Monday, July 26, 2010



We’ve just returned from a trip down the east coast visiting colleges for our oldest daughter. That part of the trip was delightful and may perhaps be the subject of a later post. Meanwhile, if you can provide any enlightenment concerning any of the following:

--Boston College
--Catholic University of America
--University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
--Florida Southern College

and/or the Nursing programs at any of the above, feel free to comment and/or contact me.

Now, to the meat of this particular post:

This odyssey ended up in Orlando. As those of you who know me are aware, I am not the biggest fan of the Orlando theme parks in any of their banal manifestations. But the kids, and my wife, enjoy these places, so I go to these places. At times, I even enjoy them, mostly because I am there with the people I most dearly love. So I will refrain from launching into extensive ruminations on these parks. However, something did occur to me during this latest trip that needs to be addressed on the blog.

One can notice many things about the crowds at these parks. For example, a (mercifully seemingly falling) number of those who attend these parks seem to have little familiarity with deodorant, tooth paste, mouthwash, or toilet paper, which makes waiting in the endless lines that is the most salient features of these parks even more delightful. But the most pertinent, at least for this post, characteristic of at least a substantial minority of those who vacation in Orlando is that they don’t look like they are taking a break from the trading desk at Goldman, yet have an enormous propensity to, er, urinate away copious quantities of money on the hideous, and hideously overpriced, junk offered in the “gift shops” onto which every ride empties and at the various concession stands featuring $10 hamburgers and $5 cokes. Appearances can be deceiving; perhaps the men who wear shirts emblazoned with the words “Five Dollar Footlong” and arrows pointing downward are seven figure earners off on vacation with their families. And how a man fritters away the fruits of his labor is none of my, or your, business…normally.

However, on one particular evening, upon returning to our hotel room from one of the parks, I happened upon the continuing news story of mortgage modification and saw an opportunity to marry what I saw at the park with this ongoing financial story. I hereby propose a series of questions for anyone seeking a taxpayer financed mortgage modification, and such modifications, if truth be told, are ultimately taxpayer financed one way or the other. The questions are as follows:

1. Have you ever been to an Orlando theme park?
2. Have you been to an Orlando theme park more than once?
3. Have you ever purchased a souvenir at an Orlando theme park rather than buying the identical piece of junk for one third the price at any Orlando area Walmart?
4. Have you ever eaten at an Orlando theme park rather than eat off site at one fifth the price?
5. Have you ever forsaken the many water fountains available at an Orlando theme park in favor of the $5 soft drinks (but only $12 refillable for 75 cents!) served at an impossibly lackadaisical pace at an Orlando theme park?
6. Have you ever purchased a picture at an Orlando theme park?

If anyone applying for a mortgage modification (on the taxpayers, of course) answers “Yes” to any two of the above, or “Yes” to number 2, s/he should immediately be disqualified for a mortgage modification. With such displays of financial idiocy, one is a hopeless case who will lose his house even with a modification, and one cannot expect the taxpayers to finance one’s indulgences of the excerebrosity, financial or otherwise, that these parks represent.

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