Monday, February 25, 2008

In Another Land

Larry Norman has passed.

This is from his website...

4/8/47 - 2/24/08

Hello everybody.

Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art.

Several of his friends got to come and visit with him in the last couple of weeks and were a great source of help and friendship to Larry. Ray Sievers, Derek Robertson, Mike Makinster, Tim and Christine Gilman, Matt and Becky Simmons, Kerry Hopkins, Allen Fleming and a few more. Thank you guys. Larry appreciated your visits very much. And he greatly appreciated the thoughts, wishes, support and prayers that came from all of you Solid Rock friends on a daily basis. Thank you for being part of his small circle of friends over the years. Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry's computer:

I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.


Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years. Kristin and I will post funeral information in the next day or two. Right now we're not able to function very well, but the whole family is here... our mother Margaret, our sisters Nancy and Kristy, Mike Norman and his new wife Tiffany, and Silver.

We miss him beyond words. Thank you for everything.

Peace to you all in Christ,

Charles Norman

When I was a teenage and just getting into Christian music, Larry was the guy. Most other stuff was sweet and hard to swallow and, unless you really had the hots for Amy Grant, Larry was where you went for rock-and-roll with, as a friend of mine once called them, "interesting lyrics". He was too worldly for the church and too church for the world. He was "knocked down, kicked around"...he'd "been rebuked for the things I've said and the songs I've written and the life I've led"..."but here I am, talkin' 'bout Jesus just the same."

He had long, long blond hair, he could hit impossibly high notes, he pulled no punches in his music, he was considered the Father then the Father of CCM. He didn't necessarily like that title, CCM and wanted people to understand what his music was and Jesus.

A freak accident left him physically weak but mentally still there. He released and re-released his albums via Solid Rock records at Larry I used to have his albums on cassette and have spent a lot of time and money re-acquiring them on CD. Even though some of them were written in the 60's and 70's, they still resonate to me today.


You will be missed here on earth. But I look forward to the day we can talk on the golden streets about life, music and Jesus...


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This post was titled "Prayer".

And this was my response...

If Kucinich and his pals had there way, we'd be speaking German...or Japanese...or Russian...or Arabic.

While I agree that some of our liberty's have been put on hold, can he offer another way of accomplishing what the Patriot Act has? Can he offer another option to Gitmo? Does he feel safer without armed military personnel protecting him? What has his side offered other than "pull out" (Don't go there Rob!) and come home?'s not a perfect system. Kucinich and his ilk see George Bush and this current administration as pure evil. Funny....I thought those guys in other countries who consider us evil and need to be wiped off the face of the earth were evil? I would say that those who side with those who want us dead, and do so in the name of tolerance, should be labeled the "enemy within" and not Bush, Cheney, et al.

Has this war gone on too long? Yup. No doubt about that there. Should it have been over 2-3 years ago? Absolutely. Restraining the military from it's job description (kill people and break things in the defense of this country) gives us a quagmire similar to what we had in Vietnam. Read Schwartzkopf's book. Fascinating appraisal of what the US military is, does and should do. Read Gingrich's book on American history. There are those who still long for the old country even though their closest connection to that country has been dead for nearly 100 years.

War is hell people. It ain't pretty. It's not a time to worry about culture and civil rights. It's a time to take the fight to the antagonist. It's time to wipe the floor with the bozo who hurt our mothers and daughters, our sons and brothers. It's time to kick ass and take names. There is precedence all the way back to the bible...

"Saul? What is this bleating of sheep I hear?"

Precedence was set in WWI, WWII and even Vietnam. The carpet bombing campaign put a serious dent in the will to fight amongst the North Vietnamese. When it was stopped by those who couldn't stomach war, the North had time to re-arm and re-arm they did. When the carpet bombing resumed, moral was destroyed. Unfortunately, the bombing was suspended indefinitely and the North re-armed, re-attacked and won.

So I say to Kucinich and his ilk, yes, pray for those who are killed in war. Pray for our leaders to have wisdom. Pray for our soldiers lives. Pray that America will lead the way in peace and freeedom and democracy. And pray that those who stand in the way and do harm to others will earn in themselves due justice for their actions.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Stereotypical 42-year-old Male...

I'm 42. Soon to be 43. And I'm out of shape. Yep. Happens to the best of us.

Actually, I was in pretty good shape about a year go. Weight was down to about 190-195, decent stamina. A little belly. Then I quit Kung Fu. So for the last year, I've been pretty sedentary. Weight's gone up to about 205, stamina is gone, belly is rounder.

And the problems began in November.

Rewind to about middle of 2005. I fell out of my trash can. We have a large green waste barrel with wheels. I would routinely climb inside to stomp down the leaves and such. Like I said, I was a martial artist and had pretty good balance. Always have. But I stepped on the wrong edge and the barrel shot out from under me and I dropped 4 feet onto my right shoulder. A quick massage; a chiropractic adjustment and I'm good to go.

Then I quit Kung Fu.

And got lazy.

And then the pain in my right shoulder started. Adjustments would last about 2 hours. A massage and an adjustment would last about 3 hours. Chiropractor said my muscles were out of shape. "Not that you're out of shape" he quickly added to which I responded, "Yes....yes I am!"

Then one morning this past November I woke up and my whole right arm was numb. Fingers were tingling like they were "asleep". But they never woke up. A week later, still had the problem. Chiropractic adjustments and massage wasn't working. Off to see the doctor. X-rays show I have arthritis in my spine; C5, C6, C7. And degenerative disk disease at C6. (This is in addition to the degenerative disk disease I have a L4, L5!)

Apparently the exercise I used to get at Kung Fu kept those muscles strong enough to compensate for the arthritis and bad disk. Once they started to atrophy they couldn't hold it together. Then they spasmed when the disk slipped and impinged the nerves.

It took 8 weeks of physical therapy to get the knot out and relax the muscles around the nerve bundle. During that 8 weeks I was exercising and stretching the muscles...working them out. I still have the occasional twinge, especially if I sleep on my side for too long. What's a guy to do??

Well, I thought I'd join a gym and work out. I hate gyms. So I thought I'd buy a home workout routine. Almost pushed the buy button on this but my wife said, "Hey! I've already got it!" I watched the DVD and figured "I can do this!"

So. I'm 42 and finished my first workout in over a year. My legs are rubbery as are my arms. I was sweating and panting for almost a half an hour after I finished the meager 30 minute workout. And that was just circuit training. Cardio is tomorrow...

I think I'm going to hurt a bit by Friday!


Friday, February 01, 2008

Argh! Frustrated!

Some days I wonder if I want to be in aviation anymore.

Not two hours after my turbulent air encounter "debriefing" (which left a lot to be desired...
"Everyone's okay now right? Good...let's move on.") the boss man calls to pressure a pilot to take a trip that he can't take due to weather.

We do "long range" trips on occasion. This one was supposed to leave Redding, fly to Ontario, OR (1/2 flight northwest of Boise), pick up a critical* patient and fly him to Pittsburgh, PA. Yep. All the way across the country.

The weather at Ontario (ONO) is just at minimums but doesn't allow for a departure. The weather at the fuel stop, Sioux Falls, SD (FSD) is good but Pittsburgh (AGC) is forecasting freezing rain. The Long Range coordinator, who took the flight without asking if it could be done, got pretty upset when the pilot said he was delayed for weather. To the point she called the boss man who proceeded to tell the pilot, "This flight has to go. What's the problem?"

After 2 attempts to explain it to the boss man and after multiple offers for alternate solutions to the problem (reposition that night to Boise so they could get an early start, bring the patient to Boise to get an early start, have the patient at ONO when they arrive) all fell on deaf ears. To the point where Ms. Long Range Coordinator (Ms. LRC from now on) said she wouldn't even ask.

Finally...after the pilot explained basic FAR 135 regulations to the man who is supposed to know them inside and out, the boss man agrees that they can wait.

Next morning, fog traps the plane in Sacramento. Now the flight is delayed again but only by a couple of hours. #2 boss man calls and wants to know why we aren't taking 2 pilots? "Because, I can't do it as the flight won't be back in time for me to go to training, one pilot is out sick and the other just came off duty. No more pilots to go with!" Then we get the "he came in at 9, right?" (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!) "It's not the duty time (14 hours in a 24 hour period) it's the flight time (no more than 8 hours in a 14 hour duty day) that's the issue boss man #2."


The point of all this is the promise made at hiring that management wouldn't second guess out-station pilots decision making process. And yet, boss man did just that 3 times. #2 boss man did it once. 3 pilots standing around shaking their collective heads asking "WTF Over!?" If we pilots, who have an average of 20 years flying, are so pathetic in flight planning and checking the weather (things we've done since Day 1 in our flying careers), then maybe we should be fired. If you can't trust us to do our jobs as professionals, then maybe we need to be replaced.

I am still new to EMS but I'm not new to flying, flight planning, weather, etc. Bottom line, if a pilot at my base says the flight can't go due to weather, the flight can't go. I'll not second guess. If I don't know what the weather is, I'll check it myself or ask the pilot. 10 times out of 10 when this has happened, the weather was the deciding factor. End of story.

When the almighty dollar drives a company and the pilot gets pressure from the boss man to take a flight, you start to wonder? "Did the brochure look better than the resort???"


*Critical. This patient wasn't critical. He was a spouse of a company employee. Ms. LRC knows better than to tell the pilot about how "critical" a patient is in an attempt to get him to do a flight. The nurse who took the call said the patient wasn't "critical". He only had a saline drip...nothing else. Critical my arse!