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?


Advertisements

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!


Where The Light Is – Mayer at His Best

July 7, 2008

John Mayer first came to see mainstream musical success in 2001 with the release of his debut album, Room For Squares.  Since that time, John has put out several more records and shown incredible growth not only in his songwriting, but his guitar playing as well.  Mayer’s next studio album, Heavier Things, released in 2003, allowed Mayer to explore within the pop feel of his first album.  The result is top quality music.  Mayer’s most recent studio album, Continuum is my personal favorite.  Released in 2006, Mayer adopts a much bluesy-er and rock-y-er feel.  Great songwriting is accompanied by soulful guitar solos and memorable melodies.

Before releasing Continuum, Mayer joined up with studio-giant Pino Palladino on bass and ex-Stevie Wonder drummer Steve Jordan to form John Mayer Trio.  The three relased Try!, a live album in 2005.  The music that these three great musicians make is much bluesy-er than anything Mayer has done on his own.  This project of Mayer’s may just be my favourite thing that Mayer has done.

John Mayer has distinguished himself as a very versatile musician, becoming a master of acoustic guitar based pop, pop/rock, and straight ahead blues.  With this in mind, Mayer gave a concert last December at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  The concert opened with John Mayer with an acoustic guitar, joined with two other acoustic players on a few songs.  This was followed by John Mayer Trio, and finally closing out the evening, the main act… (drumroll please)  John Mayer with a full band!

John has just released a DVD and CD of this event.  Both are fantastic.  I highly recommend these to anyone who enjoys good music.  It has been so great to see Mayer’s growth musically over the past several years.  He is definitely one of the most creative artists out on the radio/mtv circuit these days.  If you think you know John Mayer as “just another pop act”, check out this live CD or DVD, entitled Where The Light Is.  I promise, you won’t be disappointed.


Seeing Green

June 11, 2008

It seems as though everyone these days is talking about a certain color.  Everywhere I look, green is taking over.  From reusable grocery bags, to hybrid cars, virtually waterless washing machines, and even NBC hosting Green Week, numerous people are doing a variety of things to reduce their “Carbon Footprint”.  

 

When this whole “Green” craze first started out, it seemed to be the newest fad.  It seemed to be the thing that all the cool kids were doing.  So many companies have begun to capitalize on the Green Phase, marketing their products as green.  To a certain extent, it seems as though their only motivation is to make money.  But for the consumer, it is about so much more.  For many, their effect on the environment is very important.  They want to do whatever they can in order to ensure that they are helping the environment so that the Earth continues to be a habitable planet.  

 

 

Regardless of how trendy it may be, consumers may not have a choice but to go green.  As more and more companies jump on the green wagon, and as non-green products can cost much more, it seems more difficult not to go green.  As gas prices and energy costs continue to climb, we must find ways to live cheaper and more efficiently. It’s not a trend anymore.  It’s becoming our new way of life. 


Think for Yourself

April 21, 2008

The other night I saw Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  The film is a documentary about the battle between Darwinist evolution and intelligent design.  It is less about proving or disproving evolution or intelligent design and more about the active and aggressive suppression of ideas taking place in the ranks of science and education.

            As a journalist I have noticed this trend as it has occurred in the media.  Scientific theories used to be just that, but today if a theory is repeated enough it becomes unchallengeable fact.  And that is how Darwinist feel about evolution and having those feelings they find no fault in oppressing those studying other possibilities.  Scientists have been repeating Darwinism constantly and shushing anything else and the media has been allowing it.

            Stein’s film is refreshing in that it allows and values the freedom of independent thought and of the expression of ideas.  The fact is that the origin of life is still a very live discussion in which there is no one who has any solid idea.  In fact, when the Darwinists are pressed to clearly state an idea they often turned to aliens.

            Where the film triumphs is in its look at the social effects of the debate and the theories being so adamantly stood for and against.  One place this takes the film is in a discussion of the role of Darwinism, evolution and natural selection in the Holocaust and euthanasia.  The film is interesting and worth seeing if only to get a look at a legitimate theory that the people in power are not letting you see. 

 

 


Thoughts on Music

April 12, 2008

As I delve throughout the different genres of music, like most people I run across things that I like and things that I don’t like.  Country music for example, makes me groan and frustrates me that anyone can listen to that and enjoy it.  I guess that’s just not my personal taste.

I have long been a fan of the modern 4 piece rock band.  Drums, Bass, two guitars and lead vocals.  This seems to be what the majority of people in the US enjoy.  At least people my age.  There are many different variations to this ensemble, and many different styles that are included within it.  This has been my primary source of music for most of my life.  And it is wonderful.  I love it.  I really do.  While there is a lot of it out there that is pure rubbish, there are plenty of fantastic pop/rock bands that stand out amongst the rest.  Very musical bands that make music for the sake of music, not caring what other people think.

I do not wish to say anything negative about any pop/rock/4 piece group at all, however, as of late I find myself primarily drawn to everything else but this.  I’m a little burnt out if you will.    In the sea of musical monotony, several styles stand out, and each has their specific reasoning.  Here are the 3 types of music that I just can’t enough of lately.

Read the rest of this entry »


See these Movies

April 5, 2008

I know we have not been posting frequent enough and we are trying to change that.  We are all students and our time is easily snatched away from us by school, work and others.  Please continue checking and reading our posts.

 

In order to get something out there I thought I would put together a list of a few films that I highly recommend you go out and see if you are not already familiar with them.  If you have seen them write in what you think.  If you have not, see them and comment on what you thought. I am very interested to hear what others think of these movies.

 

THE FILMS

 

I love old movies so many of these are older and may be unfamiliar to you. See them and comment.

 

Rear Window(1954)– I have mentioned this masterpiece of suspense by Alfred Hitchcock before and it?s always worth mentioning.  Hitchcock being the ‘Master of Suspense’ makes this film like he created suspense, both the feeling and the genre.  It is one of his best if not the best.

       Possibly the best part is that it stars Jimmy Stewart and the gorgeous Grace Kelly.  Stewart’s character is confined to a wheelchair and his apartment and begins watching his neighbors out of boredom (and he has a great view thanks to an amazing set).  Things begin to get suspicious then tense as Stewart’s imagination begins to run, but is there something to it?

       Hitchcock plays with the natural curiosity that leads us all to be compulsive people watchers and he uses our own imaginations against us.  The film is so well shot and Stewart is so talented that we too are carried off in our thoughts and fears.

       There will be several scenes so tense you won’t be able to decide whether to sit or stand, hold your breath or scream.   

Jaws(1975)-This is just a great thriller.  If you haven’t seen it you must, and the whole thing (I know someone who has not been able to watch past that first scene on the beach).

        What is great about Jaws is that for most of the film you cannot see the thing you fear; all you hear is that ominous score.

         That scene with the scars and Robert Shaw telling the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis is one of my favorite scenes in film.

 

City Lights(1931)– This is a charming, easy to watch and thoroughly pleasant silent film by Charlie Chaplin (probably his best). If you only watch one silent movie make it this one. It’s one of the greatest movies ever made. American Film Institute has it at eleventh place.

          One of the things that makes it worth seeing is to marvel at how smoothly Chaplin can communicate, develop a plot and appeal to your emotions.  The appeal to emotions is what makes silents wonderful. Without dialogue silent films communicated through pathos and emotion.

          The movie follows the misadventures of the Tramp as he falls in love with a blind flower girl and does all he can to help her. It’s sweet and hilarious.  The closing scene is also one of the best ever filmed and is so touching it may bring you to tears.  And all without sound, but when you?re Chaplin who needs sound.

 

American Graffiti(1973)– An amazing and important period piece.  It is important because it gave George Lucas the means to make STAR WARS.  It is Lucas’ record of the American car culture of the ’50s and ’60s.

          It is set on the last night of summer in a California town (filmed in Lucas’ hometown of Barstow) and has a continuous period soundtrack of Motown and first generation rock-n-roll.  If you can watch it without interruption it will cause you to lose yourself in the era.

          It follows several friends as they prepare to go back to high school and leave home for college.  It’s a very entertaining and comic look at ’60s adolescence.

          It is also notable for strong performances of young soon-to-be stars like Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Mackenzie Phillips and Harrison Ford.

 

 

 

007_FXIW1_ITS_WONDERFULL_LIFE~It-s-a-Wonderful-Life-PostersIt’s a Wonderful Life(1946)– If you have not already seen this Jimmy Stewart movie you have been deprived of life and Christmas and cannot afford to waste any more time. Words will not do the film justice so just go watch it. Now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid(1969)– This is a western everyone enjoys.  Staring Paul Newman and Robert Redford it was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four of them.

           It is funny, exciting and playful.  The filming makes the movie beautiful and has a great script.  The ‘raindrops’ scene is probably the most enjoyable of the film and has a great song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The African Queen(1951)– One of the (if not the) greatest examples of acting.  It stars Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn at the peak of their careers (and with plenty of experience).  They have natural chemistry and give the script new life as it develops into witty comedy.

          Bogart and Hepburn play Brits who get stuck behind German lines in Africa during World War I.  As they make their way up a dangerous and unpredictable river their focus moves from escaping capture to striking an offensive, their relationship humorously developing along the way.

          Since the movie is set mostly on a small boat with only Bogart and Hepburn aboard their performances are not compromised by lesser co-stars.