Monday, March 31, 2008

The Economy Imitating Art

In May, The Vulture by Francis Bacon could be auctioned at Sotheby’s for as much as $70 million, which would be a record. The Vulture is a triptych based on the tragic trilogy of Orestes.
Suffice it to say that a curse figures in the myth and it seems as if we all are in dire need of placating the Furies.
May--where we all be, economically speaking—in May? The Lusty Month of Camelot may prove to be tepid, if we are lucky, and devastating if we are not. How low will interest rates be by then? (A double-edged sword, low interest rates—good for spenders but bad for savers—and aren’t we always told we don’t save enough? Why bother?) How high will the price of a gallon of gas or a loaf of bread be? How many people will be out of their homes—their real homes—not “investments to live in” as one realty company was so proud to proclaim during the boom. How many people will be out of work and how many of us will be even more discouraged about our futures? How big a chunk of the U.S. will Sovereign Funds claim?
A record price for “The Vulture” will be very nice for the collector selling it. But the vultures waiting around to pick up the pieces of the U.S. economy, while serving a practical purpose, will leave it forever changed.

Shopping List for a Damaged Economy

Shopping List for a Damaged Economy

Has President Bush gone grocery shopping recently? Has anyone who has anything to do with our economy set foot in an A&P or Shop-Rite within the last month?
We all know that prices have been rising, but it seems that in less than a week, on the consumer end, anyway, the price of bread and anything having to do with any kind of grain, frozen foods, and dairy products has shot up into the territory of disbelief. “Sticker Shock” was a term usually used for over-priced cars, not over-priced cornbread.
So when entering a supermarket or market or bodega, you must prepare yourself to make hard choices about whether to buy the orange juice or the yogurt and whether you should do without the extra milk your family likes because this week, anyway, it is not on sale.When you have to cut the basics, then something is basically wrong with the economy. So basic, that it had to have taken such a long time to happen that no one in charge noticed. But we all notice now.

Chaotic Economy Clarifier

If you want to read one of the most clearly written and informative articles that explains the mess our economy is currently wallowing in, go to

Excellent job, Allan Sloan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Take My Rebate, Please!

And speaking of the economy….what about those rebate checks? I have been hearing about that rebate check for so long I feel as if it has come and already been spent. No, wait. It actually already has been spent. I figure the rebate check just about might be enough to cover either:

2 deliveries of home heating oil
1 month of groceries for a thrifty family of 4, if they are all on a diet
20 tanks of gas for some kind of car somewhere
2 root canals
Some combination of the above.

Point is, if the Government thinks anyone who gets a rebate check is going to run off to the nearest Ford Dealership or Target or Sears to make a major purchase to goose this foot-dragging economy, it is mistaken.
That money has already been spent. It will go to pay off the interest on the purchases of that stuff people made last year when they thought this latest boom would never end.

Copyright 2008 Kathryn Fallon klaatukafe

The Economy as Bi-Polar Patient.

The U.S. economy is right now in the throes of some serious manic-depressive manifestations, as evidenced by the recent gyrations of the stock market. Some firms—you know their names by now—have been given the chance to not have to be held accountable for offering loans they had no business making to people who had no business taking out these loans.

So, the rate gets cut, the reckless get rewarded and anyone on a fixed income or just trying to keep ahead of the price of oil, gas and bread, gets the shaft. The market rockets up and plummets down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until finally, some kind of nadir has to be reached for the whole things to level out to a more normal level.

Moral Compass, indeed.

We are in a sub-prime life. Not the prime of life, a sub-prime life.

Think of the “Annie” tune, “Hard-Knock Life”:

“It’s the sub-prime life, for us.
It’s the sub-prime life, for us.”
About those bailouts, We have no say
Steada price cuts, We must pay
It's the sub-prime life

No one cares for you at all
If as an investor you are small

“It’s the sub-prime life, for us.
It’s the sub-prime life, for us.”

But how about that other Annie staple—“Tomorrow” Do you think…..? Nah…more like the late summer. If we’re lucky.

copyright Kathryn Fallon, klaatukafe 2008.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Part 2 Virtual Lives, Virtual Lies

There is no end, it seems to the “I didn’t/couldn’t do it so I’ll just make it up” genre not only of books, but of—well, most everything. Misha Defonseca and Margaret Seltzer are just two of the recent ingredients in the made-up truths mix. Remember Marilee Jones, dean of admissions at MIT who resigned after it was discovered she had invented her qualifications?
Now, we also have this, from The Associated Press:

“After rising to culinary stardom preparing impossible meals on his Food Network series, Robert Irvine has met an obstacle his kitchen prowess couldn't overcome — an embellished resume.
The star of "Dinner: Impossible" has acknowledged fabricating some of the more fantastic parts of his resume, including having cooked for Britain's Royal Family and various U.S. presidents.
Following the revelations, the network announced it would not renew Irvine's contract, though it would air the remaining episodes of the current season, the series' fourth.”

I have another good friend who is in the executive search business and verifying resumes is the least a professional can do to make sure the candidate is all he or she claims to be. But it seems that today more liars think it is not really lying, just…embellishing.

All these fakers are sorry, of course and they are a sorry lot. But—do you want to feel more agitated? Take a look at:
Now that is really sorry.

Copyright 2008 Kathryn Fallon klaatukafe

Read My Memoir--It's Pure Fiction

Noticed the increasing number of so-called memoirs whose authors are admitting they fabricated the whole thing? How did these people get agents? How did they get published? First-- and this is just recent events-- we read that Misha Defonseca’s memoir titled “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years” is a sham. Now we learn that some private school Wasp white bread fed and bred chick has written about her years in a gang----yeah right. Okay, so maybe she met a few gang members and maybe even worked with them. So—write about that. It ain’t a memoir, honey. If it’s fiction, be up front about it and say so. Or maybe, it is just so difficult to get anyone to pay attention to (ie publish) fiction, that desperate measures were tried.
I have a close friend who writes fiction—no pretend memoir writing here—and has been praised unabashedly by other well-known writers (much- published and who, by the way, are honest about their genre). This writer, on the young side, has been told she has a real ear for dialogue. But because she doesn’t write “fem-fiction” no one can figure where to pigeonhole her work. To her credit, she has not given up. And I know she won’t. I also know that if the only way you can sell your work is to lie about it, then, you’re in the wrong business.

Share your thoughts on this. Let those agents and publishers hear you.

Copyright 2008 Kathryn Fallon klaatukafe