Yo, ho ho, and a barrel of .. oil. Profits at Exxon Mobil surged 36 percent to a near record $10.4 billion in the second quarter
The company's profit - which amounts to a cool $1,318 a second - is the second biggest ever reported by a U.S. company, behind only the $10.7 billion Exxon itself earned in the fourth quarter of 2005..
..One analyst said Exxon's record fourth-quarter earnings in 2005 included a $400 million tax charge that analysts were not including as part of that quarter's profit.
"Apples to apples, this quarter is the highest by any organization ever," said Fadel Gheit, an energy analyst at Oppenheimer..
..Officials have also argued against a government-forced breakup, saying oil companies need to be big to compete in a global market against foreign state-run firms, some of which are larger than Exxon Mobil.
Also don't forget that I meantioned earlier how Exxon CEO Lee Raymond was paid $686 million
over the last 12 years.
Meanwhile, the Russian national oil company Rosneft had it's IPO last week
, placing 1.4 billion shares in Moscow and London worth ... a very ironic $10.4 billion - the world's fifth largest IPO.
That's the stolen
Russian national oil company Rosneft, if you're keeping tabs:
Yukos was formerly Russia’s largest oil producing company, but Russian authorities seized some of the company’s key assets, including a company called Yuganskneftegaz over a disputed claim for $30 billion in taxes. Some 70 percent of Rosneft’s value comes from former Yukos assets, according to Russian news agencies MosNews and RIA Novosti.
Some might find dairy products and/or eggs to help with hangovers, as they are a valuable source of Vitamin B12
, or so says the blogger I'm about to link to. He also preaches the goodness of a bottle of pepto-bismol for those after-morning lager/ale/liquor induced "lower loosenesses" one might experience (that's digestion discomfort for you proper-english police). So, the inevitable happens: Pepto-bismol Ice Cream.
Must.. do.. something, anything really, to get that piece of meat off the top of this page. Might not be worth much, so take it with a grain of salt, or don't take it at all. Or just don't expect much.
In the thick of things, married to a widescreen lcd panel, fingers gently caressing it's keyboard trying to keep it in a good mood, trying to keep it happy so it works for me, does what I want - I'm not trying to be computegnistic here, not trying to say it isn't a relationship that goes both ways because it is and, sure, I'm making the motions but some days some days some days it's as if I'm putting absolutely nothing into it.
I don't blame anyone or anything except maybe the big faceless system because it's got us all inside it, stuck in the middle with you, and you, and you, and you - it's an easy target; everywhere you look it's there. But mostly it's just myself, a squeaky cog trying to shut the hell up and keep it to himself because boredom, lack of motivation, the loss of caring or wanting.. it's a humbling device. What's left within is simple self and with nothing else to paint the picture it's ugly
. It's not something you want to haul up off the floor of the bathroom, arms wrapped tightly around the sink, fingers grasping at the faucets.. It's not something you want to pull up close to that mirror, with legs hanging down akimbo like some slimy frog in the hands of a child.. It's just not something you want to look at, let alone show to anybody else.
Nervous; twitch.. twitch
. Blink. And bang, the hands are there in your face rubbing the white phosphor out of your eyes, you didn't even tell them to they jumped to action all by themselves, scalp scratching through hair, picking invisible flecks of detritus out of your eyelashes until there are fewer and fewer of those lashes left - like little tiny leaves dripping off of an ancient wish tree, dropping to the forest floor, dropping down into the darkness at foot-level to be stepped on.
There are no wild pigs that forage wish tree foliage, there is no secret saucer disc of delirium detection.. your only option to catch a leaf is to stick your head in the sand and hope you can see in the dark.
Call me crazy but this electron-scanning microscope image of pork actually makes my mouth water:
Follow link for more from the 2006 Biomedical Image Awards
Over at Tony's
he is covering the Miss Universe pagent pretty well with daily pics of the contestants. This one caught my eye:
Don't ask me why. It's.. umm. Well, good for them.
Personally, beauty pagents have always fascinated me in a way that's hard to describe. There are exactly too ingrained concepts I have of them. The first is white trash state fair child exploitation and the second is over-the-top worldwide televised contests like Miss Universe. Both of those aren't exactly what I would call "positive" concepts. Nevertheless, I'm probably a little over-the-top in my assumptions anyway so what do I know? The warm-and-fuzziest I've ever felt about a beauty pagent was when Kramer became a coach ("Poise, you've got to have poise!").
All that being said I won't lie, I'm looking at the pictures. My favourite passtime is to stare into their eyes and ask them "are you at all normal
?" What is normal, anyway?
Over the last few years I've had about a gazillion roommates move in and out of my apartment and to tell the truth the really normal ones were a complete bore. The crazy vietnamese college kid who writes epic emails about killing inconsiderate fucks? Interesting. The jesus-bearded giant whose bass playing sees him travelling around the world (but who talks nothing but old video games when he gets drunk)? Interesting. The polish politcal science student who hits new york every few months to perform in plays (having wax poured on her), does nude photography, and makes her own tshirts? Definitely interesting. The Danish chef who studied in Italy, worked in France and London, and makes a mean filet mignon w/ pesto sauce? Well, at the very least, delicious.
So who care about normal? What's the fun in that I guess. I've spent the last few weeks alternating between guilt and remorse for my abnormal ways. I've tried to break my 6am-3pm sleep schedule and re-adjust to what my parents would consider "normal behaviour". I've considered getting a proper haircut (you know, one you pay for) and even considered not wearing the same pair of shorts every day but then, who cares about normal?
What's truly evil is that brief moment in time (dangerously on the brink of lingering like the smell of a carton of bad milk) when you consider yourself possibly too old
to buy a box of popsicles. I know, I know, I don't like branding either but everyone knows that popsicle means something frozen on a stick in a truly vernacular sense - it's no longer associated by anyone I know
with the owner of the trademark Unilever
, but 'nuff said.
At some point it seems reasonable that you might consider cutting out a lot of those little child-ammenities that you so appreciated during your younger life: Pez, Twinkies (which, by the way, I was never really privy to as a child and have thus avoided them like the plague.. but Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies? That's a whole other can of worms).. etc, etc, etc.
At some point, however, it's necessary to pull oneself aside, look straight into one's own eyes, and say listen jerk, it's fucking hot out
. If that doesn't convince you that a box of popsicles is absolutely acceptable for an adult, in fact if that doesn't convince you that a box of popsicles is absolutely necessary
, then it's time to visit the booby hatch and tell them you're checking in for a nice long stay.
Me, I just myself some popsicles. It took me close to a month and a half to actually get around to it but then I can barely remember to feed myself let alone go shopping. Nevertheless, frozen sugar water never tasted so fine. In fact it's been a truly mystic experience..
Which brings me to a new point all together. Researchers from John Hopkin's reported recently
that well over half of volunteers in a drug study reported having a "full mystical experience" when given active ingredients of psychedlic mushrooms. No shit, sherlock:
"Many of the volunteers in our study reported, in one way or another, a direct, personal experience of the "beyond," said Roland Griffiths, a professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and Behavioral Biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who led the study.
A third said the experience was the single most spiritually significant of their lifetimes. Many likened it to the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Has it ever occurred to anyone that mystical means: having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding
. What do you expect
to happen when you give a bunch of mind-altering drugs to people who have never done them? Exactly
I suppose there are studies for a reason - so that we can prove the obvious.. So where's proof that popsicles make me happy in the hot summer heat? Huh?
Here is a worthwhile look
at some of the numbers behind U.S. Federal Debt, Federal Spending, GDP, and others. You might be somewhat surprised. I'm no fan of Bush, but then over time the numbers just tend to get bigger. Bottom line? Our federal debt is about 72% of our GDP, only 13.4% of which is foreign. Compare that to an individual whose mortgage + car loan + student loans
adds up to only 72% of their yearly salary.
If everyone was in that situation, we'd be doing alright. The truth is that at the end of 2003 consumer debt in the United States was about $8.8 trillion, or $2 trillion in non-mortgage debt
(credit cards, car loans, etc) and $6.8 in mortgage debt
, accounting for almost $30,000 per capita. Given that the per capita income of U.S. citizens at the end of 2003
was $31,484, the debt percantage of 95% starts looking pretty high compared to the federal government.
But go ahead, charge that next purchase and keep on ranting at the fuckers on capitol hill.
It's true, windchimes are among the more annoying features on the landscape of home decoration, but what can you do? People will, till the end of time, find it necessary to decorate everything they own with the tchotchke trimmings of their current culture. Pink plastic lawn flamingos, arriving in the late 1950s a little over a century after their property-trespassing cousins the Garden Gnomes, hint at what I would call a negative trend
in home decor.
Not offensive enough? Simply search for adult hello kitty apparel, or any number of gawdy and eye-piercing "desktop enhancements" for one's personal computer. Hang tassels from your cell phone, brand yourself with the Nike swoosh across your chest, and get dark green and blue angel wings inked onto your back. Tada! You are now a walking windchime clanging endlessly in the ears of all who pass near, alighting crows upon the corner of old men's eyes as they cringe in painful expressions not seen since the great war.
I suspect there was once a flagpole or sailboat mast, some such tower with ropes and metal fastenings, which was given to clanking and clattering when the wind blew against it in a comforting way. I suspect this soothed and spirited some soul, somewhere, and they thought that all of life was but fuel for a fiery play - that which is put on, produced, manufactured in such a way that one can act out
any scene one wants, given a proper stage. And so this soul thought it only right to build a stage and on that stage step a farcical mast upon which metal fastenings were anchored with bits of string (for this mast was not required to hold a full on sail, but only the whims of a self-declared thespian).
In a fanned breeze the metal fastenings, like satirical poetry, would clang in such melodiously fulsome ways that the soul would sleep restlessly with a bastard smile lit upon it's childish lips and thus was born a weak equivalence: a limerick compared to a summer's day.
If Snakes on a Plane
makes any dough, you know those hollywood execs will be trying to milk it for all it's worth. Be prepared for such ridiculous sequel/prequel nonsense as:
- Poisonous Sea Anemones on a Plane
- Woodchucks on a Plane
- Poker-Playing Dogs on a Plane (aka High Rollers, yuck yuck yuck)
- Polar Bears and Penguins on a Plane
- Millions of Pennies on a Plane (this one ends badly)
This list brought to you by the following fun airplane fact: "If you took one airplane flight every day you would be in a plane crash approximately once every 19,000 years, statistically speaking."
If the walls could talk
if the ceilings could speak
I'd walk the walk
act meager, act meak
But the truth of it is
I don't know if they can
So I continue my biz
as if nobody, ain't nobody,
knows me my plan
Ten things to do when you're that
bored with sleeping.
- Sleep backwards on your bed - feet at the headboard, head at the baseboard.
- Cover your feet and head with blankets, sleep with your torso exposed.
- Use your bed as a kitchen table - newspapers, books, cereal bowls, whatever, but no dirty clothes - sleep instead for a week on the floor with nothing but a towel.
- Cover your ceiling with glow-in-the-dark star stickers in proper astrological patterns, but make up your own constellations. Point them out to people when you're outside at night. Insist they are real.
- Make a blanket out of cellophane and blinking christmas tree lights.
- Hang your bed from the ceiling and attach a motor which slowly rotates the entire frame 360 degrees per hour.
- Place a pea between mattress and box spring. If you're a real neanderthal, try a big 'ol kidney bean.
- Set your alarm for the middle of the night, wake up, and furiously masterbate yourself into a sweaty stupor.
- Listen to old Nintendo music at the lowest volume possible all night long. Try to explain your dreams to your mom.
- Close your eyes and pretend you're sleeping on the observation deck of the Washington Monument.
And so that's the way it goes. With a flurry and a flush Independence day has come and gone and, had I not checked the date when paying my cell phone bill, I would probably not have noticed. Nevermind that I'm in a foreign country, I barely noticed Canada Day on the 1st. Instead it's been a whirlwind of visitors, travellers of all ilks, and long overdue meetings. The kind where you make big plans and, surprisingly, some of them actually happen.
The weekend was split in two, cleaved as if by a giant butcher's knife falling through time and space. Half was spent in a glacial lake, around camp fires, with a wet dog chasing a tennis ball over, and over, and over again. The monotony of which was neither lost on me nor unappreciated. Once again, beer played a larger part than one would hope, as such summer months tend to encourage. That too, over the last few weeks, has been a whirlwind tour. From cheap light american beer in cans to 40oz. of cheap Quebec malt liquor. From the likes of Stella to the lowest dregs of Bud light, and even Michelob Ultra Amber (who the hell bought
The second part of the weekend, which served more as two bookends than a whole half, was spent in the heart of the city with the jazz festival in full swing. Crowded sweaty people cheering and laughing, swaying (perhaps from the beer) and wandering around in a huge blocked off area of the downtown core. The usual haunts were employed as meeting places, waterholes, and general debauchery. After a fully drenching downpour (the crowd holding out for longer than one would ever expect) new spots were found that quenched our desires for dancing, gyrating, ridiculously silly motions - the kind that can only happen in a large group of your closest friends, when dancing for that girl a few feet away has no meeting - there is no girl - and all of it is just some made up story in your head; spastic spinng records and beers and sitting, catching your breath on the patio, sweating but not knowing because your soaked from head to toe in rainwater the same temperature as your body squishing in your shoes. But oh, no worries, the bartender serving gimlets and tonics and beers and the sheer mass of your friends driving out the rest of the clientele; older people in town for the festival having wandered in unawares of the impending mosh of people and water and sheer energy.
Too much energy can be too much for anyone. We all have our limits that move daily like the tide. Who knows? up? down? Today we will never know. Toe in the water, too cold. Hand out the window, yes it's hot.
Soccer in the park with crazy brazillian kids teaching you that you don't know the first thing about the sport - the sport you played for most of your life. Loud Portegese and Italian fans honking incessantly down the street, flags flying out windows, out sunroofs, even held between vehicles side by side cruising down the street in celebration of the world cup, the World Cup..
And so that's the way it goes. Summertime, seemingly so serene and smooth everything strung together, night, day, slipping against eachother like wet flesh, it's faster and quicker than you know even though after twenty eight long years, even after almost three decades you'd think you'd have learned something. You'd think.