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 week full of disappointing economic news, Wal-Mart reported its first month of falling sales in 10 years. In response, the company will release some of its employees from the dungeon, but just long enough to buy its products to reraise its sales. Clever. Wal-Mart did announce a partnership to open stores in India. Given that country's cheap labor and that company's labor practices, this may be the first time employees will pay to work. Meanwhile, Ford announced that 38,000 employees had accepted buyouts, while the rest would be subject to a massive assembly line "accident." Ford also announced that it will mortgage domestic assets to raise money for restructuring. The company's credit isn't as good as it used to be because of identity theft. Apparently, Saturn sifted through Ford's trash, got a fake Visa and bought 100 million lattes. Separately, Pfizer announced plans to layoff almost 2,400 sales reps. But they needs jobs! They've got a taste for employment now, they just can't kick the habit cold turkey! ( Get it? They're addicted. Hold me). Meanwhile, a federal panel recommended that Pfizer be allowed to market Celebrex to children even though they were not clear that it was safe. I kid you not. Really, soon there'll be no kids left. I kid you not. Children: The guinea pigs of tomorrow, today.
In a related story, Nintendo's Wii did have brisk sales. Wii stands for the sound you make as you teleport between age 13 and 35 without physical human contact. But! You can make computer-generated people do whatever you want, so that's cool. Speaking of "cool", Google shares fell below $500 early in the week, sending pundits scurrying to become multidimensional. "That guy who was me last week who said it'd go over $600, that wasn't me, that was, um, a spectral projection of me. Look, over there, it's oil prices!" Google expects 40% of business in 10 years to be conducted online or influenced by the Web. "Influenced by the Web"? Isn't that a little vague? Everything's influenced by the Web. Walk down the street, see an advertisement with a Web address, knock into someone, spill her coffee, laugh, get married, have a baby, sell that baby to Madonna. All influenced by the Web. In other corporate news, A Spanish power company will buy a Scottish power company. Hmmm, what powers Spain and Scotland? Oh! Finally, the joviality of sangria will combine with the brutishness of whisky to create the perfect party animal. Mad science! Tiffany's earnings rose. I'm married, which means I don't have to buy more jewelry or gifts, right? Right? Interactive Brokers Group filed for an IPO, but didn't disclose how many shares it would sell or the price. The company instead relied upon the proven theory of, "Come on, you know you want it." It's true.
The chairman of Reader's Digest signed a new contract the day before a buyout offer that provides him with a $4.5 million golden parachute. While that sum is considered high by many, if you listen to the trees at night, you can hear Dick Grasso laughing. Dick Parsons praised Carl Icahn's intervention at Time Warner and Ringo Starr admitted that Yoko Ono was kinda, sorta okay. McKinsey released a study showing that energy use can be cut by higher efficiency. Wait for it ... wait for it ... BAM! There it is, your winner of the Duh! Award for Excellence in Financial Obviousness. The runner up? Another McKinsey study claiming that death is no fun. In case you were wondering why everyone's been so blue lately, it's because of The New York Times series comparing the rich to the "superrich." I, for one, have spent every night crying myself to sleep in my cardboard box. In a related story, Conrad Black argued that presenting his lifestyle in court amounts to "class prejudice." Invoking a centuries old legacy of discrimination and mistreatment in the name of preserving spending for the top 1% amounts to being something which rhymes with "class." We've come a long way, baby. Meanwhile, a judge ruled that the government discriminated against blind people by making our currency a uniform, indistinguishable size. Now, I'm a pretty progressive guy, but, can't they just get paid in $1 bills like in Ray. What, is that offensive? It's not like any blind people are going to read this column. Tonight at 11: Funny Money columnist found dead in freak Braille accident.
In other legal developments, Martin Armstrong, former money manager, will remain in jail for contempt of court. He claims the judge has been trying to, um, strong arm, him. Sorry. Seriously though, why is this guy in jail? It's just white collar crime. It's not like he stole food to feed his family or something heinous like that. The proposed merger of the regulatory operations of the NYSE and NASD includes a provision offering each NASD member $35,000 if the deal is approved. It's not bribery, because most members of NASD and the NYSE routinely find that type of change in their sofa cushions. Look, up in the sky, it's Superrich! Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the dismissal of a $10.1 billion award over "light" cigarettes. Gosh, the Supreme Court is pro-business. Who would've thunk it? Anyhoo, seems the court agreed that "light" is not misleading because it doesn't mean "safe," but refers to that into which you walk if you smoke enough cigarettes. Wordy, but true. The Supreme Court also heard arguments about an environmental case this week. Tonight at 11: An inconvenient truth meets an unfortunate motion to dismiss. After asking for $21 million in legal fees, the amount Richard Scrushy owes HealthSouth dropped from $52 million to $31 million. Scrushy responded by saying, "Really? Oh, well, then, um, I forgot about, uh, $31 million in, uh, photocopying charges. Yeah. Kinko's. No, I don't have a receipt." And finally, the total income Americans reported to the IRS was actually lower in 2004 than 2000. Wow! I thought things were great, I mean ... oh wait... "Reported to the IRS." Guess that doesn't include money kept in tin foil in a freezer. My bad. See, see, I give it to both sides of the aisle. Stop the hate mail.