Tess Vigeland: It is, shall we say, a time of unpleasantness in this country. What better to soothe our senses than poetry? Yeah, except this poetry is about the debt ceiling. We can't get away from it. Well let's have some fun then.
This all started because of a friend I met on Twitter. His name is Dr. Goose aka David Lefkovits, the CFO of an agricultural trading company. On the side, he writes economic limericks! And so, apparently do a lot of you! So David's with us to hear some of your submissions. Welcome to the show!
David Lefkovits: Thank you, it's good to be here.
Vigeland: So why are limericks so well-suited to talking about the economy?
Lefkovits: That's a very interesting question. Traditionally, limericks have really been used as a rather risque or even obscene form of poetry.
Vigeland: Well, you could argue there's some obscenity going on in Washington, couldn't you?
Lefkovits: Exactly, it might be a fitting medium to discuss filthy lucre.
Vigeland: Well, you are not an economist but actually a banker by trade.
Lefkovits: That's true.
Vigeland: So how do you pick and choose your topics?
Lefkovits: Like everyone else, my reading about things going on in the economy and thinking, "Do I really understand that?" And so being able to write a limerick about it and summarize and express a view on a story in five lines that scan and rhyme, it's like a test to myself, whether I really have understood the issue. And then, of course, to have some fun with it and share it with other people.
Vigeland: Well, let's get started with some of her listeners' submissions. Last week, we asked folks to send some in that had to do with the debt ceiling. So I'm gonna start with the one that is my favorite, for what will become obvious reasons. This was sent in by Jan Michael Alejandro. He's a Facebook friend of mine from here in LA.
Jan Michael Alejandro: This limerick is written for Tess,
Regarding the debt ceiling mess.
Obama v. Boehner,
it couldn't be plainer,
it's business as usual, no less.
Vigeland: David, pretty good, I'd say.
Lefkovits: Very nice.
Vigeland: Well, you know we had somewhat of a tough time sifting through all these limericks for ones that were not completely partisan. Our audience, at least is very very angry at the moment. But we do have some that are generalized fury against Washington. Here's Steve Weiss from St. Louis, Mo.
Steve Weiss: As our Congress bickers some more,
Political points should be left at the door.
I have a sinking feeling,
If we don't raise the ceiling,
We'll surely fall through the floor.
Vigeland: And Phil Graham of Tulsa, Okla.
Phil Graham: The Hill won't adjust the debt ceiling,
Which engenders a real sinking feeling.
If they do not act soon,
The economy will swoon
and the Dow will go crashing and reeling.
Vigeland: David I think folks got lucky that all these revolved around the word "ceiling." Plenty of words to rhyme with that, right?
Lefkovits: That's right. You know, finding a word to rhyme is often a challenge. And my rule of writing a good limerick is to start out with the point and the story you want to tell. And then after that, to try to come up with words that scan and rhyme.
Vigeland: Well, give us one of your debt ceiling limericks.
Lefkovits: Oh absolutely. In fact, just today, I decided to lay odds on the situation in a limerick called "Capitol Thrill Seeker":
A fellow who loved to a good thrill,
made a bet on the debt ceiling bill.
Going 7 to 3,
On a yes from the G-
-OP Caucus on Capitol Hill.
Vigeland: Oooooooooooh. That was close! You couldn't end on GOP caucus, right? That would be a different line.
Lefkovits: We had to split the rhyme and rhyme on the "G" and "OP" on the last line.
Vigeland: Well, I know folks posted on your blog as well. Got a favorite from there?
Lefkovits: Joey Polanski wrote:
"The experts have certainly said it,
That default would ruin our credit.
But, is the solution our Constitution?
Has the government read it?"
Vigeland: Ooooh, snap!
Vigeland: And finally we have Madeleine Kane of Bayside, N.Y. And she posted this on our Facebook page.
Madeline Kane: As the pols in DC vent their spleen
Over actions that should be routine,
Our land's on the brink
Of a crisis some think
Was created on purpose. Obscene!
Vigeland: Indeed, indeed.
Vigeland: David Lefkovits, aka Dr. Goose, this has been so much fun. Folks you can find his limericks on his blog, limericksecon.com. You can follow him as I said on Twitter, @limericksecon and do it just to see the avatar, if for no other reason. And before we go, I'm told you wrote a limerick just for us.
Lefkovits: Well, that's right:
Let me just advise the audience
for financially sound information,
Tune your radio station
where the Marketplace crew and Tess Vigeland too
Will firm your financial foundation.
Vigeland: Love it. David, thanks so much, it's been fun.
Lefkovits: Tess, thank you so much for having me.
Vigeland: And we've put up a special page on our website this weekend where you can see all -- well, almost all -- of the limericks you sent about the debt ceiling debacle.