Weekend

Weekend Words: Oil

“Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.”

Francesco Guardi, “Fire in the San Marcuola Oil Depot” (1789), oil on canvas, 32 x 51 cm, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice (image via Web Gallery of Art)

In response to Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, the New York Times reports:

Struggling to keep Iraq from splintering, American diplomats pushed for a law in 2011 to share the country’s oil wealth among its fractious regions.

 

Then Exxon Mobil showed up.

 

Under its chief executive, Rex W. Tillerson, the giant oil company sidestepped Baghdad and Washington, signing a deal directly with the Kurdish administration in the country’s north. The move undermined Iraq’s central government, strengthened Kurdish independence ambitions and contravened the stated goals of the United States. Mr. Tillerson’s willingness to cut a deal regardless of the political consequences speaks volumes about Exxon Mobil’s influence. In the Iraq case, Mr. Tillerson and his company outmaneuvered the State Department, which he has now been nominated by President-elect Donald J. Trump to lead.

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The verses, when they were written, resembled nothing so much as spoonfuls of boiling oil, ladled out by a fiendish monkey at an upstairs window upon such passers-by whom the wretch had a grudge against — and we are delighted.

—Lytton Strachey, lecture on Alexander Pope

The words of his mouth were softer than butter, having war in his heart: his words were smoother than oil, and yet they be very swords.

—The Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 55, v44

To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

—Isaiah, 61:3 (KJV)

We must proceed with our own energy development. Exploitation of domestic petroleum and natural gas potentialities, along with nuclear, solar, geothermal, and non-fossil fuels is vital. We will never again permit any foreign nation to have Uncle Sam over a barrel of oil.

—Gerald R. Ford

Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!

—Golda Meir

The teacher reminded us that Rome’s liberties were not auctioned off in a day, but were bought slowly, gradually, furtively, little by little; first with a little corn and oil for the exceedingly poor and wretched, later with corn and oil for voters who were not quite so poor, later still with corn and oil for pretty much every man that had a vote to sell — exactly our own history over again.

—Mark Twain

Most people hew the battlements of life from compromise, erecting their impregnable keeps from judicious submissions, fabricating their philosophical drawbacks from emotional retractions and scalding marauders in the boiling oil of sour grapes.


—Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz

What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you.


—Raymond Chandler

We find nothing easier than being wise, patient, superior. We drip with the oil of forbearance and sympathy, we are absurdly just, we forgive everything. For that very reason we ought to discipline ourselves a little; for that very reason we ought to cultivate a little emotion, a little emotional vice, from time to time. It may be hard for us; and among ourselves we may perhaps laugh at the appearance we thus present. But what of that! We no longer have any other mode of self-overcoming available to us: this is our asceticism, our penance.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai, the biggest factory in the world is in China, the largest oil refinery is in India, the largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore.

—Fareed Zakaria

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.

—J. Paul Getty

We need more of the Office Desk and less of the Show Window in politics. Let men in office substitute the midnight oil for the limelight.

—Calvin Coolidge

Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil
O’er books consumed the midnight oil.

—John Gay, Fables

I am convinced that Nigeria would have been a more highly developed country without the oil. I wished we’d never smelled the fumes of petroleum.

—Wole Soyinka

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