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Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Has the downturn got you down? Lighten up! You may not be able to laugh your way through the economic turmoil, but this collection of parody sites will help you take a break from cutting back and do a little cutting up.

When life hands you lemons … paint them black and pretend that they’re hand grenades.

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When the economy goes sour … suck on it!

The downturn has us all feeling pretty lousy. So it’s time to lighten up! The following sites, all devoted to the refreshing business of funny business, were handpicked by fastcompany.com as good places to visit when you need a good laugh. Amuse yourself. Amuse your colleagues. Then get back to work.

TheLaughWeb.com

For a good time, cut and paste your company name into the “Employee Travel Cutbacks” memo and email it to your sales department. Watch as the junket junkies rise in mutiny against the bean counters in accounting. Or bypass immediate termination and circulate this corporate spoof among coworkers who would appreciate a winning transportation policy for lean times: “Hitchhiking is the preferred mode of travel in lieu of commercial transport. Luminescent safety vests will be issued to all employees prior to their departure on business trips.”

Rumor has it that a number of consulting firms have already adopted the manifesto’s “designated diner” policy for group chow-downs at all-you-can-eat buffets.

SatireWire

It’s no coincidence that SatireWire’s home page bears a striking resemblance to Inside.com — the consummate source of media news. This “dot.com.edy” site spins fake headlines and news reports that unite the Onion and the Wall Street Journal in a marriage of pure lunacy. So this is what all those HTML wizards were really doing at Pets.com and Garden.com in early 2000.

Some favorite nuggets: Who Moved Machismo? , Debt-Ridden Unemployed Relieved to Learn U.S. Not in Recession , and the classic AskJeeves Q&A Interview With the Search Engine . Sadly, the “news” published on SatireWire’s home page is often a good deal cheerier than the day’s real news headlines.

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I-resign.com

The Web portal for fed-up, broken-down, burned-out dotcom-ers, this British site offers resignation advice and counsel, including a “Best of” archive that features highlights from noteworthy resignation letters from a priest in Swansea, a penguin de-beaker in London, and Bill Gates, among others.

Aside from resignation-letter chuckles and helpful templates, I-resign.com also provides real tools and resources for recent and potential quitters. The “Legal Stuff” section contains crucial information about unfair dismissal and trade unions, the “Financial Centre” links to various financial sites, and the “Breaking” News email newsletter reports on people resigning from their jobs, performances, and religions (see the March 19 news about Tom Cruise) around the world.

The Hungry Site

This is no time for apathy, frugality, and selfishness. Donate a California roll and double skim cappuccino to a dotcom-er in need today! It may sting now, but you’ll sleep better tonight knowing that you’ve put gas in another Silicon Valley SUV.

A parody of the well-intentioned, but overhyped, Hunger Site , this hub urges its users to “donate half a cigarette” to site administrator Joe, a self-professed “new economoron” who would really, really like to retire before he turns 30. Joe recognizes the limitations of his ad-based revenue model, but he’s too dispirited to do anything about it. Join the club, buddy.

ijustgotfired.com

(Editor’s note: This site is unavailable until March 29.)

On the scene with another just-in-time invention, the folks at Wrybread.com recently unveiled this Web site to service the growing legion of dotcom casualties and refugees. The site’s introduction says it all: “Just got fired? Going through the ‘Here’s my non-work email address’ ritual with all your former work buddies? Then you obviously need an ijustgotfired.com email address.”

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Ijustgotfired.com is not another spam-magnet email-service provider like Hotmail or Yahoo! All email sent to an ijustgotfired.com address will automatically forward to the user’s regular email account. Think of it as a black armband for your existing Web-based email address!

Our prediction: Every Internet consultant worth his weight in unvested options will be brandishing an ijustgotfired.com email address this spring.

eNormicon

Business plan suck? Employees running for the exits? Venture capitalists snickering at your presentations? Then eNormicon is for you!

When you just don’t have time to devise a whole new business plan — one that is feasible and profitable — turn here for a step-by-step tutorial on rebranding. Let “eNormicom’s ‘robust Image Bucket Program’ … give you the real-time channel reconfiguration that your brand needs” and watch those dollars pile up. The first step: Nametron 3000 assigns your company a new, whiz-bang name guaranteed to overshadow any disappointing fourth-quarter earnings. Next comes the focus group, logo design, and slogan overhaul. It’s a grueling process, but persevere and you could be the next overhyped site on CNBC!

Use Sound Off to suggest more humor sites below.

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