Rumor or Humor
Jerry Laiserin

Few remember Soft Machine co-founder Robert Wyatt's musical "concept album," Ruth is Stranger than Richard, recently reissued, but originally released in 1975 (those who listened to this sort of thing in 1975 generally can't remember much of anything from those days ). Whether truth or fiction, this week's rumor and humor parables clearly demonstrate that Ruth IS stranger than Richard.

A Matter of Taste: A Parable
Once upon a time, a restaurant not known for its steak decided to add steak to its menu (ideally served with a glass of V8-brand vegetable juice). To prove its steak just as good as the bigger steak place next door, our brave restaurateur invited a famous food critic to compare "steakB" to "steakA." The critic, widely renowned for his discernment, stared and sniffed, sliced and chewed, and decreed the steaks indistinguishable. "Huzzah!" cheered the populace, until another critic, himself an author of many books about the ABC's and XYZ's of steak, cried out "That man is a vegetarian! He knows not of steak!" To which the first critic replied, "My taste buds are unsullied by years of eating meat, so I am better able to compare and contrast two steaks than can the likes of you!" So, is steakB really indistinguishable from steakA? You may need to chew this one over for yourself.

Things They Don't Teach In Business School
Economists define the "opportunity cost" of any good or service as the value of the other goods or services that we must give up in order to produce it. The opportunity cost of an investment is defined as the financial return (interest) that we must give up on the money invested (presumably in the hope of making more money). Suppose interest rates are 4% and a man named Otto made a $133,000,000 investment ten weeks ago. Question: if Otto has not yet publicly articulated his strategy for revving up his revenue and making more money on his investment, what is Otto's opportunity cost to date? Answer: a little over $1,000,000 ((4%)($133,000,000)(10/52). Question: did Otto make a good investment? Answer: too soon to tell whether this was a case of "time is of the essence" or "time is money." Hint: Otto has a track record of making investments pay.

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