The Cinik Grill: Don’t Bank On It

By John deJong

Ray Cinik and the gang discuss the fate of banks and beer laws.
by John deJong

“So, I was thinking I’d put in my peas and spinach next week,” Ralf Cinik says to Sweet Militia as he scribbles on some forms. “This global warming is great for gardeners.”

“What are you going to water it with in late August when the reservoirs are empty?” Nedra Bishop/Smith asks. “At this rate the run-off will be over by April.”

“I figure I’ll skip the summer crop and get one in the spring and two this fall,” Ralf replies.

“You should plant edamame,” Fredricksan Watanabe volunteers.

“Any relation to Oedipus?” wonders Sweet.

“Yeah, she’s his mother,” Hank drawls from the pool table as he surveys a bad break.

“So, Ray, what do you think about EnergySolutions’ plan to share the profits from importing foreign nuclear waste with Utah?” Nedra asks as she takes a handful of toasted soy snacks from a glass dish with a picture of the Draper Temple in the bottom.

“Old Steve Creamer and ‘Energy Pollutions’ lost $9 million last year. All I’ve got to say is ‘Hollywood accountants,'” Ray replies.

“What’s a Hollywood accountant?” Sweet asks.

“A Hollywood accountant can take a blockbuster movie and make it bleed red ink quicker’n you can say Bela Lugosi,” explains Ralf. “I’ll bet Energy Pollutions has a “positions available” ad in the accounting jobs section of the Hollywood Reporter right now.”

“That reminds me of the time we hired a new head bean counter at Nomura Cash Bank,” Fredricksan Watanba says in perfect Oxbridge English. “The first two applicants looked good in their interviews and gave credible answers when we gave them a set of books and asked them what the profit was. The third guy looked a little sketchy in the interview but when we asked him what the company’s profit was, he simply asked us what we wanted it to be.”

“Who got the job?” Sweet asks.

“That’s the kinda guy Energy Pollutions is looking for,” Ralf chuckles. “Does he still have his position at Nomura Cash Bank?”

“No one has position at Nomura.” Fredricksan says sheepishly.

“But I thought…” Hank starts.

“Nomura Cash Bank was one of the Japanese zombie banks that didn’t go tits up immediately.” Fred explains, “We were in the ranks of the undead for years. We would have been better off if we were nationalized. We always thought we could see the illumination at the end of mineshaft. I remember reading about ‘the ever receding bonanza’ in one of your American management books, ‘In Search of Excreasence,’ I believe it was.”

“That sounds like the position a bunch of American banks are in these days,” Hank says as he lines up a bank shot.

“Obama is going to have to nationalize the banks in order to get them to start loaning money,” Nedra says. “They’ve done nothing with the bailout money but shore up their balance sheets in a futile attempt to make their stocks more attractive.”

“He can’t call it nationalization,” Ralf replies. “It’s a reality perception management problem. If anyone with an ounce of credibility came right out and said that the “too-big-to-fail” banks are bankrupt, the shit storm would bring our economy to its knees.”

“The only reason the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks have any ‘shareholder value’ left at all is because of the billions and billions and billions of tax dollars that the government has poured into those black holes,” Hank says doing his best Carl Sagan impression.

“The banks think they’ve lost shareholder value because of an unforseeable act of god and just as soon as it’s all straightened out their stock values will return to pre-pop bubble levels,” Nedra interjects.

“The first rule of sifting shit is to determine whether the shiny things your seein’ are diamonds or just flecks of Fools Bismuth,” Hank explains.

“They think they can unwind all this toxic debt and salvage something,” Ralf says. “Really many of ’em are scrape-offs.”

“What’s a scrape-off?” Sweet asks.

“It’s when a piece of property is worth so little that the best thing a buyer can do is raze the building right down to the sewer hook up and the street address on the curb.” Ralf explains.

“By not allowing the banks to go bankrupt they’re standing the idea of moral hazard on its head,” Nedra laments.”It’s all the taxpayers who pay the price for the sins of the bankers and financial gurus.”

“You mean like Waddoups’ plan to punish the repeat drunk driver who hit his wife by keeping a data base of the drinking habits of every barfly, lounge lizard and club kid in the state.”

“Yeah, the Tourist Bureau’s new slogan could be ‘What Happens in Utah stays in our database,'” Ralf says.

“It’s like those polygamist patriarchs on that Yearning for Yearlings Ranch in Texas,” Hank offers. “They’re all so sure they know exactly what’s best for everyone.”

“What is this wadups? I don’t remember seeing it when I memorized the Oxbridge Dictionary. Is it akin to wedgie?” Fred inquired.

“Didn’t that get shot down?” Hank asks.

“It did, but the deal between the Church and the Republican leadership to loosen the liquour regulations so that tourists who aren’t as smart as a PhD can get a drink before their dessert plates are cleared also got shot down.”

“You know what DABC stands for don’t you?” Hank asks no one in particular, “Division of Alcohol Beverage Confusion.”

John deJong is associate publisher of CATALYST. Comments?

This article was originally published on February 28, 2009.