Out of idle curiosity I’ve been trying Chrome (the browser) for the last few days. It seems very unstable on OSX 10.8 – it crashes constantly. Guess I’m sticking to Safari, even though I don’t much care for the way the current version (6.0.1) treats scroll bars. Everything else about it seems fine.

Damien Hirst – betrayed by the market?

For all his celebrity, Hirst’s stock in the art market has experienced a stunning deflation. According to data compiled by the firm Artnet, Hirst works acquired during his commercial peak, between 2005 and 2008, have since resold at an average loss of 30 percent. And that probably understates the decline—judging from the dropoff in sales volume, collectors aren’t bringing their big-ticket Hirsts to market. A third of the more than 1,700 Hirst pieces offered at auctions since 2009 have failed to sell at all—they’ve been “burned,” in the terminology of the art world. “He has way underperformed,” says Michael Moses, a retired New York University business professor who maintains a financial index for art. “He has lots and lots of negative returns.”

Jesse Jackson (D-Mayo Clinic) resigns

This should be fun! No mid-term appointment!

 “It is with great sadness that we learned of Congressman Jackson’s decision to submit his resignation,” Pelosi said in a statement. “His service in Congress was marked by his eloquent advocacy for his constituents’ views and interests.”


The timing of Jackson’s resignation means he will not be sworn in for the new term beginning in January. A special election will be held for his seat.

T-minus 24 hours . . .

. . . until dinner tomorrow. I’m ready to cook! The turkey is salted and resting (not brined, thanks to J. Kenji López-Alt at The Food Lab, my current favorite food blog), and I’m ready to spatchcock the fowl and cook it tomorrow afternoon at Prof. Himmelhoch’s house. I’ve made the cranberry stuff* and dosed it with triple sec and left it to meld flavorifically in the fridge. Now I can enjoy a little of this brief calm before the storm that is always December in Higher Education.

*Bag of cranberries, half an unpeeled lemon, a whole unpeeled orange, a cup of pecans, a cup of sugar, blend, stir, add 1/4 cup of orange liqueur and refrigerate overnight. Yum! It’s good at dinner but even better as a relish on turkey sammiches later in the week.

Can’t tell the players without a program – the Hostess (Twinkie) Bankruptcy

What a mess!

End result: a near total loss for everyone involved, except the secured creditors of course, who will now get pennies on the dollar, or perhaps even par, for their claims when all is said and done.


Sadly, in many ways Hostess is now indicative of that just as insolvent larger corporation, the USA, whose insurmountable balance sheet liabilities will be the eventual catalyst for its collapse, but only once the Income Statement and the Cash Flow sheet join in. For now, the Fed provides the flow needed to avoid the day of reckoning, but everything ends eventually.


In the meantime, what the Hostess story will hopefully teach the always gullible public, is that nothing is ever black or white, and there are numerous shades of gray in every story: even one in which an “evil” PE firm is unable to come to resolution with labor unions, despite the man in charge of it all being a prominent democrat. Because when it comes to money other things such alliances, ideology and certainly politics are always, always, secondary. Sadly, ever more Americans will be forced to learn this lesson the hard way.

Silencing General Petraeus

This is sounding worse and worse.

All this—the FBI spying on the CIA—constitutes the government attacking itself. Anyone who did this when neither federal criminal law nor national security has been implicated and kept the president in the dark has violated about four federal statutes and should be fired and indicted. The general may be a cad and a bad husband, but he has the same constitutional rights as the rest of us.

No keen observer could believe the government’s Pollyanna version of these events. When did the CIA become a paragon of honesty? When did the FBI become a paragon of transparency? When did the government become a paragon of telling the truth?