Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long 2008...

...you sucked.

What did 2008 bring?

January: The flight from hell. Which led to a poor excuse for an incident debriefing where I was told to "buck up, it wasn't that bad". Where I was accused of not knowing how to use the radar in the aircraft. The same radar that turned out to be not functioning properly. I was accused by the Director of Operations of not knowing basic weather. The same D.O. who ordered me to send a pilot on trip that was illegal due to basic weather for FAR 135 flights (something he should have known after all, he is the Director of Operations!).

February/March/April: Increasing uneasiness when flying. Distracted. Not wanting to go to work. Not wanting to fly. Unable to figure out why I can't just "get back in the saddle" like I've done other times? Increasing dissatisfaction with management as they make accusations then refuse to communicate.

May: A legitimate turn-down of a flight due to weather turns into an opportunity for the D.O. to write me up...twice. He heard what he wanted to hear and not what I was saying. My fault. I thought that if I made every effort to make the flight happen it would just what they'd been telling me for over a year. Not. This led to me being asked to "write up" my boss. After a long while, I utilized the proper company procedures as outlined in the General Operating Manual and Personnel Handbook for instances where improvement can be made and/or to point out deficiencies in the company. I listed the instances where the fixed wing pilots were feeling pressure, subtle though it may have been at times, but pressure nonetheless, to take flights that were deemed either marginal or illegal.

My reward for following company policy? I was flown to the Mothership and chastised for "writing up my boss". I was called "unprofessional" and it was wondered aloud how I ever got into the Lead Pilot position as I was obviously "not suited" for it. When I was asked if I had anything to say, I asked what it's called when the D.O. orders a pilot to order another pilot to take an illegal flight? I was met by mute faces and a change of subject. In an effort to "move forward" (company's new buzzword), I resigned as Lead Pilot, took my week off and updated my resume.

Back to work, plane comes out of maintenance, dirty and greasy. We have a PR event two days out so I kept the plane out of service for another 45 minutes to wash it...after I checked with Operations regarding any flights. This was the procedure I had cleared with the D.O. beforehand, asking if I could keep the plane out of service after maintenance to keep it clean. "Do what you need to do...that's fine with me" was the direct quote. I passed this around to the other pilots at the time then did just that. As we were finishing the wash, we got paged for a Long Range flight that would leave in 2 hours. No problem. Plane back to base, flight planning all done, now waiting for the "Go" call.

This is where life got ugly.

To make a long story short, I inadvertently raised the gear after I had landed and rolled out approximately 1000' at Travis AFB. Why I did it I didn't know. I've never done anything like that ever before nor will I ever do it again. It wasn't until a few months later that I found a root cause for the incident but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Two days after the incident, the company Safety Officer reviewed my statement and, after a long discussion with the Director of Operations, the Chief Pilot, the Head of the Air Medical group and HR, it was decided that I should be reinstated, given a check ride by the CP and put back to work. 10 minutes later, after a closed door session, I was informed that I was being terminated "due to all the problems they've had with me over the last 15 months".

What the....?

Then UI benefits were denied and the appeal was set in place.

June: No bennies. No word from UI. Nervous breakdown. I lost it. I seriously thought I was headed for the funny farm. I regained some composure, enough to research what was going on with me and all I came up with was....PTSD.

July: Off to the counselor and therapy, which I could hardly afford but needed it. My diagnosis was correct. Now I get to relive the hell that was the flight over and over again. I tell my family what's been going on. It's nice to know there is some explanation for my behaviour and thoughts over the last 6 months. And here's the kicker. My gear up? According to my counselor, my mind wasn't on flying the plane. It was still reliving the incident from January and, coupled with my ADHD, I was distracted enough to do something out of my routine. This is not an excuse. It is an explanation. I have to have routine to deal with the ADHD. It's how I cope. It's how I survive. I once said at my martial arts school that I was "a creature of habit". This illicited a huge laugh from a couple of people who knew me well. Their response? "No kidding!"

Unfortunately, during the official NTSB/FAA investigation, I was led to believe this would be an "incident" as opposed to being an "accident". I was wrong.

August: Dealing with PTSD, ADHD, unemployment, very, very low self esteem, unable to make it through the week without breaking down, I consider up and leaving my family.

September: I get my appeal. I go to see the judge. My former employer sends the D.O. to fight for their side. He tries to bring up bravo sierra but the law judge shuts him down. I make my statement. The D.O. refutes it. The judge asks more questions. I state the D.O. cannot know what I did, when I did it or how I did it as he wasn't in the plane with me so for him to aver so adamantly that I did this on purpose and while in the air was ludicrous. In the end, I win.

October: Things are going a little better. I'm getting good leads on jobs. Unfortunately, gas prices are skyrocketing, foreclosures are accelerating and several financial institutions are showing signs of implosion. We are financially stable but for how long? And, my former employer appeals the appeal. I could lose all the money that was benefitted me through UI and might have to pay it back. I receive the NTSB report that states that it was an "inadvertent accident". Not incident like I was led to believe but accident. I now have an accident in my file which makes getting a job that much harder.

November: No word on the appeal of the appeal. The wife and I have our fourth or fifth knock-down-drag-out fight. I'm so wrapped up in my own problems I fail to see hers. We head off to Texas thanks to the kindness of my Mother and some good savings from my wife. We enjoy our time with family in Texas.

December: Start out like this. I apologize to my wife for not seeing her problems. My counselor asks me to sit in a plane. I haven't been in one (save the trip to Texas) in the left seat since May. That day...well...I have a bad day. The next day, I sit in the plane and feel....


Nothing.


No joy. No fear. No excitement. No anxiety. Nothing. Numb.


I think about this as I've sent out over 100 resumes, had 2 interviews, dealt with idiotic HR people who don't know what a pilot does, faxed a dozen resumes, entered my work history a dozen times on a dozen websites, look for work outside of aviation only to have people look at me and say, "you're not qualified to work at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Raley's, Safeway, etc."

Oh go suck an egg!

The economy goes into a tailspin and most companies are waiting until the new administration is sworn in and the first (or second or third) quarter of 09 is over before they make a decision on hiring.

My bennies run out in July.

Yes...2008 sucked.

But there were some good things. I'll save those for tomorrow as I look into 2009....

Eric

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm A Loser...

...just like all ya'll...

The iMonk hits another one out of the park in a way that is both gracious and hard hitting, compassionate and confrontational. Many years back, I rejected the fact that I was a "sheep". I was smarter than a sheep. I knew my Bible. I didn't follow the crowd (or so I thought). That was until I read a book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" by Keller. Then I realized I was a sheep.

In the same way, the iMonk reminds me that I, too, am a loser. Not in the pop culture sense but in a much different sense. He does this in a letter to Ted Haggard.

By the way, just because I'm a loser doesn't mean I'm lost. It merely means what the iMonk says it means...

You’ve been given a great gift in your honest struggle and confession of being a loser. You’re on the way. You’re on the road. Don’t whine about it. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the broad evangelical Disneyland as your destination. You’re at that point where George Bailey stood on the bridge. You can despair….and jump. Or you can know that God has sent his hope, love and good news to you in a barn, where shepherds worship in tearful silence; where a man receives a gift he never created; where a virgin says yes even to the unthinkable that grace can do the impossible.

Go there, Ted. Find that place. Go as a struggler, a loser, one with nothing. Go and know that this, and all it means and will ever mean, is for you. For you….a savior. A savior of strugglers, losers and worse.


It makes me feel good to be in the company of so many losers. Although my counselor would disagree with that concept, that I'm a loser because, after all, God made me and God don't make junk, I do agree with it to an extent. Admitting it brings me to a place where God can finally work with me and within me to make me the me He wanted me to be when He made me in the first place.

Clear as mud?

Of course it is!

That's all for now.

Eric

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letter to my Son

My son turns 16 today. When he turned 13, I wrote him a letter explaining what was probably going to transpire of the next few years. When he turns 18, I'll write him another letter and probably again when he turns 21. Here's the letter I just wrote him:

December 11, 2008

Dear Matt,

Wow…16 years old!

You are halfway through your teens.
You are halfway through High School.
You have two more years until you’re old enough to vote and be drafted but not old enough to buy beer!

A lot has changed since my last letter to you when you were 13. Some of the things I told you would happen have happened and some are still waiting to happen. You’re hair is longer, your taste in music has changed, you have a girlfriend who is also your friend (the best way to go!) your voice is changing, you’re taller than everyone else in the house and you are beginning to drive!

There have been some rough patches in the last three years but those were to be expected. Your Mom is having a tough time with it so I think it would be best if you were a little more sensitive to her feelings. As for me, I see it as all part of growing up. You have two parents who love you very much and want the best for you. Sometimes what we want and how we go about it can conflict with what you want and how you go about it. But I think in the end we both want the same thing; for you to be a well-balanced adult at the end of all of this.

Your thinking is becoming more abstract. You are beginning to formulate ideas and thoughts about life, the universe and everything and sometimes those thoughts and ideas might be different than what your parents and teachers believe. The goal here is to make sure that what you believe is good and true. Continued time in the Bible, talking with God, talking with Godly people you trust (other than your parents) is always a good thing. It can help you discern that which may be potentially harmful to you and that which may bring you joy to your life.

I know sometimes you think your Mom and I have no idea what’s going on in your life or what you’re feeling or how things are different for you. You’re probably right. But don’t discount the fact that we’ve “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” or the fact that we’ve been around teenagers for many, many years. Your life, in this day and age, is so much different than ours was 25 years ago. But in the same way, we faced many of the same things you do, just in a different context. So we “feel your pain” so to speak and sometimes we don’t.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this period of transition from childhood to adulthood is going to be rocky for the both of us. I know there is a time when you will be gone. You will be making your own decisions about many, many things and all I can do is hope and pray you make good ones. You’ll probably make some boneheaded mistakes but that’s life. You’ll learn from them while you experience the consequences of your actions. All I can do at this point is pray for you, answer your questions, point you in the direction that looks best for you, give you the benefit of my experience and, in the end, send you on your merry way. (And then I’ll buy a motorcycle and have a second adolescence!)

The world is a very uncertain place. Always has been, always will be. But it is also a place of incredible wonder and amazement for those who keep their eyes open. Take risks but take calculated risks. Explore the world. Only do so not with blinders on but with care and consideration for those around you. At 16, your world is the here and now. Every once in a while stop and consider the long term. Occasionally pause and look ahead. See if the path is still the one you should be on.

I really wish today we’d be going down to the DMV to get your driver’s license. Unfortunately, I dropped the ball on that one and I apologize. I do look forward to you driving. It scares the crap out of your Mother but I’ve always loved cars and driving. It gives you a freedom like you’ve never experienced before. It was always the one common denominator between me and my Dad when we had nothing else in common. I know we have more than cars and driving that are common between us; music, movies, and a common sense of humor are just a few. I treasure those things.

My advice for you now, at 16, is to remember your past, remember how you got here, and remember that God and your parents love you very much. Keep those in mind as you head into the future. And one more thing, don’t forget to scoop the poop when it’s your week!


I love you Matthew,

You Dad

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ever Have One of Those Weeks?

Like this week.

Sunday: We were putting up Christmas decorations and while climbing the ladder into the attic I rammed my head into the edge of the opening into the attic. 20 minutes later, I fell off of said ladder, got my legs entangled in the braces and fell. Fortunately, the ground broke my fall.

Then the wife and I got into a big fight. She slept on the couch.

Monday: Realized my UI bennies were cut off. Needed to get an extension. Spent three days trying to get a hold of a live human being to find out what was what. Finally just reapplied on line.

Tuesday: Felt a little cold coming on. Wound up sleeping in the easy chair all night so as not to choke on my own snot.

Wednesday: Felt like crap in the morning. Medicated myself with over-the-counter stuff in the cupboard. Felt better so I went to church to run sound. About half way through the message, I felt the cold hit my chest. Started coughing. Slept on the easy chair again as I was coughing all night. Hacked up some good green and yellow lung cheese.

Thursday: Felt like crap warmed over all day. Over medicated myself on the OTC stuff and some prescription antibiotics I found that I hadn't used earlier in the year. Lost my voice too. I'm supposed to announce the Christmas Parade on Saturday night. Don't think that's going to happen.

Friday: Today spent 2 hours in the walk-in clinic. Like I guessed, I have an upper respitory infection. That explains the nice green and yellow lung cheese I've been hacking up. I've been waiting 2.5 hours for the pharmacy at Walgreen's to fill my prescriptions. Not that I have any money to pay for all this. Plastic is a wonderful thing right now.

I need a job.

Eric

Monday, November 17, 2008

Of Conspiracy Theorists and Evangelicals

I've noticed there is a group within Xianity that tend to become, well, kooks. I'll be nice, conspiracy theorists. It's usually someone who has been saved out of drugs or some other hedonistic/criminalistic lifestyle. They tend to listen to Hal Lindsay, watch TBN and think Sean Hannity is the Holy Ghost 2.0.

They are the ones who tell me Obama will not be sworn in on Jan. 20th as his birth certificate is forged and he's really a Kenyan hence his meeting with John McCain.

They are the ones who tell me President Obama will suspend the Constitution to allow him to remain President. (I say...go for it. Then run (R)nold from Kali-forneeuh for Pres in 2012. I can just seen him saying to Ach-mini-jihad, "I'm going to pump. you. up!" and "I'll be bahck!")

They are the ones who are cashing out all of their savings and IRA's so as to be able to barter, buy and sell when Obama institutes "the Mark".

They are the ones who are selling their homes for a loss and renting as they'll need to move fast to the mountains when Clinton...I mean...Obama outlaws guns, American flags, Mom and apple pie.

They are the ones who are quitting their jobs and working part-time as it's the end of the world as we know and they don't feel fine.


I can understand how they come up with this stuff. But in all my reading of the Bible I can't seem to get away from God/Christ saying, "Worry not". Not that I'm saying I am not keeping a discerning eye on the times (not the paper or the magazine) but I'm not fretting over what will be. What will be, will be. It's all part of the grand scheme of things. And God knows all about it. It happens with His knowledge. Worrying about the Big 3 automakers bail-out does me no good. I can voice my opinion that it is wrong for the taxpayers to bail out big corporations because they had lousy business practices and I can encourage my Senators and Congressman to vote no (I have DiFi and Pelosi...oh joy) but I'm not wearing tin foil hats. (I look awful in tin foil...it's just not my season!)


Sometimes we evangelicals are our own worst enemies. Good thing God has a sense of humor and doesn't actually give us what we deserve at the moment of our failings. I think that's the gist of grace!

Eric

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Of Roller Coasters

I hated roller coasters when I was a kid. Scared the crap out of me. Then, in Jr. High, at Magic Mountain, home of "The Revolution", the worlds first loop coaster, and at the urging of my friends (peer pressure at its finest!), I got on "The Revolution" and found out...


Hey...



I really like roller coasters!


So much so that I really only like sitting in the front seat of many of the coasters I've been on. It's probably the closest anyone can come to aerobatic flying without an airplane.

In the movie, "Parenthood", Steve Martin's character feels as if life is out of control. In a scene near the end, he is on a roller coaster watching as all hell breaks loose around him. Life has always been associated with roller coasters for as long as there have been roller coasters. Scary and fun and upsetting and thrilling and nauseating and...well you get the picture.

Today was a good roller coaster day.

I actually felt good about flying airplanes again. My stomach didn't nut up when I thought about flying. I actually watched the Weather Channel and thought if I was flying in the Midwest right now I'd be shooting ILS's all day! I applied for a couple of jobs (that I probably won't get but if you don't ask, you'll never know!) Then I went and got the mail.

My former employer had until October 8th to appeal the decision by the EDD judge to reinstate my UI benefits. As that date came and went I waited for the notification. When it seemed like it wasn't going to come I relaxed a little.

But when I opened the mailbox this morning I saw the oh so familiar yellow paper showing through the window on the oh so familiar envelope with the oh so familiar label, "Employment Development Department" on it. My stomach clenched because I knew what it was immediately.

My former employer appealed the appeal. The bottom line is they are still insisting that I was still in the air when I raised the gear and that the Judge really didn't understand what it was I was doing. The implication in their words, without coming right out and saying it but quoting the Section 1256 of the EDD code, was that I willfully and wantonly raised the gear. That I purposely did this to hurt the company.

(Look...if I really wanted to hurt the company, putting a plane down on the runway without its gear down with people on board is the LAST thing I would do!!)

So, I re-iterated my closing argument, included the NTSB report that stated the action was "inadvertent", included pictures that show that the gear was down upon landing, and that I had "landed" the airplane. I will sit on it over the weekend and have an attorney look at it before I mail it.

To be honest, I was (still am at this writing) sooooo freakin' angry. Boiling. Irate. Steamed. At my former employer. It's not like their rate is going to go up. It's already at the highest rate. It's not like $10,000 is going to break the bank with them. They drop $4-$5 million on helicopters (four of which they've crashed this year, killing 9 people in the process), they send my former Dir. of Operations to Redding to the appeal and now they are appealing the appeal.

Personally, I think it's a bit of "we have the power, we will bury you" attitude. They took it personally. And I thinks there's a bit of revenge against me for having called out the D.O. for questioning a legitimate weather turn down and him telling me to send a pilot out on a flight that was illegal.

That was only part of the roller coaster ride. The high fall from the top; weightless for a moment, stomach riding up in your body, bile tickling your throat only to be followed by the crush of G's as you rocket up into the loop, again, momentarily weightless at the top, then smashed back into your seat as you plummet to the bottom only to be rocketed out into a high G turn.

It was later in the day that the ride slowed as we climbed the next hill. I ran into the gal who has been my liason with IASCO. (They are supposedly going to hire me to teach Chinese students how to fly.) She mentioned, again, that she's asked the Chief Flight Instructor to call me and let me know when I might be hired. It seems that the pieces are falling into place and they should be up and running the first week of December.

God works in funny ways. I was first told it would be Sept. 1. Then it was Oct 15. Then it was Nov. 15th. That was going to be a problem as I have a family reunion of sorts over Thanksgiving in Texas to which we've already bought plane tickets and they are non-refundable. I figured if it was Nov. 15th, I'd be hosed as I would be leaving the next week for Texas. Now it's working out a little better. I'm nearing the top of the next hill and I can just start to see the horizon through the clouds....maybe...

Eric

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Have I Mentioned...

....that I really don't like Microsoft products anymore??

Or PC's anymore?

Really...the only MS product I use on a regular basis (besides XP) is Office and even that can be replaced by Open Office.

The more my laptop has issues, the more I want a MacBook Pro. Heck...any Mac will do.

There are only 2 programs I use that only run on Windows...

Logbook Pro
Paint Shop Pro


I can run WinXP as a Parallel to use Logbook Pro and I can download GIMP or Elements to photo edit.

So why do I need a buggy, virus-susceptible, platform that merely mimics what Apple's been doing for years?

I know the prices for Mac's are much higher than PC's but I added it up...If I'd had purchased a MacBook and an iMac, I would have spent about the same on what I have now. (Hardware and software included.)

Oh well...when I have the money and when they die...my old PC's will be donated to a museum and I'll drop the dime on Mac's...

Eric

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Won't Get Fooled Again

Do you realize you probably get lied to on a daily basis? By people who purposely mislead you to get what they want?

We decided, due to my unemployment, to refi the house. Lending Tree said, "sure, we can do that!"

What was said on the phone: "We finance our own loans."

What's said in the documentation: "We intend to sell 100% of all loans."

What was said on the phone: "We need $400 dollars on your credit card to lock-in your interest rate. This will be reimbursed to you in the form of a check once the loan closes."

What's said in the documentation: "Your lock-in fee will not be refunded for any other reason (other than Lender is not able to close the loan)."

What was said on the phone: "There are no other closing fees other than the $3131 quoted."

What's said in the documentation: Column after column of "other" fees.

When confronted with these "discrepancies", we're told, "Well we don't know what your mortgage banker's fees are?"

"But you said there were no other fees?"

"No other fees from us."

"Even after we asked if there were any other fees, anywhere?"

"Well we don't know what your mortgage banker's fees are?"

"So you lied to us?"

"No. There was a miscommunication."

"Ahhh...so that's what a lie is called today!"


Eric

Why?

"Why God? Why all this stuff I, we've gone through?"

"Because."

"Because why?"

"Because I am God."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"What's what supposed to mean?"

"What's 'Because I am God' supposed to mean? I mean, what kind of answer is that? I know you're God and God does what God does for a reason. I'm looking for the reason?"

"Hmmm...I have many reasons. But the answer to your question is, 'Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?'"

"What kind of Professor X answer is that!"

"I am God. I do what I want to do because I am God. Look Eric, You don't get to know everything that I know. If you knew everything that I know then you'd be God and while God is great and God is good, God you'll never be. It's a mystery. You like mysteries. You read a ton of them!"

"Yeah, but at the end of the book, I get to find out the 'why'!"

"I know...isn't it great!"

"Wha..."

"And does it always make sense? When the writer gives you his or her explanation? Or do you sometimes wonder whether they've lost their touch?"

"Arguing with you is never fun."

"On the contrary. I enjoy talking with My children. Not all of them take the time out to talk with me. Most ask and run. Many plead and beg and barter but never fulfill. Many curse at me, rant at me, rail at me. Why...you've done that haven't you?"

"Uh...yeah."

"And...?"

"The end result was you were still there, silently taking it all."

"Right. And did you always get an answer?"

"Sometimes."

"Look. It's a mystery. I didn't tell Job did I? Did I? No. And have you lost all? Job. Home. Children. Respect?"

"......"

"I'll take your silence to mean 'no'."

"......"

"Have I ever let you down? Have I ever left you forsaken? Hungry? Unclothed? Unfed?"

"No."

"Did I not provide you with a home, a wife, children, a livelihood, skills, talents, ambitions, discernment? Did I not save you, Patrick and Patti from smacking the ground? Well?"

"Like I said, arguing with you is no fun."

"Sarcasm...it has it's uses...just not here, not now. Remember, I am God. The last group of people who trifled with me have been in a constant state of war with their neighbors for millenia!"

"Uh...right. Sorry."

"Good."

*heavy sigh*

"I take it from your sigh that you are at least willing to concede that I am and have the right to remain, a mystery at times? That what I do I do according to My will? That My will is, after all, My will and being God I get to do whatever My will wants and My will wants what's best for My creation."

"Yes."

"Good...now go out and play today. No more sitting by the computer! It's sunny and you have errands to run."

"Okay."

"Okay."

"Okay."

"I get the last word Eric. I am God remember?"

"....."





Eric

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Shack - Argued

The folks over at The Kindlings Muse have a podcast up at their website discussing the pros and cons of the book "The Shack".

It's runs close to an hour but it's well worth the time. They make good points about allegory and story in modern evangelicalism or rather the re-discovery thereof...

Eric

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Blew It...

The Jehovah's Witnesses were out today, canvasing the neighborhood. I tried to avoid them but the old lady and her very young helper hung around until I popped out into the garage. I noticed them and quickly scooted back in. Too late! She rang the bell and I got to talk to...well...she did most of the talking.

Anyways...

She went on and on about how the earth was once a paradise and how God was going to suck all the evil people off the earth and how governments were killing the earth and how...well...the bottom line was she was well on her way to telling me that this earth, the one we are on today, will, once again, become a paradise for all of us to live on.

I said, "This earth?"

She said, "Yes."

I said, "This earth is going to be destroyed. A new heaven and a new earth will be created. Read your Revelations."

(Revelation 21:1
[ The New Heaven and the New Earth ] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

See also....

Isaiah 65:17
[ New Heavens and a New Earth ] "For behold, I create new heavensand a new earth,and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

2 Peter 3:13
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.)

She said, "Oh" and then "Have a nice day." Then left.


What I really should have said was...

"We believe all life resulted from a giant sneeze by the Great Green Arkleseizure and we're waiting for the return of the Great White Handkerchief"....

That's what I should have said! ;)

Eric

Friday, September 26, 2008

$200,000 Mortgage for only $500 a Month!!!

You.

Stupid.

Git.


If you fell for this you bear some of the blame. But not all. Most of that goes to...well...watch this video. It explains it better than I can.




My bank, Wamu, with whom I bank and have/had my mortgage (we refi'ed last week with another lender) is now Chase. And Wamu's current CEO is getting his $18 million in severance. I'm going to his house to piss on his plants...


Eric

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Win.

My EDD appeal that is.

My former employer claims that I "willfully violated company policy" which, in EDD-speech is, "misconduct connected with work" which is defined as "...a substantial breach by the claimant of an important duty or obligation owed the employer, wilful or wanton in character (emphasis mine), and tending to injure the employer (Maywood Glass Co. v. Stewart - 1959)."

The employer has the burden of proving misconduct. Which they didn't.

The law goes on to say, "On the other hand, mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, poor performance as the result of inability or incapacity, isolated instances of ordinary negligence or inadvertence, or good faith errors in judgment or discretion ar not misconduct."

The verdict?

"It is therefore found that the claimant (me) was discharged for reasons other than misconduct connected with his work and he is not disqualified for benefits..."

So, I win.

Thank you God. Prayers answered. Wife relieved. We live to see Christmas!

Eric

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm....

....thisclose....

Eric

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Man's Landing...

...is another man's non-landing.

I just got back from my EDD Appeal. My former employer, at roughly $600-$700 expense, flew my former Director of Operations, to Redding to explain the company's side of the story because, "there is no one at the Redding base who is familiar with the situation."

Pardon my French but....


BULL.

SHIT.

The Base Manager was part of the whole firing shebang. Lying dirtbags.

So the DO and I are trying to explain to the Appeals Judge just exactly what a landing in an airplane is. I was even accused by my former boss for not knowing the FAA's definition of a landing.

Huh?

What a crock!

So my former DO makes it sound like I was still "flying" when I raised the gear by saying I was not fully "landed" when the incident occurred. I, on the other hand, took what he said and refuted it. I had landed. All three wheels were on the ground. I had applied reverse thrust to slow down. I inadvertently raised the gear. I screwed up. Some have. Some will.

My former DO was chastised by the Judge for trying to bring up other issues unrelated to the firing. The Judge set him straight. The Judge also got the DO to admit he doesn't know if the pilot followed the checklist or not. (I did.)

All in all, don't want to go there again. It's a 50-50 shot now. It all depends on who the Judge believes when it comes to landing. But basically, my former employer painted a picture of me as a rule-breaking, non-conformist who willfully violated company rules and damaged a $2 million dollar aircraft on purpose.

I really wished the Judge had allowed the other issues to come up as it would have given me excellent opportunity to, once again, state that the Director of Operations, knowing and willfully, ordered me to order a pilot to violate Federal Aviation Regulations.

What really cracks me up is the company is spending money to defend themselves to save approximately $4000 in unemployment benefits. This is a company that spends 4-5 million dollars on helicopters. Then pays more to outfit them. This is a company that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aviation industry and makes only some of it back. This is a company that pays it's pilots damn good wages but is balking at $4 grand? Go figure.

I'm going to play some poker on the PS2 now to cool down...

Eric

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dinked By God

I've been reading Job lately. It has come up in my daily reading. It also dovetails with what I'm going through personally. (Caveat...while I've lost my livelihood, I still have my family, some money and better health than Job!) Even my counselor mentioned the connection. He called it...

"Being dinked by God."

And I didn't like hearing that. The God of love is now dinking with me? What the hell for!! I need to be dinked with ? What about all the others out there who really need to be dinked with?!! (Politicians, lawyers, terrorists and welfare-cheats come to mind!) What did I do to deserve such treatment? I mean, I was pissed!

Then he said something that confused me, pissed me off more and made me stop and think.

He's dinking me because He loves me.


For some of you this is a conundrum. An oxymoron. But it is a common theme in the Bible. Not just Job. Think of Peter. Thrice denying Christ after being told he would. Jonah and the first submarine ride. Jacob working 7 years for Rachel only to get Leah. Joseph being sold into slavery. (And what good Jews his brothers were..."No! Don't kill him. We can make few bucks selling him to this traveling caravan!") Jesus saying that you had to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him to experience the good news. Paul, beaten 39 times three times, shipwrecked twice, stoned, jailed and left at sea for a day and a night. And he was the one God said, "you shall take the good news to the gentiles and I will protect you."


He's dinking me because He loves me.

And wants me to be something else, something better. And my counselor seems to think that God ain't done dinking with me yet. Severe turbulence penetration, termination from my job, PTSD, and rejected for unemployment all seem to be the latest means of dinkage from God.

I can look back throughout my life and see the hand of God's dinkage all along.

And it still pisses me off.

(I'm working on that attitude...really...I am.)

But I'm accepting it more each day. It's not easy (which also pisses me off) and it's not fun (which also...you get the idea). But it is needed.

I thought about it. The way God has been treating me. The way He uses it to make me grow. After my initial, "That's totally not fair" I realized I was doing the same thing to my own son. To make him better, stronger, more able to survive in the world. And I realized that my own Dad did it to me to make me better, stronger, more able to survive in the world.

I have to move beyond the anger and see what God is doing. And frankly, I can't see shit. Maybe the blinders are on. Maybe the anger is coloring things. Maybe the despair has bogged me down. Or maybe I'm in the fog for a reason and I need to trust that I will break out in time to see the lights and make a safe landing.

Eric

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Shack

As you can see from the sidebar, I'm promoting the book, "The Shack". There's been some controversy over this book (Check out Thunderstruck.org for other reviews.) One of those controversies is the fact that the book references God as a black woman, Jesus as a Jewish Laborer and the Holy Spirit as an ethereal Asian woman whose name in Sanskrit means "wind". There are those that have gotten all "het up" about the characterizations that I think they've missed the point.

Those characterizations are plot or literary devices.

You know? Plot devices? Like John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"? C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia"? Literary devices. Characterizations designed to portray or convey a meaning, not necessarily an actual representation.

And if you've read the book it works.

(If you haven't... you can stop reading as I'm going to explain some things but will stop short of giving away the whole story. But I'd prefer you to read on as I wrote it and think it's a pretty decent analysis!)

The main character, Mack, must face his preconceptions of God, Jesus, The Spirit, love, hate, and forgiveness. To give him a jolt out of his "Great Sadness", the writer knocks the legs out of his preconceptions by describing God, who goes by the name "Papa", as a black woman. The image is very reminiscent of the Oracle in the Matrix movies even utilizing pop culture references like having God reply, "let me know how that works for you" when Mack makes a statement about how he should act or respond to the tragedy that brought on his "Great Sadness".

And what's wrong with that? What better way to shake one's preconceptions of God the Father by portraying Him as a black woman? Theologically correct? No. Literarily interesting? Yes. Our idea of God the Father is biblical. And it carries a bunch of baggage as well. We tend to super-impose the characteristics of our earthly fathers on our heavenly Father. Which for some people is a good thing, for many it's not. But, as the reader, it does get your attention in the same way it gets Mack's attention in the book.

And what about Jesus as a Jewish laborer? Dresses like one. Smells like one. Has dirt under his fingernails like one. We, in evangelical Christianity, tend to like our Jesus as the long-haired, fair-skinned, hippy-type peaceful saviour. Not that there's anything wrong with that but we also tend to forget that before His three year ministry claiming the good news of heaven, he was a carpenter. A blue-collar worker. His fingernails were probably dirty. He probably has a few nicks and cuts from the wood. His thumb was probably a little mashed from getting smacked by the mallet a few times. He probably didn't bathe but once in a while so he probably smelled of b.o., wood, sap and pitch. Not exactly the clean-cut 3-year Jesus we like to picture.

And Mack has a hard time reconciling this laborer who likes to build stuff with the man who hung on a cross. And I'd bet, so would we. Because it busts the image we have of what Jesus looked like. (Read the book...please...there is a wonderful scene where the Laborer Jesus and the 3-year Jesus are reconcile and the reader's eyes are opened through what Mack sees!) It shakes our conception of a man who walked around, was all holy, raising the dead, changing water to wine, healing the sick and preaching the good news. We see him in our mind's eye as we see him in the pictures from Sunday School or in the back of our bibles...clean, dressed in white, hair and beard immaculately combed.

And the one that plays upon the word "spirit" in the bible. The Holy Spirit. We think of spirits as ghosts, hence the Holy Ghost moniker as well. But to portray the HS as an ethereal Asian who's name is Sanskrit for wind...we just can't have that heathen name attached to the Third Person of the Trinity now can we! That's sacreligious! That's...that's...

That's a literary device as well. How do you picture the Holy Spirit? As a spirit! Right? And yet, the Holy Spirit is God as well. There's a couple of scenes in the book where Papa and Sarayu remind Mack that they, too, were there on the cross. They, too, died for man's sins. They, too, experienced all Jesus experienced. And that gives Mack pause. And it should give us pause as well to remember God is 3-in-1. And to shake things up more, Mack notices that when Sarayu, the spirit, hugs him, he can feel her! And it's not some cold draft like you hear and read about. It's warm.

The Shack. Literary devices. Preconceptions shattered. All to help the reader travel the same road, experience the same experiences the main character in the book does. Is it the bible? No. Is it good theology? I'll let the theologians argue that. What I do know is that the literary devices work. It made me look at God in a different way. It made me look at love and forgiveness and sacrifice in a whole new light. It made me cry and laugh and appreciate the gift of written word given to us by our creator.

So read the book; not with an open mind for that just makes it easier for your brains to run out. Read the book with a broad mind. Expand your conceptions of God and love, forgiveness and sacrifice. And if you can't, let me know how that works for you.

Eric

Monday, July 28, 2008

PTSD...I Have It.

Yup...here's the story why: Story.

So I had my first counseling session regarding the incident above. Which also directly related to the story I related Here.

Why did it take me 6 months to seek help? Typical bull-headed, male-ego reasons. Thought it was something I could just tough out. You know, "this kind of stuff happens in this industry" etc. Turns out, screwed my up more than I thought...no...more than I was willing to admit. Once I did, my wife told me I needed to seek help. I found the DSM on-line and looked up PTSD.

DSM-IV-TR criteria for PTSD

In 2000, the American Psychiatric Association revised the PTSD diagnostic criteria in the fourth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The diagnostic criteria (Criterion A-F) are specified below.
Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event meeting two criteria and symptoms from each of three symptom clusters: intrusive recollections, avoidant/numbing symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. A fifth criterion concerns duration of symptoms and a sixth assesses functioning.

Criterion A: stressor
The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:
1. The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.
2. The person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: in children, it may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.

Criterion B: intrusive recollection

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:
1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content
3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
5. Physiologic reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

Criterion C: avoidant/numbing

Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three of the following:

1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
3. Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
4. Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
5. Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
6. Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
7. Sense of foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

Criterion D: hyper-arousal
Persistent symptoms of increasing arousal (not present before the trauma), indicated by at least two of the following:
1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep
2. Irritability or outbursts of anger
3. Difficulty concentrating
4. Hyper-vigilance
5. Exaggerated startle response

Criterion E: duration
Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.

Criterion F: functional significance
The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than three months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is three months or more

Specify if:
With or Without delay onset: Onset of symptoms at least six months after the stressor


(All that's marked in red is what led me to seek counseling.)

Soooo...I have PTSD. Wonderful. Now I have to deal with it. My counselor, who said he'd wished I'd contacted him sooner and, looking back, so do I, said I have to re-tell the tale over and over again. Talk about it with others. Go back and fly planes on nice, smooth days. Realize that I'm alive, no one died, I had the shit scared out of me, no one died, what I went through was most likely a one-time experience, I'm a good pilot, I didn't do this on purpose, I will survive.

So I'm talking about it here. I will talk about it with my wife tonight when she gets home. I'll try to talk about it amongst my aviation peers.

It's amazing sometimes what can shake us to the core. What can rattle us to our foundation. Most of us see it on TV or read about in the paper or hear about it from others and silently, almost reactively, thank God it wasn't them. "There, but for the Grace of God, go I" is the phrase that I used to say. Now it is I who has gone there and, but for the Grace of God and a mighty updraft, I'm still here. We never see it coming. Or if we do, we can dupe ourselves in a matter of seconds that it won't happen to me even as the we see the word "GREYHOUND" two feet away. I used to think I could handle anything. That death didn't scare me. I knew I was going to die and yet I didn't want to. I fought it. I had two lives that were my responsibility on that plane. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew that if I died it would be okay I just didn't want them to feel any pain. I didn't want to feel any pain. But I didn't die. I'm alive. And shook up. But there is hope, always hope.

"Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved." - Psalms 55:22

I have that on a sticky note beside my computer. I pray it every day.

Eric

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Things I've Learned That I Already Knew

I belong to a web forum for professional pilots called ProPilotWorld. During one of the conversations about where aviation was headed, one guy wondered if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. His "name" was Spudskier. "Occam's Razor" had this response...

Spud,

There is no tunnel.

You are rafting down a long river. There are calm stretches of water where the scenery is gorgeous and the ride is peaceful and fulfilling. Sometimes these intervals of calm allow you to reel in many fish and savor the pure joy of just being on the river. You'll be Water Rat in The Wind In Willows. ("...believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing, half so worth doing as - simply messing around in boats!")

Other stretches are roiling Class IV rapids. You can't control where the river is taking you, or how quickly you'll move. You can try to steer from one side of the river to the other, but you might not be able to avoid all the rocks. Your butt will always get wet in the rapids, and during the particularly long stretches of whitewater, you'll find yourself asking, "Why the heck am I on this river!". You'll see others, in perfectly good rafts, go over falls that will destroy their rafts, and all their possessions.

My personal observations suggest:

1. The boats where everyone paddles together tend to do the best over the longest stretches of the river.
2. The paddlers who remain the most flexible don't get injured as badly when they hit the rocks.
3. Worrying about the rapids is sometimes worse than riding them.
4. It's a good idea to save as many fish as you can during the calm stretches.
5. It's possible to enjoy most of it if you can remember why you're on the river in the first place.

Good luck!


This got me thinking.

What have I learned recently that I already knew?


1. Never Get into Debt
- You don't need a boat and 3 cars
- You do need to plan
- You do need to take care of your family and home

2. You Can't Do Everything
- Pick something you like and stick with it
- You might not be any good at the those other things
- Some of those things might be good at but are just not called to do them

3. God Loves Me
- I don't deserve it but He chooses to look at me through Christ
- He shall never leave me forsaken
- He will provide my needs not so much my wants
- I may not be able to see the end of the journey but along the way I can know that God has not lost one yet

4. Wiener Dogs are Great Pets
- So are Beta Fish
- Gold fish, not so much

5. There will always be someone who is better off than you, worse off than you, smarter than you, dumber than you, older than you, younger than you, fatter than you, thinner than you, more righteous than you and less righteous as you
- Don't sweat it...they aren't you and you aren't them


I'm sure there are more.


On another note having to do with my post on WAITING, the lyrics of "More Power To Ya" by Petra have been rattling around in my head these last few days. Especially the part that goes, "good things come to them that wait but not to those who hesitate. So hurry up and wait upon the Lord..."

It's like I've decided to admit that I had blinders on and things I knew are being made known again. And I'm seeing them in a whole new light.

More later...

Eric

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A New Kind of Radical

Last month, the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22 which passed with a 2/3rds majority during last Novembers election. The citizens of the State of California stated that, in California, marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman. Period. Simple enough. The people of the state spoke, the Governor, who's whole platform was working for "the people of California", agreed and signed it into law.

Then a bunch of radicals descended on the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Proposition stating it was "unconstitutional". (Which is every radical's favorite buzzword whether it is constitutional or not!) So the Supreme Court, in defiance of the electorate and the Legislature and the Executive office in Sacramento, overturned the Proposition and California became the first state in the Union to legalize same-sex marriage.

This is not the first time someone tried to be radical about same-sex marriage. Gavin Newsome, Mayor of San Francisco, in a PR stunt, legalized same-sex marriage in San Francisco. Didn't last. Why? It was in violation of State and Federal laws. It was in violation of Proposition 22, a proposition who's verbiage had already been upheld earlier.

Radicals. Always trying to subvert and overturn the status quo. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not so good.

Instead of being a radical who's always trying to ram their view, their morality, their pet cause down the throats of those who don't want it, why not try being a radical who's trying to change society for the better?

We need radicals who will buck the status quo and develop hydrogen powered vehicles without the exorbitant price tag?

Or a radical who develops a way to drill oil that is cleaner and more productive than before?

Or a radical who sees the possibilities of powering this country (and others) by using those previously mentioned drilling and processing ideas to free land instead of locking it down under the guise of protecting the beauty of the country?

Or a radical who says he or she will not take obscene profits but will allow society to use their ideas for the betterment of man instead of padding their portfolio?

What a radical idea it would be to see speculators not line their pockets by fueling the spiralling prices of crude oil and gasoline but instead channel that money into R&D so that another radical can come up with the aforementioned drilling and processing procedures?

How about a radical who, when someone offers an idea that is contrary to their pet idea; instead of taking it personally and castigating the bringer of new ideas, they shelve their own anger, consider what's being presented and take an objective view?

How about a radical who doesn't see opposition as a means of destroying their life but as a way of broadening their horizons?

How about a radical who, when presented with a product that represents Christian faith, says, "I don't care who it offends, it's a good product, it sells, we make money, we'll keep it!" instead of kowtowing to pressure from haters who threaten to boycott their stores. How about those same radicals not only putting up something wholesome in their stores but also taking down those Che Guevara t-shirts? After all, what's better for society? A God who becomes a man and give His life for all or a murdering communist??

We need a radical who instead of killing citizens of their countries that believe differently will make an effort to live in harmony with them.

We need a radical who will tell those who kill over religious, political and social differences that they will stand for the downtrodden and resist evil with all their might and at the same time, endeavour to change hearts and minds.

Is it radical to allow all humans, everywhere, to follow every whim of their hearts or is it radical to voluntarily restrict your freedoms for the greater good of yourself and your fellow human being?

What's radical? To laugh at that which your heart and mind tell you is wrong? Or to turn away and not submit yourself to perversion?

What's radical? To say nothing while evil goes on around you? To stand and stare not wanting to get involved? Or to jump in and possibly save a life? Save a soul? Save a child?

We need a new kind of radical. One that doesn't let professors brain wash them into thinking this country is evil. One that believes they can do any thing they put their mind to. A radical who won't give in to small-minded, petty arguments. A radical who will put aside their power and prestige. A radical who will allow that there may be someone smarter than you. We need a radical that will scream that we have the best and brightest here. That our system, while not perfect, is a damn sight better than most. We need radicals who aren't afraid of the past. We need radicals who look to the future with hope and optimism. We need radicals who not only think outside the box but are willing to look back in the box once in a while and take what works and make it better.

We need a new kind of radical who is willing to say to the bubble-headed bleach blonde who comes on at five and constantly degrades those who do good that they don't want to watch that anymore and are changing the channel.

We need a new kind of radical that puts aside their own leanings to report what they see and hear. To not consider "spin" being radical but being radical by not spinning the news.

We need a radical like those who came before us in this country.

The John Smith's.
The George Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's and John Adams' and Abraham Lincoln's.
The Roosevelt and the Reagan's.
The Wright Bros'. and the Lindbergh's and the Kelly's.
The Cessna's, the Piper's, the Beech's.
The Ford's, the Chrysler's, the Daimlers, the Buicks.
The Eli Whitney's, the Samuel Fuller's, the B.F. Goodrich's.
The Seward's and their follies.
The Goldwyn's and the Mayers'.
The Alan Shepherds, the John Glenn's, the Chuck Yeager's and the Gordo Cooper's.
The Dean Kamen's, the Steve Jobs', the Bill Gates'.
The Mom's and Pop's who open diners, and hardware stores and beauty salons and 7-11's.
The kid who sells lemon-ade on a card table in his front yard for 25 cents and is not afraid to do so because other radicals have seen to it that pushers, dealers, crooks, thieves and all-round bad guys don't come to their neighborhood.

A new kind of radical. He or she is in the mold of the old kind of radical. The ones that made this country great. The ones that stood against evil. The ones that nailed indictments on church doors. The ones who offered a life for life.

Eric

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wordle

This is what this blog looks like Wordled. (Is that even a word?)






What will they think of next?





Here's what Wordle is...

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.


Neat...

Eric

Friday, June 13, 2008

Denied

"You are not eligible to receive benefits under California Unemployment Insurance Code..."

My first thought was "oh shit".

My second thought was "calm down".

My third thought was "oh shit".

My fourth thought was, "okay...where to now Lord?"

Then I had to call my wife and tell her.

I'm not a big believer in superstitions like Friday the 13th but the irony is not lost on me...

Eric

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Wait" is a 4-letter Word!

Wait. For many of us that is a 4-letter word. We don't like to wait. We don't want to wait. The "ONE MINUTE" button on the microwave is too long! A 10-minute workout is too much. The Bible-A Minute a Day is too time consuming.

But we are constantly told to "wait upon the Lord". It's like "a little while". How long is not up to us. It's up to God and God has his own interpretation of space/time. I'm seeing this more and more these last few days. My knee-jerk response to unemployment (after freaking out!) is, hurry up and find a job...any job! And yet the still, small voice of the Spirit of God is saying....


wait.


rest.


So I'm waiting. And resting. It is sometimes and hourly struggle to not get caught up in the "must do something, must get a job, must find the next thing."

It's also a struggle to let myself accept what God has in store for me. My biggest fear is He'd make me poor and suffer humiliations galore. And who wouldn't be afraid of that? And yet, I don't think that's what He has in mind. If He does then oh well...I can respond one of two ways. Accept it and rely on Him for all or reject it and go my own way knowing it will be a struggle.

"...joy comes in the morning." I'm holding on to those words. "Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest." I'm holding onto that one too. "God will do exceeding more than you can hope for." Yup...that one too.

Wait. A 4-letter word that has echoed in my head. Wait. A 4-letter word that once meant gritting my teeth and getting through it. Wait. A 4-letter word that now means...wait.

Eric

Friday, May 30, 2008

Joy Comes in the Morning

At another board I frequent, Ventura County Lutherans, one of the denizens, noting it was rather quiet, asked what people were doing. In a fit of despair I posted this...

Having a nervous breakdown.

Fighting back against the throes of depression.

Wondering what the hell to do with my life.

Trying not to throw up everytime I think about flying.

Trying to count my blessings, holding desperately to the last thread that is the love of Christ and wondering why people like Benny Hinn still roam the earth and why Steven Curtis Chapman's little girl is dead?

Wondering if the USA has gone the way of ancient Israel and is about to feel the wrath of God when He said, "Do as I say or get wiped out."

Wondering how to pay for my daughter's braces, my son's drivers ed, my children's college education.

Wallowing in self-pity when I should be grateful I'm alive, have a roof over my head, food in my belly, a wife who loves me despite of me, children who are smart, compassionate, caring, discerning and saved.

Broken before God as a direct result of my sin, thanking Him daily...hourly sometimes, for His grace and love.

Knowing it will be alright but scared to freakin' death about the "how".

Seeing so many wasted opportunities that were put in my path only to let them pass by due to arrogance, pride, and stupidity.

Unable to grasp the overwhelming love God has for me (us) and yet holding onto that very concept as a lifeline.

Working through life with fear...trembling...hope...joy...pain...

Just another day...


It just sort of poured out of me. The next day, here was the response from a wonderful gal, a bit older than me, who goes by Mama Pooh...

Wow.

One of the things you mentioned I'm able to understand about is a parent not being able to pay for things for their kids that they always assumed would be something they'd pay for.

Don't know if my change in perspective over the years in that area is of any interest, but I'll share it.

I remember when we were in financial straits, being embarrassed that we couldn't afford to pay for either of our teenagers to take driver's ed, since the school decided to start charging for the class (later I learned of a case in central california where the school was taken to court and had to stop charging for the class.)

Since then I've decided it wasn't so bad that they couldn't get their drivers licenses until they were 18, after reading some of the statistics related to drivers under age 18.

And it was definitely character building that they were the only students, as far as we could tell, in their school who weren't able to come up with the money to take the course and get their licenses. Neither of them ever complained about it. They both had part time jobs, and it still wasn't possible.

We couldn't afford to buy our son's high school graduation robe, or a class ring, or grad pictures. I called parents of graduated students to ask to borrow a robe, and it took quite a few calls to find an ok size, since none of the parents wanted their son's robe to be hemmed. That was not a very fun moment for me :-)

We were unable to help our son with college, but a year after our daughter graduated things got better and we were able to help her financially so she could attend 2 and a half hours away (no college in our small town) - it was a great feeling to be able to help. Then things changed in May of her first year, and we had to tell her we couldn't help anymore.

Both of our kids did well on their own anyway, and I'm no longer regretful we were unable to help them - I'm actually glad now that they had the opportunity to find out what they were capable of. It took hard work, grit and endurance, and I know their feeling of accomplishment is sweeter for them that they did it on their own.

Of course, being a mommy, if we went back in time and I had the money, I'd still help them with all that stuff.


God never fails to remind me that others have had it harder and to stop my damn whining.

One of the verses I had this morning helped alot.

Psalm 30:5b - "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Psalm 30:11-12 - "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"

Joy comes in the morning. Don't know how long the night will tarry but I do know that morning always follows night and joy comes in the morning.

Eric

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Different Kind of Prayer

Most preachers, come election time (or the "silly season" as some refer to it), pray that God will raise up "His" candidate, that God will bless whomever wins, the the winner will be "God's man" in the White House, that God's Will will be done through whomever wins, that the winner will seek God and his ways when running the country. All good stuff there. But my pastor has prayed a different prayer over the last two Sundays.

He's prayed that God will have mercy on us, the United States. That God will not give us what we deserve. That God will spare us as a country.

Different if not a bit pessimistic.

I can't remember a time in the past where we've had so much consternation about a candidate. Even when Bill "Bubba" Clinton ran the first time. And I don't think it has much to do with the color of Obama's skin or the gender of Hillary Clinton or McCain's ability to cross party lines and do deals. I think it has much more to do with what each of these candidates stand for. We're told that Obama is for "change". That Hillary has the "experience". And that McCain can "get things done". So what? In most things, past performance is a good indicator to future performance. I, personally, don't think this country is ready for a president whose name is Barak Hussein Obama and has ties to Islam. Not in the current political and social climate. I don't think the country is ready for a president who thinks and has expressed in the past, that the people she's going to lead are too dumb to do anything on their own and must have her and government help them out. I also don't think this country is ready for a guy who is willing to cross party lines to get things done. In other words, compromise what the party agrees with (a party under whom he's aligned himself with) just to make everyone happy. I think it was Dole who said "consensus yes, compromise no.)

Anyways, be prepared people for some bitter, nasty mudslinging as we approach November. And pray we don't get what we deserve.

As a side note, I've been reading a lot in the Old Testament about how Israel went astray many, many times. Each time they repented, God forgave them with the caveat that they not stray again or worse would happen. And yet, Israel chased after other gods, wanted to be like other countries (ya hear that all those who say we should be like the EU???) and let God down again. And God kept his word. Israel was invaded again and again until only a remnant was left. Is that what's in store for the US? I hope not. I still think we've got the best gig going but my faith in my fellow countryman, my faith in my government is being sorely tested.

Eric

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Think You've Got It Bad?

My wife came home from dropping off our daughter at her friends house for a birthday party, marched into the bedroom and said, "We have nothing to complain about!" (I'd been fired three days before.)

The father of my daughters friend was just diagnosed with a brain tumor....











For the 5th time.










No surgery this time as the previous 4 didn't work. Doctor's say all he has left is to wait and die.












And I thought I had it bad.


Eric

Monday, May 19, 2008

So Long and Thanks for all the Flights

The contents of this post have been deleted by me.

The reason? While writing things down is good therapy for me, the events I wrote about here, the statements I've made here, can and will come back to haunt me. I do not totally trust my former employer to just let this go. So, on some very good advice, I am deleting the contents of this post. The only written documentation of what happened can be found through the NASA ASRS system (anonymous) or the NTSB.

Eric

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finally....Just a Pilot!

I am no longer in management...of any kind!

I had to take a little trip to Phoenix to the mothership to meet with the Director of Operations (DO), Chief Pilot (CP) and the head of the Air Medical Group (AMG). It was in regards to me filing a process improvement form regarding pressure to take flights. Basically, I upset the apple cart.

Turns out, the AMG head didn't like the fact that a Lead Pilot questioned the fact that his DO questioned him. Apparently, I'm not allowed to do that.

So...AMG Head hauls my butt to PHX, puts me up in a nice hotel, feeds me a meal, pays my mileage to and from SMF all for a 30 minute chat about how I shouldn't use safety reports to get back at my DO and CP and how he can't figure out for the life of him why they'd want me as a Lead Pilot and they have issues with my ability to check weather and how it's not the company's responsibility to make me happy in life.

Huh?

I didn't use the safety report to get back at my DO. They offered me the position (and I accepted against my better judgement) as there was no one else to do the job. It was a favor to a new employer. I can check weather with the best of them (just ask my crews!) and whoever said it was the company's job to make me happy in life???

When I had a chance to speak I raised my concerns that I had been pressure to force another pilot to take a flight he couldn't legally take, that I was being second-guessed from Phoenix about weather at a mountain airport I have been into more times than anyone in PHX, and that during the interview I was explicitly told, several times, that they wouldn't do that.

Yeah. Like that.

It all fell on deaf ears. The DO looked away. The CP looked down and the AMG Head brushed it off and started in on me again.

I found out what I wanted to know. The AMG Head isn't going to have a lowly Lead Pilot question his buddy the DO.

So I resigned as Lead Pilot. Something I had wanted to do for some time. I told them it had nothing to do with being hauled down to PHX. It had everything to do with not being in any kind of management position. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt thankyouverymuch.

My 2 years are up in October. I am giving this job one more shot. Many of my peers are recommending that I bail ASAP but there are other considerations.

I would love to go to FlighSafety International and teach KA200's to clients. Something I think I'd be good at.

But that entails moving to Southern California, something my wife doesn't want to do and I'm not too particularly interested in either as this is a bad time to sell. (I've crunched the numbers...it's doable but I lose quit a bit of the equity I've managed to accumulate. My house will be paid off in 12 years. I'd have to start all over with a 30-40 year mortgage. :( ) But it is an option.

We'll see how it goes over the next 5 months...

Eric

Friday, May 02, 2008

You're Going Through This...

....whether you like it or not!

That's what I'm hearing these days. A little devotion my wife gave me basically said (and re-inforced throught Sunday's sermon and Wednesday night's Bible Study) "I'm not going to swoop down and rescue you from this. You have to go through it. I'll be right there with you but you have to go through this. No...I won't tell you how it's going to turn out just know that I'm there with you and you have to go through this. You will be uncomfortable. I'm not going to take away any of the pain but you will not be hurt beyond what you can bear. You don't get to know what's on the other side so just look at me and keep going through it."

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you go through trials of any kind..." - James.

Eric

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cause and Effect

I've been thinking a lot about cause and effect. Especially as it deals with the way God deals with His children. I was a jerk at the USFS. I wasn't a good witness for God at all. I swore, laughed at bad jokes, told some bad jokes; not much very Christian-like. And I got arrogant. And I lost my job.

I flew freight, again, for about a year. It nearly killed me. I was pretty desperate and full of despair. I had "gotten right" with God and was doing okay. Then I got an offer from my current employer and the deal seemed pretty good. There were some things I knew going in that were going to be different. It was a different field of aviation altogether. I kept my mouth shut, my eyes open, asked questions and kept my nose clean. Except I started with the bad language again; the bad jokes. And I rationalized it away. Freedom in Christ, blah, blah, blah. Again, I was no different than everyone else. Even with the influence of other Christians at the base, I was a loser.

And this time, I did the right thing but am getting punished for it anyways. Why? Not so much that I called my bosses handling of the issue into question (I wrote him up for questioning a go/no-go decision), but I think I'm being punished for pissing God off by pissing on the blessing He gave me in the form of this job.

Great schedule; 7 days on, 7 days off. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Good pay, good aircraft, good maintenance.

I knew the job was a going to be different and, against my better judgment, I took a middle-management position as a favor to my new employer. I did the job but kind of begrudgingly. I really want out of the position but there was no one else to take it. And while I did it well, I did it with a lousy attitude.

And my attitude became lousy all over. My job. My dealing with upper management. My dealing with Dispatch. I wasn't arrogant again. I just wasn't drinking the Kool-Aid. I guess I questioned too much instead of "yes sirring" enough. I was hired to do a job and I was doing it but not to the liking of my boss. His style of leadership tends to raise my hackles (and those of others) and I started to push back.

In other words, I didn't follow Paul's admonishment for "slaves to obey their masters". I didn't follow the admonishment to "do all things with a glad heart" because I wasn't working for my boss, I was working for Christ.

And I wasn't doing all that.

Now I'm having to face the consequences of my actions. God has allowed me to go someplace very uncomfortable and I'm finding that God is not going to bail me out. He's going to let me go through this, not alone, He'll be there with me but I feel as a silent partner, not saying anything, just standing behind me, hand on my shoulder, moral support. He's going to let me suffer for my sins and hopefully I will learn. Again.

"I get it."

"Do you?"

"Yeah."

"Really?"

"I think so...this time?"

"That's what you said last time, and the time before, and the time before. Let's get it this time okay?"

"Okay."


I haven't really slept for the last 5 days. When I do, my dreams are confusing and anxious. My stomach hurts. I fear I may lose this job and leave my family stranded again. My kids are at the age where they will wonder why Dad can't keep a job? What's wrong with him? Why do we have good years and bad years?

And the one I'm afraid of...

"Why is my dad such a loser?"



I want out of this job. My wife and her friend don't understand. My friend does. My co-workers do. Others do as well but they are not my wife. The brochure was better than the resort. Not all is their fault, I bear partial blame. I am at the point where I don't want to go to work. I'm at the point where I don't even want to fly anymore. This job, combined with flying through severe turbulence a couple months ago, have made me skittish. I'm thinking about going to a simulator school to be an instructor but that would entail moving to SoCal. Something I hadn't wanted to do in the past and my wife really doesn't want to do, but I feel it is something I need to do. Get out of actively flying for a spell.

I need her to understand. I don't know how to tell her. She will get mad. She will yell. She will cry. She will feel let down by me. She will have a lot of baggage from her childhood rise up and dump on her again. I don't want to do that to her; I love her too much to cause her pain and yet I do cause her pain.

I feel as if God isn't going to suddenly make her understand. I feel as if He's going to let me do all the hard work this time...put pressure on me and our marriage. As a test. To see if we truly believe what we say.

I hate life sometimes....

Eric

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dear God

How do you pray? Do you bow your head and close your eyes? Maybe make a little steeple with your hands like you were taught in Sunday School? Do you cry? Do you sigh? Do you rant and rave and shake your fist? Do you cling to the verse that tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings?

Yes....I do. Have. Will continue to do.

We're taught to "go into your closet and pray". The 77's sang about it in a song called "Pray Naked". But we've become a rather vouyeristic society due in part to the internet and a general acceptance of airing everything we feel. So we post it on the web at DearGod.net.

I'm torn by what I read. I can commiserate, empathize and agree but part of me says we should do this in private. It helps me to realize that others are going through the same things I am but I sense a bit of whining in the posts. As if God is supposed to make everything all right. That if I post it on-line, I can let it go...for now. I sense that maybe someone will, later on, complain that, "God...I prayed. I poured my concerns out. I'm a Christian. And you didn't answer! What's up with that???"

Why do they do that? They're waiting for the big announcement. The neon lights. The lightning strike.

But they miss the still, small voice. God wasn't in the wind. He wasn't in the earthquake. He wasn't in the ruckus, the shouts, the ado. He was in the stillness of the air. He whispered in my ear and the cares of the world, the noise of life, the concerns of self drowned him out...

Dear God..."for your names sake, forgive my sins for they are great."

Eric

Monday, April 07, 2008

Speaking One's Mind...

...may not always engender you to the masses. Mostly, it will piss people off. Ignorant people. People with agendas that differ from yours. People who are just plain mean. And people who are just plain stupid.

Charlton Heston died over the weekend. He's know for his starring roles and portrayals of famous figures throughout history. He was a minority in Hollywood in that he stayed married to his wife for 64 years and was pretty conservative about his views.

He also said this a few years back. It needs to be read by every kid in every school in every grade through college graduation.

"Winning The Cultural War"
Harvard Law School Forum
Tuesday, 16 February 1999 I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people."

There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling re-painted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty ... your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, "We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know ... I'm pretty old...but I sure Lord ain't senile.

As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issues. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our Land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.

For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 -- Long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist. I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe. I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite.

Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!"

But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys-subjects bound to the British crown.

In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that "Blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, and new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it."

Let me read a few examples.

At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.

In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide Who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDs --- the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not... need not ... tell their patients that they are infected.

At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team "The Tribe" because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.

In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.

In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students.

Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes." Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said, "black." But it's a no-no now. For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly "Native-American." I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation native American ... with a capital letter on "American."

Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate, used the word "niggardly" while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, "niggardly" means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign.

As columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,' (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."

What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression? Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason.

You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are - by your grandfathers' standards - cowards.

Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers. I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, "Don't shoot me."?

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion. If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe. Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism.

But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation? The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.

You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom. I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr.King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that Disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in VietNam. In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous law that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me.

Let me tell you a story. A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so - at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was A cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black.

I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend. What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer" - every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.

"I GOT MY 12 GAUGE SAWED OFF
I GOT MY HEADLIGHTS TURNED OFF
I'M ABOUT TO BUST SOME SHOTS OFF
I'M ABOUT TO DUST SOME COPS OFF..."

It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that.

Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore.

"SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY ... ."

Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said "We can't print that." "I know," I replied,"but Time/Warner's selling it." Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warners, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.

When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office.

When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents.

When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways.

When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you...petition them, oust them, banish them.

When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, Crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.

So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.

If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree. Thank you.



Amen....

(edit)

I was listening to my iPod and this song came up...

As the World Turns
from the album "Vox Humana"
Words and Music by Terry Taylor
©1984 Twitchen Vibes Music (ASCAP)
I'm checkin' out, checking on a late night flight
LAX a horror show
Still I'd rather be here sweatin' out another take-off
Than living in the valley below
And I never get comfort in the earth or sky
It's my belief they're not my home
The world spins one way, but I go another
Against the grain, one often stands alone

1: As the world turns, it slaps me hard
As the world turns, it tells me I'm weak
As the world turns, I drop my guard
As the world turns, I turn the other cheek
I sing, Hey oh, slaps me hard,
Hey oh, slaps me hard,
Hey oh, slaps me hard,
I put it all together in the exercise yard
Dreams that die too easy in the vengeance of time
Some values given up for others
And this, I think, is the essence of our tragedy:
Our fallenness, our bond with one another
And you always hear about it in the evening news
You get it in the morning paper
But if you think it's always gonna be this way
I think it's gonna change, much sooner than later

Repeat 1

Many people wanting the elixir of youth
Through defeats and through disasters
Stifling the only thing that changes it all --
Love is what I'm going after
Achievements always falling into yesterday
I'm a pupil in an Intro class
New cars, travels, love affairs cannot provide
The way out of life's iron cast

Repeat 1


I think it fits.

Eric