HAVE A GREAT DAY: I may have to rename History 301, a tribute to Daniel Day Lewis. After recommending his turn as Abraham Lincoln, I now urge you to consider another of his Oscar winning performances. There Will be Blood (2007) is billed as “a story of family, religion, hatred, oil, and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.” That might sound familiar, though the screenplay is adapted from an Upton Sinclair novel set in Southern California. One notices that there are more than a few half-crazed oil speculators in the world about whom to write
GET LOST: If you find yourself traveling near, Pithole City, Pennsylvania, your mapping app is probably on the fritz. Nevertheless, take some time to visit the spot where the petroleum industry got its start, nearby at Titusville and Drake’s Well, the world’s first commercial oil rig. Pithole City is the town that grew up with the Pennsylvania oil country in the 1860s when hundreds of barrels bubbled to the surface and sold for $8 apiece. More wells and more oil followed with a predictable outcome. Oil prices plummeted, people went broke and the town failed. Today it is a ghost town and a reminder of the cycle of boom and bust. Perhaps Pithole residents relocated up the road to Pleasantville. Wouldn’t you?