The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

Even if the words toolpusher, roughneck, monkeyboard, or mud man aren’t familiar, it’s probably clear that this aging bit of oil field equipment, known as a Christmas tree, has little to do with the fragrant pine and fir trees we bring into our homes for the holidays.

Still, the quite modern array of valves, spools, and fittings, designed to control the flow of fluids into or out of a well, reminded oil and gas field workers of old-fashioned, decorated Christmas trees: and so it was that the name took hold. (more…)

September Song

Helianthus metallicus

 

heavy metal rays
clatter and clank in the wind
sunflower rocks on


Comments are welcome, always
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Published in: on September 4, 2015 at 7:27 pm  Comments (67)  
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Victor Hugo’s New Notre Dame

René Magritte ~ ‘Marche des Snobs’ sheet music cover (1924)

Prejudice can be difficult to witness or to experience. Its various forms — sexism, ageism, and racism, among others — can erode relationships and destroy communities. Prejudice helps to lay the foundation for religious intolerance and class envy. It colors discussions of politics, and often renders problematic the most well-intentioned attempts at conflict resolution. Even minor irritants like social snobbery and cliquish behavior evince prejudice. 

I suppose all of us are prejudiced in one way or another, but in a wonderful bit of irony, none of us wishes to appear so. It’s simply who we are. (more…)

Published in: on August 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm  Comments (102)  
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Swimming Upstream

Detail from “Woman Before a Fish Bowl” ~ Henri Matisse (1922)

Walgreens is an impulse shopper’s paradise.

Established in 1901, after Charles R. Walgreen purchased the Chicago drugstore he’d served as pharmacist, the chain grew slowly, but steadily. In 1926, a hundred stores existed. By 1984, there were a thousand.

Over the years, Walgreens moved beyond filling prescriptions: as a way to accommodate people who needed something to do while waiting for their prescriptions. Greeting cards appeared, along with hair brushes and shaving soap. Eventually, detergent, envelopes, candy, and socks were added to the inventory, and a newer, more modern version of the general store was born.

Even in these days of online ordering and drive-through pick-up, the stores have continued to thrive. People do run out of toothpaste, get sudden cravings for chocolate, or need single sheets of yellow and red construction paper at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night, and Walgreens fills those needs.
(more…)

Published in: on August 8, 2015 at 9:50 am  Comments (112)  
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Says Who?

Four months old, she was on the run, and desperate. Leaping from a seven-year-old’s casual grasp, she headed for the shrubbery, fueled by adrenaline and pursued by three equally adrenaline-addled boys. The spreading clump of holly, prickly and stiff, might have saved her, but she chose the ligustrum: a bush good for privacy, but no protection at all against determined hunters.

Cornered between cedar fence on one side and brick wall on the other, her only means of escape had been blocked by the boys. In a frenzy of excitment, the youngest plunged beneath the ligustrum. Managing to grab onto her tail, he pulled. Hard.

It was a mistake. (more…)

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