Been So Low

To give some perspective on where the markets are at the moment, the last time the Dow Jones Industrial Index S&P 500 was at this level, Athena was a gamete (two, actually). I clicked over late in the day to see where the stocks were, saw they were down 400 points, and actually yelled “Oh, come on,” at the computer screen. I mean, Christ. How many 400-point-drop days does the Dow have left in it at this point?

(Yes, yes. 18. I have a calculator too, you know.)

As I’ve noted before, we’re relatively well-insulated from the bad news going down at the moment, thanks to combination of limited stock exposure, low debt and significant savings. But it doesn’t mean I don’t worry. You don’t have to have the wolf at your own door to worry about the sudden increase in wolves stalking about. It’s not just the markets, of course. It’s everything else as well. And of course, it’s not as if all of this doesn’t have an effect on my own industry; if you want see what intellectual panic looks like these days, go to a bar near a publishing house. Gruesome.

I think I’ll skip watching the stock market tomorrow.

Sweet Home Chicago

The New York Times has a nice piece on Chicago today, talking about what the election means to the town (being that Barack Obama is a hometown boy), and how his being from there puts the city in a new light for the rest of the US. Naturally I’m pleased about this; I have very fond memories of the city myself, and I’m glad to see it getting the attention.

This is a good a place as any for me to trot out my reason why I think Chicago is so special: It’s the largest city in the US that is truly an American city. New York and Los Angeles are great, don’t get me wrong — you all know I’m from the LA area — but I think of them as international cities, with New York looking toward Europe and Africa, and Los Angeles looking toward Asia and Latin America. Chicago, on the other hand, looks out toward the rest of the U.S.; it’s got a unique sensibility that’s both cosmopolitan and heartland. I would go so far as to say it’s the Great American City. You can argue with me about that, if you like, but you’re not going to get too far.

Anyway: Go Chicago! Good to see you getting the love.

Whack Whack Whack

The Economist takes a plank to the Republican Party, in effect calling it the party of, and for, stupid people. And me without a fresh-baked Schadenfreude Pie. Sigh.

Oh, don’t look at me like that. I don’t think individual Republicans are stupid (or even ignorant, which is not the same thing), but it’s pretty obvious that these days the party itself is not being led by the smartest kids in the class. And outside of the party proper, when your political movement’s public intellectual faces are the passive-aggressive fumers at The Corner, you have a problem. I suspect it’s going to get worse for the GOP before it gets better.

Feeling Science Fictional

Over at AMC, I’m asked if I ever pause to reflect on the fact that modern life, in many ways, is like a science fiction movie. Well, now that you mention it, he said, pausing for a second before he entered his words on an information terminal connected to a massive global data repository, maybe it is. But then, maybe it isn’t, too. And now you’ll have to go over to see how I have it both ways. Remember: If you want to comment on my speculationary museilations, you can do so over at the AMC site.