Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Close Call with Ebola

By now you may have heard about Patrick Sawyer. He was the man who fell ill with Ebola in Lagos and died there. He was in Liberia for a conference promoting development in west Africa and is said to have been caring for his sick sister before he returned. He was heading back to his family in Minnesota when he collapsed.

Had he not collapsed in Lagos, he was only hours away from the US. If he had become ill on the flight, he might have infected the entire aircraft. The CDC would have you believe that it is not easy to contract Ebola but I do not believe them. In a full blown case, the patient will be bleeding from every orifice. It would be almost impossible for someone not in full protective gear to avoid contact with bodily fluids. All it takes is a minuscule drop of blood in your mucous membrane to catch the disease.

Watch the news closely on this one.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Normandy and Musee d'Armee

Here are some pics of a recent trip to Normandy, including Pointe du Hoc, and the Museum of the Army with Napoleans tomb.

There is a ceremony that only family members can perform. Sand from Omaha Beach is impressed into the engraved name of theit soldier. This is from one of the panels with the names of the missing. Earl Parker was in the 116th Infantry.

 The American Battle Monuments Commission has taken over Pointe du Hoc. They have stabilized the erosion and built access to the observation bunker that the Ranger Monument stands on.

Ranger Monument

Musee d'Armee

Ma Deuce and grandson.

Napoleans Tomb

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This is NOT Good!

Reuters reports that a Liberian man who collapsed in the Lagos airport is being tested for ebola. Although it has not made the news on this side of the pond, ebola has killed almost 700 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. If the virus is truly loose in Lagos, it could be a disaster. Also, because of the numbers of oil patch hands travelling there, these men could provide a vector for infection in the US and Europe.

If you want to learn about ebola and other hemorrhagic viruses, read "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston. I promise you, you will not sleep well after reading it.

Red Dog in London

Red Dog took a ride on the London Eye and then went to Covent garden to see the mimes. They have a new gig - no visible means of support.



Two Words - Candied, Bacon

What a concept! It combines the two things men want most.

Take some bacon, coat it with sugar, lay it out on a rack and put it in a 400 degree oven. While it is cooking, heat up a small amount of honey to reduce its viscosity. Add some cayenne to the honey if you want some kick. When the honey is thin, brush some of it on one side of the bacon and let it cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Flip the bacon, spread some more honey and let it cook again. Sprinkle the bacon with crushed pecans and put back in the oven until the honey is crystalized.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review - Wayfaring Stranger

This is the latest book by James Lee Burke. It continues the saga of the Holland family, this time following the life of Wendel Holland, grandson to Hackberry and cousin to Billy Bob. Burke explains the family relations in his forward. He also says this is his best work and I agree with him.

The book starts with Wendel as a young man and a chance meeting with Bonnie and Clyde. It continues with Wendel in the Battle of the Bulge and the rescue of his future wife from a concentration camp. After the war, he partners with his platoon sergeant in the development of welding technology and starts a pipeline construction business.

Burke uses Wendel's personal and business experience to explore the dark side of human nature, violence, love and redemption. As always, Burke has some of the most poetic descriptions of nature that I have ever read. This is a love story as well as an adventure story set in the post war era. I really enjoyed this book, and if you are a Burke fan, so will you.

Bacon Jam - Its Gotta be Good.

I popped over to London on the Eurostar last weekend. I was looking for breakfast and came upon Gail's Artisan Bakery. I noticed that they had more than bread. They also had savory sandwiches. I opted for the one with bacon jam spread on a toasted english muffin with a slice of ham and topped with a fried egg. It was an upscale version of an egg mcmuffin.

I had never heard of bacon jam so I looked it up. It's a concoction of brown sugar, vinegar, maybe some bourbon, various spices (chili powder, mustard, ginger), onions, garlic and cooked bacon. And I gotta think you couldn't go wrong with some Tabasco or Crystal sauce. The bacon is cooked and then the other ingredients are cooked down until it is reduced to a pasty consistency. Then the paste and the bacon is put in a food processor and blended into a chunky paste.

Spread it on bread for a tasty treat. Me, I'd probably spoon it out of the jar.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The oil patch is really a small community. If something happens anywhere in the world, there are only a few degrees of separation between yourself and persons involved in the incident. For example, the engineer I am sharing an office with here in Paris knew one of the victims on MH17. They had worked together and lived next door to each other in Malaysia.

If anything happens anywhere in the world there may only be one or two degrees of separation between you and the incident.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Red Dog: Lost and Found Again

You may have seen some of the adventures of Red Dog. The little guy has travelled the world with me. He was given to us by our middle grandson with instructions to take picture of him during our travels. He has been to Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Paris and Vienna as well as Boston, RI and NH. He is a well travelled dog.

Yesterday, my wife and middle grandson took him along on a visit to the Chocolate Museum in Paris. Well, he misbehaved and they had to put him in doggie jail for a time out.

Later that day, we took him out for dinner. He escaped on our way to the restaurant and we thought we'd never see him again. But, as we were crossing Pont Neuf, we saw a homeless man holding Red Dog. We went up to him and offered a reward for Red Dogs return and he was happy to comply. So, Red Dog is now safe with his owners. He has had a bath and is drying on the windowsill.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Red Dog on the Eiffel

Red Dog took a trip all they to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Intruder Alert

I stepped outside yesterday to get the mail and heard the familiar sound of a jet taking off from Naval Air Station Belle Chasse. I look up to watch and see an A6 Intruder. WTF, over? I thought they were retired. Any thoughts on why an A6 was flying and where it may have been going?

Friday, July 11, 2014


Most people have heard about the catacombs of Paris but not many realize that the catacombs make up a tiny portion of a massive quarry complex that exists under the city. The urban explorers that go into these quarries are called cataphiles. The video below was made by one of these cataphiles.

The quarries became a problem as Paris expanded. In 1774 there was a major street collapse that caused the king to organize a special group whose job was to map the underground quarries and shore up the foundations of buildings built over them. You can still see the markings they made when erecting supporting columns under the city.

This is one of a series of videos made by this explorer. Be sure to watch them all.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Head Count

Saudi Arabia rid the earth of two child rapists last month bringing their year to date head count to an even dozen. It should be quiet on the beheading grounds next month as Ramadan starts.....enshallah.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting Home

I should have known that when we got to CDG and discovered that Lufthansa was firing their entire ground staff and that it was their last day of work that there could be problems. But we checked our bags and started the Paris - Munich - Chicago - New Orleans marathon.

We got stopped by bad weather in Chicago. Our flight to the Big Easy was cancelled and they could not offload baggage because of lightening around the airport. So we, and several hundreds of our travelling friends, waited in the baggage claim area to get out stuff and clear customs. Finally, after about 2 hours they started to offload bags. And so we waited and waited only to find that our bags were not on the plane. I suspect that a baggage handler in Paris decided he didn't want to work any more and left our stuff off the cart. Cleared customs without bags and went to the baggage claim guy only to be told that we had to file the claim at our final destination. He would not even tappy tap on his computer to see if knew where they were. It's a good thing that my wife did not have any sharp objects in her hands at that time.

Thank you Lufthansa and United Airlines.

The next day we hit more flight delays but were able to get to Houston and find standby seats to avoid a 5 hour wait for our scheduled, but delayed, flight.

So today I get an email from United Airlines wanting to give me an apology and something for the trouble with our Chicago - New Orleans flight. All I want is my baggage.