Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Apr 29, 2011
April 29, 2011
Auto World /Gas Guzzlin' Update:
Big oil's quarterly earnings are out, and what a shocker: They make a lot of money.
Exxon made $10.7 billion in the first quarter, up 69 percent from the year before. It's their best earnings report since 2008 --the last time gas prices flirted with $4 a gallon.
Conoco was up 43 percent, Shell up 30 percent. [What's wrong with you, Shell?]
But oil is the one business that, even in a capitalist society, has to defend the making of money. Expecting a strong reaction from politicians trying to score points over high gas prices, Exxon posted a blog to explain just how LITTLE money it makes selling petroleum products because it has little control over the price of oil.
"These facts probably won't make anyone feel any better... but ... For every gallon we manufactured and sold in the United States, we earned a little more than two cents a gallon. That's not a typo."
Editor's note: In other words, Exxon doesn't own the oil, they have to pay those high oil prices too, so please don't hate them. (Maiman)
Brand Keys' Mothers Day spending survey finds consumers will gift Mama with the traditional cards (greeting and gift), candy and clothing, but this year, high-tech products are the gift of choice with 20% of shoppers indicating that they are going to buy electronic book readers (25%), tablets (19%), smartphones (15%), computers (9%) and cameras (6%).
Cards will be given by 97% while flowers are on the shopping list for 70%.
Brunch/lunch/dinner is on the agenda for 58%, as are gift cards (58%). Clothing at 36% (+4%) and jewelry at 25% remain popular, and rounding out the items on the shopping list are spa services at 17%, books at 15% and candy at 5%. (Kaye)
Broadcast, cable and video news:
Biggest story of the day yesterday was that "Two and a Half Men" producer CHUCK LORRE is working on a reboot of the popular series without star CHARLIE SHEEN. The Hollywood Reporter says Lorre told JON CRYER the revised series would involve a significant role for him and the introduction of a new, yet-to-be-cast character.
The Reporter says Lorre wants to have everything in place to announce the new show before the CBS upfront advertiser's presentations in mid-May.
ROGER DALTREY wanted to be a judge on "American Idol," but he was rejected because he was too well dressed at the audition. Fox executive Mike Darnell told Rolling Stone magazine that THE WHO's lead singer looked like a regular guy and (quote), "had lost all of his rock 'n' roll charm." STEVEN TYLER got the gig because he carries knives, wear feathers in his hair and wears lots of heavy jewelry. Roger said last year that THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES and The Who never would have made it past the audition stage on "American Idol," and that the music that comes out of the show is (quote), "absolute tripe." (Marino)
Taking everything much too seriously:
An artist in England has created the world's smallest sculpture of PRINCE WILLIAM and KATE MIDDLETON (picture).
Orange.co.uk says the royal sculpture is so tiny, it fits in the eye of a needle. Artist WILLARD WIGAN is famous for creating art that can only be viewed with a microscope. Wigan says his latest sculpture was created with a tiny piece of synthetic fiber. And, he painted it with a single eyelash. (Still)
Proving again that everyone hates the popular kids, a new survey says trendy baby names are also some of the most hated.
LAURA WATTENBERG, author of the book "The Baby Name Blizzard" took an informal look at 15-hundred names by studying message board postings, LiveScience.com reports. She also found that some of the hottest baby names --think "Jayden," "Brayden," "Madison" and "Addison"-- triggered a backlash.
The top 10 most hated names for boys were:
Rhyming names were "overdone" Wattenberg said. "Hunter" sounded too violent. "Michael" was too boring. And "Bentley" was cited as a brand name, which sounds "trashy," she said.
The top 10 most hated names for girls were:
That last name --"Heaven" spelled backward-- really annoys people, Wattenberg said. "'Nevaeh,' in particular seems to stand as this symbol... for what people don't like in modern baby names." The name "Destiny" sounded too much like a stripper's name, and "Gertrude" was called just plain ugly. Wattenberg said people also hate boy names used on girls, like Madison and Addison, and names that are hard to spell. (Bartha)
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