Funny Money: Living the American Dream

Shop until you drop -- it's inevitable anyway. Plus, China vs. Starbucks and other shenanigans.
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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.

Johnson Redbook said this week that December retail sales rose 2.6%, as Americans figured, "Since our time on earth is finite, we might as well get plenty of toys while we can."

However,

Take-Two's

profit fell sharply when customers took the company's name literally. Meanwhile, music sales fell 7% last year. The industry blamed FEMA's response to Mariah Carey.

Gap's

poor holiday performance sparked talk of a shake-up, causing excited non-conformists to download identical iTunes podcasts in a group display of individualism.

In other retailing developments,

Abercrombie & Fitch

is under investigation for insider trading. Frankly, I think the only things they trade are underage master-race Aryan youth models intent on making me feel bad about my body. And there's a lot of my body to feel bad about...

In other body image news,

Chevy

led U.S.-based car sales last year, which is kinda like being the prettiest girl on the Titanic. You're still gonna drown. (Tallest midget? Fattest anorexic? Point is: things aren't good).

In a related story,

Ford's

debt was lowered so far into junk status that its parts can't even be salvaged for modern art.

Completing the trifecta,

GM

was forced to cut car prices in China, which only has about a jillion buyers. You know, if you can't sell in China, you probably couldn't sell pardons in a prison. Maybe it's time to consider a new line of work.

Speaking of China,

Starbucks

won a trademark infringement case against Shanghai Xingbake Cafe Corp., in what could be a preview to the Final Four in this year's World Economic Power March Madness. Both China and Starbucks are likely No. 1 seeds.

Elsewhere in corporate news,

Boston Scientific

completed due diligence for its

Guidant

bid, and, considering the controversy, "due diligence" obviously means "drinking heavily."

The German company

BASF

made a hostile takeover bid for

Engelhard

. Hostile takeovers are rare for German companies, at least according to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mel Gibson's dad.

In other M&A developments,

Thyssen-Krupp

raised its offer for Dofasco, and the market said "Gesundheit."

In a totally unrelated story, Phoebe Philo resigned from

Chloe

because there weren't enough adorable names to go around.

The credit card issuer

First Data

is considering selling part of its business. Please, please, somebody buy it then contest the charges.

Please.

Pixar

and

Disney

are close to renewing their partnership to follow movies like

Toys

,

Robots

, and

Cars

by creating likeable, animated versions of Bosses, In-Laws, and Alan Greenspan.

Regulate This

The

Securities and Exchange Commission

named Brian Cartwright, a former astrophysicist, as its new general counsel. He said we shouldn't worry about corporate malfeasance because "we are all just specks in time, no more significant than the dust on the shoe of a proton on Alpha Centauri." Then he beamed back up to the Enterprise.

The SEC also announced new guidelines for corporate fines. Said one SEC commissioner, "The decision to penalize depends entirely upon what type of job offer they make. I've got kids to feed. Or, at least my illegal-alien-housekeeper does."

The IRS will raise fees for answering tax questions in an effort to audit more poor people.

In other regulatory news, New York Attorney General Eliot "Ness" Spitzer did a bunch of stuff just to nab the ghost of Al Capone.

In international news this week, energy markets were roiled until Russia and Ukraine settled their spat over a natural gas pipeline. Come on people, it's no big deal, it's just the energy supply for Europe. I mean, what's Europe done lately? Nothing. They don't even know how to play football.

Finally, average 30-year mortgages fell to 6.21% from 6.22% this week, making me only $1.2 million short of that seventh-floor walk-up studio in Brooklyn.

Keep livin' da dream

.

A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler (www.JeffKreisler.com) 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.