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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.

In a move that reverberated across Wall Street,

Merrill Lynch

lured John Thain from

NYSE Euronext

and will pay him $50 million a year to lead the struggling brokerage colossus. Here's Merrill's offer letter.

Dear John: The bar is low. Don't lose $8 billion and we'll give you $50 million per year. Also, we need to include some harsh incentives. If you do lose $8 billion, we'll make you take $150 million to go away. That's what you'd earn in three years, but without getting to work. You don't want that. No sir.

In related news, recently fired


head Charles Prince will get a $12.5 million performance-based bonus this year, prompting the captain of the Titanic to renegotiate.



may seek bankruptcy if things get worse.

Caveat Emptor

, investors and customers. Buyer beware. You should've asked what the asterisk was for.

A Federal Judge ruled that some structured mortgage investments fail to prove ownership of property that lenders are trying to foreclose. "Gentlemen, the first rule of Subprime Club: 'You don't talk about Subprime Club.' The second rule of Subprime Club: 'Don't talk about Subprime Club.' The third rule? 'Diversify your investments.'"

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TheStreet Recommends


seaweed clothing has no seaweed in it. Apparently the high-end athletic wear for people with too much money was produced and marketed by

Countrywide Financial

. Also, yes, you do look fat in that.

Speaking of Countrywide, they said that new mortgages in October fell while delinquent loans rose, earning the company not just this week's

Duh! Award for Excellence in Financial Obviousness

, but also a hard slap across the face.

Speaking of hard slaps, Hollywood studios claim they're not making any money from the Internet, but they've sued YouTube for billions and tell investors that shows online will bring in hundreds of millions. So the question is, are they liars or committing securities fraud?

If only they had writers to help spin this...

In related news,


has created a Wi-Fi zone in midtown Manhattan. Well, sure. If they won't pay writers for ideas, why not just steal 'em off everyone's laptops?

Constellation Brands


Fortune Brands'

wine and then triumphantly stood before Middle Earth to declare, "One grape to rule them all." Our fate was sealed when we failed to correctly pronounce "Shiraz."

In other wine news, businessmen are developing a vineyard on Staten Island.


I cannot wait to pop open a can of Pinot Joey.

Headline in

The Times

business section: "Cellphone Straightjacket Is Inspiring A Rebellion." Actual straightjackets, electrocuted genitals, and waterboarding?

Not so much.

Slow on the Intake Valve


reported its


decline in customer visits.

Vive La Revolution!!!

In response, the company will introduce a new "Free Trade" blend: Addictive Mind Control Consumer Slavery Latte.


is in financial straits, and may have to return to eating cheese and anti-Semitism.

Al Gore was named a partner in a Silicon Valley investment firm. First order of business: An environmentally safe, Internet-based time machine that runs on Nobel prizes and hanging chads.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bought a private Airbus A380. The jet is just big enough to store his American ports, stock exchanges, and, um, debt, though, he'll still have to pay $5 for an onboard snack.


profit tripled this year. No matter the economic climate, Porsche remains, in my world, "What you like before you like girls."

Or after you can do anything about it.


announced an enhanced health care plan. Kudos, big guy. We're always busting your chops, but that's great. Sure, it just means your slaves are plugged directly into the Matrix, without having to go through an HMO or Morpheus... but it's a start.


CEO, William Clay Ford Jr., complained about the slow development of alternative fuels, saying, "It's almost like a swollen, inflexible industry had been working with existing energy interests to prevent it for decades," pausing to add "Oh,



Ford's UAW members agreed to a new contract after the automaker agreed to share revenue from Internet sales and DVDs...

Oh wait! Crud.

In related news, a California appeals court struck down the new fuel economy standards. Starting in 2008, new cars will have to be efficient enough to run on writer's residuals. That's impossible!

I'd like




to merge. One less defendant for my class-action Deep Vein Thrombosis case.



will disclose more information about its decision making process. (Cue stock footage of monkeys in business suits.)


, the $6 billion collapsed hedge fund, is suing

JP Morgan Chase

for taking advantage of the firm. "You got your fraud in my incompetent greed!" "You got your greed all over my fraud." The case will be heard by Judge Reese's.

In a little noticed item, the


said foreign corporations don't need to adjust accounting to comply with American rules.

Oh, great

. I'm sure this won't lead to any accounting shenanigans or incorporations in Profitablevania.

The British Royal Mail is encouraging people to put a scent, taste, or sound in their snail mail, or to do all three by shipping an actual snail.

Warren Buffett said we shouldn't eliminate the estate tax. Warren Buffett, the


-rich guy. This is huge! Can you...

Wait! Barry Bonds was indicted? A-Rod signed? 25-cent wings?

Bread and circuses, baby. Bread and circuses... and, if we're lucky, fireproof fiddle shops.

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 writes for Comedy Central's Indecision2008, won the Bill Hicks Spirit Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, is in the cast of "Shoot The Messenger," a new show from the creator of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," stars in the "Comedy Against Evil" tour, and is writing "Get Rich Cheating," a parody of corporate crime. 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.