Funny Money: Philip K. Dick Was Right

Tuesday's rout and the robots who hate us. Plus, retail strategies, M&A hilarity and more.
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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.

The stock market this week. Tuesday:

Ahhhhhh! It's all a charade! We're all gonna die!!

Wednesday:

Mmmmm, donuts.

Hey, at least we'll have something new to blame for our failures.

The Tuesday market plunge of 416 points was triggered by a drop in China. Wise investors weren't worried, though, because they knew in an hour they'd be hungry for another binge.

The whole situation was dubbed a "Financial Tsunami," which is totally appropriate. Investment banker: "I lost $40 million in imaginary net worth!" Indonesian fisherman in 2005: "I lost my dad."

A minor part of the panic was triggered by a glitch in the

Dow Jones

data system. Oh good, just like Philip K. Dick imagined. Where are the robots who can love?

The situation was exacerbated by uncertainty about the U.S. economy, especially subprime mortgages, loans to people with weak credit. Isn't that what credit rating is for? Common sense: Don't give money to a guy who can't repay it, and don't hire a babysitter named Bloody McStabaLot. Frankly, this wouldn't be a problem if lenders just hired better goons to rough up the deadbeats.

As far as the strength of the economy, um, hasn't anyone heard of a little thing called the iPhone? It's going to sell 100 billion units at $500 a pop. Then we're all going out for drinks.

Speaking of which,

Apple

did

predict its iPhone would sell 10 million units despite its price tag. Hooray for totally arbitrary predictions!! I can't wait until I'm a publicly traded company and get to cash in stock after making ludicrous statements. Then I'll just wait a while and restate. Actually, I am writing a book that's going to sell 50 million copies. So, um, just send me money now, okay?

Early in the week, Alan Greenspan descended from Mount Olympus to proclaim an imminent recession. Then he disappeared with a bolt of lightning and a puff of smoke, leaving behind only a pair of librarians' glasses and a pissed-off Ben Bernanke.

Despite the market's volatility, low growth numbers, and his predecessor's Jedi spirit-like materialization, Ben Bernanke said everything's going to be alright. Then, somehow, he lost more hair.

In other news... The

NYSE Group

hired Duncan Niederauer as president and COO, to which Bluto Blutarsky responded, "Niederauer... Dead!"

Six Degrees of Parsley

Gap

will close its Forth & Towne stores. I guess women over 35 will have to go elsewhere for clothes that inspire their husbands to have affairs.

Talbots

, perhaps?

Liz Clairborne

is also cutting back, reducing the labels it will carry. Seems "women of a certain age" are mature enough to know that clothes don't provide spiritual fulfillment. That or they can't find parking at the mall.

Federated

will change its name to Macy's. As a poet once said: "A rose by any other name will still smell like a colossal giant unable to adapt to the shifting retail landscape."

Elsewhere in retailing, Nelson Peltz is reportedly interested in

Tiffany

. Peltz has already waged battles with

Wendy's

and

Heinz

and this is an obvious attempt to corner the elusive French fries and diamonds demographic.

Heinz actually reported a 90% quarterly profit increase, helped by parents who no longer spank their children and therefore don't know how to smack a bottle of ketchup, meaning more is left behind and more bottles must be purchased. Another couple degrees, and Kevin Bacon would've gotten involved.

The

Smith & Wollensky

steakhouse chain was sold for $79.5 million. It comes with a 360-ton sprig of parsley.

In other M&A news, the huge

TXU

buyout includes a new type of financing, the "equity bridge," in which banks allow firms to use even less upfront cash. It's not

that

unusual. I get credit card mailers all the time for "introductory offers" with a low interest rate and a $45 billion line of credit. I just throw them out.

Microsoft

will buy a health info search engine. Now all your medical records will come bundled with Explorer, Powerpoint, and lupus. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "computer virus." Personally, I just hope they get all the bugs out of Angioplasty Vista.

Oracle

acquired

Hyperion

then immediately ripped open its belly to read the entrails and predict the future.

Notes & Hate-ables

The Times

reported on a shortage of bees to cross-pollinate crops.

Univision!

What did I tell you? You passed over the Bumble Bee for CEO, and now he's organized a work stoppage!

New concerns were raised about the effect of certain anemia drugs, but were soon forgotten once

Amgen's

"There's Nothing to See Here" medication hit my bloodstream.

After

Marvel Entertainment

lowered its 2007 outlook, the company's mild mannered CEO slipped out "for personal reasons." Moments later, a bolt of crimson and argyle burst into the board room! It's Reorganization Man! He'll save us all with a paradigm shift in corporate accountability!

Dah Dahnah!

Fourteen-thousand

Airbus

employees in France held a massive strike that... No wait, that was just an afternoon nap. Never mind.

Hey, I just yelled something to my neighbor across the street. Isn't that part of the "audio entertainment market" in which

Sirius

and

XM

compete?

Soon you'll be able to send a text message to find the closest

Starbucks!

Hooray! The closest firehouse, police station, post office, school or public bathroom? Not so much.

Former

Merrill Lynch

analyst Stanislav Shpigelman said he was forced to reveal insider information. If he had given tips, his cohorts threatened to rearrange both his face

and

the letters in his name.

YouTube

and the NBA have struck a deal to completely eliminate attention spans.

Oooh! Shiny toy!

Forbes Magazine

released a list of the top Hollywood earners under the age of 21, a.k.a. People I Hate.

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

JeffKreisler.com

) 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;

click here

to send him an email.