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Funny Money: Remain Calm, All is Well

The Chinese are coming! (Repeat) Plus, Guidant's hard choice, Stern's condiments, a MacWorld update and more.

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.

A busy week ended dramatically as


apparently accepted

Johnson & Johnson's

bid, not

Boston Scientific's

, and blah blah blah.

Gee, $23 billion or $25 billion?

It's like Brad Pitt choosing between Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. Just pick one, already, and stop rubbing it in our face!

In other merger news,

Home Depot


Hughes Supply

, a creatively named huge supplies company to increase direct sales to professional builders. Home Depot also invested in a hurricane machine, two tornado makers, and the refutation of global warming.

Texas Instruments

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sold a subsidiary unit, shocking analysts who had no idea TI still existed. I mean, they did those old calculators, right? Next you'll tell me Bobby Brown is still around...

He's doing what?

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

announced a new magazine designed to tell young women how to run their lives. Lesson one:

Don't run your life based upon advice in a magazine.

Lesson two:

Hey, wait come back here!

Meanwhile, the big convention was held. New products, shocking revelations, titillating awards... I'm talking about MacWorld, not the Adult Video News convention -- although they are complementary. (In related off-color humor,


satellite radio, home of Howard Stern, will soon be available in Rolls-Royce cars.

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon... to slather all over this stripper?


At MacWorld,


CEO Steve Jobs introduced


-powered Macs and announced millions of iPods will soon hatch as he begins what he calls, "Phase III: The Reckoning."

Jobs apparently has $840 million in stock options coming due in early March. Gosh, I wonder if there'll be a big announcement at the end of February.

Introducing Apple's iCashIn and iMrich.

Elsewhere in avarice,

United Airlines

CEO Glenn Tilton may get $15 million in stock, in contrast to employees $4 billion in concessions. Tilton said, "What's good for the goose... is good for the goose," then changed his name back to Montgomery Burns and returned to his Springfield power plant.

Totally by coincidence, the


will require companies to include executive perks, bonuses, and retirement benefits in public filings, begging the question:

You mean, they didn't already?

In other corporate news,

Toys 'R' Us

will close 75 stores and cut 3000 jobs. Sales were down again in 2005, since so many people were naughty, and not enough nice. We gotta get


to check those lists...


cut some of its executives and vowed never again to buy management "off the rack."

Morgan Stanley will change its stock symbol to "MS" from "WMD." Excuse me, not "WMD," but "MWD." Gosh, those are so close, aren't they? One is an acronym for something that, if unchecked, could rain havoc upon the welfare and safety of the American people, and the other is "Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Rattle & Hum "God Bless America"

Chinese automobiles should enter the U.S. by the end of 2007, which means we've got about 20 months until we're all just glorified administrative assistants.

Nothing to see here, no reason for concern, just the last remnants of our industrial base crumbling under policies which discourage innovation and scientific progress.

Some think the Chinese Geeley (pronounced JEE-lee) could be as grave a threat to us as "Gigli", the Ben Affleck-J-Lo bomb. You think it's a coincidence they named it after the greatest disaster in American celluloid history? I don't.



exec said there's no reason to worry. "After all, Japan entered the market a while ago, and we're fine. Nothing changed. Speaking of change, could you spare some?" Then he rattled his rusty tin cup.

In a related story, an IRS report said that millions of poor Americans had their refunds withheld the last five years. What a great use of resources!

Coal mining regulation? Nope. Levee reinforcement funding? Nah uh. Enforcing corporate regulations? Nuuuuu. Screwing the poor? Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

The IRS strategy was legislated in a bill sponsored by the blues music lobby, which raises a question: How come there are never bribery prosecutions against lobbyists for the poor? Oh yeah, they don't


a lobby. They


in the lobby. My bad.

Meanwhile, the growth rate of national health spending slowed in 2004. A spokesman for the insurance industry noted, "We can lower costs by not treating the poor. Then we pass those savings directly onto ourselves."

On the legal front, a judge declined to dismiss the


case based upon prosecutorial misconduct, adding, "Defendant misconduct, now we've got plenty of that."

Prosecutors actually decided to focus on the company's lies, not its fraud, reasoning, "With less charges, there's a better chance for acquittal and my getting a sweet corporate counsel gig after the trial."

Meanwhile, the founder of


settled an FTC case for $35 million, though his lawyer said, "This settlement does not change the fact that

he did nothing wrong." Really? $35 million for "Nothing Wrong?" I'd hate to see the price tag on an "Oopsie."

Daniel Calugar, a Las Vegas stockbroker was fined $153 million for illegally trading mutual funds. He invested the funds on a hard 8.

Six women at

Dresdner Kleinwort

financial services bringing a gender bias case hired Charlize Theron to portray them in their movie.

Ok, get this: The suit claims that a male manager routinely had prostitutes in his office. Talk about a hot lunch. Now, I'm neither a prude nor a labor relations expert, but I'm fairly sure prostitutes at work are a bad idea. I know there's a fine line between prostitution and brown-nosing, but if it's strictly sex for money -- without the promise of a raise, promotion, or better stapler -- then forget it. Just don't have sex in the office at all, how's that? Save it for the Internet or company retreats.

Finally, the


hit 11,000 this week for the first time since 2001, and we all know what a great year that was. The Dow's over 11,000!? Gee, no more cancer or hunger or fear. John Lennon's dreams have come true. Let's see, 11,000... that's about one point for each scandal, uninsured worker, and endangered miner, right?

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.