Excursion 21, Part 2 (Frack Attack)

In which our intrepid hero hopes that oil’s well that ends well…

Fracking concerns me, I admit it.  I should hasten to point out that I do not, as many do, oppose fracking, no more than I oppose genetically modified crops.  But I believe both technologies should be treated prudently, with an eye towards identifying and preventing problems.  I am concerned about groundwater contamination, I am concerned about earthquakes.  I can only hope that Ohio is wise enough to create a good regulatory and oversight foundation and will be proactive enough to try to deal with potential problems before they become actual ones.

Beyond that, though, I am concerned about something that it may not be within the power of the state of Ohio to regulate, and that is that Ohioans themselves will not benefit enough from fracking.  One would think that it is a rare blessing that Ohio’s deposits are located in the economically blighted Ohio Appalachia; those areas certainly deserve a break, right?  Yet it is those same areas that have Ohio’s traditional oil deposits as well, as can be seen by the hundreds and hundreds of wells dotting the countryside.  And that traditional oil wealth seems not to have benefited eastern Ohioans much at all—so will fracking do so, or will the gains simply be siphoned out of the state, much like Ohio’s gambling money largely is?  I hope the people who need the money the most get some of it.

Continue reading

Excursion 9, Part 4 (The Safe House)

In which our intrepid hero discovers the safe that could not save itself…

For the past 18 years, I have had to travel a lot for work.  That means a lot of stays in hotels.  After all these years, I know exactly what I want and don’t want from hotels (don’t worry, I won’t list them).  Hotels rarely surprise me, although sometimes they definitely still do.  Things were a lot different when I was a kid, though.  Hotels—or, more typically, motels—were rare and strange creatures.  We could rarely afford to travel much, so the few vacations I went on as a kid are pretty much engrained on my mind.  They weren’t really very far—places you could get to by car—and were all in the Southwest:  Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, etc.  As a kid, I found motels both exciting and a drag.  They were a drag, because we’d typically get a room with two double beds and my sister and I would have to share a bed and we got little sleep (plus, my parents snored).  But on the other hand, they were unbelievably cool.  Even things like ice machines seemed strange and exotic.   There was stationery in every room!  More than once, we had those “Magic Fingers” beds you could pay a quarter to have vibrate.  We couldn’t get enough of that.

Continue reading