Monday, 27 April 2009

"The Name Game" - Shirley Ellis, 1964

As a former crude oil trader, I've always been fascinated by the names given to oil fields.

Many oil fields are named after geographical areas (like Brass River, in Nigeria). Some are named by the country they come from and the type of crude being produced (like Arab Light, from Saudi Arabia). Some are named for birds (like Brent crude in the UK North Sea). And some have fanciful names - I especially like the Mars crude oil field, in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Today, I was researching some information about a particular North Sea oil exploration and production company when I bumped into a map showing some of the UK North Sea fields. I had to laugh when I saw four of the names shown on this field map...

(Click on the image for a full-sized version.)

Apart from Beatrice, do the other four names shown on the map make you think of anything in particular?

Who says that employees in the oil industry don't sometimes have a sense of humor?


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

"You'll Never Walk Alone" - Gerry & the Pacemakers, 1963

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in England. On the 15th of April 1989, 96 Liverpool Football Club supporters were crushed to death during their club's FA Cup semi-final game against Nottingham Forest, at the football stadium in Sheffield.

You can read about today's memorial events on the BBC's site.

And something else you might like to see is a BBC audio slideshow called "Remembering Hillsborough". I should warn you, though, that some of the images are very disturbing.

It's worth noting that if it weren't for "Hillsborough", John and I would have never met. That's because it was my query about the Hillsborough disaster, on the CompuServe UK Forum in September 1995, that led to our initial "meeting" online. It's funny that something so tragic resulted in the best thing that ever happened to John and me. But I'm sure that's little comfort to the family and friends of the 96 victims that day.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

"Long Way Away" - Schnell Fenster, 1988

Sometimes I get hit in the face - hard - by how far away I am from the country where I grew up.

Just a few minutes ago, I logged into my office email. I saw I had a message from CNN with some breaking news. Here's what the item was:

University of North Carolina beats Michigan State, 89-72, for NCAA basketball championship, Sports Illustrated reports.

One of the highlights of springtime for me used to be the NCAA basketball tournament. This year, I had forgotten about it completely.


Monday, 6 April 2009

"Turn, Turn, Turn" - Byrds, 1965

One of the things I had to practice, in preparation for taking my UK driving test in 2004, was the three-point turn.

Driving over here isn't like driving in America, for a lot of reasons. For example, sometimes you find yourself on a British road, needing to turn around, with absolutely no way to do it besides just flipping yourself around on the road. There might not be a driveway, side road, or parking lot available to use for turning around. And that you might be on a road that is only barely two cars' wide!

So I was especially amused by this story from last week - complete with video - about the maneuver that President Obama's limo driver had to make in front of the British Prime Minister's residence last week.


Saturday, 4 April 2009

"Get Back" - Beatles, 1969

I had a wonderful experience on Friday afternoon, UK time. I got a phone call from my friend Charlotte in Oklahoma. We don't talk very often - not often enough - and it's always a treat when we do.

Charlotte and I have known each other since we were young teenagers starting high school together in Salem, Illinois. Charlotte's father and my father both worked for divisions of the same company in Salem. But she and I didn't actually meet until high school, because Charlotte went to Salem's Catholic school until the 9th grade. Once we finally met, we became good friends immediately.

I always feel like a "kid" again when I speak to her, no matter how many years have passed. What a special feeling that is, too.

I'm very sorry about a few things. One is that Charlotte had the flu when John and I got married in 2006, so she couldn't come to New Mexico to the ceremony. And the other is that I've reneged on a plan she and I hatched many years ago...that we would live in the same town when we got "old". Moving over to the UK as I have makes that one a little hard, doesn't it...unless Charlotte is willing to pull up roots and come over here, too!

Char, I'm so grateful to have had you as a friend for so long! Here we were, the last time we saw each other, when John and I came through Oklahoma in 2002.

(Click on the image for a full-sized version.)


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

"Up on the Roof" - Drifters, 1962

I rode in the downstairs rear of the park and ride bus after work yesterday. Because the bus was more full than normal, I ended up in a seat facing backwards rather than forward like usual.

When we pulled into the regular stop in the Oxford suburb of Headington, I was very surprised to see this out of the bus window...I'm usually not facing this direction when we pause at this bus stop:

(Click on the photo for a full-sized image.)

You can read about the house's unusual roof decoration in this article.