A four-letter word

“Risk is what’s left over after you think you’ve thought of everything.” Carl Richards.   What is risk ? James Ball in his piece 'Anatomy of a fiasco: how Britain's pandemic defences failed' for The Spectator offers, essentially, one currently relevant practical example: "In October, a panel of 21 experts from across the world…

On wealth, greed and happiness

“I was once asked, at a journalism conference, how I defined my job. I said: My job is to write the exact same thing between 50 and 100 times a year in such a way that neither my editors nor my readers will ever think I am repeating myself. “That’s because good advice rarely changes, while markets change constantly. The temptation to pander…

A Year to Remember ?

“Andrews: “The pumps are keeping the water down in this boiler room, but the first five compartments are flooding.” Captain Smith: “Well, what’s the answer ?” Andrews: “She’s going to sink, Captain.” Captain Smith: “But.. She can’t sink. She’s unsinkable.” Andrews: “She can’t float. Look.. She could float with…

EMH ? WTF ?

“My son just told me that he can only play @FortniteGame in the evening... because half of his squad started trading. He is 10. @RobinhoodApp #TrueStory” Tweet from Joseph S. Mauro (@jsmauro13), 11th June 2020.     “Dave Portnoy, an internet celebrity, has posted daily trolling videos about his profits from the rally to…

We are all Ozymandias

“Wendell: ‘It’s a mess, ain’t it, sheriff ?’   Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: ‘If it ain’t, it’ll do ‘til a mess gets here.’”   Cormac McCarthy, No country for old men.

Pet Rock Star

“About one hundred years ago, John Ruskin told the story of a man who boarded a ship carrying his entire wealth in a large bag of gold coins. A terrible storm came up a few days into the voyage and the alarm went off to abandon ship. Strapping the bag around his waist, the man went up on deck, jumped overboard, and promptly sank to the bottom of the…

Three little words

“As I’ve written in past memos, I have an indelible recollection of the first book I read as a Wharton freshman in 1963. The book was Decisions Under Uncertainty: Drilling Decisions by Oil and Gas Operators by C. Jackson Grayson, Jr. (who in 1971 would take on the role of “price czar” in the Nixon administration’s efforts to get inflation…

The Covid-19 Crisis in Movie Quotes

“Nobody knows anything.”   The opening line from Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman.   On the back of last week’s commentary by way of lines from John Carpenter’s The Thing, this week’s commentary is comprised, more or less entirely, of movie quotes.

Man is the warmest place to hide

Of all of John Carpenters’ films, his 1982 offering The Thing may still be his most under-rated. A remake of 1951’s The Thing from Another World, by way of a treatment from Bill Lancaster (son of Burt), the film pits the team of a US research station in Antarctica against a shape-shifting alien recently thawed out from the permafrost, able to replicate…

Bug Tussle

Science, said Max Planck, advances one funeral at a time. More precisely, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”