Follow the money

Disgraced money manager Bernie Madoff made off in a cloud of dust to his court appearance Wednesday in New York, followed in hot pursuit by the news media — who scurried like frenzied rats zeroing in on a wounded prey. Like ambulance chasers they were running down the streets with cameras and microphones in hand. But Madoff’s vehicle got away. No problemo: The news choppers were overhead waiting to swoop down on a moment’s notice like they were covering O.J. in his Bronco again. All for nuttin: The judge let Bernnie stay free on bail under penthouse arrest.

Bernie’s the guy who, uh, allegedly, is the mastermind of the $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Wasn’t Ponzi on “Happy Days”? Ya, he was Fonzi’s cousin from sunny Cal who Fonzie visited in the episode where he went surfing and jumped the shark.

Madoff’s shady money laundering should be good asthe paper it’s printed on as entertainment in a few venues. Such as:

“Scumbag Millionaire”: In an attempt to capitalize on the Golden Globe-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” a direct-to-cable version of Bernie Madoff squeezing every penny out street urchins straight out of Dickens who are penniless and must win on Beijing Password if they are to stop working child labor and get to see their parents ever again.

“Scamalot”: In the kingdom of Hollywood where good King Spielberg reigns and makes gobs and gobs of money by putting children in peril in every movie he makes — but gets them out of the necessary to the success of every movie conflict with the help of magical aliens and goonies and wookies (and a trademark grandiose John Williams score.) Stepping in his path in this latest Knights of the Round Table turned feminist fable is Merlin Madoff who casts a spell over the kingdom and steals the good king’s fortune. It’s up to another precociuos little child star from the SKG backlot to win the hearts of critics and tons of hawkish toy merchandisers waiting stage left.

“Weekend at Bernie’s Part III: Under Penthouse Arrest”: Not since Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman in “Ishtar” have critics been waiting impatiently to slam a movie. Adan Sandler and Will Ferrell play two — what else — overaged slackers who crash Bernie’s digs to keep him company while he’s under house arrest and in th eprocess generally terrorize, Jerry Lewis-style, every expensive thing. They also disrupt social gatherings at the penthouse with the few remaining mucky-mucks still talking to Bernie. Generally, Sandler and Ferrell try to best one another as to who can be the most annoying. Not to worry grown-ups who love adolescent humor: Sandler and Ferrell will have their one too many jokes about pee-pees, sodomy and how they think each other is gay.

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