Amish-sploitation

Was just doing some late-night channel-surfing before going to bed, and I ran across an infomercial for the “Heatsurge Fireplace.”  Apparently, “the Amish painstakingly handcraft each Heatsurge fireplace,” which uses “fireless flame technology,” allowing you to set up a portable fireplace anywhere with an electrical outlet. This short YouTube clip will give you a taste, though it’s not quite as hilarious as the full infomercial:

I don’t know what to call this other than Amish-sploitation. On the full infomercial, there are even more references to the brilliant craftsmanship of the Amish, including a testimonial from one satisfied customer who bought it because he knows “the Amish make great products.”  The whole thing is hilarious on too many levels. 

But here is my favorite quote from the infomercial (sadly not in the Youtube clip) – and I wrote this down word for word, it was so perfect in its brilliance:

Order now while supplies last … Entire communities of Amish craftsmen are straining to keep up with the demand!

Economic bailout or banking scam spam? You decide.

This is an email that’s apparently making the rounds, which I came across on the blog of Walter Jon Williams (writer of the speculative variety and teacher extraordinaire):

“Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America.

My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully, Minister of Treasury Paulson”

One more interesting note:  The true author of this missive is unknown, but according to the Washington Post one of the first known places it was circulated was from someone at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

John McCain’s 100% true ads on SNL

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is one of those sketches that really don’t have to exaggerate too much in order to be funny – some of John McCain’s real ads are pretty much this ridiculous.

It’s interesting that the sketch shows McCain sort of naively going along with the misleading ads.  There’s this narrative out there that McCain really still is a nice guy with integrity, and it’s really the Republican machine that’s dragging him down into the mud, but I’m skeptical of that. John McCain is the one calling the shots of his campaign, and he’s too smart a guy to be tricked by his own advisors into playing dirtier than he wants to.  His campaign is running the way it is because that’s how he thinks he can win.