Friday, November 09, 2007


Acabo de encontrar un bolso negro, triste y solo en una esquina de Lavapiés. En su interior no hay dinero, ni tampoco documentación alguna. Obviamente se trata de un robo. Al lado descansaban el plano de la ciudad, un sello con la estatua de la libertad y unas postales ya escritas, que no fueron envíadas a tiempo. Casi todas van dirigidas a Houston (USA). Me fascinan los comentarios que hacen sobre esta ciudad a la que tanto amo. Transcribo y traduzco lo que dicen:

"Fri 11/9
Mi Clifford-
Don´t plan to see a bullfight, but it was a dramatic card. Spent much time in Prado Art Gallery - wich together with 2 other nearly galleries here in Madrid houses more art objects than any other collection in the world.
Love, Daddy"

"Viernes 11/9
Mi Clifford-
No tuvimos la oportunidad de ir a los toros, pero la postal era tan dramática...Hemos estado mucho tiempo en el Prado, que junto a otros dos museos de Madrid, forman la mayor colección de arte del mundo
Un beso, papa"

"Fri 11/9
Dear All-
We are having a great time! we walk every where + eat as much as we can. It si beautiful + I´ll try to put some pics together for everyone.
Please be thinkin of T-Day plans for us!
Yes, there is plents of shopping, but everyhing here is expensive as the $. Be safe, Marilyn"

"Viernes 11/9
Querido All-
¡Estamos pasándolo genial! Andamos de un lado para otro, comiendo todo lo que podemos. Es hermoso. Os enseñaré algunas fotos a todos. Por favor, ve pensando en algún plan con nosotros para el día T (de Acción de Gracias).
Sí, Madrid está lleno de tiendas, pero todo es tan caro como si lo vendieran en dólares.
Cuídate, Marilyn"

"Dear Mother + Bill,
Spain has changed so much! Everything is on time & they are all very westernized. They all smoke so much! Everything is very beautiful + we are having a fantastic time. See you soon!
Love, Marylin"

"Querida Mama y Bill,
¡España ha cambiado muchísimo! Se cumplen los horarios con puntualidad y todo el mundo es muy occidentales. ¡Fuman mucho! Todo es hermoso + Nos lo estamos pasando estupendamente. ¡Hasta pronto!
Te quiere, Marylin"


Nicho said...

Muy bueno, dOn OjO.

Además, se debe ponderar que estas yankis vienen de vivir el tedio de Texas: no particular place to go.

Anonymous said...

mama y bill!!
mama será una divorciada??
pobrecicos, en la siguiente postal seguro que madrid ya no les gusta tanto, es una putada que te roben cuando estas haciendo turismo.
finde que viene recuerda que te invito a merendar, lo prometo, que ya se que soy lo peor.

Anonymous said...

It was 1950 when Frank
McNamara of New York's Hamilton Credit
Corporation came up the idea of giving affluent businessmen a
convenient way to charge business-related expenses. The original
Diners Club card was pasteboard with the customer's name on one side
and a list of the twenty seven restaurants that accepted it on the
other. The first plastic cards came out in 1955 creating a whole new
way of monetary exchange.

American Express, the traveler's check company, began issuing cards in
1958 followed by The Bank of America and their BankAmericard. Because
The Bank of America had California as its base of operation, the
BankAmericard quickly became the most widely know card. Other smaller
banks joined the BankAmericard system and the system continued to
grow. In 1977 the card underwent a name change and became Visa. By the
1990's Visa was the largest credit card in use with nearly 400 million
cards in circulation and more than 12 million businesses that accepted

In 1967, City Bank of New York issued the Everything card, the card
that eventually became MasterCard. It was during the 1960's that the
credit card took hold of the American consumer's pocketbook. The
credit card freed people from the restraints of having to have money
to buy something by allowing them to use money that they had not yet
earned. By freeing their immediate constraints the credit card took a
firm hold of the card user's future. And the future showed up in the
form of a bill the next month and every month after. And by the mid
1990's the consumer debt in America surpassed $1 trillion dollars,
much of it through the use of credit cards.

The Prestige of Credit Card Debt
American Express devised the class system in the credit card industry.
The original card was purple and through its marketing it presented an
image of membership, much like being a member of a private club. In a
few years the purple card turned green and then became surpassed in
image by its gold sibling in 1966. By the mid 1980's the platinum card
was born and the image was complete. The working-class had their
"plain" card, the middle-class carried gold and the upper-class
purchased with platinum.

With this system in place, the credit card companies were able to give
the consumer instant gratification and control just how much debt they
would get into. With the consumer being lulled into buying just a
little more than they could afford, the bills never quite got paid and
the credit card companies continued to be paid month after month. In
many cases the payments continued long after the product purchased
ceased to have any value.

Not Even the Sky's the Limit
In the 1970's the credit card industry faced a crises. The credit card
companies were faced with paying up to 20% for the money they borrowed
but were prohibited by law from charging more than 12% for the money
they lent out. Obviously this was a recipe for disaster. But they
found, or more precisely, created a solution.

Banking regulations limited the amount of interest they could charge
to the rate set by the state in which they were doing business. So
banks with credit card divisions in New York were regulated by the New
York law. But with an eye towards new opportunities many banks began
courting South Dakota. With promises of new jobs, new tax revenues,
and who knows what kinds of political contributions, it took just
weeks for the laws of South Dakota to be changed to allow unlimited
interest rates to be charged. Delaware, noticing the opportunity, soon
changed its laws too.

Now with no limits on interest rates, credit card companies were
poised for unprecedented profits. And the money began pouring in, into
South Dakota and Delaware. Check your credit card statements to see
where your money goes. (Utah has no limit, it has American Express -
New Hampshire has no limit, it has Providian - Virginia has no limit,
it has Capital One - Arizona has a 36% limit, it has Bank of America
and Direct Merchants)

Make More by Charging Less
The next big advancement in credit card profits came in a brilliant
move that allowed you to pay less. How does a credit card company make
more by allowing you to pay less you ask? Well if you had been paying
a minimum monthly payment of 5% of the balance due you paid $50 for
every $1,000 you owed. But when the minimum monthly payment was cut to
2% you could now owe $2,500 and still pay just $50. But with a 2%
payment you would owe the money for years and years, I mean decades
and decades. You owed more money for longer periods of time and the
credit card companies made more money. All conveniently packaged with
the concept of "easy terms" and "monthly payments." That is, easy
money for them and endless monthly payments for you.

Are You Smiling Now?
With the limits on interest rates having been lifted and the minimum
monthly payment being reduce the next advancement came in the form of
a lawsuit, Smiley VS Citibank. The decision of this lawsuit allowed
credit card companies to charge unlimited fees. As if unlimited
interest wasn't enough! Fees soon went from $5.00 to $10.00 to $20.00
to, well, as I said there is no limit. Seeing revenues surge it was
only natural to invent new fees.

How many fees does your credit card have? Late fee? Yes! Over the
limit fee? Yes! Returned check fee? Yes! Is that all? How about the
Universal default fee? It allows your interest rate to be raised
because you were either late on a payment, any payment not just to
your credit card company or because you have too much debt. So what's
the cost of a bounced check or a late payment? If you figure it out
you're probably not going to be confused with Smiley. But as credit
card companies saw their revenues from fees double they sure were