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Yoda, pose downs, and Mr. Greenspan
With all his serious talk and briefcase walk ... he made us want to get goofy.
October 26, 2005: 2:05 PM EDT

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The Briefcase Barometer was lots of fun.
The Briefcase Barometer was lots of fun.
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - His successor is named. I guess that means he is really going to go.

I'm going to miss him ... the Maestro ... the G man ... the Fed Head.

And not for the reasons you are going to read about from all the media pundits as they put together their various "Greenspan Legacy" pieces between now and Jan. 31. Those wise folks are going to talk about his intellect, his patience, his economic mojo.

That's not what I'm bumming about. I'll miss the humor.

Not his humor, mind you. I'm sure he has some, but king of the one liners he's not ... although that certainly would have livened up some of those congressional hearings. Come to think of it, maybe all the complicated, hard to follow testimony was him playing a joke on us.

You see, I'm talking about the humor the staid and opaque Federal Reserve chairman inspired around here. Somehow, he just brought out the goofy in the staff.

It probably started with the "Briefcase Barometer" back in the 1990s. On Fed meeting days we, the vanguard of financial journalism, would be anxiously scanning footage of the chairman's briefcase, certain that a bulging bag was a sign of an impending rate increase. The guy was probably just carrying his lunch in there. If so it was the most watched lunch in the world. We made sure.

The exercise seems pretty silly in retrospect. And some of our subsequent fun sillier still.

Not that we wanted to put a "Kick me" sign on his back, although I'm sure there are some out there who think that would be a good idea. But maybe because he was so powerful and so important, we just wanted to make him seem a little more friendly. And maybe because he figures mightily in such an abstract and formalized world, we wanted to inject a little pop culture onto him.

Yeah, whatever. His face fit perfectly on a Yoda figure. And he made a damn good wizard too.

We'll miss that. But at least we can have headline fun with the new guy ... "Bonds Ben-efit," "A Bernanke Spanky," "Gentle Ben."

Yeah, there's possibilities there.


Allen Wastler is Managing Editor of and appears weekends on CNN's "In the Money." He can be emailed at  Top of page

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