Oil In A Day's Work
A Transcript of the Congressional Hearing on the Inexplicable Oil Price Fluctuations
Congressman Henry Waxman: This meeting will now come to order! Today we'll explore the market forces driving plunging oil prices. Our first testimony comes from the Director of the World Oil Cartel, Sheik Al Fat-Head.
Sheik: Excuse me, that is El Fayat-Hayyad.
Congressman Waxman: Sheik, let's not get bogged down in the politics of identity, shall we? Fellow committee members, today is not the time to pontificate or obfuscate. Today we elucidate, illuminate, explicate and --
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: -- Can it, Henry! I have to get to my
son's bar mitzvah by next month...
Congressman Waxman: Thank you, esteemed colleague. Sheik Al--hey, can I call you Al?
Sheik: Actually no --
Congressman Waxman: --Great. Anyway, we have convened this hearing to discuss dramatically falling oil prices.
Sheik: For this you summoned me from my indoor snowboarding lessons at the Dubai Ski Dome?
Sheik: For this you summoned me from my indoor snowboarding lessons at the Dubai Ski Dome? I do not understand. You Zionist imperialists should be thrilled by falling prices.
Congressman Barney Frank: Ah, but we're not. You see, in the great Jewish tradition in which I was raised, one never takes excessive good luck for granted. Whenever things begin going too well, something sinister is probably going on.
Sheik: That makes no sense.
Congressman Gary Ackerman: If it looks like gefilte fish and it smells like gefilte fish, it's not clam chowder! That's what I was taught by my Bubbe.
Sheik: "Bubbe?" You mean "Ali Baba?"
Congressman Frank: "Bubbe" means "grandma," Sheik Al.
Congressman Waxman: A female paterfamilias. Your mater's mater.
Sheik: How dare you speak of my mother, infidels! People who live in glass tents should not throw scorpions. At least I do not allow my mother to drive!
Congresswoman Wasserman Schulz: Are you insulting my mother's drive? How dare you! I move to have his testimony stricken from the record. And then I would like to strike him--right in that bearded punim!
Congressman Frank: Sheik Al, our constituents are glad it costs less to fill their tanks, but they're also noticing that fuel lasts longer than ever before, even in their gas-guzzling Hummers. That's plain weird.
Sheik: Are you not grateful?
Congressman Waxman: We're not grateful for subterfuge. If this is some insidious plot to overthrow the US government, we'd appreciate a heads-up.
Congressman Frank: Yeah, last week, the light on my gas gauge went on, which meant there was just enough gas for one more day. But it didn't last one day. It lasted eight days! My car kept going for eight days!
Congresswoman Wasserman Schulz: What's your game, sheik?
Sheik: I do not play games...
Congressman Ackerman: Not even dreidel? We can't trust a man who doesn't play dreidel. Sheik Al, you remind me of an enormous ostrich, who's sticking his shmatte-covered head in the sand.
Sheik: I resent your Zionist zingers!
Sheik: I resent your Zionist zingers!
Congressman Frank: Hold your camels, Sheik. Before things get too heated, I'd like to burst into song and completely sidetrack the proceedings... because that's the kind of folksy thing that we congressmen do. This is the song my Bubbe used to sing, whenever oil prices rose.
Sheik: I am sorry, I don't follow--
Congressman Frank: (Bursts into song, to the tune of "Who Can Retell?")
Who can fathom the oil that Sadaam,
Has left in Iraq,
Who can fortell how OPEC will swell,
Each year of sales,
Who can foresee the consumers' needs,
As Shell hoards petrol,
Who can now guess, the remaining mess,
That's left behind,
Oooooooh, let's get lean and mean and all go green,
Dismantle their oil-gouging machine.
Let's not pay the price that's come to pass,
Let's tell OPEC "We can kick your gas!!!"
(The Chamber breaks into applause.)
Congressman Waxman: (Pounding his gavel) Order, order!
Congressman Frank: Did you say "Encore?"
Congressman Ackerman: Sheik Al, this pointless but catchy song has inspired me to ask you directly: Why are gas prices dropping like my mother's steely matzoh balls?
Congresswoman Wasserman Schulz: (Approaching the Sheik) Who are you and what are you plotting?
(She rips off his head-covering to reveal... another head-covering--a kipah! Gasps resound through the chamber as the "Sheik" rises and peels off his thoub to reveal a black suit.)
Sheik: (In a heavy Brooklyn accent) So, nu, you found me out. I'm Shimon Diamond, not Sheik El Fayat-Hayyad and I represent the Diamond Oil Cartel. My family bought out the other guys.
Congressman Waxman: Your family bought out the richest oil cartel on earth?
Sheik: (Shrugging modestly) We've been dealing diamonds since Mayer Rothschild filled his first piggy bank. We do all right.
Congressman Wasserman Schulz: But Shimon--I mean, Mr. Diamond, what about the gasoline?
Sheik: To increase fuel efficiency, every couple of weeks we reinforced our product with a special additive.
Congresswoman Wasserman Schulz: What?
Sheik: Olive Oil. It's much greener and it even smells nice.
Congressman Frank: That's why I've been craving Mediterranean food!
Congressman Ackerman: I move we hereby disband this hearing and go forth to celebrate the latest Chanukah miracle--the miracle of the combustible olive oil!
Congressman Frank: Let's fry some latkes, while we're at it!
Congressman Waxman: I have some potatoes in my lunch bag, but where are we going to find the oil?
Congresswoman Wasserman Schulz: Not to worry, we'll siphon the gas from our cars!
Congressman Waxman: (Grandly) Thank you, Tiny Shim, and fress us, every one!