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Fleeceflower root

The Best Week of the Year

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I always enjoy reading the Week magazine, and this week's Week is a belter.

It's reviewing the stories of the last week and the last year, with the Bernie Madoff affair figuring large.

Two things stood out from their coverage of the Madoff story. 

First, a quote from Warren Buffett:  "it is when the tide goes out that the world sees who has been swimming naked". 

How true.

Second, and more intriguing, is the note that a financial analyst from one investment firm, Harry Markopolos, reported Madoff to the SEC in 1999 for running a Ponzi scheme.  The agency "didn't even consider a routine examination of the investment business".

Oh dear.

But what I love about the mag is that they just dig up stuff that makes me laugh, as well as having the best news headlines.

So here's a few stories from 2008 that will cheer you up.

First, the jobsworth story of Tunbridge Wells Council who banned the word "brainstorming" as it might offend folks who are mentally unstable.  Instead, staff have been told to use the phrase "thought showers" ... so much more understandable.

Then there's the stats, such as 59% of married women in Britain would divorce if they thought they would have financial security.  I'm betting the other 41% have financial security, but don't divorce because they've got their husbands right where they want them! 

62% of fathers say that work provides a welcome break from the kids and 25% work longer hours to spend less time with them.  The other 75% are, of course, with the mistress and just claim to work those longer hours.

My favourite stats are these though:

Only 1 in 20,000 paper clips are used to clip paper ... what are the other 19,999 used for?

58% of American male CEOs are over six feet tall, compared with only 14.5% of the general male population ... we like our leaders big!

The average piece of chewing gum costs three pence but costs ten pence to clean up off the pavement ... who worked that one out?

More Rolex Oyster watches have been reported stolen on the Costa del Sol than have ever been manufactured ... have you seen Puerto Banus?

62 of the world's 100 richest men are married to brunettes.  None are married to a redhead ... but then Red is Dead?

Finally, there are the funny but true stories, such as the one from earlier this year about the Russian bank who persuaded senior female staff to undress for a calendar.  What a great idea?

Then there's the root vegetable dug up in China that looks just couple of people with all of their anatomical features.

Here it is:

Fleeceflower root

Pretty amazing?

Finally, there's the story about the naughty parrot, Barney.

Barney was owned by a truck driver and then given to Geoff Grewcock to look after, at a wildlife centre in Warwickshire.

The only trouble is that Barney swears like a trooper, and taught the other parrots to do the same.

Their favourite words are 'f**k', 'b*****d' and 'tw*t'. 

Apparently, one of the other parrots shouts 'shut up' all the time, but they just ignore him.

Trouble is, Barney can be very embarrassing.

He recently told the lady mayor to 'f**k off' during a civic visit, and then turned around to two police officers and a vicar and added, 'you can f**k off too you w*****s!'

From my story of earlier today, about the City bankers singing the Credit Crunch Christmas Song, it looks like Barney and his friends could easily qualify for a job in the dealing rooms of London ...


Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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