Sunday, October 19, 2008

Money Honey - Punk Rock & Wall Street

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Where is stock market wiz Joey Ramone when you need him?

Today, October 19, marks the date in 1987 when the "Greed Is Good" Wall St. party of the go-go 80s came to a crashing halt. Financial markets still refer to it as Black Monday... and in 1929, the stock market crash took two days to crash and burn, giving us Black Monday and Black Tuesday (October 28 & 29). This year, although the signs were not hard to miss, in September, a downward slide began that culminated in a Black Week's worth of topsy turvy stock market plummeting in early October.

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What is it about October? There's a panoply of phenomena just waiting to be retroactively referred to as THEE October Surprise of the year, in any year!

While Joey Ramone made his mark in public singing songs like "Teenage Lobotomy" and "Cretin Hop" and seeming to endorse a loser way of life by sniffing glue and loitering on the ne'er do well corner of 53rd and 3rd, in reality, he was very well aware of his stock portfolio. Yes, the man had investments. He was no dummy although he played one on (m)TV.

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Back in 2003, I had the opportunity to meet one of the leading ladies of a Joey Ramone song - Maria Bartiromo, the beautiful money honey financial reporter for CNBC, and talk about our mutual friend Joey. She told me how Joey would send her emails asking really intelligent questions about the stocks he held, and asked her opinion of economic activity that might have a positive or negative impact on his holdings. She said he was a smart and "fantastic investor."

And he was a fan of Maria's.... he said so in song:

What's happening on Wall Street
What's happening at the stock exchange
I want to know
What's happening on Squawk Box
What's happening with my stocks
I want to know
I watch you on the TV every single day
Those eyes make everything OK
I watch her every day
I watch her every night
She's really out of sight
Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo


I am no financial analyst, so I don't understand why despite the fact the Dow Jones was down 770 points recently, that 1987 crash is still considered more severe. I don't do math, so I can't be bothered to take the time to compare them on a level playing field. Back in 1987, the Dow Jones was under 3,000 and this year, its considered a financial tragedy that it is below 10,000. All I know is that it is a lot of activity for ephemera.


What really really confuses me though, is how stupid the people who fix our gas prices thinks the public is.

The price of gas varies nationwide, of course, but it seems to have been hovering around $4 per gallon since the late summer... and that Hurricane Gustav-related price hike sent the price of gas in East Tennessee above $5!!

If you are one of this blog's readers from Europe, I know you're thinking that we Americans still have it made, as you have been paying twice what we pay for gas ever since I can remember. And I don't know how you do it! Of course, most countries in Europe that I've visited have superior modes of public transportation, and cars are not the necessity they seem to be in many US cities where buses and subways seem to be completely absent or work in the most non-sensical ways that don't really serve the public.

So you can imagine that I was particularly thrilled this past week when the price of gas came tumbling down by about a dollar per gallon. It is hovering around $2.99 in my neighborhood, close to last year's prices.

The laws of supply and demand are not hard to understand. When the public responded to the fake gas shortage and outrageous price hike by ceasing to drive and by extension, ceasing to buy gas... the prices "normalized." But what about the future? Do we just stop driving? However, then, will bands go on tour? Fret not, hardships are from whence DIY was born... I think it bears repeating, this question - just how stupid do they think we are?

I'm not really sure if "they" are OPEC or the members of the dynasty that presently occupy the White House, or some cabal that is comprised of a combination of members thereof.... its enough to make you want to tear your hair out!

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Joey Ramone, where are you now that we need you to interpret Wall St. for your fans???


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