Parables of Famous Economists - #39 in the occasional series
Seventeen Volatility Varietals
”I think volatility is here to stay. This might be the new normal.” – Sanjay Ramchander
1. Tendency to vaporize. Eleven months held close to flame, pup tents stripped of fire retardant, the chants that resonate from urban canyon walls, gone to vapor trails every one, o when will they ever learn, o when will they
2. Relative vapor pressures in a liquid mixture. EnCana’s salaried guinea pig testing the cement fracking chamber for explosive levels of three benzene derivatives, but they never tell you that the liquid must be preceded by the horizontal 50-caliber shot that helps the pressurized solvents find their way home. The sickly sweet aroma clinging to your nostril hairs may be the last remembered smell, or just another among the half-dozen drill pads of the day.
3. Compounds from a planet’s crust, all characterized by low boiling points. That last hydro shot did little more than remove a layer. The rest of us boiled over long ago, leaving dried beans in the bottom of a scorched saucepan. Add water, compress crust, rinse and repeat, call it Cairo.
4. Organic compounds evaporating at room temperature, usually regulated by governments. It didn’t turn out so well in this year of strangeness and charm, now did it? In the absence of regulatory authority, the vaporization follows global annealing.
5. Volatile anesthetics. As if that was an option. The Spectacle expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep.
6. The abuse of household inhalants containing volatile compounds. The step from Pam cooking spray to toluene might be considered a gateway drug, though this gate swings both ways.
7. Oil derived from plants with aromatic compounds and flavoring. A year massaged in cloves and rose hips and patchouli, then engulfed in flames.
8. In winemaking, a term to indicate an unacceptably high level of acid. The pinot noir left blistering, split canker sores at the Quito sidewalk café, apply the Espiritu de Ecuador balm, again, again, again, the healing process cannot dissipate the image of marching laborers with duct tape wrapped earlobe to earlobe.
9. Variables capable of being changed by an external process. When the long-half-life radioisotopes on the chamber floor coat the tender planet, there are no externalities.
10. Memory that only lasts while the power is on. Which is flash, and which DDR3? What is flash, is flash unchanging law? We both have flash, is mine the same as yours?
11. A measure of the risk of a financial instrument. China apparently said no to the European Union instruments to rescue Greek and Italian debt, because the debt was tranched and re-bundled into debt obligations that looked exactly like the toxic mortgages of 2008. There are no new risk arbitrages under the sun. Nobel mathematicians have been hanging themselves as a result.
12. Compounds of magma that affect the strength of volcanoes on the brink. We’ve barely made it through the initial caldera bulge. Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait.
13. Stochastic theories of probability. Shit, we’re past the nonlinear stochastic flip. The rest is sideshow. The rest is silence.
14. Pedersen Index measure of volatility in political party systems. Seen as all but irrelevant given the greater strength of volatile compounds mentioned above.
15. Video game manufacturer. You already failed the test with the sixth-level boss. Return to sender.
16. 2008 album by A Hero A Fake. Ironic given the denouement of the three years between.
17. 1988 Lime Spiders album. Second verse, same as the first. Contents need not be shaken further.
Nov. 23, 2011
Copyright 2011 Loring Wirbel
When Feedback Squeals
Ode to third-stage chicken pox/shingles, the delayed reaction brat
One mustn’t blame the synapse,
any more than the frayed shoelace tip
felling the last-lap runner.
No fault can be assigned to weary muscles
or the tactile flood of carnival or party,
the festival of simply-is sensation.
If a perpetrator must be named,
blame the pox, the bloody pox.
Old hands learn to tag the cusp of faulty backpropagation,
while newbies know only the incessant sledgehammer,
the second-degree burn of perpetuity.
Sometimes a charley-horse is just a charley-horse,
but odd moments let the cumulonimbus pile higher, higher
in the outback west of Alice Springs.
At the first blue sprite, some strange resonance is reached,
a certain tinnitus of the neural network.
The limbs, the belly are Hendrix’s ‘Red House,’
Lou’s Metal Machine Music,
a Merzbow sonnet.
And how does the body sense a neural chime?
As standing waves,
as pounding on denuded shore,
until ebb tide sorts muscle to muscle,
touch to touch,
sound to sound,
leaving only an exhausted residual sparkle,
and the nagging uncertainty -
Is this the way the brain breaks, too?
Nov. 26, 2011
Copyright 2011 Loring Wirbel
Smoke Detector Batteries
The nose of a husky at 2 a.m.
must always be trusted,
particularly when synchronized
with random chirp of smoke detector.
If puppies are not dyspeptic,
something is afoot.
Crystals of ice-fog deposit layers on each hyperdefined branch.
Coyotes straddle the ridge like a K2 climber, whispering
“Remember Karakoram. Remember 1980. The watchers have returned.”
The white beast might be lost amidst a subzero whiteout,
but for that whine in the back of the throat
matching the next lonely mating call of smoke detector.
This is not about a range-war romp under new moon.
This is not about cursive marks of tangerine piss.
She will sleep by the back door the rest of the night,
each shiver anticipating that for which we could not be warned.
I am sleepstepping on an uncertain ladder,
removing protective covering,
calculating half-life of Americium-241,
realizing that for this particular premonition,
there are no fresh batteries to be had.
Dec. 2, 2011
Copyright 2011 Loring Wirbel