Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Canadian Sunset


.



Oil Fields #28
, Cold Lake Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2001 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)




The "personal note" rings oddly

discordant, in context

of the ruin

of an actual planet. In the back

seat of a Fifty

Four Olds, somewhere

beyond Windsor -- Andy

Williams singing that

terrible calcified white

man's classic.


Oh no, not again. Turns out the Athabasca

Oil Sands

not unlike that wimpy Ike Era

lyric, were meant

not for Athabascan

Man
but for you

and me
and the nitrogen
uptake of our putative heirs.







 

Oil Fields #22 Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2001 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)
 



Alberta Oil Sands #6
, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

 

Alberta Oil Sands #9, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

 

Alberta Oil Sands #7, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

 

Alberta Oil Sands #2, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)



Alberta Oil Sands #10
, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)



Alberta Oil Sands #8
, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

 

Alberta Oil Sands #1, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 2007 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)


File:Athabasca Oil Sands map.png

Map showing the extent of the oil sands in Alberta, Canada. The three oil sand deposits are known as the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Cold Lake Oil Sands, and the Peace River Oil Sands: image by Norman Einstein, 10 May 2006

Athabasca Oil Sands


Athabasca oil sands mining field: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, acquired 29 July 2009 using EO-1 Advanced Land Rover data courtesy of the NASA EO-I team; caption by Holli Riebeek (NASA)

In the ranking of the world’s proven oil reserves, Canada stands behind only Saudi Arabia. Canada possesses an estimated 178.6 billion barrels of crude oil accessible using current technology. Of this reserve, 174 billion barrels are in Alberta’s oil sand fields, which cover 140,200 square kilometers (54,132 square miles) of the province. The largest oil sand field is Athabasca, shown here.

Oil sands consist of sand coated in water and a sticky film of bitumen, a heavy oil. The bitumen can be rinsed from the sand and refined into fuels. In some cases, the bitumen-encased sand can be pumped from wells like standard oil, but in Athabasca, the sands are at or near the surface. Here, oil companies scoop the sand from the surface after stripping off overlying vegetation and top soil. The result is illustrated in this true-color image. Earthy open-pit mines and muddy tailing ponds replaced the dark green boreal forest.

The mines follow the course of the Athabasca River, the dark brown ribbon of water that runs down the center of the image. The river is essential to the operation. Over the course of its very long lifetime, the river has eroded through the sediment that once covered the oil deposit, gradually bringing it close to the surface. Without the river, the oil sands would likely be buried beneath a thick layer of earth.

The river is also key to the mining process. To separate the bitumen from the sand, refineries bathe the sands in hot water. The contaminated water cannot be returned to the Athabasca River, from which it was drawn, and it ends up in tailing ponds, visible in the image. The tailing ponds are one of the environmental risks of these mines. The ponds replace natural wetlands and because they contain toxic chemicals, they are a threat to wildlife. In April 2008, hundreds of migrating ducks died after landing on a tailing pond, said news reports. Local residents worry that the toxic water may be leaking into the ground water or the Athabasca River, which, as the image illustrates, is very near many of the ponds.

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 23 July 1984 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 28 September 1985 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 14 August 1986 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 18 September 1987 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 4 September 1988 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 6 August 1989 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 24 July 1990 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 27 July 1991 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 13 July 1992 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 17 August 1993 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 26 July 1994 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 24 September 1995 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 22 June 1996 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 12 August 1997 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 5 July 1998 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 15 June 1999 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 13 September 2000 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 7 August 2001 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 11 September 2002 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 30 September 2003 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 28 June 2004 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 5 October 2005 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 21 August 2006 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 30 July 2007 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 25 July 2008 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 14 September 2009 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 3 October 2010 (NASA)

Athabasca Oil Sands

Athabasca Oil Sands: satellite image by NASA Earth Observatory, 15 May 2011 (NASA)

Buried under Canada’s boreal forest is one of the world’s largest reserves of oil. Bitumen—a very thick and heavy form of oil (also called asphalt) -- coats grains of sand and other minerals in a deposit that covers about 142,200 square kilometers (54,900 square miles) of northwest Alberta. According to a 2003 estimate, Alberta has the capacity to produce 174.5 billion barrels of oil. Only 20 percent of the oil sands lie near the surface where they can easily be mined, and these deposits flank the Athabasca River. The rest of the oil sands are buried more than 75 meters below ground and are extracted by injecting hot water into a well that liquefies the oil for pumping. In 2010, surface mines produced 356.99 million barrels of crude oil, while in situ production (the hot water wells) yielded 189.41 million barrels of oil.

This series of images from the Landsat satellite shows the growth of surface mines over the Athabasca oil sands between 1984 and 2011. The Athabasca River runs through the center of the scene, separating two major operations. To extract the oil at these locations, oil producers remove the sand in big, open-pit mines, which are tan and irregularly shaped. The sand is rinsed with hot water to separate the oil, and then the sand and wastewater are stored in "tailings ponds,” which have smooth tan or green surfaces in satellite images.

The process of extracting oil from the sand is expensive. It takes two tons of sand to produce one barrel of crude oil. Great Canadian Oil Sands opened the first large-scale mine in 1967, but growth was slow until 2000 because the global cost of a barrel of oil was too low to make oil sands profitable.

The images above show slow growth between 1984 and 2000, followed by a decade of more rapid development. The first mine (from 1967, now part of the Millennium Mine) is visible near the Athabasca River in the 1984 image. The only new development visible between 1984 and 2000 is the Mildred Lake Mine (west of the river), which began production in 1996.

After 2000, the price of oil began to climb, and investment in oil sands became profitable. The Millennium Mine expanded east of the Athabasca River, and the Steepbank Mine was developed in the east. The Mildred Lake Mine also shows evidence of growth. It is a trend that is likely to continue since permits have been approved to expand mines in this region. The large images include a view of additional mines developing to the north.

Oil sand mining has a large impact on the environment. Forests must be cleared for both open-pit and in situ mining. Pit mines can grow to more than 80 meters depth, as massive trucks remove up to 720,000 tons of sand every day. As of September 2011, roughly 663 square kilometers (256 square miles) of land had been disturbed for oil sand mining. Companies are required to restore the land after they have finished mining. In this series of images, the large tailings pond from the 1967 mine was gradually drained and filled in. Though the mining companies planted grasses on the site, the images don’t show plant growth as of 2011.

Tailings ponds contain a number of toxins that can leak into the groundwater or the Athabasca River. The mining and extraction process releases sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and fine particulate matter into the atmosphere.

Because it takes energy to mine and separate oil from the sands, oil sands extraction releases more greenhouse gases than other forms of oil production. The mines shown in the image emitted more than 20 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2008— a product of both oil production and electricity production for the mining operation. The effort produced the equivalent of 86 to 103 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every barrel of crude oil produced. By comparison, 27 to 58 kilograms of carbon dioxide are emitted in the conventional production of a barrel of crude oil.

Canada, a country with strict environmental laws, is the leading source of oil for the United States, the world’s largest consumer of oil. The oil sands contain enough oil to produce 2.5 million barrels of oil per day for 186 years. The United States consumes 18.8 million barrels of oil per day. TransCanada has proposed building a pipeline to bring oil from the Athabasca oil sands directly to refineries in the United States.



Emissions from Oil Sands Mining
Nitrogen emissions from Athabasca oil sands mining operations, data acquired 2005 - 2010

Emissions from Oil Sands Mining


Color bar for Emissions from Oil Sands Mining

Athabasca Oil Sands mining operations, Nitrogen emissions, data acquired 2005-2010: graphics by NASA Earth Observatory

Using data from a NASA satellite, researchers have found that the emission of pollutants from oil sands mining operations in Canada’s Alberta Province are comparable to the emissions from a large power plant or a moderately sized city. The emissions from the energy-intensive mining effort come from excavators, dump trucks, extraction pumps and wells, and refining facilities where the oil sands are processed.

Oil sands (also known as tar sands) are actually bitumen, a very thick and heavy form of oil that coats grains of sand and other minerals. Once extracted, that asphalt-like oil is partially refined so that it can be transported through pipelines to other refining facilities. 

The top two maps above depict the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air above the main oil sands mining operation along the Athabasca River, as observed from 2005 to 2007 (left) and 2008 to 2010 (right). The lower map shows those emissions in the broader context of the western provinces of Canada and the northern United States from 2005 to 2010. All data were acquired by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. 

The oil sands deposit in northwest Alberta covers about 142,200 square kilometers (54,900 square miles). Only 20 percent of the oil sands lie near the surface where they can easily be mined, while the rest of the oil sands are buried more than 75 meters below ground and are extracted by injecting hot water into a well that liquefies the oil for pumping. About 1.8 million barrels of oil were produced daily in 2010 from the Canadian oil sands.

NASA Earth Observatory images created by Jesse Allen, using OMI data provided courtesy of Chris McLinden, Environment Canada and Ronald van der A, KNMI. Mining permit footprints provided courtesy of Matt Hanneman, Global Forest Watch Canada. Caption by Michael Carlowicz, based on reporting from the American Geophysical Union.



Dust hangs in the sunset sky above the Suncor Millennium mine, an open-pit north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Dust hangs in the sunset sky above the Suncor Millennium mine, an open-pit north of Fort McMurray, Alberta: photo by Peter Essick, in The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom, from National Geographic, March 2009



The oil sands industry has utterly transformed this part of northeastern Alberta in just the past few years, with astonishing speed. Where trapline and cabin once were, and the forest, there is now a large open-pit mine. Here Syncrude, Canada's largest oil producer, digs bitumen-laced sand from the ground with electric shovels five stories high, then washes the bitumen off the sand with hot water and sometimes caustic soda. Next to the mine, flames flare from the stacks of an "upgrader," which cracks the tarry bitumen and converts it into Syncrude Sweet Blend, a synthetic crude that travels down a pipeline to refineries in Edmon­ton, Alberta; Ontario, and the United States. Mildred Lake, meanwhile, is now dwarfed by its neighbor, the Mildred Lake Settling Basin, a four-square-mile lake of toxic mine tailings. The sand dike that contains it is by volume one of the largest dams in the world.
Nor is Syncrude alone. Within a 20-mile radius are a total of six mines that produce nearly three-quarters of a million barrels of synthetic crude oil a day; and more are in the pipeline. Wherever the bitumen layer lies too deep to be strip-mined, the industry melts it "in situ" with copious amounts of steam, so that it can be pumped to the surface. The industry has spent more than $50 billion on construction during the past decade, including some $20 billion in 2008 alone. Before the collapse in oil prices last fall, it was forecasting another $100 billion over the next few years and a doubling of production by 2015, with most of that oil flowing through new pipelines to the U.S. The economic crisis has put many expansion projects on hold, but it has not diminished the long-term prospects for the oil sands. In mid-November, the International Energy Agency released a report forecasting $120-a-barrel oil in 2030 -- a price that would more than justify the effort it takes to get oil from oil sands. 

Nowhere on Earth is more earth being moved these days than in the Athabasca Valley. To extract each barrel of oil from a surface mine, the industry must first cut down the forest, then remove an average of two tons of peat and dirt that lie above the oil sands layer, then two tons of the sand itself. It must heat several barrels of water to strip the bitumen from the sand and upgrade it, and afterward it discharges contaminated water into tailings ponds like the one near Mildred Lake. They now cover around 50 square miles. Last April some 500 migrating ducks mistook one of those ponds, at a newer Syncrude mine north of Fort McKay, for a hospitable stopover, landed on its oily surface, and died. The incident stirred international attention -- Greenpeace broke into the Syncrude facility and hoisted a banner of a skull over the pipe discharging tailings, along with a sign that read "World's Dirtiest Oil: Stop the Tar Sands."

The U.S. imports more oil from Canada than from any other nation, about 19 percent of its total foreign supply, and around half of that now comes from the oil sands. Anything that reduces our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, many Americans would say, is a good thing. But clawing and cooking a barrel of crude from the oil sands emits as much as three times more carbon dioxide than letting one gush from the ground in Saudi Arabia. The oil sands are still a tiny part of the world's carbon problem -- they account for less than a tenth of one percent of global CO2 emissions -- but to many environmentalists they are the thin end of the wedge, the first step along a path that could lead to other, even dirtier sources of oil: producing it from oil shale or coal. "Oil sands represent a decision point for North America and the world," says Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute, a moderate and widely respected Canadian environmental group. "Are we going to get serious about alternative energy, or are we going to go down the unconventional-oil track? The fact that we're willing to move four tons of earth for a single barrel really shows that the world is running out of easy oil." 

Robert Kunzig, in The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom, from National Geographic, March 2009


File:Syncrude mildred lake plant.jpg

Syncrude Canada's base mine, Mildred Lake, Alberta. The yellow structures are the bases of pyramids made of sulphur. It is not economically profitable for Syncrude to sell the sulphur, so it is stockpiled instead. Beyond the mining operation is the tailings pond,  contained by what is recognized as the largest dam in the world. The extraction plant is just to the right in this photograph, and most of the mine is to the left: photo by TastyCakes, 4 April 2004; image by Jamitzky, 15 July 2006

16 comments:

ACravan said...

This is an extremely powerful, original (a terrific poem supplementing and undergirding the polemic -- that's great) and lucid exposition of important information. I don't think, apart from BTP's pages, I've ever seen arguments presented in this way. It's also strong evidence that the scrolling web-page (as distinct from static pages, moving pictures or gallery shows) is a new and compelling form of communication. I've known about some of this for a while because a friend of ours is a Canadian investment banker employed by a large Canadian employee pension fund. But this adds a great deal to the things he's told me. Curtis

ACravan said...

And thanks for turning me on to Canadian Sunset. "Calcified" indeed. Wow -- this one must have taken you ages to compose. Curis

TC said...

Curtis, it was a bit of a labour, yes, thanks for noticing. And the spot of bother added by the Mother Ship metamorphosing its entire posting procedure and throwing down a slew of new distracting toy gizmo gauntlets in the middle of things didn't exactly add joy. (I take what they do as a challenge rather than an aid always, but lately I guess I am taking just about everything that way.)

Yes, it's a sort of scroll-down essay. Whether it needs the personal polemical "undergirding" as you aptly put it, of the poem -- that hung as an open question in the oily, gritty darkness of the rainy night. But erring on the side of restraint remains a virtue to which I perpetually yet seldom successfully aspire, as we know.

The more I looked into the objective history told by the images, and the various factual and argumentative narratives that festoon that history, the more clearly I realized (I guess) that I had just got, as Hamish Blair might have put it, bloody sick of the bloody Canadians mouthing their smug green holier-than-thous. Aiding and abetting, accessory and accomplice, aren't those the relevant terms in this transnational caper?

The wooden little tune from which I have derived the title was writ by Eddie Heywood and Norman Gimbel and originally, in the mid 50s, was an instrumental hit for Hugo Winterthalter and His Quizzical String Orchestra.

Hugo Winterhalter, Canadian Sunset, 1956

There's no accounting for taste.

(I'd have preferred Douglas Sirk, there, for the pix to go with the Easy Listening. But then, I'd already seen a bit of Ontario, the suppressed hysteria sector, in that capacious Olds. And once performed as bodyguard for the toothless teenage wunderkind of Pointe Anne, Bobby Hull. Difficult to figure out why a bodyguard would be needed to defend against voracious teenage female admirers, but like many cultural phenomena, until you've seen it...)

The version that bored its way into the American cultural gland however was that of Andy Williams.

Andy-san: Canadian Sunset, live, with onstage carbon emissions, 1963

There were in fact many versions, but feeble is the building on sandy and/or oil-slick foundations.

I once heard a Wes Montgomery cover in Wes's trademark octave melodic signature but am unable to turn up that one for my easy listening audience at this moment.

The one version that could conceivably have "redeemed" this lugubrious tune really -- well, if Sam Cooke could not salvage it, no one ever would.

(Is Mildred Lake anywhere near Veronica? -- no!)

Sam Cooke: Canadian Sunset, 1956

Nin Andrews said...

Brilliant poem and post, if ever so true and truly depressing. Let us bury our head in the sand . . .
Or so that is what we seem to be thinking in our desire not to see or face the important issues and problems such as this--which you have so graphically and beautifully presented.
What disturbs me is the lack of integrity and willingness to tackle the issue. The politics involved when it should be above and beyond such dickering.
When I was a girl, Rachel Carson was all the rage, and I thought we would all wake up.
Of course, that was decades ago now, back when I thought logic and evidence were all one needed to win over the public .. . Talk about naive. I believed in her:
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
― Rachel Carson

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Oh dear, what are we doing? "What rough beast, its hour come rough at last. . . ?" A wonderful poem, great Burtynsky photos, amazing series of NASA images (yes, "a scroll down essay," showing the growth of the cancer). As Curtis says, "this one must have taken you ages to compose." Heroic work.

3.27

grey of rain cloud above shadowed green
plane of ridge, sparrow perched on post
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

seated figure, placed front
and center on a chair

not what is present as such,
another thing, saying

white cloud in pale blue sky on horizon,
shadowed canyon of ridge across from it

TC said...

Thanks very much, Nin. That Silent Spring (how prophetic) indeed appears to be upon us. It's remarkable how changes in the climate patterns, ecologies and even the geological underpinnings of the planet can happen literally "right under our feet", as all the while people's alleged political principles remain embedded (is that the word, when it's oil sands, or quicksand) in petroleum, and the fastest, cheapest ways to extract as much of it as can be extracted... katie bar the door as was once the phrase.

Last night I heard a serious, ethical, educated Christian man say calmly that he's convinced things will improve in this country under a Republican president, "because then we can get into some of these good new technologies, like fracking".

I thought of you, and your northeastern Ohio earthquakes.
If oil sands and fracking can be sold to the guy on the street, why not rocket launchers and hand grenades.

If we really put our minds to it we can get into destroying the foundations of just about anything, one supposes, it's that good old Yankee know-how.

(Did I say Yankee, Zippy? Are we in Canada yet?)

TC said...

Steve,

No sooner had I waded out of the tailings pond than in came your poem with that lovely longboard view of the

grey of rain cloud above shadowed green

which hangs above us e'en now...

not what is present as such, [but]
another thing, saying

there's a world out there, still.

Thanks for seeing the cancerlike growth of the operation in the NASA series. In the sequencing the sense of the examination of the proliferation does gradually become not so much analytical as oncological.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Yes, "there's a world out there still" (very green here, not so still now -- wind beginning to howl). But the post makes us wonder how much longer it will hang on -- sound the alarums! I kept scrolling back and forth through those (very beautiful) NASA images, a sense that the 'scene' was changing -- what WAS it? Yes! the mine fields were growing! The green world (that "slovenly wilderness" that surrounded it being swallowed up!

Oh dear -- time to get in my car to make the long drive from way out here to way over there. . .

phaneronoemikon said...

The only problem there is left is us.
If it weren't fracking and oilsands, it would be drugs in the water supply or fumes from the plasic plants who make the housings for the solar panels. What gives human beings the right to reproduce what is in effect a machine of infinite complexity? This single moral paradox intertwines all the others, and since it cannot be solved rationally, it renders the species functionally insane. OUr species because of intelligence has moved from 'singularity' to 'grey goo incident'.. Our emotional centers (our determination) are outstripped by our materiality.

What we are witnessing is a slow-motion hydrocephalic warhead producing an involucrum of entropy and extropy combined, a radicalized post-homeostasis whose integral units are homeostatic 'irrons' that is homeons which devour other homeons.. The answer might be a radical post-metaphysical green-fascism, or it might be drinking, but the older I get, the less I care. Unless the general intelligence level of the species increases, I am rooting for its destruction. Good riddance to bad apes. The Danse Macabre was in fact the inborn eschatology of the sign objectified. To be sweet, animals must be unconscious, that unconsciousness is the model of all lyricism, elsewise we are but butchers of time in a abattoir-temple of fetid blind gobbling..

All the signs should only have to say STOP MAKING PEOPLE
YOU'RE KILLING IT

10 million humans by 2300.
No wars, No nations, Meditation, Quarantine.

a new mantra.

tpw said...

Dear T: Great, but chilling, post. Thanks.

Chris said...

Sandy Andy-san, indeed.

Everything about this post is very strong. The poem somehow returned me to Weldon Kees, just back from seeing Milton Sills, twelve years old. The porchlight coming on again and again and again. Until it goes out.

dalriada9 said...

Lest my expression exceed the boundaries of propriety I shall content myself with the word ‘leafblower’ - which merely extends my language way beyond the limits of commonsense

TC said...

Beautiful comments, suggesting shards of intelligence remain to illuminate the steamed-sludge tailings-pond some would nostalgically designate Civilization.

The porch light won't come on tonight, shorted out after six inches of rain in twelve hours.

Or was it six plausible ideas in twelve million years.

Terrible to say yet impossible not to believe Lanny has hit the nail on the head just as it penetrated the cranial galoshes.

The only problem there is left is us.

The decisive error was descending from the trees.

That old hopeless motive -- "Let's do lunch".

Hanging Skeletons

But the good news is that so far today only one airline pilot has gone berserk in the cabin, ranting and raving about Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

Looks like time for a change of profession there... but is it really accurate to think of running for president as a professional opportunity?

TC said...

Dal, now this is coming very close to the nerve of the bane.

From the gaspowered leafblower to the Talladega Speedway, another small lurch sideways into the primal slime for "mankind".

TC said...

This puts the issues simply.

(Worth a minute of your time... if you're breathing.)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

RUMINATING OVER THE ALBERTA OIL SANDS

Wonderful, illuminating
Reminder of how we love

To muck things up—
And that’s no bull.