… and just speaking free-form as well. A miscellany of observations that doesn’t stand on ceremony.
While presidential politics charge into an election year (and you thought it had been election season for the past year or two!), while regulators and energy producers wrangle over regs, while the world goes spinning on with myriad mystifyingly mind-spinning mega-issues, we go off the grid here with stuff that is clearly, unmystifyingly unserious. Just a ramblingly random jaunt into moviedom, semantics, structures, and sayings. As Hedy Lamarr once said, “Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.” And if that’s not random enough, just keep reading.
Energy Equals Mass
A company with more than 1 million acres under lease in the Permian Basin is putting some of its proceeds into steel and concrete in Oklahoma City, where Devon Energy is erecting what will be that town’s biggest edifice by far.
Topping out at 850 feet tall, and costing an estimated $750 million, the Devon Tower will go 50 stories up. That’s 50 tall stories—each higher than your average floor. The landmark First National Center, at 33 floors, is visible immediately to the left of Devon Tower. What was formerly the city’s tallest building, the Chase Tower, is the dark high-rise to the right of Devon Tower.
Chase Tower stands 36 stories (500 feet) tall. Further right of Chase Tower and in line with the lamp pole is the current (soon to be former) headquarters of Devon Energy.
With so many people calling the current upturn in oil and gas exploration a “boom,” and with us being long overdue for a totally random plunge into one of the great cinematic spectacles devoted to the oil and gas industry (yes, you read that right), it just makes sense that we say something about that classic picture Boom Town. So how’s that for a segue into a movie mention? Boom Town was the 1940 buddy picture that teamed Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy with female leads Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr.
Based on the real-life 1918 oil boom in Burkburnett, Texas, Boom Town was, as Turner Classic Movies called it, “an enormously entertaining example of MGM’s prestige productions of the Forties.”
We like it for the authentic oil field ambiance. And the fistfights. Everyone knows that guys who work on rigs get into a few rollicking, good-natured slugfests on the job. Besides its realism, Boom Town delivers some good humor, fast action, and an appreciation for the American working man and woman.
The oil well fire is a pyrotechnic classic. Plus, what’s not to like about a trigger-happy sheriff Chill Wills (looking younger than you’ve ever seen him) getting all flustered when he cannot find his trusty “Barbara Fritchie Cookbook.”
Finally, there is the interesting sidelight that Gable, who in real life was the son of an oil man, was himself was an oil field roustabout in Oklahoma in his early, pre-Hollywood years. Just the kinda guy to get the girl and, oh yeah, become King of Hollywood.
Word of the Month:
Structure: n. The way in which parts are arranged or put together to form a whole; something constructed, such as a building; geol., the way in which a mineral, rock, rock mass or stratum, etc, is made up of its component parts; v. to give form or arrangement to (structure an arrangement, structure one’s day); to impose order upon an agreement (structure an oil deal). “Once they [Henry Resources] have approval from the Railroad Commission and the company has structured a deal with the drilling contractor, the rig can go up at the site.” (Oct. 20, 2011, permianbasin360.com). Oilmen and television’s fishing outdoorsmen will tell you that knowledge of structure is at the heart of what they do. Or, as Gable and Tracy, standing in the middle of their new lease, put it:
“So you think you’ve gotta field here, huh?
“I know it. Take a look.” [Shows Gable some gas bubbles rising in a pond.] The big-headed geologists in town say it’s only surface gas. But I say it’s oil.”
“Shorty, I think we’ve got something.”
“I know we have! And we’re plumb center on the structure right here.”
“Now wait a minute. Wait a minute. I think more over by that old steer skull would hit the peak of the dome.”
Never mind that five minutes later they were in a fistfight, with each other. Those guys were partners and born oilmen.
THEY SAID IT:
“Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.” – J. Paul Getty
“The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great, and they know I know it.” —Clark Gable
“Concentrate, don’t embroider.” —Spencer Tracy
“The structure will automatically provide the pattern for the action which follows.” —Donald Curtis
“The oil and gas of the Texas future is the well-educated mind. But we are still worried about whether Midland can beat Odessa at football.” —Texas Governor (1983-87) Mark White
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” —Winston Churchill
“Energy forecasting is easy. It’s getting it right that’s difficult.” – Graham Stein, 1996
“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.” —Winston Churchill