Posted October 19, 2017
Autumn is nature’s showiest time of year. In Virginia, as in other states, lush, green forests give way to the unmistakable colors of fall – with leaves in many parts of the commonwealth reaching peak right about now. There’s nothing quite like the season’s display of fiery colors against the deep-blue autumn sky. It’s a sight to see, free of charge – and there’s perhaps no better place to see it than in Virginia’s Shenandoah region. Here are just a few of the many ways you can get outside and take it in – all of which are made possible by the unsung wonders of natural gas and oil.
Posted October 17, 2017
“Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” – Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” 1851
In the wilds of Maine this time of year, you’re running out of time to climb Mount Katahdin and reach the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Winter is coming, and soon the weather will begin to close in on Baxter Peak, nearly a mile above sea level and the mountain’s tallest point – where the A.T. starts its 2,190-mile meander across 14 states, to its southern end in northern Georgia.
The Appalachian Trail is rustic, rugged and wild – maybe wilder than even a soul as solitary as Thoreau would fancy. One section of the trail just south of Mount Katahdin, called the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, might be the wildest of the wild for the challenges it presents even to experienced hikers. Since its birth in the 1920s, the A.T. has tested the mettle of tens of thousands of outdoorsmen and women of all abilities, including the uber-committed types who do the trail in its entirety – called thru-hiking. There are no electric lights on the trail, no vehicles, yet energy is with every hiker looking to their wild out.
Think: shoes, tents, backpacks and outerwear for the trek from Maine to Georgia, or whereabouts in between. The popularity of traveling the A.T. from end-to-end has skyrocketed, with 6,342 hikers completing thru-hikes since 2010 – more than a third of the total hikers to date. To make it through difficult terrain and changing weather conditions requires preparation – to stay warm and as dry as possible with durable gear produced from natural gas and petroleum by-products.
Posted October 12, 2017
Want to start an old-fashioned scrap? Ask which state has the best barbecue. Some will say North Carolina, others Tennessee and still others Texas. All of them belong in the culinary kerfuffle. Then there’s Missouri, which just might top them all. In the least, the “Show Me State” – according to a couple of surveys, here and here – might be home to the city with the country’s best BBQ: Kansas City.
Again, you can eat great BBQ in a lot of places, but probably none is better than what they serve up in KC-MO. Perhaps it’s a holdover to KC’s hey-day as a cow town, when its stockyards covered 55 acres – actually straddling the Kansas River into Kansas City, Kansas, as well. (Below, KC’s stockyards in 1909.) At its peak in 1923, Kansas City’s yards received more than 2.6 million cattle and more than 2.7 million hogs. Only Chicago’s were bigger.
The living legacy to those days is some mighty-fine BBQ eating. Energy helps make the feast happen – in all its tangy, greasy glory.
Posted October 10, 2017
It’s early fall in the Mid-Atlantic, and memories of summer weekend jaunts to the Jersey Shore are still fresh – because, as Springsteen put it, “down on the shore everything’s all right.”
Here’s what’s alright: Folks loading up the car, filling the tank with gas and hitting the Atlantic City Expressway in droves, because there’s no more popular shore point than historic Atlantic City. The Boss again:
“Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.”
Atlantic City is the shore, it’s the Boardwalk – the one with a capital “B.” It’s shops, amusements and games of chance. It’s historic. Atlantic City street names were appropriated by “Monopoly,” still one of the most popular board games ever.
Atlantic City certainly lives up to its “Do AC” slogan. Pull through Ventnor or Brigantine, onto Atlantic Ave, into “America’s Favorite Playground,” and you’re instantly greeted by emporiums and casinos. A couple of blocks in the distance, the Boardwalk attracts beachgoers, bicyclists and beach tag checkers. This town doesn’t mess around when it comes to the tourist experience. Natural gas and petroleum help ensure that A.C. brings the heat year-round.
Posted October 5, 2017
We’re a hardy lot, we humans, often displaying enormous determination to keep moving forward in the face of steep challenges. Paratriathlete Allysa Seely, though, takes determination to another level entirely.
Seely made history last year by winning a gold medal for Team USA at the summer Paralympics. Eight years earlier she lost her left leg below the knee after surgeries and associated complications in the course of treatment for three separate disorders, two involving her brain. (Read more about it in this interview with ESPN.) She refused to stay down – and energy supported her steely resolve.
Posted October 3, 2017
Posted September 29, 2017
Bogart the camel was born with carpel hyper-extensions, meaning his front legs won’t support the rest of his body. This rare and extreme condition would make it hard for Bogart to have a normal life. But Dr. Derrick Campana, an animal orthotist and founder of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Va., stepped in to create braces to get him on his feet – you know, all four of ‘em. Because of the size the braces needed to be, Campana turned to high-temperature thermoplastics for stability. The braces are made with polypropylene – a byproduct of natural gas and oil.
Posted September 28, 2017
You remember “Lucy” and “Ricky” from “I Love Lucy,” one of the best TV sitcoms ever that’s still being seen on the Hallmark Channel. Once upon a time, in the film comedy “The Long, Long Trailer,” they set out on a road trip with a fully outfitted tow trailer about the length of Tennessee.
It’s still pretty funny stuff. For example, there’s a scene where she’s trying to fix a meal inside the bouncing, jouncing trailer while her husband happily belts out a ballad in the car, completely oblivious to his wife’s predicament in the rig behind him. And other gags.
Here’s the link between an old film comedy, trailers and energy: Every year, millions of Americans hit the roads towing trailers – and every mile is made better with the help of oil and natural gas. The link with Ohio is that Jackson Center in the Buckeye State, about 75 miles northwest of Columbus, is home to Airstream, maker of the classic, aluminum-clad travel trailer.
Posted September 26, 2017
Heading down the Las Vegas Strip toward one of the town’s big-name attractions, the sights and sounds are just mesmerizing, the crowd’s energy adding to the excitement. At the show the view is as spectacular as the iconic neon lights of the city’s skyline.
Musicians, illusionists and acrobats alike are decked out from head to toe in costumes that say out loud: There’s no such thing as too much glamour and extravagance in Las Vegas. The show’s a work of art of its own, seen in the performers’ elaborate face makeup. One’s decorated like a fierce warrior; another like a majestic animal. The shimmering makeup fits so well in a city that itself shimmers with color and light. Let’s look at the ways energy plays a role in makeup and cosmetic products – whether it’s putting the sparkle on a Vegas showgirl’s face or simply helping the rest of us look our best.
Posted September 20, 2017
In Birmingham, they may indeed love the governor (or so the song says), but in Alabama what they feel for college football – stretching from Mobile in the southwest corner of the state to Piedmont in the northeast – borders on insanity. College football might not be religion in these parts, but it’s pretty doggone close.
The first rite of service on football Saturdays is the tailgate. Before “War Eagle!” is heard inside Jordan-Hare Stadium or “Ro-o-o-o-oll Tide!” echoes in Bryant-Denny, the football acolytes observe special pregame rituals – food, drink and the most raucous reverie you’ll find under a canopy. Think of it as an outdoor party with tens of thousands of your closest friends. Whether on The Plains at Auburn or the Quad in Tuscaloosa, energy helps set the game day stage.