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Merry Taper and a Profitable New Year


Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights, and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

It's beginning to look a lot like taper

Liesman as Nostradamus

OK, half the time we don't know what Steve Liesman is talking about. But we love him and God knows we certainly need him because he's the only one who can translate all that Federal Reserve interest rate, taper, econo-babble for us. And this time he called it. Give the man a cigar!

Check out his call on Dec. 10 right here on the show about whether the Fed may finally start tapering its massive economic stimulus program. And for Steve's awesome call a week before it happened we kinda threw an ad hoc Taper Party Thursday morning. Unfortunately, Joe Kernen drove over a huge pothole on the way to work and missed the top of the show. Becky tweeted out a picture of his stand-in.

@beckyquick wrote: mmm ... @JoeSquawk looks a little different today. What is it? New tie? No ... Must be the jacket. pic.twitter.com/4w8upE3fLz

Joe eventually made it and so did the Santa Klaus rally. The Dow soared almost 300 points after Wednesday's taper announcement.

Merry Taper to all! But the Taper Party didn't stop there! We had an amazing lineup of guests on the show to discuss what happens next: Erskine Bowles, Mickey Drexler, CEO Stuart Miller, New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman, CEO Steve Schwarzman and former CEO Dick Kovacevich.

So I'll link all the interviews below and give each one a stupid nickname in the spirit of Anchorman. (Dumbing down TV news and dressing up the story for our fake TV Taper Party.) But trust me, unlike 95 percent of TV land out there, these conversations were really smart stuff and definitely worth the time.

· Erskine "Budget Buster" Bowles
· Lennar CEO Stuart "Build it and they will come" Miller
· Tom "As the World Turns" Friedman
· Steve "Yes, I have a lot of money" Schwarzman
· Rick "It's a Tupperware, not a Taper, Party" Goings
· Dick "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore" Kovacevich

Hall of mirrors

We're not sure if his bow tie is a fashion statement or a sign of higher intelligence, but when Jim Grant starts using phrases Fed-Inflated stocks and "hall of mirrors," it surely makes us sit up and take notice.

Just sayin'

Andrew: "Did you ever want to be a judge?"

Becky: "You bet."

Joe: "Yeah, Maybe in the Miss America contest."

Vitamins and … TMI

Joe: "I take a multivitamin ... and TMI ... a Fibercon tablet."

Andrew: "Yes, I take a Centrum Silver."

Joe: "And If I had to give up one, it would be the multi, because I like to keep things flowing. I feel like I'm 20 when things flow smoothly."

Tweets of note

‏@PinstripeBowl wrote: How ya like our New Era #PinstripeBowl mannequins?! @RFootball @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/3oukaVbnzd

(It's time for Becky to start getting excited about Rutgers' eighth football bowl appearances in nine years! Go RU!)

AIG's CEO on Affordable Care Act

Benmosche on Obamacare

One of the best discussions of the week was when AIG President and CEO Robert Benmosche guest hosted and got into a detailed discussion of what's right and wrong with the overall concept of Obamacare. (It's worth noting that Benmosche used to be the CEO of , but AIG is mainly a property-casualty insurer.)

Overheard on the set (5:58 a.m. ET Monday Morning Dec.16)

Anchor 1: "Is it Friday yet?"

Anchor 2: "Really?"

Tax on the stupid

We had a one out of 259 million chance to pick the Mega Millions numbers 8, 14, 17, 20, 39, and 7 for the $648 million jackpot. (There were two winning tickets.) Yet the "Squawk Box" production staff thought that was a good bet and invested over $60 of our hard-earned money for tickets. So $60; we got $10 back. Truly the definition of a "tax on the stupid" and a terrible return on our money. And we're a business show!

Here's what the super-rich want for Christmas

Super-rich Christmas list

OK, so in the name of a good transition, let's just say you overcame the overwhelming odds and debunked the "tax on the stupid" theory by winning the lottery. Suddenly you now find yourself among the world of the "megarich." So what do you, the "megarich" want for Christmas this year? Our Wealth reporter Robert Frank dug into the hot trends this holiday season for people who never have to bother wasting time dreaming about winning the lottery.

Deep thoughts ...

Andrew wondered ... is bitcoin a currency or a way of life?

Becky wondered … did I get the kids enough for Christmas?

Joe wondered … what smells?

Joe then wondered … can I look good with a jacket on and my shirt untucked?

Smoke this (talking about banning electronic cigarettes in bars)

Joe: "You want to ban water vapor now?"

Andrew: "I worry kids will think it's cool. I remember when I was young seeing people smoking and thinking they were cooler than me."

Joe: "When you were young everybody was cooler than you."

Word Jumble

Joe and Becky's favorite thing to do after the show is the Word Jumble in the paper. This is a seven year competition that Becky has been keeping track of "old school" with a pad and paper. This week, they were tied at two wins each. Here's Joe's bonus word of the week: OCIADR. Here's Becky's word: DCELAN. Get the answers at the end of the blog.

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR)

  • Monday: Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
  • Tuesday: Scott Sperling, co-president of THL Partners
  • Wednesday: The markets are closed for Christmas! So no show.
  • Thursday: Ed Keon of Prudential Financial
  • Friday: Holiday shopping guru Jan Kniffen, CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen WorldWide Enterprises

Next week's economic calendar (all at 8:30 a.m. ET)

  • Monday: Personal Income and Spending
  • Tuesday: Durable Goods Orders
  • Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims

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The corny-sappy motivational business-based inspirational quote

"There are a lot of things that go into creating success. I don't like to do just the things I like to do. I like to do things that cause the company to succeed. I don't spend a lot of time doing my favorite activities."
—Michael Dell

See you in 2014!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year everyone! Due to holiday vacations, this is the last edition of the Talking Squawk blog for 2013. Thanks to all the Squawk fans out there who have supported the show (and this pathetic, dated, unoriginal attempt at a weekly blog)!

Have a safe holiday and we'll see you again in 2014!

(Assuming CNBC doesn't change the locks while we're gone or those guys at @CNBCNetNet don't hack us again!)

—By CNBC's Matthew Quayle. Follow him on Twitter @matthew_quayle.

*Joe's Jumble bonus word answer: OCIADR=Cardio

*Becky's Jumble bonus word answer: DCELAN=Candle