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Shakespeare didn’t do this

Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

Red Beard’s Silent Deal

October 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

ALBA, ITALY-

In Alba, Italy’s rain, my hair flattens wet against my skull. Hugging the shopfronts of Via Vittorio Emanuele, I see a white triangular peak in the distance. It could be anything—a downed mountain bowing to commune with this street, the cobblestone river that carved it—except, glowing with rain, it looks to be made of canvas. I know.

(more…)


Colleen McGrath

The Crack in my Mac

October 27th, 2009
by Colleen McGrath

BERLIN, GERMANY

There’s a crack in my Mac

In the casing to be exact

And I wonder what I am to do

(more…)


Tom Hansen

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

October 22nd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE, WA

Want time to write that masterpiece? Well now there’s a solution.

The International Tom Lifetime Arts Grant

Applicants [artists, writers, etc.] from all nations should adhere to the following guidelines;

  1. Chop off your leg [or inflict some other significant permanent physical harm to yourself that your government classifies as a disability] Think twice before chopping off your hand—it will probably be needed for your art.

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Brandon Gorrell

The Gimmicks of American Apparel vs. the Gimmicks of Urban Outfitters

October 21st, 2009
by Brandon Gorrell

SEATTLE, WA-

I have listed comparisons of what I feel are significant gimmicks of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.

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D.R. Haney

Saved by Demon Song

October 11th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

I’m hungry. I have no money at all, none is expected soon, and there’s no one from whom I can borrow. I pace all night, wondering how to come by a few dollars to eat.

Finally, slowly, a plan unfolds: I can walk down the street to an ATM, fill out a deposit slip for a phantom check, feed the slip to the ATM, and request a cash advance. The bank, of course, will quickly discover that no check accompanied the deposit slip, but once I’m contacted, I’ll simply say that, being in a hurry, I forgot. By then I hope to have thought of someone who’s willing to cut me a bona fide check.

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Dawn Corrigan

George Clooney and I Have a Fight

September 8th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

A little homage to Paul Toth’s hilarious “Interview” series, which you can read here. (See 8 of the last 9 posts.)

George Clooney was at the coffee shop where I hang out. He stopped by my table after he got his latte.

“You and I are pretty much on the same team, you know,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?”

(more…)


Claire Bidwell Smith

A Thousand Words: Why and Why

September 8th, 2009
by Claire Bidwell Smith

CHICAGO, IL-

Home was Los Angeles. And my life there was one of aimless, tipsy grieving. My father had died six months before this story begins and ever since I’d been casting about listlessly. One of my best friends, Lucy, lived down the street and we spent many a day together, drinking cocktails before 5pm and pondering the meaning of our mid-twenties. One such afternoon we decided that the best possible solution to our problems would be to go into business together importing t-shirts from Thailand. This may have just been an excuse to conduct “business meetings” over Bloody Marys at a restaurant in Culver City called Dear John’s, but whatever the case, we forged ahead with the plan.

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Gina Frangello

A Thousand Words: A Decent Proposal

August 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello

CHICAGO, IL–

I’m in an elevator, with my 10 month old twin daughters in their obtrusively large twin stroller. We are headed to the pediatrician’s. Several other people are in the elevator with us, and most of them are staring at my daughters, which is a common response to babies in general, twin babies in particular, and Chinese twin babies with a Caucasian mother most of all. Though I have only had the girls for a few weeks at this point, I am already used to the stares. My husband says that going out with them is like going out with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (who are still married; it is 2001) because of all the attention. We make jokes like this; we think we are unflappable. We think people who adopt children from other countries and then freak out because people stare or ask questions are freaky and uptight.

A woman in the elevator turns to me and says, “Oh, they’re darling!” and I smile. I am still smiling when she says loudly, “How much did they cost?”

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Irene Zion

Son of Cash for Clunkers

August 20th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I read today that beginning in autumn, the cash for clunkers program for cars will be expanded. There will be Federal rebates for clunker household appliances, such as washers and dryers and dishwashers and furnaces and air conditioners. This is all part of the congressional-authorized stimulus plan passed earlier this year. $300 million has been set aside for this so far. I have no doubt that more cash will be added. I have some ideas for other cash for clunkers programs. Perhaps all you readers can pitch in with better ideas.

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Todd Zuniga

Tokyo, 2006

August 10th, 2009
by Todd Zuniga

LOS ANGELES, CA-

The hotel we booked online is communist concrete chic, a six-story bunker renting rooms.  Inside’s a mess, shoved luggage carts piled into one another, floor littered with fliers, confused commotion at check-in.  Olivia pulls the plug, says no way we’re staying.

Outside in light rain, a cab’s door automatically opens, we shimmy inside, name the only hotel we know: the Park Hyatt.  The lone lodging Olivia wanted to avoid because she found it pretentious, we arrive at Lost in Translation’s three-towered megahotel, are told at the entrance that every room is booked, only suites remain.

(more…)


Sung J. Woo

Book Review: J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand

August 6th, 2009
by Sung J. Woo

WASHINGTON, NJ -

Every time I open a new book of fiction, there’s a part of me that hopes for the improbable: to encounter something new, something utterly original.  So as you can imagine, I’m let down a lot.  But sometimes I get lucky.

It’s been two weeks since I finished reading J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand, but here’s this little gem of a book, still sitting on my desk.  I don’t know when I’ll return this paperback to its designated shelf, but it won’t be anytime soon, for I keep going back to it, reading one of the 100 anecdotes in this collection at random, smiling and chuckling along the way.

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J.E. Fishman

Fool’s Gold

July 28th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman

RICHMOND, VA —

My daughter, not yet eight, has grown suddenly careful with her money.  She’s not greedy.  (She often forgets to ask for her allowance.)  But, now that she’s figured out that money is finite, she spends what she has with great deliberation.

Prior to our recent beach vacation, she planned a lemonade venture for weeks in her mind, fantasizing about the preparation of the drinks, the inevitable line of customers, the transactions.  Our family has a running conversational riff about one day opening a store selling only her favorite foods: salmon sashimi, cucumber, chocolate, a few others equally eclectic.  She’s sophisticated enough to know it’s a joke.  So when she contemplated the lemonade stand she settled on two items she thought would have a better shot than sashimi: lemonade and chocolate brownies. (more…)


David S. Wills

Fleeced Like a Rube on the BBC

July 26th, 2009
by David S. Wills

BUSAN, KOREA -

“I’ll never trust another old person,” Bart Simpson once said, and for that nugget of wisdom I’ve always half-respected him. The fact is the elderly are as capable of screwing you over as a menacing looking teenager, or a hardass, stoneface punk twenty-something. Worse, the elderly won’t just take you for a ride… They’ll say they ‘fleeced’ you and call you a ‘rube’. Of course, if you trust the elderly, you can have no complaints about being called a ‘rube’. That’s just exactly what you are.

And that’s exactly what I am. A rube. A pure-bred, plain-as-day rube. I met an old man and let him have his wicked way, and he damn well did it on national TV. No, not Korean national TV, which is of interest only to Koreans, and which is so backward, racist and pedophilic that no one could seriously give a fuck what is said there… but the BBC!

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Stefan Kiesbye

Interview — And Please Wear Professional Attire

July 15th, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye

LOS ANGELES-

Really? I mean, do you need to have a TV and a radio blaring at the same time, in the same small office? A marketing firm, valuing face-to-face contact with clients. The face-to-face not working so well in that dingy suite of a nondescript office complex on Ventura Boulevard. Two blocks over, the L.A. River in its cemented bed exudes more charm. A central room with the young-yet-worn secretary, four offices beyond, short-and-slick-haired, in-their-early-to-mid-to-late-twenties male suits in those offices. With bad shoes. Run-down heels, worn out leather, cheap in the first place. (more…)


Zara Potts

A Thousand Words: Regrets…I’ve Had a Few

July 5th, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND -

There are a few things in my life that I regret doing. But stealing from the Red Cross isn’t one of them.

Vomiting into a colander when I was drunk certainly is.

And I wish my last words to my grandmother hadn’t been so mundane.

“Have you got any vinegar?”

I would have said something more meaningful if I’d known she would die suddenly that night.

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P.T. Winton

Confessions of a Hypomanic Insomniac (Infomercial Hangover)

June 22nd, 2009
by P.T. Winton

BOULDER, CO-

It’s not so much insomnia as it is hypomania.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I can’t sleep. My brain does not stop.

It’s like texting with my best friend. I want to stop, but alas, I can not. (After all, we have things to do — kids to bring to soccer games and tacos to make.) So, we try to stop, we really try. But within fifteen minutes, one or the other of us types, “Hey, guess what I just thought of?” This is how my brain works. I try to stop thinking, then this little voice pipes up, “Hey, have you thought about the implications of cold fusion?”

Who the fuck cares?

But, there it is, I can’t stop thinking about an issue that I have no authority to think about. Sometimes it goes on like this for hours, or days.

I watch the TV to try to turn my mind off. Watching television at four in the morning has a side effect. Infomercial inundation. That’s a problem for me. I am hopelessly naive, and these commercials prey on people like me.

Every night I tell myself not to give in, but resistance is futile. (more…)


Mary Richert

Magic Coffee Eases Recession Woes

June 16th, 2009
by Mary Richert

ANNAPOLIS, MD-

I thought my days as a broke-ass kid were gone, and maybe so did you, after school when you joined the workforce, started earning enough of a paycheck to graduate from ramen noodles to actual stove-top macaroni and cheese. Maybe you, like me, thought that once you stopped relying on the dollar menu for every meal because you finally had enough money at any given time to spend a few bucks on groceries, there’d be no turning back. No more penny pinching. No limit to the grown up foods you could buy, cook, eat, and even share with guests. (more…)


Simon Smithson

My Suspicions are Aroused by a Lack of Difficulty

June 7th, 2009
by Simon Smithson

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-

I like TV. I really do. Sure, a lot of the time it’s nothing more than popcorn for the eyes, but it’s such delicious popcorn. Lately, the staple ingredient of my viewing diet has been Entourage, and catching back up with Vince, E, Turtle, Drama, and Vince has been a lot of fun. Also, I’ve realised that I want to marry Samaire Armstrong (my ardour cooled when I realised that she’d appeared in The O.C., but reignited, stronger than ever, when I saw that she’s also been in The X-Files). Some day, Samaire. Some day. (more…)


Zara Potts

Why are Human Beings Such Assholes?

June 6th, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND-

Why are Human Beings such assholes? I don’t believe this is an opinion, I believe it’s a fact.

I mean, think about it. How many people can you say have never had an asshole moment? I can’t think of any. It’s not limited to one single demographic either. Assholes can be any age. I’ve met elderly assholes, middle-aged assholes, Gen Y assholes, even asshole kids. Actually, especially asshole kids. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean their asshole quotient is less.

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