Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ready, Aim at Foot, Fire!

New Orleans is a city that depends upon tourism. Therefore, one would think that when an established tour operator suggests a new, family oriented attraction, that the city would jump at the opportunity. But then New Orleans politics and special interests get involved. I watched it happen with pedi-cabs, Segways and food trucks. Now its the Ducks.

Most major cities have Duck Tours. WW II era DUKWs are refurbished and used to take tourists  for rides through the city culminating in a splash into the local water feature. I have been on Duck tours in Boston, San Diego, London and Singapore. In New Orleans, we have a historical tie in with DUKWs with the National WW II Museum. A Duck tour would be a natural for the city.

The operator wants to take tourists on a 2 hour tour driving over to Metairie and launch into Lake Pontchartrain. The Vieux Carre Commission, the body that is charged with overseeing the French Quarter, claims that tourists with duck call noisemakers will detract from the ambiance of the Quarter. (You have female tourists baring their breasts for beads and you're worried about a few noisemakers?) In fact, the tour operator does not plan to drive through the French Quarter. His proposed route is to get out to Canal Street and take that route to the cemeteries. From there he will jump onto I-10 and over to Bonnabel Drive to the boat launch.

But our city council has decided not to decide and postponed approval for "further study."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cajun Horse Trading

A Yankee has moved to a farm in Louisiana and needs a horse. He goes to see Boudreaux to look for a suitable animal. After looking over Boudreaux's herd, he picks one out and asks the price.

"Oh, I don't tink you want to buy dis one. He no look so good.", Boudreaux says.

"Nonsense", replies the Yankee. "He looks fine. I'll take him."

"No", says Boudreaux, "He no look so good."

But after several back and forths and some price negotiation, the Yankee hands over some money, puts the horse in the trailer and drives off.

The next day the Yankee is back and he is spitting mad.

"You sold me a horse that is blind.", the Yankee protested. "I want my money back."

"I tol' you he no look so good!", Boudreaux responded.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Mustang and his Hunting Dog

A Mustang retired after 35 years and realized a lifelong dream of buying
a bird-hunting estate in Alaska. He invited an old Admiral friend to
visit for a week of pheasant shooting. The friend was in awe of the
Mustang's new bird dog, "Chief". The dog could point, flush and retrieve with the very best.

The Admiral offered to buy the dog at any price. The Mustang declined,
saying that Chief was the very best bird dog he had ever owned and that
he couldn't part with him. Six months later the same Admiral returned
for another week of hunting and was surprised to find the Mustang
breaking in a new dog.

"What happened to Chief?" he asked.

"Had to shoot him," the Mustang replied. "Another old shipmate came to
hunt with me and couldn't remember the dog's name. He kept calling him 'Master Chief.' After that, all the dog would do was sit on his butt and bark."

(This joke courtesy of the late Doug Clower, Viet Nam POW from an old email)

Book review - Silken Prey

The title gives this away as the latest effort by John Sandford. Lucas is called by the Governor to investigate some skulduggery in a political campaign. The first thing he uncovers is that a well known political operative has gone radio silent, and to Davenport that smacks of murder. But Lucas can't use his usual technique of beating confessions out of people because the principals in his investigation are in the middle of a political race. So, he has to resort to more subtle means and he calls in his friend Kidd. Yes, the same computer hacker/thief we know and love from Sandfords other series of novels. Kidd is now married and living a legitimate life as an artist - until Lucas calls him out of retirement.

This novel starts a little slow, but trust me, it builds steadily until the last fifty pages when you will not be able to put it down.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The cable on my NOOK charger gave up the ghost just before my trip to Ohio. Without the NOOK I was faced with reading using old technology. A quick check showed that there was an App for that. The NOOK app gives you access to your entire library. It was easy to download and easy to log in to your NOOK account. While it gives access to your library, it only downloads the books you want. I was worried that reading on the phone might be a problem but everything was cleat and the font big enough to read easily. It has a feature that, if someone else is reading the same book on another device, it will give you the option to jump to that page or stay on the current page. This is useful if you jump back and forth between devices. Battery useage is reasonable. It allowed me several hours of reading time.

Now that I have it on my phone, I will be able to read whenever I have the phone with me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Energy Game Changer

As I said earlier, I spent last week in Ohio performing HAZOPs on gas pipeline compressor stations. The pipeline system consisted of 4 large diameter (24" - 36") pipelines with compressor stations having about 50,000 HP of compression. The big Cooper Bessemer integral compressors in these stations have been mashing gas for 50 years or more moving it from the south to the north. The operator now plans to reverse the flow and send gas south where it will be liquified, put on LNG tankers and sent overseas.

How is this possible, you ask.

First - The Marcellus Shale
Second - Fracking

Warning: geology geekness have porosity. Some rocks are more porous than others. Most of the oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico comes from sandstones which are porous and have good permeability. Shale are not porous and, in the past, oil and gas found in shale was ignored as being too expensive to recover. Then came fracking. Fracking cracks the rocks along cleavage planes which provides passages for oil and gas to flow to the well bore.

The Marcellus Shale is a massive formation that is in New York and eastern Ohio. It is estimated that it contains over 260 Trillion cubic feet of gas. It has made the northeast almost self sufficient in natural gas. With no need to supply gas to the northeast, this pipeline operator is looking to export the excess. Fracking has been a game changer in the energy market in the northeast.

Friday, May 24, 2013

On The Road

I've been in the Buckeye State near the birthplace of John Glenn doing a HAZOP on a series of gas pipeline compressor stations. For over 50 years these pipelines have been delivering natural gas to the northeast. Now there are plans to reverse the flow and send gas to liquification plants on the Gulf Coast for export. The reason for this?.........fracking. More later about this energy game changer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Riley, The Incontinent Beagle

Meet Riley, the new addition to my son's family. She is the second stray to find their way to his house where three boys and a soft hearted mother almost guarantee room and board for life. (There must be some sort of hidden hobo dog  signs that guide them there) After a check for chips and tattoos and lost dog posters, it was determined that she had no owner of record and oldest grandson quickly claimed her. They are now inseparable and both seem the happier for it. Even Toby the Shi Tsu was glad to have another one of his kind in the house.

The only problem is that Riley, in adapting to her new surroundings, has a case of incontinence. Have you ever seen a beagle wearing a diaper?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old

This scotch is aged in oak casks that were used to age Spanish sherry. This scotch is available in 10 year old, 10 year old cask strength, 18 year old and 25 year old.

Color: Dark Amber
Nose: Sherry, weak
Palate: Gentle
Body: Smooth
Finish: Short but pleasant, warming

I usually don't like scotch that was aged in sherry or wine casks but this one is smooth and palatable. I'm going to kick back with a couple of finger of this in a glass. Slainte.

Welcome to Louisiana

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Head Count

Saudi Arabia found employment for their swordsman last month by beheading 6 murderers. This brings their year to date total executions to 32. But note that only 25 of those were beheaded. The remaining 7 were shot.