Tag Archives: not funny

Spend your stimulus money wisely!

Alligator skin boots for her: $600,
Playstation 3 with Call of Duty 4 for him: $550,
Having your unborn grandchildren foot the bill: Priceless.

Today I got the same letter from the IRS that some 120 million other Americans received, informing me that in the not-so-distant future my wife and I will be honored with a check for $1200 from the US treasury. Apparently we’re going to avoid the recession caused by us borrowing too much money by borrowing more money. Given that this is a done deal, there’s no point in opining on the criminal irresponsibility of our pandering politicians adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt to buy us bread and circus in an impotent attempt to stave off the well-deserved economic hangover we all should have known was coming after decades of partying on credit. So I won’t mention that.

But given that we’re going to be getting this de facto tax break, I think we all should do our best to actually help the American economy with it. This is harder than it seems. You can’t just go out and buy an iPod. Sure, Apple will get some of the money, but all the components and the manufacturing are done overseas. I don’t think taking our tax money and using it to worsen the current account deficit is the idea here. What does America still make? Mostly lattes, lawyers, pills, software and movies. So, it’s not going to be easy to spend your money on the American economy. Thus, I’ve decided to provide a few ideas, some of them even feasible, for fun things to spend your money on that will maximize the impact on the American economy and won’t require you to sue anybody:

  • Pay off debt. It may not give an immediate jump to the GDP, but it has long term benefits that will accrue to it.
  • Patronize those locally owned restaurants you’ve been meaning to try. Tip heavily.
  • Go to the theater. Buy lots of candy and popcorn. (But stay away from the Nestle products.)
  • Rent a Harley and take a trip somewhere. No going into Canada!
  • Take flying lessons. You won’t be able to get your license with $1200, but you’ll have a lot of fun and will probably get to the point of soloing. No going into Canada!
  • Get 20 friends together at work and buy a car to raffle off. I suggest the new Charger, but just make sure it’s American.
  • Finally buy legal copies of all that software you’ve been pirating. Yes, I know about that copy of Photoshop!
  • By some really good California wine. I recommend Coturri.
  • Purchase a custom made bag by Timbuk2, built by hand in San Francisco.
  • Take a class or two at the local community college.
  • Get a weekly massage and get a happy ending for the American economy.

More as I think of stuff. Suggestions always welcome.

Army Strong*

I’m no peacenik, and my best guess at the truth is that war is sometimes a neccesary evil forced upon a nation by outside circumstance. If North Korea, for example, ever got ICBMs, I’d probably support the idea that maybe we should do something about it besides worry. Having said that, I’m a bit skeptical of the current set of ads running for the Army.

The target of the current ads are the clearly the parents of young men, a tell that the Army is running into problems recruiting young turks to fight over the objections of their parents. The central idea of the ads is that the Army will give them discipline, a sense of honor, and an inner strength, all things a parent wants to see in their children–the tagline is “You made them strong, we’ll make them Army Strong.” And I have no doubt that Army training makes one a better person. The problem is, sometimes Army Strong is led into battle by Yale Stupid, and then you get Army Dead, all for a reason nobody really understands.

How the hell is it that we can’t advertise erectile dysfunction pills on the TV without fifteen seconds of disclaimers about the possibility of sore eyelids, but the Army can advertise for a job that involves getting shot at, and they’re not required to put a single line of 8 point Helvetica at the bottom of the screen pointing out that your results may vary? I’d like to see the announcer have to rattle off something at the end like “Army Strong is not to be taken while pregnent or nursing. It may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle, or anything else for that matter. Army Strong may get you killed in the event a demagogue fools congress into a poorly conceived war. Please consult a physician before joining, or if an election lasts longer than four weeks.

I have a lot of gratitude to the men who volunteer to fight for us, people who are made of tougher stuff than I, so I mean no disrespect to them by saying this. In fact, I say this because I don’t think we show them much respect by using glib Madison Avenue tactics to entice them to serve, or by calling upon their service so cheaply.