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24 February 2007

My Own Info-Cultural Overload


John Murray Gibbon wrote and published in 1935 a history entitled "Steel of Empire" which is subtitled "A Romantic History of the Canadian Pacific, the Northwest Passage of Today". The maps and illustrations are magnificent, including the one of Canadian water and rail routes on the inside covers. No, I did not Google J. M. Gibbon or search for the book on ABE or anything -- I left that task to my friend at the bookstore, who finally sold me this 423 page tome for CAN $10 instead of the $28.95 my other friend, the bookstore owner, had marked lightly on the fly-leaf page.

Yes, I probably will also purchase and read Pierre Berton's "The Last Rail" plus a few other histories of Canadian railroads and railroading.

The really interesting of part of this visit to the neighbourhood bookstore yesterday, however, revolved less around the titles I scanned on the shelves but the conversation(s) three of us had about 'transportation' into Montreal. Turns out that the woman (I forget her name, dammit!), the one who always comes in on Fridays to buy three pop-lit titles, arrived in Montreal by rail from Halifax in 1950 -- at age 3 after a sojourn in a DP (displaced persons) camp in Eastern Europe from birth to her departure to Canada. Her family was from Lithuania and did I ever get an earful about the situation of Lithuanian immigrant to Canada following the last world war (the present 'world war', actually . . the war that never really ended . . in my humble opinion).

You would be privileged to have heard, or to have me recount here, her personal history (which is not at all a private history). But in the 45 minutes or so that we spoke, the topics ranged so widely that it would take a volume greater than Gibbons's to relate the details and enough background for anyone outside my neighbourhood to understand the facts properly. This just shows the complicated state and entertwined themes of personal, local, social, ethnic, religious, world and linguistic histories. And this is no exaggeration.

(The rapport we three experienced and our mutual interest in exchanging stories is typical of the many high-points in interaction with customers that one sees in the typical used-bookstore on a typical day, by the way. Something I find nobody has time for in the retail trade for new books.)

Such conversations, of course, stimulate my interest in finding out more, meeting other Lithuanians and having more conversations with people I've met over the years who were also DPs before arriving in Canada. In terms of piquing my interest in reading, well one doesn't even know where to begin. But is my reaction typical? Aren't most people simply overloaded with all the details and complications of life as we've lived it over the past half-century or so?

Communities of people in my immediate vicinity seem to be so fractured along linguistic, familial and political divides that the last thing that comes to my mind is that they have a common culture, a common literature. The most common literature I can think of would be a book like 'Microsoft XP for Dummies' or some guide for shopping, dining out in or simply visiting in 'City X'; tour guides to the amusement park, in other words.

Sadly, as well, it seems so typical that the notions about 'sharing stories' are mostly being mouthed by narrators who are thinking more in terms of undergrad or graduate courses in lit and creative writing than by the real DPs in our midst. Or, one day I meet an interesting Cuban and learn immediately that her family 'fled Castro' and the next day the Cuban I meet is in a cultural delegation loyal to Castro! It's the same thing with the Chinese, although none of them are formally sponsored by the present regime. The Chinese storekeeper plays the capitalist entrepreneur card AND the card-carrying Maoist card simultaneously! And where does all this leave the 2nd-gen Eastern European who fled both the communists and the fascists and whose parents got jobs with Northern Electric and whose pension and estate melted when Nortel went into free-fall? But, typically, where does this leave the person who doesn't care a damn about politics but who wishes that their parents had immigrated to Los Angeles instead of to Québec. Where do you even start?

It is no wonder that the No. 1 Target being attacked by the performance poets I've heard and seen lately has been the boob tube and/or the instant stardom 'for everybody' epitomized by " Star Academy" shows. But where would we be if the show were called 'Estonian for a Night'?

Conclusion? I guess I'm suffering from information overload just based on one 45-minute conversation in a bookstore yesterday. I think I too will turn on the boob tube and tune out for a little break or pick up an escapist novel I see on the shelf. I don't think I could handle a romantic-historical narrative about how all history revolves around circumnavigating the earth in a timeless search for oriental spices.

23 February 2007

Photo Images, Imagination, and Hard-Pan Montreal and Urban Reality in Hindsight


There is an interesting comment thread that ran yesterday on 'neath's' blog Walking Turcot Yards. It's happening under some photo images of Montreal's Sohmer Park from around 1910 and for Blogaulaire the discussion has opened up many issues (and a few books) about the history of industrialization in Canada, Québec and the world.

What's so important about Sohmer Park? Check out the post HERE first and see what it looks like in the images.

First, the park started as a private investment sort of like some amusement parks in the twentieth century - but not the kind many of us are familiar with. (I remember the Palisades Park in Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska, with the big roller coaster ride, for example).

Sohmer Park gets two types of photo treatments as far as we can find: one treatment makes it look like a Manet painting, almost like a bourgeois urban paradise. The other photo treatment makes Sohmer Park look like some sort of after-birth, some sort of spectacle and fight arena as a sop to the working class out behind the rail yards out beyond the 'Chateau' Viger . . the Viger Hotel and Railway Station.

Perverse as it may seem, I am most interested in the latter view: Sohmer as a low-rent version of Madison Square Gardens for the Francophone workers. But they did hold, over the last quarter of the 19th century, higher brow concerts and orchestral performances with a resident conductor in the concert hall there. So there was a complex reality reflected.

It all has to do with how workers looked at culture and how the real bourgeoisie looked upon the workers. And, especially for Montreal, these realities are far from simple and most difficult to work out conceptually from the perspective of the 21st century.

What is traditionally projected back into time is a notion that the English lived on the west side of town and the French on the east side. Add to East versus West view the notion that the Irish lived south of the Lachine Canal, down around the Victoria Bridge (both of which the Irish came to build - not far from where thousands of them had died of 'ship fever' in the fever sheds) and you start to paint the social history of Montreal the way it has come down through the mists of time.

What such a view of social and industrial history is likely to miss is the rural penetration of piece-work at manufacturing textiles, a trade run by French Canadian entrepreneurs . . and with the total collaboration of the church hierarchy. It is a phenomenon that antedates heavy industry in Lower Canada.

When you scan photos of Montreal taken in the late 19th century or early 20th, it becomes easy to lose all distinction between light and heavy industry and to completely forget about domestic piece-work. The shoe and clothing manufactures were immense industrial operations that spread out from Old Montreal to the east and the machines were run on steam power - burning first coal and then oil. So if you look east, you see smokestack after smokestack and are likely fooled into seeing the east side as the heart of Montreal's manufacturing activities. But it doesn't matter which direction you face: from Old Montreal, look in any direction at this time and the whole thing (as a panorama) looks industrial.

You are 'looking over the heads' of the more traditional bourgeoisie of "La Cité' with any photographic panorama. The well-off districts, the homes of the notaries, the clerical establishment, even of the financiers are still concentrated near the centre of trading activity - clustered around Old Montreal and around the mountain. The manufacturing is also nearby. Textiles, though, are moving east to Hochelaga and then north to the plateau while the metallurgical industry is moving from St. Anne's parish out west along the Canal Lachine over time and with development of the railroads. But because these industries all rely on heavy generation of power in the plant (not from hydro-electric power) they are 'soiling the nest' so to speak of Montreal's urban black-frocked elite.

Photographers and those of us who keep gazing at the documentary records in the image archives may collectively think that we are staying close to the 'best' original sources. But the silver and albumin images lend themselves as easily as do any contemporary novels and belles lettres to a misreading and anachronistic projections of 21st century prejudice backward in time.

There may have been a time in the 19th century when doing piece-work or taking a job in concentrated leather manufacture was considered more dignified than working in heavy metallurgical industry. If anything, it is the trade union struggles that drove wages up in industrial manufacturing and the failure of same in textiles that drove wages down in that sector (today considered tertiary). The same could be said of mining: prospecting for gold is different from digging coal.

Sohmer Park evolved as a venue for concerts into a venue for wrestling and exhibits of brute strength by strongman Louis Cyr. The Chateau Viger moved from a luxury hotel to a bland complex of white-collar offices serving as stenographer to the beer business and the paper-pushers at City Hall and the Palais de Justice. Trying to 'understand' Sohmer Park in 1910 is NOT the same thing as trying to situate the original intent of building a concert hall east of Old Montreal in 1871, and for many reasons including the Great Fire of that year in Montreal (not to mention in Chicago).

Social and economic realities in Montreal are complex. There are elites competing for power over Lower Canada and the Maritimes whose wealth depends either on the Dominion or on more native wealth. There are those whose status depends either on Rome or on Chicago and New York. Some 'capitalists' depend on trade with the interior; others depend on trade with the Mother Country. And there are those in-between. And then there are the ex-slaves be they Black or Irish or what Pierre Vallières termed the 'white niggars of America'. Very complex, indeed!

Note: We need to keep in mind the 'vestimentary' history, i.e., what people wore in the various epochs of modern times. In fact, Charlie Chaplin playing a bum in a bowler hat in the silent film Modern Times should always be kept in mind when reading photographs. I decided to not run photos with this post, but what I could run from the Gold Rush in the Klondike would blow your mind . . . the dresses that the women in Skagway and Dawson 'packed in on their backs' in 1897 . . .

You cannot even begin to read a 19th century photograph until you understand what workers and miners thought about how 'clothes make the man'. And I most certainly include women in this remark.

And you cannot understand a thing about Québec history from photographs unless you conceptualize the competition between manufacture being legitimate IF it is in the hands of the French Catholic merchant-manufacturer versus the "illegitimate" English-Protestant focus upon producing wealth inside a Colony. This distinction, by the way, goes all the way back to the fur trade. But we tend to forget it when looking at smokestacks on the Montreal horizon as we scan photographs taken in the period 1880 - 1910. To be explicit: I am saying that a smokestack is not a smokestack; that in the popular mind it matters very much whether the smokestack bears the name Royal Electric Co.' or 'Hudon Cotton Mill.' And that in this period, more and more of the names on the plants, of light or heavy industry, become Scots, English or colonial. If Sohmer Park evolves from a watering hole for the Francophone bourgeoisie to become an amusement park for the Francophone working class, the change in status reflects more fundamental changes in the division of labour and wealth in Lower Canada generally.

Everyone knows, however, that in the rest of Canada power and population flows North-South, not straight back to the Mother Country. (After all, the railroad was not built East-West overnight. All the 'images' in the West are a reflection of the demographic centre-of-gravity south of Canada's borders.

The entertainers - even out in the backwoods of western Canada - could have come straight from New York's Broadway! And it becomes oh so vulgar compared to what Queen Victoria would have wished for her dominion!

It is like the old joke we used to play when the tour guides at St. Gabriel Farm were all nuns: 'So les filles du roi were sent over from France so that the 'colons' (the King's New France settlers) could have wives and propagate in the colony? And you say these 'filles du roi' were from the 'best families' of France? Well, what about all those abandoned children, the offspring of prostitutes on the streets of Paris and Orléans? What did the King propose to do about them?. Those were some interesting, ironic, conversations with the nuns concerning the 17th century. Back then, the Church did have the aspiration of molding the colony. But in the late 19th century, two hundred years later? Who, then, had aspirations of molding the colony? Was it another King, another Queen, or was it the Church or was it the captains of industry? Or were they all competing over the seat of power? Who?

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 23 Febuary


from Justin Wintle

"There is plenty of gold around but how many white haired friends?"

. . (215) Chinese
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

22 February 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 22 Febuary


from Justin Wintle
"A man does not know what poverty is until the bottom of his cooking pot burns through."

. . (207) Chinese
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Anderseed's Oilpatch Expressions Defined for the Layman (5)


Alaska Governor “We are crafting this whole process with our arms open, even for Exxon,” Ms. Palin said. “Come on in and let us know what you have in terms of a proposal to commercialize Alaska’s natural gas.”

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska


Robert W. Service

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy - I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it --
Came out with a fortune last fall --
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.

cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

(Previous posts: 1) annunciator, Australian offset, bait box, bastard, bean, behind the pipe, big-inch pipeline, bird cage, and bird dog; 2) spudding bit, bituminous sand, black oil, black oils market, block tree, bobtail, bobtail plant, bogies, boll weevil, boomer, BOPD; 3) brass pounder, bristle pig, bronc, caliche, company camp, carbon black, carbon plant; 4) chatter, cheater, cheese box, churn drilling, circle jack, city gate, collar pounder or 'pecker', come-along, condemnation, core boat, crooked-hole country, crowbar connection )
A person responsable for cleaning and keeping an oilfield bunkhouse supplied with towels, bed linen, and soap; a construction camp housekeeper.

Crude oil containing no dissolved gas when it is produced.

A well that will not flow and in order to produce must be put on the pump.

Gas produced from 15,000 feet or below, which commands an incentive price because of the high cost of drilling three miles deep into high-pressure formations. Such wells cost in the high-rent neighborhood of 4 to 8 million dollars, depending on the difficulties encountered.

The man who first devised a method for shipping crude oil by rail. In 1865 he mounted two iron-banded wooden tanks on a railway flatcar. (shortened)

Organizations of women employed in the oil industry. Such clubs now exist in about a dozen major oil centers. The purpose of the organizations is partly educational and partly social. (added - not in Langenkamp)

A humorous reference to a large, old car or truck.

Bunker fuel and other black residual oils.

A term used to describe certain petroleum products that have been treated to remove sulfur compounds and mercaptans that are the sources of unpleasant odors. A product that has been so treated is said to be "sweet to the doctor test."

A portable one-room shelter . . . serves as a lunchroom, change house, dormitory and a room for keeping small supplies and records.

To do less than one's share of work; to hang back; to drag one's feet.

A loyal aid or underling who does disagreeable or slightly unorthodox (shady) jobs for his boss; a master of the "midnight requisition."

A witching device; a twig or branch of a small tree (peach is favored by some witchers) that, when held by an "expert" practitioner as he walks over a plot of land, is supposed to bend down, locating a favorable place to drill a well; a popular term for any of the various geophysical prospecting equipment.

To draw the wages one has coming and quit the job; an expression used in the oil fields by pipeline construction workers and temporary or day laborers.

from R. D. Langenkamp. Handbook of Oil Industry Terms & Phrases. 4th Ed. Tulsa: PennWell Publ, 1984, 347 p

21 February 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 21 Febuary


from Justin Wintle

. . (207) Chinese

"Fools long for chaos; poor men hope for a riot."

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Anderseed's Oilpatch Expressions Defined for the Layman (4)


from R. D. Langenkamp. Handbook of Oil Industry Terms & Phrases. 4th Ed. Tulsa: PennWell Publ, 1984, 347 p **

Ida Tarbell. "History of the Standard Oil Company," from McClure's Magazine, 1902 - 1904.

cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

"The price of oil has nearly tripled since President George W. Bush took office in 2001, yet the majority of the people who live in the countries from which the fuel flows still experience grinding poverty. "

Oil Trip: Nigeria, Chad, Liberia


(Previous posts: 1) annunciator, Australian offset, bait box, bastard, bean, behind the pipe, big-inch pipeline, bird cage, and bird dog, 2) spudding bit, bituminous sand, black oil, black oils market, block tree, bobtail, bobtail plant, bogies, boll weevil, boomer, BOPD, 3) brass pounder, bristle pig, bronc, caliche, company camp, carbon black, carbon plant)

A noisy indication that a mechanical part is behaving erratically and destructively.

A length of pipe used to increase the leverage of a wrench, anything used to lengthen a handle to increase the applied leverage.

An early-day, square, box-like refining vessel; a still to heat crude oil for distilling the products in those days--kerosene, gas oil, and lubricating oil.

Another name for cable-tool drilling because of the up-and-down, churning motion of the drill bit.

A device used on the floor of a cable-tool rig to 'make up' and 'break out' (tighten and loosen) joints of drilling tools. (shortened)

The measuring point at which a gas distributing utility receives gas from a gas transmission company.

A pipeline worker who beats time with a hammer on the coupling into which a joint of pipe is being screwed by a tong gang. The purpose is twofold: to keep the tong men pulling in unison and to warm up the collar so that a tighter screw joint can be made.

A lever and short lengths of chain with hooks attached to the ends of the chains used for tightening or pulling a chain. (shortened)

The taking of land by purchase, at fair market value, for public use and benefit by state or federal government as well as by certain other agencies and utility companies having power of eminent domain.

A seagoing vessel for drilling core holes in offshore areas.

Said of an area or field in which there has been a high incidence of crooked holes drilled, boreholes that have deviated alarmingly from the vertical . . . See Pendulum Drill Assembly; also Fanning the Bottom.

A humorous reference to an assemblage of pipe fittings so far out of alignment that a crowbar is required to force them to fit.

20 February 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 20 Febuary


from Justin Wintle

"Of the ten reasons which lead a judge to his decision, nine are not disclosed."

. . (204) Chinese
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Anderseed's Oilpatch Expressions Defined for the Layman (3)


from R. D. Langenkamp. Handbook of Oil Industry Terms & Phrases. 4th Ed. Tulsa: PennWell Publ, 1984, 347 p **

Mayo (Yukon 1933) unloading a barge of oil.
Photographer: Claude Tidd

cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca


"Whimsical looks at words used in an industry which leaves many of us unamused and whose track record few words can even begin to express."

(Previous posts: annunciator, Australian offset, bait box, bastard, bean, behind the pipe, big-inch pipeline, bird cage, and bird dog, spudding bit, bituminous sand, black oil, black oils market, block tree, bobtail, bobtail plant, bogies, boll weevil, boomer, BOPD)

A telegrapher, especially one who uses a telegraph key. Until the 1940s or so, much of the communication from oil patch to division and head offices was by telegraph.

A type of pipeline pig or scraper made of tough plastic covered with flame-hardened steel bristles. Bristle or foam pigs are easy to run, do not get hung up in the line, and are easy to "catch." They are usually run in newly constructed lines to remove ruse and mill scale.

A new driller promoted from helper; a new toolpusher up from driller; any newly promoted oilfield worker whose performance is still untried.

A term used in the Southwest, New Mexico, and Arizona, particularly for a brownish, buff, or white calcareous material. (shortened)

A small community of oilfield workers; a settlement of oil-company employees living on a lease in company housing. In the early days, oil companies furnished housing, lights, gas, and water free or at a nominal charge. ... Camps were known by company lease or simply the lease name, e.g., Gulf Wolf Camp, Carter Camp, and Tom Butler.

A fine, bulky carbon obtained as soot by burning natural gas in large horizontal "ovens" with insufficient air.

Carbon plants are located close to a source of gas and in more-or-less isolated sections of the country because of the heavy emission of smoke.

19 February 2007

Atlantic #3 Oil Rig Blow-Out - 1948


Learn the story of the worst blowout in Leduc County, Alberta, Canada.

Oil Rig BlowoutIt all happened in 1948 when Atlantic drilling rig #3 lost circulation and the well blew wild for 7 months.

All attempts to control the gusher failed.

The Alberta conservation Board took over the well and hired Imperial Oil Ltd. to control the blowout. Imperial assigned Vincent John "Tip" Moroney to the project and contracted two steam operated rigs to drill south and west directional relief wells.
The lost circulation and high flow rates caused the ground under the surface casing to rupture, and on September 6, 1948 the Atlantic No. 3 rig collapsed into a crater.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 19 Febuary


bright corridor

from Justin Wintle

"The laws of religion bind us like silk threads; the laws of government are as heavy as a golden yoke; but the laws of national tradition are as inflexible as an iron pillar."
. . (197) Tibetan
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Anderseed's Oilpatch Expressions Defined for the Layperson (2)


from R. D. Langenkamp. Handbook of Oil Industry Terms & Phrases. 4th Ed. Tulsa: PennWell Publ, 1984, 347 p **

"Whimsical looks at words used in an industry which leaves many of us unamused and whose track record few words can even begin to express."

A B.C. oil drilling rig built and abandoned in 1914. Credit: Gerald Kornelsen - Roadside Attractions
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Oil Lexicon Illustration
(Previous posts: annunciator, Australian offset, bait box, bastard, bean, behind the pipe, big-inch pipeline, bird cage, and bird dog.)

A large-diameter drill bit used to make the initial hole (the top hole) when putting down a well. A spudding bit may be from 15 to 36 inches in diamaeter . . . The conductor casing fits into the hole made by the spudding bit.

Tar sand, a mixture of asphalt and loose sand that, when processed, may yield as much as 12 percent asphalt.

(1) A term denoting residual oil; oil used in ships' boilers or in large heating or generating plants; bunker oil. (2) Black-colored oil used for lubricating heavy, slow-moving machinery where the use of higher-grade lubes would be impractical. (3) Asphalt-base crudes.

See Resid Market (in a later post)

A short-bodied truck.

A gas plant that extracts liquid hydrocarbons from natural gas but does not break down the liquid product into its separate components.

Colloquial term for small transport dollies. A low, sturdy frame or small platform with multiple wheels (4 to 8) for moving heavy objects short distances.

A type of well-completion Christmas tree (upcoming post) in which a number of control and production valves are made as a unit in one block of steel. (shortened)

An inexperienced worker or "green hand" on a drilling crew.

(1) A link-and-lever mechanisms used to tighten a chain or cable holding a load of pipe or other material. (2) A worker who moves from one job to another. See pipeline Cat (upcoming post)

Barrels of oil per day: bo/d

18 February 2007

Breaking the Grip of Mid-Winter Freeze-In and the Block of Ice around Bookstore Sales


As in the Midwest and Atlantic Canada , as well as in Northern and Central New England, here in Montreal and the rest of Québec, generally, the last two weeks have been a virtual freeze-in (or snow-down if that suits your vocabulary) for bookstore owners and book buyers.

Yes, 'speaking for' my two closest bookstore friends, the crop of shoppers dropping in has been sparsely sewn on snow-packed ground regarding all but the mail carrier and closest friends. Yet, for at least two shopping afternoons, the sun did break through, for enough time to avoid a total disaster.

At present, as a sometime supplier, I do not have very many books placed on consignment in either of my friends' shops. In the locale with the most traffic (call it Jenny's), Jenny won't take on my McSweeney's titles, saying that McSweeney box sets are too sophisticated for the indigenous clientele (GRXNBX !! ?? I muttered to myself) and despite the FACT that everything she does take on consignment from me sells quite well. And Jenny gets 50% of the asking price.

Where there is less traffic, at Marilyn's, a few books that have my name tucked inside on a card have been sold and I've been rewarded at 100%. (I'd virtually written then off.) So things keep selling at 14 C below.

Two conclusions: 1) the deep of winter is not completely a 'death zone' in our neighbbourhood, where Montrealers are hardy folks who still get out in all sorts of weather, and 2) I must urgently come to a workable agreement with these bookstore owners in terms of what they will take on consignment and how we divy up the monetary returns.

There have been a couple books (entire genres perhaps) that all three of us have felt in our bones will sell fast: the nicely illustrated, clean copies of books featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover plus and things like the Princeton Edition of the I-Ching. Search me why: we just knew they would sell.

What everybody is hoping for is that SUDDENLY the public's interest will suddenly turn toward exactly our own personal focus for some theme we each focus on in collecting old books.

Or that instead of having (as at present) only one single customer interested in, say, the Harlem Renaissance, or old poetry anthologies from circa 1925, OR EVEN anything about military insignia and regalia, OR instead of that one customer who wants and needs a book about Taoist approaches to male sexuality, . . that there be, INSTANTLY, four or five MORE customers ready and willing to buy up everything along the SAME LINE that comes into the store.

My friends and I need some sort of HANDLE of what people want in triplicate, not in dribbles and drabs.

The real question is precisely this: why, with thousands or tens of thousands of books on the shelf, must one be reduced to making money on the last and latest purchase of some handful of titles that fell out of the sky only yesterday?

All I can say to such questions is this: 'Where there is a will and a wish, there is a way.'

I would wish for a new boom of interest in African fiction authored by Africans . Or that Québec poets from the 1960s and '70s period become numero uno as a HOT ITEM. Fat chance, I know.

What I am thinking about investigating and collecting (no matter who else gives a shit) are VHS videos where there is some hero-star macho type whose job it is in the flic to put out well-head fires on oil rigs. Somehow I am convinced that there are more than one film title in this oh so specific genre. I want every one of them.

So much for my Report from the North this Sunday eve. Now YOU, for YOU my advice is to "Think layers." "Think cotton under wool under Gortex (TM) under down." Keep warm.

This is definitely not motorcycle weather: Forget the leather except for lined gloves . . And Keep Warm.

Anderseed's Oilpatch Expressions Defined for the Layperson *


from R. D. Langenkamp. Handbook of Oil Industry Terms & Phrases. 4th Ed. Tulsa: PennWell Publ, 1984, 347 p **

"Whimsical looks at words used in an industry which leaves many of us unamused and whose track record few words can even begin to express."

A B.C. oil drilling rig built and abandoned in 1914. Credit: Gerald Kornelsen - Roadside Attractions
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca

Oil Lexicon Illustration

An electronically controlled device that signals or sounds an alarm when conditions deviate from normal. (shortened)

A humorous reference to a well drilled miles away from proven production.

A pipeliner's lunch pail.

(1) Any nonstandard piece of equipment. (2) A kind of file. (3) A word used in grudging admiration or as a term of approbrium.

A choke used to regulate the flow of fluid from a well. See Flow Bean.

Refers to oil and gas reservoirs penetrated or passed through by wells but never tapped or produced. Behind the pipe refers usually to tight formations of low permeability that, although recognized, were passed through because they were uneconomical to produce at the time. Today (1984), however, with the growing scarcity of oil and high prices, many of these passed-through formations are getting a second look by producers.

A 24-inch pipeline from Longview, Texas, to Norris City, Illinois, built during World War II to meet the problem caused by tanker losses at sea as a result of submarine attacks. Later during the war the pipeline was extended to Pennsylvania. Following the war the line was sold to a private company and converted to a gas line.

(1) To flatten and spread the strands of a cable or wire rope. (2) The slatted or mesh-enclosed cage used to hoist workmen from crew boats to offshore platforms.

To pay close attention to a job or to follow a person closely with the intention to learn or to help; to follow up on a job until it is finished.


** PennWell (Books: Tulsa, Oklahoma; publishers of Langenkamp's Handbook)
Since 1910 PennWell has been known for providing comprehensive coverage of several strategic markets. In those early days, PennWell was a pioneer in the emerging oil industry with Oil & Gas Journal magazine, founded in 1902. Today PennWell publishes 45 business-to-business magazines and newsletters, conducts over 60 conferences and exhibitions on six continents, and has an extensive offering of books, maps, directories and database services.

Oil & Gas

Electric Power Generation

Electric Power Delivery


Electronics / Semiconductors

Contamination Control

Optoelectronics / Photonics

Fiber Optics / Communications

Computer Graphics / Graphic Arts

Enterprise Storage

Defense / Security

Fire / EMS


Imaging/Machine Vision

* Next year will be the centennial year for production of the very first Model T Ford and the first anniversary of the authors of CPE living without an automobile.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 18 Febuary


Montreal Church

from Justin Wintle

"A bell must be struck before it rings and a man must be goaded into virtue."

. . (194) Chinese
cheap_priceless_editions (at) yahoo (dot) ca