Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Enron's Kenneth Lay

Lay's obit in Wired

Good heavens, Kenneth Lay of Enron just died of a massive heart attack. I remember when I was living in San Francisco in 2000 and reading about Enron's spectacular success. The company was no. 7 on the Fortune 500, for crying out loud, with over $100 billion in annual revenue.

That seems like a lifetime ago, those days when I worked at, rented my movies from and ordered groceries from Now all three companies are extinct, reminding me of piezophilic bacteria, those weird little microbes living in impossible conditions.

(And yes, I had to look up the name. Now that I have, perhaps I can work the term “piezophilic” into casual conversations:

“Gee, Ron, you’re acting positively piezophilic today. Maybe you should go find your laptop and work some more.”

“That kid is totally piezophilic. If he doesn’t get his peanut butter crackers at precisely 2:30 p.m., he falls apart.”

Hmmm … maybe not.)

Anyway, piezophiles live in extreme, high-pressure environments like the bottom of the Marianas Trench. These guys love such absolutely insane conditions that some scientists think they’d survive on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

more on these weirdos

But bring a piezophile up to the surface, with all that nice air and light, and zap – it’s dead. Bring an exquisitely calibrated dot-com out of the 90’s high-pressure frenzy and it pops.

(Or in the case of Webvan, slumps with the soft hiss of leaking air. For years, only the green cupholders at Pacific Bell Park remained.)

So now we have Kenneth Lay, disgraced, convicted, unable to justify buying a $100,000 yacht while Enron was going under. And he’s gone, a victim of too much light and air. How piezophilic.

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