He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Far Cry From Clipping Gold Coins

Royal salaries aren't what they used to be. The published figures are pre-tax, to boot.

Royal niceness is an admirable quality, don't you think?

Chavez Accuses US Of Cancer Donation

No doubt he's so important that he merited targeting. Wink, wink.

Islamic Finance Is Like Behavioral Finance

Both describe deviations from rationality.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nothing Beats A Big Cash Spigot

The Eurozone issue is over, except for the Nervous Nellies' daily skittishness. A sovereign debt put option, written by the European Central Bank, has already paid dividends by stabilizing Italian yields.

One interesting byproduct is that Jon Corzine's monster bet on Eurodebt would have paid off, but he lacked the liquidity to stay the course. Tough luck, bud.

Monetary Freedom Remains Elusive

The US government is now issuing subpoenas to American taxpayers compelling them to furnish offshore banking records. The subpoenas are being challenged as not meeting the required records exception to the 5th Amendment's self-incrimination protection.

What's a little criminal contempt amongst friends?

Gee, Thanks, I Appreciate Your Sincere Effort

Presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov promises to stop partying if he's elected.

The Half-Clothed Rebel Against The Emperor's New Clothes

"Activists of the FEMEN women movement held an unsanctioned action to support Russian opposition in downtown Moscow.

"The action titled God, turn out the king! took place not far from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the movement says in its press release.

"'We are inspired with the actions of Russian non-parliamentary opposition as they don't accept the results of Russian electoral flimflam lottery. We look forward to the birth of New Russia without thieves, tricksters and political convicts,' participants in the action said."

Bandwagons Attract All Kinds

"'It is very important that all accusations of dishonest votes counting, of violations in arranging elections receive a proper answer. They shouldn't stay hanging,' head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said in his program Kommentary Nedeli on Orthodox TV channel Souyz.

"'Today we can't say whether those who voice these accusations are right or wrong. To answer this question we, first of all, need very clear facts, facts that can be proved in the court and in a fair argument,' he further said."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Hates And Loves

What I Hate About Christmas:

1. Silent Night. I know that I should be shot at sunrise for this one, but forcing perfectly good singers to wheeze through this song bothers me.

2. Handbells. The conscientious practitioners of this abominable craft lack the natural charm of skilled cow-milkers.

What I Love About Christmas:

1. Rampant Commercialism. Exhorting us to remember "the reason for the season", such cheerleaders may be astonished to realize that rampant Christmas consumerism is all about outdoing each other at giving gifts.

Christ Is Born!