Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five financial events so dumb, they might make your head spin.

1. Step off Lively
Patience doesn't appear to be much of a virtue at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) these days. The company is killing the Lively.com virtual environment that it launched just five months ago.

Lively allows users to create avatars and customize online rooms. Making the most of Google's other properties, free users can also populate their rooms with frames showing Picasa snapshots and televisions screening their favorite YouTube clips. It's all coming down at year's end.

Lively may not have caught on the way that other social environments like IAC's (NASDAQ:IACI) Zwinky have, but Google is setting a bad precedent here. The next time it wants to roll out an interactive site, gun-shy users may stay away, fearing that they are investing time on a site powered by a company with a short fuse.

2. We're on a road to nowhere
CEOs of the Big Three automakers were rightfully chastised this week for taking private jets to meet with Congressional leaders. Seeking a $25 billion bailout, and they won't even fly commercial carriers? Bah! Is the corporate jet necessary? Were the CEOs chartering it to hit an AIG junket and a kegger at Freddie and Fannie after the panhandling?

I'll tell you what really irks me, though. It's not the private jets. It's any form of air travel. These are car companies, people. All three of the guys should have met up in Detroit and carpooled to Washington. Road trip, baby! If you can't stand behind your product, why fight for an outdated, overpaid, and overrated model?

3. I guess that's why they call it Target
Cheap chic retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) is recalling 365,000 pool toys. These "dive sticks" pose an impalement threat to young swimmers. Wait a minute. You're recalling pool toys in late November? Geesh! I live in Miami, and it's already too cold to hit the pool.

Still, I love the name of these things. Dive sticks? It's my new favorite euphemism for falling stock prices. "My dive sticks took another beating today." Come to think of it, there's an impalement risk there, too.

4. What's not in a name?
One of this week's biggest losers has been Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU). China's leading search engine has seen its shares plunge 38% this week after a brutal expose on popular investigative news show found that many of the site's biggest advertisers are unlicensed medical companies.

Baidu responded, booting thousands of medical advertisers who don't have licenses on file with the company. Baidu claims that online advertisers aren't required to have licenses on file, but this is all about public opinion. If consumers are wary of Baidu's advertisers or its search practices, they may take their searches elsewhere.

The shocking part is that this isn't some narrow niche. Baidu pegs the value of these advertisers at 10% to 15% of the company's revenue. Either these are really juicy keywords, or I have completely misread China's search trends.

5. It's my movie party and I'll fly if I want to
If you're an Xbox Live subscriber, there's a glaring omission in the Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) catalog of 12,000 streaming flicks that were officially made available through Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles this week. Many of Sony's (NYSE:SNE) flicks aren't available.

Sony and Netflix have apparently hit some licensing turbulence, but those same blacked out films are available to PC users as well as on every other home theater appliance that has partnered with Netflix. The problem, of course, is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Sony has PS3 consoles to sell, and the last thing it wants to do is arm the Xbox 360 with the ammo to take it down.

However, does Sony really think that irked Xbox users will trade in their consoles to support the conglomerate denying them their movies? I think Sony has either underestimated the intelligence of diehard gamers, or it's unaware of the royalties that it is willing to forgo to make a hollow point.

Let's beat the dumb drum:

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google and Baidu.com are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves -- investors can learn plenty from both. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for Netflix. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.