Author Archives: LL Smooth J

LL Smooth J alias smoothjazzy alias Shitfaced Killah alias Stephen Hoban fecit


In fact, around this time there had been efforts by some of the big Wall Street firms to salvage their triple-A tranches by buying actual mortgages and preventing enough foreclosures to keep those tranches from eroding. Bear, which owned the mortgage originator EMC, announced the EMC “Mod Squad” in early April, which was supposed to help delinquent borrowers avoid foreclosure. Other firms, including Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, were meeting to see if they could do something collectively to keep home-owners from defaulting. The simple act of buying up the mortgages and then forgiving the loans would not only save homeowners, but save Wall Street billions of dollars in potential losses.
But there were all kinds of problems. Regulators were deeply suspicious. The firms themselves worried about antitrust concerns. And the servicers, as one person involved in the effort put it, “were largely controlled by people who might not want mortgages rescued.” Still, this source adds, “it should have been possible to overcome.”
It wasn’t to be. In particular, a number of the big investors who were short the triple-A tranches were furious when they discovered what was going on. They were going to make money if enough homeowners were foreclosed on! They didn’t want anyone helping out homeowners at the expense of their profits.

–Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, All the Devils Are Here, pp. 289-90.


Elizabeth Peyton

Morrissey after Wolfgang, 2004


Tillmans’s Index Magazine cover, 2003


Was reading for work and encountered this Hollis Frampton quote: “In Greek the word means ‘the wounds of returning.’ Nostalgia is not an emotion that is entertained; it is sustained. When Ulysses comes home, nostalgia is the lumps he takes, not the tremulous pleasures he derives from being home again.”

If only that were the original usage, though I enjoy the thought that nostalgia truly describes a past that waits around patiently for an opportunity to hurt us. The word is actually a modern coinage, but I was tempted to consult my trusty Middle Liddell nevertheless, to see if any like sentiments popped up in ancient minds. But that dictionary is gone, packed off to storage with all the other books, or maybe even just lost, effectively just lost.

And thanks to Frampton I’m here, thinking back to the years I spent hunched over in libraries flipping through that book. Remembering, and not with longing.


We were down for Dan’s wedding and hiking around the mountains when we stumbled on some lone graves. They were up in the woods, set back off from the trail. There were bear tracks even just a few feet downhill. Hidden away.

I couldn’t say I’m in support of the rites of Christian burial per se, but if they’re gonna make you get a marker, it’s not a bad way to go.

This was near the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia horse country, this was.

Lady Gaga fast becoming pop conduit of Afghanistan collapse

“The soldier accused of downloading a huge trove of secret data from military computers in Iraq appears to have exploited a loophole in Defense Department security to copy thousands of files onto compact discs over a six-month period. In at least one instance, according to those familiar with the inquiry, the soldier smuggled highly classified data out of his intelligence unit on a disc disguised as a music CD by Lady Gaga.”

NY Times: Loophole May Have Aided Theft of Classified Data (Hat tip @carr2n)

U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Cover ‘Telephone’ by Lady Gaga: