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Funny Money: Golden Hits

Ring in the New Year with this review of corporate shenanigans from the past six months.

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 year 2006 is over ¿ and still no jet packs. Oh well, at least I've got love handles. Let's take a look at the second half of the past year and some of the big stories you may have missed. These items should make you jump up and sing, "I feeeeel good."


Hank Paulson was sworn in as Treasury Secretary and promptly began asking about severance packages.

The House passed a bill to ban most online gambling. Exempted from the bill: state lotteries, horse tracks and waking up each and every day to face an uncertain future with people you barely know.

The House also allowed any credit-rating company in business for three years to become a "nationally recognized statistical rating organization." Phew. I was worried all the identity theft fear would stop sketchy organizations from getting my personal info. Come 2009, I'll be protected by "Pedro's Credit Rating Service and Auto Supply."

Airbus introduced the new A350 XWB, which stands for "extra wide body." It can seat up to 375 passengers, or 13 Americans.


decided not to treat a $615 million ethics settlement with the government as a tax deduction. What? Next thing you know, I won¿t be able to write off my jail cell as a home office.

Now showing on Wall Street's Short Attention Span Theater:

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

, recently panned, now a darling with new earnings. Coming soon to the theater:



A Senate report said many super-rich Americans use offshore accounts to evade taxes. "Not even the United States government" can stop it. That's why I'm proposing Operation Tax Collector. Just give me a fighter jet, some unstable uranium, and one down-on-his-luck marine with a chip on his shoulder, a score to settle, and nothing to lose, and I'll have your billions back before dawn.


reported its second consecutive quarterly loss and, if things don't turn around, the company may bite off Evander Holyfield¿s other ear.

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will restate its earnings. Apparently, the Knicks are not "World Champions Forever And Ever." It seems they actually "Stink."

Northwest Airlines

apologized for giving laid-off employees a booklet entitled "101 Ways to Save Money." No. 37: Don't let the door hit you on your arse on the way out.


said it lost $2.6 billion in the first half of 2006. It can't be lost. Maybe you just left it in your other pair of pants. Did you check under the sofa cushions? Where's the last place you saw it?

The charges against former technology investment banker Frank Quattrone will be dropped if he doesn't break the law for a whole year. With that in mind, Quattrone says he'll wait at least 366 days before killing a nun for drug money. Again.

So the problem with




in India is that the drinks may contain pesticide. Silly India, don't you realize that pesticide is¿ Wait. Pesticide? And this isn't an issue here? Why's that, again? Oh right, we're worried about racism on the new season of


. My bad.


announced a new painkiller that is no more dangerous than Vioxx. "No more dangerous?" Is that really the standard we should apply? What about "Zero Death" or "No killy kill?"


A Kentucky company bought the Mexican tequila producer Casa Herradura. The South's gonna rise again, just to enact Montezuma's revenge.


is running an ad with the line "$2,300 a year, which buys a lot of things ¿ and a whole lot of freedom." There you have it. Money = Freedom = Buying Things. I'm glad someone finally said it.


is exploring an options exchange that would open in 2007 but claim to have opened in 2002.

Boeing Exec Alan Mulally became CEO of


... Airlines are the only industry doing worse than autos. Was no one available from a steel company? What about public school administrators? Log cabin builders? Dinosaur wranglers?'s

shares fell 10% after the company's biggest shareholder dumped his stock. His sale, while technically leaving on a Tuesday, didn't arrive until Wednesday morning and had to change planes in Raleigh-Durham.

Europe's high court ruled that members can't pursue taxes in other countries, unless they were "artificial" subsidiaries, prompting multinationals across the West to proclaim, "They're real, and they're spectacular."



supermarket chain saw earnings increase as Americans began fattening up for winter. Ah, who am I kidding, we're just fattening up for, oh, let's say Wednesday. "Hey, it's another day! Let's eat!"

Rumors are flying again that Air America Radio may be bankrupt, prompting a spokesman to say, "If we had a nickel for every time someone said we were going broke ¿ well, we wouldn't be in this predicament? You gonna finish that sandwich?"

Wal-Mart began offering 30-day trials of certain drug treatments for three dollars, or, as a trench coat-wearing company spokesman said, "Hey kids, first one's free."

The giant Amaranth hedge fund could affect the entire economy. Hedge funds: the big green mirage separating the lawns of prosperity from the sidewalks of doom.

KPMG filed court papers against its former employees seeking compensation for the tax-shelter scandal. If the company wins, it will keep the proceeds in an untaxable offshore account which¿ Oh crap.


is reportedly "wary" of its proposed alliance with Renault and Nissan. Said a GM spokesman, "This 'profit' that you speak of, how will it help us?"

Johnson & Johnson

filed suit against Guidant and

Boston Scientific

under the "Sore Losers" provision of the Jennifer Aniston Act of 2004.



received a $15 billion offer for its casino chain. The offer was neither cash nor stock, but coupons for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The CEO of teen clothier

Pacific Sunwear

resigned in scandal this week, after inadvertently saying "bro" to someone who was clearly a "dude."

The German automaker Volkswagen bought a stake in an Austrian truck-maker call MAN. A German-Austrian alliance determining the future of MAN? Didn't we try that once before?


bought the maker of Breathe Right nasal strips and FiberChoice. It's part of the company's "Easy in, Easy out" strategy.

7-11 purchased the rights to the starting time for White Sox games. "Is nothing sacred?" asked baseball fans as their steroid-laced hero ran into the Chevy sign in left field of


park to catch a ball hit by a millionaire who wouldn't have been able to play a few decades ago because of racism. Is nothing sacred?

Jacuzzi Brands

will be bought out by Apollo Management. Finally. A private hot tub on the moon.

The Justice Department approved AT&T's purchase of


. The move angered consumer groups, according to telephone transcripts acquired by the Justice Department from BellSouth and AT&T.


Stephen Hemsley is in trouble for backdated options. Hemsley used to work at Arthur Andersen. Gee, wonder where he learned accounting tricks? Should former employees even include Arthur Andersen on resumes? It might raise fewer red flags to simply write, "1997-2001: The Heroin Incident."

Actor Wesley Snipes was indicted for tax evasion, vampire vengeance, and making many of us feel bad about our vertical leap. Rumor has it he had himself cryogenically frozen because, in the future, there's no income tax, and he can battle Sandra Bullock and Sly Stallone in peace.

A federal judge threw away Ken Lay's conviction, prompting Lay to ask Elvis and Hoffa if it was okay to come out of hiding.

Nielsen will begin tracking video game usage. Next up: Are you breathing, what are you thinking, where are you looking, how can I possibly show you another advertisement?


named a new CEO. According to analysts, "He's Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!"

AT&T's profit was up last quarter on increased calls from Ford workers to local unemployment offices.


Taser International

was cleared of wrongdoing in the death of someone in police custody in L.A. I, for one, am so glad it was just good old-fashioned police brutality.

A Delaware court approved a settlement against Hollinger International. Then the sky darkened, a lone bolt of lightning crackled through the air, and a 200-foot Conrad Black rumbled toward downtown Tokyo.

Pier 1

was rumored to be receiving a buyout offer. If Pier 1 is gone, where will Old Navy dock?

YouTube has accused of copyright infringement under the 1959 case of Goose v. Gander.

US Airways

offered to buy

Delta Air Lines

. The $8 billion deal would be $2 billion in cash, $2 billion in stock, and $4 billion in headphone rentals.

The invisible hand of the market met the bony finger of death last week when Milton Friedman passed away. He was 94, though he was valued at 107.

AT&T changed the way it elects board members, but did so by calling up current members during dinner and changing them without approval.

Lear Corporation will enter a joint venture with Wilbur Ross. Wilbur was a pig¿ Lear makes jets¿ Pigs¿ Flying¿ Oh my gosh! Get ready to finally do all those impossible things. Our time is at hand!!


Nintendo's Wii had brisk sales. Wii stands for the sound you make as you teleport between age 13 and 35 without physical human contact.

Ford will spend an estimated $17 billion in the next two years. Ford's new advisor, Monty Brewster, said he couldn't disclose details but to just trust him. Then he and John Candy organized a 3-inning exhibition against the NY Yankees while a couple old curmudgeons used an ambitious underling to undermine Brewster's plans. In the end, however, the underling's fiancée will leave him for Brewster and Ford will produce quality cars again.

Ann Fudge will leave Young & Rubicam after years of, what she calls, "me-ing the numbers."

The Supreme Court heard arguments about an environmental case this week. An inconvenient truth meets an unfortunate motion to dismiss.

The NFL Network announced plans to broadcast games online. About time. I've always thought that my delicate computer equipment was missing one thing: Nachos.

A Treasury committee recommended reforming regulations so that it's harder to sue or indict companies. In similar news, the Oakland Raiders recommended that losses be counted as wins.

Bank of America

agreed to purchase

Mellon Financial

after spending several minutes squeezing it in the produce aisle.

Kia named Bong Gou-lee CEO this week, prompting South Korean frat boys to titter uncontrollably while asking each other to "pass the CEO of Kia."

The building at 666 Fifth Ave in New York was sold for a record $1.8 billion. The top floor of 666 will be converted into a nursery for a woman named Rosemary.

Merck won another Vioxx lawsuit to raise it's record to 7-4, but during a vigorous cross-examination, it lost its starting left paralegal to a knee injury.

Ford's shares were upgraded to overweight from equal weight by Morgan Stanley, while Ford's motorists were upgraded from "hefty" to "fatso."

A company agreed to purchase the lingerie chain Frederick's of Hollywood, but reminded the store never to call on the home phone, and to hang up right away if a woman answers his cell.

Ad firm




and an ancient civilization asked both to stop using names that convey unwarranted gravitas.

A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler (

) is an accomplished comedian, writer, producer and person. He's the winner of the 2006 Bill Hicks Spirit Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, stars in the "Comedy Against Evil" tour, and is writing "Get Rich Cheating," a parody of corporate crime, for Prentice Hall Press. Jeff performs at clubs and colleges all over the known galaxy and has been featured at the Edinburgh Fringe, Freedom Cinema, and San Francisco Comedy Festivals. He 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, and played college football. After extended stops in cities like San Francisco, Boston, and D.C., Jeff now lives in New York City from whence he is available for birthdays, circumcisions and bachelorette parties. Kreisler appreciates your feedback;

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