Posts Tagged ‘Lehman Brothers’

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new ways to get people to visit your blog. It’s fun to create a community and get people talking about the important subjects of the day.

But many people are unsure how to get their blog seen and make sure their voices are getting heard. That’s where it’s helpful to know a few tricks of the blogging trade.

The secret is tags. These are the subject words that people search for–the things they are most interested in, and the items they plug into popular Web browsers like Google and Yahoo and Bing.

And the biggest secret of all is that you have to use the tag word “kittens” at all times, no matter what you’re talking about.

Let’s say that you’ve just done an excellent blog post on the state of the stock market. As we all know, it’s been a tough year. Stocks plummeted last September, and the American economy is largely thought to be in a tailspin because of the antics of a few no-goodniks such as those who sold bad mortgages and tried to palm off the bad debt on insurance companies and investment banks. Let’s say you’ve got a Nobel prize on the subject and you really want to get the word out that people were not paying attention to the market’s systemic risk when they looked for 10% annualized returns. You are biting your nails, because you are the only person you think in the world who understands that the algorithms just aren’t taking into account all the stochiastic random elements that cause markets to collapse. You worry that portfolios will be smashed and retirees rendered homeless.

Now say that out loud. You sound pretty dull, don’t you? Would you want to read that yourself? Probably not. It’s OK to laugh. We’ve all sounded like a self-important asshole at some time or another.

But that’s OK; fear not.

All you have to do is turn it all it around! If you had just added the word “kittens” to your tag, you’d have millions of people at your doorstep just dying to hear all about your dry “systemic risk” stuff.

Try this instead when you’re tagging: “derivatives,” “Lehman Brothers,” “Paulson,” “Goldman Sachs,” “conflict of interest,” “kittens,” “kitten in box,” “kittens with yarn.”

Or maybe you’ve got questions about the current health care plan in Congress, House Bill 3200: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Now health care is a confusing topic. Maybe you are a patient who has no insurance. Maybe you’re a doctor who is worried about out-of-control legal costs. Maybe you’re worried that too much government intervention would distort rational, efficient pricing of health goods and services. Perhaps you find it immoral that America is rated 37 on the World Health Organziation’s chart of best health care because of our lack of services to the impoverished.

Well, that’s all well and good, but … is that all you’ve got? Really? Is that your pitch? Where’s the hook? Where’s the sizzle that sells the steak? How do you ever think you’re going to fish in the kind of readership you want with a lot of fancy words that go over people’s heads? Aren’t you talking up your own wazoo a little bit here?

Try this on for size, and add these tags: “health care,” “Obama,” “socialism,” “kittens,” “Momma,” “meow.”

Why, before you know it, you’ll have millions of people coming to your blog to hear what your problems are with the new 1,000 word health care bill, or maybe they’ll just be looking for your kitten videos. You can offer them one or both. It doesn’t matter! All that matters is that you’ve engaged your potential readership with language they can understand and you’ve brought them important information on a topic that will be important to them in the future, if not right this second.

After all, most people are only thinking about what’s going on this second. The future is a scary place! Would you want to live there? No! In the future, we’re all dead. But right now, in this moment, we have to enjoy the little things, and what we enjoy most is bright, furry, cuddly, fuzzy felines.

Perhaps you have been following the latest gossip about Pakistan and its unsecure nuclear weapons installations, which are dangerously close to the front lines in a war against fundamentalist Muslim Taliban militants who have already begun making strikes against nuclear labs, perhaps in an effort to steal technology. You may have spent your entire life in the intelligence community and know more about the real dangers than almost anyone else. You spend so much time thinking about nuclear Holocaust that you can’t sleep and it’s making you crazy in a way that literally changes the color of your urine.

But in the end, doesn’t that make you kind of a smarmy know-it-all? I mean, if you’re going to bring passionate, thoughtful national security items to the forefront of our dialogue, you’ve got to know how to speak the language of everyday folk. And what could be more heartwarming than pictures of kittens nursing at mama cat’s milk-swollen belly?

Don’t believe me? Try these tags and get results: “Pakistan,” and “nuclear facilities,” “Wiki Maps,” “Taliban,” “nuclear stockpiles,” “rogue states,” “black market,” “terrorist groups,” “kittens,” “nursing,” “meow, meow,” “vomit,” “hairball,” “poop,” “Roomba fight,” “vacuum cleaner.”

See, aren’t you already starting to see how the right kind of tagging will get your blog instant validation and notoriety?

People love kittens with great passion–almost as much as they hate the threat of nuclear annihilation. What you’ve got to do as a blogger is pick up on the topics of the day if you want to become a tastemaker, a pace setter and a thought leader. But you’ll never get there if you don’t learn the tricks of the Web world. So stop sucking your thumb and start thinking like a Web champion.

Don’t think in abstractions your whole life, think in fun, vibrant tags, whether it be “cat,” or “kitten,” or even “warm pussy.” And soon you’ll be getting the drift.


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(Originally posted Tuesday, September 23, 2008 )

NEW YORK (API) — As the last of the old Wall Street investment banks were, with the swipe of a pen, written out of existence, the United States financial system as known for most of the past two centuries was finally dismantled today, and America was well on its way to becoming once more a land of cheese makers, candle molders and butter churners.

“It makes you want to cry,” said former Lehman Brothers analyst Jacqui MacQuarie, a tear forming in her eye as she stood outside her old offices in Midtown Manhattan. “Two weeks ago I was splitting up tranches of triple-C rated unsecured debt. Today I’ve got my pink slip and I’ve got a job interview planting rutabagas. I’ve got to tell you, though, it’ll be nice to start doing some honest work for a change.”

As thousands braced themselves for more bad news from the stock market, with the Dow Jones up and down in equal measures by some 900 points in the last week, many stock brokers’ eyes turned to simpler and more stable jobs like raking asphalt and working in gravel quarries and smelting pig iron.

MacQuarie and her former co-workers met together for one last time at famous Wall Street rathskeller Ulysses’, where many traders have gathered to await news about their fates over the last week.

“Hank Paulson is doing the right thing,” said Angus Stewart, a Scot who had come to America ten years ago to pursue his dream of being a stock analyst. “It was right for the Treasury to pay $700 billion to nationalize the financial system. Pretty soon, the process of collectivization will take place, and you know that if Republicans are doing it, then there really was no choice. Now I’m going off to learn how to coagulate cheese or maybe start a printing press. Smell the air. It’s so clean. It smells like truth.”

Stewart then began chatting up a female employee of Merrill Lynch who had up until a few days ago been a senior trader.

“She’s probably feeling pretty vulnerable right about now,” he said. “When an alpha female crashes, she crashes hard, if you know what I mean. Easy peasy.”

All five of the major independent investment banks that defined the landscape of modern Wall Street just six months ago have ceased to exist this week, having either imploded under the titanic weight of dubious loans, been folded into bigger commercial banking companies, or changed their status into regulated commercial bank holding companies to protect themselves from the fallout of bad debt–a virulence that has undone the great bulls of the financial world like a recalcitrant strain of bovine rinderpest.

“I’m going to cut limestone with a pen knife,” said Jason Hofstedder, an MBA from Wharton who up until a few days ago analyzed consumer durable junk bonds. “Side by side with my Dad. I used to think he was a fool. How wrong I was to have confidence in things of phantom value like capital and credit.”

“I’m going to build Earthen berms with recycled tires,” said Martha Salsbury, a merger arbitrage specialist. “God, it feels so good to think of doing something meaningful with my life.”

“I’m going to grow banana plots on the side of the river and sell them to passing boats,” said Lawrence Needlebrook, a commodities futures trader. “It’s time that I stopped looking at a banana as a market commodity with excess trading value and time I started eating it.”

A few hours later, the long urban valleys of Manhattan whistled in eerie silence as people took their goods away from the city in oxcarts, droshkys and baby prams.

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