Thursday, December 20, 2018

Yellow Vest Update

There was a protest last Saturday although it wasn't as large as the past ones. And now the Yellow Vests can add the police to their numbers. The police union called for a work slow down last Wednesday to protest the number of unpaid overtime hours resulting from the protests and a cut in the police budget. The police were urges to stay in the office and only respond to emergency calls.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Head Count

KSA executed another 17 in November bringing their year to date total to 127.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Yellow Vests - Week 4

The movement shows no signs of going away as violent clashes again hit Paris. But it's not just in Paris. Other cities also experienced protests. The movement is also gaining other groups and is morphing into a general protest against President Macon. Students are protesting Macon's school reforms which include a tuition increase, require choosing a specialization and mandatory 4 month military service. Videos of high school students on their knees with their hands tied have incensed the populace. And the trade unions are getting into the act as they protest for higher wages and pension increases.

But it's not just the rich politicians and designer stores who are feeling the protests. Many tourist sites were shut down on Saturday. Soccer games were cancelled. I personally know that the owners of one our favorite restaurants have shut down for the past 3 Saturdays as they could not get into the city. This is a family run restaurant operated by a husband and wife team and 3 employees. It is not an operation that can afford to lose 1/6 of their revenue.

President Macron has been missing most of the past week as protesters call for his resignation. He has gone from winning the election with 66 per cent of the vote to an approval rating of 18 per cent.

What happens in Europe can be a predecessor to events in the US. These protests are a direct result of progressive ideology. The average Frenchman is making a statement that their personal well being is more important than climate change.

Miniature Cities in Paris

I thought this museum would be a bunch of musty maps but I will be going there the next time I'm in Paris.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Yellow Vest Protests Continue

I left Paris Friday afternoon and therefore missed the next installment of the yellow vest protest. But Saturday, they were back at it and the Champs Elysee, Arc de Triumph and Tuileries Gardens were filled with tear gas, smoke and water canons. Numbers vary but the news claims that 300 people have been arrested and about 100 injured. There was also a lot of window smashing and mayhem against the flag ship shops along the Champs. Commerce was shut down and the economic impact is starting to get large. My impression is that the CRS (French riot police) didn't hold back and went in hard from the beginning.

President Macron was out of town at the G20. His approval rating is in the low 20s. Keep your eye on these events.

Here is a link to the riots at France 24.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Yellow Vest Follow Up

The French tax on diesel fuel is a blatant use of taxation to force social change. Emmanuel Macron is all in behind the Paris Climate Change Agreement and is determined to set the pace for Europe. In a speech today where he was expected to address the concerns of the Yellow Vests, he doubled down on his environmental plan to move france to renewable energy. His only concession was to offer 3  months of "talks" with the movement. It was obvious that he does not care about the financial concerns of the people in this movement.

As far as the Yellow Vests are concerned, they are starting to get better organized. they now have a small group of members that will provide leadership, as a focal point for discussions and to keep outside sources from hijacking the movement. It looks like this is going to become the French TEA party.

But you won't hear anything about it on that side of the pond.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Yellow Vest Protests: A Lesson for Progressives

For years, Europe promoted diesel automobiles but now they want to push other types of vehicles, such as hybrid gasoline vehicles. Therefore, President Macron, of France, instituted a 20% increase in tax on diesel fuel. As you know, per liter taxes are regressive and hit the middle and lower class hard. France now has a grass roots anti tax protest called Gites Jaune, or Yellow Vest.

Today, in Paris, it turned serious. Some 8000 protesters swarmed the Champs Elysee and Arc de Triumph to shut down traffic. As the day worn on, barricades were built, fires were lit and the riot police used tear gas.

Unlike other French demonstrations, this organization has no central leadership so the government has no idea how to deal with it. Some pundits have compared it to the Occupy movement but it is made up mostly of middle aged people who are tired of being taxed. I'm not sure where this will end but I suspect the anti tax movement will become more organized with time and become a political supporter of the right wing.

The lesson to progressives is that the people will only take so much before they revolt, and when they do, it will not be pretty.

News from Across the Pond

You get a different spin on the news over here. For example, for the past 2 weeks, Brexit and Theresa May's problems have been the top news item. I imagine that nobody in the US cares about it.
Another is that a British man has been found guilty of spying in the United Arab Emirates and sentenced to life in prison. As you can tell from reading my old Dubai stream, I don't think much of the UAE legal system. I suspect that he accidently learned something detrimental to the Sheikh that they didn't want to made public.
And, as you would expect, all news about our President is unfavorable.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Yellow Vests protests

It probably has not hit the US news but there is a protest going on in France at the moment. Motorists are protesting rising diesel fuel taxes and have closed several highways last weekend. So far, one person has died when a car tried to escape a crowd and hit one of the protesters. We had booked a tour in Bordeaux last Saturday and it was changed to Sunday because of the protests.  Restaurant owners we know in Paris closed early because customers could not reach their establishments. And a major protest is planned for Paris on Saturday which claims to have the goal to shut down Paris.

The movement is named for the yellow reflective vests that motorists are required to keep in their cars. This should be a lesson for our tax and spend Democrats. The people will only stand for so much and then they react. President Macron is not very popular at the moment.

More information can be found here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Book Review - Past Tense

I was born and raised in New Hampshire and was delighted to see that Lee Childs latest book takes place in Laconia, NH. I have often thought that the forests of NH could hide some eerie or terrible secrets and Childs obviously feels the same way. Reacher is in Maine and heads to NH on a whim to look at the family homestead. (His father was from NH) When there he finds a mystery in his family history and works at finding the answer. Meanwhile, a young couple has broken down on the road and end up being kidnapped by an unscrupulous gang in the NH woods.

This is another hard to put down read.

Book Review - Dark Sacred Night

Connelly has brought in a character from a previous book and she works well with Bosch. We first met Rene Ballard in The Late Show. She is now teamed up, by happenstance, with Bosch as he pursues a cold case stemming from helping the woman he rescued in Two Kinds of Truth. They work the cold case in their spare time and their other cases provide interesting side stories.

This is a pair that could provide another string of stories and I look forward to the next one.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Head Count

It was a bad month for druggies and murderers in the Kingdom of Saud and a busy one for the swordsman. KSA beheaded 21 last month putting them over the century mark for the year with a total of 110.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Book Review - Holy Ghost

What's not to like: Virgil Flowers, quirky Minnesota characters and a holy apparition all rolled in to a captivating whodunit.

Virgil is called to a small town to look into some recent shootings. The town has recently undergone a resurgence of  sorts with the sighting of the ghostly apparition of the Virgin Mary. The shootings are puzzling as Virgil cannot find a motive or even the snipers hide. Then things turn deadly with the long range shooting murder of a local woman.

This is not really suspenseful but the colorful characters and the mystery of the shootings will keep you reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Geekiness of the Day

Opinion without 3.14 is just onion.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

F'n with Telephone Polls

I usually hang up on automated phone polls but I was in the mood to play with their minds so I responded that I was a black female with Hispanic roots making less than $50,000 that self identifies as a liberal but strongly supports conservative issues.

People like me are why you can't believe most polls.

Friday, October 5, 2018

My Supreme Prediction

It looks as if the vote to confirm Kavanaugh will be tomorrow. I have been disgusted with the antics exhibited by the Democratic Party, #metoo, and other progressive, left wing groups. Here is my prediction.

Should the Senate not confirm Kavanaugh I predict there will be a massive red wave by conservatives and that Democrats will lose several more seats in the Senate, probably losing control for the next 6 years. It may even be the beginning of another Trump victory. After January, the President will re-nominate Kavanaugh and he will be approved on a fast track.

If the Senate confirms Kavanaugh, there will be screaming from the left and Soros sponsored groups that will lead to another conservative red wave. But if the Democrats accept the results without complaint, they may have a small chance to recover some modicum of respect and a chance to lead as long as they get rid of Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, Warren et al and get some young moderates in leadership positions. Perhaps they can start with Keith Ellison who should also be a #metoo target but gets a pass somehow.

I think the left has done serious damage to themselves,especially women's groups. Every mother is now alert to the fact that their sons may be accused and found guilty of sexual assault without any evidence. I plan to post soon on my experience with women working in the male dominated oil industry back in the 70s and 80s. These women were true pioneers and I suspect they never envisioned that their efforts would result in the current crop of vagina hat wearing nasty women.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia separated heads from 6 murderers last month. Their year to date count is now 89.

Friday, September 28, 2018

We Are Losing Our Constitution

The Democrats told you all you should need to know about their agenda when they told you that Kavanaugh  did not deserve any presumption of innocence because the Senate hearings were not a "court of law". This is not going to end well. And I suspect that the Democrats could find themselves hoisted on their own petard because I believe the average American can see through their rhetoric.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Curious Cat

A cat got into an Entergy New Orleans substation the other day, causing a power outage to some 7500 customers. Needless to say, it did not end well for the cat.

Curious Cat + High Voltage Equipment = Crispy Critter.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


This is a PSA about PSA. I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was a matter of luck that the medicos found it.

I realized last year that I had not had a PSA (prostate specific antigen) done for years, so when I was getting a blood test for another reason I told the nurse to also add a PSA. That gave me a base line for comparison. I had it done about a year later as part of a normal physical. and it showed a slight increase but the raw number was not concerning.

Then I started getting the typical old fart peeing issues and when I mentioned this to my doctor, he sent me to the urologist. He did the "finger wave" (digital rectal exam) but didn't feel anything abnormal. When I told him that both my father and his brother had had prostate cancer in their 70s he scheduled a biopsy. Nobody was expecting it but they found cancer in 2 of the 12 samples.

I opted for radiation and am now getting 42 treatments on the Cyberknife. It takes about 10 minutes for the treatment and then I go about my day.

FYI, the docs will tell you that EVERY man will get prostate cancer if something else doesn't kill him first. It is the second most common cancer in men but it is the most treatable. Medical technology has improved with robotic surgery and targeted radiation so the old complications that men dreaded are minimized.

September is prostate cancer awareness month, so go to your doc and get a PSA and a digital rectal exam.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Head Count

KSA beheaded 7 last month bringing their year to date head count to 83.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old

In looking back, it seems I have a preference for whiskies from Islay. Bunnahabhain is another one. The distillery is located in the northeast corner of the island just across a narrow strait from the mainland. Bunnahabhain, which means "mouth of the river" in Gaelic, was founded in 1883. Because of it's location, supplies and product were shipped by sea. A check of their website indicates that they distill some 19 varieties of whiskey and some are crazy expensive.

Palate: Very smooth and mild. Easy to hold on the tongue. Dense
Nose: Toffee
Color: Dark amber
Finish: Long and warming

Don't pass this one up and if you want to treat yourself, this is a good choice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Head Count

The world is waiting to see if Saudi Arabia will execute it's first Saudi woman for the crime of political protest. Back in August the court recommended execution for Isra al-Ghomghan. She has been jailed for 3 years for political protest. A final decision will be sent down in October.

The Kingdom executed a woman in 2016 but it was for murder of a child and she was Ethiopian.

Just because they gave women the right to drive doesn't mean they will allow free speech.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Crawfish Disaster?

Seems that Michigan is having a problem with Louisiana crawfish. I'm a little surprised that they can survive up there given the ground freezing. Instead of spending money to eradicate them, they should grant fishing licenses for Cajuns to trap them.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia played catch up after Ramadan and beheaded 23 men. This jumps their year to date total to 76, the number of trombones that lead the big parade.

In other execution news, Japan hung the leader and 12 members of Aum Shinrinkyo, the cult that did the sarin attack on the subway.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Lip-Sync Bragging

You may have heard about the lip-sync challenge that's going around. The Gretna Police Department got my son, who has an advertising agency, to write and produce their video. He had a ball doing it and got to play with the SWAT vehicle. Here's a link:

Gretna PD Lip-Sync

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood

When family asks me what I want for Father's Day or Birthdays, I say "Scotch". This has allowed me to build a nice collection of some pricey whiskeys. One of them was this one. This scotch is old enough to vote so I didn't feel like I was robbing the cradle.

Palate: Very smooth
Nose: Flowers, nuts
Color: amber
Finish: Mild and warm

For other Balvenie reviews go here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Save the Date

Wednesday, August 15, 1200 to 1300 hrs, World War II Museum, New Orleans

I will be giving a presentation on U 853, the last U boat sunk off the east coast the day after the surrender. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mailer Daemon Movie

My nephew has written and directed a short film about the guy that returns your emails to you. It was filmed at his dad's house. They built the set in his garage and scrounged props from the family to set up the office. They used some of the crew from NCIS New Orleans while the show was on hiatus. This is a short about the behind the scenes action.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia beheaded 2 murderers last month. Their year to date total is now 53. I expect them to play catch up now that Ramadan is over.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Trump and the Columbo Close

I bet most people missed it, but our President got the Kim Jung Un to agree to help find and return the remains of our Korean War dead. He did this by adding on the request as their meeting was breaking up and Kim agreed without thinking. This is a well known negotiating technique known as the Columbo Close. It was made famous in the TV show of the same name when Peter Falk would turn as he walked away and say, "Just one more thing..." which invariably caught the criminal by surprise. Trump used it to perfection to add on the return of our war dead. This is one reason why a businessman can out perform a politician.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Head Count

KSA executed 5 last month. Four were murderers and one was an armed robber. Another unusual thing was that one of the murderers was shot instead of being beheaded. The year to date count is now up to 51.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Notes from Paris

Paris is giving herself a bath as she prepares for the 2024 Olympics, Years of grime are being cleaned from the limestone buildings and they are returning to their original shiny luster that gave Paris the nickname of "City of Light". In addition, many of the churches, and their artworks, are being cleaned and restored. The colors now pop off the canvas and painted details on the walls are now clearly visible. The down side is that many buildings are covered in scaffolding.

Last year the mayor went on the warpath against AirBnB and the city passed laws limiting vacation rentals. It drove several property agents out of the market as many people withdrew their properties from the short term rental market. While this may generate some tax revenue for the city, it is having detrimental effects on the people who work in the tourism industry. For example, the guy that picks me up at the airport has seen his business fall off. He is considering leaving Paris. The story is that the mayor is in tight with the hotel industry and the law was passed to help the hotels, But, I don't know how Paris is going to accommodate the people coming to the Olymipics unless they allow vacation rentals. There will not be enough hotel rooms and the average person will not be able to afford one.

There seemed to be a lot more homeless people on the streets. They can be seen sleeping on many of the posh shopping streets in Paris and there seems to be no effort to move them. You can't go one block without stepping around a sleeping bag with a homeless guy in it. This will not bode well for the Olympics.

British Air has the worst customer relations of any airline I've flown. They are even worse than United. One of our carryons is an older version and slightly bigger than the current limitations. The problem is that we carry our medications in them and do not want to give them up to be checked. The gate agents hassled us every time we tried to board. The problem is that the bag in question fits quite easily in an Airbus A320. On top of that, their transatlantic flight had little leg room, only 2 toilets for the entire economy section and the staff disappeared after the first meal service. The toilets became filthy very quickly making me wonder about the personal habits of the British. And this was a 787! Never fly BA if you can avoid it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia executed 9 last month to bring their total to 46 for the year.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Battle Damage

This is a corner of the Paris City Hall building showing large caliber battle damage. The resistance took over the building and held it for 3 days while waiting for Leclerc to arrive.  

Friday, April 27, 2018

Trip Report and a PSA

I know. It's been a while and the usual posts of stuff from Paris has been missing. Well, we had a bit of a hiccup in our travel plans. After a great week in Bologna with the oldest grandson, my wife took a slip and fall while walking down the dimly lit stairs in the Bologna airport. She stuck her head on the wall and was dazed but but not unconscious. We boarded the plane and headed to Paris. She expected to have headaches but after 4 days, she had a muscular control issue with her leg. We headed to the American Hospital for a check up. Turned out that she had a subdural hematoma and that led to her spending the next 7 days in the hospital.

I can tell you that if you have to spend a week in a hospital, the American Hospital in Paris is the place to do it. The room had a terrace with a 4 place table on it and we ate out there when the weather was warm. You order your meals from a room service menu and it is served by a waiter in a white jacket. And you can order wine with your meal.

Now here's the PSA.....If you are travelling outside of the USA, go buy some travel medical insurance. I get mine from Amex. It covers medical, dental and medical repatriation should you need it. Medicare will not cover you and your supplement plan probably won't be happy paying he entire bill. And make sure that you have a credit card that can cover the costs. I had to put down my Amex card which the hospital happily accepted. You will be responsible for filing the claim. When we left, the hospital gave us copies of all our medical records including CT scans and MRIs. You will need that stuff to file your claim.

If you are on blood thinners and suffer a head trauma, get checked for a subdural hematoma!

Anyway, we are out of the hospital and doing well and glad that I was Boy Scout enough to travel prepared.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Head Count

The KSA slowed down a little last month and only beheaded 7. year to date total is up to 37.

News from Across the Pond

Watching BBC and Sky News at the apartment as I can't stomach CNN International and Fox News is a pay channel. The news today is that the UK has instituted a sugar tax to discourage drinking high fructose soft drinks.The nanny state is using regulation to fight obesity. In other news, there were six more stabbings today in London. There have now been more murders in London than in NYC. But at least they weren't shot.

Locally, we chatted with our driver on the ride in from CDG and the topic fell to the topic of immigration and taxes. our driver, who is self employed said he pays 67% in taxes and hates to see his money go towards supporting illegal immigrants. His father immigrated from Portugal but unlike the new generation, they have always worked hard and assimilated into France.

British Air Customer Service Sucks

BA lost one of our bags and I have been trying to get information from them for the last 24 hours. They confirm that they found it and that it is on a truck for delivery to me. The delivery service is a third party so they say they cannot tell me an ETA. I told them that the delivery company is giving BA a bad reputation but then the agent got snarky with me. And this is on top of the Nazi gate agent in Heathrow who was telling people to gate check their carry ons because the flight was full. We explained that our bags contained medicines and we would not let them out of our sight. She then got snarky with us. I saw her order people to give up their bags and she marched them to the desk to  do so. There was no politeness in her attitude. BA needs some serious customer service training.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck in Paris waiting for the delivery guy.

Postscript - Bag finally delivered. The delivery guy called this morning and asked our preferred time and he actually arrived on schedule. I'm amazed that BA couldn't track the bag after handing it over to their subcontractor. Instead, they used the poor guy as an excuse for their incompetence. And, BA still needs to give their employees some serious customer relations training.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Car Pron


The Stelvio

Here is the infamous Stelvio. They call it an SUV but there is little U in it as the rear is little more than a hatchback. 

You need a degree in computer science to operate these new cars. I had my grandson handle the GPS programming and the radio. It is kinda pretty, though. As we were creeping through holiday traffic at Lake Garda, my wife heard a man sigh and comment, "It's an Alfa."

New Tricks

It's good to have a savvy grandson. During our visit with him in Bologna, Italy we returned to the apartment late at night and too tired to go out to eat. He pulled up "Deliveroo" on his phone and we'd order a meal to be delivered by a guy on a bike. We could track his progress so we knew when to meet him at the front door. Evidently, it is the saviour of college students wanting late night pasta.

I rented a couple of different cars while here. The first was the Volvo S90. We took it to Florence and then down the Chianti Road to Siena. it was very comfortable and smooth to drive. The next day I got an Alfa Romeo Stelvio and we took it north to Lake Garda. It was not as comfortable, the instruments and controls (shifting) were a little confusing and the steering was twitchy. The shifter is electronic and operates like a floppy paddle shifter but its a stick on the console. Getting reverse required pushing a button with your foot on the brake and a couple of nudges. And when I stopped for diesel, the eco system shut it down, I got out to pump and when I got back in, it would not re-start. I had to press the stop engine button to make it think I shut it down.

Chianti Road (Strada Regionale 222) would be a blast in an open top sports car. Even better if you knew there was nobody coming the other way on blind curves. Just don't get distracted by the  scenery and the vineyards.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Oscar Mike

Heading across the pond today to visit oldest grandson who is doing a semester abroad. The school is closing the dorm over Easter so we will provide refuge. Then we go to the City of Light for a few weeks. Expect to see short blogs and pictures of stuff.

We went though the process to get Global Entry which includes the TSA Precheck. I'll let you know how that works out.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Head Count

I had a Senior Moment earlier this month and forgot to check the executions in Saudi Arabia, Well, although it's a little late, The KSA beheaded 15 people last month - 13 druggies and 2 murderers. The year to date total is 30.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Memorable People

A recent post by Old NFO got me thinking about people I knew when I was growing up. This man was the sponsor of our Explorer post rifle team on the Sub Base at Pearl Harbor. This was in 1966 to 1967. I can't tell you any specific thing that he did but the fact that I remember him after all these years speaks volumes.
David F. Purinton
BRUNSWICK, Maine - David F. Purinton, 85, a retired U.S. Navy captain, died Thursday, March 31, 2005, in Key West, Fla.
He was born in Brunswick on March 5, 1920, a son of Charles I. and Flora M. Silva Purinton. He graduated from Brunswick High School in 1938. He was a member of the National Guard before enlisting in the Navy in 1939.
As an enlisted man, he worked his way through the ranks to chief petty officer. He was commissioned as an ensign in 1944. He retired as a captain in 1975.
During World War II, he served on the submarine Hoe (SS-258), making seven war patrols, entitling him to wear the Submarine Combat Pin with stars. He also took part in missions that were instrumental in holding off Japanese attacks on the Philippines. He was subsequently decorated with four commendations, including the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation with gold frame.
He commanded the submarine Tirante (SS-420), earning him the Command at Sea insignia. In Key West, he was commanding officer of Submarine Division 121.
He was executive officer of the Submarine Base Pearl Harbor, and then returned to Key West as commanding officer of the submarine tender Bushnell (AS-15).
On his initiative, he secured permission to keep the Bushnell in Pilottown, Miss., following the devastation of Hurricane Camille to provide fresh water, medical assistance and emergency services. He and his crew volunteered to rebuild the pier for the pilot boats. The event was recorded in the Congressional Record.
His last two tours were assistant Navy inspector general in Washington, D.C., and administrative officer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Over the course of his Navy career, he attended the Armed Forces Staff College, the University of South Carolina and the University of Hawaii. In 1972, he received his B.S. in business administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
In Brunswick, he was best known as the proprietor of the Brunswick Gun Shop. Aside from gun repair, he was active in antique gun collecting, repair and appraisal.
After the gun shop closed in 2003, he was busy writing two books, appraising antique guns and working on the restoration of one of his three antique autos.
He was chaplain of the Submarine Veterans of World War II, Squalus Chapter; a founding member and retired trustee of the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum; a member of the Military Officers Association of America; and an active member of St. Charles Borromeo Church.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Big Brother is Watching

British Air recently started direct flights from New Orleans to London. My wife and I booked it to visit our Grandson who is in Italy and also decided to apply for Global Entry to ease our passage through the TSA and Immigration. On the way to our interview with the Border Patrol, I noticed a billboard near the airport advertising direct flights to Frankfurt. I didn't catch the airline so I did a Google search to find out which airline it was. Turned out it was Condor Airlines, a German airline that flies to vacation spots. When I open the Book of Face the next day, up popped an ad for Condor Airlines. They are watching!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Helicopters and Autorotation

The recent helicopter accident in NY got me asking "Why didn't he auto rotate down?" I know it works because I experienced it first hand.

I was returning from offshore one afternoon. I was the only passenger. In order to pass the time, I started talking to pilot about my growing apprehension about flying in helicopters. He went on with the many reasons that helicopter pilots will tell you why they are safer than fixed wing aircraft. One of these was the ability to auto rotate and land safely. "Let me show you.", he said. He then twisted the throttle back to idle and dropped the collective to the deck. We started falling like a rock and my stomach was left somewhere 100 feet above me. He then began pulling pitch and slowed us down to a more reasonable fall rate. To my relief, he then brought the power back on and we flew back to base without further demonstrations. He claimed that he could land the helicopter under auto rotation and then go into a low hover and rotate it 180 degrees before setting it down again. Furthermore, he had to practice auto rotation on a regular basis.

So, auto rotation is real and the pilot should have been able to land softly on the water. I will await the NTSB report with interest.

Of course, when I was flying offshore, our pilots were all Viet Nam veterans and those guys could do some very delicate things with a Bell 212 or a Bell 206 Long Ranger.

Next time, I'll tell you about translational lift and it's application departing an offshore platform on a hot day in a fully loaded helicopter.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Talisker Distillers Edition

Talisker is located on the remote Isle of Skye and has been there since 1830. They are now part of the Diageo stable of brands. They have several bottlings but this particular one spends the last few months of its ageing in amoroso casks. My bottle was distilled in 2005 and bottled in 2015.

Color: Dark amber. It has the prettiest color of any scotch I've drunk and it really sparkles in a crystal glass
Nose: You can tell that this whiskey was born near the sea from it's briny and seaweedy aroma
Palate: Smooth with a taste of salty peat
Finish: Long and warm

Again, here is a fine whiskey that is not even in its teen years. A great addition to your shelf.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Cutting Off One's Nose......

The news feed was full today listing the companies that cut "partnerships" with the NRA and the left was crowing "That'll teach 'em." Well, exactly what will it teach them?

Most of these "partnerships" were marketing schemes where the listed companies offered discounts to NRA Members. Obviously, they recognized that the NRA members could be a pool of money if they were marketed to correctly.  So, what they are doing is giving the finger to the entire membership or the NRA and telling them that they will no longer get discounts for flying Delta, renting from Hertz, or using Symantic.

I predict that the companies severing ties with the NRA will themselves experience a backlash as NRA supporters decide to boycott them.

NRA members should each buy 1 share of stock from each of those companies and then vote against the management at the next shareholders meeting.

Helicopter Escape Training

Luckily, I stopped flying before this training became mandatory.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Carnivale in Bologna

The oldest grandson is doing a semester in Europe in Bologna, Italy. They celebrate Mardi Gras a little differently over there. Here is a video typical of the parade he went to today. The floats are fantastic.....and some are towed by Lamborghini tractors.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Parisian Cafe Chairs

Did you ever wonder where all those chairs came from?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Head Count

Drugs and murder are a path to getting your head removed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The KSA started the year off strong by beheading 15 transgressors, sometimes as many as 5 at one time.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dysfunctional City

Two days of 25 degree temperatures and New Orleans has gone to Hell in a Handbasket. Major highways (I-10, Miss River Bridge, Causeway) were shut down for black ice and there were no contingency plans except to wait for warmer weather. Besides water lines breaking to private residences, they lost some water mains. Water pressure got so low they had to issue a boil water advisory and high rise building (hotels and offices) were closed due to lack of water pressure. There wasn't enough water pressure at the airport to flush toilets. Several areas lost power. The local Homeland Security guys were caught totally flat footed. When Trump talked about S Holes, he should have included NOLa.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Happy Birthday Murphy

Jan 11 is the 100th birthday of Edward A Murphy, Jr., the man credited with originating Murphy's Law. The Law was first stated during high speed sled tests at Muroc, California in 1949. The actual Law states, "If there are two or more ways of doing something, and one of those can result in a catastrophe, someone will do it." Murphy had been frustrated with a technician who wired a strain gauge wrong and said that if there was a wrong way to do something, he will. If you want to learn more about Murphy's Law, go here.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book Review - The Wanted

Robert Crais seems to be on a 2 to 3 year schedule between new releases but when he does release one it is worth the wait.

Elvis has been hired by a single mother to check into her sons activities. He's been flashing a lot of cash and she is concerned that he is dealing drugs. Elvis finds that he is part of a home robbery crew that targets rich peoples homes and that the police are looking for them. Elvis is trying to arrange his surrender when he discovers that the crew has stolen a laptop that someone wants back and they are willing to kill for it. His job then shifts to protection and trying to find the killers before they strike.

As with most of his books this one is hard to put down.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Head Count

Saudi Arabia ended the year with 10 be-headings. This brings their 2017 total to 133. and with the New Year the count begins again.