Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DMZ Rice

Bayou Renaissance Man had a recent post about Japanese rice farmers and their advertising techniques. South Korea entices farmers to work the DMZ between the north and south by giving them a tax exemption.  The rice they grow is marketed under the name "DMZ Rice". (Actually it's not grown in the DMZ but in the military exclusion zone just to the south.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Glenmorangie, The Original

This whisky is a classic example that pre-teen scotch can be very good. I found I had ignored this scotch thinking that it was too "common" But I was mistaken. The Original is their base scotch and is 10 years old. Glenmorangie is made by their famous "16 men of Tain", a fictional group of still masters. One of the unique things about Glenmorangie is that they have tallest stills in Scotland which they claim gives them a better product.

Color: Light amber
Nose Fruity, citrus
Palate: Light and clean, not harsh
Finish: Refreshing

This is a good "go to" scotch when you aren't sure what to order at a restaurant. They are sure to keep this one on the bar.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mondays Suck

I'm being a good boy and flossing my teeth on Sunday when the crown on my left incisor pops off. (That's the number 10 tooth) There was no pain involved but I had a big gap in the front of my mouth. i tried to glue it back with dental adhesive but had no joy. I called my dentist only to find that his number was disconnected. (Not surprising... he was getting a little long in the tooth, ha, ha) I located an alternate dentist and called bright and early on Monday morning to see if they could glue the crown back on. No problem, they said. We have an opening at 9:00.

I showed up at the appointed time and filled out 6 pages of medical history. They shot an xray (did you know that they have digital xrays now? The  picture shows up on a high def screen instead of a tiny film strip) Then they told me that part of the tooth had broken off in the crown. They could either glue it back and hope for the best or drill and tap the root, install a titanium peg and put on a new crown which would be a more permanent solution. A couple of hours later I had a new piece of metal in my head.

I've come to the conclusion that dentistry is closely related to mechanical engineering. The dentist took great pains to ensure the fit and clearances for my new tooth (using carbon paper to mark interferences after drilling and tapping the root and then screwing in the titanium rod.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I was forced into retirement in August when I was laid off. It was no surprise. Oil companies were cutting budgets and cancelling projects. Therefore there was no need for engineering services. Since I had no projects to charge my time to it was only a matter of time before I joined the ranks of the unemployed. And since no one wants to hire an engineer whose age matches the numbers of a famous cross country highway, I pulled the trigger on the retirement account.

And the timing is serendipitous for other reasons. The company had announced a change in management which meant the younger generation was taking over. I would have been working for a young guy that I had some history with. One of my side duties was as quality control "manager". My job was to make sure that the staff followed the quality processes that the company had instituted to be in line with ISO 9001 (If you don't know what that is, you are lucky) I had to write up this guy a couple of times for deviating from procedures for checking and record keeping. And now, in a classic example of the Peter Principle, he was going to be the department manager. Therefore, it was a good time to leave.

Here are some of the changes (mostly positive) I've noticed to my life:

  • Lowe's and Home Depot are empty during the week
  • I use a lot less gasoline
  • Traffic is light but there are a lot of old people that keep getting in my way
  • I don't need to worry about staying up late on a "school night"
  • I don'r need to get up at the crack of dawn but it's hard to reset the internal clock
  • I'm busier now than I was when I was working

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Highland Park 18 Year Old

Highland Park is the northern most distillery in Scotland. It's a whole half mile north of Scapa. As you would expect from a whiskey from the Orkney Islands, it has a strong taste of peat and the sea. Highland Park sells whisky up to 40 years old, if you can afford it (it sells for over $5,000). It is one of the few distilleries that still has a traditional malting floor where they turn each batch by hand.

The parent company, Edrington, also produces Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and The Macallan.

Color: Rich deep amber
Nose: Strong peat
Palate: Very smooth
Finish: Warm and satisfying

I like this whiskey a lot. I find myself grabbing the bottle and pouring a couple of fingers when  I want a relaxing moment in the evening. I think you'll like it too.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Remodeling Projects

A house that my wife and I rent out became empty and we've filling our spare time with repairs and upgrades to the property. One thing we've been wanting to do for a long time is install a tile floor in the kitchen and entry hall. We've had excellent experience with Lowe's installation contractors and booked the job through them. One reason for subcontracting was that time was of the essence and I just didn't want to spend all that time on my artificial knee.

The installation guys were obviously foreign but I didn't recognize the language. Only one of them spoke English. So I asked them where they came from. Turns out that they were Brazilian.

Brazilian! That's a long way to come to install ceramic tile. It's also a construction trade that should be able to be filled with citizens. It doesn't say much about our economy or the American work ethic when we have to import tile installers from Brazil. I assume that these guys got here on an H1B visa but I don't understand how it could be justified.

And before you blast Lowe's, they hired a large regional  interior decorating firm to do their installation and these guys worked for them.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Head Count

In what has to be a unique event, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia didn't behead a single person. Their year to date count remains at 110.