Thursday, 17 May 2012

Just Another Statistic

In the Detroit area....there's a handful of characters who are "known", which means that you'd typically recognize them off the street.  The Mayor....Dave Bing, former basketball star....is one of those.  Pastor Marvin Winans is another.

The good pastor was actually seen recently singing a gospel piece at Whitney Houston's funeral.  In the Detroit area....you'd think most everyone knows the guy.

Well....yesterday in Detroit....the good pastor stopped for gas in the afternoon.  He was in his purple Infiniti QX56 SUV (well over $75k in value).  He was wearing pretty nice clothing.  And he had a Rolex watch on.

At some point while pumping gas....a couple of the local guys set upon him....in mid-afternoon.  They took his SUV, his watch, his billfold with a couple hundred bucks, and his pants.  It's best not to ask about the pants part of this.

The pastor is visibly upset about this.  It's the mid-afternoon.  No one from the gas station came to him in his hour of need.  It was like being in a third-world country.  And in some ways....he's lucky just to be alive.

I doubt if this story appears much in the national press.  Folks get robbed everyday in Detroit, and the pastor is just another one of a thousand folks who robbed in broad daylight within the city.

For me, I sat and pondered.  Why would a guy stay in Detroit?  Why would a family chose to remain in the city?  Why would a woman chose to raise her kids by herself in Detroit?  Why would a kid even attend school in Detroit?  This is the one place on Earth that ought to put fear into you....just to pack up a bag and head out of the city.  It doesn't matter where you go....things will be better.

As for the pastor?  Well....if you own a Rolex and a $75k SUV....I'm of the mind that you just ain't a pastor or minister.  I'm not sure what you are.....but you just aren't a pastor.  So run down to Sears....buy a pair of $29 dress pants, get a used $9k Toyota, find a decent $18 Timex, and start preaching to Detroit....the city on the edge of Hell.  They kinda need it.  Pack a pistol if necessary....and don't feel too bad about using it if necessary. It's the best advice I can offer.

The Greek Stumble

For those who didn't know....Greece has a population of about 11 million folks.

This week....starting out on Monday....folks started lining up at the bank and withdrawing their cash.  By the end of the day....700 million Euro ($890 million).....had been taken out in one day.  Some phone calls went out by the middle of the day to the remaining leaders of the country....hinting that folks are scared.

Tuesday came....and almost the same amount of money was removed.  Wednesday?  Slightly better.  I'm guessing the bulk of what most folks had....has been removed.  They might have left a couple of thousand, but I suspect that most folks have taken their life savings, and just elected to sit on it or stash it in the freezer.

What happens now?  I'm guessing the bank guys are quietly meeting and talking over what is left.  I'm guessing here....that most Greek banks probably have somewhere around a billion left in cash that they could release to the public.

There are various problems about to erupt.  Vacation folks from Germany and France ought to be arriving in Greece as we speak.  They'd typically spend money.  They probably would visit a ATM machine and pull out 500 Euro to spend on booze and food for the next five days.  That ATM?  It just might be empty, and then what?  A German guy who wanted to booze it up and get drunk.....and he doesn't have the money to do that?

Then you've got various big-wigs in Athens who would typically run by their bank on a Friday and pull out a couple thousand Euro.....and spend on a big weekend.  Now?  You might have to just sit around the luxury villa or leave the country to get cash.

If I were a betting man....I'd say that in ten days....something big is going to happen in Greece.  A new currency will occur.  The exchange rate for the old Euro to the new currency will be a mess.  Folks will want to use Euro anyway.  Arguments with tourists will erupt.  Vacations will be cancelled by the thousands.

The Euro to dollar exchange?  It's .76 today.  I'm guessing by Friday....it's close to .79.

Settle back for an exciting period for the next ten days in Europe.