I read the news today, oh boy…

March 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

Warthog. n.(wôrthôg, -hg) 1. A wild African hog with two tusks and warty excresences on its face. 2. A person who always eats the best bits. 3. Inspiration for name of school in famous children's story  (slang) Banker

Warthog. n.(wôrthôg, -hg) 1. A wild African hog with two protruding tusks and warty excrescences on its face. 2. A person who always eats the best bits. 3. Inspiration for name of school in famous children's story 4. (slang) Banker

From The New York Times, March 10, 2009, explaining the huge jump in the stock market this morning, “That hint of hope came in the form of a memorandum from the chief executive of Citigroup, Vikram S. Pandit, saying that the bank had turned a profit in the first two months of the year, and that its quarterly performance to date, before taxes and special items, was the best since the third quarter of 2007.

Mr. Pandit gave no indication of how much special items, like write-downs or credit losses, would be…”

Does anyone else feel the slightest twinge of mistrust? This nugget of questionable news made bank stocks rise in the double digits. A sweet profit for somebody. Think of the possibilities for a person with advance notice of this memo. Think of the temptation to write it.

Think of all the money people will lose when the market changes its mind tomorrow or Friday.

***

In its weekly grammar column, The Times castigates itself for its cornucopia of errors, having apparently decided this approach is cheaper than hiring more copyeditors. Today’s column concerned metaphor abuse, citing a sentence that contained this specimen “…a stew of programs, some with warts and all.”

I find that strangely evocative. Is it really an error? I’m sure I’ve had warts in my stew. Middle School cafeteria, maybe? Not that I’m complaining. Pretty soon we’ll look back on these days nostalgically. The few ancients will tell stories: “Once upon a time, children, you could still get warts. Real warts, served up hot in a stew. You can’t imagine how tasty they were: chewy, protein-rich, and no two exactly alike…

“But never mind; dirt’s good enough for us. We can live on dirt thanks to our genetic modifications derived from stem-cell research. Of all nations, America produced the most aborted fetuses in the early part of this century, giving us an unbeatable technological edge, and ending the old argument about whether sex is good for anything. It’s a shame we had to let it go.

“Now, children, what your older siblings told you that made you cry and have nightmares is in fact true—if a 2009-era person saw you, he’d crush you underfoot or spray you with nasty chemicals. But they were primitives, greedy, stupid and mindlessly destructive. They didn’t understand the elegant efficiency of the human-insect hybrid with built-in wifi capability, access to communal memory farms and daily upgrades. They didn’t even appreciate wart stew, for god’s sake; I used to have to tell my husband it was chipped beef. Beef? T bones on the grill, filet mignon with béarnaise? Forget about it. Eat your dirt.”

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