Summer’s End

It’s the end of the third quarter of 2012, which is a decent time to look back and see where we are.   Economic news has been incredibly mixed lately, which following our mantra that good news is bad news means that we really don’t know what to think.  So let’s not try to think too hard and look ahead as we look backward at a strange quarter all around.

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Blown Call

Sports analogies are a mainstay for business – both reporting and motivational development.  What is a company but a team, focused on scoring against the competition?  Nations also compete against each other far more constantly than the hardware counts from the quadrennial Olympics.  Business is a kind of sport, and as such some sense of “rules” applied “fairly” is the critical difference between an efficient market and exploitation.

That’s what makes the business of sports both fascinating and raw at the same time it is dreadfully dull.  While completing the obvious connections, the business of running a professional team drains the passion from the moments that make the highlight shows and endless banter worth watching.

Which gets us to the NFL Referee’s lockout– about the most boring story in the world until one seriously blown call.

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Blood & Money, On Ice

No matter how bad it looks, those in charge find a way to make it even worse.  Like a pack of ravenous dogs, they are snarling over the last scraps of meat rather than get together to work things out.  It’s as if they don’t care that it’s all coming down to a dark, bitter end – each wants their own piece and damn the rest.

I’m not writing about the US Congress or anything so big.  This is the state of the National Hockey League (NHL).  The owners and players are in the process of taking a $1.87B per year league down to zero – for the second time in eight years.  Why they can’t just let them strap on skates and beat each other bloody to get it out of their systems before the real negotiations begin, I don’t know.

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Globalizing the Depression

One of the great features of this global economic slowdown, which I call a Depression, is that it has not been genuinely global.  The developed world – US, Europe, UK, and Japan –  have been mired in slow growth and dogged unemployment for at least four years.  While Europe enjoyed a small boom when the Euro took hold in the 2000s, much of it was fueled by government debt.  The US has not performed well since 9/11 despite an ocean of red ink from Washington.  But the BRIC nations – Brasil, Russia, India, and China – have enjoyed reasonable growth and a net improvement in resilience and stability.

Until now, that is.  The slowdown is finally hitting everyone.  What this might mean is very hard to tell.

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Idiot Diet

We’ve been too serious lately – and I need a break.  This re-run is a fave of mine,  we’ll be back live on Friday.

People diet for a lot of reasons.  Some want to lose weight and others just want to be healthier.  Many of the big fads seem to be more of a social thing, something people do with friends when there isn’t anything good on teevee.

It’s hard to call yourself a real blogger if you don’t write about a diet at some point, so it’s high time for the Barataria approach to better living.  It’s called the “Idiot Diet”, and it’s very simple – never eat anything you don’t understand.

This can cause a lot of trouble if you know something about food already, since a little knowledge is often a dangerous thing.  But with time the harmony of mind and body will set you free with a developing sense of smugness that makes a good stand-in for health in a pinch.

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