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Stock In Trade
7.17.2002 by Dan, every Monday.

If you've been following the news lately, then you've noticed one thing in particular: Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton have split up.

Yes, this is headline news in America, where the news media reports on, say, Liza Minelli stubbing her toe, the way any other country's news media would report on the entire planet catching fire. Because in America, we of the general public are fascinated by things that are both largely irrelevant to the world at large and none of our damned business as well. In contrast, Canada's news is always extremely important and relevant to those it serves, in that it consists largely of the latest updates in frostbite research and the most up-to-date list of those eaten by polar bears.

(Before I am deluged by angry e-mails explaining in great detail how Canada is not a frozen wasteland and that I am an idiot, let me say that I already know. [I already know that Canada is not a frozen wasteland, that is, not that I am an idiot (though my high school English teacher may wish to debate that)] I had the opportunity to visit Canada when I was sixteen, and I must say it looked positively lovely through the car window, as my dad refused to stop for anything, including the place where the road was closed because a bridge had collapsed.)

If you pay a lot of attention to the news, however, you might have noticed that the American stock market is currently undergoing what many analysts are calling a "big hoopty-hoo." It should be noted that those particular analysts are livestock judges.

But even livestock judges, when sober, are aware of the unfortunate fallout of scandals involving large corporations such as Enron and Worldcom grossly misrepresenting profits, claiming income of several billion dollars when the truth was that collection agency goons were trying to pry the gold fillings from the teeth of various VPs.
The CEOs were sheepish. "Boy, is my face red!" said Kenneth Lay. "We sure messed up big this time! I sure do feel bad about those retirement funds. Oh well, I'm sure my golden parachute will help ease my pain."

Needless to say, so I'm typing it, this caused great upheavals in the stock market. Of course, everything causes great upheavals in the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average once rose sixteen points when it was revealed that Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley had split up. But this one really stunned investors, and not just because none of them knew how to react to something actually relevant to the stock market. They were dumbfounded. Major corporations were behaving unethically! Obviously, such a shocking, unprecedented revelation turned the financial world upside-down.

Stocks went down, then back up. Then back down again. Then sideways. Then, off to the Met for a relaxing evening, then off to the Bahamas for a torrid weekend with newly available singer Britney Spears. So it's been a very tumultuous time for the stock market, which before had only to deal with the stocks occasionally going out drinking with the boys.

So what does the future hold? Only time will tell, it seems. (Spears claims baby belongs to Dow, stocks flee country) One can only hope, if another crash does come about, that we get another exciting episode of stock brokers flinging themselves from high windows, just like in 1929. But don't worry too much; everything will return to normal just as soon as large corporations get ethical.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a few jars to bury in my back yard.

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