Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Sarcasm Report v.133

CenturyLink sent me junk mail today.

WITH AN INTERNET ENGINEERED TO DO JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING and a low price guaranteed for 5 years, why wait?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the fine print.

CenturyLink may change, cancel, or substitute offers and services including Locked-In Offer or vary them by service area, at its sole discretion without notice.


Stagflationary Mark said...

Here are a few bonus thoughts.

Our High-Speed Internet was built with all the connection speed you'll ever need...

CenturyLink assures me that we've reached Peak Technology. I had no idea! No wonder I am so bearish!

Streaming live, two-way video conversation is as simple as setting up a time to talk with family or friends.

It must use magic. The computer I'm using right now doesn't have a video camera and my mother's computer doesn't even exist, lol.

Why settle for the same old runaround you've come to expect from cable?

Believe it or not, the idea of getting an entirely new runaround doesn't appeal to me as much as you might think.

Audrey said...

I wonder if people have always been lying to each other like they are lying to you through CenturyLink headline vs fine print? Does it ebb and flow? Or is it particularly rampant right now?

dearieme said...

A nice variant in Britain is to send you Terms and Conditions in a print so small that it's virtually impossible to read.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Or is it particularly rampant right now?

I'm probably not the most objective person to ask. The biggest deceptions I could see with my own eyes (as opposed to the eyes of others) have happened in the last 15 years. I am therefore more cynical than I once was.

1. I worked at Cendant when massive fraud hit there.

2. I turned bearish in 2004 based on reading unethical mortgage offers filling my mailbox (the pain was found in the fine print).

Before 1995 I was quite possibly blissfully ignorant of most of the lies going on around me. *shrug shoulders*

How do you overcome cynicism as you get older?

The first answer to that question is pretty good. Here's an excerpt.

I have learned over the years that I can't control everything that happens. I can only control what I do. So; the old cliche "Plan for the worst, hope for the best" seems to work well for me.

This has been a fantastic era to plan for the worst. I seem to be doing it every day, lol. Sigh.

(I find gallows humor helps control the effects of justifiable cynicism.)

Stagflationary Mark said...


A nice variant in Britain is to send you Terms and Conditions in a print so small that it's virtually impossible to read.

Your fine print technnology does appear to be superior to ours, lol.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if people have always been lying to each other..."

I can't be sure about always but I can tell you for certain that it's been rampant since 1913.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Nice, lol.

Audrey said...

You guys might appreciate this - in 1993 (the year or so before you turned bearish, Mark), I was asked by an economics teacher if I wanted to enter an essay contest. The topic was something like: "Has the Fed Reserve Bank had a positive impact on the U.S.?" I wrote the thing (naturally I chose the affirmative, thinking that would help me win). I won second place - in the state (TX) - I won a savings bond. Now I look back and see I was producing my own personal propoganda?! How clever are they!

Stagflationary Mark said...


Congrats on winning second place in the state. That's quite the accomplishment!

Was it 1993 or 2003? For the record I turned bearish in 2004. I was quite the bull in 1993. Things were going fantastic then, even at my place of employment. I was extremely optimistic about the future. If memory serves (too lazy to check my records), that was the very year that I made an investment in Wizards of the Coast (that led to my retirement).

I think if I was to enter a similar essay contest now then I too would write it in the affirmative in hopes that it would allow me to win. I'd probably try to stick some sarcasm in there though, just to spice things up a bit.

Has the Fed Reserve Bank had a positive impact on the U.S.?

Absolutely. Not only does the Fed direct our economy at "essentially no cost" but it also has the power of a comet. It has a meaningfully deep impact on the very stability of our banking system. Without the wise stewardship of a central bank, the lifeblood of our economy would be prone to bubbles, malinvestments, and excessive debt.

Adolf Hitler once said, "There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."

And that one man should continue to be the Fed Chairman. Only he can see what others can't. Only he can avert disaster before it is too late. Only he deserves our undying loyalty.

Heil Bernanke! Heil, mein Bankier! Sieg Heil!


Nazi salute

Currently, use of this form of greeting constitutes a criminal offense in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Depending on the circumstances, the greeting might constitute a criminal offense in Sweden as a hate speech act.

Hate speech? I love the Fed! Can't get enough. Surely there should be exceptions to the rule based on sarcastic intent. ;)

Audrey said...

I mis-typed.
You are right - bearish in 2004.
In 1993 I was also blissfully ignorant, but I also was in 2004, sadly. Really it's only been in this last couple of years that I've started having my doubts about the sanctity of the wise financial peoples.

Surely you'd win first with this essay.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Really it's only been in this last couple of years that I've started having my doubts about the sanctity of the wise financial peoples.

My [banking] sister asked me what I thought of Greenspan in the late 1990s. I must confess that I thought he was doing a pretty good job.

I also told her that I'd rather own banks than have my money in banks. Fortunately, I awoke from my blissful slumber in 2004 (well before the banks fell apart).

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. - Charles Mackay

Audrey, thanks for confirming my suspicions that it applies to women as well! ;)

Audrey said...


I would like to think that I've come to my senses - and in fact, I always had a suspicion that I was a little crazy, but now I think I'm a sane one, and the world is crazy, and I'm a much calmer person.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid. - Heinrich Heine

The world is insane. It is the lucid moments that I worry about, lol. ;)

Anonymous said...

"I made an investment in Wizards of the Coast (that led to my retirement)."

This company was "in your backyard" so to speak. Do you think you would have known of it and invested had you lived in, say, New Jersey, on the opposite side of the country?

Stagflationary Mark said...


I would definitely not have known about it. It took more than just being "in my backyard" too.

I played Pinochle with an art director there on a regular basis.

He mentioned one day that they were looking for investors but I was not interested. I just didn't see any games that inspired me all that much.

I think a year or two passed. He showed me their current product (the card game) and I thought it was awesome. It hadn't hit the shelves yet.

I asked if they were still open to investors. They were.

I asked if they had a business plan. I was given one. I took it home and read through it. I thought it would do much better than the plan suggested.

I gave the president a check in my friend's basement. There was a whole lot of trust involved. I didn't even get a receipt (other than my cancelled check).

A month or so later I got a bonus where I worked. I invested all of that too.

I was very fortunate/lucky.

Here's another reason I was lucky. I was forced to hold the investment for 5 years. Had it been a public company I would have been tempted to take more profits sooner (if only to lock in gains and diversify).

Anonymous said...

"I was very fortunate/lucky."

With a little "Magic" thrown in for good measure ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...


One day I walked into a game store to see how the product was selling.

I saw a guy buy some cards with cash. He opened up the packages. He apparently did not find the cards he was looking for.

He then went back to the aisle and picked up some more cards. He paid for those with a credit card. He turned to me and said, "Magic plastic."

True story. Talk about a harbinger for what was to come.

One might say that the "Illusion of Prosperity" has a bit of debt-based magic in it. Sigh.