Ever notice how the faces on coins never look you in the eye? Hades, god of death, is the god of wealth, as well. The only faces that look straight out of coins aren’t human: animals and mythic figures like Victory and Justice. The animals are all conservative in their use of energy, predatory and long-lived: snakes, owls and eagles. No mice or ants need apply, despite their industry. One tribe had money so large it became symbolic: even when one huge stone sunk in deep water and couldn’t be retrieved, the people still granted its owner the full value. American money is so ugly that it’s hard to desire it for itself. One wants to exchange it as quickly as possible. With its pale cast, our money reminds me of ice, precarious, able to survive only in the cold, melts through one’s hand. The gambler struggles with the unreality of money, its lack of satisfaction. How fitting that one of the main Vegas institutions is called “The Mirage.” Money changes nothing but itself. Songs have never been designated as money, nor mouths, nor things that have a will of their own, or a fate that may cause them to die unexpectedly. With money as with words, more doesn’t equal better. Money can’t hold wisdom, nor can it buy any.