Tango Dancing

She wanted to be a tango dancer
He wanted to be a tango dancer
They met in the tango hall
And danced the tango all night long.
Night after night step by step they are dancing
The tango their bodies caressing under the soft soft light
Dancing the tango night after night.

He wanted to be a tango dancer
She wanted to be a tango dancer
They met in the tango hall
And danced the tango all night long.
Full moon or naught beat by beat feet go dancing
The tango their shoes emotion across the dark wood floor
Dancing the tango full moon or naught.

She wanted to be a tango dancer
He wanted to be a tango dancer
They met in the tango hall
And danced the tango all night long.
Tango after tango year by year are they dancing
The tango their arms embracing each other in the hall
Dancing the tango tango after tango.

He wanted to be a tango dancer
She wanted to be a tango dancer
They met in the tango hall
And danced the tango all night long.
Seasons coming seasons passing as they are dancing
The tango their faces aging like a fine wine
Dancing the tango seasons passing away.

She wanted to be a tango dancer
He wanted to be a tango dancer
They met in the tango hall
And danced the tango all night long.


Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick: Two for the Price of One

It’s Thursday again. You know what that means. Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick. Uncle Bardiie gives a double thumbs up to this week’s selection. “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Footprints in the Snow” by Emerson Lake and Palmer.

I don’t usually post two songs for this post  But I just had to do this one. We lost Keith Emerson last March. I got to tell you that we lost one of the great musicians of our times. With Keith on keyboards, Carl Palmer on guitar and vocals and Greg Lake on drums, they played music on a high level. Emerson Lake and Palmer were unbelievable in what they could do as this version of an American classic, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”, shows. For a British band, they sure did one heck of an interpretation of it. They explored classical, folk, jazz and rock. And always left us wanting more. For those of you who have never had the benefit of hearing the band, they were something. Just take a listen and see what I mean.

Thank you, Keith, for your music. You are missed but I am sure you’ve been welcomed with open arms to that great band upstairs.

Carl’s “Footprints in the Snow” is a fitting farewell to his fellow band mate. This one sent shivers up my spine. It’s that beautiful.


Politics in America 7: When a party is a party. Not.

Known to one and all as the Do Evies, the Do Everything Party had reigned the last sixteen years. They had bought up Congress. They had stacked the Court with a stack of blueberry pancakes with hot butter and maple syrup. So when the Do Naughties showed up at the Court, The Supremes kept ruling with a you-can’t-hurry-love decree.

And The Big Guy had delivered on his presidential campaign promise. There would be a chicken in every home in America. “Eat Right, Eat Chicken” had been his campaign. He had not only delivered on that promise. He had made sure every household had two chickens. The problem was they were live chickens. Two live chickens were delivered to every household once a year. Folks got their chickens but they had to supply the chicken feed. It ended up that a lot of homes adopted the cluckers as pets. It’s a real heartbreakers when a child appears on the local news crying, “They killed Alice.” Of course, Alice was the child’s pet chicken. It was enough to turn the American people vegetarian. And the beef folks were not happy about that.

So it was time for the Do Evies to get their buttocks kicked out of office but good. After all, there is only so much people will take. There was no way the American people were going to elect Little Twerp, the Vice President, for President. He was like a pimple on the buttocks. On top of everything else, there was the dog issue. Yes, Little Twerp had a dog. Well, let’s just say he had a dog. He went out hunting with the dog. He had been partial to hunting since he was knee high to a grasshopper. Unfortunately an unfortunate happened. He shot the dog the way Dick Cheney shot his lawyer. The lawyer recovered, the dog did not. Let’s just say that if you are a dog or a lawyer you do not want to go hunting with the Vice President. At least, not that little twerp of a Vice President.

There was such an outcry over the dog. There was such mourning and gnashing of teeth, Congress shut down the government. The government ended up burying Spot in Arlington National Cemetery.

All this is to say that Little Twerp should not have gotten the Do Evies nomination for President. But he had the goodies on everybody. As long as he kept them in cold storage, the Do Evies could continue to do what they had been doing for all those years. Hanging on to the chicken concession. It was worth billions.

As you can see there was no way the Do Naughties were going to lose the election. Unless they screwed it up. Fortunately the Party Elders had heard of Murphy’s Law. You know the one that goes anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Or stuff happens. And it happens a lot.

Next Wednesday, Chapter 8: What’s a convention without a convention?

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: A Little Comedy about Finance

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Big Short” (2015).

On the short list for a best picture Oscar for 2015 was the comedy, “The Big Short”. If you see no other movie this year, see this one. It is the story of what happened to the economy in 2007. Based on Michael Lewis’ book, the move gives you the scoop of how we all were screwed. Pardon my language but we were screwed.  Adapted by Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, their screenplay is to be lauded for taking a lot of complex stuff and not only making it understandable but entertaining as well.

Pretend the economy was the Titanic. Nobody was piloting the ship. Not the SEC. Not the Fed. Not the Treasury Department. Nobody saw the iceberg. And believe me there was an iceberg.

There was one guy who saw this iceberg coming. He figured out that the Titanic was heading into iceberg water. He went and bet that the ship would sink big time. His name was Michael Burry. He’s played by Christian Bale. Along the way, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt get in on the action.

You see, the banks were bundling lots and lots of mortgages together into securities. Then selling them. Originally this was a good idea. Because the mortgages were given to people with good credit. So 99.9% of the borrowers would not default on their mortgages.

However, and there is always a however, the banks got greedy. They wanted more and more and more. So the finance companies started giving anybody who could breath a mortgage. And maybe even a few dead stiffs. A lot of these borrowers didn’t have jobs, much less good credit. Some were immigrants just off the boat.

Because they were risky loans, the borrowers got subprime mortgages. Problem was these subprime mortgages were bundled into securities with the good stuff and sold to customers like pension funds. Pretty soon there was 90 % crap in these securities.

How come these securities were not given C ratings by the ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. Because the banks did business with the ratings agencies, and you know what that’s called. A conflict of interest. But who cared? Everybody was rolling in dough. It was win-win until it was lose-lose. All of a sudden the big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew the little piggy’s house down.

How did Michael Burry figure all this out? See “The Big Short”. It makes it pretty darn clear. Because it’s a comedy, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. But watch your wallet. Your pocket might just get picked.

Central Park

“Let’s see. That’s one pastrami on rye and one steak on white. Two fries and two cokes.”

“That’s right,” Marilyn says.

Harvey finishes writing up our order. “Be right out.”

Marilyn does a thanks, then turns to me.

“So where do you want to go for the honeymoon?” She’s the planner. I am just happy to tag along. This marriage is going to be great. I can’t wait.

“I don’t know where,” I answer. I don’t.

“You always say that,” she says. “But c’mon, where do you want to go.”

“Well, I’ve always wanted to see the Rockies.”

“Me too. So there’s where we’ll go. Yellowstone?” she asks, suggesting a place. With that smile of hers, I’d go anywhere with her. How lucky can a guy be to have a smile like that for every day of the rest of our lives. Man, that is heaven.

Harvey brings our food and sets it before us like we are royalty. I don’t care who you are Harvey makes the customer feel like royalty. Even a homeless guy. Harvey is the best, I’m telling you.

I look up at Harvey and ask my question, “What do you think of Yellowstone?”

“Never been there. Never want to leave the City. Ain’t this City grand? Just grand.”

“We love the City too,” Marilyn says. “But it’s our honeymoon.”

“In that case, I’d spend my honeymoon one night in one of those fancy Fifth Avenue hotels overlooking Central Park. Take a picnic to the Park. That’s what me and Louise did forty years ago. Louise is the wife. That was some honeymoon. That lady is the best. I am a lucky man.” Then Harvey leaves Marilyn and me to our food and our plans. He has a customer to greet.

Marilyn says to me, “I like that.” Her eyes are shining and her face is all lit up. You know how it is when you’re happy. “I really like that.”

“That’s what I was thinking too,” I say, knowing that we’re never going to leave the City. The City is our home and we’re not going anywhere. Why would we want to?

We eat our food, discussing thises and thats between bites the way couples do. We’re two peas in a pod. Can there be a better life than this one.

We finish our meal, get up, pay the tab, drop a nice tip on the table for Harvey. Then we’re out the door of Harvey’s Deli. We kiss like the lovers we are, then Marilyn turns left. I go right. I head in toward Lehman’s where I work. I meet people coming out of the building. Lots and lots of people. They are crying.

There’s Frank. “Hey, Frank,” I stop him. “What’s going on?”

There are tears in Frank’s eyes. “I been here thirty years. It’s the end of the world. We’ve all been let go. I can’t believe it. Just like that.”

“Just like that?” I ask.

“Just like that. The company’s bankrupt.”

I run into the building and up to my office and my desk. There’s the pink slip. I knew things were bad but I never thought that they were this bad. I sit down at my desk, tears in my eyes.

My cell phone rings. It was Marilyn. “I heard,” she says. There is concern in her voice. “Are you alright?”

Am I alright? At this moment, I am not alright. It’s like I am drowning, trying to catch my breath. I finally get the words out. The honest words that I couldn’t tell anyone but Marilyn. “No. I don’t think so. I can’t believe it. And I had to take the morning off.”

“It’s okay,” Marilyn says. “We’re going to be okay. I’m leaving work now and I will be over in a few.”

“I’ll meet you downstairs. In front of the building.”

“One moment you’re on top of the world, the next you’re under the rubble.” That’s what Uncle Gabe used to tell me. “You don’t get those top-of-the-worlds if a lot of rubble don’t fall on you.” Then he gave me the kicker. “As long as you’ve got family and friends, there ain’t no amount of rubble that can bury you.”

I pick up my pink slip, look at it, get up from my desk. I slowly head for the elevator. It hits me. I never really wanted to be a banker in the first place. Maybe Harvey will give me a job.

I walk out onto the street and into the big, wide world before me. Marilyn runs toward me. I grab her and she gives me the biggest hug in the world. “I love you,” she says.

“I love her,” I say, kissing my girl.

“I took the rest of the day off,” Marilyn says.

I laugh. You know it’s one of those laughs you have when the weight of the world is taken off your shoulders. Marilyn laughs with me. “Then let’s get married,” I say to this woman who is the love of my life.

“In Central Park?” she asks.

“In Central Park.”