Has hell frozen over? Are pigs flying? Is the sun rising in the West?

Don’t rub your eyes, it’s real. The Federal Reserve chairman, that oracle of monetary policy, will hold FOUR news conferences a year. AUSTRALIA

The first will be on April 27 after a two-day FOMC meeting. It marks the first time in the nearly 100-year history of the central bank that a Fed chief will deign to hold a regular media briefing. It’s almost too tantalizing to contemplate.

After years of reading the tea leaves following these monetary policy setting meetings, reporters will actually get to ask questions of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke immediately after THE DECISION is made.

We’re guessing it would be a bit too much to expect that he would give a thumbs up or down to indicate which way rates are going, but we can now ask him THE QUESTION (and then parse the answer).

Bernanke-speak tends to be a bit clearer than Greenspan-speak, but all Fed chairmen are adept at obfuscation when required.