Posts filed under “Humor”

The President and the Genie

There’s a full run of witty ramblings about Presidents in this month’s New Yorker. They are very much in the absurdist style of early Woody Allen (Without Feathers), but this one stuck me as the most amusing:

“The first two wishes had been easy. Sure, President seemed like a reach, but George W. Bush figured you only came across a genie in a lamp so many times—you might as well go for it. As for the chocolate milkshake, well, that was a lark. Later, he would claim that he was just testing the genie’s powers, but in truth he’d really wanted that milkshake, and in his heart he never regretted it. The third wish, though, had proved more vexing than he’d ever imagined; and, to his own surprise, the genie’s suggestion was starting to make sense. “Explain it to me one more time,” W. said.

“You see, master,” the genie said, stroking his goatee, “high earners provide the capital for business infrastructure and equity markets. Therefore, sweeping tax cuts for corporate income, coupled with steady deregulation, will stimulate growth, the benefits of which will necessarily trickle down.”

Years later, with the country in a shambles, the President privately wondered if he’d been too quick to accept the genie’s supply-side logic. But by then the genie had his own problems: his 401(k) was all but defunct, and he found himself embroiled in a major lawsuit over whether or not he had assured a previous client that “all the riches of Araby” were tax-exempt.”

The whole run is pretty funny . . .


Yoni Brenner
FEBRUARY 23, 2009

Category: Humor, Politics

If Bankers Were Firemen . . .

Very amusing Pat Bagley cartoon, via The Salt Lake Tribune > >

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Derivatives, Humor, Markets, Really, really bad calls

Can Wall Street Do Basic Math?

That’s the question Bob Cringely asks.

Bob points out what might be an embarrassing error in a chart (below) — on the Banks/Financials no less — prepared by a JP Morgan Analyst:

It’s a chart showing the deterioration of major bank market caps since 2007.  Prepared by someone at JP Morgan based on data from Bloomberg, this chart flashed across Wall Street and the financial world a few days ago, filling thousands of e-mail in boxes.  Putting a face on the current banking crisis it really brought home to many people on Wall Street the critical position the financial industry finds itself in.

Too bad the chart is wrong.

It’s a simple error, really.  The bubbles are two-dimensional so they imply that the way to see change is by comparing AREAS of the bubbles.  But if you look at the numbers themselves you can see that’s not the case.

Take CitiGroup, for example.  The CITI market cap dropped from $255 billion to $19 billion — a difference of 13.4X.  If we’re really comparing the areas of the bubbles, that means 13.4 of those tiny CitiGroup-of-today bubbles should precisely fill the big CitiGroup-of-the-good-old-days bubble.  Only they won’t.  As a matter of fact it would take about 13.4 times as many little bubbles to fill the big bubble as the chart preparer thought or 179.64 little bubbles.  Pi r squared, remember?  This is because the intended comparison wasn’t two-dimensional but one-dimensional — the chart maker was intending we compare the DIAMETERS of the bubbles, not their areas.

My first read of this is that comparing height (i.e., bars rather than circles) would be accurate. Circles won’t work due to the squaring (π R squared) , where as diameters do not bring in a factorial change. That’s what creates the exponential rather than arithmetic change in the circle’s area.

I don’t have the original data, and I am wondering if this might be a simple Excel charting error [Update: Excel gives you the option of selecting Area or Diameter when choosing the circle chart as an option. I suspect this was a simple spreadsheet graphing error — not a mathematics error — but its embarrassing nonetheless]

If anyone has either the Market cap data handy, or wants to pull the teeny data from the chart onto a spread sheet, please email it to me at Alternatively, if you can design a more informative/accurate graphic, please send that along . . .

UPDATE: 2/15/09 5:52pm

Several corrected versions of the original chart (below) follow . . .


click for ginormous chart


Read More

Category: Humor, Markets, Mathematics, Research, Valuation

Stimulus Package Explained (Q&A)

Circulating via email: Sometime this year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format: Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment? A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers. Q. Where will the government get…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Humor

Clusterf#@k to the Poor House – Wall Street Bailout

TDS, February 11, 2009

Category: Humor, Video

Oh No, Timmy !

And by Timmie, I presume you mean Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary ? > > How funny is this? (I swear, it said “Timmie” in the original!)

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Derivatives, Humor

Stimulis: Because all economies have performance issues

Are you an economy with performance issues?

If you find it hard to achieve and maintain growth, maybe Stimulis is right for you.

Take Stimulis once every election cycle or whenever you’re in need of economic enhancement.

“Stimulis” is written and produced by Ted Balaker, and edited by Alex Manning.

Category: Economy, Humor, Video

Verizon Math Fail


Category: Humor, Mathematics, Video

Wall Street Executive Air

“The cabin has been monetized for convenience . . . ” hat tip Josh!

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Humor

Stocks Chart Scores

Stock charts turned into music using Microsoft Songsmith.

Melodies derived from Stock Charts, arranged with Songsmith, the Microsoft Composition Tool. By Johannes Kreidler.

Hat tip Cameron

Category: Humor, Music, Video