I occasionally write an advice column for Velocity magazine under the guise of President Abraham Lincoln. Some people know this, some don't. Here are a few recent columns.
This snow is a real headache! I was a half hour late for work this morning because of it. Do you have any tips for coping with the snow and ice?
Verily, a wintry day can be a trial for the unprepared citizenry. When I was 8, a great blizzard struck, shutting down all commerce from Rockport Junction to Buffaloville. The wife of the man who owned the farm next to us, a drunkard known for binging on bark juice, came to us in a fury, seeking our help with her boy, who was stricken with influenza. My father and I set out for Gentryville in the wagon to fetch a doctor. It took the better part of two days, but we made it. Sadly, the boy had passed by the time we returned with the doc. Meanwhile, father caught such chill that he wasn't fully recovered until summer. So I understand what you're going through. I suggest that you invest in a good ice scraper and a big cup of shut the hell up.
My wife and I just came into some money. She wants to save it, but I say we should go ahead and splurge. What would you do?
In times like these, the urge is strong to take all your money out of the bank and bury it in an old pickle jar out by the shed. When all your friends are using coupons to buy luncheon meat, one knows that there is trouble in the economic system. But I say spend the money now. No sense walking around with cash in your pocket but a gloom in your soul. Besides, better to convert that money into a tangible good while our currency is still worth something. You'll thank yourself six months from now when you're bartering that fancy phonograph player for some dried soup beans.
Land of Lincoln? It's more like Land of Stinkin' How can you sit there and watch these clowns ruin your state's reputation?
Let me first just say that not only do I not know Gov. Blagojevich, I can't even pronounce his name. Har! Good stuff. I offered that rejoinder to the Obama people, but they have not responded to my e-mail. But in all seriousness, these shenanigans are hardly a new invention. Trust me, politicians have been up to no good since Augustus Caesar. It's been said that I lost the the senate race in 1858 due to the timely delivery of six cases of Scotch whiskey to a group of undecided voters on election day. And the only honest election Millard Fillmore ever won was the race for junior class treasurer (though I personally had my doubts). This, too, will pass, and before you know it, Illinois will have a whole new governor under federal investigation.
Everyone's getting a bailout these days. When is someone going to bail me out?
Nothing pinches my suspenders more than the thought of some robber baron getting a free ride on the public's dime. We're sending these mountebanks railcars full of greenbacks when we should be putting them on trial for malfeasance, misfeasance and any other kind of feasance you can think of. This nation survived a civil war -- we can live without this thing you call Citibank, whatever the hell that is. When I was in my first term, it was discovered that the president of the First Bank of Schenectady had misappropriated an entire month's deposits to buy fancy undergarments for his mistress. Did I bail his bank out? No! I had federal marshals drag him out to the town square, where his customers deposited a flurry of kicks and punches to his rib cage. Now that's what I call bank reform!
The markets are very volatile these days. Up. Down. Up. Down. I'm going crazy over here. I have no idea what to do. Help!
Not since the Great Bear Market of 1855 — when actual bears got into the trading house and thrashed 17 men to death — have I so witnessed such a frightful time in the trading of stocks. As a semi-puritanical loner crippled by shyness, I have never quite understood the attraction folks have with money. Give me enough tobacco to fill my pipe and a cool, dark room, and I am as content as can be. But if you insist on acquiring great wealth, take the advice of my friend Warren Buffett (little known fact: we grew up together) who tells us to stay away from flashy tech stocks — whatever those are; I died in 1865! — and stick to the basics. Purchase stocks in the companies that manufacture the things you use on a daily basis: churns, lye soap, cornmeal, cabin paste and the like. You will make a pretty penny. And by that, I mean an actual penny. Times are tough out there!