Funny Business with Jane Wells


  Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 | 2:06 PM ET

Shutdown got you down? Drunk dial Congress

Posted By: Jane Wells
Marilyn Nieves | Vetta | Getty Images

Is the shutdown driving you to drink? At least there's finally an opportunity to drunk dial someone without regret.

DrunkDialCongress.org is a website that launched Thursday morning, which puts you in contact with a random member of Congress so you can "Call & Yell."

The site provides drunk dialing talking points. "My grandma can't get her cancer treatment," or "My kids won't stop yelling at me about camping."

(Read more: States most and least likely to be hit by government shutdown)

I tested it out. On the site I entered my phone number and received a recorded call from a man who sounded like he'd had a few too many. "I like to tell people whasss on my mind," he slurred. Soon I could, too. Through that phone call I was randomly transferred to someone on Capitol Hill—Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind.

"Has anyone called you using DrunkDialCongress?" I asked. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" said the friendly receptionist after a pause.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 9 Oct 2013 | 3:07 PM ET

Bye, Mickey! Disney stock certificates to vanish

Posted By: Jane Wells
Source: Bob Kerstein from Scripophily.com

Disney animation has gone digital.

So have Disney stock certificates.

In a filing earlier this month, The Walt Disney Co. announced that it would no longer provide paper stock certificates after Oct. 16. Beyond that date, "all shares of stock of the Company would be issued, recorded and transferred solely in uncertificated book entry form."

Certificates for shares already issued will still be recognized as legitimate but once transferred, "reissued shares would be only in uncertificated form," the company said.

"Disney is one of the five most-popular modern certificates," said Bob Kerstein of Scripophily.com. But the death of paper is inevitable, he said, as "everyone is trying to control costs."

Facebook chose to skip paper certificates altogether, but Kerstein said there are still some interesting ones from tech companies such as Apple and Yahoo. Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Manchester United still provide physical proof you own shares, and Kerstein said some unique start-ups use them as a marketing tool of sorts—"Medical Marijuana, on hemp paper." Not ZigZag paper, apparently.

(Read more: Cramer's Disney Interview: Buy, buy Iger?)

»Read more
  Friday, 27 Sep 2013 | 12:45 PM ET

Do women 'need a dude' to help them buy a car?

Posted By: Jane Wells
Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Buying a car is like a root canal. Without the anesthesia.

I hate it.

As much as I love the feel and smell of a new vehicle, I cannot abide the process of acquiring one. It is funny business of the highest order.

More on my own experiences in a moment.

Four out of five women take a man with them to go buy a car, according to a 2006 study by Capital One. The Internet has brought about some improvements by better informing all consumers about a car's true value, and DePaul University research suggests women are more aggressive negotiators online than they are in person.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 | 12:22 PM ET

The Starbucks menu taste test, with David Burke

Posted By: Jane Wells
Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg | Getty Images

First, Starbucks asked people to leave their guns at the door.

Now, they've stirred up some REAL outrage. They've taken away the pumpkin bread.

The coffee giant is hoping to improve food sales with a menu makeover, starting with baked goods. It's replacing pastries and other foods provided by outside vendors with a new line of items from La Boulange, a San Francisco bakery the company bought for a reported $100 million.

"My 3-year-old son is devastated that they no longer carry pumpkin bread," tweeted customer Joshua C. Bell.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 | 11:07 AM ET

Would you advertise on a porn site? These guys do

Posted By: Jane Wells
An Eat24's advertisement on porn sites.
Source: Eat24
An Eat24's advertisement on porn sites.

You won't see blue chip companies advertising on a porn website. At least not yet. Those American icons don't need to. They have images to uphold, and they're awash in advertising money to make sure you see their products whenever, wherever.

However, when you're a self-funded start-up, you have to be creative … and perhaps a little less straight-laced.

A food delivery business called Eat24 is boasting that it has gotten a lot of bang for its buck by placing ads on porn sites.

Sound crazy? According to ExtremeTech, "It's probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30 percent of the total data transferred across the internet."

Who's crazy now?

»Read more
  Saturday, 7 Sep 2013 | 1:12 PM ET

Seen here: A woman not involved with Sergey Brin

Posted By: Jane Wells
This is from the Sept. 16, 2013 issue of People Magazine incorrectly purports to show all three corners of a "Google Triangle".
Source: People Magazine
This is from the Sept. 16, 2013 issue of People Magazine incorrectly purports to show all three corners of a "Google Triangle".


People Magazine, which never seems to get it wrong when it comes to the highlights and lowlights of Hollywood's glitterati, is having a tougher time knowing who's who in Silicon Valley.

It's not like People has much reason to work up sources in tech land. It's not really their bread and butter. I mean, when the most tabloid-y thing in months out of the Silicon Valley is Yahoo's Marissa Mayer posing in Vogue upside down on a chair, well, that doesn't sell as many magazines as Kim Kardashian going blonde, postpartum.

»Read more
  Monday, 9 Sep 2013 | 5:23 PM ET

Is John McAfee dead? No. No, he is not

Posted By: Jane Wells
Source: YouTube

John McAfee and danger have a long history.

The founder of McAfee software claimed he would die and allegedly also faked a near-death experience. The man wanted by Belize authorities in the shooting death of a former neighbor managed to escape that Central American country last year, claiming police would kill him. He also reportedly escaped deportation from Guatemala by faking a heart attack.

»Read more
  Sunday, 8 Sep 2013 | 7:00 AM ET

NFL bag ban: Women overcome purse prohibition

Posted By: Jane Wells
Beth Saacks at a New Orleans Saints preseason game.  The dentist and entrepreneur has invented a product to help women work around the NFL’s gameday purse ban.
Source: Beth Saacks
Beth Saacks at a New Orleans Saints preseason game. The dentist and entrepreneur has invented a product to help women work around the NFL’s gameday purse ban.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Notice it's the mother, not the father. Nothing may be more of a necessity to a woman than her purse, but this year the NFL has banned all backpacks, as well as purses larger than the size of a hand.

It's a safety measure, and it is also supposed to reduce the time it takes to go through security checks at football games. Any bag larger than the size of a hand must be made of a clear material, but no woman wants people seeing the innards of her purse. I earlier blogged about a very funny protest campaign called "My Purse, My Choice."

Some fans are furious. Others see an economic opportunity. And several "mothers of invention" have emerged to create solutions.

»Read more
  Friday, 6 Sep 2013 | 4:31 PM ET

This may be strangest earnings release ever

Posted By: Jane Wells
Tetra Images | Getty Images

When companies have a bad quarter, they often sugarcoat results with fancy language and fuzzy math. Special one-time items are a great excuse to make a loss look like a profit.

However, at National Beverage, they call a spade a spade. I think. I'm still trying to understand. …

In what may be the strangest earnings release ever, the company behind such colas as Shasta reported a 6 percent drop in revenue and a 16 percent drop in earnings for its fiscal first quarter.

"National Beverage Reports Less Than Typical Results" was the headline of the Florida company's press release.

(Read more from Jane Wells: LavCup—Why didn't I think of this?)

Then Chairman and CEO Nick Caporella weighed in. Fasten your seatbelts:

"Should we have the most credible reason for these results (and we could have), would it make a difference?" asked Nick A. Caporella, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on a recent management call. "Does it make us feel less contrite relative to the credibility of the justification?" he queried. "There can be no allowable regrets in business or fumbles on the field (deck) of Endeavor—none ... (no one even knows how to practice them)," quipped Caporella.

I had to read that a couple times and I'm still not sure what that means, but I think he's upset and not making excuses. Kinda.

I called the company's headquarters and spoke to Grace Keene, who confirmed Caporella made these statements.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 | 10:44 AM ET

Women tell the NFL: Go bag the bag ban

Posted By: Jane Wells
A security checkpoints at an NFL preseason football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans
A security checkpoints at an NFL preseason football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans

The NFL thought it had problems with the players union, a boring preseason and head injuries.

Now it's spawned an angry mob made up of half the population of the United States.

A new policy at NFL stadiums this year limits the size of purses to "small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap." A clutch the size of a hand means you can carry an ID, money, one lipstick and an iPhone. Anything more has to be carried in a large clear plastic bag, like the ones you use for liquids to prove to TSA agents you are not an underwear bomber.

»Read more

About Funny Business with Jane Wells

  • If it was up to Jane Wells, she’d spend her entire day combing Mother Earth for stories and observations just for this blog. She has more fun writing Funny Business than anything else she does... professionally, that is. Funny business is whatever Jane considers hilarious, strange, fishy, or ridiculous, which pretty much covers everything on Wall Street. It is her hope this blog makes you smile, even when the news is grim. After all, it's only money.


  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.