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Friday, October 19, 2007

Sox, Stocks, and Memories

Red Sox Nation is doing the Happy Hamster Dance this morning after last night's win. The series comes back to Fenway Saturday night with Curt Schilling on the mound. Given that Beckett can't pitch every game, there's nobody I'd rather have on the mound for a Big Postseason Game than Schilling.

This Friday's State of Denial post is up on the Wand of Wonder this morning. It has to do with Dick Cheney's future job opportunities...

It was 20 years ago today... that the Stock Market plummeted 508 points, losing almost a quarter of its value, in what became known as "Black Monday". I'll always remember that Monday vividly, because I had boarded a train at Boston's South Station bound for Chicago on Sunday evening. We'd done a book fair Sunday, and there was a book auction in Chicago on Tuesday which I wanted to attend, so I took the Overnighter. We arrived in Chicago early Monday afternoon and had heard no news while we traveled.

I took a cab to the auction house for the preview. Halfway there the driver glanced in the mirror and said, "Shocking Day, huh? Just terrible!"

"Uh huh, yes". I mean, what else do you say?

"What do you think's gonna happen?"

"I don't know". Since I had no idea what he was talking about, it was completely true.

When I arrived at the auction house to preview the books there was an undercurrent of tension everywhere. I overheard the young women on the gallery staff whispering to each other in panicky tones (national financial meltdowns the day before an auction are not a good thing). Beginning to get a bit panicky myself now, I edged over to do some eavesdropping.

"Well," a young 20-something blond was whispering, "my boyfriend works at the Exchange and he says this could be it".

"It" what?

Her friend nodded. "My husband's on the Futures Board and he says he's never seen anything like this. Nobody knows what to do".

Welcome to Chicago. Oh, and the national economy collapsed while you were on the train.

Now, of course, it didn't turn out that way. Stocks steadied the next morning (the national networks provided live coverage of the opening bell, something unheard of in those days before MSNBC, et al) and the market steadied. By the end of the year it had regained all the lost ground and more. But nobody knew that that day. 1929 was our only point of reference. It was scary. And it was disconcerting as Hell to walk into the middle of it not knowing what anyone was talking about. I'll always remember that feeling.

That's a picture of actress Deborah Kerr. She died yesterday, but has left us with wonderful memories.

We're off to a local bookfair, so I may not be checking in before Monday. Have a great weekend, and Go Sox!

18 comments:

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Have a great weekend.

Malach the Merciless said...

Where's my Necronomicon!?

Colonel Colonel said...

Bruce- thanks!

Malach- We were packing it when the sky got dark, and the wind howled, and this weird wailing started in the hills, and the walls began shaking. So we're keeping it. This is cool!

Sara Sue said...

I remember that day too. Scary and yet inevitable.

I'll miss Ms. Kerr, what a lady.

Beach Bum said...

I was in West Germany on a REFORGER exercise with the 4th Infantry division when over armed forces radio they talked about Black Monday. My grandfather had been expecting another crash like the one in 1929 and I became so worried about him I called home. He fussed at me for ten minutes about the cost of the call but he was glad I did it.

Preposterous Ponderings said...

Enjoy your weekend!

Tequila Mockingbird said...

that's why i invest all of my money in beenie babies and crack rock. fuck all those fancy shmancy stocks!

Colonel Colonel said...

Sara- we're just crossing our fingers we don't have another one soon.

Beach Bum- yeah, I called my parents, who I new were invested in the markets. I think there were a lot of calls like that that day.

PrePondering- I will certainly give it my best effort!

T-Bird- I actually once knew an otherwise intelligent woman (VP at a high-tech company) who was buying Beanie Babies and putting them away to pay for her toddlers' college educations. I wonder how that worked out for her... (the company she worked for went belly-up a few years ago).

moooooog35 said...

...wait a minute...

...are you saying my Beanie Babies are worth jack?!?!?

Bonfire tonight. My house. 7 pm.

Gardenia said...

Our country and economics seem very insecure nowadays - the other day our dollar was $.56 on Canada's dollar. Not good. Everything is outsourced, and we are supposed to buy to sustain the economy, but have few $ left over to buy anything.

Those of us whose parents, grandparents remember the Great Depression can hear that same shaky tone in their voices today indicating worry! My mother remembers not having anything to eat - it wasn't that her dad didn't save money, it just happened the bank closed its doors and kept all his money - or had loaned it out or something.

Sirdar said...

Gardenia: I think you read the dollar exchange wrong.

$1.00 CAN = $1.03536 USD

I remember Black Friday. I can also remember that I was glad that I didn't have any stocks. The stock market goes up and down. Just hope that it doesn't go down to zero.

C. Alice Wang said...

Up and down, up and down ... the market needs a dose of Cialis!

FOUR DINNERS said...

I enjoyed Black Monday enormously and look forward to as many more as possible.

All too briefly, everyone was as poor as me....

Pope Benedict XVI said...

We have some old books to sell . . . you interested? HUMMNNNUGH

Colonel Colonel said...

Moooog35- IXNAY ON THE BONFIRAY!! They have toxic chemicals in them that are fatal if burned and inhaled...

Sirdar- If it ever hits zero we'll have other stuff to worry about besides stocks.

Gardenia- Welcome to MMB! Owe, you scared me for a second. We're not down to 56 cents yet. That's next January...

CAW- Also welcome to MMB! Yes, we need more drugs for the traders!

4-D- I have to admit, the drama is quite energizing. It's the global economic collapse afterwards that's a bitch.

Popey- You might want to check again. Father Guido Sarducci sold us 45 truckloads of pre-1800 books from the Vatican Library three months ago for $14.95 a ton. But yeah, anything you got left we'd be interested in.

Mike said...

It was interesting how the stock market showed "sympathy pains" in honor of the 20th anniversary.

C.Rag said...

It didn't turn out that way b/c my boyfriend, Alan Greenspan, was working hard to get us through that. I was four years old at the time, but Alan never worried about age differences.

Colonel Colonel said...

Mike- Yet more proof that the Market is anything but rational.

C.Rag- There you go, that "irrational exuberance" thing again.