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 [ BACK]  [NEXT]                       Issue #062 - 10/19/1997


Money, Finance and other Mysteries of the Universe...

Hello again, fellow debtors,
     One of the primary rules of writing is to write what you
know.  That makes it hard for me to write about money, because my
money never seems to stay around long enough to become friendly. 
We've all heard that money talks - and that may be true - but all
mine ever says is, "Goodbye!"  It used to be that you could count
on banks for two things, an imposing building downtown and a
cheap calendar every New Year.  Now most of the banks are huge
multi-national conglomerates.  There are no more local banks. 
After the latest merger, you may find that the bank on the corner
is the 'First Supreme Bank of the Known Universe',  which is
financed by a the Canadian affiliate of a Dutch corporation with
headquarters conveniently located in Paraguay.  These banks like
to impress you with numbers like 'Over $7 billion in assets.' 
Makes it really difficult for their ads to convince me that they
_really_care_ about the $247.83 in my checking account.
     I love to listen to economic predictions, but I don't really
understand them.  As far as I can see, economics seems to be the
only area where two people can share a Nobel Prize while
predicting the exact opposite.  Listening to the economists, we
find out that there are only three possibilities: either things
will get worse; they will continue as they have; or they will
improve.  Sometimes one market forecast will predict two of these
possibilities at the same time.  Could it be that economists were
just invented to make weather forecasters seem more accurate?
     I always try to give credit to our SUNFUN contributors, this
week including: Antonia Chan, Caterina Sukup, Paul Roser, Jerry
Taff, Bob Martens, Sarah & Jeff Morsman, Carol Becwar and Beth
Butler.  I know I can always count on you for contributions and
I'll always be in your debt.  Now, on we charge to Money and
     Have a great week!


[ An off-topic start this week, but I couldn't resist! ]

     Once upon a time, there were three bears:  Papa Bear, Mama
Bear, and Baby Bear.  Papa Bear and Mama Bear were getting a
divorce.  The court had to decide who Baby Bear should live with.
     The judge asks Baby Bear, "Do you want to live with Mama
     "OH NO!" exclaimed Baby Bear.  "Mama Bear beats me very
     The judge was obviously surprised by this, and responded,
"Well, then, would you like to go and live with Papa Bear?"
     "OH NO!," exclaimed Baby Bear.  "Papa Bear beats me even
worse than Mama Bear!"
     The judge then asked, "Baby Bear, who would you like to live
with, then?"
     Baby Bear responded, "I want to go and live with the Chicago
Bears.  They don't beat anyone!"

          [ And the Baby Bear lived happily ever after. 
          In Chicago.  Well, I did say this was a fairy
          tale... ]



   A quick guide to political economics:

   FEUDALISM:  You have two Cows.  Your lord takes some of the

   FASCISM:  You have two cows.  The government takes both, hires
          you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

   PURE SOCIALISM:  You have two cows.  The government takes them
          and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows.  You
          have to take care of all the cows.  The government
          gives you as much milk as you need.

   PURE COMMUNISM:  You have two cows.  Your neighbors help you
          take care of them, and you all share the milk.

   BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM:  You have two cows. The government
          takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's
          cows.  They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers.  You
          have to take care of the chickens the government took
          from the chicken farmers.  The government gives you as
          much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you
          should need.

   RUSSIAN COMMUNISM:  You have two cows.  You have to take care
          of them, but the government takes all the milk.

   PURE DEMOCRACY:  You have two cows.  Your neighbors vote to
          decide who gets the milk.

   REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY:  You have two cows.  You and your
          neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

   AMERICAN DEMOCRACY:  The government promises to give you two
          cows if you vote for it.  After the election, the
          president is investigated for speculating in cow

   CAPITALISM: You have two cows.  You sell one and buy a bull.

   HONG KONG CAPITALISM:  You have two cows.  You sell one of
          them to your publicly listed company, using letters of
          credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then
          execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general
          offer so that you get four cows back, with a tax
          deduction for keeping five cows.  The milk rights of
          six cows are transferred via a Cayman Islands company
          secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells
          the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed
          company.  The annual report says that the company owns
          eight cows, with an option on one more.  Meanwhile, you
          kill the original two cows because the feng shui 
          [ Chinese fortune ] is bad.

   TOTALITARIANISM:  You have two cows.  The government takes
          them and denies they ever existed.  Milk is banned.

   ANARCHISM:  You have two cows.  Either you sell the milk at a
          fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take
          the cows.

   DICTATORSHIP:  You have two cows.  The government takes both
          and shoots you.

   SURREALISM: You have two giraffes.  The government requires
          you to take harmonica lessons.


     A woman we know was signing the receipt for a credit card
purchase when the clerk noticed that she had never signed her
name on the back of her credit card.  The clerk then informed the
woman that the transaction couldn't be completed unless the card
was signed.
     When our friend asked why, the clerk explained that it was
necessary to compare the signature on the credit card with the
signature just signed on the receipt.
     So our friend signed the credit card in front of the clerk.
Then the clerk carefully compared that signature to the one signed
on the receipt.  As luck would have it, they matched.


     One guy here on the net got a credit card bill stating that
he owed $0.00.  He just looked at it and threw it away.  Then the
next month he got another bill for $0.00.  He ignored it again.
     A month later he received a very nasty note stating they
were going to cancel his credit card if he didn't send them
$0.00.  He called the card company and they said they'd take care
of it.
     The following month he tried to charge something and
couldn't.  He called the credit card company who again said
they'd take care of it.  The next day he got his bill for $0.00
stating that he was behind in his payments.
     The man figured the credit card company would take care of
it, so he didn't worry.  The next month he got another bill for
$0.00, this time stating that he had 10 days to pay or his
account was going to collection.
     So he mailed the credit card company a check for $0.00, and
the credit card company's computer processed it, noting that his
account was now paid in full.


     A man was walking along a road in the countryside and came
across a shepherd herding a huge flock of sheep.  The man told
the shepherd, "I'll bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I
can tell you the exact number in this flock."  The shepherd
thought it over; it was a large flock, so he took the bet. 
"973," said the man. The shepherd was astonished, because that
was exactly right.
     "OK, I'm a man of my word, take your sheep," the shepherd
said.  The man picked one up and began to walk away.
     "Wait," cried the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get
even.  Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation."
The man said that was fair enough.  "You are an economist for the
government, right?" said the shepherd.  "Amazing!" responded the
man, "You are exactly right!  But tell me, how did you know
     "Well," said the shepherd, "put down my dog and I'll tell


     Workers at one Russian company are not being paid in money,
they're instead being paid in bras and underwear.  Like most of
the rest of Russia, the company is going through financial
problems and doesn't have the cash to meet its payroll. 
Strangely, the employees earn more this way, since the goods
can be bartered. (Reuters)


     Police in the Czech Republic town of Jablonec are searching
for an exceptional counterfeiter; one that has a sense of humor. 
The scam artist produces excellent 1,000 crown bills (worth about
$30).  Bank employees only discovered that the bills were forged
when they noticed that the legend on the bills that is supposed
to say, "Forging of notes will be prosecuted in accordance with
the law", instead read: "This note is fake."


     A Czech psychiatrist worked for months to cure a patient of
the delusion that he was going to inherit a fortune from a
mysterious American uncle.  Finally, the patient was cured of
this ridiculous notion.  The day after the man was released from
the hospital as cured, he received a telegram informing him that
a cousin had died in the United States, and left him 70 thousand
          [ Think he paid his doctor bill? ]

© 1997 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.