dominance that (at least in their distressingly Messianic view) is the Natural Right of the plant kingdom over the animal. This promises messy results.

We cannot after all afford to exterminate all of them, without threatening our own survival. They on the other hand don't need anything above the insects really, and therein lies the key. Humans must immediately initiate efforts to communicate with our friends the pollinators on this issue. As fellow animals we must unite against the dominion of the plants. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that. We may have to offer the bees and butterflies subsidized nectar, so that they will not be reliant on the other side, but this seems a small price to pay to maintain life as we know it. Of course, if the plants have already gotten to them it may very well be too late, and in that case, god help us all.

Some may ask why must there be a war with the plants. Can we not reach out to them? We must attempt to better understand their way of life, live together in harmony and stop trying to solve every problem with guns and butter. Unfortunately such efforts will inevitably prove futile. These trees are not people like you and me. They stand there looking all peaceful and all, and sure they give us shade, and wood for our fires, but the simple fact is that trees have no moral code. There's no telling what an adolescent willow can be capable of, backed into an alley corner with a switchblade and a headful of rusty crack. It's just not worth it.

Humans are advised to stay indoors, not to accept any large wrapped gifts from plants, not even house plants they've had for years and think they know, and to check the internet regularly for an important announcement concerning our next move as a species in this epic struggle for survival.