Exxon – Making a Ridiculous Amount of Money

July 31, 2008

In these hard economic times, I often find myself pained at the thought of my expenses.  Gas prices have risen to an all-time high, global warming has me running the A/C more, and guacamole went up 20 cents at Chipotle. I frequently ask myself, “How can I make a ridiculous amount of money, in not much time at all?” Well friends, after much searching, I have found the solution:  BE EXXON MOBIL.

Exxon Mobil just reported their profits today, and once again, have set an all-time record for the largest quartely profit in US history.  Exxon Mobil made $11.68 billion in the second quarter.  That is a lot of money. That works out to be $1,485.55 every second.

Am I the only one that thinks it’s a bit strange that while I’m shelling out 75 bucks for a tank of gas, Exxon Mobil is setting records for most quarterly profit in US history?

The Green Scare

July 30, 2008

From 1917 to 1920 and then again from the late 1940s to the late 1950s there was a period of panic across the nation.  In the second period, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the United States Government took swift action in weeding Communists out across the nation.  This witch hunt led to many people being falsely imprisoned because they had “Communist sympathies”.  This embarrassingly flawed idea came to be known as “McCarthyism”, named after it’s primary supporter.  Many people were put on trial, jailed, or lost their jobs simply because there was a hint of suspicion of Communist support. The Red Scare was not the proudest time in our nation.

Today,  California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will sue to block a proposed water-bottling operation in Northern California unless its effects on global warming are evaluated.  I am all for the environment.  In fact, I get text messages from an environmentalist friend of mine giving me the “Green Tip of the Day”.  I  think that it is very important to take care of our planet. And  I don’t support companies who dump toxic sludge in major rivers just to make a group of 5 teens mad, summoning one man to stop them.

“It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States,” Brown said in a statement. “Nestle will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles.”  Some say that Brown is going overboard.  I say he’s not going far enough!  If he wants to stop Nestle from shipping out bottles of water in trucks, why not stop all trucks across the United States?  This would cut down on our environmental impact greatly!  And not only that, but the unemployed truckers would finally be able to spend time with their dear families!

Brown argues that the oil used to produce the bottles is far too much.  I have a simple solution.  I say we switch to paper cups all across the nation.  Or, better yet, you know that origami cup you can make out of a piece of paper?  The government should issue one sheet of paper to each American for their lifetime “Eco-cup©”.  But wait, this means over 300 million pieces of paper for the whole Nation!  The environment can’t possibly afford that!  I say we double up.  Every person born in America is already given a piece of paper by the United States Government.  From now on, I propose that we use our birth certificates as origami cups.  This way, not only do you always have your environmentally friendly Eco-cup© on you at all times, you also have important information on who you are.  Imagine how that might come in handy applying for a loan, or getting a new apartment!  Look no further than Eco-Cup©!

And what of the precious spring water?  To drink it would be absurd!  Big Brother Environment would be furious!  Besides, Gatorade is much better for you.  It’s got electrolytes!  We need to rethink how we use our resources.  And by that I mean stop using them.  I propose that we no longer have any interaction with animals.  These precious beasts were fine before we humans decided to eat them!  From now on, everyone will become vegetarian. After all, that’s the American choice!  You’d come around eventually. I’m just making the decision for you, saving time and precious resources.  In addition to this, we convert everything to digital.  Now there doesn’t have to be money, energy and resources wasted on CDs, books and DVDs or other such malarkey.

Furthermore, I propose that we elect Attorney General Jerry Brown as Secretary of the Planet.  No one cares more for our precious planet than this man.  Giving him this respected title will tell this to the world.  But when he walks into a room, he demands respect.  How do we make his respected position visually clear?  We make him a one of a kind suit, made of course of bio-degradable, eco-friendly, low-carbon emission, “green” material.  Imagine, going to meetings and embarrassing others because they are not dressed nearly as nice as you!  There’s no better way to get your way then by embarrassing the opposition!

50 years after the McCarthy Red Scare, a new panic has arrived.  But this time, it’s Green!

Tectonically Tickled

July 29, 2008

Well, since everybody on the blogosphere is doing it,… 🙂

San Andreas Fault - LA on the Pacific Plate and SF on the North American Plate, sliding towards each other.

San Andreas Fault - LA on the Pacific Plate and SF on the North American Plate, sliding towards each other.

As a native Southern Californian in the face of a 5.4 quake, like most of the throng of people working here at APU, we just normally sit tight and let it run its course. But this time, I really did take all those years of elementary school training and settled under the desk. The office bungalows we were in really took a nice shake so it was hard to say in the moment if it would be a lot worse than it actually was today.

What raced through my mind was all the news articles that talk about Los Angeles being dried of an earthquake for so long that the next one would be significant:

“Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years.”

“Today’s reminder is that the big quake is yet to come. It’s going 7.9 to 8.1 on the San Andreas Fault in the next decade,” Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith told reporters.”

When the Northridge Quake hit in 1994, some of the staff members here remember the bungalow splitting apart at the seam where two units attached. Tell me that wouldn’t be weird, suddenly seeing daylight in the middle of your office complex.

So crawl under those desks, run to those doorposts, watch for those aftershocks, and have a nice day!

Modern day warriors

July 28, 2008

Ever think about those firefights in World War II, revisited by films and film series such as Saving Private Ryan and HBO’s Band of Brothers? Wonder no more. You can read the Wikipedia account all you want, but you need to hear it straight from the soldiers’ recount of the Battle of Wanat:

Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost | Stars and Stripes

The unfortunate reality is that I didn’t even hear about this when it happened two weeks ago. Optimistically, I hope this isn’t the case, but it’s too easy to glance over the headlines as they roll into our homepage and inboxes day in and out. If people could only hear the stories straight from our troops…

For what it’s worth, the recount of their experience getting bombarded with bullets and RPGs like no other, is described like a film, horrifyingly like the scenes in movies. It’s difficult to imagine pulling that strength to fortify your position on a patrol while your comrades are dropping left and right, and still doing your job. Another hat tip to the concept of redirecting oneself in order to do what you need for the people you care. These soldiers stationed on the other side of the world hold their ground to protect their establishment overseas, and in turn, our establishment here at home. If respect can’t be shown for these men and women over there, then that’s a problem.

ht: HarmonicMiner.com

Do the ChaCha!

July 26, 2008

Let’s say you’re downtown and want to find a good place to eat, you’re feeling maybe some Chinese food. But you don’t know the area as well as you’d like and have no idea where to go.  You don’t have an iPhone because while they’re the cooelst things on the planet, they’re expensive. So what do you do?

You’re in the car driving and you ask yourself, “What year were sporks invented in?”.  Or you want to know how many horsepower the new mazda is. You want to know what a good clown will cost you. How long will it take me to get home with rush hour traffic? Regardless of the question, you want an answer, and you want it now.

You could go the way of texting google. But Google is for specific searches such as dictionary definitions and directions. Wouldn’t it be nice to call a friend and have them look it up for you? Along comes ChaCha.

ChaCha is a new, revloutionary, FREE text service, in which you can get virtually any question answered within a matter of minutes.  How, you may ask? When you text your query to ChaCha (242-242), ChaCha routes your question to a real person at a computer who looks up the answer for you. Each “Guide” has to cite the website that they drew the answer from. They text you back in a few minutes with the answer, and a link to the source website.. It’s that simple. Now you can have that friend who looks it up for you all the time.

ChaCha is perhaps one of the most addictively fun free things out there. And it’s incredibly useful too. Give it a shot. Text your questions to ChaCha (242-242).

Thank you, Randy Pausch

July 25, 2008

Got another hour?

If you’ve heard of the ‘Last Lecture’ series or concept, you’ve most likely heard of Randy Pausch. The Carnegie-Mellon professor ended his battle with pancreatic cancer today at the age of 47. He lit up minds and brought a room to shining eyes with his own last lecture last year, inspiring hundreds in the room and millions through YouTube alone.

With the diagnosis made a month before, you can only smile at his optimism and unflinching demeanor at staying child-like and ever-redirecting to those around him…

“If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you.”

He shares of finding a truthful mentor…

“When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up.”…

“Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care.”

… and of self-mentoring…

“The brick walls are there for a reason,… not there to keep us out, brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Through a number of captivating and entertaining stories, this man doesn’t flinch in the face of his last months. Really, the best teaching comes from stories… if you haven’t seen this, please take some time out and check it out. The world needs more people like this.


July 24, 2008

Hey all,

Just testing out the new iPhone app created by the folks at WordPress. Whatever could one do with mobile blogging? Just hope that you don’t start reading about my adventures eating at Taco Bell, I know it sounds exciting.

There’s a photo of Brandon driving, on our way to a Thanksgiving dinner. In July. Put on by our culinary friend Mas. Ergo, the first “Masgiving” feast, this 24th day of July in the Year of our Lord 2008. I fully expect this to be a worldwide festive occasion soon. I give it ’til 2023.