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The Tentacle


April 30, 2006

You'll Need an Abacus for This One

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

As part of my self-education to become a business reporter, I picked up a recent copy of Fortune Magazine that contains the top 500 company list for 2006. To familiarize myself, I have created a puzzle to help me remember. The companies are in order within each subset. Answers below.

First Five

I refuse to buy gas at XX because they are always more expensive than the convenience store brands. I know I am not supposed to shop at a certain box store, because of my liberal pinkie commie leanings, but I cannot afford to fill up my Hummer. I would like to send the owners of a certain petrol company to Saigon or Bhutan or maybe Taiwan to read the Koran. I am glad I still have my Pinto.

Second Five

At the number of the devil-minus-2-times-3 station down the road, I purchased some chicken to re-heat in my Hotpoint microwave. I charged it on my bank credit card that is the last name of a town named after an Indian tribe in Iowa and placed the receipt in the glove compartment next to the no Gecko American papers. I think it was processed with a "THINK!" computer.

Third Five

I picked up an acid base test kit (reverse) computer for my science-minded daughter who is going of to college. And BAM! I bounced another check. I hope my IRA with Miss Jane of the Beverly Hillbilly fame is still secure after the drop in the stock market. While driving back, I stopped behind a policeman who was seizing some grass grown in somebody's backyard. These oil prices are really starting to get into my bone marrow as I pulled in to another gas station and saw the counter guy wearing a sombrero.

Fourth Five

A Scotch Irish profane company (this is a real stretch) that "helps" reel in health care costs probably follows the turn of the century philosophy of a railroad tycoon. I broke my pointer while trying to find a human at the local ring-a-ding and I hope a little red bird had sent some splints to secure my Benson and Hedges stained fingers.

Okay enough of that.

I flipped the page to the most profitable industries and leading the pack were the ones where everybody cries poverty. "It's so hard to find oil or it takes years to develop a drug!" Crude oil production - see gas prices, and pharmaceuticals - don't dare get sick, are all in the top five. Internet services and something called "network other" are the other two. Surprisingly, to me anyway, railroads and newspapers are in the top 10 despite computers and airplanes.

Looking through the ads for watches in the magazine, I spotted a Cartier's Santos 100 medium model ($4,211) that has huge roman numerals, A Bvlgari Tourbillion ($53,500) looks like a blue encircled bulls eye with another bulls eye showing the watch parts at the bottom. Some place you can find what time it is. Cindy Crawford's choice is an Omega Constellation. ($1,899) Between the two ads is a large advertisement for Credit Suisse. I compromised and purchased a Swiss Army Watch at the unclaimed freight center in Berlin, Maryland for $39.95.

Answers:

First five:

Exxon, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Chevron, Ford;

Second Five:

Conocophillips, General Electric, Citigroup, American International, IBM;

Third Five:

Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Home Depot, Valero Energy;

Fourth Five:

McKesson, J.P. Morgan. Verizon, Cardinal Health, Altria



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