Economics

Even Easier Money on the Way

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Central bank policymakers conclude a two-day meeting, with their decision on interest rates expected at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Economists believe the Fed to lower its benchmark funds rate to 0.5%, which would be the lowest level on record, from its current level of 1%.

"The Fed is going to throw everything they have to not only reverse market psychology, but reverse the downward decline in economic activity," said Peter Cardillo, analyst for Avalon Partners.

More here. Twas easy money that got us into this mess, say the experts, and it'll be even easier money that gets us out:

We've lived through an era of easy money, in which we were allowed and even encouraged to spend without limits; to borrow instead of save….

Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.

More here. Any sort of short-term stimulation has given way to something like high-voltage massage, and a huge chunk of that is still in the pipeline (hold out until January 20 or so).

Our long national nightmare of inflationary pressures, unemployment, and nationalization of key industries is just starting. In the meantime, transfer those credit card balances to 0 percent cards for as long as possible.

Update: Via Bloomberg comes this story outlining the Fed's strategery, including a fight within the organization itself:

The Fed's Open Market Committee will probably cut the benchmark rate in half, to 0.5 percent, according to the median of 84 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The central bank may also signal plans to channel credit to businesses and consumers by further enlarging its $2.26 trillion of assets….

Fed policy makers disagree over the primary cause of the credit freeze. Central bank plans to buy $200 billion in consumer and small business loans and $600 billion in mortgage-backed securities suggest they consider rates remain high on home loans and credit cards because banks are unwilling to lend….

"My reading of current conditions is that bank lending is constrained more now by the supply of creditworthy borrowers than by the supply of bank capital," [Richmond Fed head Jeffrey] Lacker said in his [November 19] speech at the Cato Institute in Washington.

More here.

NEXT: The Fed's Binge

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  1. Meanwhile the TED spread is still 4+ times historical average, down from a spread of over 20 times historical average.

    All I can say is don’t by t-bonds.

  2. Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.

    I always like a good laugh to start my day.

  3. Short term real interest rates are over 6.5%, and consumer spreads are as wide as they ever have been. Where is the easy money?!?

  4. I’m buying ammo

  5. In the meantime, transfer those credit card balances to 0 percent cards for as long as possible.

    Because of the way the credit rating companies work, flipping credit card debt from one introductory rate to another over and over again is a good way to boost your score.

    Every time you do, you get credit for paying off a card; you get credit for having one more account; the ratio between your debt and total credit line gets smaller; and you get credit for a payment.

    In a sane world, doing that over and over would cause the credit card companies to put you on a blacklist, but instead, it makes them send you ever-better offers. Crazy.

  6. Where is the easy money?!?

    Right here, domo.

  7. In a sane world, doing that over and over would cause the credit card companies to put you on a blacklist, but instead, it makes them send you ever-better offers. Crazy.

    Only if they colluded. Since they expect you to become someone elses problem before reckoning day, it actually does make some sense in a begger-thy-neighboor sort of way.

  8. T-bonds trading 130-16/32’s and have a 4.5% coupon (issued last may for less than par) 30% return plus interest? much better than my 401k…

  9. Epi,

    I shall call you EZ-E from now on.

  10. “The Fed is going to throw everything they have to not only reverse market psychology, but reverse the downward decline in economic activity,” said Peter Cardillo, analyst for Avalon Partners.

    He said the Fed might also use unconventional methods to try and stabilize the economy, like buying Treasurys and corporate bonds.

    Do they really think their panic-stricken flailing around is likely to calm the markets?

  11. 0.5%? – And, exactly, who is supposed to be happy about decreasing the rate at which the entire country (save the Fed) goes into debt? Drop it to 0% and we’re still up the river… Unless anybody knows a way to end money.

  12. I’ve had a zero interest card in my pocket for years now. I rack up a balance and at the end of the 12 months I pay it off. I still get transfer offers but so far I have not had any offers like the ones I’ve had in the last few years. I like earning what little interest I get now on my money as opposed to paying off the charges every month but now, not so much I guess. How long before zero interest card offers are made illegal for “preying” on the consumer? I hope this doesn’t turn into one of those jokes that ends up a reality some day.

  13. Not that anyone here is influenced to imitate what government does, but the overall problem is spending money wisely and with the right priorities.
    I ask Obama, is this the correct priority for government money:
    1. Throwing good money after bad in Afghanistan?
    2. Wasting money on being spiteful of Saudi Arabian oil? They have the world’s energy in abundance and are happy to supply it.
    3. Combatting global warming?
    4. Continuing a war on drugs?

    You get my point.

    Ruthless

  14. I shall call you EZ-E from now on.

    I like it.

    “Yeah, well, you were the inspiration for twin beds.”

  15. Strangel,

    No – 6.5%. I am referring to real interest rates – not nominal rates which are essentially 0%. Real interest rates are very high (tight) because people expect nearly 7% annuallized deflation for two years. Why would you lend or invest when your money will purchase 7% next year just by socking cash away in your mattress?

  16. 7% more – i meant to say.

  17. Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.

    Once I get past the present emergency, which requires putting away the better part of a fifth of Old Crow, I have to quit drinking.

  18. Money for nothin…and my chicks for free

  19. Can I pay my VISA with my MASTERCARD ?

  20. Just pay the balloon payment from your ARM with one of those fake checks that come with your credit card statement.

  21. Guess what guys… we lost the Cold War. What, the Berlin Wall fell two decades ago you say? Ah no, we lost, because we followed their lead.

    Game over man, game over!

  22. Game over man, game over!

    Well why don’t you put her in charge?!?

    Epiz-E E?

    This would require me to wear large clocks around my neck. I’m not ready for that kind of commitment.

  23. “Once we get past the present emergency, which requires immediate new investments, we have to break that cycle of debt.”

    Sounds like someone hooked on smack telling you they’re going to get clean but can you just loan them $20 for bus fare to rehab.

  24. “Well why don’t you put her in charge?!?”

    One of my friends is convinced that Ripley is the libertarian Che Guevera. See, the Aliens represent collectivists, right? “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

  25. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking crack

  26. “Sounds like someone hooked on smack telling you they’re going to get clean but can you just loan them $20 for bus fare to rehab.”

    JUNKIE ECONOMY!

  27. You demand satisfaction? Well I’ll tell you what’s satisfying: cash. I’ll shoot you 18 holes for ten thousand bucks!

  28. It is very likely that “the” equilibrium interest rate has fallen.

    If you use a “supply” and “demand” analytical apparatus, then worries about the economy increase the supply of saving and decrease the demand for investment. And so, a lower equilibrium interest rate. (Try drawing the curves and looking at what happens to their intersection.)

    If central banks target interest rates, they should seek to track the equilibrium interest rate. Sadly, errors are inevitable. These errors involve creating a monetary imbalance in order to keep interest rates at the “wrong” target. Failure to lower the target when it needs lowering creates disruption, as does lowering the target when it is inappropriate to do so.

    If the Fed targeted the quantity of money, supply and demand in credit markets would almost certainly lower short-term, low-risk interest rates to very low levels.

    From that perspective, it is almost certain that banks’ demand to hold reserves has increased. The Fed began paying interest on bank reserves in October. This results in a decrease in the money multiplier. According to traditional monetarist precepts, bank reserves (or the monetary base, really) should increase to keep the “money supply” from falling. According to monetarist “theory” a fall in the money supply would be highly disruptive.

    It is probably true that the demand to hold various sorts of “money” has also increased.
    Who knows what happened to the unmeasured “true” supply of money, but it is hard to believe that the shift from the shadow to ordinary banking system hasn’t involved some increase in the demand for the various official measures of the money supply. For example, I don’t believe overnight commercial paper was included in any official measure of the money supply.

    Failure to increase those measures of the money supply will create monetary disruption.

    There really is no easy answer.

    But I think lower interest rates and expansions in base money are called for now.

  29. ProL, this isn’t a Caddyshack discussion, it’s an Aliens and Easy Money discussion. Jeez. Can’t you get anything right?

    “Somebody said ‘alien’; she thought they said ‘illegal alien’ and signed up!”

  30. This would require me to wear large clocks around my neck. I’m not ready for that kind of commitment.

    He’s already got too much time on his hands… and it’s slipping away, slipping away from him. Boy-ee!

  31. Joe- 8:52

    A very sane analysis. I didn’t know that you were familiar with the intricacies of FICO. What about just scrapping the whole credit rating system? I often wonder if, in the aggregate, it does more harm than good.

  32. In a sane world, doing that over and over would cause the credit card companies to put you on a blacklist, but instead, it makes them send you ever-better offers. Crazy.

    Only if they colluded. Since they expect you to become someone elses problem before reckoning day, it actually does make some sense in a begger-thy-neighboor sort of way.

    They don’t need to collude since all of that info goes to Equifax, Transunion and Experian. Those are the companies that determine your credit rating, not credit card companies.

  33. I’m not an expert or anything, l.m. I just got one of those free credit reports, and they provide a little booklet on how FICO works.

  34. Adding to my 9:20 am, why did society get the idea that home ownership is a miracle elixir so much so that government is obligated to be the supplier of it?

    Renting Ruthless

  35. Watch out for those “0% interest” cards. There is often a nice fat transfer fee that cancels out much of the benefit of the low rate.

  36. Since they expect you to become someone elses problem before reckoning day…

    No, that’s not it. They service thousands of dollars of my debt for months, even years, for a one-time payment of about $75 bucks, in the hope that I’ll still have a big balance when the intro offer runs out, only to see me transfer it away before they can ever charge me any interest…and then, after I hose them, they send me come-on after come-on asking me to do it again.

  37. I’m sorry Episiarch, but you’re wrong yet again. Caddyshack is the universal solvent of Dangerfield comedies.

  38. He’s already got too much time on his hands… and it’s slipping away, slipping away from him. Boy-ee!

    But I get to be on Flavor of Love! Yeah, boy-ee!

  39. libertymike,

    What about just scrapping the whole credit rating system? I often wonder if, in the aggregate, it does more harm than good.

    I think it does. It measures the wrong thing, for one thing. Old school style “seeing if the person has assets/income to pay back the debt” works better, but is harder.

    The problem with FICO is it doesnt measure your ability to pay back debt. Multimillionaires who havent had debt in 20 years cant get a FICO based loan (if they wanted one for some reason). As joe has pointed out, things that should probably be considered bad signs can actually raise your FICO score.

    The FICO is designed to encourage perpetual debt.

  40. Styx? I just heard that song on the radio.

  41. There is often a nice fat transfer fee that cancels out much of the benefit of the low rate.

    At lot of them cap it at $75 or so.

    Let’s say you get 0% for six months on a $3000 rollover for $75.

    A very nice credit card these days is 10%. That would work out to about twice as much om finance charges over those six months. Adjust upwards for a more typical 15-19% rates.

  42. The next time you hear somebody whining about job losses in the financial services sector, tell them this:

    “The world needs ditch diggers, too.”

  43. Sorry in advance for the cross post – wanted to get this on this thread as well:

    Right now Big Ben Bernanke is engaged in an uncomfortable staring contest with holders of cash. The rush out of anything risky (stocks, corporate bonds, hedge funds, commodities) has led to a massive deleveraging of available credit. So far the Feds efforts have focused on filling in the gap to provide cash to short term borrowers with good collateral.

    As we approach 0% policy rates, his situation becomes more difficult. Normally, lowering rates stimulates the economy by threatening those who refuse to lend (and instead hold cash at the Fed) with lower returns. If cash rates and t-bill rates approach 0% and people are still more concerned with safety – the “stick” effect of low rates dissappears. Further monetary expansion has no effect, since T-bills and cash become perfect substitutes.

    The only option becomes fiscal stimulus. This is the staring match. The question is: will Bernanke monetize the deficit spending that fiscal stimulus implies? He doesn’t want to – no central banker of his caliber does. But he would like to convince the market that he will – and that inflation could be just around the corner.

    If the market won’t blink, and start to price in inflation premiums, he will be forced to monetize parts of the deficit, though unsterilized interventions, perhaps by devalueing the currency in the open market.

  44. ProL, you embarrass yourself. Back to School is the ultimate Dangerfield comedy. He is merely a character in Caddyshack; in Back to School, he is the star.

    We won’t even discuss Ladybugs.

  45. I never said it was his best film. It’s just universal.

    It is Bill Murray’s best work, however.

  46. joe,

    The kind of offers you (and I) receive cap at $75. The kind of offers people who cant do math receive may have quite different terms – although, as you pointed out, they make their money from people who dont surf again before the 0% period ends.

    Number I heard yesterday: 88% of people dont pay off their XXX days same as cash purchase before the XXX days runs out. Considering those deals almost always charge the full interest from the beginning if not paid off in time, thats a pretty good scam they got going.

  47. They make you memorize the Presidents, but you can get through high school without ever learning how interest works.

  48. Epi-

    I agree. Back to School is Rodney’s tour de force, his masterpiece. Way funnier than Caddyshack. In fact, wihtout Rodney, Caddyshack, in my view, gets two thumbs down. Bill Murray and Chevy Chase are just not that funny.

  49. No, that’s not it. They service thousands of dollars of my debt for months, even years, for a one-time payment of about $75 bucks, in the hope that I’ll still have a big balance when the intro offer runs out, only to see me transfer it away before they can ever charge me any interest…and then, after I hose them, they send me come-on after come-on asking me to do it again.

    I did the same thing to phone companies when I was fresh out of college. I got 2,000 minutes long distance for around $5/month for the first 2 years after college. I also learned that AT&T, Verizon, SBC, Qwest, etc. are idiots. I stopped after I tired of doing the charade.

  50. joe,

    I’ve always wondered why finance and at least a little law weren’t included in high school curricula. Especially finance. I imagine the fact that education is run by people with education or the fuzzier liberal arts degrees has something to do with that.

  51. joe,

    I never had to memorize the presidents. 20 something years later I still know the opening to the Canterbury Tales however.

    Just checked, Im down to only the first 6 lines, which is nice that Im not cluttering the rest of that crap.

  52. …cluttering my mind with the rest…

    I blame the first 6 lines for my lack of writing skills.

  53. Joe and robc-

    I know an octogenarian with several hundred large in mattress money along with several properties, including one or two income properties. He has two credit cards, and both of them have reduced his credit dramatically. On one card they reduced the line from $30,000 to 1,500.00. The guy is as solid as they come. He has never been late on a payment. I mean never. I suppose that the credit reduction is more of a reflection of the economy than the guy, but, WTF?

  54. Back to School is Rodney’s tour de force, his masterpiece. Way funnier than Caddyshack.

    Yup. Totally agree.

    Bill Murray and Chevy Chase are just not that funny.

    Chevy was outstanding in Fletch, dude. Just because it was basically a fluke for him doesn’t detract from how great it is.

  55. Pro Lib-

    No, its the Illuminatti-they want us to be financial illiterates.

  56. Epi-

    I stand corrected. He was very funny in Fletch.

  57. Fletch was awesome. That was the movie to quote when I was in college.

  58. . . .back in the Before Time.

  59. “I’ve always wondered why finance and at least a little law weren’t included in high school curricula. Especially finance. I imagine the fact that education is run by people with education or the fuzzier liberal arts degrees has something to do with that.”

    I took a consumer math class in high school. They taught you how to balance a check book, how to fill out your income tax forms, how compound interest works. I was a great class, so of course they got rid of it the next year.

  60. Travis,

    I took a split consumer math and Business Law class in high school as well. Having the notion of “attractive nuisance” explained to me was one of the 39 steps in me becoming a libertarian.

  61. libertymike – maybe he doesn’t use them that much? i started getting grumbles from my cc company because i’ve never carried a balance in eleven years AND i only use it about six months out of the year anyway. at first it was “hey you should totally borrow money from us” type letters but they’ve gotten more sullen as of late.

    “I’ve always wondered why finance and at least a little law weren’t included in high school curricula. Especially finance.”

    probably for similar reasons why no one teaches comparative religion, even though it’s an ahem timely subject – too many angry parents.

    people are very defensive about money even as a concept, as i’ve found in the last two years or so of chatting with folks. in good times, sure, everyone’s a fucking genius and can’t wait to tell you how much of a genius they are.* but i could see that translating into something worthy of umbrage when it’s applied to teaching kids “about money”. which is all the more reason to do it, in a perfect world.

    * one good thing about the current crisis is that all those former geniuses are very, very quiet these days. i get a deep satisfaction from their silence as they deal with the ball of stupidity that’s running them down. hell, i smile just thinking about it.

  62. I spoke too soon. I took a class called Law Studies my senior year. It was pretty broad, but I think it was good for future citizens.

    It was useful, but not as useful as my high school Psychology 2 class, which involved using behavioral conditioning to manipulate rats. That has proven useful in the years since.

  63. one good thing about the current crisis is that all those former geniuses are very, very quiet these days. i get a deep satisfaction from their silence as they deal with the ball of stupidity that’s running them down. hell, i smile just thinking about it.

    That reminds me: What’s James K. Glassman bullish about these days? I want to know which direction to run.

  64. Dow 3 6,000. Fixed it for him.

  65. It was useful, but not as useful as my high school Psychology 2 class, which involved using behavioral conditioning to manipulate rats. That has proven useful in the years since.

    Run for your lives! Pro Lib has an army of rats doing his unholy bidding!

  66. Adbul is right. They’ve already gnawed off all the meat on Elemenope’s pelvis.

  67. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop inhaling hairspray.

  68. @libertymike
    “I suppose that the credit reduction is more of a reflection of the economy than the guy, but, WTF?”

    I think it’s a function of the dude’s age. I’m in a similar position (zero debt), but one third the age, and when I bought furniture, the salesman was falling all over himself trying to max out the credit they were offering me: “Wow, with this credit, you could buy THREE MORE couches!”. Nothx. Though I took the threemonthsameascash thingie. Why not?

  69. Oh and they had a sweet deal on no sales tax and free delivery. God I love deflation!

  70. In Floriduh, we have a new high school financial literacy course that is just being implemented. You can find the course description here. Do a keyword search on “financial applications” to get to the description. It’s not a required course, but hopefully it will become one that a lot of students take.

    BTW, any constructive comment/feedback on the topics would be appreciated, as well as suggestions for a textbook.

  71. Chuck,

    I know of two organizations pushing textbooks – Visa* and Dave Ramsey.

    Both probably have positives and negatives, but you might look into the DR one. I will see if I can find a link.

    *It may not be Visa, but someone equivalent

  72. Chuck,

    Foundations in Personal Finance

    I know nothing about it, Im about to start clicking on links now. This is not an endorsement.

  73. From looking at the chapters, it comes with all of the biases to be expected from a Dave Ramsey piece. Both good and bad.

  74. Forget gold, I’m stocking up on toilet paper. Those who don’t learn the lessons the Soviet collapse teaches us about which commodities are truly valuable in a crisis, are doomed to reteach them.

  75. We’re actually looking for something a little more mathematically sophisticated–closer to a standard college level intro to finance book. We sold this course as a “college prep” level course on the basis that it would have a lot of algebra in it. Students will be expected to understand the derivation of as well as use things like PV and FV formulas, duration calculations, and things like that. This is not the old Consumer Math course (which still exists, I believe).

  76. Chuck,

    To myself (and to what my 20 years ago high school self would have liked), that sounds more interesting…Hmmm…cant help there, I just happened to hear the DR stuff mentioned on the radio the other day.

  77. robc,

    I made that last post before seeing your Dave Ramsey book link. I’ll check it out.

  78. Let me just say that behavioral conditioning works on animals other than rats. Command of the world’s rat population was only a high school science experiment.

    Anyway, you know how chimps fling feces at people? That’s my work. I used positive reinforcement for that one, which included rewarding the chimps with Honey Nut Cheerios and ringing a little bell for “right” behaviors.

  79. I’d much rather students learn personal finance and economics from Dave Ramsey than a credit card company.Dave even claims to be something of a libertarian.

  80. Pro Lib,

    Have you started “The Plot Against America” yet?

  81. joe,

    The book? Was I supposed to? Have I forgotten something? You’re not confusing me with another crazed libertarian sympathizer, right?

  82. I just remembered watching an extremely pro-free-market animated video (“Journey to Mambo” or something like that) in my Consumer Economics class in HS, which detailed the travels of a group of people from a free market island to other islands which had command economies or traditional economies, and at every turn the free market was shown to be superior.

    It was financed by GM as I recall. The irony is breathtaking.

  83. You’re not confusing me with another crazed libertarian sympathizer, right?

    So you admit you are a crazed libertarian sympathizer?

  84. To be fair, Visa isn’t really a credit card company. They are a payer network company. They really don’t care if you use your debit or credit card. Just as long as you use their network.

    Analysis for Financial Management by Higgins was the book that I used in my Finance 1 classes. It’s a good intro to finance book. The only downside is it may be a tad advance for high school students and may require some explanation of balance sheet and income statement lines. See if you can get a preview copy before you buy it.

  85. That reminds me — I’m still waiting for the article that compares our economy to the alimentary canal. It’s… uncanny.

    You know, like right now we’re constipated (credit freeze) and the Fed is giving us a laxative (drop to 0.5%) to go with our enema (bailout).

    Unfortunately the next step is to insert a finger to wiggle out the clog, and I’m not sticking around for that. You?

  86. What about a Suze Orman book? You can’t go wrong without a little bit of crazy.

    (Just kidding, btw)

  87. What’s James K. Glassman bullish about these days?

    Come on, joe, the Dow will reach 36,000 eventually.

    Of course, a loaf of bread will probably end up costing $36,000 eventually.

    Being a cynic is the only way to have a sense of humor these days.

    And no, I have not started “The Plot Against America” yet. I’m bogged down in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I though I should catch up on some real history before I got to the fake stuff. It’s more of a slog than I thought it would be. 🙂

  88. Never say I won’t step in to get you off the hook, PL.

    We crazed libertarian sympathizers have got to stick together, what.

  89. Isaac,

    Ah, thanks. I was concerned about my aging brain.

    I rather enjoyed The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I know that joe is a fan, too. I even bought Shirer’s book on the Third Republic, though I do need to go back and finish it (I’m a multiple reader and occasionally abandon books–especially ones that I own).

  90. SIV,

    Dave even claims to be something of a libertarian.

    He has claimed to be “fiscally libertarian and socially conservative” basically. I find it interesting he distinguishes between fiscally libertarian and fiscally conservative.

    I have always disagreed with the concept that libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Its why, even on financial issues, we really dont have much in common with the GOP.

  91. MO-

    Do you think that she would be as tough on a caller who was asking if he could afford to buy her book?

  92. Sorry, Pro Lib, I did indeed confuse you with the Judean People’s Libertarian Front.

    Isaac, I’ve gotten through Rise and Fall twice. You really have to have a taste for that sort of thing to enjoy it.

    The part about the schism of economic policy that contributed to the Night of the Long Knives is interesting, and puts to bed the notion that there is such a thing as “fascist economics,” nevermind the ridiculous claim that’s been getting a lot of play lately, that economic policy is a defining feature of fascism. There were fascists all over the place on economic policy.

  93. Egosumabbas-

    Your refusal to buy the other three couches has hurt the economy!

  94. And no, I have not started “The Plot Against America” yet. I’m bogged down in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

    I flew through that. Good book.

  95. I’m reminded of behavioral conditioning every time I hear the school bell at my son’s elementary school.

  96. to stop drinking and smoking I have started on a program of much heavier drinking and smoking…and after a while I will go back to my original level of drinking and smoking…and than…uh…I forget.

  97. I think the fascists were like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown:

    Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter.
    [Gittes slaps Evelyn]
    Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
    Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister. . . .
    [slap]
    Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my daughter. . . .
    [slap]
    Evelyn Mulwray: My sister, my daughter.
    [More slaps]
    Jake Gittes: I said I want the truth!
    Evelyn Mulwray: She’s my sister AND my daughter!

    If you read that as Jake being history, Evelyn being the fascists, and the sister and daughter duality being the fascists’ confusion over whether they were socialists or capitalists, this makes perfect sense.

  98. J sub D,

    Flew through which one?

  99. She’s my sister AND my daughter!

    Maybe she slept with her own father?

  100. Head,

    Well, yeah! Haven’t you seen the film? I didn’t mean to make it a trick question ?

  101. Dude! Spoiler alert that sort of stuff.

  102. Sorry, but Chinatown is thirty-four years old and iconic to boot, so I assumed it was common knowledge.

  103. SugarFree,

    The fish eats Quint.

    Rhett leaves.

    Soylent Green is people. Peeeeeeeeeeooooooopllllllllle!

  104. The planet of the apes is Earth. We’re maniacs, we blew it up.

  105. “And there I was… eye to eye with the great fish.”

    “It’s a mammal.”

    “Whatever.”

    I was just kidding. My Halloween costume this year was a “Soylent Green Is People” T-shirt. I was a movie spoiler.

    Speaking of Jaws, what’s the over/under for a remake?

  106. Since they’re remaking They Live, they’re willing to remake anything. Anything.

  107. SugarFree,

    Speaking of Jaws, what’s the over/under for a remake?

    1.5

    Okay, huh? what are you looking for, timeframe? over/under needs something to be over and under.

  108. Its a frickin’ sled.

  109. robc,

    Yes, I was looking for years. Turdhead.

    How the weather treating you?

  110. By the way, speaking of movie spoilers

    And I would like to buy the last sentence of my last post a verb.

  111. SugarFree,

    Not bad on the east side. I decided to work from home though.

    Not just for you, but as Ive never seen Citizen Kane, does knowing the ending hurt anything or is it still worth watching?

  112. Since George ‘Buck’ Flower is dead, I don’t see the point of a They Live remake.

  113. robc,

    The sled really just acts as a McGuffin to drive the story. Still worth watching.

    SugarFree trivia break: The first time I saw Citizen Kane was an epic night of insomnia where I watched it back to back with The Bell Jar. This was back when they showed movies in the middle of the night instead of Ron Popeil ads.

  114. A good movie is one where the movie is watchable even if you know the twist. Example, The Empire Strike Back is good whether or not you know Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Same goes for The Usual Suspects and Keyser Soze’s identity. I’ve never seen Citizen Kane, but I doubt a movie would be considered a classic if it all hinges on not knowing that it was his sled.

  115. Everyone knows the ending to Citizen Kane. It doesn’t matter. It’s not like you learn at the end that Kane was raised by intelligent sleds from the planet Zeist or something. It’s just an enigmatic psychological tidbit.

    That’s a damned fine film, by the way, which often gets lost because of all the claims that it’s the best movie ever (which makes it harder to watch for many people, in my opinion). Besides, critical rankings are so often nonsensical that people don’t bother paying attention. Case in point: ranking Ulysses as the greatest novel ever. Ha!

  116. It’s not like you learn at the end that Kane was raised by intelligent sleds from the planet Zeist or something.

    Someone didn’t watch the deleted scenes.

  117. It’s true. The Citizen Kane we all know and love is actually a director’s cut. The original was silly.

  118. Thanks all, that was my assumption about CK. It wouldnt be “the greatest movie ever” if knowing the ending affected anything. Its not like its a M Night whatever his name is movie.

    Speaking of which, I enjoyed the twist at the end of Unwatchable, it was the first 12 hours (or did it just seem that long) that sucked.

  119. Do they really think their panic-stricken flailing around is likely to calm the markets?

    I think the recent actions by the Fed is proof that there is not a grand sinister Fed conspiracy like the AFTFers want you to believe. The Fed isn’t a cabal of evil geniuses out to conquer the world, they’re just a bunch of semi-intelligent hacks drifitng in the political winds.

    Some AFTFers suggest that we should replace the Fed with direct Congressional control over the money supply. Huh? That’s like replacing your drunken baby-sitter with a meth addict.

  120. If only the Stonecutters really were running things!

  121. That’s like replacing your drunken baby-sitter with a meth addict.

    Lets do the math: Free if she passes out vs. $15 bucks.Yikes! I’ll take the drunk.

  122. Never saw the flick – just a lucky guess. Kinda like that riddle where the doctor is the kids mother.

  123. The killer is Laura’s father.

  124. Is that The Eyes of Laura Mars? I never saw that.

  125. The killer is Laura’s father.

    Aaaah! I had that in my queue you bastard!

  126. What movie is that? I never got an answer from joe.

    By the way, it was Fredo that betrayed Michael. I knew it was him.

  127. Cunnivore, two words. Wet newspaper.

  128. Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article.

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