Wry & Dry #23. Bumper Christmas Issue.

Wry & Dry looks back at a 2022 that ranged from the surprising: Tsar Vlad really did put on his invasion wheels, to the not: Scott Morrison’s impersonation. Enjoy Wry & Dry: a cynical and irreverent blend of politics, economics and life.

Man of the Year

Chairman Dan

Undoubtedly the least popular politician ever in state politics, with a record of disastrous policies (e.g. lockdown overshoot), massive infrastructure spending over-runs, a health system in chaos, increased crime, exploding graffiti across Melbourne, a budget out of control, an ever-expanding public service, a litany of scandals, etc, etc.

He had a primary focus not on delivering the best for Victorians but on expressing and increasingly centralising his power.

And he was re-elected.

The man’s a political genius, whose memory will endure.

Woman of the Year

Elizabeth Truss

Liz Truss rose without trace in UK politics. And sank without trace. In between, she was determined to enter the record books for something. Anything.

And she did. It’s not that she set a new world record for the shortest tenure of any UK Prime Minister1. But that she gave the world the most original question of the year.

The question: Can Liz Truss outlast a lettuce?

The answer: No.

1 44 days.

Impersonator of the Year

Scott Morrison

He lacked the beard, his biceps were flabbier, his girth was greater and his footwear sturdier. But otherwise, Morrison saw himself as the very model of a modern Moses. To lead Australia into the new world.

However, Moses had tablets of the Ten Commandments and a clear vision of success, toward a land of milk and honey.

Morrison had tablets of Zanax, and a rear-vision mirror of a land of picket fences and posties on bicycles.

Australians were not fooled.

Morrison has achieved Legend Status in the Impersonator of the Year Hall of Fame.

Word(s) of the Year

“Technical Issues”

This term is now that catch-all for describing that something has gone wrong, the revelation of which would cause embarrassment. It doesn’t give an explanation as to why, which is its brilliance.

The term is sourced from that Spirit of Australia: Qantas, which inaugurated and used it frequently in 2022. It is at once an umbrella term and an opaque term, intended to cover those embarrassing causes of flight delays/ cancellations, such as a pilot sleeping-in, a late flight attendant, a computer problem, a broken pencil or a flat tyre.

Recently, Wry & Dry discovered that an aircraft can have ‘technical issues’ three weeks away from scheduled departure date. A magnificent use of the term.

‘Technical issues’ has now entered the lexicon.

Wry & Dry is waiting for Scott Morrison to declare that he lost the 2022 election because of ‘technical issues’.

Optimist of the Year

Tsar Vlad

Tsar Vlad expected his invading troop to be in Kyiv within 13 hours of the invasion of Ukraine.

Still waiting, 302 days later.

Idea of the Year

Regulate crypto currency not as a financial product, but by gambling laws

The hand-wringers at ASIC have become bed-wetters over the rise of crypto currency fraud, theft, speculation, possibility of contagion across real financial assets, etc. The cry of “something must be done” is echoing not only in the sleepy corridors at ASIC, but also at the RBA and Treasury.

The problem is a world where ‘virtual’ items seem real, the world sees crypto currencies as a financial product. Which they are not.

They do not facilitate anything, other than (a) to suck investors in to pay something for something that has zero value; and (b) wildly volatile prices that provides profits for crypto currency trading platforms.

Far better to regulate crypto currencies for what they: facilitators of gambling. This will have two outworkings:

  • Regulation by state governments, which means more tax revenue by state governments: yee haw
  • The opportunity for the AFL to reap even more sponsorship money from a new gambling variant

Everyone’s a winner!

Comeback of the Year

The Ruddster – he’s baaaack

In a blend of General MacArthur2, Arnold Schwarzenegger3 and Carlton in the 1970 Grand Final4, Kevin Rudd has returned to the limelight. As Australia’s Ambassador to Sleepy Joe. Sleepy Joe wouldn’t understand The Ruddster’s linking of the Chinese and rats.

After having been given the DCM as PM by his own party (2010), then recalled (June 2013), then given the DCM as PM by The Abbott (September 2013), The Ruddster has been resurrected by Albo in a move that The Ruddster himself will see as a resurrection.

That is, he is comparable to Jesus Christ. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. 

2 Who famously withdrew himself from the Philippines, leaving his army behind, in the face of the Japanese invasion in the Second World War. He left with the words, “I shall return.” And he did.

3 Playing a cyborg assassin in the movie The Terminator, he said “I’ll be back.” And he was.

4 Which came back from a record 44-point half-time deficit to happily defeat Collingwood by 10 points.

Failed Deal of the Year – a tie

Elon Musk

Ironically, the deal, for him to buy Twitter, succeeded, because his bid was accepted.

Trouble was his bid was $55 billion. The company was valued at $28 billion.

Woolworth’s Holdings

The South African company paid $2.1 billion in 2014 to buy iconic retailer David Jones.

And sold it on Tuesday for $100m.

Pique of the Year

Will Smith

Mr. Smith got hurt feelings whilst sitting in the audience at the annual Hollywood self-congratulatory event named after someone’s uncle. Apparently, the emcee said something unkind. And so, Mr. Smith did what any self-respecting, self-important American would do: stride onto the stage and show discombobulation.

But it wasn’t anything as masculine as a punch. Or even a witty rejoinder, such as, “go stick your head…” No, it was a weedy slap on the face.

So 21st century.

Gift of the Year

5,000 helmets

In January, America sent Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-air missiles to Ukraine to help it against the upcoming Russian invasion. The Brits sent 2,000 shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles. Other countries chipped in.

And Germany did its bit. It sent 5,000 helmets.

DCM of the Year


In the Pantheon of DCMs, a self-DCM is the worthiest.

Borisconi gave himself the DCM, but only under severe pressure from his hairdresser, who had run out of his hair product.

The Thing Readers Forgot Happened of the Year

The Winter Olympics in Beijing

…were held in February.

People We Wish Would Go Away of the Year

David Warner, a cricketer, for failing to understand that no-one cares, anymore.

Elon Musk, a businessman, for believing that the more he speaks, the greater the value of Twitter.

Meghan Markle, an ex-daytime television game-show barrel-girl, for wanting media privacy and media publicity at the same time.

Collingwood Football Club apologists, for still parroting endless reasons why it didn’t make the Grand Final.

The person who devised the concept of working from home, for devising the concept of working from home.

Task List of the Year

The Trumpster, whose list includes:

  1. Avoid being charged by the Justice Department over the 6th January riots at the Capitol
  2. Defending massive tax losses in his now released tax returns
  3. Avoid losing a civil lawsuit over his misvaluing his business properties
  4. Appealing a guilting decision against his company for tax fraud
  5. Keeping Melania happy
  6. How to run for president in view of items 1-5

Quote of the Year

Sam Bankman-Fried

“I don’t think I will be arrested.” Four hours later he was.

Passing of the Year

HM Queen Elizabeth II – the woman who was the greatest exemplar of service to the greatest number over the greatest period.

Mikhail Gorbachev – the man who ended the Cold War. And who freed the union of countries bound together by a system that ensured the greatest misery amongst the greatest number.

Stock Flop of the Year

Rivian Automotive

Floated in November 2021 to much excitement at $78 per share, the US electric truck company’s share price was $103 on 31st December. Last night it was $22; a fall of 79%.

Signalled Virtue of the Year

Telstra, Woodside, Deloitte, KPMG and EY

For choosing to give employees the choice to take their Australia Day holiday on another day.

Will they give employees the choice of taking another holiday instead of Good Friday?

Who’s Got Someone Over a Barrel of the Year


For telling the EU that if it investigates the corruption payments it made to members of the European Parliament, it wouldn’t consider supplying gas to Europe.

Photo of the Year

“Should have taken the stairs”

Snippets from all over – just this week

1. “Bring out your dead”

Crematoriums swamped as China braces for 1m Covid deaths. (The Times)

Wry & Dry comments:  Emperor Xi’s relaxation of covid restrictions without deep immunisation or herd immunity of Chinese peoples is causing, err, problems.

2. Meanwhile, in the Himalayas…

India has moved an “unprecedented” number of troops to the disputed border with China after a clash between soldiers of the two nuclear-armed rivals. (The Times)

Wry & Dry comments: Emperor Xi has encroached on territory that India says belongs to India. The Himalayas is not the same as an atoll in the South China Sea. The going may be tougher at altitude.

3. Trump under the pump

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol accused former President Donald J. Trump on Monday of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress and one other federal crime as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.  (New York Times)

Wry & Dry comments: The Trumpster will not be losing any sleep over this.

4. It’s Macron being Macron

While he has said that he did not want to ‘politicize sport,’ the French president put himself on the field alongside the French team during the competition.  (Le Monde)

Wry & Dry comments: Imagine what he would have been like had the French won.

5. Brussels sprouts

Christmas dinner costs soar as price of Brussels sprouts shoots up. (UK Telegraph)

Wry & Dry comments: This is alarming news. How will the Brits cope?

6. Don’t mention the …

Germany sought to reassure Nato that it could still be relied on to lead the alliance’s rapid response task force even after all 18 of its most advanced armoured vehicles malfunctioned in a training exercise earlier this month. (Financial Times)

Wry & Dry comments: “Scrap metal for €6bn is embarrassing for Germany,” said Dietmar Bartsch, parliamentary leader of the leftwing opposition Linke party.

Data of the year

  1. Australian interest rates rose to 3.10% from 0.10%.
  2. The ASX fell by 2.3%.
  3. The S&P500 fell by 19.8%.
  4. Australian inflation rose to 7.3% from 3.5%.
  5. The price of Bitcoin fell 64% to US$16,700.
  6. Greece had the best reduction in net public debt as % of GDP in the OECD: -16%.
  7. The world’s population passed 8,000,000,000 souls.
  8. The Trumpster contested Sleepy Joe’s victory in court 61 times. And lost each.

And, to soothe your troubled mind…

Wry & Dry and Investment Matters will return! Be excited for Friday 3 February.


No matter what child of Abraham you are, may the blessing of Christ guide you and your family to a happy and safe Christmas.


Anthony Starkins

PS The comments in Wry & Dry do not necessarily reflect those of First Samuel, its Directors or Associates.

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