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 nation breathed a sigh of relief this week when, for the first time in 29 years, no major airlines declared bankruptcy. Instead, US Air merged with America West Airlines to create a new US Airways that plans to mix low-cost efficiency with worldwide reach. The over/under on its next bankruptcy filing: two weeks. Google announced plans to build a corporate campus on a vacant NASA site in California. Now they're getting into space exploration? In response, Microsoft launched Sputnik. In other Mr. Softee developments, Microsoft and Palm introduced the Treo 700W, which will use new technology to make it impossible for worker bees to ever escape the hive. Err, sorry, I mean, "keep people connected to the office." Elsewhere, power company Calpine sued two banks for wrongfully withholding money. If Calpine thinks financial firms are withholding money, wait until Americans see our winter heating bills. I'd rather owe the power company than sell my baby for cash. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart was hit especially hard by the falling consumer confidence index, as fuel costs cut into disposable income. Also, it's possible that, having witnessed death and destruction on TV, people are realizing there's more to life than spending eight hours wandering through a superstore. Just kidding! On a related note, Walgreen said Katrina curbed its profit, too. I haven't seen a woman's name linked to this much havoc since Courtney Love entered rehab. And speaking of mass (over) consumption, the number of Americans with past due accounts rose in the second quarter. I wonder if that has anything to do with things like the Capital One commercials where couples defeat murderous hordes by using a credit card. How American. You're about to be killed? Spend your way out! Bankrupt? Get an iPod! Crippling depression? Use your video-enabled cell phone to watch snippets of Pamela Anderson's TV show "Stacked"! Really, try it. We'll all feel better.
In other blonde diva developments, Martha Stewart's new show on NBC hasn't "saved" the network, as some had hoped. And yet, somehow, life goes on.
Bernie Kerik on its board of directors is under suspicion for wrongdoing. This is so shocking it's making me flop on the floor like an epileptic seal! Meanwhile, Warren Buffett testified in the trial of firms suing the IRS for more than $23 million. Suing the IRS has got to be a bad idea. Somewhere, IRS agent Al Pacino might yell, "I want him audited! I want his family ... audited! His friends ... audited! His baby sitter, car mechanic, high school guidance counselor ... audited!! Nobody escapes. Nobody." Then he'll whip out a balance sheet and scream, "Say hello to my little friend." In M&A news, WellPoint, the giant health insurer, is close to acquiring WellChoice, a large Northeastern insurer. The new company, called WellWell, will probably charge $85 for band-aids. Porsche announced it would buy 20% of Volkswagen. Analysts are hailing the deal as the biggest sexy-pedestrian merger since Julia Roberts wed Lyle Lovett. Many see it as a move without any real business rationale. Porsche stomped its feet and harrumphed, "But we're in love!"
Speaking of love, The Vermont Teddy Bear company announced that they're reverting to a private company. In related news, Tooth Fairy Industries merged with Easter Bunny, Inc. Said the Fairy, "Their candy delivery system, by rotting teeth, will synergize with our core competency." Then one small tear rolled down my cheek. FAO Schwartz named Edward Schmults CEO. Until recently, Schmults, who resembles Tom Hanks, was a 10-year-old boy. Finally, Internet advertising rose to $2.99 billion in the second quarter. Almost $3 billion for an industry that was inconceivable 15 years ago. There's a fortune to be made if you can predict the big growth industry of the next 15 years. Let me give you a hint: anonymous donations to comedians who tell jokes on financial news Web sites. Shhh! You didn't hear it from me but please send your electronic checks to: Jeff.Kreisler@thestreet.com