my efforts to introduce freudianism to financial market analysis land me in ibiza for five days!


okay – i admit that i stretched the truth a bit in my last post, but only a bit. i do not speak in a beautiful irish tenor, though several women have told me i do speak in a nice tenor voice, but my admittedly unorthodox proposal regarding researching portfolio managers did get a mixed reaction, and get me all-expenses-paid to Ibiza for five days, sans dogs, sans partner, with the result that i am now temporarily less white and, more permanently, now and forever loathe drunken tourists from england. michel houellebecq’s observations in his novel lanzarote seem to me to be wholly on the mark: 
It is apparent that the Englishman is not motivated by a keen appetite for discovery. Indeed, one may observe that he is not interested in architecture, landscapes, in anything whatsoever. In the early evening, after a short trip to the beach, he is to be found drinking bizarre cocktails.
drunken english tourists: right fuckin’ wankers & tossers they are. 


in which I create in another workplace contretemps—and emerge even further ahead!

last week i distributed in a meeting what I thought was a well-reasoned argument for engaging in more quantitative, metrics-based evaluation of fund managers, as well as some qualitative researched informed by the academic discipline known as “depth psychology.” (none of that dr. phil crap for us. we’re serious over here). It seemed to me that bernie madoff provides the perfect example of the highly-driven portfolio manager with whom we should be investing over the short-term – in other words, a manager for the investor looking for the quick “in-and-out” market opportunity.  Much of my analysis was based on recent allegations made against madoff regarding his person and his character. remember – we’re here to make money, so one’s own ethical reservations should be held in check.

i began the meeting by reading statements made by madoff’s former mistress, sheryl weinstein, in her recent book, intriguingly entitled madoff’s other secret, which contains much crucial material, salacious though it may seem to those not as market-minded as me,  about her alleged affair with the ponzi-scheming madoff. mrs weinstein’s words, courtesy of the n.y. daily news, as read aloud in my own beautiful irish tenor voice (although I see know I should have attempted to mimic weinstein’s “new yawker” timbre):


this man was not well-endowed… bernie had a very small penis. not only was it on the short side, it was small in circumference. that he was now pointing it out to me was telling. it clearly caused him great angst. i wanted to be careful how i responded. men and their penises have a strange and unique relationship…  liked this man and didn’t want to emasculate him. his tiny penis hadn’t prevented me from climaxing… when we made love, i was on fire…


incredibly, no one in the room could realize the brilliance of what I was proposing! i guess they were all tired from watching so you think you can dance or whatever shit they do at night.

i explained in laborious detail that all we had to do was assign an investigator to research the private lives of some of our prospective portfolio managers, interview their ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, even their mothers … maybe offer the manager’s g.p. or urologist a small cash honorarium for divulging a couple of facts about said manager’s anatomy, and soon we would be in a position assemble a roster of highly motivated managers adept at the art of the quick turn-around, the so-called “in-and-out” market manager.


remember, i told my slow-on-the-uptake colleagues, in freud’s world, everybody is always compensating for something


based on the venerable english legal maxim that “silence implies consent,” i figured that i had the go-ahead to begin getting quotes from private investigators and corporate security firms. i mean, i am dealing with people who think that the quality of street musicians or attractiveness of waitresses in mid-priced restaurants are reliable economic indicators… who think that mutual fund fees are reasonable!


alas, long story short, my boss approached me with the news that this initiative of mine was considered “a non-starter – some senior people think it is at odds with our brand values of ethics and professionalism… but surprisingly a number of the folks in design liked it.”  she then broached the idea of a “working vacation — and the company will pay for it! there’s a conference in ibiza we’d like you to attend. take a friend and stay a few extra days. take your dog if you want.”

in which i discover that sweet are the uses of adversity as i slowly go deaf, er, “hearing impaired”

yet another snitch line from big brother!

my growing deafness and fading eyesight continue to offend and embarrass

My failing senses of vision and hearing continue to perplex others and embarrass me.  (As does my habit of forgetting to mark as “Private” the more sensitive information I post here).

Sadly, so much business wisdom falls on deaf ears


In a recent business meeting, while staring out the window and trying very hard to stay in my safe space if you must know, it is under the desk of my Grade Two home room teacher, Miss Ryder (first name Lacey, thereby making her full name something very Ian Flemingish, like “Honey Rider” or “Pussy Galore”) I registered a sudden abatement in the level of sonic pain I typically suffer during waking hours.  After a while I seriously considered opening my eyes, and risking a look at my boss, when I realized: she has actually stopped talking! Here was my chance. I ventured a curt “Well, if that will be all, I’ll be on my way,” and I staggered out of my chair (my legs had wisely decided to fall asleep), down the hall, and back to the relative safety of my cube. A few minutes later my boss appeared at my desk, interrupting my web surfing, and giggled out “That was soo funny  it really looked like you just got up in the middle of my presentation like you thought it was over and just walked out! Everybody’s in hysterics! And the way you almost fell out of your chair  it looked like you’d just woken up! You could be an actor!… Anyway, come on back to the meeting and I’ll take everybody through Part Two.Then we’ll break and do Parts Three and Four over the lunch hour.”  

I return to the island to atone for the sin of telling the truth

Yet realizing one has this sort of aural infirmity has its uses – provided you make certain everyone knows you suffer from it. This afternoon I attended Ward Island with my brother coerced there, actually, in an effort to make amends to the hurt feelings of the crazed Hungarian Zsa-Zsa wannabe whom I code-named Bella Lugosi in a recent post.  My brother and I appeared at her cottage door, which she actually opened before he could rap the cast-iron beaver (what else?) which she has in lieu of a doorbell (I remain resolute and steadfast that I will never touch Bella’s knocker(s)).  About halfway through the extended explanation my brother was giving Bella for my recent posting (“he’s always had a fertile imagination, as well as a mean streak a mile wide, and not much common sense, and besides, what he wrote wasn’t about you…”) inspiration struck me, just as Bella was importuning me with her plaintive “Is that true, Peter?  It wasn’t about me?” I decided to nod my head yes, then shake it no, then gruffly state “Well, if you have to go pee, I’d better excuse myself.”  Which I did, with considerable alacrity and total lack of manners.  


Later, while lying on the beach and reading a Dorothy B. Hughes novel, my brother caught up with me and began berating me in a voice loud enough to catch the attention of everyone within a twenty-yard radius. Finally I screamed “But she had to go pee! Of course I left. What the hell did you hang around for?”   


Later still this brother again interrupted my reading with the latest gossip he had acquired on the sexual peccadilloes of aunts and uncles and all variety of cousins near and far. Because I don’t care about whose fucking who, I decided to push this “I’m- going-deaf-thing” ever further. In an inappropriately loud voice I announced that I was going for a walk, and then strolled up and down the beach, sipping Scotch from a Dr. Pepper can.  


Strangely, on the walk I thought I recognized someone whose wife once told me would definitely kill me if he knew he could get away with it. Quite a nice guy, actually, in spite of his avowed hatred of me (and I think he may be the guy who yells “Cunt!” at me when driving past me in traffic). Anyway, I’m not sure if it was this guy or not. I was pretty sure that when he looked at me he smirked and said “Hello, Peter” but the thing is, I can’t be sure. For all I know, he was someone I had never seen before and had simply asked me for the time, or commented on the weather. Anyone with normal vision and hearing in my position would have seen and heard everything with crystalline clarity, BUT NOT ME!  I think it was the former friend’s husband who hates me, but I’ve learned in the last eight months that unless I am within five feet of someone, I really have no idea who they are.  It’s gotten so bad I can mistake a life-size cardboard cutout of a celebrity for the real McCoy. However, pride prevents me from wearing my glasses in public. So I gamely ventured a faint smile and nod and walked on, enjoying the waves washing over my feet and the Scotch washing down my throat. 



After a while I decided I had better head back, lest my brother steal my wallet or car keys, and I once again passed by the husband-figure, who was lying down and reading no doubt a technical manual on television placeshifting technology or something equally germane to “the Human Condition,” as Hannah Arendt ponderously puts it. 



I made a concerted effort to see if this young man was indeed the hate-filled husband (if it was, I planned on doing the decent thing and leaving the island forthwith, so as not to cause the fellow and his wife any more consternation), but I simply couldn’t tell… the guy looked at me and maybe smirked again, and I began to wonder if it was not the husband at all but just some lonely gay man looking for companionship. As it was, I was now almost out of Scotch, I had no idea if I had just offended or creeped out a blameless person (after all, who can blame him or anyone  for hating me? I can’t!), or innocently encouraged the attentions of a lonelyheart, so I decided to go back to my towel and read some  more of my book, provided my brother hadn’t stolen them. 


Well, Bella et alia including my half-witted brother and the husband or not-a-husband-but-rather-a-gay-man  on the off chance any of you read this what can I say?


It’s not my fault!


I am going deaf!



Hate the handicap, not the handicapped!  



i remember . . .

From the Too Much Money & Too Little Purpose Dept.:  I removed another 300 –odd books from my home office in preparation for the new hardwood flooring.  Goodbye, Carlos Fuentes! Ta-ta, Octavio Paz. I hope you enjoy life in my filthy stinking recycling bin! You taco-bending burrito boys shouldn’t have tried to rise above your station in life and aspire to be like me, a true Norte Americano writer-genius! (Not to mention that I am also an ill-educated & charmless monoglottal vulgarian).   

Addie sez: I love the smell of Coppertone in
the morning. It smells like –  Vicky, the annoying
brat I aim to bite but good.  

A  Proustian moment (or my impoverished version thereof): The smell of suntan lotion always makes me think of the novels of Harold Robbins.  I remember an afternoon at the beach when I was eight or nine years old… I’d been out swimming by myself (who would let their kid do that these days?) and came ashore only to find that my family had abandoned me, though the car and the towels and chairs were still there. Cool! I thought – this is kind of like one of those ghost boats they find floating in the Bermuda Triangle.  After a while the novelty of reflecting light from my brother’s watch crystal into the eyes of the other beachgoers wore off, so I idly read a few pages at random in my mother’s suntan lotion-soiled copy of The Carpetbaggers.  Baffled, I wondered aloud to my fellow beach attendees:  “Why is she reading this? Why would anyone read this? I only read books that have UFOs or dinosaurs or Nazis in them!”  No response was forthcoming from the stupefied sun-worshippers around me.  After a while, the resounding silence to my questions put me in mind of the comments about the residents of central Ontario made by my brother just that morning on the drive to the beach – hmm, even though they’re grownups, maybe they can’t read…  why do they all have Toronto Maple Leafs towels? Having not yet attained the Age of Reason, I could not, on that sun-soaked afternoon so long ago, compute the permutations and combinations of possible narratives involving dinosaurs, UFOs and Nazis. But I could – and did – check out the breasts on the hot blonde lying next to me. Now I only read books with nicely-breasted blondes, and/or Nazis, UFOs and dinosaurs. So it goes.



my island adventure! or saved by sunlight from bella lugosi

it’s summer time and the living is… sleazy?
in which i reveal my regrettable propinquity for exemplifying h. l. mencken’s axiom that a puritan is someone who can’t stand the thought that somebody somewhere is having a good time! 
but if i can’t, why should they? 


Me? There? With you? Not in this lifetime, Bella!  

Yesterday afternoon was – excepting Christmas – the first time since April 2008 when for a four- or five-hour stretch I did not have to be at the beck and call of someone who can’t write or think but has of course acquired a degree or two in business administration and is therefore in a position of responsibility over those lesser-gifted people who can reason, can write, can execute… so I started wandering around the city’s downtown to enjoy a beautiful sunny summer afternoon.  


I decided to take a Friend up on the offer of coffee or alcohol if I stopped by his workplace towards the end of the week. After presenting my name & credentials to the apparently teenaged and mildly-retarded receptionist at Friend’s studio, I discovered that Friend’s Wife had just arrived moments before me. Well, some other time, I started to say, but together Friend & Friend’s Wife persuaded me to accompany them to Ward’s Island, where Friend’s Wife’s Friend has sequestered herself in a room to better throw paint on canvas or some similar retrograde exercise in self-expression. 


Having not seen this Friend for about six years until bumping into him a couple of weeks ago, I was slow to detect Friend’s further and apparently now irreversible descent into the depths of the local artistic demi-monde. Soon after arriving at this “Artist’s Colony,” as it was explained to me, Friend’s Wife and Friend’s Wife’s Friend suddenly expressed a keen interest in having Friend and me attend the beach – the clothing-optional beach – with them.  


“Ahem,” I started to extemporize, having just noticed with a sinking heart that Friend’s Wife’s Friend was now blocking the sole exit from this studio-boudoir, “I just remembered I’m about 100 pounds overweight and I hear the water is exceptionally freezing cold and let me just ask my wife is she thinks it’s okay if I …”  Luckily my Blackberry rang, and with soaring heart I said “that must be her now!”


Alas, it was some intern-type person (hired I think via our partnership with the Silly Twats Outreach Program) calling me from work with an “emergency.”


“Is this a bad time?” she asked. 


“Oh no, you’re quite right to call me on my vacation. I’m so glad you and the Human Resources department, who must have given you this number, feel comfortable in interrupting my day!… No, that’s not sarcasm, honestly, I am here to help 24/7…”


Meanwhile, I began moving with what I hoped was a not-too-contrived air of distraction towards the exit, now blockaded by Friend’s Wife’s Friend. 


Then Friend’s Wife’s Friend puts her hand on my shoulder.


Uh-oh, a Toucher!


Then the Muse of Memory, Mnemnosyne, decides to Play Dirty and She brings back to me the reasons why Friend’s Wife’s Friend, who was by now being overly-familiar herself, seemed so familiar in the first place. In an instant I realize I’ve met Friend’s Wife’s Friend before, several times in fact, while attending gallery openings involving the display and retailing of my brother’s, er, “Art.”  


With sinking spirits I recalled the weird conversation-openers she would toss at me when I’d find myself accosted by her on the street (“Hey, you’re just like your brother, but shorter… we could date?!”), the maniacal (matrimonial?) gleam in her eye as she would ask me if I am still married (if I say yes will she stab me with that hairpin?), et cetera.  


I ignore the nattering voice coming from my agitated colleague on the phone (what is her name? Something Spanish, I think…. Ignominia? Ignorania?)and turn to tell Friend I must depart posthaste due to an unexpected drop at the Mercantile Exchange, what with swine flu being found in sow’s bellies in Idaho, no, in fact, all across the greater mid-West!, only to see Friend’s Wife standing before me in a chaste and demure bathing costume constructed from dental floss and bits of cellophane, apparently designed by an enthusiast of publicly displayed (and somewhat greying) pubic hair.


“Well, tell Friend that I’ve got to go, no two ways about it, my Boss on the phone here is reminding me that Money Never Sleeps, the Market Never Rests and neither should I, and you know it was so very nice to see all of you again, and I do mean all, and good luck with your orgiastic revels at the beach, I’m sure with the garbage strike having just ended no one who goes in the water today will wind up pregnant tonight, or ever …” and then I shake off the pincer grip of Friend’s Wife’s Friend’s distressingly long fingers and even longer lacquered nails (blood red – what else?) on my shoulder and I am out the door, outside at last, safe in the sunlight from the vampiric Bella (her first name having come back to me at last, though her last name eludes me still, wait, I think it’s “Lugosi,” yeah, that sounds about right), so it’s bye-bye to Bella the blood-imbibing bohunk, and I am free! … but by this time Silly Twat has inexplicably decided to persevere with something for the first time in her life, so sadly she has not hung up on me and in fact is predictably enough thoroughly baffled by my parting comments to Friend et al. – “I’m not trying to get pregnant! And I’m not at the beach” she keeps insisting to me – and after about 10 minutes of detailed explanation I manage to have her understand that I was in fact speaking to someone else,  and not to her (why are people under 25 so hopelessly solipsistic? my fricking dogs known immediately when I’m talking to them and when I’m not!), and the “emergency” which has let me avoid once again the (literal?) shackles of Friend’s Wife’s Friend’s nefarious plans for me now comes to the fore… “No, the copy should say this fund will ‘complement’ your portfolio, not ‘compliment’ it…  think of it this way: funds don’t say nice things to portfolios, okay? Yes, I’m quite sure I’m right about this, don’t worry… okay, thanks for calling, Silly Twat, and you be sure to you have a nice weekend starting five seconds from now, since we all know you’ll be calling in sick on Friday.”  

After all this I wandered around for a while on the island by myself, but the spell was broken and my ambulatory reveries soon turned to the coposition of a letter to the mayor imploring him to cancel the 99-year-leases on the cottages occupied by these advocates of free love and medical marijuana… maybe some crypto-Mafioso “developers” could turn this little bit of Paradise into a Yuppies-only zone, meaning more tax revenues for you, Mr. Mayor! And how come there are no cars around? Just these little electric carts full of fading beatniks. Buy a car and drive to the gym, you saggy-fleshed fucks! 

As I was boarding the ferry back to real life I reflected that I had started out this afternoon mindful of Henry James’ famous dictum that the two most beautiful words in the English language are “summer afternoon”; I ended it with the recollection of Woody Allen’s observation that “the most beautiful words in the English language are not ‘I love you,’ but ‘it’s benign.'”


It’s benign?


No, it is not. The doctors just haven’t found it yet.






“shit, money and the word”: personal crap to be mulled over later

promotion made official.  found out my antics have inspired my co-workers to nickname me the heart-break kid. like gawd hisself, i will not be mocked: they will get theirs, the bastards! now more money is coming in… to do what with? no time to travel. maybe feed a kid in africa. clone my dogs. clone myself? ugh.

sadly, unless something drastic happens, i will continue sleep-walking through life until henry james’ “great good thing” comes for me.

got rid of 55 banker’s boxes of books last weekend: stuff like musty old penguin translations of tolstoy and dostoevsky, law books, the complete works of rick moody (first editions), about 2/3rds of kingsley amis’ output, books by alexander cockburn, robert fisk, christopher hitchens, econometrics, multiple sets of doris lessing’s the children of violence series and her canopus in argos: archives series…. When and where did I get all this stuff?… goodbye my never read various abridgements of gibbon, goodbye lesbian art in america, you were so good to me!, goodbye betty page books, bye-bye the novels of william gibson, au revoir screenplays by harold pinter, derek jarman and richard price, so long multiple copies of robert musil’s five women, good riddance my omnium gatherum of philip roth — goodbye, p-ro, you one shot wonder! admit it, you blew your wad on portnoy’s complaint… please stop writing novels about your dawning realization that you too will one day be dead… goodbye, my first edition of in cold blood, which my dogs pissed on, goodbye, 10 years’ worth of the new yorker (in boxes littered with mouse shit)….  goodbye all 1625-odd of you! you’re off to be reincarnated as toilet paper…. Shit! After all the money I spent on you over the last 30 years …  you put me in mind of pynchon’s famous “shit, money and the Word”:


The money seeping its way out . . .   what stayed at home in Berkshire went into timberland whose diminishing green reaches were converted acres at a clip into paper — toilet paper, banknote stock, newsprint — a medium or ground for shit, money, and the Word. . . . Shit, money, and the Word, the three American truths, powering the American mobility, claimed the Slothrops, clasped them for good to the country’s fate.



books, work, and the sons of erin

lunch with colleague today. she has published two short stories and has an agent shopping her book around.  urges me to write, but i insist i don’t have the discipline.

in the process of removing about 4,000 books from my garage. at some point i may have to stop buying books — perish the thought.

as for the job, the shame of having to work alongside the irish catholics! thank god grandpapa didn’t live to see this…