January 1

The more things change...

January 2, 2009: 3:41 PM ET

imagesSo I'm standing at the end of my driveway yesterday, early morning in my little corner of northern California, January 1, 2009.

I don't know if you've ever been to this part of the world. It's pretty nice. The air is crisp with the smell of pine and redwood, and a faint tang of wood smoke hangs in the mist that creeps with little cat's feet up the street in the early daylight. An occasional jogger goes by, puffing. Downtown, people walk about, mostly with dogs, sipping on cups of ridiculously strong coffee. Bucolic is the word that comes to mind. Quite a few of the stores have shut down on the streets that feed the main square. The times are a'changing, and not for the better, here as everywhere. But people still say Good Morning here, as Papa John Phillips once noticed, and really mean it. 

Anyhow, there I am, standing in the first light of a new year, breathing in the fresh, clean smell of all that potentiality just hanging there, and in the distance, coming up the avenue, I see two of a certain kind of weird animal that exists around here. A couple of really skinny guys dressed from head to toe in festival spandex, streaking toward me on $3000 mountain bikes. I watch them approach. And as they whisk by I hear two things. First, the whoosh of air as they go past at blinding speed. And second, the voice of one spandexer to the other, raised to be heard over the sound of the wind.

"They're offering six percent!" is what I hear, and then they are gone down the road. 

From this I take two things. First, that people who have been taught to do nothing but walk like ducks, talk like ducks, will always be ducks. And second, that these guys are the kind of morons whose mindset created this recession and will keep it on track for the better part of this year. Because you know what? 

Nobody legit is offering 6%.

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