But first . . .


Thirty-eight new prescriptions for BiDil September 13. Stock down another 48 cents yesterday, to $17.72 (company now valued at $540 million). Don’t sell your puts.


The House passed a bill yesterday, 223-199, that would expand the existing federal hate crimes law to include hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Even 30 Republicans went along with it.

With luck, the Senate will concur and the President will sign this law.

I know some of you don’t believe we should have laws against hate crimes at all – that a crime is a crime is a crime, regardless of motivation – but I would argue, first, that we should, because society has a special interest in seeing these crimes investigated and punished. (For one thing, they sometimes would otherwise get low priority, because law enforcement officials sometimes share the prejudice on which the crimes themselves are based. For another, hate crimes victimize not just the victim, as with most crimes, but the entire class to which that victim belongs. We have a collective interest in not seeing blacks attacking whites just because they are white, or whites attacking blacks, or Baptists attacking Jews or straights beating in the brains of men walking out of gay bars.) And I would argue that if you disagree, you should work to repeal the existing hate crimes statutes – but, in the meantime, don’t deny that gay bashings deserve the same consideration as race bashings or religion bashings. To exclude only gay bashings is to say that they are less worthy of our concern.

And now . . .


Some of you may have seen a drawing of Albert Einstein in the March 21 New Yorker, standing on stage, mike in hand, in the pose of Borscht-Belt comedian – with a parrot on his shoulder. You may also have read the quote that inspired this drawing:

‘Einstein’s 75th birthday occurred on March 14, 1954, and among the flood of presents from around the world was a parrot, sent in the mail by a medical institute. Einstein took a liking to the parrot, which he named Bibo, but he decided the bird was depressed. He tried to cheer it up by telling it bad jokes.‘ – New York Times, April 24, 2004

If so, you almost surely then went on to read the bad jokes Patricia Marx imagined Einstein might have told the parrot. Such as . . .

‘I see we have a bird in the audience. Why so down, my feathered friend? Gravity getting to you?’

And . . . ‘The other day I’m at the deli and I say, ‘Waiter, there’s a sub-atomic particle in my borscht! It’s enormous! Look at it go!’ So the waiter says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, but you know what Heisenberg says about the limitation of measuring two properties of a quantum object with infinite precision.’ So I say, ‘But Werner Heisenberg was a big fat Nazi.’ So the waiter says, ‘I’ll get the manager.”

And . . . ‘How many physicists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two. One to screw in the light bulb and the other to sit around and say, ‘Why bother? Speed of light will beat you every time.”

(And of course . . . ‘Take Newtonian physics – please.’)

(Oh! And . . . ‘But seriously: with this hair, wouldn’t you think I’d have been the one to come up with string theory?’)

But here’s what separates this personal finance web site from what you can get at Quicken or Yahoo or Vanguard or even the Motley Fool.

At this personal finance website, because I have developed a personal relationship with Patricia Marx herself (I didn’t want you to think I was going through her garbage to get this), I can reveal the bad Einstein jokes she submitted to the New Yorker you didn’t read – the ones that had to be excised to make room for the drawing.

These included, in snare drum order:

‘You think you’ve got problems. Every time I go to a restaurant with friends, one of them gives me the check at the end of the meal and says, ‘Albert, you do the math.”

‘Have you heard the one about God? So He’s at Caesar’s Palace, standing next to the crap table and the croupier says, ‘But with all due respect, God, Albert Einstein says you don’t play dice with the universe. ‘Yeah,’ says God, ‘Wasn’t Al also wrong about the cosmological constant?”

‘You think you have it bad. My mother won’t let me bring my girlfriend home for Thanksgiving. You know why? She says, ‘It’s all relatives.’

‘How do you get an elephant into a black hole? That’s the easy part. Try getting him out.’

‘What do gravity and electromagnetism have in common? Hey, if I knew the answer to that, I’d be on my way back to Stockholm.’

And finally (my favorite) . . .

‘So anyway, a neutron walks into a bar. And the bartender says, ‘For you, no charge.”


‘That’s all I got,’ Einstein concludes. ‘You’ve been a great bird.’

Have a good weekend.


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