Monday, July 15, 2002

I have been thinking about accounting standards. In the current system it seems that everything that is not specifically forbidden is allowed. How odd. It’s not that way for me when I pay taxes. Instead I only get to write numbers in a form. Don’t you think a lot of needless confusion and accountant’s fees could be saved with the following approach. I mean what is the point of having two kinds of profits one for the IRS and one for the shareholders ?

SEC form 1040 (corporate profit and loss statement for all publicly traded corporations)

All publicly traded corporations must complete SEC form 1040
All public statements includine the words, profit, loss, earninngs, net revenue or any synonyms of paraphrases of the above (as assessed in federal criminal court) must include as an attachment SEC form 1040. All verbal statements must be immediately followed by a reading of SEC form 1040 at a rate of no more than 100 words a minute and a volume of no less than 50 db. Any corporate officer who chooses to make verbal claims including the words profit, loss, earninngs, net revenue or any synonyms of paraphrases of the above (as assessed in federal criminal court) swears under penalty of perjury that he can prove that they were followed by a reading of SEC form 1040 at a rate of no more than 100 words a minute and a volume of no less than 50 db. SEC form 1040 can be found at SEC form 1040 can be obtained on paper by writing to
The Securities and Exchange Commission (somewhere in Washington). To fill out the form it is necessary and sufficient to type numbers/ or the words yes or no in the blank spaces in the form. No verbal explanations or qualifications are required or allowed. Complete instructions can be obtained by clicking on (instructions) immediately to the right of the number indicating the question. It is strongly recommended that the corporate chief financial officer read the complete form before filling it in. Assistance is available (for patient CFO’s) by calling SEC hotline number 123-456-789 (I'm sure no one is reading this but I thought I better not put in a US phone number just to be safe).

Federal paperwork reduction act notice. 1 minute is required to complete the form. The time required to collect information required varies.

1. My corporation as publicly listed corresponds to a legal entity for the purposes of the corporate income tax

(if you answered yes go to 2 if you answered no go to 3)

2. My corporation reported profits as in box 1 for the purposes of the corporate income tax Box 1________

3. I have begun procedures to reincorporate so that corporation as publicly listed corresponds to a legal entity for the purposes of the corporate income tax.

If no go to 4.

4. I understand that I have the right to remain silent and that anything I say or write may be used against me in a court of law.

It is illegal to publish or distribute to the public in any way any document which describes itself as a profit and loss statement (or synonym or paraphrase) which does not begin with the completed SEC form 1040.

Saturday, July 13, 2002


I had an unusual experience today. I read a book and I still don’t remember if I read it once before. It is
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie. Did I guess which character was the murderer when he was introduced half way through the book or did I vaguely remember from the last time I read it ? That is, is Christie more predictable or forgettable ? A tough one. Certainly she has nothing in common with a great writer like Jorge Luis Borges. One joke in the book caught my attention. A police investigator jokes that Hurcule Poirot is so smart that “I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day, you solved the mystery of your own death… A nice idea no ? One could write a wonderful book about it”. Hmmm now that is a challenge. With my limited imagination I tried to think of the brilliant detective who knows he is going to be killed (but as usual can’t convince the police) knows that the killer will be one of, say, three enemies, and writes a simple procedure for deciding which of the three depending on how he is killed. That would almost do. Then I realised that someone with an unlimited imagination had already solved the problem.

Those who have not read “Death and the Compass” by Jorge Luis Borges should read it before reading on. Those who have should re-read it and not waste time on the web.

In this story, Borges writes of a brilliant detective “It is true that Erik Lonnrot failed to prevent the last murder, but that he foresaw it is indisputable.” Lonnrot is the victim of this murder, indeed the whole series of murders in the story was designed to lure him to the scene. He knows this but is so fascinated by the pattern that he goes anyway, thus solving the mystery of his own murder. Could it possibly be that Borges wrote this beautiful story to respond to a challenge in a novel by Agatha Christie ? I should note that he submitted it for possible publication in Ellery Queen’s mystery magazine (it was summarily rejected). More to the point, Borges is unpredictable and very memorable. As soon as the thought came to my mind, I realized that the novel and the story are, in some ways (excluding quality) very similar. Both concern a series of murders each associated with a letter (ABC and D in the ABC murders the name of god in Hebrew in “Death and the Compass”) and each associated with a different place (in the ABC murders a victim with a name beginning with A is killed in a town whose name begins with A and so forth, so victims and places follow the series A, B C and finally D). In each case the series is constructed so that investigators see the pattern and don’t think of the one murder which is important to the killer. ABC in the ABC murders refers to a train timetable in England which gives all stations alphabetically and lists connections to London (evidently in England all railroads lead to London). The phrase “all roads lead to Rome” appears in “Death and the Compass”. So I re-read “Death and the Compass” and noticed that I had not remembered everything. The last words of Lonnrot are
“A crime at A, then a second crime at B,…, then a third crime at C,…. Wait for me afterwards at D,…. Kill me at D…”
Case closed.

Monday, July 08, 2002

OK my first real random thought. Spam is interesting. Now that was a surprise no ? I wish I had kept track of my hotmail spam (massive). The reason is I began to be concerned about US consumer indebtedness when I got 5 or so offers of a pre-approved credit card or loan a day. This isn't healthy I thought. Then quite suddenly "pre approved credit card" was replaced by "debt consolidation". UH OH. Then there was a recession. I think the spam subject index would be a useful economic indicator. Another way of looking at it is that the incredible freedom of the web was more freedom than some people had learned how to handle. Now I am thinking of on line trading. That has to have something to do with irrational exuberance no ?

Sunday, July 07, 2002

I can't believe it. This is so easy that even I can do it.
Hmmm my first random thought is that I am a lemming setting up a weblog just because everyone else is. My second is go to for something interesting