APRIL FOOL’s " Greenspan shockers have memoir flying off shelves | VailDaily.com

APRIL FOOL’s " Greenspan shockers have memoir flying off shelves

Some publishing industry insiders were skeptical when Penguin paid former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan over $9 million for his memoirs. But with lines outside bookshops and first-week sales eclipsing even those of the last “Harry Potter” book, those insiders stand corrected.

While most critics expected “Super Fed” ” Greenspan’s account of his years as the Fed chairman ” to be as dry as day-old couscous, the 80-year-old stood expectations on their head with some stunning revelations – among them a midnight dragster ride with Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong, a week-long bacchanal at Nevada’s famous Chicken Ranch brothel and bouts of drinking and hotel-room destruction not seen since The Who’s Keith Moon was in his prime.

“He is some kind of party animal,” said embattled heiress Anna Nicole Smith, whom Greenspan identifies in his book as “My Li’l Money Ho” and credits with reinvigorating his sex drive. “She put the lead back in my pencil like you wouldn’t believe,” he writes.

One encounter that has the financial community buzzing is an anecdote concerning former treasury secretary Paul O’Neill, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Greenspan at Hollywood’s famed Chateau Marmont hotel. According to Greenspan, O’Neill got “so high that he wanted us to pretend he was a dragon and have Lars ‘slay’ him.”

“Lars thought he was joking at first,” Greenspan writes. “But he wasn’t. I was nearly blind from all the Captain Morgan’s planters punches Steven had made, but I was still alert enough to stop Lars, who was about to garrotte Paul with a guitar string.”

The dragster incident occurred when Greenspan, in Denver to address a meeting of the International Monetary Fund board, was hustled into a limo after the conference by the members of Green Day and taken to Bandimere Speedway.

“On the way, they gave me a cocktail of different-colored pills and then dared me to wash them down with an entire bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream,” Greenspan writes. “I did. And then they were putting a helmet on me and telling me to hit the gas in some kind of car.”

The “car” was a nitro-burning dragster belonging to Big Daddy Snake Lafabreux.

“Billie Joe had to pay him like $2 million to replace the thing, cuz I drove it right into the friggin’ wall,” Greenspan writes. “He just laughed and wrote the check.”

While the saucy tales have been a boon to sales, the reality is they represent a small portion of the book’s nearly 900 pages. Greenspan’s “wild years” apparently occurred only after he hit his 70s.

To get to the good stuff, readers will have to wade through enormous blocks of text dealing with fiscal policy, fiduciary annuities and economic theory.

“I kept finding myself nodding off and even drooling from sheer boredom,” wrote New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. “So to wake myself up, I’d flip to the good parts, like the time he did whippets with Chris Farley and Jackie Chan and rode jet skis in the Potomac wearing nothing but a single sock. Or dressing in drag and having himself pushed on a gurney around the halls of the U.S. Reserve Bank by a pair of orangutans.”

Krugman noted the timing of the latter incident corresponded exactly with the Fed’s inexplicable raising of the overnight lending rate to 30 percent.

Thursday, Variety reported the film rights to “Super Fed” have been sold to Miramax for $20 million. Mel Brooks, also 80, is reportedly attached to portray Greenspan.

Vail, Colorado

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