Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
- PG Wodehouse

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Future Job: Author

What is your future job?
brought to you by Quizilla
Buffy, You are the chosen one who puts other people
first and will do anything to save the world.

Which Buffyverse Girl Are You ?
brought to you by Quizilla
You are the super human transgenic Max Guavera from
the show Dark Angel. Max was created to be the
perfect soldier, but when she escaped at the
age of nine from a secrect facility she did
everything in her power to lead a normal life,
but Max could never seem to outrun the friendly
folks at Manticore...

brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank You, Christopher Titus - You're Making History

"The normal make a living, the deranged make history. " ~ Christopher Titus

I'm not sure if you were a fan of the show Titus when it was on television (2000-02) but I loved it from the start. The first time we saw it we sat there laughing, with tears rolling down our faces, shouting out, "Oh my God, that was your dad! Oh my God, that was my dad! OH MY GOD, THAT'S MY MOM!!!"

Now, three years later, I got the first DVD set and I just spent an hour laughing my head off. Christopher Titus speaks for my dysfunctional family.

I also have a special love in my heart for Erin - a blonde, green-eyed Irish girl. My husband still laughs and points at me when she blows up his car. :)


The TTLB Ecosystem went through some changes over the Thanksgiving weekend that apparently resulted in my de-evolution. I am currently a Crawly Amphibian. Oh, woe is me!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Some may doubt evolution but I've seen it in action. I've made my way back up to Flippery Fish in the TTLB Ecosystem.

I'd like to think of myself as a mummichog (with the unfortunate scientific name of Fundulus heteroclitus - don't laugh at me!) simply because you can't kill those things with a stick. (Ok, maybe with a stick.) When my husband was doing research on the Eastern Shore one of the researchers put a mummichog in his damp pocket and the little sucker survived a trek through a marsh and a 15 mile car ride before being put in a tank.

We have a 'chog at home now that we adopted from the lab. She's a voracious little thing that eats more than our monster goldfish. Don't worry, they aren't in the same tank.

(No animals were harmed in the creation of this post.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

You're a Cardassian!
You're a Cardassian! Intelligent and devious,
you're a bit of an enigma to those around you
and scientific to the core.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

That's Me

For awhile my Susie-Freaking-Sunshine t-shirts were flying off the shelves (or wherever it is they keep them at CafePress). I can only hope that the slow-down is due to people saving up for Christmas presents. Although the sentiment does seem more in the spirit of Festivus...

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Yes, I'm sure you've always wanted to celebrate Festivus in a big way. Well, now you can get Frank's Official Festivus Pole. You can also weigh in on the Festivus Blog. I heard about this site on the radio this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Violence in (Home)School

I thought it was worth noting that this tragic story of teens murdering parents had an unusual twist.
"Neighbors say the two teens met at a support group for home-schooled

Ah, so teen violence has definitely hit the fundy set. Ok, I don't know that they're fundy, but I can strongly suspect based on these tidbits:
"Kara [is] in the care of relatives and church members...She regularly attended
youth group meetings and got along well with her sister, said Kevin Eshleman,
executive pastor of Ephrata Community Church. "In my mind, that generally
indicates that things are going OK at home," Eshleman said."

I'm sorry that the parents were murdered and I don't blame their fundy religion even though I'd like to. (I think it's dark-sided. With Gargyles.) Bad people are everywhere and they use whatever is at hand to fuel their insane tendencies. There was obviously something badly wrong with those kids and it's too bad no one sensed it before it was too late.

Don't Speak

Your Celebrity Style Twin is Gwen Stefani

Trendsetting, unique, and stylish.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Stand With John Murtha

If you stand with John Murtha go to the link Shame on Them: Tell Col. Murtha Not to Back Down and add your statements to the ones that Howard Dean will be delivering to the Congressman.
"Every one of us -- right now -- needs to let Jack Murtha know that we
respect his service, respect his leadership, and respect his right to speak the
truth. This man has spent his life serving us. The very least each one of us can
do is let him know that no matter what dishonorable smear campaign Republicans
wage we will be there with him." ~ Howard Dean

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maybe YOU Should Be a Chartered Accountant

In case you read the last post and ended up wondering about the ExxonMobile financial statements (I probably just got down to about one reader pressing on past the first sentence, didn't I?), I have some links together from the 2004 Annual Report.

Balance Sheet - You can see at the top of Current Assets that Cash and Cash Equivalents have risen to $18.5 billion (yes, these statements are rounded to the million) from last year's $10.6 billion. Total shareholder's equity went up $11.8 billion or 13 percent.

Income Statement - Sales are up $54 billion or 22 percent over 2003 and if you compare 2004 to 2002 you see an increase of $90 billion or 45 percent. Of course, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, this may be because all of China decided to go out for a drive one afternoon (revenues from new markets vs. a change in prices). What points to prices being up is that costs are not keeping up with the rise in revenues (unless it is just soooo incredibly cheaper to do business in China). This has resulted in net income more than doubling from 2002 ($11 billion) to 2004 ($25 billion).

Cash Flow - Cash is the blood of a company, and how is this blood flowing? Net Cash from Operating Activities has just about doubled from 2002 ($21 billion) to 2004 ($40 billion). Investments in Additions to property, plant, and equipment has remained stable at around $12 billion per year for 2002 through 2004. Under Cash Flows from Financing Activities we find that dividends paid out to shareholders have increased much more modestly than revenues and income (from $6.2 billion in 2002 to $6.5 billion in 2003 and $6.9 billion in 2004) staying around a 5 percent increase per year. At the end of the cash flow it is revealed that the cash in hand at the end of 2002 was a little over $7 billion.

They are definitely saving for something. The question is - What?

My post title comes from the fact that typing all of this up made me flash back to the Monty Python skit I watched this weekend.
Counselor (Cleese): Well I now have the results here of the interviews and the aptitude tests that you took last week, and from them we've built up a pretty clear picture of the sort of person that you are. And 1 think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the ideal job for you is chartered accountancy.

Anchovy (Palin): But I am a chartered accountant!

Counselor (Cleese): Jolly good. Well back to the office with you then.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Don't Hate Us Because We're Evil

At lunch this week a friend asked me, "Do you believe what the oil industry is saying, that they need the profits they are creating because they have to reinvest it into rebuilding and oil refineries?" Although I'm not a fan of the oil and gas industry I told my friend that I couldn't make any assumptions about that until I looked at some financial statements to see what they were doing with retained earnings, etc.

So, I went to and among other things I found this cute flyer that included today's graphic. I just had to show you the chart because to me it is simply crying out, "Don't hate us! Look at who is eviler! LOOK AT THE BANKS! BIG PHARM! HATE THEM! HATE THEM!!"

Their opening statement on the flyer is:

"The oil and natural gas industry is probably the world's largest industry. Its revenues are large, but so are its costs of providing consumers with the energy they need. "
Hmmm, so let me see if I can use that education for which I'm still paying off student loans. You're saying that it is a high volume/low margin industry aren't you? In fact, you're bordering on whining that helping us get what we "need" is just about breaking your bank. *Sniff* Try not to notice *sniff* our executive bonuses *sniff* it's all about the children and what they neeeeeeed. (Insert picture of small child and cute puppy here. Snuggling a gas pump.)

Don't let that "high cost" (but high volume/low margin) whining get to you. You know what other high volume/low margin industry you may be familiar with? Bargain or "discount" retail. Because a few of the big boys kept it "all in the family" you see things like positions 4 through 8 on The Richest People In America (Forbes) occupied by the name Walton. Yes, 5 out of the 10 richest people in America make their money on high volume and low margins. If you go to the International list (The World's Billionaires) you get a couple of brothers who own Europe's biggest discount retail supermarket chain. The Albrechts (Karl and Theo) have slipped a bit because they used to kick the Walton's butts.

And may I just say that when you read the opening paragraph on that Billionaire's link, "The collective net worth of the world's 691 billionaires is $2.2 trillion, up $300 billion from the combined net worths of the 587 people listed last year," don't you have to ask yourself.... Why is there world hunger again?? I can think of a lot of useful things to do with $2.2 trillion dollars, how about you?

Where was I? Oh, right, oil industry. Reinvestment. So I reviewed the ExxonMobil 2004 financial statements on the theory that they were most of the industy and a good place to start. It's been a couple of hectic days since then but what I recall is that their earnings more than doubled from 2002 to 2004, as did their retained earnings and dividends. They do retain earnings and their payout of dividends agains earnings per share is something like 1.69 against 3.84 (but don't quote me) and they reflect reinvesting earnings in the statements.

What are they spending that money ON? Well, that's a good question now, isn't it? From what I could see I think that they redistribute overhead against the business functions so I couldn't easily see how to tease out things like EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION. I'm sure that multi-million dollar bonuses for the CEO can get lost in the "noise" of a multi-billion statement. Except that for me it doesn't. I have the same rule for business that I do for government - I don't mind paying for your service so long as you are prudent with the money. A lack of prudence puts my panties in a wad.

So what about executive compensation? According to this site:
ExxonMobil CEO Received $38 Million in Bonuses, Despite Soaring Oil Prices. According to the Associated Press, "Buoyed by high oil prices, Exxon Mobil Corp. had a record-breaking year in 2004 and chairman and chief executive Lee R. Raymond shared in the company's success with a $38 million compensation package Exxon said that Raymond, 66, was paid $7.5 million in salary and bonus plus restricted stock worth $28 million and nearly $2.6 million more in other compensation and incentives, according to Exxon's proxy filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission." (AP, 4/13/05)
Although we see all these numbers flashing by all the time - millions, billions, trillions - let me point out that $38 million is equivalent to every man, woman and child in America sending him about 12 cents. Let's just round and say it's two-bits per four-person family. What in the hell did he do for me that was worth a nickel, much less two-bits? Can I fire him? Vote him off the island? Have the Three Ghosts visit him and scare him straight?

What I told my friend at lunch is that I have no problem with a company seeking rational profit. To me rational profit is that win-win balance of a symbiotic relationship between company and community. Basically nobody gets too screwed. Any year when two of the big headlines focus on (1) amazing profits for what is essentially a utility industry, and, (2) amazing increases in poverty, there is obviously something amiss. I think we have ventured into the land of irrational profit.
Update 11/25/05
For more oil industry info check out Schroeder's post Bush petting session with Saudi prince.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

All She Wants Is...

Excellent meme from lucretius. I Googled "Susan wants" to get my top 11 hits.
  1. Susan wants to throw a party
  2. Susan wants to clean house
  3. Susan wants to buy assets
  4. Susan Wants To Hear From You
  5. Susan wants to Be Discovered by Agents
  6. Susan wants to be more like Edie
  7. Susan wants him to settle down
  8. Susan wants to add color to the walls
  9. Susan wants to change the prices on notebooks
  10. Susan wants you to believe that she was "under Felix's spell"
  11. Susan wants to go to Europe within the next 6 months
Dang, that's actually a pretty good list. The only thing that worries me is that I don't watch Desperate Housewives so I'm not sure I want to be more like Edie...

I Shoulda Known

Gordon's post (and numerous radio announcements) informed that today is the 'birthday' of our United States Marine Corps. Which means that the old USMC is a Scorpio. Doesn't that make sense? I mean, I just typed "Scorpio Description" into Google and this is from the first hit on the list.

Scorpios are the most intense, profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior. They are like the volcano not far under the surface of a calm sea, it may burst into eruption at any moment. But those of us who are particularly perceptive will be aware of the harnessed aggression, the immense forcefulness, magnetic intensity, and often strangely hypnotic personality under the tranquil, but watchful composure of Scorpio. In conventional social gatherings they are pleasant to be with, thoughtful in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous; they sometimes possess penetrating eyes which make their shyer companions feel naked and defenseless before them.

In their everyday behavior they give the appearance of being withdrawn from the center of activity, yet those who know them will recognize the watchfulness that is part of their character. They need great self-discipline, because they are able to recognize the qualities in themselves that make them different from other humans, and to know their utterly conventional natures can be used for great good, or great evil. Their tenacity and willpower are immense, their depth of character and passionate conviction overwhelming, yet they are deeply sensitive and easily moved by their emotions. Their sensitivity, together with a propensity for extreme likes and dislikes make them easily hurt, quick to detect insult or injury to themselves (often when none is intended) and easily aroused to ferocious anger. This may express itself in such destructive speech or action that they make lifelong enemies by their outspokenness, for they find it difficult not to be overly critical of anything or anyone to whom they take a dislike.

They can harness their abundant energy constructively, tempering their self-confidence with shrewdness and their ambition with magnanimity toward others provided they like them. They relate to fellow workers only as leaders and can be blunt to those they dislike to the point of cruelty. In fact they are not above expressing vindictiveness in deliberate cruelty. They are too demanding, too unforgiving of faults in others, perhaps because they are not aware of the shortcomings within themselves, and extravagantly express their self-disgust in unreasonable resentment against their fellows. They do, however, make excellent friends, provided that their companions do nothing to impugn the honor of which Scorpios are very jealous. Part of the negative side of the Scorpio nature is a tendency to discard friends once they cease to be useful, but the decent native is aware of, and fights this tendency.

I was always drawn towards the Corps, and I guess it's because I'm a Scorpio myself. If I had to sum my sign up in three words it always would have been Honor, Loyalty, and Violence. (Most of us don't advertise that last one but I can assure you that when I go to the trouble to throw something my aim is true.)

Semper fi, ya'll. Prayers and thanks for all our Marines at home and abroad. And a special tip o' the hat to my stepdad - Captain and helicopter pilot, Corps in the 70s, reserves in the 80s. I think I'll go send him a "birthday" card now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Endangered List

If you missed Jimmy Carter on AfterWords (C-Span) you can check it out online. It's an interview by Brian Williams about Carter's new book "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis."

What IS Wrong With Kansas?

Just when you thought that the world was getting saner, you check on Kansas.
Board of Education votes to include challenges to Charles Darwin's widely accepted theory in curriculum.

Corzine in New Jersey

Also good news in the left-leaning world, Corzine will be Govenor of New Jersey. You can get good blog at Blanton's and Ashton's.

Where Do You Keep Your Gubers?

A great sigh of relief for all the left-leaners in Virginia because Tim Kaine was declared the winner of the gubenatorial race. There is coverage all over the place but you can get some blogiliciously good stuff over with Waldo Jaquith.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Social InSecurity

I just found the coolest thing - a calculator to show you how much you would lose in Social Security benefits under the Bush plan. It's simplified, I'm sure, but effective. Check it out at Representative Moran's website.

Wild-Eyed Coalition Addition

Just a little shout-out to signal the addition of the blog StealthBadger. The name entertains me on many levels, not the least of which being that my beloved penpal during my teen years went by the nickname Badger. Another is my favorite line from Thunderheart.
"The officer has been bit by a fucking badger!"
- Frank Coutelle (Sam Shepard)
Meanwhile, this Badger is quite entertaining so drop on by and say howdy.

Opening Presents on Election Eve...

Direct from Blondesense:
Monday, November 7
I don't care wherea person's compass may point them. But, it does bother me when someone is a hypocrite in the political arena.

The executive officer of the National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre, is currently endorsing Jerry Kilgore for governor of Virginia in media ads saying Kilgore stands for the same family values that Wayne had as a child growing up in Roanoke.

Well, while Wayne Lapierre was in high school in Roanoke (Patrick Henry High School class of '67) he was my brother's lover. Their affair lasted past graduation and on during the anti Vietnam war protest marches they attended in 1969.

Not only is Wayne Lapierre gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) but he marched in protest to the Vietnam war.

Now he's touting his high ground morality and family values. That I have a problem with.

Posted by BlondeSense Liz | 9:19 AM
Thanks Liz! (Contact Blondesense Liz if you want verification - you can find her contact info in the original post linked to above.)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Googlicious Bibliophile Fun

The media is reporting that Google has opened it's virtual library doors (BBC) with GooglePrint. Although this is great fun (search on your name and stuff, it's cool) don't forget that there are already some great online resources for just reading great works, such as the ProjectGutenberg and the Electronic Text Center.

Three cheers for easily accessible text!

But if publishers really think that this will keep us from buying paper books they don't know us very well. Sure, the nature of the market will change. But true bibliophiles have a love and respect for the printed page that is bred down deep in the bone. My husband and I are both the type to have multiple copies of a treasured book while still reading a copy on the laptop or PDA - both for the convenience and to keep the "nice" book from *gasp* getting damaged.