3 min read

Wolmania - Friday, June 25, 2021

I hope this newsletter finds you well. If it doesn't find you well, I advise some combination of long walks, coffee, meditation, links, lists, media, and photography. Enjoy in moderation.

As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales

As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales

Cheating a bit with this one because I'm really linking to this story so I can share this very entertaining précis from the inimitable Matt Levine:

Here’s a little reading comprehension quiz. Read the following paragraph and then answer the question at the end.

You are an art dealer. A woman walks into your gallery and says, enunciating very clearly, “hello, I am a drug dealer, I have a lot of money and would like to launder it using art. Can you help me?” You explain to her the basics of art-based money laundering: She can use her drug money to buy art from you, with no real record of the transaction; later, she can say that she inherited the art or bought it cheap at a yard sale, and sell it for a lot of clean taxable money. She says “ah great thank you very much, I will be back with some drug money that I have earned by dealing drugs.” Later she comes back and says “hello, it’s me again, remember, the drug dealer?” She hands you a bag of money and says: “I would like to buy some art with this money, which smells like drugs. Smell it, see? Drugs. I guess I need to launder it, ha ha ha. To get the smell out. Because it smells like drugs. Because I got it from selling drugs. Because I am a drug dealer.”

The question is: What does this woman do for a living?

(Click through for the answer.)

Mr. Levine is a living legend (and a "big firm lawyer who quit being a lawyer" first ballot hall of famer) and it's mind-boggling that Bloomberg gives this away (just subscribe to "Money Stuff" in newsletter form).

Item 2: a list

Baseball positions, ranked

  1. Shohei Ohtani
  2. Shortstop
  3. Opener
  4. Pinch Hitter
  5. Starting Pitcher
  6. Third Base
  7. Setup Pitcher
  8. Center Fielder
  9. Closer
  10. Pinch Runner
  11. Catcher
  12. Second Base
  13. Middle Reliever
  14. First Base
  15. Left Fielder
  16. Right Fielder
  17. Designated Hitter
  18. Anti-Vaxxer

Item 3: a media recommendation

Strong Songs: "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush

Strong Songs: "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush

Strong Songs is a simple concept: every episode, Kirk Hamilton takes a look at a song and goes through it in depth to explain what's going on and why it's good. There are lots of great examples (I'm particularly partial to the episodes about "You Can Call Me Al" and "Let It Go" but they're pretty much all good. Some of the best episodes focus on a song that I was never that interested in or, like the one I'm recommending here, a song I'd never even heard before). Shame on me for my woeful lack of prior Kate Bush awareness, but thanks to the podcast now I'm a Kate Bush knower. And now that I know stuff about Kate Bush, my opinion of "Wuthering Heights" is it's a fun and ridiculous song with two weird videos!

Anyway, great podcast. Sounds best through some good headphones.

Item 4: a photograph

Roiling waters near Hana Bay, Maui. Photo by me.

Thanks for reading. See you in July.