Today's Stock Market Report:
Helium was up.
Feathers were down.
Paper was stationary.
Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading.
Knives were up sharply.
Cows steered into a bull market.
Pencils lost a few points.
Hiking equipment was trailing.
Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline.
Weights were up in heavy trading.
Light switches were off.
Mining equipment hit rock bottom.
Diapers remain unchanged.
Shipping lines stayed at an even keel.
Elastic was stretched, but soon relaxed again.
The market for raisins dried up.
Coca Cola fizzled.
Caterpillar stock inched up a bit.
Sun peaked at midday.
Balloon prices were inflated.
Scott Tissue touched a new bottom.
And there was a shock in the power generation companies.
My dear Bank Manager,
I am writing to thank you for bouncing the cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations some three nano-seconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque, and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has only been in place for eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account by way of penalty for the inconvenience I caused your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to re-think my errant financial ways. You have set me on the path of fiscal righteousness. No more will our relationship be blighted by these unpleasant incidents, for I am restructuring my affairs in 1999, taking as my model the procedures, attitudes and conduct of your very own bank. I can think of no greater compliment, and I know you will be excited and proud to hear it. To this end, please be advised about the following changes.
First, I have noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you I am confronted by the impersonal, ever-changing, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh and blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by personal cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee of your branch, whom you must nominate. You will be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application for Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his/her medical history must be countersigned by a Justice of the Peace, and that the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof. In due course I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in all dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phonebank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Let me level the playing field even further by introducing you to my new telephone system, which you will notice, is very much like yours. My Authorised Contact at your bank, the only person with whom I will have any dealings, may call me at any time and be answered by an automated voice. By pressing the buttons on the phone, he/she will be guided through an extensive set of menus: 1) to make an appointment to see me, 2) to query a missing repayment, 3) to make a general complaint or inquiry, and so on. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may on occasion involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration. This month I have chosen to refrain from The Best of Woody Guthrie: "Oh the banks are made of marble With a guard at every door And the vaults are filled with silver That the miners sweated for!" After twenty minutes of that, our mutual contact will probably know it off by heart.
On a more serious note, we come to the matter of cost. As your bank has often pointed out, the ongoing drive for greater efficiency comes at a cost - a cost which you have always been quick to pass on to me. Let me repay your kindness by passing some costs back. First, there is the matter of advertising material you send me. This I will read for a fee of $20 per A4 page. Inquiries from your nominated contact will be billed at $5 per minute of my time spent in response. Any debits to my account, as, for example, in the matter of the penalty for the dishonoured cheque, will be passed back to you. My new phone number service runs at 75 cents per minute (even Woody Guthrie doesn't come free), so keep your inquiries brief and to the point. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous, New Year.
Your humble client. Jolyon Ansuz
"Did you know I've taken up a career as an author?"
"Have you sold anything?"
"Yes, my TV, my car and my watch!"
Statistics prove that the best time to buy anything is a year ago!
The shortest measurable interval of time is that between when you put away some
money for an emergency, and the arrival of the emergency.
In order to get a loan, you first need to prove that you don't need it.
The world's best salesman is the one who sold two milking machines to a farmer
with one cow, and then accepted the cow as down payment.
Two holidaymakers at the Great Barrier Reef were chatting. One said, "I'm
here on insurance money. I got $10,000 for fire damage." The other replied,
"So am I, but I got $50,000 for flood damage." The first one thought a
while and then said, "Tell me, how do you start a flood?"
Housewife: "Inflation is terrible! I just went to the supermarket and put a
down-payment on a ham!"
A good citizen should pay his taxes with a smile, but the government always
insists on money...
"I see your previous boss says you were a real live wire salesman. I'm
pleased to know that! What were you selling?" "Live wires, sir!"
"There's only one honest way to make money. Only one." "What is
it?" "I thought you wouldn't know it!!!"
A real penny pincher went into a church and put a five cent piece in the
offering. One the way home, he was caught in a rain storm, so he crawled into a
hollow log. The rain and his wet clothes made the wood swell, and soon he was
stuck fast. Scared, he started thinking about his sins. Finally he remembered
the five-center in the offering. That thought made him feel so small that he
slipped out of the log and went home.
Two unionists were passing a construction site and observed a backhoe bulldozer
hard at work. One said to the other, "That horrible machine! If it wasn't
there, six men with shovels could be on that job!"
The other one replied, "And if it weren't for your six shovels, 200 men
with teaspoons could be at it!"
The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the
next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy
is to dismount. However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment
factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to be tried
with dead horses, including the following:
- Buying a stronger whip.
- Changing riders.
- Threatening the horse with termination.
- Appointing a committee to study the horse.
- Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
- Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
- Appointing an intervention team to reanimate the dead horse.
- Creating a training session to increase the rider's load share.
- Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
- Change the form so that it reads: "This horse is not dead."
- Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
- Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.
- Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its full
- Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.
- Do a time management study to see if lighter riders would improve
- Purchase an after-market product to make dead horses run faster.
- Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs
- Form a quality focus group to find profitable uses for dead horses.
- Rewrite the expected performance requirements for horses.
- Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
It's not hard to meet expenses, they're everywhere.
I started with nothing, and I still have most of it left.
A lottery is a tax on people who are bad at probability.
A very successful businessman was out of town, residing in the best 5-star hotel
in the city. To his horror, he was treated as just "another customer".
Determined to show his great riches and importance, he loudly requested the
waiter to bring him $100 worth of bacon and eggs for breakfast. The waiter
realised he needed a wake-up call and replied (for all in the room to hear),
"Sorry sir, we don't serve half portions!"
"Stick 'em down! One false move and I'll blow my brains out!"
"Don't you mean Stick 'em up?" "No wonder I'm losing
Executive: Someone who believes in sharing the credit with the one who did the
"I'm looking for someone to lend me $50." "You've got a nice day
Who's afraid of the depression? I've failed in boom times!
The best way to make ends meet is to get off your own.
"What? $1000 for that antique? But you only wanted $450 for it last
week!" "You know how the cost of labour and materials keeps going
Business is so bad that the bankruptcy court has opened a drive-in window!
Is it true that income tax is a form of capital punishment?
I owe a fortune, but I'm still not unhappy. Think how bad it would be to be one
of my creditors!
Crook: a business rival who has just left the room.
A local idiot was constantly teased by being offered a 10c coin or a 20c coin.
He always chose the ten-center. When asked why, he said, "If I ever pick
the big one, they'll stop offering!"
Money isn't everything - there are also stocks, bonds, letters of credit,
traveller's cheques, drafts, ...
After 40 years of hard work, he retired with $9,000,000, which he had gained
through courage, diligence, initiative, skill, devotion to duty, thrift,
efficiency, shrewd investment, and the death of an uncle who left him
"My dad writes a couple of lines, calls it a poem, and gets $50 for
"My dad writes a few squiggles on lines, calls it a song, and gets $75 for
"My dad reads a sermon from a pulpit, and it takes four deacons to collect
I have enough money to last me the rest of my life - unless I buy anything!