Dot-Commers To Receive Unemployment Benefits In Form Of Stock Options

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Vol 37 Issue 20

Average Age Of Wacky TV Neighbors Dropping

ATLANTA–According to a Center For Media Studies report released Monday, the average age of wacky TV-sitcom neighbors has steadily declined over the past half-century. "In the '50s, during the days of Ed Norton and Fred and Ethel Mertz, the median age was a mature 53," the report read. "By the late '70s and early '80s, with the likes of Larry on Three's Company, Monroe on Too Close For Comfort, and Lenny and Squiggy on Laverne & Shirley, the average had dropped to 36. Today, the wacky-neighbor landscape is dominated by twentysomethings, typified by Jack on Will & Grace and all the friends on Friends." At the present rate, the report added, wacky TV neighbors will primarily be toddlers by 2015.

Mediocre Painter's True Talent Lies In Acting Like A Painter

LOS ANGELES–According to art critics, mediocre painter James Augustiniak has proven masterful at cultivating the self-centered, womanizing demeanor of an art-world enfant terrible. "Augustiniak's latest exhibition, featuring dozens of paintings of melting eyeballs and hearts, was a staggering achievement in clichéd, pseudo-pretentious banality," said Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight. "But I went anyway, just to see him throw a fit over the lighting in the gallery. He's very good at that sort of thing."

America A Fascist Police State, Stoned Underage Drunk Driver Charges

SMYRNA, GA–Outraged by the brutal suppression of civil liberties that has defined the nation's history, stoned 15-year-old Corey Shifflett denounced America as a "total fascist police state" following his drunk-driving arrest Saturday. "This whole country is, like, totally Hitlered-out," Shifflett told friend Glen Withers, who posted his $500 bail. "These cops, they're just looking for any excuse to pull us over and hassle us, just to feel like fuckin' Superman." Shifflett then knocked over an orange highway cone and vowed to move to Amsterdam.

Longtime Sexual Fantasy Awkwardly Fulfilled

LEXINGTON, KY–The longtime sexual fantasy of Andrew Marcone was awkwardly fulfilled Saturday, when the local record-store clerk participated in a clumsy, embarrassing menage a trois with girlfriend Karen Wagner and her roommate Shelley Peelen. "Well, I finally did it, for what it's worth," said Marcone, 27, following the long-dreamed-of sexual encounter, six minutes into which he ejaculated. "So much for wondering what it would be like, I guess." After achieving orgasm, Marcone spent the next half hour "trying not to get in the way" of his companions.

Hidden Valley Ranch Bombed By Balsamic Extremists

HIDDEN VALLEY, CA–A radical Balsamic fundamentalist group detonated an estimated 800 pounds of TNT at the Hidden Valley Ranch compound Monday, killing 11 and injuring dozens more. "Let no salad again be foully tainted by the corrupt regime of Hidden Valley," said Martin Pulaski, leader of the Nation Of Balsam, in a statement claiming responsibility for the deadly attack. "We shall not rest until every salad's flavor is enhanced by a light and tangy vinaigrette, not buried in a shameful avalanche of buttermilk."

The Jeffords Defection

Last week, U.S. Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to become an independent, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. What do you think?
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Dot-Commers To Receive Unemployment Benefits In Form Of Stock Options

WASHINGTON, DC–Offering unemployment aid with "a huge potential upside" to the approximately 100,000 Americans who lost their jobs in the New Economy collapse, the government's new eBenefits stock-option plan is proving wildly popular among dot-commers.

Laid-off dot-commers wait in line for their eBenefits at a San Mateo, CA, unemployment office.

"Instead of settling for a little cash to help them through rough times, victims of the Internet crash have the option of receiving valuable stock in a number of fast-growing U.S. companies," Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said Monday. "In place of a traditional unemployment check for a few hundred dollars a week, laid-off dot-commers can receive stock options valued at five, ten, even twenty thousand dollars."

In lieu of traditional unemployment benefits, out-of-work dot-commers have the option of receiving stock in their former company, if still existent, or a mutual fund drawing from a diverse pool of Internet companies. Among the companies offered are getupandgo.com, "the world's largest online razor-scooter-accessory retailer," and naturalpet.com, "an oasis of information and communication for informed and enlightened pet owners."

Chao said 80 percent of unemployed tech-industry workers are choosing the stock option, jumping at the chance to "double, triple, or even quadruple the value of their unemployment checks."

"This is an extremely exciting, innovative form of unemployment," said Justin Reed, 27, one of 1,000 workers recently laid off at eToys. "It's going to totally revolutionize the way people think about government checks."

Susan Reyes, director of development for the now-defunct online sporting-goods retailer eZoomaboom!, agreed.

Marcus Todd, founder of now-defunct clothing retailer Thingamajig.com, checks his eBenefits on his Palm.

"This is a radical re-imagining of unemployment and, frankly, I'd be a fool not to get in on the ground floor of it," said Reyes, leaning on the mailbox outside her San Jose, CA, home while waiting for her monthly unemployment portfolio to arrive. "The future of unemployment benefits is bright–really bright."

While eBenefits recipients are not permitted to cash in or trade their stock for at least a year, Reyes spends much of her ample free time calculating her projected earnings at local coffee shops.

"Before I signed up for eBenefits, I was living check-to-check, stretching out my pitiful unemployment funds while looking for a new job," Reyes said. "Now, my situation has completely changed. I've got nearly unlimited future earning potential."

The unemployment package has proven so popular that a cottage industry of eBenefits-related web sites has sprung up in its wake.

"Governmentcheck.com is the first company to offer a full range of online services in tracking, trading, and projecting the growth potential of state unemployment checks," recently re-employed webmaster Sunil Parekh said at the site's launch party, held Saturday night at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. "This is going to be big."

While a few laid-off dot-commers have sworn off the Internet sector altogether, most say their experience has not deterred them from trying again.

"Excuse me, but haven't you ever heard of the concept 'buy low, sell high'?" laid-off Dr.Koop.com employee Shawn Bennett asked. "Well, the market is at its lowest point in years."

Bennett went on to note that today's tech companies are "leaner" than ever.

"Companies like perfumewarehouse.com and crosswords.com have literally cut their budgets and payrolls by 90 percent in the last year," Bennett said. "They're primed for profit after reining in overspending and eliminating tons of dead weight by firing people like myself."

According to Chao, eBenefits was "a natural" under current economic conditions.

"While tech companies had no cash to pay into the unemployment system, they did have ample stock," Chao said. "That put the government in a unique position to offer this stock to the workers themselves. Bingo. A New Economy way of looking at the old problem of massive layoffs."

Fans of eBenefits also point out that owning thousands of dollars in stock has given laid-off tech workers the collateral needed to procure additional loans to cover their day-to-day expenses.

"At DotComCasualties.com, we specialize in providing pre-approved, no-questions-asked loans to recently unemployed programmers, network administrators, and outsourced content providers," company president and CEO Rodney Woods said. "Best of all, you can apply online."

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