A drilling mishap and more are the focus of this column.

Power lines posed a problem one New Year's Day.
I'm writing this on New Year's Day, a day that could be a lot more productively spent working, except I've developed a strong superstition about working on holidays after what happened some years ago.

Sometime around 1980, we had finished drilling a deep well in Lake Jackson, Texas, between Christmas and the New Year. We set the well on New Year's Eve and started development. On New Year's Day, C.R. and I decided to go finish the well and move the rig. We got there in the morning and finished the development while we picked up tools and cleaned up the location. It had been raining, and the location was pretty muddy. When we rigged down and started out, the rig bogged down about 50 feet shy of the road. The water truck had a front bumper-mounted winch, so we tied on to the rig and started to pull. I was in the water truck pulling, and C.R. was in the rig. The rig started moving, and we knew we had it made. As C.R. made the final turn toward the road, disaster struck.

Neither one of us noticed that the crown of the rig, which hung over the front bumper by a good 10 or 12 feet, had hung in the guy wire of a power line! As I continued to pull, it stretched the guy wire enough to part the overhead power lines. The ground wire fell on the ground harmlessly, but the hot wire fell on the derrick of the rig. It didn't ground out. We both realized what happened instantly and shut down. We both leaned out the door of the rig and water truck yelling at each other not to get out! Eventually, we both got out on the running boards and jumped clear of the rig and water truck. We looked at the wire and agreed that the rig and water truck both were hot, I was blocking an intersection, and we had just cut the power to an 80-house subdivision! A few cars started to back up, as I explained the situation.

Pretty soon, some of the neighbors came out to inquire what was wrong. I tried to explain the problem, but with it being New Year's Day, most of them were drunk, and I had a heck of a time keeping them from touching anything. They fussed-and-cussed us, probably deservedly, for screwing up their football games and barbeques. I was trying to keep these people away from the equipment - and certain death - and they were staggering around giving orders, acting like I might have, if I'd been off work. The power company got there fairly quickly and cut the power, but not before I had a few fantasies about having all the drunks hold hands and the loudest one grab the rig. Talk about a string of Christmas lights! At any rate, I've never worked major holidays again. Call me superstitious ....

To Republicans and Democrats alike, Wayne has opened the debate on the nation's political scene.

Stirring the Pot

Because this is an election year, I thought I might make a few observations as I see them about the political scene. If I can stir up a little thought and controversy, maybe we all can make America a better place. If you agree or disagree, I'd like to hear about it.

First, I'd like to predict, even at this early date, that barring some unforeseen catastrophe, George Bush will be re-elected president. The Democrat party is shooting itself in the foot, wholesale. They have presented the voters with a field of candidates, commonly referred to as the “nine dwarfs.” These guys are so out of touch with the world we live in that, if it weren't so serious, we'd see them on the Comedy Channel. They all start out with the posit that the last election was “stolen” and they must take it back. Why anyone, especially a politician, would admit to having been sound asleep during high school civics class, and thus profoundly ignorant of the way we elect a president, is beyond me.

Their next lurch off the cliff is their universal desire to raise taxes. Now, there's a whiz-bang idea, except that it will do much more harm than good. If anybody out there doesn't think they are paying enough taxes, feel free to write a check and send it in - just keep your paws off my wallet!

A fairly large group of equally lost souls thrust to the fore Howard Dean, a guy who has the “Who me?” look of someone who was just caught passing gas in church, and admits to knowing about as much about foreign affairs as a hog knows about salvation. What little he does know seems to be gleaned from the teachings of such luminaries as George McGovern and Neville Chamberlain. Add to that Walter Mondale's social policies and Jimmy Carter's economic policies. That makes me sleep better at night! He then was being endorsed by party leader and luminary, Al Gore, who conveniently abandoned his old running mate and announced that Howard Dean is “The only man who can beat George Bush.” Talk about character and leadership of a party leader!

I've watched a couple of their debates. The only thing they seem to agree on is: Bush is bad. The sheep in the audience all say “Baaaaaaaaaaaad.” They all decry the “quagmire” in Iraq. Hey, it took less time to march into Baghdad than it took Hillary to “find” the Rose Law firm records. If it weren't for Al Sharpton's comic relief, I would fall asleep before the introductions. If he happens to get nominated, I'm looking forward to hearing my liberal friends justify voting for him.

The way it looks, the Democrat party is headed the way of the Whigs. Sometimes, reality, and the world, figures out when a party's time has come and gone. ND