Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Your Assistance Please


I haven't cleared this with my friend, Chuck. So he isn't asking. I am. I don't ask for much. But I'm asking now.

Chuck Adams is a controller from Grand Forks, ND (GFK). He's served his country his entire life. He's served NATCA for as long as I can remember. He is one of the finest humans I know. And he is my friend.

He is currently recovering from surgery. He's out of leave. And then the other shoe drops. His wife was just diagnosed with cancer. She finds out today how bad it is.

If you're a NATCA member, I'm asking you to help him out. Donate some leave. Ask around, find out how it's done. You can start with this link but you have to log into the member's area of NATCA's page. Chuck is on the VLTP list. Help him out. If you don't know how to do it, ask your Facrep.

I hate asking but I'm asking so he doesn't have to. We can take care of our own. Thanks.

Don Brown
October 30, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Great White Last Gasp


For weeks, I've been trying to come up with a better title. Something that "sings". Forget getting around to the article itself -- writing about how the Republican Party has become the Party of the Confederacy, how it is falling apart and how it will leave the South politically isolated.

 I've procrastinated long enough that someone else has written it for me. Never mind the few details where we differ. Gene Lyons has the big picture correct and he actually got around to writing his article (unlike me.)

 Thanks to my friend Tommy for pointing it out. Yes, I noticed that The Arkansas Times misspelled "Strategy". But they'll actually let you read the column, unlike most other newspapers. By the way, if you're new to the game and haven't heard of the Southern Strategy, you can get an education here.

The end of the Southern Stategy 

"Nor, however, are their fears entirely irrational. Because if the polls are right — and a disinterested observer would have to say that professional pollsters have grown increasingly accurate at predicting recent contests — the 2012 presidential election may not bring about "The Rapture," but it could definitely mark the definitive end of a political era. 

Specifically, it doesn't matter how badly President Obama loses the five Deep South states won by Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1968 — along with, say, South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. Should he prevail in most of the nine "swing states" where everybody agrees that the contest will be decided, and where Obama currently appears to lead by strong majorities, the white, GOP-accented South will find itself politically marooned.

Again." 

This part is only to show you this guy isn't pulling any punches.

"The temptation for Southern Republicans would be to double down on the crazy, because "conservatism," so-called, can never fail, only BE failed. Also because religious melodrama is really what an awful lot of them are really about. That, and Koch Brothers money. They're not actually conservatives at all, in the classical sense, but sentimental fanatics seeking to purge the nation of sin; adepts of "limited government" with their noses buried in women's panty drawers; apostles of a lost Utopia located in a non-existent past, most often in Sixties sitcoms like the "Andy Griffith Show.""

 Don Brown
October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yes, You Can

I don't want to get all sappy because I'm just not the personal/testimonial kind of guy.  But just in case there is some other controller out there that feels old beyond his years...

See this trail?




















I walked up it, loaded up with my camera backpack and tripod.  That's probably 20-25 pounds of gear.  The trail sign said it would take 20 minutes.  It took me 33.  But I made it.

About a year and a half ago, we had some terrible tornadoes come through.  I was suffering from another bout of bronchitis.  If anything had happened, I would have been useless.  It hurt to walk up a flight of stairs -- much less to do anything strenuous for any length of time.  I knew I had to stop smoking.

It was hard.  And it sucked.  Big time.  If it was easy, everybody would do it.  And to add insult to injury, I gained another 20 pounds to add to the 20 I gained when I retired.  One thing at a time.

I've now lost the 40 pounds and maybe a couple more.  I weigh less than my driver's license says  I weigh and I haven't changed that data in...forever.  Just like the downward spiral that working strange hours in a high-pressure job can put you in, there is a virtuous circle in doing better.  It turns out that when you quit smoking you can breathe better and walk longer periods.  And the more weight you lose the easier it is to walk.  The more you can walk, the faster you lose the weight.

So, in just over a year, I got back to a place that allowed me to do what I love -- hiking up to the top of a mountain.  

If you're wondering whether you can ever do it again: Yes, you can.  

I'll repeat myself.  Early retirement is only a benefit if you use it.  Being an air traffic controller isn't healthy.  And too many of us embrace that instead of resisting it.  We smoke.  We eat too much.  We eat too much junk on a midnight shift.  We don't sleep.  We drink too much.  

There is life after ATC.  Get ready for it.  Plan to get out as soon as you can.  The rest of your life awaits.

Don Brown
October 10, 2012

P.S.  Please don't write me with any "atta boys".  I don't do this kind of thing well and I'm sure I won't accept compliments for it any better. 

P.P.S  I *hate* the new interface for Blogger.  (Just sayin' Google.)  I'm sick of trying to get it to format like I want it so I give up. 

After They've Seen Paree?

Anybody got a house near the Blue Ridge Parkway they want to sell me? I've seen heaven and it isn't in the middle of Georgia.

Don Brown
October 10, 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I'd Rather Be Lucky

I'd Rather Be Lucky by Get The Flick
I'd Rather Be Lucky, a photo by Get The Flick on Flickr.

Being retired just means the location changes. I'm still doing the same thing I do every day. I doubt if there will be any blogging for the next two days. Maybe a couple of tweets.

I'll be putting up a lot on Flickr. You might want to look around when you get there.

Don Brown
October 7, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Blue on Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue on Blue by Get The Flick
Blue on Blue on Blue, a photo by Get The Flick on Flickr.

Pretty soon I'll be in the Blue Ridge. But this is pretty nice for now.

Don Brown
October 4, 2012

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012

Words to Ponder (10-1-12)


Sorry, I'm writing elsewhere this morning. I came across some good words from Thomas Jefferson. Words that I don't have space for but are too good not to use.

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the Despot abetting his abuses in return for the protection of his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them."

"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."

Hat tip to Wikipedia. (Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson with Wikipedia?) Find and click on the banner on the right. Donate. They deserve it.

Don Brown
October 1, 2012