Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Night Manager

Jonathan Pine is an Afghanistan war veteran who is hiding from the world as the night manager of a swanky Cairo hotel. He gets into a relationship with the girlfriend of a local mobster. She then tells him about a pending arms deal her boyfriend is working on and Jonathan leaks that information to an old friend of his back in the UK. The leak costs the girl her life and Jonathan leaves town ending up as night manager in another hotel in the Swiss alps. Who should appear at this hotel but the British industrialist who brokered the arms deal in Cairo. Johnathan seeks revenge and so starts the plan for an obscure British intelligence agency to recruit Jonathan as an undercover agent.

This is a 6 part series presented by AMC and is based on a John Le Carre novel (He even has a bit part). The lead is played by Tom Hiddleston who some of you may recognize as Loki from the Thor movies. This part gives him an opportunity to show off his acting ability. Hugh Laurie (remember "House"?) plays the evil industrialist. It is suspenseful and will hold your attention for the entire run. Stream it at your own peril.

Book Review - So Close to Home

"So Close to Home" is the story of the intersection of the lives of an American family and the first German submarines to enter the Gulf of Mexico. In May, 1942, the Downs family was on the steamer Heredia on their way to New Orleans from South America where Ray, the father, worked for United Fruit Company. What they didn't know was the U 506 and U 507 had entered the Gulf of Mexico looking for easy prey.

This is the story of the Downs family and their survival after the sinking of the Heredia. It is also the story of U boats 506 and 507, their captains and by extension, submarine warfare in WW II. The author, Michael Tougias, has made a niche writing survival at sea stories. (The movie , "The Finest Hours", is based on one of his books) and he does it well. If you enjoy naval history, sea survival stories, or submarines, I think you will enjoy this book.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Shredding It

Peter posted a video of some experiments in Finland involving household objects and a hydraulic press. That inspired me to post the videos below of things being destroyed by a shredding machine. The machine manufacturer, SSI, posts weekly videos of the things they shred. Here's one....




And there's a follow up to the story.....


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cooper's Colors

Murphy describes his recent application of the Jeff Cooper color awareness system. I always carry when crossing the Big Muddy into Orleans Parish and, while I try to keep to Yellow, it usually isn't too long before I am forced to go to Orange.

One December, me, my wife and the three grands were catching a pre Christmas lunch on Canal Street. They don't realize it, but I take up an over watch position in the rear of the group. As they are walking and talking I see a couple of "youts" cycling on the sidewalk. And they are looping back and forth among the pedestrians. Orange Alert! When we got to the restaurant I asked them if they had seen these kids on bikes. No, they had not. I was sure those kids were looking for a fast purse snatch and scoot. That's why I do what I do. Oldest grand and wife get it. They know not to walk on my right. hand side and that I will be tail end charlie and that I will stand at the rear of the car until all are safely inside.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day and Crawfish

The family tradition is to have a crawfish boil on Mother's Day. When you have a family as large as my wife's, that's the only way to feed all those people. My brother in law hosts it as he has the burners and the boiling pots. When the crawfish are done, he fires up a kettle of oil and fries fresh caught fish. It's a good day and everyone gets their fill. In all, four generations sat down to peel and eat and then the grand kids took the great grand kids to the pool and they all splashed to their hearts content.

We eat a lot of crawfish in Louisiana. LSU Ag center will tell you that we consume over 110 million pounds of the little critters. That's a lot of mud bugs.

Marseille

If I say "Netflix and political intrigue", you would think "House of Cards. If I say "Netflix and  family thriller", you would think "Bloodline". You would think that with those credentials that Netflix would know how to pick a series that makes you want to stay up late and stream it all. Unfortunately, "Marseille" is not that series.

In "Marseille", Gerard Depardieu plays an aging mayor who wants to revitalize the city by refurbishing the harbor and adding a casino. He has been grooming his deputy mayor for 20 years and hopes to retire after turning the project over to him. As you could guess, the deputy mayor turns on his mentor and votes with the opposition. And it was at this point that I lost interest.

"Marseille" is a French production and Netflix has dubbed it in English and done a poor job of it. The voice overs lack any emotion. Perhaps its because the lines they are reading sound as if they should be in dialog balloons in a graphic novel. Besides, we all know that Depardieu can speak English and seeing his mouth move and hearing a strangers voice is disconcerting.

The good thing is that it didn't cost me any more than my monthly Netflix streaming subscription to watch it. My advice is, watch it if you want but don't get your expectations up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review - Extreme Prey

Lucas has left BCI and is into an early retirement. And, if he admits it to himself, he's bored. Bored, that is, until he receives a phone call from the governor asking his help in a confidential matter. It's presidential primary season and the governor is running. He's smart enough to know that he can't win the nomination but he's hoping for a VP slot. The problem is that he has a hunch that someone is planning to take the lead candidate, and his best chance at VP,  out of the running and he wants Lucas to check it out and see if his concern is valid, and if so, identify them before the candidates all go to the Iowa State Fair. Lucas has to work without a badge or legal cover which means he has to pull in favors.

I won't give away any spoilers but the governor's request sets off a whirlwind investigation that leaves the reader with difficult choices: Stay awake and keep reading or get a good nights sleep. This is definitely one of the best of the "Prey" series. A good read for a long weekend at the beach or 10 hours on a plane.