Six hundred dollars. If you’re buying guitar picks, thumbtacks or ramen noodles, it’s a hell of a lot of money. If you’re talking shelter, transportation or health care—well, it’ll buy you maybe a week or two, unless you’re unreasonable enough to want them all at the same time. Yet it’s on this somewhat arbitrary sum that the American economy has banked its hopes, health and future. This month, in a bizarre windfall, your federal government is handing you $600 (of your tax money), hoping you will spend it (and pay more taxes), thus upturning this downturn (so you can pay more taxes).For 600 compelling reasons, this issue of the Scene’s annual Summer Guide is (dig the hip new lingo) all about the Benjamins. Is that money burning a hole in your pocket? Do you smell smoke in the mailbox? We’ve scoured the city, the county and the web to ﬁnd out exactly how much—and how little—you can buy with the fruits of your (beneﬁts-shorn, downsized, increasingly outsourced overseas) labor. A really good tan, or a really crappy car? A lap dance you’ll never forget, or a pallet of Pabst Blue Ribbon you’ll never remember? Those are the horns of dilemma, and in this issue, we honk their asses off.
Charity? Hah! Welcome to Stimulus Summer, baby! Land of the spree and home of the knave! This summer, it’s every man for himself, and $1,200 for the whole family (give or take a kid). So get out your Royal CBC2000 calculator ($13.95), a VistaPrint notepad ($3.99)—and what the hell, it’s only money, a twist-action Tungsten carbide Swiss nib Clinton Pen ($2.99)—and start spending your way to economic recovery! After all, what have you got to lose—or to save.Swimsuit PhotosWhat’s a Summer Guide without ’em?By the NumbersHow to get the most bang for your (600) buck(s)Bronze AmbitionFor 600 bucks, a white girl can look Puerto RicanBlue (Blood) Plate SpecialStimulate your palate with a $1,200 dinner for twoA Day at the Beach$600 on swimwear? Why not? It's free moneyFear and Loathing in DerbyvilleBlow your dough in Hunter S. Thompson's birthplaceNo RecessionFor those about to rock, we economically stimulate youHow to Stimulate Your PackageGo to strip clubs and ‘make it rain’Convertible CashSquander your cash on something cheap and toplessParty Arty, Dude!Wine, hors d’oeuvres and a blank canvas—what more could you want?