Wall Street Calamity: Stocks Crushed in Financial Freefall

Wall Street Calamity: Stocks Crushed in Financial Freefall

Stocks are Crushed in Financial Freefall

Stocks crushed,” is how CNN Money, employing all the descriptive restraint that it could, sees this morning’s disastrous economic landscape. The Dow Jones Industrial Index’ record 777.68 points (7%) drop yesterday was “the biggest one-day point drop in [its] 102-year history,” writes the Wall Street Journal. Washington “lawmakers groping for a resolution…..as they attempt to avoid economic calamity,” writes the New York Times, with all the urgency that two-thirds of the House Republicans and some 40% of the Democrats failed to muster yesterday.

At the same time, the banking industry continues what the Wall Street Journal is calling “a decade’s worth of consolidation in a matter of weeks.” Yesterday it was Citigroup’s turn to swoop in on some distressed financial institution, with its government-brokered takeover of Wachovia’s banking operations for $2.2 billion in an all-stock deal. Wachovia, the nation’s fourth-largest bank, wasn’t on the point of collapse but the government intervention based on its deteriorating condition – and the threat that posed to the teetering U.S. financial system – hammers home how “quickly once-mighty U.S. banks are succumbing to a growing mountain of bad mortgages and other loans,” says the Wall Street Journal.

Clearly, then, the headline from the world of politics and economics for today seems fairly self-evident: in the wake of the House of Representative’s failure to pass a bailout package for Wall Street, the Dow dropped by the largest point margin in any single day in history.

But as Sam Stein points out in The Huffington Post, that number told only half the story. Indeed, much of what transpired on Wall Street and in the halls of politics put a bookend on what now seems to the final – poor – chapter of the Bush administration’s economic record. On Monday, the Dow finished lower than when George W. Bush assumed the presidency: 10,587.59 on January 19, 2001 compared to 10,365.45 at its close on September 29, 2008.

The Stock Exchange Crash of 1929 and The Great Depression

Remembering the Stock Market Crash of 1929

The Great Depression: Hard Times

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The Katty Wall Street Bailout

The Katty Wall Street Bailout

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Sarah Palin: United States Head of Skate

Sarah Palin: United States Head of Skate

Opening Soon on a Planet Near You:

Sarah Palin: Head of Skate

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Seductive Bare-Chested Masculine Confidence

Seductive Bare-Chested Masculine Confidence

Actually, now that I’ve had some more time to think about it from the perspective of a quick character study, while looking more closely at the very interesting photographs of this guy, perhaps I should have described him as “alluring,” rather than “seductive.” “Alluring” suggests, I think, a less cold-hearted stance toward/with others, while “seductive” implies intentionally hard-hearted and calculated schemes to take advantage of others. But the “bare-chested masculine confidence” is certainly a fitting description of the aura he projects.

This is a very handsome, muscular fellow, who most men and women would probably find to be quite attractive. The guy recently won a national title, Mr. America, Mr. American Glamour, Mr. Fascination, or some title like that. Well, at least I know for darn sure that I’m correct about the Mister part. In almost all of the photographs of him, this manly man looks you straight in the eye. In that sense he creates an impression of invitation, with an implication of closeness.

On the other hand, his gaze has a certain vacant quality, conveying a decidedly disinterested air. In other words, there exists a paradox of social attachment or closeness, accompanied by an opposite message of social distance. I’m wondering if this social ambivalence might be somewhat characteristic of people who are celebrities, as well as of people who want or are trying to be celebrities. Anyway, at the very least my comments here have attempted to establish an underlying point that there’s nothing improper about looking closely at men who are alluring and very attractive. Perhaps it’s more a matter of how you think about it.

The Alluring Guy with Bare-Chested Confidence

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The Wall Street Blues: Dark Humor in Hard Times

The Wall Street Blues: Dark Humor

The Wall Street Blues: Hard Times

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Photo of the Day: HOT_L ROSSLYN HART-U

Photo of the Day: HOT_L ROSSLYN HART-U

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Metamorphosis: Visions of Dark Elegies

Metamorphosis: Visions of Dark Elegies

Glenn Marshall has been described as one of Ireland’s most distinguished digital artists and accomplished computer animators. He began his professional career pioneering a new animation technique for The King’s Wake, which went on to win the Celtic Film and TV festival.

Metamorphosis is an animated video recently created by Marshall, which he produced using graphic design that was programmed entirely in Processing. The somewhat esoteric animation features music by the Boards of Canada, specifically the track Corsair from their Geogaddi album, which establishes a stagnant, twirling dark tone for the film.

Marshall has given a brief description of Metamorphosis, his most recent major work:

Butterfly, my first film and the inspiration behind my whole direction as an artist, is again the inspiration here. When making Butterfly I became obsessed with the wing patterns of the Monarch butterfly and how they looked like imaginary worlds within themselves, where butterflies lived and died according to a holistic, natural mechanism of nature.

These kind of ambitious concepts were difficult for me to implement back then within the practical limits of traditional 3d/2d software. So I wanted Metamorphosis be symbolic of my passing over into 100% programmed/generative computer art, where perhaps these kinds of ideas can reach more of their potential.”

Most people who have posted brief, superficial notes about Metamorphosis have described it as “beautiful,” or “a beautiful vision.” Much to the contrary, I find Metamorphosis to be totally plotless, yet it’s emotionally painful to watch. Painful because if one is really thoughtful about this film, it’s underlying theme is revealed to be a stark requiem of anger and death. The film evolved from Mr. Marshall’s earlier obsession with butterfly wing patterns as imaginary worlds of life unto death (see Exner, J. E., 1993, p. 499). Marshall’s own metamorphosis in making this new animated film noir has ended up with his creation of a mythical shadowy world in which seemingly boundless masses of butterflies appear to be trapped in suffocating confinement, eventually flittering and fluttering aimlessly away into a darkened cosmic void, into a state of non-existence.

If anything, the action in Metamorphosis is so sufficiently and diffusely generalized that the dark elegies it conveys to viewers may well be perceived as an evocation of the unformulated experience of all times of mourning. Or as Carl Sagan, astronomer, educator, author (Cosmos, 1980) and Co-Founder of The Planetary Society once wisely observed:

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.”

Metamorphosis: Visions of Dark Elegies

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