A Just when a new era of caution and prudence in the banking world might be appropriate, following the disasters of the past three years, along comes Goldman Sachs to prove the age of financial engineering isn't dead. Who else?
The "sacks of gold" rocket scientists have come up with a new wheeze, a US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) sukuk, Goldman's first foray into the Islamic bond market.
Nothing wrong with that. Islamic finance is still forecast as a growth area in an otherwise depressing global scene, and it's good that Goldman has at last jumped on the bandwagon.
But this is so exotic in design, so byzantine in construction that it almost beggars belief. It has also angered some Sharia experts, who say it may not be compliant with their strict Islamic standards.
Their doubts centre on the old worries about the use and ownership of underlying assets, one of the main principles of Sharia finance.
But to the layman, it looks like the financial equivalent of a Heath Robinson cartoon. Goldman, based in New York, intends to offer the sukuk via a Cayman Islands vehicle, with the approval of a Dubai investment firm, and list the security on the Irish Stock Exchange.
This is the age of globalisation, of course, even if it is creaking. But this is stretching the international supply chain to breaking point.
Dar Al Istithmar, the highly respected Dubai Islamic finance consultancy, says it has checked out Goldman's bizarre structure, and it works. But this time, the Saudi Sharia experts who have cast doubt on it are surely preaching the utmost common sense.
I can certainly confirm that the Dubai hotel industry is enjoying a highly successful run-up to the festive season.
At the Mina A'Salaam hotel in the Madinat Jumeirah complex this week, I took my family along to the evening buffet, and even at 7pm, the place was packed. Lots of Russian was being spoken, with a bit of "estuary English" thrown in, although it was difficult to tell if the latter were residents or visitors. But the fight for the soup ladle and the scrum around the roast turkey told you that the hotel was bursting at the seams.
Jumeirah (which runs the place) had got the concept of Christmas on the Arabian peninsula just right. Cribs and mangers were out, but trees, decorations and lots of fake snow more than compensated, and there was a genuine festive spirit, all the more authentic for the carols piped discreetly through the PA system.
In the melee at the dessert counter (great demand for Christmas pudding) I chatted to Heba, a lady from Egypt. She was a Copt, and has come to Dubai in each of the past five years for the festive season. "Best Christmas in the Middle East," was her verdict.
There were no Russians but plenty of other fun-seekers at the snow dome in the Mall of the Emirates, where I took my three-year-old daughter to see Father Christmas.
She had been frightened of him last year, but this time she threw her arms around the chubby Brit in the bright red suit and wouldn't let go until she'd prised a tatty gift out of him.
It warmed the cockles of my heart, especially at minus 5°C, to see her childish belief that a middle-aged "resting" actor could really be Santa; and also to see her young entrepreneurial instincts are developing. "Santa equals material benefit" is her firm conviction, as it is for the mall's retail community.
And, although it has been many years, he remembered me. "Hello young man, welcome back," he ho-ho-hoed. Snowblindness, probably.
I bumped into a banker acquaintance of mine who was also treating his children to a Santa gig, incongruously in snowsuit and bobble hat instead of the usual pinstripes and tie.
We had coffee afterwards, and my friend, who works for one of the big foreign banks in the Dubai International Financial Centre, told me the Christmas spirit at work was non-existent. No bonuses this year, and all the gossip was of headcount reduction.
"Anyway," I said, as we parted, "I won't see you 'til 2012, so happy New Year."
"Don't think so", he replied as he dragged the kids off through the mall.