When the market finds itself bombarded by news that the nation's largest home lender has mercifully been taken over , as well as slightly wilder chatter that airlines will hitch , and absolutely crazy talk is revived on the thinly sourced Microsoft ( MSFT)- Yahoo! ( YHOO) rumor from the same publication that has touted the deal 100 times , you know times are strange. Then add in the Federal Reserve getting tongues panting everywhere when it says it will lower interest rates to the sub-floor to keep a chicken in every pot, and you know things are really weird. But how do you know when we have entered a truly crazy period that may be rife with opportunity but definitely requires a redoubling of caution and plenty of the Business-Press-Maven-proven "source analysis"? When a man named Herb starts speculating. Yes, folks, for the first time in modern history, The Business Press Maven's "Herb Index" is flashing caution. Let me explain. The Business Press Maven, with his experience on both Wall Street and in journalism, is obviously very critical of the business media, which have turned my soul into unadulterated rot. But if more of what I've read over the years had been written by MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg, I'd have cuddling ponies dancing in my soul. Clear-eyed, courageous and willing to dig where others aren't while keeping his flights of fantasy to a bare minimum, Herb is simply one of the all-time greats. If more were like him, I'd be a professional critic of bridge, not of business coverage. So how do I know we've entered a crazy time period that merits overwhelming caution? Herb appears to have gone temporarily insane in the membrane.