Sunday, March 13, 2016

Futures Sunday Night Suggest A Fairly Nice Opening Monday; Look At The Jump In Japan's Core Machinery Orders -- March 13, 2016

Updates

March 14, 2016: that was fun while it lasted. Apparently cooler heads prevailed and futures went negative late last evening and now we're looking at a negative opening. As I said, I'm eternally optimistic, inappropriately exuberant. Maybe it was that talk about Buffett bubbles.
 
Original Post
 
I think I recall that the Dow rose 218 points Friday. Pretty good day, whatever it was. And that followed a week of similar gains --- perhaps not that great but one gets the point, whatever.

I say all that to say this: the futures right now are showing an opening of 181 points. That follows an earlier story that "Asian stocks lifted by Wall Street gains, firming oil."

This is not an investment site. Do not make any investment, financial, or travel plans based on what you read here or think you might have read here. I was simply pointing that out. I was quite surprised to see futures where they are considering market action Friday. But I'm easily surprised. And an eternal optimist. And inappropriately exuberant about the Bakken.

Speaking of which, what did you think of that article about increasing clusters to "an unheard of density"? I can't imagine it costs all that much more to decrease cluster spacing.

By the way, there is another story out there with Warren Buffett explaining why market bubbles occur.

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Oil Price Rise Could Lead To More Production

Over at The Wall Street Journal now, which I assume is in tomorrow's edition:  Oil Price Rise Could Be Its Own Undoing.
Higher crude-oil prices could encourage shale producers to ramp up output again The slide in oil prices has paused after crude fell more than 70% from its 2014 peak. Now the question is whether the recent rise itself could spark another downward spiral.

U.S. oil prices are up more than 45% from a 13-year low in February, boosted by talks among Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers about capping their output.

A temporary reduction in global crude supply following outages in Nigeria and Iraq also helped buoy the market.

On Friday, the International Energy Agency said that oil prices may have bottomed out, and it forecast U.S. output to decline by nearly 530,000 barrels a day this year. The report seemed to support the market’s increasingly bullish mood, pushing U.S. oil prices up 1.7% to $38.50 a barrel.

But this rally could lead to its own demise, many analysts warn. Higher prices will likely encourage shale producers to ramp up output again, muddying any forecasts for shrinking U.S. supply.
Shale wells can be drilled and fracked within a matter of months, much more quickly than other types of oil wells that can take years to complete.
And there are about 1,000 Bakken wells already drilled, just waiting to be fracked. And thousands more with production being cut back.

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Big News Monday

This was back on December 8, 2015:
Japan October core machinery orders jump in good sign for capex.

Japan's core machinery orders unexpectedly rose 10.7 percent in October, posting a second straight month of gains, government data showed on Wednesday, in a sign of a delayed pickup in business investment.

The rise in core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, compared with economists' median estimate of a 1.5 percent drop in a Reuters poll.

That followed a 7.5 percent gain in September, which was the first month-on-month increase in four months
I posted all that "old news" because tomorrow it's going to be reported that Japan's January core machinery orders jump 15% -- maybe that's why futures are now up 197 points.

Here's that Japanese report: core machinery orders jump 15%; better than a 2.7% increased expected by economists. 

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The Sports Page

We lived in San Antonio for thirteen years and the Spurs are still among my favorite sports teams, regardless of sport.

It's still the same old team. Literally. From The Wall Street Journal:
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has become famous for resting his players during the regular season. The Spurs routinely allow their veteran starters to sit out games or spend long stretches on the bench in an effort to keep them fresh for the postseason.
But when they do take the court, the Spurs don’t let their aging stars idle. In fact, they race around the court like a bunch of eight-year-olds on a sugar high.
The Spurs, who have the oldest roster in the NBA with an average age of 31.3, play at one of the fastest paces of any team in the league. Entering the weekend, the Spurs ranked sixth in distance covered per game (17.4 miles), second in offensive distance covered per game (9.68 miles) and third in average speed (4.33 miles per hour).
Should the team’s averages hold, they will be the only team to rank in the top six in all three categories for the third consecutive season.
Playing at a frantic pace has made the Spurs one of the league’s most successful teams. They are 56-10 and on course to finish with one of the best regular-season records in history. But it hasn’t been a winning strategy for everyone. The Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers, who rank in the top two in distance covered per contest, have a combined record of 37-94.
Having said all that, the Spurs won't make it to the NBA Finals. They will come up one game short. Sad. But the Spurs fans will still be among the best fans out there. 

From Reuters: Turning To Frack Tech, Stricken U.S. Oil Drillers Test New Limits; Unheard Of Cluster Spacing Could Increase Bakken Initial Production By 50% -- March 13, 2016

Link here.
Top U.S. shale producers are pushing fracking technology to new extremes to get more oil out of their wells, as they weather lower-for-longer oil prices.
While the impact of the techniques may be scarcely noticeable on current U.S. output with so few wells in operation, it could mean drillers are able to accelerate production more fiercely than ever once prices recover.
Regular readers are pretty much aware of all this, but here are some data points.
  • Pioneer Natural Resources is increasing the lengths of stages in its wells
  • Hess Corp is increasing the number of stages
  • Whiting Petroleum and Devon Copr are adding more sand
  • analysts suggest initial production could increase by 5 to 50%
  • Pioneer plans to cut spacing between "clusters" (perfs) to as little as 15 feet -- a move "unheard of" in the past
  • for a typical well in the Bakken, a jump to 15-foot spacing could easily boost initial output by as much as 50 percent -- Monte Besler, FRACN8R Consulting, North Dakota
More:
"The increase in proppant amounts and fluid amounts and the decrease in cluster spacing, all of those are directions that industry in general has been headed," said Jennifer Miskimins, senior consulting engineer with Barree & Associates in Lakewood, Colorado.
"The increase in proppant amounts and fluid amounts and the decrease in cluster spacing, all of those are directions that industry in general has been headed," said Jennifer Miskimins, senior consulting engineer with Barree & Associates in Lakewood, Colorado.
"In some places it is helping with long-term recoveries and that's why we're starting to see people push the envelope a little bit."
More data points:
  • in 4Q15, Pioneer in the Permian slashed stage lengths by 60 percent,  added one cluster per stage, and pumped more fluid, about 36 bbls/foot up form 30; the results: IP jumped by more than 15% 
  • Hess: IP's increased by more than 20% after increasing stage counts about 40% to 50
  • increasing amount of sand: Whiting, Devon, CLR: 2,500 to 2,700 lbs/lateral foot in some wells, might raise IP as much as 50%
Other links:
Impacts of the number of perforation clusters and cluster spacing on production performance of horizontal shale-gas wells, February, 2012
Multistage hydraulic fracturing has become the key technology to complete horizontal wells in shale-gas reservoirs. In each stage, multiple perforation clusters are used to create multiple transverse fractures. How these clusters are placed significantly affects both the short-term and long-term production performance of horizontal shale-gas wells. The author's previous work has demonstrated that when more than two fractures are created, mechanical interaction among fractures creates strong stress concentrations around the inner fractures. As a result, the fractures between two edge fractures (i.e., subcenter and center fractures) experience only limited dilation, and their widths are much smaller than the edge-fractures' width.
Methods improve stimulation efficiency of perforation clusters in completions, Halliburton, JPT, April 1, 2014: 
The average daily gross perforated interval per stage (top perforation to bottom perforation) that Halliburton completed in the Haynesville and Bossier shales from 2010 to 2013 was analyzed. The data encompasses nearly 11,000 stages for more than 30 operators. It illustrates that many operators began to reduce their gross perforated interval per stage across the play by the middle of 2011. In July 2011, it was 272 ft and by mid-2012, it declined to 150 ft, falling at a relatively constant rate as operators increasingly went to a shorter isolated stage interval.
This indicates closer stage spacing (plug to plug) or more stages per well, with lateral length remaining relatively constant. These trends continued into 2012 and a dramatic improvement was seen not only in the slope of the projected production decline curve, but also in the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) for the wells being brought online.
The 72-month cumulative production average for wells completed in 2010 and 2011 was roughly the same at 4.5 Bcf per well, but for wells completed in 2012, it rose to 5.5 Bcf per well (Kaiser and Yu 2013). This marked a 22% improvement and was largely because of the reservoir-specific completion optimization progression, such as closer stage spacing.
Advanced Well Stimulation Technologies, 2014
Perforation patterns are typically shot in clusters separated by 10.7 to 22.9 m (35 to 75 ft) or more (King, 2010). Each cluster is 0.305 to 0.71 m (1 to 2 ft) in length with about 20 perforations per meter (6 perforations per foot). The idea of a cluster is to initiate one main fracture from each cluster; the multiple perforations within a cluster help to find the easiest fracture initiation point. With the narrow spacing between perforations in a cluster, only one fracture will grow, because of the effects of the fracture on the local stress field that tend to suppress any other fractures trying to emerge from the cluster (King, 2010). For a typical stage interval of 61 or 91.4 m (200 or 300 ft), this results in about 4 to 7 clusters per stage.

Random Look At Charts From Credit Suisse Annual Global Wealth Reports -- March 13, 2016

Warning: if you do decide to download these PDFs, they can take a very long time to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. My connection was very fast in some places and downloaded quickly; other places the connection was slow and the download would have taken forever had I continued.
 
Don sent me the link for these graphs. You can go to the Credit Suisse website and view/download annual global wealth reports. I was curious how the slump in oil prices affected change in global among selected countries.

The reports had similar graphs for the past four years (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015) but I did not see similar graphs in the 2011 and the 2010 report. The Bakken was reaching its stride in 2010. Oil hit some of its highest prices prior to the Saudi Slump / Surge which began in October, 2014.

Commentary by the authors of the annual reports can be found at the above link (and the corresponding report, of course).

But here are the graphs. Note, these graphs do not show all countries, just those countries with the largest gains or losses. Saudi Arabia shows up on none of the graphs; it will be interesting if Saudi Arabia shows up next year as a "big loser." The US shows up in all the graphs -- I find that interesting because these are not graphs comparing "total wealth," but rather change in total wealth.

I have added one additional graph at the very bottom from the most recent report because it shows additional countries, including more of the oil-producing countries.

Again: if you do decide to download these PDFs, they can take a very long time to download depending on the speed of your internet connection. 

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Change In Nation's Total Wealth 

2015:




2014:



2013:


2012:


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Change In Household Wealth

This is the additional chart I added. It comes from the most recent report. I included it because it shows more countries, including more oil-producing countries. Note the change in wealth for: Brazil, Mexico, Norway, Russia. Again, these are only the countries with the biggest gains and losses. It will be interesting if Saudi Arabia shows up next year as the biggest loser.

To Report Monday: To Great Whiting Wells; Five More DUCs -- March 13, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016
  • 31086, 2,249, Whiting, P Pankowski 153-98-4-6-7-13H, Truax, t9/15; cum 132K 1/16; only 15 days in January, 2016;
  • 31088, 2,248, Whiting, P Pankowski 153-98-4-6-7-13HA, Truax, t9/15; cum 106K 1/16; only 16 days in January, 2016;
  • 31215, SI/NC, XTO, FBIR Reese 43X-33A, Heart Butte, no production data,
  • 31222, 3 (no typo), Ballard Petroleum, Fines 14-19, Chatfield, t11/15; no production yet;
  • 31729, SI/NC, SM Energy, Bissonnette 14B-31HS, Skabo, no production data,
Sunday, March 13, 2016
  • 27652, SI/NC, Petro-Hunt, Klatt 145-97-19C-18-5H, Little Knife, no production data,
  • 31216, SI/NC, XTO, FBIR Reese 43X-33B, Heart Butte, no production data,
Saturday, March 12, 2016
  • 31217, SI/NC, FBIR Reese 43X-33B, Heart Butte, no production data,
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31088, see above, Whiting, P Pankowski 153-98-4-6-7-13HA, Truax:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold
1-20161116619189
12-2015222610
11-2015348170
10-2015277370
9-201599540

31086, see above, Whiting, P Pankowski 153-98-4-6-7-13H, Truax:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold
1-2016904013974
12-2015321110
11-2015344570
10-2015385660
9-2015175980

In Too Deep -- Off The Net For Awhile

A reader mentioned an earlier video of Sophia in her new wading boots. That reminded me that I had not put up the most recent video of her wading experience.

This video is only 22 seconds long but it shows you how quickly Sophia can get herself into deep water (pun intended) -- LOL.

I put her wading boots on and then went to get the camera. When I looked up she had wandered from an area of almost no water and then into an area that was fine, but then she walked to the bottom of a slide, where the "hole" was much deeper.....she froze and I had to go in and get her. Remarkably, no water got into her wading boots; she probably had a quarter-inch to spare.

On the other hand, because I did not have wading boots on, my shoes were soaked up to my ankles.

In Too Deep

New Business Opens In Watford City -- March 13, 2016

This is really, really cool.

A long-time businesswoman in Watford City, with a store on Main Street, saw an opportunity to turn a vacant store next door into a new business: a coffee shop with art studio.

The Dickinson Press reports:
The new business, which celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 30, is one of several new small businesses to open recently in downtown Watford City.
“There’s some flavor coming back to Main Street,” said Gene Veeder, Beth’s husband and the county’s economic development director.
Horning left a job as a pressure tester in the oilfield to pursue his art professionally with his Shred the Lead Studio. In addition to his original paintings, Horning has a T-shirt screening business and has started a skateboard business with his nephew, Reese Clausen.
Veeder initially thought about a small corner coffee shop, but expanded it to allow room for people to meet.
There's always a chance I will move back to the Bakken once the grandchildren are grown. My wife continues to expand her interest in painting, and she loves coffee shops. She also loves a milder climate than the one we have here in north Texas. It is supposed to get to 78 degrees here in Grapevine, TX, about 20 degrees warmer than my wife likes. Watford City will be at a much more comfortable 62 degrees. 

Norway: Drill, Drill, Drill -- What Price War? -- March 19, 2016

From Reuters:
Oil companies operating in Norway should hike recovery rates from mature fields despite falling crude prices, and resist the temptation to shut output earlier than planned, Energy Minister Tord Lien said.
"Companies are obliged to maximise the value of each field to prevent profitable resources from being squandered," Lien of the right-wing Progress Party told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference.
"This is something we must focus on, and it is important to communicate to companies that they have an independent responsibility to follow up," he added. "It's important to be clear on this from the government's side."
Lien declined to say whether he was satisfied with the efforts currently made by energy firms in upholding production.
Norway's oil output will drop to 1.53 million barrels per day in 2016 and 1.41 million in 2020 from 1.57 million in 2015.
The NPD has previously said that if prices stay low it could accelerate a fall in crude production after 2020 if companies quit fields early or cancel the development of new projects. As part of its cost cutting effort, state-controlled Statoil last year postponed a decision on extending the lifetime of its Snorre field to 2040. The upgrade has been estimated to yield an additional 300 million barrels of oil.
A cut from 1.57 million bopd last year (2015) to 1.53 million bopd this year (2016) -- 40,000 bopd -- is minuscule in the big scheme of things -- North Dakota's production dropped 30,000 bopd in each of the last two months -- but over time, it adds up. 

Location, Location, Location When It Comes To Natural Gas -- March 13, 2016

This is a continuation of the story about the US increasing amounts of natural gas shipped to Canada. I separated it out because it also provides a nice comparison of Canada's Montney with the US Marcellus.

From Bloomberg/Rigzone:
The production gap between the two countries is significant.

Last year, Canada produced about 12 billion cubic feet a day of gas, compared with almost 80 billion from the states.

At the same time, drillers working the Montney shale basin in Western Canada face a disadvantage with the northern edge of the Marcellus basin in Pennsylvania sitting about 12 times closer to Toronto
The region covering the Marcellus is one of the few places where it’s still profitable to invest in gas lines. It’ll yield 17.4 billion cubic feet a day this month, 2 billion cubic feet more than the U.S. Energy Information Administration had previously forecast.
While the number of drilling rigs targeting gas has plunged to zero in fields from North Dakota to Oklahoma, there are still 40 running in the Marcellus and its neighboring Utica shale.
Gas futures for April delivery rose 3.8 cents to $1.826 per million British thermal units at 8:07 a.m. Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
That’s where proposals like Spectra’s Nexus and Atlantic Bridge projects come in. The pipelines, scheduled to start up by the end of next year, would carry about 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas, or enough to heat 22,000 homes for a year, to the northern U.S. and Canada.
To achieve this, the company is seeking to reverse the Maritimes & Northeast line, which sends gas from Canada’s eastern waters south of the border. At the same time, Energy Transfer’s Rover project would deliver the fuel to the northern Midwest, where it will interconnect with a line stretching into Ontario.
Meanwhile, TransCanada, the company that was stymied in its attempt to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, is considering reversing its Iroquois gas line, which has been sending western Canadian supplies to the U.S. for more than two decades. The move would allow TransCanada to boost volumes on the pipeline by delivering cheap Marcellus gas to the eastern provinces.
Note: both the Marcellus and the Montney are tracked at the sidebar at the right. You might have to scroll down a bit to find them. 

US Will Increase Natural Gas Exports To Canada -- Huge Story; OIl Drilling Technology -- March 13, 2016



From Rigzone:
A Calgary-based company is demonstrating a prototype of its new, proprietary robotic racking board pipe handler for land-based drilling rigs. SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robotic Arm) – designed to improve safety and efficiency by replacing the derrick men who work at the top of the drilling rig – can move a triple pipe stand in less than 25 seconds, according to RigArm Inc.’s website.
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US Natural Gas To Canada
From Bloomberg:
U.S. gas drillers battered by the lowest prices in 17 years have found another release valve for their output: Canada.
Over the past five years, the shale boom that unlocked vast supplies of natural gas across North America has tripled pipeline shipments from the U.S. to Mexico, and spurred the first seaborne exports from the lower 48 states. Now, pipeline companies led by Spectra Energy Corp., TransCanada Corp. and Energy Transfer Partners LP are gearing up to more than double the flow into Canada by 2027.
The push begins next year, with plans to open or expand at least three major pipelines and reverse the flow northward on a fourth. Meanwhile, TransCanada may be going a step further, engaging in acquisition talks with Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., a company with a direct route into the U.S.’s prolific Marcellus shale play. The efforts come as gas stockpiles have reached historic highs, prices have fallen almost 40 percent since the end of 2011 and the fuel has established itself as the Bloomberg Commodity Index’s worst performer. All of that has spurred a desperate drive by drillers to expand their markets.
“There’s so much supply growth in the eastern U.S. that producers are seeking any and all outlets to get the gas to market,” Martin King, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary, said in a phone interview. “It’s another obstacle for Canadian producers.”
Home-grown Canadian drillers such as Calgary-based Birchcliff Energy Ltd. and Encana Corp., are already feeling the heat. Nine years ago, supplies piped from Canada met 16 percent of U.S. demand for natural gas.
By 2014, as U.S. output rose to a record for a fourth straight year, Canadian supplies had slipped under 10 percent. Some Canadian producers will hurt more than others. Those who keep their costs down and sell to markets that don’t vie with supplies from the eastern U.S. will remain competitive, said Jeff Tonken, Birchcliff’s chief executive officer. Meanwhile Encana, one of Canada’s largest gas producers, has said it was cutting spending this year by 55 percent amid the slide in oil and gas prices. The company is also reducing its workforce another 20 percent, which means that Encana will have more than halved its number of employees and contractors since 2013.
I wonder if Trudeau spoke about these issues when he met with President Obama?

Williston Wire News Items From The Bakken -- Saturday, March 12, 2016

From The Williston Wirei:

Walt's Market set to re-open: Last fall, a smoky electrical fire ruined most of the inside of a landmark Williston business. Now, six months and a gut renovation later, an expanded Walt's Market is finally set to re-open. Owner Eric Engberg hopes to welcome customers back early next week, although doors may open this weekend if last-minute equipment deliveries and final city inspections allow.

Search for Williston's first administrator set to begin: The search for the City of Williston's first administrator is moving forward. The Williston City Commisson approved the Executive Search Committee's recommendation that Strategic Government Resources conduct the recruitment for a City of Williston Administrator. SGR is based in Keller,Texas.  

Sport and Recreation Show later this month : The 31st Annual Sport & Recreation Show will be held at the Raymond Family Community Center March 18-20. The show is produced by the Williston Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) each year as a fundraiser for the Williston Police Department, community events and event equipment. The show will feature the newest models of boats, RVs, ATVs, grills, motorcycles and spas plus custom made fishing poles, saunas, resort packages, man cave d├ęcor, fishing equipment, artwork and much more. 

All that is needed is a depot: After a nearly 40-year absence, Amtrak may resume making Culbertson one of its stops along the Empire Builder route. "It's another service for the community," Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers said, adding it was estimated to generate 7,000 riders, with some of them being Canadians. He said they have the blessing of Amtrak and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, which owns the line. However, a BNSF official contacted late Friday afternoon was not immediately able to confirm. All that's needed is a depot. 

Former Bowman airport to become an industrial park:Bowman County is moving ahead with turning the old Bowman Municipal Airport into an industrial park, which will then fall into city hands. The airport officially moved from the west side of town to the east in May. If it pans out to the visions of the community leaders behind it, the project will invite more business into the community and serve to boost its overall commerce.

Ray Clinic celebrates grand opening: The Northland Health Clinic in Ray celebrated its official opening with an open house recently. The staff said the response from the community was positive. "There's been a lot of excitement from the community," said Kelli Ruff, Northland compliance officer.  Northland CEO Patrick Butler said he was very pleased with the turnout.

Perhaps not this kind of segway: Kinder Morgan contributed $300,000 to McKenzie County Healthcare Systems'  new medical campus at the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce's March meeting. "This is an exciting part of the segway here as we move forward," stated Lynn Welker, CEO of WelkerPR, who is working with the healthcare system's fundraising efforts.

And with that, we will segway our way to personal notes to the granddaughters.

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A Note to the Granddaughters

I mentioned earlier I was in my "Doctor Zhivago" stage. The book arrived, and last night I started reading it. I've decided it will be my "late night" book to read. I read the first chapter last night and about half the second chapter when I woke up this morning. It is absolutely not boring. It is very, very easy to read. Like "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" it was the movie that made it possible to read the book.

I remember some time ago reading that the uneducated loved Shakespeare's plays when he was performing. These peasants saw the plays over and over. They knew the lines and they knew the story, frontwards and backwards as they say. At one time I would have thought what could be more boring, watching the same play or re-reading over and over the same book. Now I know why. For a book like "Doctor Zhivago" covering so much time, so much distance, and with so many characters, one benefits knowing where the book is leading. Knowing where the book is leading I see little things that I would otherwise miss.

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A Note to the Granddaughters

This is my last weekend alone -- all alone. What a glorious weekend to anticipate: so much reading and so much blogging to catch up on.

Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be reading Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, but I'm in my "Doctor Zhivago" stage having watched the movie several times in the past two weeks. In addition, I have been blogging (personal, not public) a scene-by-scene "summary" of the movie. Among the many lacunae in my brain is a huge hole labeled "Russia: 1914 - 1921."

Through the movie, I finally have the "big story" and that cerebral lacuna is about half the size it was two weeks ago. I assume humanity is doomed to repeat history if they do read about it. When sorting out the backdrop to Doctor Zhivago it sounded very, very similar to the Spanish Civil War (Hemingway) and the French Revolution (Paris Commune). And, now, of course, we have the war in Syria. Next would be events in the US if Bernie Sanders were to be elected, but, of course, he won't.

Being in my "Doctor Zhivago" phase I decided to read the novel. I did not know how difficult it would be just to figure out what edition to buy. I never thought about the importance of the translator(s). Be that as it may, I ordered a used copy of the novel translated by Hayward and Harari which appears to be the gold standard against which others are compared.

The reviews on Amazon.com suggest it's going to be a real slog to get through the book. One reviewer said there was "no action." Another reviewer says the first half of the book is entirely about too many personalities, many of whom disappear before the second half begins. Another reviewer says there are too many characters of which to keep track.

I'm prepared for the latter. I have my pen and sheet of white paper to jot down family trees and make notes about main characters that I know will be there to the end, like Komarovsky, sort of a blend between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, I suppose. Komarovsky had the moral compass of Clinton with regard to women, and Komarovsky had the political compass of Trump.

With regard to "no action," that's not a problem. I don't recall reading any book for "the action." Indeed, the modern writer that seems to personify manly action in his novels, Hemingway, writes more about relationships than action, I suppose. And, I suppose, I'm wrong there, too.

I will enjoy a book if I enjoy the subject matter and if I enjoy the writing. Pasternak was a poet, and it will be interesting to compare his writing (though translated) with another writer who wrote prose poems: Virginia Woolf.

I will let you know if I get past Part One of the 510-page novel along with an additional 50 pages of poems.
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Tea Leaves

There are two developing stories, one banal and will be solved quickly; the other incredibly important and it is hard to see where it will end.

The first story has to do with ever-increasing TSA lines and more and more airports "calling the TSA out." Airports have the right to provide their own security and some of them are. I could envision a public-private partnership where airports will set up their own lines for particularly busy periods, or for those folks who want to pay an extra $10 to get through security faster. Here at DFW, lines can become extremely long when one "checker" fails to show up for work. A typical checkpoint has three "ID checkers" and if the checkpoint goes down to two, the lines lengthen considerably. Screening bags may be the next bottleneck as more folks try to avoid checked baggage fees.

The other story is the federal land grab in the west and the local resistance. I think I know where Hunter S. Thompson would stand on this issue.