Monday, May 29, 2006

God smites Indonesia

Yesterday, while flipping through a copy of Time Magazine, I came across this random quote, published out of context, in their "Verbatim" column:

"I do not know what we did. But we must have sinned for God to be angry like this."

-- Jodi Riwono, survivor of an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale that struck near the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, killing thousands of people and flattening entire villages

Now, let's say there is a God and he reads Time Magazine's Verbatim column. I'm wondering how he felt when he read that quote. It seems like there could be only two possibilities: Either he did send the earthquake to punish the sinners of Indonesia or he didn't.

If he did, he's probably bemoaning his communications skills: "Oh, for my sake! I went to all the trouble to kill all those people and I failed to make it clear why!" (And then he hit himself in the forehead repeatedly, saying, "Stupid, stupid stupid!")

But what if he didn't have anything to do with the quake? In that case, he's probably pretty steamed that Jodi Riwono is blaming him for it. How would you like to be blamed for a massive natural disaster you had nothing to do with? You'd probably feel like slapping Indonesia with a follow-up quake (which actually might be where aftershocks come from).

Or maybe God did create everything but couldn't stop the earthquake, kind of like how I was partially responsible for creating my son but can't stop him from watching "Stump the Schwab" on ESPN2 instead of mowing the lawn. In that case, it seems like Jodi Riwono's comments would be really adding insult to injury, making God feel not so bad about being unable to stop the quake.

Another possibility could be that Jodi Riwono was being sarcastic. Maybe a reporter asked her 50 different ways how she felt about the quake and, exasperated, she rolled her eyes and said, "I do not know what we did. But we must have sinned for God to be angry like this. Ya fuckin' happy?" Only Time left the last sentence off, along with the all-important eye-rolling info.

But the way it reads in Time, you get the idea that Jodi Riwono is some kind of superstitious lunatic -- like those Headhunters on Gilligan's Island or George W. Bush -- who believe in a primitive religion. Which she probably is. Like most religious people, she probably worships a god who is not only capable of spontaneous outbursts of violent revenge, but is also cryptic in his message about the whole thing. "Didn't feed the volcano enough virgins or build a big enough megachurch? Here, lick this 6.2 Richter fucksicle, bee-yotch!"

And it's interesting that Jodi doesn't examine her own sins, but those of her whole nation. WE must have sinned, not I must have sinned. Which usually means YOU must have sinned.

So, God – if that is your real name – and you do exist and you didn't smite Indonesia because of its sins and you're reading this, don't feel too bad. Unlike those religious nuts, not all of us blame you every time life turns to shit.

On the other hand, if you did smite Indonesia, how about telling them what they did? Because Indonesians are dying to know. And your explanation would look awesome in Time Magazine's Verbatim column. I'm thinking something like…

"The religious nuts just kinda pissed me off."

-- God, speaking about the sinners of Indonesia



Monday, May 15, 2006

Annual Address to the Shareholders of Malevola Corporation

Thank you for that warm welcome. As your chairman, it honors me deeply that you give me not only your unwavering trust, but also $360 million per year in salary, incentives, stock options, and my coterie of courtesans, two of whom were NCAA Division I gymnasts, so thank you for that.

I'm always delighted to address the shareholders at our annual meeting, and never more so than this year -- a year in which Malevola, I'm proud to say, reduced its losses by a record $1.3 billion. In a moment, I'll layout our plans for the coming year, but please indulge me while I remind you of some of our recent achievements.

One does not have to google Malevola to know that our dynamic products and services reach every corner of the globe during virtually every waking moment. In fact, our brand awareness is so high that last year Malevola products appeared in over 12 million high-profile films, television programs, magazine articles, newspaper stories, radio spots, billboards, university laboratories, mega-church sponsorships, arena-naming rights, splash screens, blogs, podcasts, popups, popunders, bendovers, stretch-and-impales, rip-and-reams, and the backsides of those tiny Sofis shorts worn by teenage girls.

Our eventual marcomm goal is to crack the coveted grail of advertising: reaching those who are asleep. At this point, to provide details would risk giving away company secrets, so for now I'll just say this much: In the future, Malevola WILL be coming to you while you slumber.

While our overall marketing programs have been successful, our financial team believes we might be overextended in one space: naming of sports facilities and events. While we're extremely proud of our flagship facility, San Antonio's Malevola TerrorDome, our corporate branding efforts in the sports-arena field showed a net loss of $1.7 million in fiscal 2005. Our branding team is evaluating its overall strategy but let me assure you the following names are safe: The NASCAR Malevola 500, the Malevola Women's PGA Pebble Beach Open, and the Malevola Great American Smokeout, co-sponsored by Dow Chemical and American Synthetic Rubber Company. We do anticipate dropping sponsorship of the Malevola Boys Tabernacle Choir Christmas Gala, which our accountants believe would otherwise continue to be a net money loser for us.

One other area of concern for us is our ongoing exposure to litigation, boycotts, and other anti-Malevola efforts. All multinational conglomerates have their detractors, and Malevola is no exception. While criticism is inevitable, we're undertaking several measures to make sure these annoyances don't distract us from our main work. Accordingly, I've instructed our management team to investigate ways to mitigate our level of cultural dissatisfaction, both at home and abroad. Our food, energy and media business units are currently working with teams in over 30 countries to develop plans to avoid such debacles as the 2003 Malevola Beef Stew Cook-off and Hot Dog Eating Contest in Bangalore, Pakistan, and 2004's airlift of 20 million Muhammedsicles into Iraq. I assure you, we are learning our lessons.

Likewise, who knew that the name of one of our flagship products sounds like "expose your breasts" in Farsi? 70 million Iranians, that's who. But just like Chevrolet, which learned the hard way that Nova – no va – means "won't go" in Spanish, we're currently translating our product line into 200 different languages, just to be on the safe side.

And I'm pleased to announce we've purchased for all of our top managers Lloyds of London's fatwa package. I'm sure all their families will rest more easily tonight. Speaking of fatwas and resting peacefully, let's please pause for a moment of silence for Malevola regional manager Ralph Templeton.

Thank you.

That covers corporate for the year. Now, I'll present a brief rundown of company performance by market sector.


Our pharmaceuticals unit experienced another year of explosive growth. Thanks to our phenomenal research and development team, we continue to turn out new products at a breakneck pace.

Our blood-pressure and cholesterol fighting drugs continue to lead the way for us, with our sleep-aids and anti-psychotic remedies following closely behind. Perhaps no other company is as well poised as Malevola to reap the benefits of complementary sectors. Just as our quick-serve food outlets enhance sales of heart-and-cancer related drugs, our chain of coffee outlets and our telecommunications endeavors nicely dovetail with our sleep and anti-anxiety medications to provide a marvelous synergy. In fact, I'm fond of telling our clients, Malevola puts the sin in synergy!

Nobody tops Malevola's pharmaceuticals unit when it comes to creating a need and filling it, and no division within pharma beats our crack cardio team. Just to give you an example of the depth and breadth of their reach, consider a patient like Charley Spangle, one of our account executives. When diagnosed with high blood pressure, Charley's doctor prescribed him our bestselling calcium channel blocker, Manokil. Within a couple of weeks, the Manokil caused Charley's ankles to swell up like the Malevola blimp, which, by the way is now on its way to the Malevola Derby in San Diego. Charley's doctor quickly prescribed our Shrinkocil to combat the swelling. Of course the Shrinkocil combined with Manokil caused – I can tell some of you are already ahead of me – Charley's immune system to crash, which Charley's doctor treated with our immune booster Stintosis. Of course, you know what came next: total liver failure. Fortunately, Charley's story ended happily when his doctor prescribed Malevola's number one selling sleep aid, Comatonite, so Charley could finally get a good night's sleep and stop worrying about his health.

Of course, not all of our pharma R & D is as successful as that. I'm sure most of you will recall our breakthrough additive, included in the popular drugs Cialis and Viagra, that causes the patient to vote republican. We initially believed this additive was critical to the recent turn of political events in America but have since learned that was not the case. Interestingly, the formula is superfluous because most patients with erectile dysfunction vote republican anyway, so that turned out to be a money loser for us.

Fortunately, these setbacks were mitigated in large part by the success of Muscletare, our anti-cholesterol drug, which is now required by law in 20 states for all men and women over 30 years of age, so they can eat all the cheese they want. I'd be remiss if I didn't say a word of thanks to our friends at the Food and Drug Administration and the Dairy Council, as well as those in the 109th Congress of the United States.

I'm also required by law whenever mentioning Muscletare to also mention that it may cause constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, slurred speech, bleeding gums, hives, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, intestinal ulcers, anemia, liver failure, asthma, sanctimony, an appreciation for the humor of Larry the Cable Guy, a fondness for the Dodge Durango, a tendency to find Terry Meiners funny, and the inclination to accept Jesus Christ as one's personal savior in a facility seating over 10,000.

Overall, thanks to our phenomenal success with a variety of products, our pharma unit showed a net loss of $50 million.


While not as financially sound as our pharmaceuticals unit, our oil sector had another solid year of growth. Our growth and high profit margins were offset, however, by some unfortunate accidents by a few drunken sea captains and a handful of stoned navigators on tankers at sea. Apparently, when combined with mohetos, marijuana can really affect one's depth perception. But I'm not here to make any excuses. I take full responsibility for the seven million gallons of crude oil we spilled in Galveston Bay, the four million gallons we spilled in the Gulf of Oman, and the twelve million gallons we spilled in the Atlantic Ocean. And although I was not personally available to help wipe oil off gulls, otters, and migratory birds because of a conflict on my schedule, I want you to know I sent two of my personal manservants to assist with the cleanup. We take our role as stewards of the environment seriously here at Malevola.

Fortunately, when oil profits are down, turning them around is as easy as raising the prices on the gas pumps, and we were able to persuade our fellow oil companies to join us in boosting retail gas prices approximately 75 cents per gallon in each month following a spill, three cents of which we were able to pass along to you, the shareholders, and the remainder of which we used to pay our lawyers and buy all our directors summer homes in Europe.

Despite the $7.2 billion loss in the oil sector, our directors are confident we are but one war away from this sector getting back in the black.


Our major construction and energy unit had a disappointing year. Thanks to an extremely unimaginative bribery department, we lost many of our bids on highly lucrative work in Iraq and the US gulf coast to Bechtel and Halliburton. We have reorganized our team of lobbyists, however, and our construction business unit president assures me we are but one major war or natural disaster from getting that unit back in the black as well.


I'm pleased to report continuing success in the food sector. Over the past decade, nobody has had more innovation, growth, or product launches in the food business than Malevola. From our bioengineering breakthroughs in potatoes, poultry, and beef to our exciting chain of upscale chicken-finger eateries, to our quick-serve behemoths, nothing says Food like Malevola.

Let's begin where all great natural food products begin – in the laboratory. All you have to do is take one glance at any middle school student to see we've made some dramatic advances in food engineering in the past decade. Thanks to Malevola scientists developing ever-stronger growth hormones, antibiotics, and other food additives, we hope to someday soon bring to market the world's first 80-pound chicken. You don't have to be a hungry shopper unable to lift a package of drumsticks in Kroger to know those chickens didn't get that way by themselves! No, it took a lot of hard work by thousands of scientists, and billions of dollars in shareholder investments to make those chickens look like that, which unfortunately is one reason our food division lost 7.8 billion dollars during the past fiscal year. However, we expect a quick return on our investment in the coming years, thanks in part to our recent successes in the retail food business.

Specifically, our casual-dining- and quick-serve-restaurant expansion plans call for the elimination of over 6000 mom-and-pop single-store restaurants nationwide in the coming 18 months alone. Our marketing team won't rest until there's a Malevola nugget shop in every neighborhood in the country and that's a solemn vow I make to you now. In fact, if it doesn't happen, I personally pledge to actually eat a meal in one of our restaurants, with the cameras rolling. That's how dedicated I am to this vision.

Finally, we're very excited about one of our new restaurant franchises, which will launch in the second quarter with 90 outlets throughout the south and southwest. The concept, called "What a Rack!" features scantily clad, curvaceous servers serving huge slabs of beef and pork ribs. It's making me hungry just thinking about it!


I'll wrap up in a moment, but first let me say a few words about our telecommunications sector. From mobile phones to "minutes"-plans to Internet Service Providers to popup web marketing to text messaging to spyware to antivirus protection to firewalls to satellite and cable to those penis enlargement emails (that I personally consider a godsend) nobody – I repeat nobody – has annoyed the loose change out of more Americans than Malevola.

In fact, if Malevola executes its vision in telecommunications in the coming decades, You, your kids, and your kids' kids will have no fewer than 10 monthly payments taken automatically from your checking accounts every single month.


There's so much more to say about the dynamic work going on at Malevola. I've chosen here to highlight our most significant achievements and ambitious plans, but let me reassure you our work in the energy, media, entertainment, and transportation sectors are every bit as ambitious and successful as the ones I've spoken about today… other than losing $600 billion collectively. Finally, in closing, let me say, thank you. It is only through your investments that all of us can accomplish what none of us alone would ever do.