Trump Finds “Loose Change” behind Cushions at Mara-Lago.

Posted in General on March 20th, 2024 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Helping the impecunious billionaire raise $460 million, Paul Manafort suggested looking behind couch cushions. Perhaps it was just a lucky guess, but look what they found: two dozen of them.

In another remarkable coincidence, the sales deed for Alaska seems to be missing. So, at least on Fox News, there now is some question that it ever existed.

Eugene Explains His Theory of Relativity

Posted in General on March 16th, 2024 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

I did have the perfect audience.

Me: In “Oppenheimer” Tom Conti played you, adhering to the Hollywood casting of unattractive Italians as Jews.

Bert: I should be grateful it wasn’t John Turturro.

Me: Well, you were supposed to be likable. As a corollary, attractive Jews are cast as Italian. James Caan in “The Godfather”. Passing off Bernard Schwartz as a Tony

Bert: Edward G, Robinson was attractive?

Me: All of his Italians were unattractive.

Bert: So, Mr. Authenticity, who would you have cast as me? Seth Rogen? Jeff Goldblum?

Me: You know them?

Bert: Leonardo tells me that Heaven had streaming long before television did. By the way, we were watching you on Jeopardy. Of course, I was rooting for you.

Me: Was Leonardo?

Bert: No, he and Fermi were for Bob Verini. They can be tribal, too.

Me: Whom would you like to portray you? Daniel Day-Lewis would convey your brilliance, if in an ostentatious way.

Bert: Actually, I would prefer Jack Black or Ben Stiller. I like being adorable.

December 25th

Posted in General on March 16th, 2024 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

For those of you who care: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Some of you may be curious as to why my ancestors turned down Christianity when it was an IPO. To be honest, it was a question of marketing. We didn’t need a “new and improved monotheism” when we still were under the original warranty.

Furthermore, Jesus was not really addressing our major problem. It was charming that He could cure lepers BUT what was He doing about the Romans? The Judeans wanted an exterminator, not a carpenter.

Finally and unforgivably, there was that problem with catering. What is the point of fish and loaves without cream cheese? If you are going to perform a miracle, do it right!

Nonetheless, Merry Christmas.


January 15th

Posted in General on March 16th, 2024 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

On this day in 1759, the British Museum opened. At the time, the exhibits consisted of a copy of Beowulf and three chamber pots used by Henry VIII (all mercifully emptied). Critics ridiculed the animatronic George II, saying that it was unlifelike and incoherent. However, it actually was George II.

January 22nd

Posted in General on March 16th, 2024 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

On this day in 1917, Woodrow Wilson thought he could end the Great War by simply asking everyone to stop. “Peace without Victory.” At least, he could have offered participation prizes. Unfortunately, this seems to be the same approach he had for the Princeton athletic program when he was the University’s president. That would explain the 1909 football season, when the Tigers lost 72 to nothing against Bertrand Russell. Just him, but he was using advanced math in his huddles. The Tigers did tie 42-42 against Sarah Bernhardt, but only after she removed her wooden leg.

Dateline Washington, D.C.

Posted in General on October 15th, 2023 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

The Herbert Hoover Matrimonial Chapel

The Who’s Who of Prime Ministers

Posted in General on July 8th, 2022 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

I. Who’s Who

My idea of casual conversation would include an allusion to Benjamin Disraeli. My acquaintance’s idea of a response was “Who?”  I hoped that I maintained a stoic mien but my eyebrows might have been doing the semaphores of  “Really?” The lady, a friend of a neighbor, is Gentile; so she would have been indifferent to the most interesting feature of Disraeli. I just provided her with a brief description of a “British prime minister of the 19th century and a man of extraordinary charm and wit.”

Now, I don’t want to seem like a pedantic bully  (even if I really am) but I think that a middle-aged college graduate should have heard of Benjamin Disraeli. He is not obscure. It is not as if I had belabored the poor woman with such prime ministerial ciphers as Henry Campbell-Bannerman or James Callahan. (And if I had mentioned Andrew Bonar Law, she might have slapped me.)

I realized that Americans’ criterion for historical significance is whether or not it was made into a movie. But Disraeli has been, and he has been portrayed by George Arliss, John Gielgud, Alec Guinness and Ian McShane. Given Disraeli’s origins, Ben Stiller or Seth Rogen may feel entitled to play him! No, that woman should have heard of Disraeli.

In fact, I think that a number of British prime ministers merit at least a minimum of recognition.

Robert Walpole (1721-1741): a $2,000 question on Jeopardy but he was the first prime minister.

Lord North (1770-1782): the idiot during the American Revolution.

William Pitt the Younger (1783-1801, 1804-1806) if only because Pittsburgh was named for his father.

Earl Grey (1830-1834): because he had such great taste in tea. Yes, really.

Benjamin Disraeli (1868, 1874-1880): he needs no introduction.

William Gladstone (1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, 1892-1894): Disraeli’s rival. If Disraeli was Groucho, Gladstone was Margaret Dumont.

David Lloyd George (1916-1922): in case you were wondering who was standing next to Woodrow Wilson at Versailles.

Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940): who is now remembered as an insult and an accusation.

Winston Churchill (1940-45, 1951-1955): the man George Bush claimed to be–give or take the eloquence.

Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990): Disraeli’s politics with Gladstone’s charm.

Tony Blair (1997-2007): if only to prove that you were not completely oblivious.

Boris Johnson…oh, maybe not.

States of Denial

Posted in General on April 25th, 2021 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Turkey insists that if anything happened in 1915…

“For some reason, the Armenians decided enmasse to march into the Anatolian wastelands but in their impetuous whimsy forgot to bring any food. Now this occurred during World War I, so perhaps there was a shortage of updated Michelin guides (the French army would have been using them to rate the trenches at Verdun.) Those silly Armenians kept missing the Howard Johnsons and ended starving to death–except for the thousands who must have accidently shot or bayoneted themselves.”

For some reason, most people don’t believe the Turkish explanation. However, the Japanese do. Japan, too, has suffered from an unkind skepticism regarding “accidents” that may have happened in the topsy-turvy of the ’30s and ’40s. Apparently, millions of Chinese civilians died while the Japanese army was in the neighborhood. Given China’s large population, that may have been a statistical inevitability. There also could be a nutritional explanation. If in 1937 300,000 people in Nanking evidently chose to massacre and decapitate themselves, that might have been a reaction to all the monosodium glutamate in Chinese food. Yes, well, the Samurai Code evidently does not require credibility.

Fortunately, with my experience in the Chicago financial markets, I have a solution to Turkey’s and Japan’s bad reputations: Guilt Futures. Just pay, trade or coerce another country into taking the blame. It might not be historically valid, but we should let the marketplace determine who wants to be guilty. Sudan probably could use a little extra money to finance its ongoing genocide; an extra massacre or two on its resume would hardly be noticed. France might be willing to swap its Huguenot massacres or Nazi collaboration for more conveniently remote crimes. In the case of Nanking and the other atrocites, China and Japan could overcome history by finding a mutually agreeable scapegoat: Tibet.

Unfortunately for Turkey, it is not a rich country. The guilt future for the Armenian genocide should offer more than a few tons of figs. Of course, if the Turks offered unlimited use of their air space or passage through the Dardenelles, then there might be a willing culprit…

Today President Putin apologized for Russia’s massacre of the Armenians.

Lose a War, Lose Your Identity

Posted in General on August 12th, 2020 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Starting on this day in 955, the Magyars resigned themselves to being called Hungarians. Lose a war, lose your identity.

A simple smash-and-grab invasion of Bavaria was ruined by the inconvenient arrival of the Emperor Otto and his army. Worse, Otto had a talent for strategy, placing his army on the Magyars’ line of retreat. German heavy cavalry versus Magyar light cavalry. If you would like to reenact the battle from the Magyars’ perspective, try mugging a tank.

The battle of Lechfeld is not celebrated in Budapest.

So, why were the Magyars renamed the Hungarians? That was what the Byzantines called them, thinking that the marauding Magyars were the descendants of the Huns. The Germans would certainly not dare question the Byzantines. (They were the Ivy Leaguers of the Middle Ages.) Besides, the Germans were becoming accustomed to erroneous names. After all, they never called themselves Germans. (Damn Romans.)

And the victorious Deutsch could have come up with worse names: “Paprika schwillt Vagabunden” (That translates to Paprika-swilling vagabonds.) However, that actually would have been more accurate. The Magyars were not related to the Huns. In fact, they were Turks–although the current nationalist government in Budapest isn’t embracing that heritage.

Ole Vey!

Posted in General on July 31st, 2020 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

Out of mischief or masochism, I wondered what the Catholic Encyclopedia had to say about Tomas de Torquemada. Would modern Catholic scholarship admit that Spain’s Grand Pyromaniac was a monster, claim to never have heard of him, or equivocate over the meaning and context of mass-murder? Take a wild guess!

The Catholica Encyclopedia concedes that Torquemada was somewhat controversial and, perhaps from a modern perspective, a tad cruel. However, the Encyclopedia quibbles over the number of his victims: it couldn’t be 20,000, probably not even 6,000, say 2,000 tops. Who would think that Catholic scholars would act like Jewish wholesalers? In fact, that was exactly what Torquemada feared. According to the Encyclopedia. he was trying to protect Spain from being “Judaized”.

Apparently, he burned the most infectious 2,000, 6,000 or 20,000 people and saved Spain from that dreadful fate. But what if he had failed? Just imagine a Judaized Spain.

In 1492, Columbus was commissioned by their Most Sephardic Majesties Fred and Bella to sail west to China, where he was to pick up two orders each of chicken cashew, mongolian beef, and hot & sour soup. Naturally, he was to bring back the receipt.

During the 16th century, the countries we now know as Ladino America are overrun by armies of peddlers. The Aztecs are persuaded to buy Popeil cutlery for their human sacrifices. In Cubala and the Rabbinican Republic, the most promising athletes are enslaved by sports agents.

Of course, Spanish art is equally transformed. El Greco’s Transfigurations now depict a 13 year-old becoming a man. The princesses painted by Velasquez will seem much more annoying. And no one will ever call himself Goya.

Literature will also reflect this Judaizing. Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon will convey the pageantry, drama and danger of an all-you-can-eat brunch. The masterpiece of Spanish literature is Cervantes’ “Sancho Panza” the comic epic of a rotund schlep who hangs around a demented gentile for excitement.

Oh, and the Spanish Civil War was a lawsuit.