Monday, April 30, 2012

The Candidate

What would you look for in a political candidate?  What personal traits would you look for in someone you were looking to lead during troubled times?  I’ve thought this over for the past few days and came up with a list of the top five traits I would look for.

5.)  Enthusiasm in the abilities and potential of our nation.  Not only personal enthuse but someone who is able to bring out this enthusiasm in others. (Cain)

4.)  Commitment to the structure of our form of government as designed by our founding fathers.  A commitment to the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America. (Paul)

3.)  Dedication to the people of the United States.  The ability to follow the will of the people above personal or special interest to the point of personal or political ridicule. (Santorum)

2.)  Intellect, the mental competence to properly apply economical, historical, technological and political principles’ to situations.  A critical thinker not prone to “kneejerk” reactions. (Gingrich)

1.)  Humility, willing to subordinate him/herself to others ideas and course of actions when needed to overcome obstacles.  Someone who’s pride or ego wouldn’t get in the way.   A quote from President Lincoln (Rep.) speaking of General McClellan (Dem.) during the American Civil War “I would hold his horse if he would just bring victories”.  President Lincoln would be General McClellan’s stable boy for the good of the union.  (Romney) 

    You notice I put the name of a Republican Primary Candidate following each trait that I felt was important.  Each man to one extent or another displayed all five of the qualities but each had a strong point that was important to me.  Through the primary season I had been kind of pulling for Mr. Cain, Mr. Santorum or Mr. Gingrich at different times due to their strengths but ultimately as I think it over in the context of our national situation the candidate that was at the bottom of my list is the best man for the job.      
    I fully support Mr. Romney.
    In his business dealing (rebuilding/restructuring failing corporations) he has a proven record of selecting the best people to surround himself with.  Not based on friendship or payback but ability.  He surrounded himself with the best minds, experts in their fields and listens to them.  This is what we need now.

    I applied the five traits to Mr. Obama, it isn’t pretty.  He failed to display any of the traits that are important to me.

5.)  Enthusiasm in the abilities and potential of our nation.  Not only personal enthuse but someone who is able to bring out this enthusiasm in others. One of his first acts as he took office was “The Apology Tour”. Talking down the United States and its citizens.

4.)  Commitment to the structure of our form of government as designed by our founding fathers.  A commitment to the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America.  He considers the Constitution to be an antiquated document no longer applicable according to his theory of our place in a global society. 

3.)  Dedication to the people of the United States.  The ability to follow the will of the people above personal or special interest to the point of personal or political ridicule. He deems the public to be pawns for his use to forward his agendas.   He continually pits one group against another. 

2.)  Intellect, the mental competence to properly apply economical, historical, technological and political principles’ to situations.  A critical thinker not prone to “kneejerk” reactions.  Obama has never let a fact, reality or waiting for the evidence get in the way of a sound bite.

1.)  Humility, willing to subordinate him/herself to others ideas and course of actions when needed to overcome obstacles.  Someone who’s pride or ego wouldn’t get in the way.   A quote from President Lincoln speaking of General McClellan during the American Civil War “I would hold his horse as long as he brings me victories”.  President Lincoln would be General McClellan’s stable boy for the good of the union.  He shows a lot of anger when he is not agreed with or has been criticized.  Even when he selected a commission to look into budget options he blew off their recommendations because they didn’t match his views.  President Obama surrounded himself with cronies and yes men.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What every Sergeant knows

    In the Air Force (and I’m sure every other branch of military service) as you progress in rank you are sent to different professional military education academies.  The courses last from four to eight weeks and covered military organization, management, problem solving and people skills.  The intensity of these courses was dependent on your rank level.  Airmen (young enlisted troops 1-4 years in service) may only get a basic overview so they have an understanding of what’s going on around them.  For Non-Commissioned Officers (Sergeants with 4-12 years of service) the education intensified to a working level, giving you the tools and knowledge to apply the lessons to everyday situations.  The courses for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (12+ years of service) not only enhanced their skills but also worked towards them being effective in building these skills in their subordinates. 
    Of all the subjects I studied in the various academies I attended by far the one that taught me the most was leadership.  To be really honest with you the opportunities to provide true leadership in the military are few, mostly it’s just management.  Our goals, our missions were dictated to us.  We just had to make it happen.  In my twenty years in the Air Force I met and worked with many great managers and I respect every one of them but I only met a few great LEADERS.                  
    What makes a leader?  Don’t confuse this position with Director, King, Emperor or Lord of the manner.  A leader keeps the group focused on goals and priorities.  You notice I said group not followers (a follower thinks and does what they are told).  A leader is the central contact point for all to bring problems, questions and ideals.  A true leader fosters teamwork and continually cheers the efforts of all team members emphasizing the importance of each.  As a leader you are subordinate to the group as a whole, you honestly inform the group of the situation and gain a consciences of actions to be taken and goals to strive for.  Leaders do not interject their personal goals or beliefs onto the group.  They build trust and confidence in the group’s direction.  Leaders provide an open forum for honest productive discussion and or debate in maters affecting the group.  As a leader you would not place your goals, ideas, desires or needs above the group (if anything yours takes a back seat).  Real leaders do not use their position or the positions trust to manipulate the group into following avenues they would otherwise not take by means of fear, cohesion or bribery.  Leader doesn’t really sound very fun does it? Well a true leader deflects prays for achievements onto others and takes responsibility for failures and shortfalls.  Leader is just a fancy term for cheerleader and wiping-boy all rolled into one.

    I’ve been called on the carpet a time or two, for good things and bad (Colonel H. would add a couple of zeros to my 1 or 2, Sorry Boss).  I’ve always given myself a personal litmus test before speaking.  When it was for something good I’d use he, she, them or they.  If it was for a bad reason then it was I, me or myself.  I use this test anytime I listen to someone who presumes themselves to be a leader.  It’s been very accurate in separating leaders from posers in as little as a sentence or two.  Posers always get it backwards…  Next time someone’s giving a speech or a press conference put them to the test & see what you think.         
    I wish our elected officials would read this each day as they enter the halls of government to do as they say, “The Peoples Work”.  The thing is we have a lot of self-glorifying managers but very few leaders in government today.                                

I’ve got nothing burning for mid-week so hopefully I have something good for next Sunday; ya never know what’ll float to the surface in my mind.  We’ll seeJ

Later Days

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sorry about that, fella’

    I know last time I said I would be posting a bit of a continuation to Through a Child's Eyes but after I finished it and went over it a few times I think it will be better suited a couple of months from now.  But how about a little story for stopping by.

    A few postings back I mentioned that at onetime I was a Flight Mechanic on the military C-9A Nightingale medevac aircraft operating out of Scott AFB IL. Below ten thousand feet the Flight Mechanic was required to be in the jump seat between the Pilot and Co-pilot as a third set of eyes’ and to call in to base operations to coordinate servicing and ground support.  I’d like to tell you about one flight at least me and one other gentleman remembers.

     The Nightingale is a standard McDonnell Douglas DC-9 that was widely used in civilian aviation.  Being a series A, the fuselage was shorter than most of the DC-9’s used by airlines, this made the thrust to weight ratio fairly high and the aircraft was very agile for its design.  She also has some noteworthy modifications.  First there was a large door and ramp system installed on the side of the fuselage so litter patients could be brought on-board.  Second the interior was configured so we could change from seats for ambulatory patients (walking wounded) to stanchions for litter patients (ones on stretchers).  We could carry up to forty patients either seated or on stretchers in any combination.  The change would only take a few minutes, a really nice setup.  Finally up towards the cockpit there was an intensive care unit compartment outfitted with a wide assortment of medical equipment.  We used the ICU primarily for urgent patients but during routine transport missions a non-urgent patient would sometimes be put in this area to keep more seats in the back.
During our flights we would use the call-sign EVAC followed by three digits depending on what regions we were servicing that day, example: EVAC 634 or EVAC 216.  Most of the time when we contacted Air Traffic Control (ATC) with the EVAC call-sign they would give us direct routing and rarely put us in any type of holding pattern.  Often during approach ATC would ask if we had a visual on the runway, if we did they would give us landing clearance often at a significant altitude.   Like I said the Nightingale was very agile we would trade altitude for airspeed and get down in a hurry during approach.  There was one little quark with doing this, it would often set off an audible alarm in the cockpit.  We were use to it but for one gentleman that had been placed in the ICU area I guess it was a bit much. 

    Flying into Philadelphia International, this was the radio conversation between us and approach control.

ATC: EVAC 611 do you have visual on runway 27 Right?

Co-pilot: Affirmative, We have visual contact with runway 27 Right.

ATC:  EVAC 611 Can you make direct approach?

Slight pause as the co-pilot glanced towards the pilot, being we were still a thousand plus feet above normal approach glide path.  The pilot nodded yes.

Co-pilot: Affirmative, EVAC 611 can take direct approach.

ATC:  EVAC 611 you are cleared direct approach landing runway 27 Right, contact ground control 121.9

Co-pilot: EVAC 611 copy, clear to land runway 27 Right, contact ground control 121.9, Thank you approach.

    The pilot nosed the jet over dumping altitude at a rapid rate. Moments into our decent the audible alarm started to sound off.


    That’s when I heard one of the most blood curdling screams in my life followed by the patient frantically yelling;

“OH GOD, Do’d it says… Do’d it says”
    It took both Flight Nurses to keep the gentleman in the litter, I’m sure an injection was involved, because as I walked back through the cabin after landing he was looking a little sleepy.  I think the nurse may have also put a note in his chart about suffering a bit of stress induced cardiac trauma…

Sorry about that, Fella’J

I’m working this weekend so the next posting will most likely be Monday afternoon.
Thanks for stopping by
The TOMCAT    

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Through a child’s eyes

Hi I’m little Johnny, I’m 9-years-old, I live in Small-town USA.  I like to play with my dog Rex, ride my bike, play baseball and go fish’n; I really really like going fish’n. 
    I woke up this morning and the sun was shining on my face through my bedroom window.  What a nice day, I think I’m going ta go fish’n. I got dressed in my play clothes and ran down to the kitchen to get some breakfast.  Mommy was sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of papers and she looked kind’a strange, she looked kind’a sad.  Mommy can I have some frosty flakes?  She said “We don’t have any milk Johnny”.  That’s OK I’ll eat’em anyway.  We’ve been running out of milk and stuff lately.  After I finished my frosty flakes I started out the door to get my fish’n pole and Rex.  When I went into the shed my daddy was looking at his new 4 wheeler, he just got it last weekend. When I get a little older I hope he’ll let me drive it.  I’m going to the pond daddy ya want to go with?  He said “No Johnny I ‘m going to go out on the 4-wheeler”.  Daddies been home more for the past months, he use to be gone ta work most days but he doesn’t seem to have to go anymore, its nicer ta have him home.  Me and Rex started off for the pond but we had to stop off at the old dead tree to find some worms first.  Daddy use to get me a little tub of worms from the store before but hasn’t been getting them lately, he said he doesn’t have the money for them now.
    After a few hours of playing around the pond I figured it was getting to be time for me and Rex to go home.  I couldn’t catch any fish anyway cause I only found three worms and the little fishes stole them pretty quickly.  As I got closer to the house I seen a big truck out front with two working men and a policeman they were pulling daddy’s new truck onto their big truck.  Daddy’s truck must be broken and their going to fix it, he’ll sure be happy.  When I went into the house mommy was sitting on the couch, her head was down and it looked like she was crying.  What’s the matter mommy?  “Nothing Johnny, go wash up and I’ll get lunch ready”.  Yum, mommy made me some tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, that’s the best lunch of all.  All of the sudden we heard the front door slam and my daddy yell “Where’s my truck?” mommy told me to stay in the kitchen as she ran to the front room.
    I could hear mommy and daddy talking, she told him they came and took it and that the bank also called about the mortgage.   Daddy sounded angry, he said some words I didn’t understand then he said he would get another cash advance on the credit cards.  Mommy didn’t sound happy she said the bills are piling up and that they need to get a handle on them.  I’m kind-a scared because I’m not sure what they’re talking about, I wish they would talk to me…  Then I heard mommy ask “Where are you going?” Daddy said “You’re always nagging me!  I’ve got to get out of here for awhile.  I’m going to meet up with some of the guy’s at Ray’s to play cards.”  I hope he’s not going to be gone too long, baseball sign ups are tonight.

    Sorry about the dark story but you’ll have that with me sometimes.  A dysfunctional situation, a dysfunctional family.  A man indulging his whims without regard to his family, a new truck, 4-wheeler, gambling.  A woman incapable or unwilling to stop the madness.  A young child kept in the dark that senses something’s wrong he’s just not sure what because he’s not a part of the conversation on the family’s predicament.  If any of us knew a family like this we could see the problems, we would know help is needed, some may even speak up and get involved.  The sad thing is we all know a family like this.  The whole world is standing by watching as this family self-destructs.  I’m talking about us, the United States of America!

  President Obama entered office under the banner of “Hope and Change” but as soon as he took charge he began indulging his every whim.  A health care bill that “Needed to be passed so we could see what was in it”.  A massive stimulus package for shovel ready jobs that “Weren’t as shovel ready” as they planned.  A green energy goal that is unattainable.  Financial backing for failing companies belonging to his campaign contributors.  And the list goes on.  By the way Mr. Obama didn’t inherit anything from the Bush administration, He applied for the job!  He just didn’t know how much he didn’t know.  He failed to do the one thing that every family facing financial difficulties has to do first, SET-UP A BUDGET!  To date his administration still hasn’t come up with a workable budget.  What did he do? In his words he “Un-patriotically raised the national debit”.  He went for another cash advance on the nation’s credit card.   

  Senate and Congress were complicit for two years.  Then with the mid-term elections they began to stand up to the madness somewhat but still they went for backroom negotiations and this for that deals.  If it’s not a matter of national security they should sit down at the table with the cameras and microphones on for negotiations.  If a proposed bill, law or regulation is wrong say No,No,No. Afraid of being called a “Do nothing Congress” I’d rather be called names than do harm to our nation.  Remember nothing disinfects like the light of day.    

(Little Johnny)
  The American Public for the most part was happy to go along with the “Hope and Change” rhetoric and the we’re all going to get something for nothing promises.  Well guess what, sometimes even a 9 year-old boy has to grow up fast.  We’re not children anymore open your eyes open your ears and start educating yourselves on the truly dire predicament we are allowing our nation to fall into.  Climbing out of this hole we’re in is going to be messy and we’re all going to get dirty.  It’s not going to be the rich paying their “Fair Share” it needs to be every man, woman and child pulling together.

Again, sorry for the dark subject (Amber).  There will be an additional posting that should be ready Thursday, a bit of a follow up to this.  Still doing a bit of research and fact checking.  I promise to make next Sundays posting more up lifting or at least give a little chuckle.

Thank you for spending a bit of your day with me


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From my side of the screen

    Hi All, I just wanted to give a little glimpse from my side of the screen.  I’ve been at this for about six weeks now and posted an introduction and eight short stories (I hope you’ve enjoyed them).  It’s been a blast for me, sharing some of my thoughts and experiences but what really caught me by surprise was all the visitors from other countries. So far there have been 559 page views and the majority of those were from the United States but I have had several visitors from Russia, Germany, Bahrain (Hi Aaron) and Japan has been making frequent visits lately. I have also had visits from Czech Republic and Malaysia.  That is SO COOL!  It makes the world seem not smaller but closer.

    The two most read postings have been Lessons from my Daddies (it was so easy to write, it just poured straight from the heart) and Kill People and Break Things (just the opposite, every word tore me up but I had to write it).

    As I mentioned I’ve had 559 page views, that may not be many by some standards but I think it’s pretty good for a mechanic in Southern Indiana.  If you have a chance and only if you’d like to, put your city and a little bleep about what you do in the comment box, I’m kind of interested in learning more about ya’ll…

Thanks for stopping in


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Because you are

    Hi All, I hope you are doing fine.  Easter Sunday is coming to a close and myself, I’m refreshed and ready to start another week. Actually I’m starting another year.  Two years ago this weekend I became Catholic.  Some of you who know me are probably confused now, thinking; You’ve always been catholic, You were born catholic.  True but I didn’t practice the faith.  I can’t point to any life changing event or any one instance of sudden clarity that guided me back to the Catholic Faith but it happened.  I can’t put it into words other than to say, I have been at peace with myself.  Some may find religion to be a restriction, for me it’s just the opposite; I’ve never felt more free.  I have been off work for the last 4 days; each day I set aside a couple of hours to attend mass at St Meinrad Catholic Church.  During this time I reflected on the past year, my decisions, my actions and how I can improve how I handle each.

     About a year ago I wrote a little reflection, mostly for my girls and their husbands, but I would like to share it with you now.

    For the past year I have devoured books, ¾ of them have been on the subject of the Catholic faith (I’ve got a lot of catching up to do) the other ¼ have mostly been technical manuals of one sort or another.  Actually I’ve read more books this past year than the previous 30 years combined.  I have always read technical manuals (Need to know what your doing when your working on jet’s…  No place to pullover and park if ya didn’t do it right).  The other books I had read were usually the biographical stories of prisoners of war.  One thing I found in the stories of the POW’s ordeals was although their bodies were broken they were able to survive by keeping their minds and spirits fed, exercised, and cared for.  They kept faith in God, country, and their fellow prisoners.  The part that was lost on me at the time was these warriors had a solid religious foundation prior to buckling themselves into their jets or stepping foot onto the battle field.  It is said that everyone finds religion when they’re at the wrong end of a gun, well that may be but is it the type of religion that brings comfort in times of anguish?  Will it bring the companionship that a long term relationship with God brings?  The great thing is that if you want, God will give you the nourishment your mind and soul needs to stay healthy yet demands nothing in return.  God has given us the commandments on how he would like us to live but the freewill to abide by them or not.  When you exercise your mind and spirit by your thoughts, actions and faith you give a gift back to God.  The nourishment provided by God combined with your exercising your mind and faith will provide the care your mind and soul needs giving you strength beyond your imagination. 

     Another man or acts of nature can take your belongings, possibly your freedom, or even your life.  Time or illness can fade your memory, knowledge, strength and health.  There are two things that can’t be taken away, your integrity and your faith.  Man, nature and circumstances can test both but they can’t take either.  The only way you loose integrity or faith is by choice, please never choose to giveaway what can not be taken…      
Tiffany, Alex, (and The Boys) I leave you with this. 
  Keep your faith in God and his plan
  Speak every word as if you were speaking to God (because you are)
  Take every action as if you were in the presence of God (again, because you are)
  Treat others with kindness and charity (in one way or another it will come back to you)
  And finally whether I’m with you or not, I’ll always be watching over you……

The Dad                                      

Thanks for stopping by.
Until next week

Sunday, April 1, 2012

When you say YES Ma’am… Be ready to live with it!

     This past November the wife and I did a group tour to Israel.  It was a bucket list thing for us.  I would recommend going if you get the chance but the tour guide makes all the difference (Thank you Johnny Mafia).  I could go on and on about the places we went and all the interesting things to see (maybe in a later post).  For now I would like to focus on one incident, a 45 minute period at the end of our time in Israel.

A little setup is required so sit back and enjoy.

    Our group had just arrived at Tel Aviv International Airport to catch our flight back to the United States.  There was the standard airport protocol, security lines.  Standing, leaning, sitting and waiting for what seemed like hours.  Meantime the tour company was working arrangements for two ladies in our group that had come down with what I would describe as the SUPER FLU.  The sick ladies were put into wheel chairs but they needed someone to help push them through to the departure gate so my wife was commandeered.   This left me with two large and very heavy suitcases.   Not a problem, I’m a MAN and I’ll handle it in a Manley Manner.  I inched my way up the security line to the first checkpoint.  I placed my suitcase on the conveyor for the X-ray machine.  As it passed through it was tagged clear.  Then I sent my wife’s bag through “Agnnnn”, inspection required.  I was directed to a second check point where they would physically go through the luggage.  Again not a problem other than thinking to myself, “How am I going to get this bag closed again, it took a team effort to get it closed last time”.

(This is where things began to go south)

The check point was attended by two young ladies (to me they looked to be about 15 years-old).  They began asking me the standard airport questions.

1st Attendant: “Is this your bag?”

Me:  Yes Ma’am (thinking to myself technically I’m a part owner)

1st Attendant: “Did you pack it yourself?”

Me:  Yes Ma’am (again to self, I sat on it to get it closed)

1st Attendant: “Did anyone give you anything?”

Me:  No Ma’am

About that time the 2nd attendant unlatched the suitcase follower by an abrupt springing open of the lid.  She looked up at me with a somewhat curious and disbelieving look upon her face and asked again “Are you sure this is YOUR bag?” as she slowly turned it towards me so I could see around the lid…

    There it lay, a pile of distinctly feminine attire… OK, this is where I should fumble around and try to explain how my wife was commandeered and had to leave her suitcase with me.  Did I do that? NO, I was committed; I already said this was my bag, twice.  Plus I saw an opportunity for a little self-inflicted giggle.
Looking the young lady in the eyes and with a dead straight face I said

They make me feel pretty…
Her eyes widened, her jaw slightly dropped.  She slowly lowered the lid of the suitcase and pushed it towards me as she motioned me to proceed through to the air terminal.  

As I stood on the lid and attempted to close the latches I looked up at the two young ladies with a slight grin on my face and said (with all the southern draw I could muster) “THANK YOU MA’AM's, it’s my wife’s cloths”.  Then off I went to catch my flight, leaving them both with grins on their faces now.

     You may be thinking you’ve just read a short story about a little long forgotten incident that occurred in an airport involving two young ladies and a goof.  What you’ve really just read was a reminder on how we should address people in everyday situations.  Yes I use sir, ma’am, please, may I and thank you. I use these terms every chance I get.  I could be at the local McDonald's placing an order with the 17 year-old kid behind the counter I would say, “Sir may I please have a Big Mac” and then “Thank you sir” when he gives it to me.  It didn’t cost me an extra cent to be courteous and it most likely made him feel a bit more valued.  Try to work a bit of this under applied courtesy in your everyday situations.  You just might brighten someone’s dayJ

                      The Tomcat