Tulsa: September 2005 Archives

Assimilated nuns?

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I'm down at Shades of Brown, working on my Urban Tulsa Weekly column, and from the next table I'm hearing a lot about nuns assimilating, but by the context they're not talking about the acculturation of immigrant Catholic religious women. It's a couple of ORU grad students trying to get their brains around Hebrew orthography.

Shades has a full house tonight, and it's gratifying to see a lot of the patrons perusing the latest issue of UTW as they sip their coffee.

In that new UTW issue, you'll find my latest column, on infill development in Brookside, and some encouraging steps toward accommodating new development without sacrificing the neighborhood's character. G. W. Schulz has the cover story -- it's about the challenges faced by EMSA, Tulsa's ambulance service. As a former Austin resident, G. W.'s also a part of a symposium on the OU-Texas rivalry. The discussion goes beyond football to the differences in attitude between north and south of the Red River. Way down Texas way, they don't mind rowdy politicians:

When Tulsa City Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino began raising hell at City Hall, the city recoiled with shame and horror as if someone had farted at a funeral. We're generally timid and quiet; we don't like anyone making too much noise.

But Mautino and Medlock's antics hardly would have made the pages of the Austin American-Statesman. The only time Texans blink is when someone isn't screaming and yelling at the capitol building.

Pick up a copy and read the whole thing.

I spotted a sign on a CITGO station today: "Celebrating our 40th Anniversary." 40 years ago? I knew Cities Service Oil Co. was much older than that, going back to the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Co in the first years of the 20th century. CITGO as an independent entity was much younger than that -- mid '80s, following the takeover of Cities Service by Occidental Petroleum.

40 years ago, on May 16th, 1965, was when Cities Service began to market its gasoline under the CITGO brand, featuring the equilateral triangle, colored in three shades of red for a three-dimensional appearance.

It was right about that time, plus or minus a few weeks, that our family moved from Lawrence, Kansas, to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for Dad to start work for Cities Service. Whether or not the brand rollout made an impression on the general public, it made a deep impression on my 18-month-old brain, or so I'm told, and though I didn't say much else at that age, I could say, "Cities Service is CITGO NOW!" We could see the Cities Service sign atop their downtown building from the little house on Delaware that we rented from the company.

Cities Service didn't stay in Bartlesville much longer. Bartlesville belonged to Phillips Petroleum. As the rhyme went:

Cities Service makes me nervous. Phillips gives you better service.

In 1968, Cities Service announced it would locate its HQ in Tulsa, consolidating offices from New York, Philadelphia, Bartlesville, and elsewhere. We moved in the summer of 1969.

Cities Service followed me to college -- a $3,000 a year National Merit scholarship. (It helped MIT, but didn't help me -- at the time, MIT simply deducted outside scholarships from their grant amount.) And there was that CITGO sign over Kenmore Square -- it was restored and relit about halfway through my time there.

It was right about that time that T. Boone Pickens tried and failed to take over Cities Service, Armand Hammer (the old Commie) succeeded, CITGO was spun off and sold to the 7-Eleven people. And it was about that time that Dad got his 20-year watch and a few months later, his pink slip. Funny that Dad's career with the company corresponds so closely to the span from the birth of CITGO as a marketing name to the birth of CITGO as a separate entity.

Funny, too, that 20 years after Dad faced life apart from the company he'd served for nearly his entire adult life to that point, I'm facing my own career crossroads.

Anyway, click here if you want to see what a Cities Service station looked like before the switch to CITGO.

Hurricane Warning!


Rita is fizzling out in southern Arkansas, but another hurricane, a Golden Hurricane, hit Tulsa's Skelly Stadium tonight. The University of Tulsa won their first game in Conference USA over the Memphis Tigers, 37-31, in overtime. Despite a 200-yard, three touchdown performance by Memphis star running back DeAngelo Williams, TU led at half-time and through most of the game.

It was homecoming, and the crowd -- about 25,000 is my guess -- was into the game, interfering with Memphis' no huddle offense. The loud crowd seemed to be responsible for Memphis' false start on 4th and 3 during their overtime possession. Williams was run out of bounds for a gain of seven on the subsequent 4th and 8 final play of the game.

My son and I were there with a group of friends. It was his first TU game ever, my first in over 10 years. It was an exciting game, and we had a great time.

UPDATE (9/26/2005): I was amazed at how much my nine-year-old absorbed. He wasn't saying much during the game, although he was smiling a lot, and someone in our group asked what I had him on that he was so well behaved. Sunday afternoon over lunch, he was giving his mom highlights of the game in great detail -- the missed PAT, the PAT that hit the scissor lift and the one that bounced onto the bus, the fluffed handoff. Of course, one of the highlights for him was sliding down the south end zone slope on a piece of cardboard after the game.

Our group was greatly amused every time the referee announced a call. The ref had a rasp to his voice that reminded us of City Council Chairman Roscoe Turner. I half-expected him to begin each penalty call with, "I have a problem with that."

Google map of free WiFi in Tulsa


The Tulsa Free WiFi website now has a Google map showing all the hotspots in its directory. Click on a point and get a popup showing the name and phone number of the location, plus a link to a review, if there is one.

In increasing numbers, people are making decisions about where to have lunch, get a cup of coffee, or get new tires based on whether there's a free WiFi connection. I am, anyway. Recently I was scheduled to attend a meeting at Espresso Milano on Cherry Street. I was in the area an hour or so before the meeting, so I thought I'd get there early, get something to drink, and get caught up on e-mail. Before I placed my order, I asked the barista if they had free WiFi. He admitted, in an apologetic tone, that they did not. I thanked him politely then walked over to WiFi-enabled Cafe Cubana and got my coffee there.

Somewhat related: Tulsa TV Memories has a page about Tulsa coffee houses, past and present. There's a recently updated and hotlinked list of current coffee houses, followed by reminiscences about Tulsa coffee houses and the folk music scene of the '60s and '70s. On the list of today's coffee houses, I see two listed as having free WiFi that I hadn't heard about before: Tulsa Sips at 3701 S Peoria and Sumatra at 4244 S Peoria.

Hurricane Rita


Just in case you hadn't heard, there's a hurricane headed Tulsa's way. Rita is expected to reach southeastern Oklahoma by early Monday morning, and has the potential to reach Tulsa. It will be a tropical depression by then, but we could still be in for an incredible amount of rain and stormy weather. Keep an eye on it at the National Hurricane Center's website.

Traditionally, economic development aid in the Third World has involved western banks lending massive sums of money to Third World governments for massive public works projects. That approach has been very effective at lining the Swiss bank accounts of despots and putting these countries deep into debt, but it hasn't been very effective at raising the standard of living.

The idea seemed to be: Western nations have dams and airports and factories and towering buildings and they are prosperous. If we build dams and airports and factories and towering buildings we will become prosperous, too. It's a classic case of post hoc, propter hoc reasoning, and it makes about as much sense as, say, seeing a vibrant downtown with a new arena and thinking that if we build a new arena our downtown will be vibrant, too.

It's come to be understood that there are factors in the wealth of nations which aren't as noticeable as factories or dams or arenas, but which are essential to prosperity. This social capital evolved over millenia in the West, but they haven't had as long to take root elsewhere.

One of these factors is a system of banking accessible to everyone -- the ability for someone to take out a small loan, at a reasonable rate of interest, to start a business. Think about it: Western economies didn't begin with people going down to the unemployment office looking for someone else to hire them. Individuals found something they could make or do which was valuable enough to exchange for food, clothing, or shelter.

It may not take much to get started in a small venture that could provide for one's family, but sometimes that "not much" is far more than one has hope of acquiring. It's a bootstrapping problem, and I appreciate anti-poverty organizations that focus on providing the "not much" to allow someone to get going on his own.

One such organization is FINCA International. FINCA works in 23 countries, mainly in Central America, central Africa, and the nations of the former Soviet Union. FINCA establishes village banking groups made up of 10 to 50 individuals who not only lend money to members, but also provide accountability and support. Small amounts of money can make a huge difference to these budding entrepreneurs:

FINCA borrowers receive working capital so that their efforts can become more productive. For instance, they can buy rice in bulk at wholesale prices, and resell at retail prices. They can buy a used refrigerator to keep produce fresh. They can purchase a sewing machine instead of stitching by hand. As village bankers become more productive, they increase their income and are able to accumulate savings for other investments and for emergencies.

This Saturday in the Blue Dome District, Tulsans have an opportunity to support FINCA's microfinance work and have some fun at the same time. It's the first One Village Festival and Pub Crawl. The festival runs from noon to 6 pm and will feature folk dance troupes, drum circles, a petting zoo, and poetry readings. The pub crawl starts at 9 pm, and a ticket ($10 advance, $13 at the event) will get you into seven Blue Dome District nightspots to hear live music -- e.g., Irish music at Arnie's, reggae at 1974, jazz at Tsunami Sushi, blues at McNellie's. The proceeds will go to establish a FINCA-sponsored bank in a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).

For contact info and more information about the event, click on the link for the One Village Festival.

I had the same reaction as Dave Schuttler when I saw the new News Talk 740 KRMG billboard. Are these three notorious figures endorsing KRMG's news coverage?

Or are they going to be the new afternoon drive-time team? Osama bin Ladin news and comment: "Hello, Americans, this is Osama bin Ladin. Stand by... to die!". Kim Jong-Il with traffic and weather on the 7s: "Forecast for tonight: The Democratic Republic of Korea will rain death and destruction on you capitalist running dogs. Right now -- it's sunny and a remarkable 74 degrees."* Saddam "Scoop" Hussein with sports: "The Sooners are regrouping after their opening loss to Texas Tech. If it were up to me, I'd have them all shot."

It's a strange way to market the station, especially since none of these three are at the forefront of the news at the moment. In a way, it's commendable that the station would do this -- we could all use a reminder that there are evildoers who seek to destroy our way of life.

Still, from a marketing perspective, it might have been better to use photos of Joe, Denver, and Rick.

(* In the days before digital radio tuners, KRMG was not "740" but "74," as in "KRMG -- 74 Karat Gold!" There was a particular phrase they used when the temperature was 74. I think it was, "It's a remarkable 74 degrees," but that doesn't sound quite right. Anyone else remember?)

More good reading in this week's UTW


Some articles you shouldn't miss:

G. W. Schulz looks into allegations of racial discrimination at Clear Channel's Tulsa operation.

Claudette Lancaster has more about the rerelease of "The Outsiders" on DVD, about how the movie came to be made in the first place, and about some of the locations used in the movie.

Katharine Kelly writes on end-of-life ethics, with perspectives from Rabbi Charles Sherman of Temple Israel, Kevin Donovan from OU's Bioethics Center, Msgr. Patrick Gaalaas, Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, Sister Julie Manternach, a chaplain at Saint John Medical Center, and Ron Nofziger, Chaplain at Hillcrest Medical Center.

A press release from the group that has been trying to moderate AEP's aggressive tree-trimming policy. Apparently there have been some changes in AEP's practices and polices:

There will be a public meeting at beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 9/13/2005, at Wright Elementary School, 1110 E. 45th Pl. (1 block west of Peoria). The purpose of this meetingis to discuss AEP's "vegetation management" program. Homeowners will be advised about their rights and responsibilities and informed about recent changes in AEP's practices and policies regarding vegetation management.

All citizens who live in AEP's Oklahoma service area are cordially invited and encouraged to attend.

For information please call Valerie Vonhartitzsch at 749-2848, Shannon Hall at 520-2258, or Herb Beattie at 749-4586.

There was a Readers' Forum op-ed in today's Whirled written in opposition to Intelligent Design. You can't read that online, but you can read the thorough rebuttal by Dan Paden at No Blog of Significance, specifically dealing with the question of the fossil record. Dan's concluding paragraph:

Evolutionists frequently amaze me. To sum up their public position, they say: We don't agree on whether evolution happened gradually, in tiny steps, or rapidly, in great, big jumps. We don't agree on mechanisms for driving evolution. We don't agree on the implications of the fossil record. We don't have a workable scenario for the origin of life other than spontaneous generation, which, embarrassingly, Louis Pasteur disproved more than a hundred years ago. We can't even agree on the value of the Hubble Constant. But by gum and by golly, we expect you, the public--great unwashed mass of idiots that you are--not only to kowtow to us and believe that this same body of evidence that doesn't even produce agreement amongst ourselves somehow establishes evolution as a fact, but to pony up the funds to indoctrinate your own children with this idea. Once again, I kid thee not. That's what they say.

Another Reader's Forum op-ed in today's Whirled dealt with the proposed display of Genesis 1 at the Tulsa Zoo. John Sieler, who volunteers at the zoo and at the Oklahoma Aquarium, says that the reason it's appropriate to display a Hindu idol, a pantheistic slogan, and Maasai theology at the zoo is because all of those have to do with the cultural context in which animals are encountered, while the proposed creation exhibit was for the purpose of making converts to Christianity:

The question is not what symbols are displayed, but why. It is necessary to talk about cultures; it is illegal to use public property to advocate one religious viewpoint. Conservative Christians are evangelical -- they want to talk about their faith in order to promote it and gain converts. But they incorrectly assume that any mention of another faith is for the same purpose. No Inuit or Maasai ever asked the zoo to put up an exhibit in order to recruit new members.

This comment is either ignorant or disingenuous. Here is the proposed creation display. It is simply the text of Genesis 1:1-2:3, from the King James Version, with a photo illustrating an aspect of each day of creation. A disclaimer was to accompany the display: "Accounts of creation are contained in the literature of many cultures. This display is an example of one widely held view of origins."

The display is not a copy of the Four Spiritual Laws or any other gospel tract. It does exactly what Mr. Seiler claims the other religious zoo displays do -- provides a cultural context for understanding how some people regard our relationship to and responsibilities with respect to animals and to the natural world. For centuries, the Judeo-Christian understanding of creation, with its emphasis on man as the pinnacle of God's creation, made in His image and placed by Him over the rest of creation, have shaped the way western cultures treated animals.

The man whose efforts succeeded in getting approval for the display at the zoo -- for a month, anyway, until opponents regrouped and successfully pressed for a reversal of the decision -- is Dan Hicks. Last month Tulsa Chiggers posted an item about Dan Hicks, whom Red Bug (the blogger at Tulsa Chiggers) knows through school and kids' sports. His evaluation of Dan matches what I know of him -- certainly enthusiastic and persistent for his cause, but never rude or arrogant

Oily residue

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Bits and pieces about oil, Tulsa, and Oklahoma, mostly:

The Greater Tulsa Reporter is doing a series on the history of the oil industry in Tulsa and the surrounding region. All three articles to date are online.

Is it just me, or would anyone else like to see Bob Gregory's "Oil in Oklahoma" series back on television? That series was my first in-depth introduction to Oklahoma history.

OU Professor Danney Goble has made a list of great books about Oklahoma.

The Whirled reported today that Congressman John Sullivan wants to see a "megarefinery" built at Cushing. Cushing is the pipeline crossroads of America and is "a major crude oil marketing hub in the United States," according to an FTC report. The report also says:

A substantial portion of the crude oil trade in Cushing consists of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, which arrives from pipelines originating in Texas and New Mexico, and imported crude, which is offloaded from tankers on the Gulf Coast and transported to Cushing by another pipeline. WTI crude oil delivered at Cushing is the world's most actively traded futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Prices for WTI crude traded in Cushing serve as a benchmark for the pricing of many other crude oils around the world and for crude oil futures trading on NYMEX.

According to the FTC, efficient and competitive functioning of the pipeline and oil storage facilities in and around Cushing is critical to the fluid operation of both the trading activities in Cushing and the trading of crude oil futures contracts on the NYMEX. Restriction of pipeline or storage capacity can affect the deliverable supply of crude oil in Cushing, and consequently affect both WTI cash prices and NYMEX futures prices.

It sounds like a logical place for one or more major refineries. And I must say I feel a bit of Oklahoma pride reading that a town in our state still is, in one respect, the hub of the oil industry.

There was an item on Dustbury last week about refineries post-Katrina, linking to Hatless in Hattiesburg's suggestion to replace refineries which were destroyed or disabled by Katrina with new refineries on military bases slated for being "realigned," and to Engine of the Future's suggestion to lift for three years the EPA regulations requiring different fuel blends for different regions, so that gasoline can be shipped wherever it's needed, avoiding artificial shortages.

Engine of the Future is an Oklahoma-based blog that was started in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. Blogger Mel said that US refineries had no excess capacity before Hurricane Katrina, and we lost 11% of capacity as a result of the hurricane. The remaining refineries have to crank out at least 17 different blends of gasoline -- including a special one for Tulsa, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Memphis, Nashville, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, southern Maine, southern Louisiana, and several cities in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Be sure to read his inaugural rant.

Tulsa blogger makeover

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Tulsa Topics has a new look.

Roemerman on Record has a new look.

MedBlogged has a new look.

Fistful of Fortnights won a 2005 Okie Blogger award for best design and has a new look and a new URL.

Did I miss anyone?

The new looks seem to have inspired a lot of new content. Check it out.

Roasted rivalry

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I guess I'm a real celeb now. I'm at Shades of Brown tonight to work on a writing project, and when I ordered my coffee I learned that there is a bit of rivalry between this coffeehouse and Double Shot over which media types frequent which coffeehouse. Jamie, the blogging barista at SoB, had boasted to a friend who works at Double Shot that I frequented the cozy caffeine station in Brookside. She said that he sent her a taunting text message to notify her that I had just walked into Double Shot.

All I want to know is, when do I start getting free coffee to buy my loyalty to one place or another?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from September 2005.

Tulsa: August 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: October 2005 is the next archive.

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