Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Bakken Economy Continues To Percolate Along; Enterprise Car Rental Opens In Dickinson; Steffes Expands Bakken Services; Weekend Reading -- March 27, 2016

The Bakken economy continues to percolate.

From The Dickinson Press: Enterprise-Rent-A-Car opens in Dickinson:
Dickinson just got a little friendlier to those who find themselves on the go. Enterprise Rent-A-Car opened its first Dickinson location at 531 W. Villard Street on Wednesday.
According to a release, the office is the only Enterprise-branded rental car option within a nearly 100-mile radius. I believe Enterprise is still in Williston. Enterprise is my go-to car rental company. It is the only car rental company with whom I have "loyalty points" or whatever they call it these days. I haven't rented a car in a long time. 
Also from The Dickinson Press:
A manufacturer of oil field products is comfortable with its investment in a second Grand Forks facility despite a slowdown in the industry brought on by low energy prices.
Dickinson-based Steffes Corp. announced in June 2014 that it had purchased the American Defense Industries building on U.S. Highway 2. That came two years after it had first added a Grand Forks plant during the Bakken oil boom.
But since then, oil prices have tumbled, and manufacturers have felt the pinch. A Texas-based oil field manufacturer with operations in Grafton, ND, filed for bankruptcy in 2015 before being purchased by another company this year.
But Joe Rothschiller, Steffes president and chief operating officer, said Friday they have launched a paint and sandblasting booth in their newest Grand Forks building within the past month and had it approved by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in December.
He acknowledged, however, that operations will start out slower than originally planned.
This is one of the advantages of being a private company: not having to be worried about quarterly reports and analysts. All they have to do is live within their means, and survive until things turn around.   
A Note to the Granddaughters
Weekend Reading

Generally I don't care for weekends. I'm a newsaholic, and unless there's really bad weather to report, there's generally not a lot of news over the weekends.

But the weekends do give me a chance to catch up on my reading.

I was thrilled to have completed Doctor Zhivago this past week. I will put it aside for a few days (or weeks) and then go back to it, completing the timeline of the novel against the biographical timeline of the author.

So my copy of Doctor Zhivago comes out of the backpack and is replaced by the 2014 edition of the Beowulf translation by J.R.R. Tolkien. I've started this book more than once, and if the bookmark is any indication, I did not get more than halfway through the last time I started it. We'll see if I get any farther along this time. Probably not.

I've also pulled down, for the umpteenth time, the autobiography of Stephen Spender. At least one reviewer has said this is the best autobiography in English written in the 20th century. The review, John Bayley, was biased; he also wrote the introduction, but for whatever reason, the Spender story continues to captivate me. I've read this autobiography once in its entirety and have read bits and pieces more than several times, but I still don't have a "feel" for Spender. Maybe I never will.

I became interested in looking at the Spender autobiography again after I read a fairly long review in the most recent issue of The New York Review of Books, "The Talented, Trapped Spenders," by Colm Tóibín, an Irish writer, poet, and critic. Along with the English and Scotch, the Irish are among the best writers. I am never disappointed.

Speaking of never being disappointed, The New York Review of Books seldom disappoints me. This week was particularly good:
  • the review of two books on Stephen Spender, including one written by his son Matthew who absolutely adored his father
  • "Hillary and Women," which I probably won't read, but one never knows
  • "A Different 'Darkness at Noon" -- I have no idea what it's about but the lede is intriguing
  • "'China's Worst Policy Mistake'?" -- the one-child policy; it turns out that the entire subject is much different than I had imagined
  • "Brilliant, Troubled Dorothy Parker" -- saving this for last; one of my favorite subjects
  • "In the Capital of Europe," Brussels; ill-timed?
  • "Thomas Hardy: The Romantic Episode" -- saving this for just before reading Dorothy Parker
  • "Mysterious, Brilliant Frederick Douglas," -- the nineteenth century's most photographed American
  • "The Amazing Career of a Pioneer Capitalist"
  • "The Victory of Ukraine" -- generally would not be interested but after reading Doctor Zhivago, my interests have broadened a bit
  • "Inside Obedient Islamic Minds" -- I'm really not interested except it's written by another Irish writer:
Malise Ruthven (born 14 May 1942) is an Anglo-Irish academic and writer. Born in Dublin in 1942, he earned an MA in English Literature at Cambridge University, before working as a scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Service, and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs.
He earned his PhD in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. Having pursued a career as a writer, journalist and teacher, he focuses his work on religion, fundamentalism, and especially Islamic affairs.
I may not blog much this weekend.

Happy Easter!

From my daughter's iPhone. Lighting on computer has to be turned way up to see this video -- which is a bit dark.

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