Did you know that George Washington was wearing a new, ill-fitting set of false teeth when sitting for the portrait that now adorns the one-dollar bill? That's just one of the amazing tidbits that can be found in "The Secret Symbols of the Dollar Bill," by astrologer and expert on the arcane David Ovason (HarperCollinsPublishers, 2004).
So if you've ever wondered what The Great Seal represents or the true significance of what the eagle carries in its claws, then this is the book for you. Discover the hidden symmetry between the eagle and the pyramid, and learn the relevance of the number "13," which is to the dollar bill what "33" is to the label on the Rolling Rock beer bottle.
Incidentally, subjecting the dollar bill to intense barroom scrutiny has become more productive than trying to exchange it into foreign currency. Having tried that mystical transformation on a winter holiday in London, I was astounded to discover how quickly the magically endowed greenbacks disappeared.
I couldn't figure out why until I noticed the author blurb stating that Ovason lives and works in England. Obviously, he wants all of the dollar bills for himself and is willing to engage in some kind of numerological and astrological arbitrage in order to create a U.K. advantage in the foreign-currency markets. Either that or the U.S. economy is running a trade deficit that foreign investors are becoming increasingly unwilling to finance, but that's all mumbo-jumbo stuff anyway.
In any event, U.S. dollar-denominated assets are now on sale, including banks. Maybe we'll see a new wave of intercontinental banking acquisitions as a result. Or maybe not, considering the fact that U.S. banks typically hold deposits in U.S. currency. That's up to foreign investors to figure out, not financial-technology journalists.
But intercontinental mergers would have a substantive impact on my job, since I would be forced to interview people in other languages. That would be rather difficult, and so I'm hoping that any such business combinations happen with U.K.-based companies. Then, all I would have to do is learn how to pronounce "bitter" without making it sound like "bidder."
By the way, those are my real teeth.