Sunday, January 15, 2012

NFL Playoffs and Superbowl -- Absolutely Nothing to Do With The Bakken

Just for the record, it's going to be the New York Giants vs the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

New York will easily beat the San Francisco 49-er's next week, and the Patriots will smother the Ravens.

So, we'll see.

You Have Got To Be Kidding -- Only in North Dakota -- I Don't Know If This Has Anything To Do With The Bakken or Not

Link here.
A barrage of negative feedback led to North Dakota tourism officials pulling a print advertisement that was called "sleazy" by some people on Facebook.

The ad shows two men at a bar table and three women on a sidewalk eyeing each other up through a window. The image falls under the message, "Drinks, dinner, decisions," with a tagline, "Arrive a guest, leave a legend."

Facebook commenters found the ad distasteful and Jersey Shore-esque, saying the objectification of women outweighed the message of promoting nightlife in North Dakota.
Jersey Shore-esque! You have got to be kidding.

I thought the ad was objectifying men. I guess the barrage of negative feedback came from the same folks in southwest North Dakota who don't like the idea of a bunch of men living together.

The photo is at the linked site. Something tells me this photo will be hard to find in a few days. "Cut and paste" now.

For all you roughnecks out there, this photo is THE pin-up you need in your man-camp unit. Or send it to your geographically-separated significant other to reassure her this is as racy as it gets in the oil patch.

But you have got to be kidding! Two guys and three gals -- smiling at each other -- fully clothed; separated by a window. Jersey Shore-esque? I've been to the Jersey Shore, and this photo does not in any way look like Jersey Shore.

Time for a new tourism director, it appears. Perhaps start with a full-spread glossy on the two gentlemen's clubs in Williston, the first places of entertainment that tourists who arrive by train see in Williston. [Note to readers: I have come into Williston on numerous occasions on Amtrak, and have never, never noticed the clubs. They are in non-descript buildings -- I can't even remember if they have neon lights -- at the top of the hill from the station. I doubt anyone walks up the hill into Williston; they take a cab or get picked up by a family member or a friend.]

Looks like a perfect poll! Maybe later.

But this is absolute craziness. Too racy? Parents need to look at the videos their UND and NDSU children-students are posting on the net. Just saying.

[Actually, looking at the men AND the women, I didn't find much worth objectifying. Whatever that means.]

Actually this was the real disappointment: not one tall Norwegian blond in the group.

I'm talking about the men.

Travel: York Minster -- York, Yorkshire, England -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Bakken

In today's Boston Globe there is a wonderful essay on York Minster in the "Travel" section.

While serving in the US Air Force, my family and I were stationed in England for three years. Some time later, near the end of my career, the Air Force sent me back to England -- I think because they knew I was tired of traveling by that time in my career. Smile. So, they sent me back over and over; I spent about nine months at a super-secret site (which all the Brits knew about) in Yorkshire, near the Scottish border over the course of two years or so. I was usually sent back for a month at a time.

Yorkshire had a lot in common with North Dakota: northern latitudes climate, seasons (although not nearly as cold as North Dakota); and daylight hours, summer and winter; rural setting; farming; reserved personalities; and, so forth.

I loved Yorkshire, and had plans to return there during retirement. Those plans are on hold for various reasons, not the least of which my 24/7 commitment to my granddaughters.

Today, I was able to think again about some of those Yorkshire memories having come across Patricia Harris' essay on York Minster.

Patricia had gone there to look at the architecture, the largest medieval Gothic cathedral in northern Europe.

It was nice to read her comments on the cathedral, but it was the last few paragraphs that were the best:
Retired clergyman Geoffrey Haysmore explained that “we want people to feel that this is a place of prayer and worship.’’ The announcements are made four times a day, he said, but “we try to keep them short.’’

Haysmore told me that people from all over York come to the Minster for Sunday services. Since I was visiting during the week, he suggested that I return in a couple of hours for Evensong, held in the choir where the monks would worship.

I had been planning to spend the early evening at Betty's, York’s famous tea room.

But as the afternoon wore on, I couldn’t get Haysmore’s invitation out of my mind. By 5:15 I found myself seated in the small, tightly packed choir with its amazing carved wooden stalls. As the chorus of adults in white robes and young children in red lifted their voices in song, I forgot about historical dates and square feet of stained glass - and listened to the sound of the congregation joined in their faith.
I had a similar experience. I have had tea at Betty's on at least one occasion; I remember it well. I remember that occasion so well I cannot remember if I ever visited more than once. There's more to Betty's than the tea, but that's another story, I suppose.

But it was the "Evensong" that jumped out at me. I visited York Minster on many occasions, both during the first tour of England with my family, and then during my frequent return visits to Yorkshire between 2002 and 2004. I don't recall attending Evensong at York Minster, but I do recall attending a most wonderful Arvo Pärt "concert" there one Sunday evening, long ago.
The so-called holy minimalists are represented by Arvo Pärt, whose Johannespassion and Magnificat have received regular performances; ....
That evening it was Te Deum by Arvo Pärt. 

I don't recall how I was introduced to Arvo Pärt but I had his CD collection long before I heard a live concert of his material.

But I digress.

So, as I was saying, I don't recall attending Evensong at York Minster, but I attended Evensong every chance I got at the Ripon Cathedral when I was sent back to Yorkshire by the USAF.

Sunday evenings can be a bit "slow" for a tourist in England; stores are closed; it's dark; it's cold; it can be lonely for the single traveler. I found Evensong a wonderful way to spend Sunday evenings in Yorkshire. It sounds like Patricia felt the same way.

Waste Water Solution -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Link here.
A father-son team from Stanley plans to build the first stand-alone lagoon system in North Dakota to handle sewage wastewater generated by thousands of workers at oil rigs, man camps and worker housing.

State regulators say a plan by Curt and Beau Vachal, owners of MonDak Water and Septic Services, to build one and possibly several more in the oil patch could help solve the problem of a growing amount of such waste and fewer places to take it.
North Dakota's oil patch pumps out nearly 510,000 barrels of oil every day and in the range of 500,000 gallons of sewage wastewater from rigs, man camps and worker housing in the same 24 hours.

The first crude product is very valuable and the second is very costly, the consequence of 10,000 workers using at least 50 gallons of water every day to shower, shave and do their daily business.
Waste water solutions interest most folks about as much as parking structures in urban areas, but both are essential. Good luck to the Vachals. 


By the way, for archival purposes, there are at least a few wells with the Vachal name:
  • 19352, 1,290, Hess, EN-Vachal-155-93-0532H, Mountrail
  • 19403, 701, CLR, Vachal 1-27H, Alkali Creek, Bakken  
  • 19764, 3,249, BEXP, Vachal 3-34 1H, Mountrail
Elsewhere the name appears:

Exactly What Were The Headline Writers Trying To Say? -- Exactly What They Said-- Not a Bakken Story

Is it just me or is this confusing, except to those who are following this story very, very closely?

This is the headline: EPA rejects appeal of Arctic air permit for Shell exploratory drilling ship

It certainly sounds like, at least to me, this was bad news for Shell.

But it isn't, as far as I can tell.

The story is this, if I understand it correctly.
Shell has poured billions into this project thinking they had all the necessary permits.

At the last minute, the EPA moved the goalposts and denied Shell's applicaton.

Shell went back in and re-accomplished everything, at great expense, and entailing another delay.

The EPA approved Shell's revised application.

The faux-environmentalists appealed the EPA decision to approve the Shell application.

This story, linked above, says the EPA denied the appeal. If I understand the story correctly, the EPA has given Shell the go-ahead to begin exploratory drilling on a very, very limited and constrained basis.
A better headline: EPA rejects appeal; Shell to drill

Or even better: EPA to Shell: Drill, Drill, Drill

Anyway, that's how I read it. But the headline certainly caught my attention -- when it was sent to me by Don. A big thank you to Don for sending this story my way. I had lost the bubble on this one.

From the linked story, in case the link is broken:
Royal Dutch Shell’s quest to drill exploratory wells in Arctic waters has received a boost with the affirmation that its federal air permits for the Chukchi Sea were properly granted.

The EPA Appeals Board on Thursday rejected challenges to the air permits brought by Alaska Native and conservation groups.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said in a formal announcement that the decision means Shell, for the first time, has usable air permits that will allow its drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, to work in the outer continental shelf off Alaska’s northwest coast in 2012.
But on a very, very limited and constrained basis (oh, I already wrote that).