Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Urgent E-mail

TO: Friends List

Dear Friends,

I recently received some VERY, VERY IMPORTANT advice that can maybe even save your life. I never knew this stuff before so please pass it on to everyone you love so they won’t have to needlessly suffer.

1. Be very careful of people calling themselves stockbrokers. Until I decided to invest some of my money, I was unaware of how dangerous these people are. They dress in nice clothes and speak very well but watch out. They’ll try to sell you stocks. That’s right, stocks. Next to drug dealers, these folks are the biggest threat to society. But the police seem to be powerless to stop them. What they do is apparently legal. So when they approach you, be VERY, VERY CAREFUL. Don’t be mesmerized by their talk of perpetual 10% annual returns. Don’t fall for their eternal optimism. When they start talking about "buy" and "strong buy", just nod your head, ask them to send you some literature and back away slowly.

2. I also learned about another dangerous group that have infiltrated our neighborhoods. They’re called politicians and they live among us, often going undetected for years. Thanks to attending one of their covert meetings which they call a "political convention", I’ve discovered their secrets. I want to pass them on to you in case you are attacked. At first, you may not recognize the politician. He looks just like you and me. But he quickly gives himself away with his wide smile, two-handed hearty handshake and constant stream of platitudes. If you meet someone who never stops talking and making unreasonable promises, you’ve been attacked by a politician. Run the other way AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

3. Finally, watch out for any "professional" whose title starts with the letter "A." That means accountants, auditors and maybe even actuaries. These folks pretend to be boring, dependable number crunchers but nothing could be further from the truth. When they offer to balance your books, check your records or "do" your taxes, steer clear. The only thing they want to "do" is a number on you and a financial favor for themselves. Keep your money in your mattress and just say "No."

Please pass this message on to all the people you care about. It’s a crazy world out there and we need to watch out for each other.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The M.B.A. President

George W. Bush is America’s first MBA President. This may explain a lot as evidenced by his 1975 Harvard Business School exam paper reproduced below.

Q1. Your corporate headquarters in New York have been sabotaged by a foreign rogue trader. You invade his home territory in hot pursuit but are unsuccessful in tracking him down. What is your preferred option and why?

A1. Rogue traders are notoriously difficult to track down. It is often better to think outside the box. For example, I might seize the opportunity to finish off any unrelated competitors in the region who may have caused trouble for my family’s business in the past. If such a competitor has a desirable resource base, it may be advantageous to fabricate an excuse for a hostile takeover.

Q2. You assume the position of CEO of a thriving business entity with a current accounts surplus of $200 billion. However, there is a moderate economic downturn. What steps would you take to preserve capital and ensure the profitability of your enterprise?

A2. The quickest path to renewed profitability is through generous tax cuts and benefits for the wealthiest shareholders. By implementing such measures and significantly increasing expenditures on hostile takeovers (see answer to Q1.), corporate growth will be sufficiently stimulated to ensure long term profitability. Some minor deficit spending may be necessary although it will eventually be offset by increased tax revenues and generous political donations.

Q3. ABC Corporation is a successful American company that wishes to expand into foreign markets. As ABC’s head of marketing, you are charged with scouting out opportunities in the Middle East and Asia. What would you do to familiarize yourself with these potential markets and what political contacts would you make to facilitate ABC’s entry into these new markets?

A3. My Dad knows a lot about foreign countries and stuff. I think I’d just ask some of his friends to help me out.

Q4. XYZ Corporation has been selling gizmos under its brand name Neo-Conservative for many years. Sales were fairly strong for a number of years but have recently dropped off. What steps would you take to increase XYZ’s market share for its Neo-Conservative brand?

A4. XYZ should offer significant discounts to its wealthiest customers. It should also seek to align its product with growth concepts like “God” and “The American Dream.” Marketing is the process of convincing people that they need to buy your product even if it is ultimately harmful to their best interests. If you can make people believe that owning a Neo-Conservative gizmo will help them become a God-fearing, patriotic, wealthy American, you’re half way there.

Q5. You are the CEO of the largest enterprise in the history of the world. The job requires not only familiarity with business practices but also an in-depth knowledge of complicated domestic and foreign policy issues. How would you prepare yourself for the tasks ahead?

A5. See answer to Q3.

Q6. Your failing oil company has been acquired by HIJ Energy Corporation. You receive shares in HIJ and become a consultant and a director. Just prior to HIJ announcing a huge loss in earnings, you sell most of your shares for a 200% profit. Do you have to file any documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission and, if so, how long do you have?

A6. I’m sorry but I missed the lecture on that topic. I believe I was either completing my Texas Air National Guard service or working on somebody’s election campaign.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Healthy Canadians

"You can add Canada to the list of nations that are healthier than the United States of America. Americans are 42 per cent more likely than Canadians to have diabetes, 32 per cent more likely to have high blood pressure, and 12 per cent more likely to have arthritis, Harvard Medical School researchers found. That is according to a survey in which American and Canadian adults were asked over the telephone about their health."
- The Associated Press - May 30, 2006

According to one of the co-authors of the Harvard study, Canada’s national health insurance program is at least part of the reason for the differences noted. However, an examination of the Canadian experience suggests that the study’s results may actually be explained by one or more of the following factors:

* Canadians have a weaker dollar and measure their health status in metric. When you consider that one American health unit equals roughly 1.2 Canadian metric health units, there’s probably very little difference in overall well being.

* Canada is cold much of the year. It is a well known fact that colder temperatures slow down the metabolism and thereby preserve and protect organic matter. When Canada is viewed as a national icebox, it’s not surprising that we live longer.

* With our six-month winters, we get significantly less sunlight. That results in lots more sleep which is a proven health restorative.

* Given that Canada is a huge country that is sparsely populated, we automatically get more exercise. In the winter, that often means skating or snowshoeing to work. And unlike in the U. S., Canadians may have to drive miles out of their way to find a donut shop.

* Diet is almost definitely a key factor in explaining our healthier status. In a word - donuts. It is well known that police officers are in top physical condition and are big consumers of donuts. Canadians eat more donuts ‘per capita’ than any other nationality. Ergo, Canadians are more likely to be in top shape.

* Physical health is often directly correlated to psychological health. Canadians’ vaunted concern for one another is evident in the universal greeting "How’s it going, eh?" Such expressions of goodwill likely lead to reduced stress and more communal donut consumption.

* Canadian studies are typically skewed by the "politeness" factor. Researchers north of the border are less likely to label someone unhealthy or obese. Such conclusions are often ignored or discarded as being rude or "not nice."

* Finally, the surprising disparity in blood pressure statistics is probably just an anomaly. Studies conducted prior to January 20, 2001 consistently showed Americans and Canadians with about the same incidence of hypertension. It is believed that with the completion of George W. Bush’s second term on January 20, 2009, the current striking discrepancy will disappear entirely.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Test Your W.Q. Redux

Test your knowledge about George W. Bush with the following questions:

1. By how many votes did W lose to Al Gore in 2000?
2. What did the banner say on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln when W declared an end to hostilities in Iraq?
3. What book was W reading when informed of the 9/11 attacks?
4. How long did W stay in the elementary school after being informed of the attacks?
5. How long did W fail to show up for service in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972-73?
6. What was the title of W’s presidential daily briefing on August 6, 2001?
7. What is the name of W’s smarter, younger brother?
8. Approximately what percentage of his presidency has W spent at his Crawford, Texas ranch, Camp David and Kennebunkport, Maine?
9. In what state did W get arrested for DUI in 1976?
10. How many months was W late in filing a disclosure with the SEC of his sale of shares in Harken Energy?


1. About 500,000
2. "Mission Accomplished"
3. "My Pet Goat"
4. Half an hour
5. Approximately one year
6. "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S."
7. Jeb
8. 40%
9. Maine
10. Nine

Score yourself:

0-2 correct: Shame on you. After all, this is the President we’re talking about.
3-4 correct: Not bad but you should probably brush up on your knowledge of W.
5-6 correct: Potential Republican supporter
7-8 correct: Friend of W
9-10 correct: You know way too much about W and are probably a Democrat.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Karl Potter and The White House of Secrets

With the release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, J. K. Rowling’s publisher is poised to strike it rich once again. Other publishing houses are desperately trying to play catchup and piggyback on Rowling’s success which may explain these soon-to-be-released titles:

Karl Potter and the White House of Secrets

Karl is surprised to learn that he is not a regular boy but rather a political wizard. Enrolled in the West Wing Academy, young Karl helps his boss Dumbasadoor track down the Snitches and de-fang the media. The evil Dems try to defeat Karl but they are no match for his wizardry and obfuscation as he refuses to admit specifically identifying She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

George W. Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Like the phoenix from the title, young George always manages to snatch victory from the jaws of someone else’s victory. With the help of wizards like the Supremes in 2000 and the Fundamentalists in 2004, George captures the White House and goes on to cast an eight-year spell on the electorate. His powers grow as he magically eliminates a $500 billion surplus and starts a war without a single valid reason.

Donny Potter and the Prisoners of Gitmo

Young Donny wants to rid the world of terrorists. Unfortunately, in attempting to do so, he launches his own reign of terror. Rather than fight evil with good, Donny succumbs to the forces of darkness and suspends everything from ‘habeas corpus’ to the right to counsel. In the process, his constitution begins to fail and he becomes one of the very Dementors he was sworn to defeat.

Dick Potter and the Goblet of Oil

His childhood dream was to make his homeland self-sufficient in energy supplies. But good intentions often go awry. As Dick befriends one oil magician after another, he forgets his original goal. Luckily for Dick, he retains significant payments from his friends to at least ensure that his own personal gas tank will never go empty.

Paul Potterwitz and the Half-Saudi Prince

Young Paul has a plan. He wants to use his magical powers to spread freedom throughout the Middle East. By declaring war on one country after another, Paul hopes somehow to create peace by magically turning gators into Gatorade. He finally realizes that the answer to his problem isn’t freedom and democracy after all but rests instead with the evil one known as the Half-Saudi Prince.

Condi Potter and the Sorcerer’s War

Condi has one aim: to serve her sorcerer boss and find a reason, any reason, to justify his next war. Whether it’s magical yellow cake from Niger or the mysterious Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, she always knows just what to say to keep troops on the ground. Even when it turns out her reasons are false, her boss forgives her and promotes her beyond her level of incompetence.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kidney Stone Magazine

The magazine industry is nothing if not adaptable. Whatever the latest trend, whoever the latest celebrity, wherever there’s a demographic, the periodical people will cover it with a magazine. From All About Beer to Rosie, there’s a magazine for or about almost everyone. Check out these new publications at your local newsstand:


This is the business monthly for businesspeople on long term sabbatical. With the fastest growing circulation of any new periodical, Misfortune provides useful financial advice to America’s incarcerated business executives and CEOs. Look for articles on how to cover up those nasty accounting “errors”, where to hide your illegal stock options and ten great offshore vacation destinations for you and your money.


In today’s modern world where both spouses have to work, there’s little time for housekeeping. You may not be able to afford a housekeeper but you can afford a subscription to Passable Housekeeping, the magazine that shows you how to avoid housework while still meeting most federal minimum health and safety standards. Learn the secrets of dirt and dust relocation, high octane toilet cleansers and disposable paper bedding that will help you stay sane in this crazy 24/7 world we live in.


This is the rock magazine for aging baby boomers. Kidney Stone celebrates the indisputable fact that no great rock music has been produced since 1975. Interviews with aging rock stars are interspersed with obituaries of expired rock stars.


America’s favorite lifestyle guru applies her talents to that oft-neglected area of American life - the penal system. Ms. Stewart hopes to be able to give a behind the scenes look at the diet, lifestyle and living quarters of today’s upscale inmate. The inaugural issue deals with such timely topics as celebrating holidays with your cellmate, decorating possibilities using prison blues and grays and the proper etiquette for service of court documents.


Curious about what your President is up to? Wonder where he’ll be tomorrow, next week or next month? Then you need W Guide, the daily listing of the activities of George W. Bush. Helpful sections at the front and back rate the top domestic policies for the year, list Mr. Bush’s weekly foreign policy shifts and provide helpful translations of his daily malapropisms.


Like Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell before him, Bill Clinton is launching a new magazine to complement his upcoming talk show. The eponymous periodical will feature “all things Bill” including Mr. Clinton’s favorite foods, beverages, wardrobes and companions. From policy discussions to cigar preferences, you’ll get an inside look at the life of America’s 42nd President that you’ve probably already had before.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Candid Phone

In an attempt to improve its tarnished image, the National Security Agency is planning to produce its own fun-filled, prime-time television show. Scheduled to air on the FOX network this fall, "Candid Phone" will feature the funniest audio clips from the NSA’s data bank of billions of intercepted calls.

"Sure, this is serious business," said NSA Deputy Director and new Head of Programming Bill Black. "But there’s a lighter side, too, which we want to share with the American public."

At a recent press conference announcing the show’s fall launch, Mr. Black teased the assembled media reporters with a few hilarious clips from the upcoming season. In the interests of protecting the callers’ privacy, all of the participants remain unidentified.

DECEMBER 1, 2004

CALLER 1: Where the hell are the WMDs, George?
CALLER 2: Well, Mr. ********, it turns out there aren’t any.
CALLER 1: Aren’t any? Aren’t any? But you said it was a slam-dunk.
CALLER 2: In all fairness, Mr. *********, I believe I said Saddam was a damn skunk.
CALLER 1: Oh great. Well the only thing I can do now is give you the *********ial Medal of Freedom.
CALLER 2: Gee, thanks Mr. *********. That’s a great honor.
CALLER 1: Don’t let it go to your head. If you’d screwed up anymore, I would have had to promote you to Secretary of Defense.

FEBRUARY 13, 2006

CALLER 1: You shot him where, Dick?
CALLER 2: In the face, Mr. *********.
CALLER 1: In the face, Dick?
CALLER 2: Yes, sir, in the face.
CALLER 1: I take it you don’t like this guy.
CALLER 2: No, no, he’s a good friend.
CALLER 1: Well this is going to be a public relations nightmare.
CALLER 2: Not to worry, Mr. *********. He already apologized.

APRIL 15, 2006

CALLER 1: I’m getting darn sick and tired of you waltzing all over the globe. It’s my turn to run and you should be here to help.
CALLER 2: You’re right, darling. Just as soon as I finish my speaking tour and get these few golfing dates out of the way, I’m all yours.
CALLER 1: Don’t you darling me, you hillbilly Lothario. If I hadn’t stood by you during all those bimbo eruptions, you wouldn’t be pulling down those six-figure speaking fees.
CALLER 2: That’s true, sweetcakes. But don’t forget; all that money can help you win the next election. And then I’ll be right by your side in the ***** House.
CALLER 1: A lot of good that’s doing me now. If I have to move to the right on one more issue or support one more useless war to get that nomination, I’m going to scream.
CALLER 2: Ha, ha. That’s funny H******. Listen, honey, they just called my tee time so I have to go. There’s a small reception afterwards so I might be a bit late. Don’t wait up; I’ll let myself in.

MAY 15, 2006

CALLER 1: The Gallup Organization. How may I help you?
CALLER 2: Are you the folks who do all the fancy polls?
CALLER 1: Yes, sir, that’s part of what we do.
CALLER 2: Look, I don’t know who you’re all calling on those presidential approval surveys, but you never called me. Plus, I checked with all my friends and none of them ever got a call either. No wonder the President is getting a 29% approval rating.
CALLER 1: Well, sir, those polls are conducted on a limited, random sample of voters across the country. The odds of any one citizen receiving a call from us are very small.
CALLER 2: OK, maybe I can save you folks some time and money. I’ve got a list of people here in the 202 area code who’d be happy to participate whenever you’d like. Most of these numbers are for cell phones, too, so you can get a hold of ‘em day or night. Whaddya say?
CALLER 1: [click]

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Canadian Bushman

Barely reliable sources have revealed the following unedited transcript of a recent telephone conversation between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U. S. President George W. Bush:

Stephen Harper: Mr. President. Thank you for taking my call.

George W. Bush: No problemo, Damien. I hope you don’t mind me calling you Damien. I’m just trying out some nicknames for you and you kinda remind me of that scary kid in that "Omen" movie.

SH: Sure, Mr. President, that’s fine.

GWB: Hey, call me W or George there, Damien. Everybody else does. Except for Saddam Hussein and Maureen Dowd, that is. Heh, heh.

SH: Ah.....OK, George.

GWB: What can I do you for, Stevereenio?

SH: Well, George, I just wanted to thank you for that great advice last week. That surprise visit to Afghanistan really worked. The poll numbers are way up.

GWB: Glad I could help, Stevebo. I always found that chowing down with the troops with a fake turkey pays big dividends in the approval rating. Tends to make the voters forget about all the screw-ups. Heh, heh.

SH: I was kind of hoping that you could help me out with a few other issues.

GWB: You bet, Harper Valley. First off, I understand you don’t have a clear majority. Don’t worry about it; that never stopped me. But I would suggest you register as many of those Canadian voters in Florida as you can. You never know when that may come in handy.

SH: I’ll keep that in mind, George. But right now I’m more concerned with budget matters. What financial tricks can you teach me?

GWB: Piece of cake, NeoCanCon. Just stop running all those budget surpluses. What are you saving it for - a rainy day? Spend the money now any way you can - tax cuts, war, homeland security - you name it.

SH: But that’s going to cause a deficit and increase the national debt!

GWB: Bingo, Roboman. You must be one of them there economists. Look; forget all that fancy theory stuff. Just spend ‘til it hurts and guaranteed you’ll get reelected. I don’t know why it works but it just does. After all, look at me!

SH: OK. Sounds good. But what about healthcare? We’ve got a real problem up here with waiting lists and hospital beds.

GWB: What you gotta do, Cloneboy, is to create a diversion. Ever thought of starting a war? It’s real easy. You can declare war on fear or hate or something like that or you can just invade a country. But make sure it’s a small one. I kinda miscalculated on Iraq. But once you’ve got a war going, you can justify just about anything on the basis of national security, even privatising your healthcare system. And if anyone starts criticizing you, just call ‘em a traitor. Works every time.

SH: Sounds great, George. Come to think of it, Iceland has been looking at us kind of funny lately. But our military is spread pretty thin right now. What can we do about that?

GWB: Wish I could help you out there, Gladman, but ours is getting a bit thin, too. All I can tell you is to devote more of your budget to army stuff. Cut back on health, education and welfare spending if you have to. By the time anyone notices, you’ll be long gone anyway. Word to the wise, though. Don’t stint on levee building. That one’ll bite you in the ass every time.

SH: But that means I’d have to break some of my campaign promises.

GWB: Like not recruiting members from the other side or appointing only elected senators?

SH: Heh, heh. Oh yeah, I forgot.

GWB: Look, Droidguy, breaking promises is like making love or riding a bicycle. Every time you do it, it gets easier. Well, come to think of it, maybe not that bike riding thing.

SH: Thanks, George, for all the advice. It’s clear I still have a few things to learn about governing.

GWB: Oh, I think you’ll do fine, Minority Man. From what Dick Cheney tells me, you’re already half way to becoming a Canadian Bushman. Gotta go, Stepford. Still got some tax and brush cutting to do.