The only sure things are death and axes. Let's take a closer look.

Lay to rest
This week's passing of former Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay left many of us with mixed feelings. Our own Bill Mann had the challenging task of eulogizing one of the most ridiculed names in corporate history. Bill's take is perfect. It was generous at times but never forgiving. But there's no point in rehashing what you can read for yourself.

Bill was trying to nail the right headline, so he passed around some pretty crafty suggestions and asked for more. I think the hands-down winner was Paul Elliott's suggestion, "The Smartest Guy in the Tomb," before Bill went Lomanesque with "The Death of a Salesman."

It's a verb, it's a plane, it's Google!
Anders Bylund also alerted Foolish readers to the neat fact that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now recognized as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary. Well done, Google, but don't get cocky now. By my unofficial count, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is the breeding farm for verbs. You can eBay an old sweater. You can PayPal to seal the deal. You can Skype me when it doesn't fit right.

Glory in verbs is overrated, of course. Xerox (NYSE:XRX) has been in a bit of a paper jam in recent years. And TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) seems to be paused in the single digits.

You've got freebie
One of the more intriguing stories to break this past week came in Thursday's Wall Street Journal. It cited sources claiming that Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL division is thinking about giving subscribers who bring their own access (i.e., folks with third-party broadband connections) a free pass. Even if it would mean losing out on billions in subscription fees, AOL believes it's the best way to build an audience of Web-savvy speedsters, granting the struggling online service the ability to offset the loss with online advertising.

It's a bold move by a company that claims 8 million fewer members than it commanded just three and a half years ago. Now that Google has acquired a 5% stake in a $1 billion deal, AOL has an interested partner that just happens to be the leader in the booming paid-search market.

AOL has been trying to attract non-subscribers for years with its free AIM chat application. It will have to develop more if it wants to avoid becoming the next verb. It wouldn't be a good one, though. "AOLing," as in "I must be AOLing now" or "AOLing so soon?," is such an awkward replacement for "leaving."

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

eBay, Time Warner, and TiVo areMotley Fool Stock Advisorrecommendations. You can see what other stocks Tom and David Gardner have recommended with a free 30-day trial to Stock Advisor.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.