I am standing upon the seashore.

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
“There she goes! “Gone where? Gone from my sight . . . that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout .. .

“Here she comes!”

A Poor Scottish Farmer

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.

One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the sound.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’

‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.

‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.

‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.

‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’

And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son’s name?

Sir Winston Churchill.

 

 

 

Sears – Christmas shopping this year.

I know I needed this reminder, since Sears isn’t always my first choice. It’s amazing when you think of how long the war has lasted and Sears hasn’t withdrawn from their commitment. Could we each buy at least one thing at Sears this year?

What commitment you say?

How does Sears treat its employees who are serving in our military? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being on active duty.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all employees who are serving.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears at least once this year. Be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement & feedback it well deserves.

He Who Knows Not…

“He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool – shun him.

He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple – teach him.

He who knows and knows not he knows: he is asleep – wake him.

He who knows and knows he knows: he is wise – follow him.”

Proverbs

How Old Is Grandma?

Stay with this — the answer is at the end…

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events.

The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandmother replied, “Well, let me think a minute -

I was born before:

‘ television, ‘ penicillin, ‘ polio shots, ‘ frozen foods, ‘ Xerox, ‘ contact lenses, ‘ Frisbees and, ‘ the pill

There were no:

‘ credit cards, ‘ laser beams or ‘ ball-point pens

Man had not yet invented:

‘pantyhose, ‘ air conditioners, ‘ dishwashers, ‘ clothes dryers, ‘ and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and ‘ man hadn’t yet walked on the moon

Your Grandfather and I got married first, and then lived together.

Every family had a father and a mother.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, “Sir.

“And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, “Sir.”

We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.

We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Draft dodgers were those who closed front doors as the evening breeze started.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends, not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CD’s, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.

We listened to Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President’s speeches on our radios.

If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan ‘ on it, it was junk.

The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam.

Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and instant coffee were unheard of. We had 5 &10-cent (5 and dime) stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.

Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel.

And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.

You could buy a new Ford Coupe for $600, but who could afford one? Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

In my day:

‘ “grass” was mowed, ‘ “coke” was a cold drink, ‘ “pot” was something your mother cooked in and ‘ “rock music” was your grandmother’s lullaby. ‘ “Aids” were helpers in the Principal’s office, ‘ “chip” meant a piece of wood, ‘ “hardware” was found in a hardware store and ‘ “software” wasn’t even a word.

We were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby.

We volunteered to protect our precious country.

No wonder people call us “old and confused” and say there is a generation gap.

How old do you think I am?

Read on to see — pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

Are you ready?????

This woman would be only 60 years old.

She would have been born in late 1952.

GIVES YOU SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT.

As I was lying down, pondering on the problems of the world…

I realized that at my age I don’t really give a rat’s arse anymore.

If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.

.. A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.

.. A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while

.. A tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.

And you tell me to exercise?? I don’t think so

Now that I’m older here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.

3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.

4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

5. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it ?

7. It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.

8. Some days, you’re the top dog; some days you’re the hydrant.

9. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.

10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.

12. It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

13. The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.

14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.

15. When I’m finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.

16. It’s not hard to meet expenses . . . they’re everywhere.

17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “here after”.

19. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

20. HAVE I SENT THIS MESSAGE TO YOU BEFORE……….??????


Just Stay…

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.

“Your son is here,” she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.

Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed.All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lightedward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.

But he refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.

Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.

“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”

“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”

“I knew right away there had been a mistake,  but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here.

When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was Killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name?

The Nurse with tears in her eyes answered:

Mr William Grey….

We are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience – we are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience.

A perspective on Korean pilots

After I retired from UAL as a Standards Captain on the –400, I got a job as a simulator instructor working for Alteon (a Boeing subsidiary) at Asiana. When I first got there, I was shocked and surprised by the lack of basic piloting skills shown by most of the pilots. It is not a normal situation with normal progression from new hire, right seat, left seat taking a decade or two. One big difference is that ex-Military pilots are given super-seniority and progress to the left seat much faster. Compared to the US, they also upgrade fairly rapidly because of the phenomenal growth by all Asian air carriers. By the way, after about six months at Asiana, I was moved over to KAL and found them to be identical. The only difference was the color of the uniforms and airplanes. I worked in Korea for 5 long years and although I found most of the people to be very pleasant, it’s a minefield of a work environment … for them and for us expats.

One of the first things I learned was that the pilots kept a web-site and reported on every training session. I don’t think this was officially sanctioned by the company, but after one or two simulator periods, a database was building on me (and everyone else) that told them exactly how I ran the sessions, what to expect on checks, and what to look out for. For example; I used to open an aft cargo door at 100 knots to get them to initiate an RTO and I would brief them on it during the briefing. This was on the B-737 NG and many of the captains were coming off the 777 or B744 and they were used to the Master Caution System being inhibited at 80 kts. Well, for the first few days after I started that, EVERYONE rejected the takeoff. Then, all of a sudden they all “got it” and continued the takeoff (in accordance with their manuals). The word had gotten out. I figured it was an overall PLUS for the training program.

We expat instructors were forced upon them after the amount of fatal accidents (most of the them totally avoidable) over a decade began to be noticed by the outside world. They were basically given an ultimatum by the FAA, Transport Canada, and the EU to totally rebuild and rethink their training program or face being banned from the skies all over the world. They hired Boeing and Airbus to staff the training centers. KAL has one center and Asiana has another. When I was there (2003-2008) we had about 60 expats conducting training KAL and about 40 at Asiana. Most instructors were from the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand with a few stuffed in from Europe and Asia. Boeing also operated training centers in Singapore and China so they did hire some instructors from there.

This solution has only been partially successful but still faces ingrained resistance from the Koreans. I lost track of the number of highly qualified instructors I worked with who were fired because they tried to enforce “normal” standards of performance. By normal standards, I would include being able to master basic tasks like successfully shoot a visual approach with 10 kt crosswind and the weather CAVOK. I am not kidding when I tell you that requiring them to shoot a visual approach struck fear in their hearts … with good reason. Like this Asiana crew, it didnt’ compute that you needed to be a 1000’ AGL at 3 miles and your sink rate should be 600-800 Ft/Min. But, after 5 years, they finally nailed me. I still had to sign my name to their training and sometimes if I just couldn’t pass someone on a check, I had no choice but to fail them. I usually busted about 3-5 crews a year and the resistance against me built. I finally failed an extremely incompetent crew and it turned out he was the a high-ranking captain who was the Chief Line Check pilot on the fleet I was teaching on. I found out on my next monthly trip home that KAL was not going to renew my Visa. The crew I failed was given another check and continued a fly while talking about how unfair Captain Brown was.

Any of you Boeing glass-cockpit guys will know what I mean when I describe these events. I gave them a VOR approach with an 15 mile arc from the IAF. By the way, KAL dictated the profiles for all sessions and we just administered them. He requested two turns in holding at the IAF to get set up for the approach. When he finally got his nerve up, he requested “Radar Vectors” to final. He could have just said he was ready for the approach and I would have cleared him to the IAF and then “Cleared for the approach” and he could have selected “Exit Hold” and been on his way. He was already in LNAV/VNAV PATH. So, I gave him vectors to final with a 30 degree intercept. Of course, he failed to “Extend the FAF” and he couldn’t understand why it would not intercept the LNAV magenta line when he punched LNAV and VNAV. He made three approaches and missed approaches before he figured out that his active waypoint was “Hold at XYZ.” Every time he punched LNAV, it would try to go back to the IAF … just like it was supposed to do. Since it was a check, I was not allowed (by their own rules) to offer him any help. That was just one of about half dozen major errors I documented in his UNSAT paperwork. He also failed to put in ANY aileron on takeoff with a 30-knot direct crosswind (again, the weather was dictated by KAL).

This Asiana SFO accident makes me sick and while I am surprised there are not more, I expect that there will be many more of the same type accidents in the future unless some drastic steps are taken. They are already required to hire a certain percentage of expats to try to ingrain more flying expertise in them, but more likely, they will eventually be fired too. One of the best trainees I ever had was a Korean/American (he grew up and went to school in the USA) who flew C-141’s in the USAF. When he got out, he moved back to Korea and got hired by KAL. I met him when I gave him some training and a check on the B-737 and of course, he breezed through the training. I give him annual PCs for a few years and he was always a good pilot. Then, he got involved with trying to start a pilots union and when they tired to enforce some sort of duty rigs on international flights, he was fired after being arrested and JAILED!

The Koreans are very very bright and smart so I was puzzled by their inability to fly an airplane well. They would show up on Day 1 of training (an hour before the scheduled briefing time, in a 3-piece suit, and shined shoes) with the entire contents of the FCOM and Flight Manual totally memorized. But, putting that information to actual use was many times impossible. Crosswind landings are also an unsolvable puzzle for most of them. I never did figure it out completely, but I think I did uncover a few clues. Here is my best guess. First off, their educational system emphasizes ROTE memorization from the first day of school as little kids. As you know, that is the lowest form of learning and they act like robots. They are also taught to NEVER challenge authority and in spite of the flight training heavily emphasizing CRM/CLR, it still exists either on the surface or very subtly. You just can’t change 3000 years of culture.

The other thing that I think plays an important role is the fact that there is virtually NO civil aircraft flying in Korea. It’s actually illegal to own a Cessna-152 and just go learn to fly. Ultra-lights and Powered Hang Gliders are Ok. I guess they don’t trust the people to not start WW III by flying 35 miles north of Inchon into North Korea. But, they don’t get the kids who grew up flying (and thinking for themselves) and hanging around airports. They do recruit some kids from college and send then to the US or Australia and get them their tickets. Generally, I had better experience with them than with the ex-Military pilots. This was a surprise to me as I spent years as a Naval Aviator flying fighters after getting my private in light airplanes. I would get experienced F-4, F-5, F-15, and F-16 pilots who were actually terrible pilots if they had to hand fly the airplane. What a shock!

Finally, I’ll get off my box and talk about the total flight hours they claim. I do accept that there are a few talented and free-thinking pilots that I met and trained in Korea. Some are still in contact and I consider them friends. They were a joy! But, they were few and far between and certainly not the norm.

Actually, this is a worldwide problem involving automation and the auto-flight concept. Take one of these new first officers that got his ratings in the US or Australia and came to KAL or Asiana with 225 flight hours. After takeoff, in accordance with their SOP, he calls for the autopilot to be engaged at 250’ after takeoff. How much actual flight time is that? Hardly one minute. Then he might fly for hours on the autopilot and finally disengage it (MAYBE?) below 800’ after the gear was down, flaps extended and on airspeed (autothrottle). Then he might bring it in to land. Again, how much real “flight time” or real experience did he get. Minutes! Of course, on the 777 or 747, it’s the same only they get more inflated logbooks.

So, when I hear that a 10,000 hour Korean captain was vectored in for a 17-mile final and cleared for a visual approach in CAVOK weather, it raises the hair on the back of my neck.

Love for all, hatred for none

This seems to be a step in the right direction but  the idea of respecting the laws of the host country would have particular resonance for Muslims if, or when, one day those laws became Sharia; an aim to which many aspire in different parts of the world, not least in parts of the USA.

It is not the presence of passive, alternative faiths per se that is the problem for reasonable, peace-loving people, but the potential annihilation of the indigenous way of life, customs and religion which the imposition of such a vicious, cruel, and reprehensible philosophy would ensure.

Moderate (or liberal) Muslims are either with or against the aspirations of their extreme (or militant) brethren; they should act as the primary bulwark against these hard-liners, surely possessing the most influence since their beliefs and interpretations of Islam derive from the same source: The Koran.

If the moderates are as peace-loving as they claim their voice should be heard more stridently disassociating themselves from the militants. At present the politically-corrects, optimists and sleep walkers point to the former group and say: ‘have no fear, these people pose to us no threats whatsoever and will enhance our lives.’  This, of course, will simply facilitate entry one day, by the back door, of the latter group.

How can The Koran be plausible yet contain so many mixed messages? Whose version of the verses, many of which appear to be mutually exclusive, is the correct one? When will this authority, which has, and will continue to bring death and subjugation to millions be rationalised so the rest of us know where we stand and can get on with our own lives?

See also the web site.

¡Hola!

I would like to thank all those bloggers kind enough to be ‘following’ and/or ‘liking’ some of my offerings – very gratifying; I am most grateful.

I have visited your sites, and often tried to respond, but for some reason, though the comments procedure appears to work from my end, recently, for some reason, it is not being ‘saved’ at yours. 

Any suggestions would be appreciated but I expect it will be necessary to ask the WordPress forum for assistance, once I have found the time to determine how to make contact with this esteemed body.

Gracias y adiós por ahora.