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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Invest in the Number 12!

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

The hot investing tip of 2014: Invest in the number 12.

You could also look at 12 1/2 and possibly 12 3/4s (there are risk factors for this one). Also park as much money as possible in green arrows that point up and stay clear of red arrows that point down.

That and other completely truthful finance insights were presented to attendees by staffers from The Onion, the world's greatest news source, during a luncheon today at the ETF.com Inside ETFs Conference hosted at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.

Onion editor-in-chief Will Tracy and staff writer Django Gold delved into the history, the philosophy and other details of the Onion-- facts pending confirmation.

For example, the satirists boasted that their publication's daily circulation now regularly surpasses 100 trillion, and was founded in 1765 by T. Hernan Zweibel who traded a sack of yams for a printing press.

The yucksters presented yet-to-be-verified early copies of the newspaper, such as one edition that ran a week before the Stock Market Crash of 1929, "Stock Market Invincible," and the edition that ran a week later, "Pencils for Sale."

They mocked finance, the audience ("ETFs. Everyone knows this is a dog."), to their philosophy about their satire.

For example, Tracy explained that while there is no subject matter that is forbidden or taboo (they were among the first to make jokes after the 9/11 attacks), they make certain never to attack victims.

"You punch up. You try to get the people in power," he said, adding that when you go for the "bad guys," you can actually make a joke about anything.

"It can be very therapeutic," he said.

Case in point, Tracy and Gold recounted one headline in which the Onion mockingly declared last year that Kim Jong-Un was the sexiest man in the world.

In that case, they said that soon after Chinese and North Korean papers mistook the story as real news, running headlines of the declaration with photos of the leader with a manly-looking horse.

Tracy: "It is never our goal to trick people."
Gold: "But it's a nice treat when it happens."

Budumpbump!

And of course, their presentation included the headlines, the headlines, those amazing headlines.

"Financial Sector Thinks It's About Ready to Ruin World Again."
"More Americans Are Delusional Enough to Start Their Own Business."
"CEO Works Way Up from Son of CEO"
"Economists Advise Poor To Invent the Next Facebook."

And these:
"Are We Leaving Our Children Far Enough Behind to Ensure They NeverTake Our Jobs?"
"Dollar Bill on Floor Sends Wall Street into Frenzy."
"Even CEO Can't Figure Out How Radio Shack Is Still In Business."
Ok. One more.
"Gap Widens Between Ultra Rich and Reality."

In reality, the paper came into being as a humor magazine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 2001 until two years ago, the magazine was based in New York. The publication has since moved to Chicago.

The publication boasts roughly 80-employees, with nine writers and other support staff who handle the graphics, the photos, and so on.

Facing the same tidal changes as the newspapers it mocks, the Onion recently shut down its paper operations to go all digital. Now entirely online, the pub has moved from weekly to daily news cycles.

One of the conference's organizers declared during the presentation that the Onion staffers garnered perhaps the most questions of any presenters at the event.

Among the queries during the action-packed Q&A was this tidbit: "Do either of you have children and are they confused by what you do?"

Ferociously shrugging off any questions on the cultural impact of their publication, Tracy told the audience: "We just try to be original and funny." 

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