CSotD: Who knows and who cares?

I’m going to let John Branch (KFS) stand in for a lot less honest, or less accurate, commentators, because his piece is both clever and, I think, accurate.

Westerners are used to seeing those pumps constantly going up and down on the plains, but I heard them likened to grasshoppers early enough that I didn’t think of them in terms of those bobbing birds that dip into a glass of water until now, much less as ostriches.

Ostriches don’t really bury their heads in the ground any more than lemmings go piling off cliffs into the ocean but we have the established metaphor anyway and it certainly seems to apply to supporters of the oil and gas industry, if not to the industry itself.

It’s undeniable that we have a limited quantity of dead dinosaurs, which is why we’ve experimented with oil shale and fracking and low-quality sludge as well as drilling in places that are very hard to probe.

The good stuff is coming to an end and I would think geological engineering types would know that, and so perhaps it’s only optimistic investors who hope to squeeze the last bit out over the next few decades, like taking the nearly-empty plastic bag out of a winebox.

If you’re Ma and Pa Kettle and you’ve got a couple of oil leases on your property, well, it sucks to be you, but the fellows who are paying to pull that stuff out of the ground ought to be financially mobile (no pun) enough to already be moving on.

And if their own knowledge of what lies under the ground isn’t enough, General Motors’ announcement that they’re going to stop making gas-powered vehicles in less than a decade … well, I guess that’s where you either make intelligent plans or bury your head in the ground.

I don’t plan to buy a new car in five years and I’m not the only person planning to ride my current vehicle into the ground. We went through a few years of selling both leaded and unleaded gas, after all, and there are probably still a few cars with carburetors putt-putting around.

It’ll peter out; there won’t be a sudden slamming shutdown.

The question in my mind is the extent to which the industry has worked to protect its collective butt with positive articles and promotional materials versus mounting a full-bore Tobacco Institute effort to fund and produce outright lies and propaganda.

Which is why I used John Branch’s cartoon rather than one of the Omigod We’ll All Lose Our Jobs propaganda pieces that are coming out.

Oil patch workers have always moved from well to well and from pipeline to pipeline, just as construction workers move from job to job. It’s chicken one day and feathers the next and everybody knows that.

And 2025 isn’t so very far away and we’re going to need charging stations at all those convenience stores which used to be full-service gas stations until all those mechanics had to go find other jobs, too.

And, BTW, it strikes me that those service stations were locally owned and that the boss there made a better living than the interchangeable manager of some Circle K convenience store with a pump out front.

It’s a changing world and there’s no reason oil and gas workers should get off any easier than newspaper press operators, local disk jockeys or skilled meat cutters.

Though I’m not insensitive to the feeling that life sucks if you’re not at the tippy top.

But that sounds more like a progressive point of view than a conservative one.


Unfocused rage is a major problem right now, but Mike Luckovich (AMS) managed to draw a little humor out of it.


Adam Zyglis (Cagle) is a little more morbid about those who draw strength by exploiting that fury.

It’s hard not to think about when Hillary Clinton advised coal workers to look to the future and offered them help in training for new jobs outside their declining industry, while Trump promised he’d … what? Get all those natural gas generators to re-tool to burn coal? Yank out all our electric baseboards and install coal furnaces in our houses?

They still hate Hillary for suggesting re-training, though, and the GOP managed to get four years of loyalty out of the people they were lying to and exploiting.

Frank Zappa said “If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they’ll murder you in your sleep,” but Frank’s gone and the Republicans are still sleeping really well.

And while the GOP dithers and makes excuses for the seditionists and traitors within its ranks — and while evidence emerges as to the coordination between the rioters and the politicians who encouraged them — Paul Noth (The New Yorker) takes a sarcastic look at Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

Fawkes was tortured to obtain his confession, then he and each of his fellow conspirators were sentenced, as Wikipedia sums it up to

be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground. They were to be “put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both”. Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed. They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become “prey for the fowls of the air.”

I would think we could come up with something halfway between that and our own means of punishing traitors, which is to give them committee assignments.

But before you break your arm patting yourself on the back over how much more civilized we’ve become . . .


I saw Ann Telnaes (WashPo)‘s cartoon about the little girl who was pepper-sprayed before I saw the actual report, so I went to Google News and, sure enough, there it was in Rochester.

And in Nevada.

And in Seattle.

And in Pasadena.

And in Burlington.

And in DC

And in Minneapolis.


And in Fort Wayne . . . they got her twice.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Who knows and who cares?

  1. re: It’s a changing world and there’s no reason oil and gas workers should get off any easier than newspaper press operators, local disk jockeys or skilled meat cutters.

    A friend of mine who’s a sports reporter at the local newspaper has begun posting photos of the presses there being dismantled in 2010. He’s kept them private until now in deference to his employer.

    Of course, now everybody knows that the paper is printed a couple hundred miles away along with the Kenosha newspaper, and there’s never any coverage of last night’s football games until the day after tomorrow. Or for that matter, last night’s city council meeting.

    The reporters are off blogging on their own. I’m not sure what the press operators are doing. They can’t have all found jobs at the newspaper printing plant in Indiana.

  2. I graduated Art School in 1981. For the next 15 years or so I took my knowledge & talent and began a career as a professional Artist. I’d create roughs in pencil and markers on paper and construct camera ready art with overlays on boards.

    In the early to mid 1990’s, as an artist/illustrator with Hallmark Cards, we were each given a MAC and encouraged to learn it and it’s various art software. We’d integrate it with our traditional artwork. It was first accepted as another tool but many could see that it would be the dominant force in our industry.

    During that time many artists, both older and young, balked at the computer. They had disdain for anything that wasn’t the traditional way of doing things. To this day I often wonder what became of them. For myself, I’ve continued my career, some 25 years later and I know full well, if I hadn’t made the transition, hadn’t embraced the progression of the way work is done in my field, I’d be out of work or would have to follow a different path.

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