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Jan 15 2010, near Kwangju (not the big one down south), S Korea

Two weeks ago I casually commented to Marcella that I hoped we’d have a real winter this year, and not the inch or two of snow here and there we’d had the last two years here in Seoul.  And I gestured with my hand, indicating a foot or so.  Ask and you shall receive, and a few days later came a storm which dropped 6 inches overnight, greeting us as we peeked out the window with a quiet soft cover over everything.  As the day went on another 6 or more inches fell, bringing the city to a halt.  See here for some pics.  Later on saw in the news that this was a record for Seoul since they started keeping records.  And since, it’s been very cold, freezing over the vast width of the Han river, and breaking more records.  It’ll keep the LPG gas guy running too.  Second day of this, Marcella slipped on some side-walk ice, and banged her butt good, and after a check indicated no fracture she’s been hobbled and taking it easy on doc’s orders.   For me – except for yesterday when I went skiing for the first time in 17 years (minor falls twice in 4 hours) – it kept my nose to the computer screen, finalizing Swimming in Nebraska, which in turn begot a “nein, danke” from the Berlin Forum, to which I’d sent a not-too-rough edit.   Another film for no one?  On the other hand Parable, having gone begging the last 18 months of rejection notices, finally got asked to one (well, it did go to the Split, Croatia one), the San Jose Maverick festival.  I was the focus of their first one, 20 years ago.  Now banged up by 2 decades of mostly off-the-radar filmic existence, they invited me back.  If they pop for a ticket, we’ll go and see some friends in Bay Area.  If not, perhaps a trip to Philippines.

Other news includes that Yonsei has made clear they want me back another academic year, so we’re signed on to July 2011.  Given the increasingly grim economic news from US and Europe, I guess it’s a good thing to have a job.

Lloyd Blankfein, Jimmie Dimon, John Mack, Brian Moynihan

Appearing before the US Congress were the above, alleged Masters of their various Universes – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America – and said almost nothing of import, intelligence or interest.  Each of them having participated in the vast fiscal rip-off of the last decade and more, and its subsequent collapsing of the US economy (don’t worry, there’s lots more collapsing coming) are to waltz off in the coming month with massive bonuses from their corporate fiefdoms, all of which magically are surging in profits while America lays on its back from the knock-out punches delivered by globalization, Reaganite economics, Bush tax-cuts, and all the rest of the hocus pocus that has funneled the wealth of America into the select hands of still fewer persons and stripped the majority of Americans of their jobs, 401-K’s, wealth, homes and perhaps self-respect.

Goldman Sachs is expected to pay its employees an average of about $595,000 apiece for 2009, one of the most profitable years in its 141-year history. Workers in the investment bank of JPMorgan Chase stand to collect about $463,000 on average.

For a little scoop on how these folks live – though the half mil apiece is chump change compared to the 70+ million Blankfein will get in bonuses this year for himself, and the 40+ million for the next down the totem pole –  see this. For all their “work.”

Ah, but it’s an old story in America, and as Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”   America is full of them, and as is said, “they’re laughing all the way to the bank.”

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One Comment

  1. A Little Bit of Kimchee to Jon’s Main Dish:

    Distinguished Gentleman Bankers: Look to the colleague banker next to you, to your left or to your right, look carefully and estimate the sum-total costs of your colleague’s haircut, his tie, his shirt, his suit, his shoes, and his watch, and multiply that number by 40 in your heads, and tell me what it is.

    I have a number in mind. If your number exceeds my number, you win the prize behind the door named “Bernie”; if your number does not exceed my number, you get the prize behind the door named “Pitch Fork.” Numbers and risk management experts that you all are, you shouldn’t need more than 10 seconds to get at your number.

    Now, let’s go gentlemen, add your numbers up!


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