Monday, September 26, 2005

Would You Believe???

(I loved this show as a kid....Farewell Maxwell Smart)

Actor Don Adams Dies at 82

Monday, September 26, 2005

LOS ANGELES — Don Adams (search), the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s television spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (search), his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency C.O.N.T.R.O.L., Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of C.H.A.O.S. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack: "Would you believe ... ?" It became a national catchphrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon. The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Felden (search), was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks (search) and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. "Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy (search) for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was canceled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.

Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent.

"It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of "Get Smart" in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role."

He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1926, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1923 or 1927. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.

In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand."

In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines, lying about his age. In Guadalcanal (search) he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian.

After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan (search) and late night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana's Jose Jiminez show. That led to the NBC contract and "Get Smart."

Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, "Inspector Gadget." In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature movie, "The Nude Bomb," about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing.

Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.


Don Adams Dies...FoxNews story

Eric

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hooollly Coooww....

Be careful what you pray for, God just might answer and answer in a big way.

I leave the employ of the Federal Government effective midnight October 1. I was concerned because, basically, I didn't have a job after that. I had a former employer who is willing to put me back to work (and I may take him up on it) and I was waiting for a repsonse from the radio station.

So I prayed this morning that God would handle all of this. I wouldn't be nervous or scared but that He would provide as He always has done.

I get a phone call from the radio station. They want to offer me a job. It's part-time at first with the implication that, after 30 days, it could turn into full-time. It's an exciting offer and the opportunities are there to help mold the station into something better. That's enticing. But it was part-time. So I talked with my old boss and he said whatever I wanted to do was fine, he'd get me spooled up in a day or two and let me keep my hand in aviation.

So I accepted the part-time offer with the caveat that I would expect a full-time offer in a couple of months or I would have to look elsewhere to support my family. I get home and I have a message from a charter outfit in Van Nuys that flys Citation's and Lear Jets. The guy calls back and basically offers me a job as a PIC in a Citation at $42,000/year. Cost of living aside, that's not a bad starting wage. The potential, based on performance is for up to $60,000 a year flying Lear Jets. Every pilots dream!!

So now, I've prayed, God answered and I'm confused. Where do I go?? Do I run with the radio gig? Do I head back to aviation locally with enough pay to cover the bills and that's all and a 24/7/365 on call schedule? Or do I move my family to So. Cal and stretch our budget to maximum??

He not opened a door. He opened three.

Monty Hall: "All right Mr. Lancaster....here's your chance. You can trade what's inside that box that you haven't opened for what's behind Curtain Number One, or Curtain Number Two or Curtain Number Three? Which is is gonna be??"

Crowd Chanting: "DOOR #3...DOOR #1....KEEP THE BOX....DOOR #2....STAY...SPIN THE WHEEL!!!"

Monty Hall: "All right Mr. Lancaster...you've heard the in-studio audience and have had time to think. What's it going to be????"

Me: "Uhhh.............."


Yeah...that' s how if feels right about now.

I think I'll continue with the plan I started out with at lunch. Take the radio station's offer but have Redding Aero as a back up if nothing pans out in two months. Then??? Only God knows. I'll ask Him, see if He answers like He did this morning.

Eric

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Booze and The Bible...

This is one issue I have dealt with over and over again since I was a child. You see, I grew up a conservative, fundamental Baptist and one of the things conservy/fundy Baptist don't do is drink alcohol. (We don't dance or chew or go with girls who do but that's an issue for another day!) And yet I saw my parents drink and when you're a kid, what your parents do is okay.

It was years later that I saw what alcoholism can do to a person and a family. Fortunately for my family, my Dad stopped drinking. And for many years, my sister and I didn't drink and my brother drank but not around Dad. Now, older and a bit more mature, my sister and I imbibe in the occasional adult beverage. For me, personally, the limit is one.

Why one? Because, as I explained to one of my co-workers a couple of years ago when she tried to convince me to have another beer as the beer was free until 7 p.m., if I have two, I'll have three. And if I have three, I'll have six. And if I have six, I'll have...you get the picture. I know my limitations and I respect them. I don't drink to get drunk as I did in my early 20's. I drink now for the experience of a well-crafted brew.

But others have broached the subject much better than I. Here a two links to active articles on the web regarding Christians and drinking. The last link is to The Wittenburg Door's website where you can back-order The Alcohol Issue. One of the best, straight forward takes on alcohol to come along at the time. I used it as fodder for a couple of Sunday School lesson with the high schoolers I was teaching years ago. They got it.

Here are the links and cool picture!

Dr. Bacchus on Alcohol

Free Beer! WWJD?

The Door's Alcohol Issue



I'll leave you with some quotes from the "FREE BEER" website...

"If a man knows that he has a weak head and that he cannot carry 3 glasses of wine without being overcome, and then drinks indiscreetly, is he not a hog?" - John Calvin


"Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?" - Martin Luther


"People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot."
Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI


(That last one had me rolling on the floor laughing me arse off!!)

Eric

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What A Waste...

This morning our pastor continued his study in 1st. Timothy. We landed in Chapter 6, verses 1 and 2. The issue is slaves and most pastors, at least as long as I've been going to church, have tied this to modern day employment. My pastor was no exception. Only this time, it hit very close to home and made me face something I had already known.

Why I lost my job.


Our text:

1 Timothy 6:1-2

Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

The more the pastor got into this the more convicted I became. Basically, we are to work as to the Lord. No problem, I usually am a good employee. I do my job well, get my assignments done on time and with a high level of competence. So far, so good.

Just like it says in Colossians 3:17...
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

But then he started asking if we'd ever bad-mouthed our employers? Had a bad attitude against managment? Uh...yeah. I have. Not so much my immediate supervisors but definitely against the corporation or agency I worked for.

Then he got the part in 1 Timothy that talked about "so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled."

Urp.

When the doors closed to any youth ministry opportunities I got mad at God for I thought that's where He wanted me. Instead I got my old job back and was promoted to Chief Pilot. Two years later, I went to work for the Forest Service and everyone was telling me how blessed I was that God smile on me and gave me a good job. I agreed but deep down inside I truly wondered if this was were I was supposed to be. But godly people whose opinion I respected and trusted seemed to think otherwise. I accepted their opinion and jumped into the job whole-heartedly.

And while I was a good employee...I wasn't a good example of a Christian employee. I tweaked Paul's admonition to be "all things to all men" to excuse laughing and and telling crude jokes, using language I knew wasn't appropriate for the situation (ie: cussing), and, when in conversation, not speaking out my views based on my faith. I couched them in "nice" terms but not convicting terms. My rationale? I had to work with these people for the next 20 years and didn't want to be known as the Bible thumper or "don't say that around Eric, we might offend God". I'd been through that crap in school and really didn't want to go there.

(In all honesty, I'm a little more eloquent and not as brusk as I was in the past.)

Regardless of my excuses, bottom line was I wasn't living my faith. I was one thing at church or around Christians and another at work. The very thing I told myself, way back in High School, that I never wanted to be. When I was suspended, the implications of what I had become hit me like a two-by-four across the head.

My heart broke in shame.

In the three months of my suspension God has dealt with me, opening up my eyes to my hypocrisy and sometimes the shame is overwhelming. I could blame it on the ADHD but that wouldn't be totally correct. Yes, the ADHD has it's affect but I knew, consciously knew, what I was doing. And yet, like Paul said, "I do the things I do not want to do and I don't do the things I wish to do." I think Paul was speaking not only of himself but of man throughout history. Our intentions may be good and honorable but who was it that said "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"?

So here I am. One month from being unemployed...again. A job opportunity hanging in the wind. A choice to make whether to fly for a living or talk for a living. Regardless of which direction I go, I still have a decision to make. Follow Paul's directions to Timothy in regards to being a Christian and an employee or try to justify being quiet about my faith and hoping my life will show who I am? But if my life isn't showing who I really am, how will anyone know to ask why I am different? (Just for the record, I'm not one to go about bashing people at work over the head with my Bible. To me, taking work time to witness steals from my employer and makes a bad impression on my employer about who and what a Christian is supposed to be. There are opportunities outside of work to relate the gospel to my fellow co-workers...someday I should try it!)

40-years-old and still a work in progress...when am I supposed to work on life's issues and resolve them? A counselor friend of mine told my mother that "...if life's issues were not worked on by the time one is 40, God will cause it to happen."

I think I write Greg and ask him what he meant...

Eric

Friday, September 16, 2005

When Environmentalists Go Too Far...

...or...Who Died and made you GOD!

Survival of the Species?

Friday, September 16, 2005

SEATTLE — The federal government has given a California group permission to kill one species of owl in an attempt to save the Northern Spotted Owl (search) from extinction, but the process has left some people in the timber industry shaking their heads.

The government recently gave the California Academy of Sciences (search) permission to kill 20 Barred Owls (search) in an effort to learn why they are thriving in the same forests where Spotted Owls continue to decline.

The Barred Owl is larger, stronger and eats more types of prey than the Spotted Owl, and some scientists believe that they are wiping out the weaker Spotted Owl.

"Whether we'll be able to save the spotted owl in the long term, I don't know,” said Jack Dunbacher from the California Academy of Sciences. “We always hope that what we learn will be able to preserve as much bio-diversity as possible for as long as possible."

But critics call favoring one species over another “playing God,” instead of letting nature run its course, and argue that scientists should have factored in the so-called "enemy owl" before leaving the timber industry nearly extinct.

"You can't turn nature into a museum,” said Ron Arnold (search), author of “Ecology Wars: Environmentalism As If People Mattered,” and other books critical of environmentalists. “Even if you try to play God, it never works."

Among environmentalists, the Spotted Owl achieved a revered status as a symbol of the victory of nature over industry.

But to many who lost their logging jobs during the timber wars of the 1980s and 1990s, seeing the Spotted Owl lose out to another owl species bolsters their argument that the timber industry was not the "owl killer" it was portrayed as being.

"There's a great deal of bitterness and resentment and it's time to get that industry back on its feet to take those restrictions off and go do a responsible job of creating homes with the timber that's standing there,” said Arnold.

Forest managers say that just because the Spotted Owl may face extinction by natural selection, preserving its home is still a priority.

"If you believe in wildlife management, from time to time humans do intervene to favor one species over another," said Lenny Young of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.


So, to save a weaker species of owl, we have to kill a dominant, thriving species. I'll bet if you ask most environmentalists whether they follow the dictum of "survival of the fittest" or any other Darwinian mindset, they'd say yes. So what's up with this story?? Why is the spotted owl more important to nature than the barred owl?

I think the environmentalists got themselves in a bind when they used the spotted owl to attack the timber industry and now they have to do whatever they can to keep the species around, even if it means killing off another species. They just couldn't admit that the spotted owl was on the decline to begin with and that nature is adaptive. (Spotted owls were sighted living in the K-Mart sign in Arcata, Ca....like I said, adaptive.)

Who needs satire when you can just read the news?

Eric

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Think That Just About Sums It Up...


I stole this from Takk over at the HLBB...

Eric

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Interview Went...

...well. So well, they asked me to sit in and host this afternoon's talk show. No job offer tendered but then again, it is a trial. They need to hear me and see how I am on the air. The best part about it is this...the FCC inspector is roaming around the station...wonderful!!!

Still don't know if this is where I get off the train. I just received two confirmations via email from a couple of resume's I put out. One at Air Cargo Carriers (they fly the Shorts aircraft I fly at the USFS) and Samaritan's Purse.

The bottom line as to where I go may be money. I hate that thought but I have a mortgage and a wife and two kids to support so no matter how much I love radio, the pay has got to be there. And it doesn't even have to be what I made with the gov't. We're frugal and have always known we can live on less than what we brought in.

Before we've given of our time and money, for the last five years, we've been able to give more money than time as our schedules changed. We've given out our abundance and out of our poverty.

So there you have it...like I said, I think the interview went well. I expressed my ideas, they seemed to like them. Who knows... (I'm really hoping for a direct sign from God about this...you know...like a finger writing on the wall??? Wait a minute...bad idea...the finger spelled out bad news for Balshazar during his feast. How about a little burning bush...yeah...that would be nice...!)

Eric

Monday, September 12, 2005

Get A Haircut...

...and get a real job!!

I was walking through the hangar today at work, wondering when I would receive a call about any of the resume's I had put out over the last couple of weeks. I was beginning to worry, though I needn't have, as time was running out. I basically have two more weeks of active duty here at the Forest Service. Then I become gainfully unemployed!!

One of the resume's I put out was for a Program Director/Talk Show Host position at a radio station I used to work at. (Scroll down for the story.) Neither my wife nor I figured I would get a call back as I really don't have the years of experience needed to be a Program Director. But surprise, surprise, surprise...I got a call from the Station Director at Regent here in Redding and I have an interview tomorrow, Wednesday, to discuss what I have to offer, what they have to offer, etc, etc.

I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm nervous. Not good things for the ADHDer! But it is an answer to prayer, sort of. I've been wondering what to do when I grow up!! I'm 40. Do I continue to pursue aviation? Do I pursue radio? Do I head back to college and swap horses in mid-stream? What??

I'll find out more tomorrow...

Eric

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel...

...is not the headlamp from an oncoming train!

This is the deal. After meeting with the Union Rep, my options were limited. I could let the USFS fire me, then take them to Merit Service Protection Board (a judge) and argue that the punishment was too harsh. Of course that would be in about 6 to 7 months and there is no guarantee the judge would see things my way.

Or Plan B...I quit.

So...I am quitting. But resigning from the USFS (or any Gov't agency for that matter) isn't as simple as saying "I quit...give me my last paycheck." Oh no...it takes a couple of months.

Here's what we (meaning me and the Union Reps) are offering the USFS. I resign, they expunge my record of any wrong-doing and they keep me on the payroll (It's called LWOP...Leave With Out Pay) until October 29. This allows me to get my five years as a Federal Employee and qualify to receive an annuity when I'm 65.

Here's hoping management goes for it...

Eric

Friday, September 02, 2005

15 Days...

That's what I have. 15 days to make either a written or oral rebuttal to the recommendation.

What recommendation?

The one that states "that (my) removal is necessary to promote the efficiency of the service."

In other words, I'm being fired. It was easier when my boss just said, "You're fired! Pick up your check!" No, the government, which does everything exceeding slow save for knee-jerk reactions to criticism, takes its own sweet time. I've been on flight suspension for 10 weeks. Now I have 15 days to rebut and will be terminated, barring a successful rebuttal, on Oct. 2, 2005. I can quit before hand and all of this goes away. Any future employer asking the USFS about me will get the standard reply. He worked here from Oct 2000 to Oct 2005. He left of his own free will.

I think this is probably the biggest screw up of my entire life. This takes the cake. The brass ring of screw ups. No, no one died or was injured (just my ego and self esteem). But I put my foot in it big time. I've let down my co-workers, my boss and the agency. I've wasted taxpayers money (sorry...please don't ask for a refund) on my training which I only got to use for 1 1/2 years. I caused 100,000 dollars worth of damage to an airplane because I got scared and panicked.

So....I feel sick. I have a meeting with the Union Rep on Thursday. At that time we'll discuss my options and develop a strategy. My first instinct was to just bail. Quit. Why would I want to stay with this hanging over my head? Management and Safety will never trust me again. My name and reputation are sullied. The FS never forgets a sin. If anyone has a good reason why I should stay (short of supporting my family), I'd really like to know. Seriously. I can get another job but I'll never have another job with the pay and retirement security I have with this one.

Somebody shoot me...

Eric