Thursday, January 1, 2009

Greatest Hits of 2008

Whew! I'm glad that's over.

What a miserable and bloody year 2008 was. I don't know about you, Dearly Beloved and Much Suffering Readers, but I couldn't wait to see the back of it. Alas, my relief is tempered by certain knowledge that we will only be allowed to doff last year's stylish habiliment of funereal black in exchange for donning this year's model of sackcloth and ashes.
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

— T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"

Anyway, I am sure many of you are wondering why I am troubling you on the morning after what should have been an epic quest to forget 2008, so I will make my remarks brief.

Dedicated followers of these pages will remember that I have been accustomed in the past to intermittently publish a brief list or two of posts appearing on this site which my Esteemed Audience has deemed worthy of particular attention, under the characteristically modest rubric of "The Canon." Attentive readers will also have noticed that it has been some time—since mid-2007, in fact—since I have updated this list. At the same time, this very period has been one during which an unusually large and varied quantity of folly, hubris, incompetence, greed, and other forms of Human Ordure particularly susceptible to your Dedicated Correspondent's gimlet gaze has been hitting the Fan of History.

I would apologize to you for this omission, but I must admit I have been rather too busy trying to keep my own head above water, and dispatching real-time reports from the front lines of chaos and despair, to be much concerned with conducting retrospectives. After all, when you are up to your ass in live alligators, it is usually considered ill-judged to devote much time to skinning, tanning, and mounting the hides of the few you have managed to kill.

Fortunately, you busy little scamps have continued to click away on this site throughout my absence, and, through the good offices of Google ("Do no evil [which does not lead to increased profits and the humiliation of Jerry Yang]") Analytics we have the results of your voting at hand. I must say I am gratified by the continuing increase in traffic to this little opinion emporium. Why, total page views on this site during 2008 edged comfortably into six figures, even after subtracting the tens of thousands of hits generated by the small army of Howler Monkeys I employ to boost ad revenue. (Word to the wise: bananas, bought in bulk, are still cheaper than AdWords.)

By a huge margin, the vast majority of you Dear Readers seem to come to this site via the main page. This indicates to me that either a) most of you are eager to sample my nutritious and tasty morsels of wisdom the minute they have been published—fresh from the oven, as it were—or b) most of you have shockingly indiscriminate taste. (Being in reasonably equable temper this morning, I will be magnanimous and assume the former.) The second most frequent page visit last year was to my profile, presumably by readers new to the site, email-harvesting spam-bots, or those few deluded souls who still look forward to the day I reveal my true identity (q.v., when Hell freezes over).

Barring these two entries (and the former's paler, wonkier cousin, /index.html), seven actual posts show up in the top ten list of visited pages for 2008. Without further ado, here they are:

THE CANON, Special Limited 2008 Edition

1) Overheard at 85 Broad Street (June): Venerable former white-shoe investment bank and now toaster-retailer Goldman Sachs demonstrates conclusively how not to fire people. (Warning: rated 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 on the Excoriometer, for very, very naughty language. TED was—how shall I put this—more than mildly pissed.)

2) The K-T Boundary (September): My prediction for the "future"—if one can call it that—of the investment banking industry after The Panic of 2008. Many, many words, most of which actually mean something for a change.

3) Ring, Ring! It's the Cluephone, for You (October): Pity the poor investment bankers. They really, really wanted bonuses this year and were hoping against hope a few months ago they might actually receive them. In cash. Oh well.

4) Scatology (March): Bear Stearns takes the pipe, in every sense. I would not object if you characterized this as a rant.

5) Et in Arcadia Ego (November): TED takes advantage of the recent ass-whuppin' of Harvard University's endowment to draw a few measured conclusions about higher education in America. Hey, I just spent a small fortune on private school tuition, so I'm allowed.

6) Molon Labe (September): Ruminations on the parallels between soldiers of fortune from different ages: Sparta and the present day. TED feels besieged by political correctness, and wallows in paranoid self-pity.

7) Bubble Land (May): A semiotic deconstruction of the Blackstone Group's first annual report as a publicly-owned company. Given that BX has lost almost 79% of its value from the 2007 IPO price, this annual report may soon become a one-of-a-kind collector's item. Snap it up, campers!

And for those of you with absolutely nothing to do over the long holiday weekend, feel free to peruse some previous entries from the list.

Look On My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!
More Works to Look On and Despair
One of these days, I might actually get around to filling in the lacuna from the second half of 2007, as well, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Happy New Year.

© 2009 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.