Even I couldn't make this up!

This morning, I logged in and did a quick scan of my home page. I checked the weather and time in various places, whether I had any email and the baseball scores, and glanced at the headlines from the various news sources. I then looked at the calendar to make sure it wasn't 1 April and I'd slept eight months (or, conversely, lost four months--in the space-time continuum I appear trapped within, this seems as likely as not). What sparked this sudden interest in things temporal was a headline from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to the effect that the Pittsburgh Diocese had sold drilling rights to gas companies so they can drill for natural gas in Catholic cemeteries in western Pennsylvania ("They just drilled through Granny!!!" "Yeah, but she's delivering three hundred cubic foot per minute."). To prove that I neither drank, inhaled, shot-up, or snorted my breakfast (grits and tea by the way), here is the link to the story on this wonderfulness: "Catholic Cemeteries..."

The gas is trapped over a large part of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia in the Marcellus Shale. Supposedly, a potential 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lies in the formation. The problem for the gas companies is that western Pennsylvania is mountainous so they prefer the flat places such as where most normal people like to build their stuff--say, between the ridges.

In the Pittsburgh area, topography laid down the rules of life early on. One was born and lived on the side of the mountain, worked down on the riverside flats, and was carried to the cemetery on top of the mountain at the end. With horses, the heavier the load, the lower on the mountain it stopped. A coffin and cargo was about the most a two horse hearse could get to the top. Of course, this allowed the saying in Pittsburgh, "Everybody gets to the top."

The potential of the Marcellus Shale has people somewhat split. The movers and shakers that run things smell lots and lots of money (taxes, sales, graft, etc.). The rest of the residents are a bit more leery ("You want to put that thing where?!!").

For Catholics such as myself (back-slider though I be), some questions now arise. Must special provisions be taken for the proper handling of gas from consecrated ground? I suppose it's okay to burn it as long as one does so in a proper respectful and religious manner. Maybe Vigil lights will be gas fueled from now on...Hmm, I wonder, should we say an "Our Father" or merely cross ourselves when we turn on the stove.

On another subject...

A nice website for the Daily Office (AKA: Liturgy of the Hours) can be found at Divine Office. Org.

19 August 2010: Feast of St. Bertulf. Battle of Knockdoe 1504, Charles Stuart begins the "Rising of '45" 1745, Lakota set out to attack New Ulm in Minnesota 1862, John Westely Hardin killed in El Paso 1895, first running of the All-American Soap Box Derby in Dayton 1934, liberation of Paris 1944.

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