The Way We Live Now: Bowling alone. Bowling for Columbine (we are sad lunatic gun nuts). Bowling for dollaz! We're bankrupt, but we put the bowling on our debit card. Visa will understand. Visa: master of hobobowling.

It's like this, see: the New York Times had a crazy idea. How do we measure what is good about money things and what is not good, here in the city of New York? The answer of course is to say "How much are people bowling?" As a point of fact, the New York Times is willing to go deeper than that, by publishing an entire newspaper story with the headline, "True Economic Barometer? How About Bowling." Really in real life there should be a "?" at the end of that headline because then you as a rational person could respond, "No, how about GDP or Home Prices or Mean Income or some other 'economic barometer' that would be acceptable to economic experts, rather than nonsensical, to those same experts, were you to ask them?"

That's why you're not in the flourishing newspaper industry, bro. And too bad for you. Because if you were, perhaps you would have had some advance warning that the Visa corporation is pulling your debit card strings as if you were a mere puppet and it, the Visa corporation, were the puppetmaster, at least in the arena of debit card fees (metaphorical).

How does it feel to be the Visa corporation's bitch?

Sure, we've heard all the excuses. "I have free will." "I am my own rational economic being." "You sir don't even understand the barest principles of Econ 101, as evidenced by your place of employment." Why don't you tell that to the sharply lower number of houses placed under contract in November? Why don't you expound your "smart" talk to declining Manhattan apartment prices which are nevertheless unaffordable to you? Why not speak up proudly with your "reason" in the general direction of the cold hard fact of a 32% INCREASE IN PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY FILINGS LAST YEAR?

We think we've made our point here: You don't need to be smart to understand that things are fucked up. You also don't need to be smart to understand that bowling is probably not the key to the economy. Lucky for us!