Monday, May 2, 2016

Head Count

Evidently Obama's visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put them a little off in their efforts to separate heads from bodies. They only managed to behead 6 people last month. Their year to date total is now 85.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

PT 305

For several years now, the World War II Museum has been restoring a PT boat. It is now complete and they have raised the funds to move it to Lake Pontchartrain where the public will able to ride it.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Old Habits

The video below explains an experiment taking place in London. It's a long established tradition that when on an escalator if you want to stand still, you stay to the right but it you want to walk up, you go on the left. The people who walk are usually in a hurry and resent it if there is someone standing their way. But they are finding that the escalator can carry more people if people stand next to each other and ride instead of walking. The video explains it.




I wish them luck in changing the habits of millions of Tube riders.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fortitude

Occasionally I stumble across a TV show that I think is deserving of acclaim but did not show up on the radar of the American media. Fortitude is such a show. One reason may be is that it was produced by the Brits, namely, Sky Atlantic. But I found it to be a well written and intriguing murder mystery, sci fi, horror series. It can now be streamed on Amazon Prime.

Fortitude is a town of less than 1000 people and the only habitation on the Norwegian island of Svarlbard. The inhabitants are a mix of Russian miners, international arctic researchers and a motley mix of people making up the support staff of police, hotel managers and teachers for the 4 or 5 children that live there. As you can expect, it is a bleak, cold and isolated environment. In reality, the town of Reydafjordur, Iceland on the east coast of the island substitutes for the Norwegian town. It is also a town where everyone, including children, carries a high powered rifle for protection against polar bears. The show includes stars such as Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon and Sophie Grabol who was in the original version of The Killing.

It starts when Michael Gambon, who plays an alcoholic photographer, sees a man being attacked by a polar bear and shoots, missing the bear but hitting the man. The scene cuts away and we see two of the towns children finding the remains of a woolly mammoth. At the same time, a new scientist is arriving and we learn that he is studying aberrant behavior in apex predators.

In a short time you become aware that something is not quite right in the town. One of the children who found the mammoth becomes ill. The chief scientist for the research station is murdered. You know that these plot lines will somehow intersect but the writers keep you guessing until the last episode.

I was pleased to see that they didn't use the story line to promote an agenda of Industry - bad, Nature - good. And while they could have done so several times, they didn't use any nudity.The show kept me hooked and I was happy that I could stream the episodes as fast as I wanted. The good news is that there will be a second season and I can't wait to see what they do.


Monday, April 11, 2016

News from the Emirates

The Abu Dhabi newspaper, The National, reports that an American woman went on trial for insulting the country and its leadership. She was jailed in February and will be sentenced in May. That's about 3 months for doing something - cursing the country and it's leader - that we do almost daily. Do not take the 1st Amendment for granted. Saying something as simple as "I hate this F'n place and the stupid people that run it" can land you behind bars in the liberal, westernized United Arab Emirates. You see, it's against the law to insult the sheikh, and since the sheikh is responsible for everything, insulting anything is an insult against the sheikh.

I'd be in jail for life if they could arrest me for cursing the president.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

USS Thresher (SSN 593)

On this day in 1963, the USS Thresher was lost during sea trials off the coast of New Hampshire. Go read my earlier post and take a moment to remember those lost in the submarine service.

Monday, April 4, 2016

French Humor

On April 1st, RATP, the Paris company that runs the Metro pulls a little April Fools Joke. This video shows what they did.




Here is a list of the stations and the names they were changed to.

1. Line 11, Pyrénées became Alpes
2. Line 2, Alexandre Dumas was changed to Les Trois Mousquetaires
3. Line 11, Télégraphe became #Tweet
4. RER A, Joinville-le-Pont transformed into Joinville-le-Pont Pon ! Pon ! paying homage to a song of the 50´s
5. Line 4, Château d’Eau altered into Château de sable (sand castle); in reference to Paris Plage (or Paris beach which is done in summer).
6. Line 7, Cadet changed to Rousselle which is a reference to a popular child´s tune (too complicated to explain further).
7. Line 7, Crimée became Châtiment in reference to a novel from Fiodor Dostoïevski.
8. Line 2, Monceau changed to Ma pelle or from ¨my bucket¨ to ¨my shovel¨
9. Line 6, Saint-Jacques altered to Coquille in reference to scallops.
10. Line 2, Anvers, sign inverted. Phonetically the same word as envers or inverted.
11. Line 3, Parmentier became Pomme de Terre (potatoes). Antoine Parmentier, after whom the station was named, was an early promoter for the consumption of potatoes.
12. Line 3, Opéra slightly varied to Apéro, short for apéritif or a before dinner drink.
13. Line 3, Quatre septembre changed to 1er avril or the normal 4th of September to April 1st.