The 10 Funniest Business and Finance Moments of 2010
This is a post by Minyanville.com.
‘Tis the season for year-in-review stories. Here’s our contribution to your reading and viewing lists: a look at the funniest moments in business and finance.
10. Tim Geithner Still Can’t Sell His House
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Home Crisis Investigation|
Call this one a running joke, held over from the summer of 2009. That was when we witnessed one of the best, if not the best, takes on the housing market — and a pretty spectacular takedown of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — courtesy of Jon Stewart and his merry band of Daily Show writers.
It seems that Lil’ Timmy was having a bit of trouble selling his Larchmont, NY home after moving to Washington—all the while, reassuring anxious Americans that they had no reason to worry.
Geithner and his wife, Carole Sonnenfeld Geithner, paid $1.602 million for the house in 2004. When he left for D.C., he put the five-bedroom Tudor on the market for $1.635 million. After it failed to sell, the price was dropped to $1.575 million. Still no takers. So the Geithners rented the place out for the princely sum of $7,500 a month—which likely didn’t cover the monthly payments on the two mortgages totaling $1.25 million, plus yearly property taxes of $27,000.
This year, the housing crisis actually worsened, with foreclosure scandals, fraud, robo-signing, and so forth making precipitously declining home values look positively quaint by comparison.
According to real estate website Zillow.com, the Geithner manse is still on the market, the last sale being recorded in 2004—the year Mr. and Mrs. G purchased it. Geithner must be getting desperate, too—the price has dropped again, to $1.339 million. And still no takers.
9. The Tea Party Gets Speling Rong
To the rest of us, members of the Tea Party are a bit like Scientologists. We can understand how they’ve derived their way of thinking, but even casual familiarity with the inherent concepts tells us it’s absolute nonsense and deception — not a path we’re ever likely to follow. Don’t get me wrong, there are kooks and simpletons on our side, too. However, you gotta admit, the Tea Party is teeming with them.
And no better way to illustrate that is the vast variety of signs with atrocious spelling and grammar. If they’re not calling Obama a “lier,” then they’re calling for English to be America’s “offical” language. And they’re dead set against a return to “Socilism” and “1930’s Gemany.”
Of course, in some ways, they’re right. The “Constution” is very important. “Are” country does deserve respect. And “your” not the only ones outraged.
But until you can produce that third grade diploma, Fox News would probably appreciate it if you didn’t credit the network for keeping you “infromed.”
8. Apple Employee Forgets iPhone at Bar
The stern and grumpy Apple chief suffered a rough couple of scrapes this year.
Despite the explosive debut of the Apple iPad, Jobs still needed to combat this growing epidemic known as Android with a flashy, dynamic update to Apple’s flagship iPhone. Unfortunately, his high-profile launch was undercut because an employee couldn’t hold his alcohol in a Redwood City beer garden. An iPhone 4 prototype was left behind at the bar and it eventually fell into the hands of Gizmodo’s Jason Chen — who pored through its features two months before its official debut.
The device was launched last June and sold like hotcakes nevertheless, but Jobs’ mood was visibly different regarding the iPhone 4. Complaints about the device’s “Death Grip” prompted him to reply, “You’re holding it wrong.” And a testy email conversation with a Gawker employee ended with the CEO firing back, “By the way, what have you done that’s so great?”
Reducing a billionaire to childlike taunts was, is, and forever will be hilarious.
7. Taiwan CGI Studio Covers Wall Street
When Jimmy Lai, described by some as “the Rupert Murdoch of Hong Kong”, launched CGI house Next Media Animation with a surreal re-enactment of the Tiger Woods Escalade-Angry Wife-Shattered Window-Late Night Crash fiasco, he must have known how big his big idea was. “There’s no better sensation than image. It’s so in-your-face!” he told Wired magazine. “This is like watching a videogame, but it’s the news!”
For the relative bargain price of $4,000 a minute, NMA recreates the news of the world in its unique style—like this one titled “Wall Street Gorges on Record Bonuses.”
While the subject matter doesn’t often lend itself to humor, it’s hard not to crack a smile.
“There’s a ghost in their machine,” says Matt Harrigan, a producer at Adult Swim. “They have limitations that force unusual decisions and interpretations. What we get back is usually different from what we expect. Sometimes it’s really funny.”
Just one question: does the Uncle Sam in the above video not look eerily similar to Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes?
6. Clarke and Dawe Explain The European Debt Crisis
The European Debt crisis is the subject of much coverage and debate right now, with Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and even Belgium being reluctantly forced by bondholders to line up outside the headmaster’s office of the IMF; each desperately trying to avoid getting to the front of the line. They all owe money to each other, at the same time as they’re meant to be bailing each other out.
Australian satirists John Clarke and Bryan Dawe tackled this subject in their inimitable way, ruthlessly shedding light on the follies of Europe’s interlinked (and inter-debted) economies last summer. This skit ran on Australian TV last May but quickly went viral once it appeared on YouTube in June.