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Funny Money: Life Imitates Art

Pamela Anderson, Courtney Love, Martha Stewart and other natural disasters.

Editor's Note: Welcome to "Funny Money," a feature written by New York-based comedian Jeff Kreisler. Lest there be any confusion, please note that this column is a work of satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy the weekend.

The nation breathed a sigh of relief this week when, for the first time in 29 years, no major airlines declared bankruptcy.


US Air

merged with

America West Airlines

to create a new US Airways that plans to mix low-cost efficiency with worldwide reach. The over/under on its next bankruptcy filing: two weeks.


announced plans to build a corporate campus on a vacant NASA site in California. Now they're getting into space exploration? In response,


launched Sputnik.

In other Mr. Softee developments, Microsoft and


introduced the Treo 700W, which will use new technology to make it impossible for worker bees to ever escape the hive. Err, sorry, I mean, "keep people connected to the office."

Elsewhere, power company


sued two banks for wrongfully withholding money. If Calpine thinks financial firms are withholding money, wait until Americans see our winter heating bills. I'd rather owe the power company than sell my baby for cash.



was hit especially hard by the falling consumer confidence index, as fuel costs cut into disposable income. Also, it's possible that, having witnessed death and destruction on TV, people are realizing there's more to life than spending eight hours wandering through a superstore. Just kidding!

On a related note,


said Katrina curbed its profit, too. I haven't seen a woman's name linked to this much havoc since Courtney Love entered rehab.

And speaking of mass (over) consumption, the number of Americans with past due accounts rose in the second quarter. I wonder if that has anything to do with things like the

Capital One

commercials where couples defeat murderous hordes by using a credit card. How American.

You're about to be killed?

Spend your way out!


Get an iPod!

Crippling depression?

Use your video-enabled cell phone to watch snippets of Pamela Anderson's TV show "Stacked"! Really, try it. We'll all feel better.

In other blonde diva developments, Martha Stewart's new show on


hasn't "saved" the network, as some had hoped. And yet, somehow, life goes on.

Investigators say that the $11 billion cost of

Fannie Mae's

accounting scam is just a best-case scenario. Does it disturb anyone else that the leading U.S. home lenders are called Fannie Mae and

Freddie Mac

, and both are corrupt? Are we living in a gangster film? Are Flat Top and Mumbles running the FDIC? What's going on? Call Dick Tracy!

In other law enforcement news, the

Securities and Exchange Commission's

investigation into

Taser International's

statements about the safety of its stun guns has gone from informal to formal. For the sake of America's high school students, let's hope the SEC gets this wrapped up before prom season.

The SEC is also investigating possible violations of insider trading rules at Taser. Wow, a company that once had

Bernie Kerik on its board of directors is under suspicion for wrongdoing. This is so shocking it's making me flop on the floor like an epileptic seal!

Meanwhile, Warren Buffett testified in the trial of firms suing the IRS for more than $23 million. Suing the IRS has got to be a bad idea. Somewhere, IRS agent Al Pacino might yell, "I want him audited! I want his family ... audited! His friends ... audited! His baby sitter, car mechanic, high school guidance counselor ... audited!! Nobody escapes. Nobody." Then he'll whip out a balance sheet and scream, "Say hello to my little friend."

In M&A news,


, the giant health insurer, is close to acquiring


, a large Northeastern insurer. The new company, called WellWell, will probably charge $85 for band-aids.


announced it would buy 20% of


. Analysts are hailing the deal as the biggest sexy-pedestrian merger since Julia Roberts wed Lyle Lovett. Many see it as a move without any real business rationale. Porsche stomped its feet and harrumphed, "But we're in love!"

Speaking of love,

The Vermont Teddy Bear

company announced that they're reverting to a private company. In related news, Tooth Fairy Industries merged with Easter Bunny, Inc. Said the Fairy, "Their candy delivery system, by rotting teeth, will synergize with our core competency." Then one small tear rolled down my cheek.

FAO Schwartz named Edward Schmults CEO. Until recently, Schmults, who resembles Tom Hanks, was a 10-year-old boy.

Finally, Internet advertising rose to $2.99 billion in the second quarter. Almost $3 billion for an industry that was inconceivable 15 years ago. There's a fortune to be made if you can predict the big growth industry of the


15 years. Let me give you a hint: anonymous donations to comedians who tell jokes on financial news Web sites. Shhh! You didn't hear it from me but please send your electronic checks to:

A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler ( is an accomplished comedian, writer, producer and person. In the past year, Jeff has worked with Dick Gregory, on Air America and Sirius Radio, and in the 'Comedy Against Evil' tour. He's hosted a dating show, worked on a cooking program, and developed comedies for MTV Networks. Jeff's a regular on Satire for Sanity, and was featured at the Edinburgh Fringe, Freedom Cinema, and San Francisco Comedy Festivals. He lives in New York City with his pet microphone, plays blues saxophone, speaks French and Russian, was a sports broadcaster, taught English in Russia, helped start a non-profit dedicated to at-risk youth, played college football, and is available for birthdays, circumcisions and bachelorette parties. Kreisler appreciates your feedback;

click here

to send him an email.