Thursday, February 3, 2011


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Advertising 101 with Sketchy McSleazeball

Do not listen to late-night sports radio.

Especially the commercials.

A stern, authoritatively-deep voice warned me last night that a prominent financial expert who predicted the 2008 financial industry crash was also foretelling a much more devastating “major event” in 2011 that would result in drastic changes to our way of life, possibly even threatening the speed of drive-thru service.

I found this ad intriguing, having long believed that we Americans will have to pay the piper someday for our reckless borrowing, needless consumption, and sloppy penmanship.

The voice insisted that I watch a “video” at the website “”

That’s right. End of America. 36. Dot com.


Of course I had to see for myself.

The “video” is simply a “financial expert” named Porter Stansberry reading aloud words that appear on the screen, explaining a bunch of stuff about the dollar.

After 90 minutes with Mr. Stansberry, my eyes were sore, but I began to feel convinced that the dollar was on its way into the toilet, and that I should put all my money into gold, silver, euros, grenades, and “modern art” made from Styrofoam and dried rat feces.

Stansberry kept alluding to a secret commodity, used by the wealthy throughout history to shield themselves from imploding economies, that could save my family from the impending crisis if I owned enough of it.

But he wouldn’t tell me what it was. Gasoline? Real estate? Slaves? Pictures of frolicking puppies? I could only guess.

Finally, he offered to tell me the secret if I bought a $50 “trial” subscription to his newsletter.

The whole thing was just disgusting. It reminded me of those letters I keep getting from car dealerships, the one with the return address of “Department Of Financial Reimbursement and Distribution of Entitlements,” or some such official-government-looking verbiage, containing what looks like a check. It’s actually a “voucher” that “guarantees” that I will win either $20,000 cash or an instant scratch ticket.

Gasp! Which will it be? I can’t take the suspense.

So I didn’t bite on Stanberry’s sleazy sales pitch. But I have to admit that his argument seems plausible. At some point, other countries are going to get sick of those cocky Americans and their gargantuan debt, and will reject the dollar as the standard of global currency. Then our government will no longer be able to pay off debt by printing more money or whoring out the Vice President.

I wanted to get to the woods and start canning beets and knitting sweaters from my armpit hair, as it seems all these skills will be necessary quite soon.

Then I remembered Google.

It turns out Mr. Stansberry and his company, then called “Pirate Investor, LLC” (seriously), had to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution in 2007 after being convicted of scamming potential investors with misleading stock tips marketed through email SPAM.

Stansberry maintained that anyone buying stock tips from a company named “Pirate Investor, LLC” deserved to lose everything they had.

No, just kidding. He claimed his erroneous stock tips were an honest mistake. But after a few minutes at, it’s hard for me to associate the word “honest” with him at all.

If you want any credibility, come up with a web address that does not have random numbers in it, does not have the production value of a hastily-contrived middle school role play, and does not make me feel the intense need for a shower after only 20 seconds of viewing.

And, for God’s sake, don’t air your ad on sports talk radio at 12:30 a.m.