Sunday, September 12, 2010

Insensitive Cultural Observations: The Indian's Hot Beverage

Let's lighten things up a bit. This blog is smothered in heavy technocratic suggestions to the world's dirge-grimmest ills.

And I'm not a fan of the make-believe of political correctness.

And the world is, according to at least one walrus, flattening and overcrowding.

So since all flavors of humans are gonna be literally rubbing shoulders in the near future, let's get to know each other's idiosyncrasies. These are not criticisms. Just first-person observations and experiences extrapolated, generalized, and mixed with some assumptions.

Stereotype at your own risk.

Victim One: The Indian's Hot Beverage

Go to your local friendly chain of coffee purveyors in a large city's business district. While you order your eight bucks of triple-hot-hafcaf-mocha-latte-atte and scone, look around for the ever-present recent immigrant of India. He'll be the one with the sharp bouffant hairdo, the excessively shiny leather loafers, and the perfectly white button-down shirt. He'll bear the slight scent of the cigarette he inevitably smoked on the stroll from his office. If he has successfully procreated, he'll have a mustache.

He will curtly yet courteously order a "hot coffee" (if he's trying to identify with his adopted land) or a "hot tea" (if he's feeling particularly Indian). He will pay nonchalantly as though simple muscle memory guides his lax hand his wallet to dole out meaningless bits of money.

He will escort his beverage to the milk-and-sugar counter where he will begin the process.

Step 1: remove lid and insert stir stick
Step 2: blow on drink; stir
Step 3: attempt to slurp-sip; determine it too hot; stir
Step 4: blow on drink; stir
Step 5: lose self momentarily in a steamy Bombay Dream as the aroma enters nostrils; stir
Step 6: ponder milks and sugars; stir
Step 7: select a milk (pronounced with no "i" by the way) and pour a spot into beverage; stir
Step 8: blow on drink; stir
Step 9: attempt to slurp-sip; determine it too hot; stir
Step 10: blow on drink; stir
Step 11: attempt to slurp-sip; determine it too hot; stir
Step 12: blow on drink; stir
Step 13: slurp-sip; burn mouth; stir
Step 14: select a sugar and pour into beverage; stir
Step 15: blow on drink; stir
Step 16: lose self momentarily in a zen moment of abstract yet vivid color and movement as the aroma enters nostrils; stir
Step 17: slurp-sip; burn mouth; stir
Step 18: pour another spot of milk into beverage
Step 19: slurp-sip successfully; stir
Step 20: slurp-sip more deeply; stir; regain consciousness of the outside world
And just like that, he'll be gone. Back to his cubicle-mates upstairs.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Follow Up: Talk Amongst Yourselves: Governmental .... Effectiveness??

(specifically ... the part about the likely impact of financial industry regulatory reform)

In a recent blog post, I said:

Financial Institutions will once again be lobotomized. Divided into two classes:
- Utilities (aka retail banking)
- Casinos (aka everything else)

Utilities" are done for as a for-profit enterprise. Just like Amtrak and Con Ed, they will require permanent and heavy subsidy verging on nationalization to survive the tonnage of regulations which will be piled on.

"Casinos" will have to escape to the Bahamas, Monaco, or Indian reservations. I would not be surprised to see these firms further subdivided into firms that are allowed to play with other peoples' money ("brokerages") and those playing with their own money ("proprietary dealers").
Well ... the pudding of proof is starting to pour in ... even without the fancy new regulations:
  1. Anglo Irish Bank will be split into a "good bank"which will retain only deposits, and an "asset recovery bank" which will run down its loans over time. Leave it to the Irish to invent a casino that always loses. BTW - Seeking Alpha (blog) doesn't think this is the end of the story.
  2. Everyone's favorite financial institution, Goldman, has now announced that they're following my advice (at least in the US) by voluntarily winding down slash selling their proprietary equity trading operation called the "principle strategies group." No casinos here, Mr. Regulator, we're just a buncha blue-collar broker-types ... keep mooooving.

Thursday, September 09, 2010