Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tempting Offer?!?

I am not scatalogically-preoccupied. But on Page 53 of this week's Economist magazine - the European edition at least - is an advertisement for Bocconi SDA's Master's in Fine Food and Beverage with a picture of what appears, at first-sight to be a large Parisian sidewalk pile of excrement with the caption "Come and see how tasty a Masters in Management could be." Ummmm, thanks, but no.

With our current predicament fueled by such Masters, I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight (though my appetite, upon seeing and recounting it, now, to you, has decidedly been lost) and timing. Of course - for The Few Master's themselves, flush with their spoils and nouveau-elevated tastes that increasingly only they can afford - will undoubtedly recognize the mess-pile as a rare and valued Truffle, sure as their covetous and parochially selfish eyes can recognize a Vintage Krug on a purveyor's shelf at 30 meters (or more!). But one would be forgiven for wondering whether Bocconi's PR Agency boys and/or girls were looking for a little payback while working out their pink-slip notice period(s) recently handed to them as a result of the fallout of The Masters' financial follies.

Lest you think me unfair to said Masters (for the would-be's of this Bocconi course are arguably harmless), I will happily point out that I do not single them out, for the pavements are veritably littered with piles of crap, from the legislative capitals where lawmakers have whored themselves like street-harlots, while even those that didn't were too timid, ignorant, or fearful of electoral backlash to interrogate the foundations and wisdom of unlimited credit sans regulation or prudential tether, to suburbia and the American heartlands desperation to believe in tooth-faeiries, Santa Claus, Goldilocks, and pixie-dust as panaceas for unsustainable consumption over production, and at the collective level, unsustainable fiscal expenditure relative revenue.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Farewell Greg Newton

I learned today via Felix Salmon, and FT Alphaville's Paul Murphy of the sudden and very sad passing of Greg Newton, the former Metal Bulletin and MAR-guru, and prescient satirist of Naked Shorts. As Felix highlighted, Greg was not only one of the earliest must-read on-line commentators but he was probably the originator of the genre of on-line Financial Satire, a platform he employed to great effect in the lampooning of contrapreneurs, scamsters, hubris and simple outright financial stupidity - more often than not BEFORE its discovery by authorities, investors and mainstream financial journalists .

Greg was very supportive of Cassandra Does Tokyo from the outset as we shared a joy of satire, irony, expatriation from the lands of our birth, and a similarly skeptical view of markets and human nature. More impressive however, was that he courageously tackled important contentious issues and people head-on, despite threats of libel and legal action, without the bashful anonymous guerrilla sniping I've shamefully adopted. His bullshit detection skills were of the highest order, coupled with an unparalleled no-nonsense wit and punchy literary-style that always brought a smile to my face, typically accompanied by audible laughter, as I am certain it did to all readers, except perhaps those that he skewered.

But most important from where I sit, Greg Newton was a warm, kind, and thoughtful man, evidenced by the time and attention that he devoted to our correspondence and the issues he championed in Naked Shorts without recompense. I know I, too, will sorely miss him, and the world will be worse-off without his critical eyes.