Doubloons be sparrrse across th’ Seven Seas

Due to the overindulgence of a few landlubber thieves on Wall Street, times be tough for Buccaneer-Americans of all shapes and sizes. But we be not the only ones keeping an extra eye on the treasure chest these days: the Brits and the Russians are lacking in the booty department.

In fancy-pantaloons England, parents no longer give their younger crewmates their fair share of the loot! Average pocket money for the little hearties fell from 6.24 pounds a week in 2009 to 5.89. 5.89!? How much grog can you get for a lousy 5.89? Certainly not enough for fresh, pink lights and livers.

And in Russia, where pirates drink vodka with their limes, the local constabulary’s shanghaied a debting lass’s Shar Peis! What’s next? Marooning malamutes? Lashing labradors? Keelhauling koolies? Wenching Welsh corgis?

Sick? It’s gonna cost ya

We’ve all been hit by the current economic climate, even if it does seem to be making an upward swing, albeit gradually. Of course, most of us haven’t been hit as hard as the state of California has been. The laundry list of their state budget cuts is a mile long, and for town and cities, it’s even harsher. Well, Tracy, California is sick and tired of being broke. As such, they’ve decided that there’s only one way to effectively make money:

Charge people for 911 calls. And not just any fee, but a fee of $300. Yeah, but what?

Yeah is right. Ambulance fees just aren’t enough to keep things running afloat, especially with a $9 million budget gap. At least, that’s according to “lawmakers.” Oh hey I was gonna report that rape/murder/theft/heart attack I saw but I didn’t have the cash. Sorry!

So, anyone want to run the numbers on how long until the first reported case of someone having a heart attack, people being around who see it happen, and no one calling 911 because they don’t want to pay for it?

Sex, er, “love” continues to thrive in the economy

If there’s anything that countless amounts of incredibly fiction has taught us, it is that love conquers all. None can deny its power, or resist its clarion call. Love cannot be stopped. That goes for its hotels too, apparently. Love hotels, the home of Japanese lust and the way to spend a day (or just a few hours) are doing quite well. So well, in that some chains are considering expansion.

CNN interviewed Steve Mansfield, owner and operator of Isawa’s Bonita Hotel in Japan, who speaks of a 257 percent occupancy rate. That means that the average Bonita Hotel room is rented two-and-a-half times per day. And they aren’t cheap, either. Some of the higher-end rooms can cost roughly $200 a night (though rates run from just 3 to 24 hours), boasting jacuzzis, built-in saunas, TVs, video games and karaoke bars.

It’s hardly surprising. No matter the economic status, people still have needs to be met, and a love hotel can provide a taste of luxury, if even for just a few hours. Plus, some folks just use the hotels to, y’know, sleep in, a temporary place to stay if you’re too drunk to get home or missed the last train. Not a whole lot of them, mind you. We see you in the corner, with the shifty eyes. That’s right. We’re talking about you.

By the way, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, we’re talking about SEX, much like how the song Afternoon Delight talks about the carnal delight.

Saving the economy, twenty five cents at a time

The recession is hitting everyone pretty hard, Japan included. So vending machine companies are following the lead of Wex Co. and spurring the trend of vending machine cafes.

These mujin (unmanned) cafes are becoming more popular as people find themselves more strapped for time and money. It’s as simple as it sounds: vending machine cafes are just shops that provide seating or counter space and a few vending machines so patrons can grab a quick, inexpensive meal. No waiters here just means no tipping. The only employees of these cafes are those who clean the cafes every few hours and or course a security camera.

This set-up is good not only for the customers, but for the vending machine companies. The first company to set one of these stations up in 1996 was Wex Co. They claim that cafes such as Drink Station (in Osaka’s Kita Ward) draw in around 600 customers a day. This is a much more substational number of sales than a normal, stand-alone vending machine would make.

Other companies such as Coca Cola and Nitto Acevending are starting to open up mujin cafes as well. In the case of Nitto Acevending, these cafes are helping to bring the company out of the red.

It should be interesting to see how other companies start marketing their products in a different way during this recession. Vending machine cafes probably won’t be the last in a series of redesign methods from companies hoping to stay in business in a time when money is tight

Staying G’d up is too costly

Like most businesses in Japan at the moment, the yakuza are also feeling the economic recession squeeze. The Japanese mafia has purged some of their ranks in an attempt to save themselves; like out of work yakuza Taro Hiramatsu. He said,

“The yakuza have been hit by the financial crisis because they’ve invested in the stock market among other things. For yakuza today, money buys everything, including senior positions.”

Meaning, no money, no job; and for him that would cost something like $30,000 a month to the organization. One of the reasons why the yakuza are in this situation, is because of their gradual evolution from street gangster to ‘investment bankers with guns’. In 1992 the police began to crack down on yakuza crimes, forcing their bosses to be liable for the crimes committed by their cannon fodder. After this, the yakuza began to pick on the big boys, extorting money from blue-chip companies and the like. They then began investing in stocks, real estate, and other things a normal business would invest in; thusly making them susceptible to the troubles of every-day men.

The only thing to save the yakuza now is to return to their roots and start getting their hands dirty once again. For the sake of all of us, they must! It’s the only way to save all of our vices in these harsh economic times!

Teabagging protests leave bad taste in public’s mouth

With several major banks posting gains last quarter and hopes for the end of the recession on the rise, now seems like the perfect time to protest the liberal bailout plan, right? That was certainly the conservatives’ point of view, and they were ready to show their displeasure with the liberal attempt to get out of the economic hole conservative fundamentals got us into.

As a grassroots movement, Republicans got organized and held “tea parties” yesterday because they were “Taxed Enough Already,” get it? TEA? But this time, for some reason, no one got dressed up as Native Americans like they did in 1773. However, Samuel Adams may have been in attendance.

At these parties, teabaggers (yes, that’s really what they call themselves) opened their mouths wide so they could be heard. They had no issue staying out all day standing around; in fact, they squatted down every now and then. They spoke for hours, expressing their displeasure with the way corporations were getting bailout money and the majority of Americans were scheduled to get tax cuts in 2010. As a show of solidarity, every Republican governor in the country told the U.S. Treasury that they don’t need the stimulus money heading their way–oh, wait.

(Courtesy of Katie T.)

Intelligence likely to continue winning


About a week or so ago, we at SeriouslyGuys told you about how an asinine proposed law in Utah was squashed right on the cusps of being created. It looks like we have nothing to fear.

Whoever would have thought the recession would aid  responsibility?

While the president of Utah’s state senate thinks he could probably get a two-thirds majority in his chamber, he’s not going to take the lead if the state house, which originated the bill, isn’t pushing for a veto. And that seems to be the case. The representative who sponsored the bill sent a letter to his colleagues sticking up for the bill, but not asking explicitly for their support of an override session or their vote in it.

Why so? Because on the back end, there’s a money issue. The legislature had canceled this month’s “interim study day” between sessions, saving about $25,000 in costs related to convening it. Like most states, Utah is pinching every penny where it can. So if the anti-game bill is worth the fight, and it isn’t, they’d have to spend the $25 grand just to take a vote. And then, if it succeeded, spend more taxpayer money in a constitutionally doomed defense of it.

May 11 is the deadline to call such a session. If money’s involved, the cheapest form of legislation will probably win.

What? There are benefits to being unemployed?

Hey there guy and/or girl! Are you an unemployed foreigner who wants to get out of Japan? Of course you are! We all are! Well, now you’ve got a free ride, and it’s all courtesy of the Japanese government.

Just don’t expect to get back in, though.

Foreigners in Japan on Nikkei visas and are out of a job now have a free plane ticket home. A nice sum of 300,000 yen (roughly $3043 dollars US as of the time of writing) will be given to the head of the household; 200,000 yen to dependents. Book your flights and adios. But there is a cost here: no coming back. If you take payment, you’re agreeing to give up the right to claim Japanese heritage to get back into Japan (on a visa) in the future. Tough break, weeaboo.

That’s kind of nice, don’t you think? “If you wanna go, go. Oh, and here’s some money to do so.” Just be careful of the vigilant militia of former pilots that patrol the airports.

You Missed It: Obama does Jay-walking edition

Hi, folks. Have you gotten over your hangovers yet? You were probably out drinking green beer on Tuesday afternoon, just as St. Patrick (or for our Spanish-speaking readers, San Patricio) had asked to be remembered. Here’s a new reason to celebrate, aside from the fact that it’s Friday: it’s the first day of spring! If you were busy updating your mugshot, odds are you missed it.

Well, Letterman, there’s always Cheney
Barack Obama, the current U.S. president that is living in the White House right now and has the nuke codes and stuff, sat down for an interview on 20/20 60 Minutes The View The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Obama has time for these interviews, because he’s not busy fixing the economy. So how did he do? Let’s listen to him describe his bowling abilities.

“”It’s like — it was like Special Olympics or something.”

Ug. Sounds like his material needs a bailout.

Recession punching bag of the week
Last week it was Jim Cramer ruining the economy. This week, we turned our attention to AIG CEO G. Gordon Edward Liddy. On Wednesday, Liddy testified at a congressional hearing, in an attempt to explain why his company had given out millions of dollars in bonuses, some of which were retention bonuses to people who left, after receiving federal bailout money. Liddy apologized to lawmakers and–I’m sorry, mobs are shouting too loud. Can’t even hear myself type. Let’s move on.

Banana pickers working all day really should stop habit of ‘drink a rum’
If you’re like most people, you like your bananas as spider-free as you can get them. However, if you live in Oklahoma, you may want to change to another fruit. In Tulsa, a Brazilian wandering spider was found wandering on some bananas at a grocery store  that had been shipped in from Honduras (which is not Brazil). The spider was saved, even though it is one of the deadliest spiders on Earth, and transferred to a local university. However, the spider did not make it through the week. Due to safety concerns, the spider was destroyed, likely by firing squad.

Some people are born with good credit ratings

In these tough economic times (we’re trying to incorporate more cliches in our posts) you may need a loan. Also, you will probably learn a loan is not exactly easy to come by. Think it’s because you have bad credit? Think it’s because lenders are scared to lend to anyone right now because they think you peons are irresponsible and will just dump your mortgage back on the banks?


Turns out, if you’re not getting loans, you’re creepy looking, friend. According to a new study, how people look has a great deal to do with if the get a loan or not. For example, if you’re wearing an eye patch, you’re not getting a loan. However, if you’re wearing a monacle, get ready for the loan of your life!