Archive for the 'History' Category

The History of Go-Mart

August 10, 2012

So, I can’t lie.

I haven’t for 98 posts, and I’m not going to start now.

Alright, that’s a bit of a lie.

I feel like this is more of a report for class and less of a blog post.

It’s like Mr. Bollinger stepped to the front of the room.

“Now, boys and girls, I’m going to give you an assignment. I want you to write… a theme.”

As the class groans, Mr. Bollinger tells us that he wants 500 words on the history of Go-Mart.

So, just like I would in that situation, I Googled it. And just like I would after Googling most anything, I linked to the Wikipedia article and instantly became an expert.

Turns out, Go-Mart goes all the way back to 1914, damn near 100 years ago now. Three brothers with the apt surname Heater began the Heater Oil company. They sold different greases and oils, things very important to that old-timey world of clockwork machines and crazy steam-driven mechanisms.

Since they lived in Gassaway, WV, they supplied mainly to farms and businesses in central West Virginia and used nifty flat-bottomed boats to tow goods up and down the Little Kanawha River.

Within ten years, the company began opening plants along the railroad, shipping to greater distances than rivers would allow. But the Great Depression hit hard and one of the Heaters died, so the others decided to centralize the company in Gassaway.

By 1964, the company passed hands to the sons of the original owners, who continued to oversee the thriving business.

When self-service pumps where introduced in 1970, the Heaters set up the first fully self-service gas station in all of West Virginia, and they picked Shinnston as the home of the brand-new so-called “Go-Tron.”

I know, I know. It sounds like a really cheap rip off of Transformers, cheaper than Go-Bots or even the recent Transmorphers, but it’s not. Trust me, I’m an expert now.

Soon after, they rebuilt their Gassaway store into their first convenience store, and called it “Go-Mart.”

Personally, I prefer Go-Tron, but that’s just me. It makes me think of robots. Giant gasoline robots.

By the mid-70’s, there were 16 stores. That’s really nothing compared to the 1200 or so that it owns today.

As for the rest, as they say… it’s history. Go-Mart hasn’t been the center of any scandals, controversies or massive spills like Exxon and more recently BP.

Go-Mart still stands today as one of the larger gas stations around town.

And I’m glad. I usually get my gas there. Seems like it runs the best in my car. I know people think that’s generally a load of crap.

These days, Go-Mart is great for gassing up you and your car. Before I shipped out for my internship every week, I’d fill up and great a couple Apple Uglies for the road.

Mmmm… so sticky and delicious…

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Mr. Bollinger for the challenge and for standing in as the teacher for this post. He did an exceptional job.

So, yeah… gas stations are now in the mix.

It’s really hard to tell where these things are going, right?

SIDENOTE: Got to wondering on Monday the 13th why links hadn’t gone out to this yet. Turns out it didn’t post properly because of the internet outage last week. So, today is like a two-fer! Merry Krimbis!

Truly ghjr

Ronald Reagan/Watergate

May 11, 2012

For the record, Reagan had almost nothing to do with Watergate. He wasn’t behind it in any way. He was necessarily directly affected by it.

Watergate was a decade before Ronald Reagan took office.

Honestly, the only real connection I can find is that Reagan pardoned former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, the man who turned out to be Deep Throat, when he was charged with ordering the Watergate break-ins in the first place.

Of course, that was expunged, but nothing is ever erased from the Internet, remember?

Other than that, nothing.

It’s not like Ronald Reagan was Tricky Dick reincarnate.

It’s not as though the evil entity that possessed the bowels and brains of Richard M. Nixon were exorcised sometime in the late 1970s and reabsorbed by Reagan’s naive Star Wars spawning psyche.

And no, not the movie. Star Wars, the outer-planetary system of laser-wielding satellites that could blast down any nuclear warheads or other missiles that were to be launched by the Red Menace and had their sights trained on good ol’ U.S. of A.

That Star Wars.

Oh, no. I realize that it’s not the best idea. Frankly, it’s a pretty stupid idea.

First, nukes wouldn’t be launched into space before they reached us. Second, last time I checked, missiles and warheads generally detonate on impact, and a laser wouldn’t do much.

Third, Superman would just stop missiles for us. At least, that’s what Frank Miller says.

But, Reagan was way too busy pushing Trickle Down Economics on everyone to be evil or plot crimes.

He’s not the Penguin, alright?

He’s not even Nixon. He’s Reagan.

The bastard ate jellybeans constantly. I assume that jellybeans were his main source of nutrition, but that might not be accurate.

He certainly didn’t survive on the bones of the innocent like Nixon did.

So, Reagan didn’t do anything with Watergate, and Reagan had pretty much nothing to do with Nixon either.

Or did he?

Some men and women, those who live in darkened hovels around the seedier parts of the country, surely believe that they are connected.

These are the insane individuals that subscribe to the notion that all presidents are simply the pawns of an evil, world-wide organization that rules the world by pulling the strings of the figurehead leaders the world over. These people are probably the same ones that believe the president is just a robot whose appearance is changed every 4 or 8 years depending on how the elections go.

Again, we know that’s not true. The president is actually a computer image generated by Lex Luthor and his band of techno-literate world-conquering associates.

Isn’t that right, Frank?

Now, if that’s the case, then I suppose Reagan was behind Watergate, in the sense that he was forced into it by his alien captors ten years before he was actually Ronald Reagan.

But, that’s just silly, right?

 

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Ashton Cutright for this one, too.

Looks like the fact that I’ve been reading tons of Batman is starting to show through.

Isn’t that right, Frank?

 

Truly ghjr

Relief Maps

March 19, 2012

Remember in school when your social studies teacher made you draw and color maps of different countries and continents you were studying in class?

Or in history, if you were studying the now defunct French Indochina, they would give you a map of the current nations of Asia and a handful of colored pencils and make you lay out the sections of French Indochina, right?

Do you remember just how bad those maps looked?

Sure, some were better than others, and the best were regarded as amazing in comparison to others. But, it was like comparing certain episodes of Jersey Shore to other episodes of Jersey Shore.

Just because one episode is better than the other does not mean it can hold a candle to Through the Wormhole. 

Well, in this analogy, relief maps are Through the Wormhole, except they aren’t narrated by velvet-voiced Morgan Freeman.

Relief maps make all other maps look like Jersey Shore. And as we all know, that’s not a good thing.

Relief maps come in two varieties: the cool ones, and the really cool ones.

THE COOL ONES:

Some relief maps are regular, two dimensional pieces of paper that you can roll up and put in a tube or hang on a wall and stick pins in it. You know… to track your crime spree.

These maps contain elaborate displays of shading on their flat surfaces. The shading helps to show the topography of the land, highlighting the highest peaks and lowest valleys in such a way that our brains understand it as a simulated three dimensional image.

These are definitely some of the most beautiful maps are that exist.

Of course, they are not the best…

THE COOLEST ONES:

Other relief maps take this three dimensional idea to a whole new… dimension.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Some relief maps are made of molded or thermoformed plastic or other materials. Instead of showing elaborate, beautiful shading or colors to show heights and depths, they have tiny bits that jut out from the surface or sink deep into the recesses of the map.

Running a finger along a ridge of mountains will give the feeling of an actual (albeit small) mountain range underneath your fingers. Sliding a finger through a wide, deep valley will give the feeling of the tall mountains pushing in tightly on either side of the fingertip.

These kind of relief maps are astoundingly beautiful.

Perhaps I am just biased, though.

The thermoformed, raised surface maps are much more interesting to my eye, and definitely much more interesting to my fingers. I can twist and turn the map to see the peaks and valley shifting around each other, as if I am actually walking or (more realistically) driving through the mountains on the map.

The paper map, while useful, just isn’t as interesting to my eyes or hands.

I’d relate the maps to women, but I promised not to mention sex in this one.

ghjr

 

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Sam Jones.

I know she was excited over hearing my thoughts on relief maps. I’m not sure why. Probably because she is a history nerd.

I don’t know. Maybe she just likes fingering all of those tight valleys.

You know… on the maps. Pervert.

Truly ghjr