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Mailing It In

A word on whether the Mouth and JJC really don't get along. Plus, about that mask.

Letters. I Get Letters.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. -- And today we dip into the mail bag.

It sure seems like you're trashed when you write your column. Am I right?


OK, brain. You don't like me, and I don't like you, but let's get through this thing and then I can continue killing you with beer.

Homer's Brain:

It's a deal!

You seem like a grumpy old man. How old are you?

I am grumpy only when it comes to the (economic forecasting) profession and the increasing number of disingenuous people it houses. Otherwise my disposition is as sunny as that of a one

Martin Prince

. How old maturitywise? About 14. How old in people years? The Invisibility Clause in my contract prevents me from saying.

Why should I listen to you? I mean what makes you smarter than the other people doing what you're doing?

Uhh ... nothing. I am by no means exceptionally bright. I look closely at economic relationships past. I look closely at economic numbers present. Then I smother both of them in common sense to make a decent guess at economic likelihoods future. Lots of times it works out. Other times it doesn't.

Anybody (in all seriousness) can do what I do.

Do you really hate Cramer? Or are those arguments just staged?

Uhh ... why in the world would I hate the guy who made me (paper) rich? Seriously: The violent nature of our professional ... disagreements ... is very real indeed. It is the natural product of two ultrapassionate hotheads being in the same URL. But I do not personally "hate" Cramer. I rather like (and respect) him and he rather likes (and respects) me. And he will tell you precisely the same thing.

The only reason I really fight with Cramer is that he lets me mash with him when we make up. Betty Everett got it right in the

Shoop Shoop

song: It's in his kiss.

Do you write your columns in advance? Where's the material come from?

Every column is day-of fresh. I have no choice on the days when important government economic releases hit (because I have to enter the numbers into spreadsheets before I can write about them). On other days I just wake hoping that I will hear something on television or read something in a paper that provokes a hostile reaction. The digging begins then.

What's with those stupid polls?

The polls provide the recommended daily allowance of Portuguese humor (so stay out of


if you hate them). Seriously: The polls are meant as a constant reminder to not take me (or the column) too seriously. I take myself with less than an ounce of seriousness; the people who know me well take me even less seriously than that.

The polls are all about keeping things in perspective.

Why the mask? Why not a photo?

I have been asking


to post my picture since I got here. His response is always the same.

Look. You ought to consider yourself exceptionally fortunate that we print every stupid rant that comes out of your fat pie-hole. So you're wise to leave it at that. And trust me. No one wants to see your ugly mug anyway.

Write him ( with further questions.

Are you trashed right now?

There is something about a Martini

Ere the dining and dancing begin

And to tell you the truth

It is not the vermouth

I think that perhaps it's the gin.

Side Dish

No column tomorrow. Wading into the sea of slack-jaws that is


to (a) scream at


pitchers and (b) pelt


with peanuts. The goal is to get kicked out of the


playground and to make a big scene doing it.

Back with a recap of adventures next week.