Thursday, August 31, 2006

"The act of dividing into parts"
From my years in our United States Navy, compartment means a space in a ship designed and fabricated for a specific purpose. As you review the images above you will see a compartment for sleeping. It is from the berthing area of a Troop Transport. Another picture shows engineers posing in an engineering compartment designed for the control of the propulsion equipment. The third image clearly shows some off duty sailors in their work area for the Missile Systems. Well so much for "Flower Child's" memory lapse to his Youth.
I recently heard a discussion regarding education of our future citizens. The phrase "compartmentalization" was discussed and the evils of having assigned home work for elementary students using one subject for each night of the school week was mentioned. Monday could be for Math, Tuesday for English and so forth. You get the idea. One side of this discussion was that this could generate scheduling concerns for the teachers involved with a specific grade level. Maybe, but what we are currently doing does not appear to be generating well educated future citizens. While the scheduling concerns may be valid I also believe that in a weeks time that the assigned home work with a specific focus each school night could also produce better subject knowledge for each student. I know for sure that it would allow each student to focus on a specific topic each school night and this could possibly allow our students to achieve academic excellence which currently seems to evade our educational systems.
Maybe is is time to start thinking outside of the box. We certainly have adequate evidence to prove that our current system is not working all that well.
In support of the concept of specific topics/subjects each night of the school week I would encourage the skeptics to check out the Education System employed at Oxford, England, specifically Queens College. I do believe that they focus on one subject at a time. At least that is what my daughter told me some years ago. It worked for her and all of her peers. Of course this concept for the day time class room situation may not be appropriate, but for the evening homework it just may well be worthwhile to at least try. It would be total immersion in the subject for one evening each week. I would think that this approach would have merit and certainly could do no harm.
Additionally, this system must have some merit for I hear that the "assigned subject" concept is used right here in Middle Georgia. I understand that the tudor system along with an assigned subject for a certain period of time is used at "The Mercer University School of Medicine" with great success.
I know that we can do better. I would suggest that this just may work. I would encourage our dynamic educational leaders and professionals to actually "Think Out Side of the Box" and employ this system. In a weeks time each scholar would be exposed to the five subjects that they are studying for that Quarter/Semester.
In fact focusing on one subject each school night may also help eliminate the growing number of scholars who appear to be suffering from "Attention Deficit Disorder!!!!!!!"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

All About High Paying Jobs
Once again, we here in Middle Georgia have learned that we will no longer have another Sports Team. Yes, this is a shame!!!!!! We are losing another wholesome Family Fun Entertainment option.
So whi is the Fork Lift the featured image here today. Several years ago we had a public figure in the State of Georgia Legistature state that we needed "High Paying Jobs." This is most certainly true and also a fact of life. We still need these jobs. Yes, we have recently witnessed a plethora of business organizations relocate or locate in Middle Georgia; but most of them are in the distribution business. Nothing wrong with that, but with automated distribution centers all that is needed is a few fork lifts to move pallets of materials from an autmotated spur to the dock or even insert the pallet into the truck. Fork Lifts also need repair so we will have to have a few mechanics. These jobs may pay fairly well, but with so few individuals needed there will not be an intense infusion of funds in the local economy.
Yet we continue to decry that there is nothing to do in Middle Georgia. We continue to accept sub-standard education in Georgia. We have not expected the best of our Students or even the professional educators. If we are to compete for the high paying jobs we need to place major emphasis on education and develop a quality work force. Admittedly we have a fine Medical Care Complex here, along with a plethora of fine Fast Food Organizations.
However, we still need High Paying Jobs for the average citizen. Not all of us can be Doctors or Lawyers. For the general population who is currently employed there are several considerations that must impact on our willingness to take the family out for an evening of wholesome entertainment:
  • Most of us obtain fuel for our vehicles and that cost has increased in recent years.
  • Most of us enjoy air conditioned homes and energy cost have also increased in recent years.
  • Most of us enjoy and also appreciate wholesome family time in our homes.
  • Most of us have become victims of great advertising on behalf of the entertainment equipment industry. Translation - Most of us have reasonably big screen televisions in our home.
  • Most of us appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the plethora of programs we can receive on these same big screen televisions. We can enjoy what we want without the confusion of crowds or having to adorn our bodies with appropriate attire to be seen in public.
  • Most of us rely on our television entertainment via cable or satellite transmission which can consume a fair amount of available funds for entertainment.

I realize that most of my considerations discussed above are recent events so you may be asking, Why has Middle Georgia failed in the arena of Fan Support of worthwhile sports organizations in the past?

  • Is there a lack of appreciation for the efforts of the talent who have participated in the sports arena in the past?
  • As a second tier city, do we in Macon expect professional sports at a minor league level to be as well executed as the big time professional players we observe on our televisions?

Additionally I would suggest that there are many here in Middle Georgia who are tired of the hassle of poorly managed infrastructure which has surrounded the previous sports organizations we have enjoyed in the past. Parking at the coliseum is not a major problem, but I can recall that during my thirty some years here in Middle Georgia that it appears that no organization can function effectively there until we have an appropriate exit scheme in effect for visitors who want to depart the parking lot after an event. We have several exit gates there and yet most of the time one has to que up to depart only one gate. My observation here is that if you pay to park, there should be a viable scheme in place to assist with the exit from the parking lot.

I have never been the victim of vandalism at the Coliseum Parking lot, but I have observed smashed car windows. This does not bode well for repeat attendance!!!!

These are just but two examples of why attendance may be poor at the Coliseum. I can also state here that we may have lost the Macon Braves because we, all of us, were not ready to expend the funds to upgrade the drainage infrastructure at Luther Williams Base Ball Park. What a shame. I have been to Rome, Georgia and witnessed first hand the joy of attending a Minor League Base Ball event in a fine facility in an area that was and still is dedicated to providing a wholesome arena for Wholesome Family Fun Entertainment.

Until we have a dedicated cadre of leadership who is willing to admit that we can, and should also do better; we in Middle Georgia will continue to suffer from a lack of Wholesome Family Fun Entertainment.

Speaking to my own situation, my funds are now expended as follows:

  • A generous cable bill for a plethora of television options along with Internet access
  • A more than ample High Definition Television with a big screen

I did enjoy the recent Little League World Series Base Ball Tournament. Columbus, Georgia I salute you for a season Well Done!!!!!!!!

To reinforce a situation that I feel should have been of major impact to Macon, Georgia and also Luther Williams Base Ball Park. The recent State of Georgia American Legion Base Ball tourament was played at the Mercer University Sports Complex. Why not have future American Legion Base Ball Touraments at Luther Williams Base Ball Park? We have teams from all over Georgia participate in this event and once again we here in Middle Georgia missed an excellent opportunity to showcase a wonderful facility which also has a stellar heritage which we could have also shared with these young players and their families. Again, what a shame.

When I was last employed at a local factory here in Middle Georgia I always jokingly stated that the most stable job opportunity would be a fork lift operator. Well that has played out quite well. I know for a fact that the last labor job at this very same factory was to operate the fork lifts as the last production machines were loaded on appropriate transport to go to a new facility.

Yes, We Do Need High Paying Jobs!!!!! Yes, We Do Have to Also Educate People!!!!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Congratulations!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!

The Little League Baseball Team from Columbus,

Georgia is not only the best Little League Team in the

United States of America, but they are the best team in

the World. Certainly the Best in the World. True

Champions!!!!! Well Done. Well Done to the Young

Little Leaguers from Columbus. Well Done to the Little

Leaguers from Japan!!!! This has been a dynamic and

tremendous Little League Championship Series.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Good Schools Can Happen"

Today my Gratitude to Parade Magazine for challenging me to write this Blog. I have quoted several sections from the article which profiles education in our Country. My quotes are printed in red.
The Picture above is very similiar to the one room county school that I attended way back in the dark ages. We also had the path, one for the boys and one for the girls. The one difference was that the school I attended had limestone rock walls.
Experts agree that quality public schools share the following characteristics:
  1. High expectations for every student
  2. Parent and community support
  3. A rigorous curriculum and fair assessments
  4. Sufficient resources to help all students achieve
  5. Safe, healthy and supportive learning environments
  6. Schools and classrooms equipped for teaching and learning
  7. Qualified teachers in every clasrom
  8. Strong school leadership

Unfortunately we here in Bibb County have an Elected School Board where only three of the eight members allow citizen, voter or even parent access via E-Mail through the Board of Education Web Site. I would suggest that the five who desire only phone and/or letter contact may be avoiding contact via a dynamic and also effective communication system: E-Mail. As I compute the percentage of School Board Members who allow E-Mail access I obtain 37.5 percent every time. We all know that 37.5 is a failing grade. What a Shame!!!!

Thus it is quite difficult to achieve all eight of these characteristics here in Bibb County. I am also confident that all eight of these characteristics must be achieved if we are to ever have educational excellence in the Bibb County, Georgia School System.

The referenced Parade article also identified what we as concerned citizens must also accomplish to "Help Give Kids Good Schools." There are three major items:

  1. Learn the facts about public schools in your community.
  2. Vote for issues that make a positive difference for public education.
  3. Act by letting elected officials and others know that quality public education is a top priority on Election Day and every day.

As a concerned citizen there are several things I would encourage you to do, even if you do not live in Bibb County, Georgia:

  • Demand accountability from your elected School Board. After all, you voted them into office.
  • Volunteer at your local school, or even some other school in your immediate area. You do not need to have children attending the school you volunteer at. You only must be willing to work with Children. I know for a fact that I am well rewarded by the attitude of the students at the schools I function as a Volunteer Reader. Of course you must grant permission to the School Administration to perform a background check on you before you can be accepted as a volunteer. You must be vetted for all the correct reasons. Unfortunately we have those in our society who are not appropriate for exposure to our Children.
  • Support the Children and Youth we encounter in our daily routine. I always ascertain which school the Bag Person attends when I do my marketing. I then wish them well in their educational endeavors. I am confident that our Young People appreciate this type encounter.
  • As a Society we need to develope a culture where we appreciate Academic Excellence at the same level that we appreciate and also expend our resources on when we recognize our Youth Sports Activities and the individuals that participate in these endeavors. When will we have the opportunity to view a "Academic Excellence in our Schools" on Television on a certain night of the Week. I do realize that Georgia Public Television awards a Scholar of the Week award for the individuals who also excell in "Sports." But I do believe that we can do more.
  • Be aware that a Great Education requires Money. However, I would be quick to point out here that simply throwing money into education will not always achieve the desired results. Research and review of Systems with far superior results than we enjoy here locally in Bibb County or even the State of Georgia has verified that educational excellence can be achieved with less expenditure of funds per student. In short, we must expect and also demand great performance for each dollar expended!!!!
  • We must also recognize the fact that the five school systems profiled in the Parade magazine turned poor performance into educational excellence when they achieved the above listed eight characteristics of Good Schools.

I did not write this post to exceute a vendata against the Bibb School System. Nor did I write this with a desire to boast about myself. However, I think it is appropriate to share some facts from my own life so that you are aware of the reasons I am an advocate for educational excellence. During my six years at the one one room country school, much like the school pictured at the start of this blog, I had the opportunity to lay the ground work for future educational excellence. This was a one room school with eight scholars from two different families. Although we were small I sincerely believe that our Teacher had but one goal, which was to educate us so that we could be valued citizens and also prepare us for a productive life.

I do know that this ground work allowed me to achieve a score of 98 during each of my High School years on what we called the "Iowa State Test." I believe these test are now known as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). I would also point out that when I enlisted in the United States Navy in 1961 that I achieved a score of 98 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which certainly validates my High School test scores. The AFQT was, and is still used to assigned enlistees to the plethora of specialized schools to meet the skilled manpower requirements of our U. S. Military. Additionally, any enlistee needs to achieve a certain score just to be eligible to serve in the U. S. Military.

I am also aware that at no time was I ever taught the test!!! We were educated so that we could be valued citizens in a productive United States of America. At this point I would like to also state that I know for a fact that in my time in the U. S. Navy and later as a laborer in the local work force that all peoples had the same goals and desires for their Children. I have never met a person who desired a mediocre education for their Children. Which brings me back to the first characteristic on the list I quoted above: "High expectations for every student."

I also believe that the Children educated in the United States of America that were my peers in the 1940s and the 1950s were victims of this "High expectations" mantra. All of our Youth should be so Blessed today.

Yes, I wish that this were true today. Yet I believe, just as the Parade article pointed out with the five individual school system success stories that achieving educational excellence today is possible. Achieving educational excellence today is doable.

Yes!!!!! We Can Do It!!!!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

"The Brotherhood of Veterans"
A few days ago a dear friend of mine who just happens to be a U. S. Marine Corps Veteran visited me for a day. Although we lived in the same city after our active duty he has relocated several times, but we still keep in touch. I consider him a very close friend.
Even though he was in the U. S. Marines and I served in the U. S. Navy, we have many common bonds. Our Sons played Little League Baseball, Recreational Youth Soccer and were involved in Boy Scouts. At various times we both were involved in the leadership of these activities. We learned about Soccer when no one was available to Coach our two Sons. We went to the Library and read up on the Game. This was before Soccer was played on a wide scale, so there was not much available. But we had fun and I am confident that our Boys also had fun.
Some of you are probably wondering how a Sailor and a Jarhead could be Friends. To be sure, there is a fair amount of banter when we get together, but we do have a lot in common and we have bonded because of our life experiences.
When he arrived in town we had a food fellowship and then we traveled around town and viewed the changes that have happened since he and his family lived here. We spent a great afternoon together and shared many, many stories about years ago.
Now only was this a U. S. Marine Veteran Bond and a U. S. Navy Veteran Bond, but when they lived in our city we always shared New Year's Eve at one of our homes. After Midnight we all made omulets. Who ever hosted the event would have all the fixings arranged on the Kitchen Counter and each participant made their own omulet just the way they wanted it.
Thanks for the Memories and I appreciated the opportunity to once again participate in:
"The Brotherhood of Veterans"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Health Care Reimbursement"

I realize that this is a Hot Topic in Middle Georgia at this time. Now that I have your interest I would like to discuss a recent event in my life as I experienced it. Every three or four months I have blood drawn so that my Doctor can ascertain that the one prescription I use is doing it's job and that I also am not having any dangerous side effects.
First of all I have always had the blood draw prior to the Doctor's Office Visit so that we can review the lab results. Unknown to me the Office Manger for my Doctor's practice has established a new policy. You must visit the Doctor First and then the order can be written for the lab test. Then the lab work is done. I suspect that this also allows a double visit to the Doctor's Office rather than the one I have been doing for this prescription. Is this a money making scheme. I would hope not!!!!!!!
When I finally got to the lab for the blood draw the receptionist asked for my Medicare Card. I had it ready, along with my Retired U. S. Military ID so that they could also submit the claim for proper reimbursement after Medicare paid for only a portion of the procedure. I was quickly informed that their form only had space for one Insurance Vendor. I carefully, and I might add, cheerfully explained that during recent rejections of all or part of the Claim by Medicare I had to mail the rejection Explanation of Benefits form to the Business office of the Lab involved. They then processed the claim against "TriCare For Life." That is the one exception that this provider allows. They do indeed submit the refused or reduced Claim from Medicare to the TriCare for Life Claims Office. I know that TriCare for Life must then pay the balance. My concern and comment today and the reasons I am publishing this information for all to read are:
  • Is our Health Care System so overburdened that they cannot submit claims to more than one vendor?
  • I suspect that all of these Claims are done On-Line via the Internet so I really cannot comprehend the extra cost involved.
  • I would think that it would be very simple for the Health Care Provider, in this case the Lab, to have two blanks on the form so that the Claim could be processed much more efficiently.

As it is, the Lab now sends me an Explanation of Benefits and I make a copy and put it in an appropriate envelope, put on a stamp and mail it back with note reminding them that I am a Veteran enrolled in the "TriCare for Life" program. That is the last I hear of that specific claim.

I am amazed that in their era of High Speed Data Processing that our medical care organizations from Doctor's Offices, the Laboratories they use and the Insurance Claims Processing Offices can not be more efficient. Is it that no body cares as long as they are paid? I would hope that this is not the case. But the evidence and procedures I endure to have my Health Care Providers adequately and properly paid lead me to believe that as long as it is simple for them, I must bear the brunt of their inefficiency. This is a Shame. Here we are in the 21st Century and I have to expend postage stamps and my health care provider must wait an extra week or two to be properly paid. Simply because someone, somewhere has set up a narrow minded simple system. I am always willing and ready to allow my Health Care Providers to copy my Medicare Card and my Retired U. S. Military Card so that they may be paid promptedly.

Why do we as citizens of this great Land allow this to continue?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How Do You Tell?
That was the opening words contained on a Memo I received just a few days ago from the person who has delivered my Newspaper for the last fourteen years. The memo went on to say that the Carrier had delivered the Paper for seventeen years and that it was now time to complete studying to achieve some personal goals, as she had determined to move to another level in my educational career. Time for exams and doing a dissertation. She would no longer be delivering the Paper.
Before we continue with the important message delivered in this memo I would like to take the time to examine two words that are certainly reflected in the Memo I received:
"Heritage" - some thing handed down from one's ancestors
"Legacy" - to bequeath or to hand down
The author of the memo then indicated that she was training her relief for the task of delivering the Paper. "In fact, I am training my son to take my place."
Yes, I have met this Carrier. We exchanged greetings when I was still a working citizen and I met her at the end of my driveway to receive the News. Now that I am retired I no longer meet her at 5:00 A.M. But I do know this - The retiring carrier received a great heritage from the parents that nurtured her. I also know that she is handing down a great legacy to her own son, who she is currently training. Now, my dear Blog readers, this is but one great example of what real people accomplish in their lives.
In conclusion the Carrier wrote: "Thanks for your support, cooperation, and understanding. May God continue to richly pour out His blessings upon each of you." What a powerful witness. Here is but one individual who obviously received a rich heritage, who is also passing on a great legacy; but here is one individual who is certainly not afraid of witnessing to all peoples. Her closing testimonial reflects well on her, her upbringing and what she is now passing on to her own dear Son.
(Your Carrier).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Earlier today, I, Flower Child urged you to "Take the time to smell the flowers. That was before I went out to view the East Gardens where I live. What a lovely surprise was in store for me. As I enjoyed my breakfast, I looked out and also noted some lovely pink "Angel Trumpet" flowers blooming in the pot I have been nurturning on the Deck. So, I readied my Camera, and just as the Morning Sun came through the trees to the East, I quickly ran outside to gather a plethora of images. These pink blooms are growing on stalks that I rooted last November. They all stand about six feet high. There must be at least thirty of these wonderful blooming "pink" Angel Trumpets in our Gardens. I shall always be grateful to the kind family that sharedthese cuttings with me last Fall. After all, the "Pass Along Plants" always hold special memories as we recall who gave us the seeds, rootings, or cuttings. So I can most certainly say that I do what I encourage others to do. "I, Flower Child, took the time to smell the Flowers. If you have not ever enjoyed these blooms and their delightful fragrance, I can assure you that you are in for a special treat. Have a Great day.
"Thank You"
Today I would like to simply say how great it is to be alive.

I hope you enjoy the picture as much as I do. What a beautiful sunrise. As we all travel through our lives I would like to encourage you to take the time and smell the Flowers. "Flower Child, Sunday, August 20, 2006."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thank You!!!!! Thank You!!!!
The Message on the Cake Says It All

Five Million from the Federal Government
Five Million Loan for Bibb County
Five Million Loan for the City of Macon
I add all this up to a total of Fifteen Million.
Our esteemed Lawmakers on the Federal Level are sending us Money!!!!!! Just think, Five Million dollars. The money is to be used for certain purposes. The real reason for this Grant is to buy votes from the voters. Yes, Washington, D.C., thousands of Macon, Georgia residents and also thousands of Bibb County residents will appreciate this free money. Just a minute here, based on the records of the Bibb County Tax Accessors Office we know that their are some 50,000 parcels of property here in Bibb County. Now for the sake of clarification, suppose that only half of these properties have people residing in homes on them. Twenty-five thousand homes with families that annually remit their Federal Income Tax to the Federal Government at $3,000.00 for each family sums up to $75,000,000.00. Where is the rest of the money going? Before you decry my thinking, I am aware that some is expended on defense and other items mandated by our U. S. Constitution. Yet I would submit that we are being short changed. Is it possible that we could manage our money more effectively if it was retained at the local level? So Much for Free Money. I would submit that maybe we are being shortchanged. Seventy-five million leaving Bibb County for a Five Million return!!!!!!!!!!
Five Million for Macon. For three years we have borrowed money to meet payroll. No need to repeat the story here. We all know how this happened.
Five Million for Bibb County. A first, at least in recent history. Are we emulating the City of Macon, Georgia. The Tennis Center needs resurfacing. We need certain other items. As silly as this may seem, may I suggest user fees!!!! Admittedly, the License Plate Office at the Farmer's Market needs some work and we also need a Library in South Bibb, but borrowing money to be in receipt of a generous rebate sounds too silly for even this "Flower Child" to comprehend.
So the question of the day may very well be: Where did our Parents go wrong when we were growing up? How come we do not understand basic economics? I recall with fond memories how I had to share a bicycle with my five siblings when I was growing up, simply because the family did not have enough money to acquire more than one bicycle. Besides that, we all had appropriate age level chores to perform, both before and after school so that our family could prosper in a rural environment way back in the 50s. Thus it was very easy to take your turn when it was time to ride.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today I share what someone else has written about "I was a Sailor Once." The Author is unknown, but who ever wrote this captured the essence of Life in the Navy for all to appreciate. Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I Was a Sailor Once Sharing a glimpse of the life I so dearly loved... I liked standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe -
I liked the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, harsh , and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work. I liked Navy vessels -- plodding fleet auxiliaries,--ATF 76 USS Ute-- and amphibs, sleek submarines and steady solid aircraft carriers.
I liked the proud names of Navy ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea, Antietam, Valley Forge - - memorials of great battles won and tribulations overcome. I liked the lean angular names of Navy "tin-cans" and escorts - - DD 731 USS Maddox - mementos of heroes who went before us. And the others - - San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, St. Paul, Chicago, Oklahoma City, named for our cities.
I liked the tempo of a Navy band .
I liked liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.
I even liked the never ending paperwork and all hands working parties as my ship filled herself with the multitude of supplies, both mundane and to cut ties to the land and carry out her mission anywhere on the globe where there was water to float her.
I liked sailors, officers and enlisted men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trusted and depended on them as they trusted and depended on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for strength and courage. In a word, they were "shipmates"; then and forever.
I liked the surge of adventure in my heart, when the word was passed: ''Now Hear This'' "Now set the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for leaving port," and I liked the infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pier side The work was hard and dangerous; the going rough at times; the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the "all for one and one for all" philosophy of the sea was ever present.
I liked the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as flying fish flitted across the wave tops and sunset gave way to night.
I liked the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead and range lights, the red and green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and joined with the mirror of stars overhead. And I liked drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small that told me that my ship was alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch would keep me safe.
I liked quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee -- the lifeblood of the Navy permeating everywhere.
And I liked hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed kept all hands on a razor edge of alertness.
I liked the sudden electricity of "General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations," followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transformed herself in a few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war -- ready for anything.
And I liked the sight of space-age equipment manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their grandfathers would still recognize
I liked the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I liked the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones and Burke. A sailor could find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent could find adulthood.
In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, AND SO WE ARE,--We still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and mess decks.
Gone ashore for good we grow humble about our Navy days, when the seas were a part of us and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.
Remembering this, WE stand taller and say, " I WAS A SAILOR ONCE."

Monday, August 14, 2006

"Expectations versus Inspections"

What does a hand in a White Glove have to do with the Subject of this Blog? Anyone who has ever been in any branch of the Military certainly knows what the phrase "Ready for a White Glove Inspection" means.
Way back during my Navy career when I was a Chief Petty Officer (a.k.a. E-7) on a certain ship in 1978 we Chiefs in the CPO Mess were quite proud of our standards of cleanliness in the galley where our assigned Mess Cook prepared our meals. Although the area was very small, room for one person to work we never had any concerns about the cleanliness of our food preparation area. When I say small room, I am sure that you must know that on a Destroyer type ship that the Chief's Galley was about six feet by eight feet. This area had all the appliances you would find in a home, although they did meet industrial standards.
One day the the Admiral came aboard to conduct an inspection. We were ready. We knew we were on top of our game. The Admiral entered the Mess in the prescribed khaki uniform. He immediately donned his white coveralls and proceeded to the Galley. Our Mess Cook presented the space and proudly stated that the Chief's Galley was Ready for Inspection. The Admiral dismissed the Mess Cook and then proceeded to get on his Hands and Knees and with his white gloves on proceeded to rub the terrazzio floor under the refrigerator. He pulled his white glove clad hand out and immediately waved through the Galley Door with the greasy white glove, looking anything but white.
I will never forget what he stated for all of us to hear: "Gentlemen, you get what you inspect, not expect." Of course, we all learned a valuable lesson that day.

I recalled the above situation this morning as I contemplated the TNT Movie that I had viewed on Sunday Evening, August 13th. The title was "The Ron Clark Story," and the the most important message I received from the presentation was very familiar to me. This educator went from last to first and his mantra was "Have High Expectations and the Students will Rise to a High Level." For those who have not heard of the Ron Clark Story, please check it out on the Internet. However a brief summary is: This educator took a teaching job in a depressed school system in New York City. He did not have to. He had a very rewarding career in a much more pleasant environment. However, He saw an opportunity to truly make a difference. As I indicated above, he took a class from last to first in the period of one year by having standards much higher than anyone deemed achievable. He did it. He did more than what a normal teacher would do, to be sure, but he did it.

Indeed, He received what his expectations demanded. He achieved the standards and the goals he set out for his class. I believe that we can all rise to the situation at hand. For too long we have expected fair to average performance and we have sold future generations of citizens short. We have sold the future of our United States of America short. We all know and actually most realize that we can do better. Are we ready as a society to raise the bar, so to speak and expect dynamic performance from our schools. Mr. Clark made learning fun without compromising the goals and standards he set for this class. His Book, "The Essential 55" should be a must read for all the educators and education managers in our United States of America.

In fact, I would recommend that any adult who has appropriate expectations for their own Children or Grand-Children, to please give this book serious consideration by obtaining a copy today and reading it.

Should you desire additional information about this concerned and caring educator, please visit this link:

I believe that we can do more. We certainly should not do any less. All adults need to emulate Mr. Ron Clark as we all conduct appropriate interface with the youth of America. Here is a quote from the above Web Site regarding his program in a school he is opening in Atlanta, Georgia; and I quote:

"Most recently, Ron is devoting the majority of his time to opening a school in Atlanta for students from low-wealth areas. The Ron Clark Academy will truly be unique as it applies a curriculum that is based on travel around the world. Each year the students will journey on international adventures, and by the time they are in 8th grade each child will have visited every continent."

Some may consider this a lofty goal, and indeed it is. However if you did view the show on TV you will also know that Ron Clark pulled off a miracle in a very depressed New York City School System school in just one year. I believe that miracles do happen. I also believe that our whole country needs and will also appreciate a miracle happening in our educational systems across our whole United States of America.

Thank You for taking the time today to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this rather long Blog

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Moral Clarity

In recent weeks during the Primary Election Campaigns we have heard of “Family Values” from various candidates. I do believe that a better phrase would be “Moral Clarity.”

I know that it is sometimes helpful to look up certain words:

Moral: “Capable of making the distinction between right and wrong in conduct.”

Clarity: A noun “clearness”

I have observed, all too often, the need for people to be politically correct in their daily involvement with fellow members of the human race. In this regard, I also believe that these same individuals may also lack moral clarity in their thinking. I can speak out against an issue and some consider it an attack on the person. I would like to relay a principle that I have found works for me: “Love the Sinner/Wrongdoer, not the Sin/Mistake.”

I certainly believe that some confuse the issue. It appears to me that there are those who think that they must love the sin/mistake if they also want to love the sinner/error maker. Talk about a convoluted through process. I suspect that this is the mantra of those who seek approval at all times and devote to much of their precious time to “Being politically correct;” at the expense of what is the best course of action for the long term and also of greatest value for all!!

I think of the Muslim woman in England who “rang up” New Scotland Yard some months ago to report a suspicious event. We all can certainly thank Her and also New Scotland Yard for taking the call seriously. She had moral clarity and certainly did not adhere to the “politically correct” mantra in her actions.

I am grateful and will forever be thankful that this Muslim woman had moral clarity as a mantra in her life. Just Think, here she put the finger on or in fact ratted on an extremist!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where Has Flower Child Gone?

Just in case the current computer system goes totally inoperational you may notice that I am absent from updating my Blog with the same frequency as you have grown to expect. Because of the old operating system causes problems when attempting to access the Internet Flower Child is in the process of obtaining a new computer with a more current operating system. Therefore I may be absent from "The World This Week" for a few days. Just thought you might like to know.
Have a Great Day!!!!!

Thank You, Again and Again
As you read my Thank You!!!! article of this date I am sure that you must be thinking of how ungrateful I am regarding the Heroes of our United States of America. You can be sure that such is not the case. Additionally I am aware of the efforts of several governments who help us remain secure. Please take the time to study the images above.
Thank You!!!!!

Thank You!!!!!!!! Thank You!!!!!!

Thank You, Thank You
The World Wide events of the past forty- eight hours have prompted me to compose this blog today. I am extremely happy that the United States has these leaders and their governments as allies as we engage in the global War on Terrorism.
We all know that in order for the Foreign Policy of the United States of America to be successful, that we need to present a unified position to the enemies of the United States and also the free world. It is a shame that we have elected politicians in our own United States of America who are essentially aiding the enemy. I will not disgrace the Heroes and Institutions I have pictured above by displaying any pictures here. However, you may view some of them by clicking on these links:
There are others, as you well know.
As I conclude this article today, I say again, "Thank You!!!!!! Thank You!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shifting Paradigms

As we all go through life we are constantly facing new challenges and also opportunities each day that we live. Recently I have observed a shift in the political paradigm that we have accepted and also grown accustomed to. For the past three months we here in Georgia have observed an abundance of campaign activity. We have also learned how to walk past the “curb side trash bin” that we keep parked near our door so we can fill it with trash and move it street side on the designed pick-up day. We have also experienced a plethora of phone calls from anyone who thinks they can sway my voting pattern. I suspect that my wife would have voted for anyone who had Jeff Francoeur, the great looking young man currently playing for the Atlanta Braves, delivering a phone pitch. I suspect that because of my advanced age, Dale Murphy would have had more of an impact with me. But then again, I really would have liked to receive a phone call from Gwyneth Paltrow asking me to vote for certain candidates.
In the past three months we have seen our mail boxes filled with campaign literature. It is most fortunate that the average home owner has the "mobile trash cart" parked between the mail box and the back door. Additionally the plethora of phone calls have now become a campaign issue.
All of this stated to suggest that I think I have observed a shift in the thinking of voters who take the time to learn about the candidates and actually go and vote and election days. For too long we have elected what society now regards as professional politicians. Case in Point: A few years ago the good citizens of Georgia elected a new Governor. A Candidate that campaigned on change. We need to run Georgia as a business. We need to manage the resources (money) of Georgia just like a family does. Management from the kitchen table.
I think a Shift in Paradigm has happened. We are currently seeing candidates win races who stress the business approach to resolving our problems. The current energy crisis has us all thinking that prices will increase and most likely never return to normal again.
Thus we are voting from the aspect that we need to be prudent money managers. Let us hope that the candidates who win elections based on the business approach deliver. Time will tell. Time is also running out. We certainly can not afford more mistakes.
Some thing to think about as we also approach the General Elections this November!!!! Thank You.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"Food Processor"
With all the recent strife in the Middle East and the breakdown of the Oil Pipeline in Alaska there have been predictions that the cost of energy will soar even higher. I can not think of anything that we consume that will not be impacted by the cost of energy. Our Food, Our Energy and All the other items we consume are delivered to us by also consuming energy.
The images I display with this blog were carefully selected. Can we as the Human Race expect to increase the number of citizens on this Planet and also support them? I know, people have been asking this question since time started. The important consideration at this time is how can a Family support these "Food Processors" Some civilizations have depended on the government or the society at large to support the families.
As we approach the 231st year of our civilization here in the United States of America I would like to remind everyone that it is a historical fact that most civilizations thrived for about 200 years. We are exceeding that time frame. The recorded history also reminds us that civilizations reach their peak and they rapidly fall apart because the citizens expect everyone or someone else to resolve their problems. I recall where my Dad said that "We have become Fat, Dumb and Happy!!!!!" Are we at that point today?
Something to Think about to be sure!!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Insurance Man
Almost since time commenced and people have accumulated possessions there have been systems developed to help people replace their losses. These losses can be people inducted or they can be acts of God.
As a dedicated citizen of the human race with no real employment I frequently listen to talk radio. One of my favorite shows in in the afternoon here in Middle Georgia is the "Clark Howard Show. Most of us have the option of listening and also enjoying "Clark Howard." In some circles he is known as a cheap man. What I appreciate most about listening to Clark is his valuable information on saving money.
Recently he discussed in great detail "Home Owners Insurance." He highlighted the value of having a high deductible on any home owners insurance policy. To have a low deductible causes high preimums and as Clark pointed out, in recent years, once you file a claim and it is adjudicated a growing number of companies are then dropping the policy holder. Not really a nice situation to be involved with or in. In fact, if you and your mortgage company are co-owners of your home, you already know that you must acquire insurance to protect the mortgage company's interest.
Thus, as Clark pointed out, why pay high preimums only to be dropped after one claim. Recently, I am confident, we have all heard about many mainline companies dropping home owner coverage in those states of our great United States who have experienced exceptionally severe weather in recent years.
I must say that in my case I participate in an annual evaluation of my home owners insurance and also my auto insurance and my "Insurance Man" has advised me to maintain the highest deductible possible in order to keep my yearly cost at the lowest level. I publish this information so that you also may become a smart shopper when you acquired or renew your home owner's insurance. I do not know about you, but during my years as a working citizen I worked fairly hard; which allows me to think things through before I expend my limited resources now as I continue to enjoy my life as a member of the "Retired Citizens of America" (RCA).

"For English, Please Press One"
Each of us has experienced the above quote in our daily lives when we attempt to conduct business or even personal business. I realize that I am on the World Wide Web (WWW), but I do reside in the United States of America.
Today I would like suggest that all organizations that employ automated phone routing systems implement the following message when the system is activated:
"For any language other than English, Please Press USA." That is also 872 as you can quickly ascertain by reviewing the telephone key pad contained in this blog.
I do not know about visitors and individuals in our United States of America who appear not to understand USA; but I am confident that they will learn quickly.
The wonderful aspect about pressing USA on a phone key pad would be that by doing so, the call would be instantly routed to 1(800) 375-5283. Just in case you did not already know, this is the toll free number for the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This simple procedure would quickly reduce the number of individuals in our country who can not speak english.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Saving Money
During the past weeks we have all heard a lot about how to save on energy cost for the cooling of our homes. Please be aware that I am not an Amana dealer. I do have two Amana systems which are about fourteen years old. These systems have an SEER of 11.2 and were state of the art way back in 1992.
What I would like to write about today is "Saving Money" as the title of this blog indicates.
How many times have you seen air compressors outside a home that have the fins covered with grass and/or weeds? Or to make this even more personal, "When was the last time you have your Air Compressor Serviced or just Cleaned?"
I am not an Air Conditioner Service Representative, but I do know that a clean compressor outside of your home will save you money. It may even add to the life of your current air conditioning system.
There are several steps in cleaning the compressor:
  • First of all, please turn off all electric power to the compressor. Usually there is a switch mounted on the exterior wall of your home very near the compressor.
  • Next remove the top cover so you can back flush the fins or coils.
  • Pump a degreasing soap onto all the exterior sections of the compressor box that has cooling fins visible.
  • From the inside of the compressor, through the top take a water hose and spray water from the inside so that the dirt on the coils is blown back out.
  • After you have reinstalled the top cover, turn the electric power back on and enjoy a more efficient cooling system.

Now a few recommendations on how to keep the coils clean:

  • When performing the task of mowing the grass and/or weeds take the time to turn off the Air Conditioning Compressor at the same switch you turned off the system to clean it.
  • If you employ someone else to mow your grass/weeds, instruct the worker on how you want the Air Conditioning system turned off.
  • If your lawn maintenance people cannot do the above, at least have them turn the lawn mower discharge chute in a direction away from the Air Conditioning Compressor.

Every heating and every cooling season we are all reminded to change the filters on our Air Handling systems on a monthly basis. I do mine on the first day of each month. To make the task an easy one to remember develop a routine and execute it in a consistent manner. Additionally I write a date on the new filter just to insure that I am doing my changing on schedule. Of course in the mild Spring or Fall Months it is also quite possible that your Air Handling Systems will not be in operation so it is of no value to change the filter for the sake of change.

Because I believe in frequent changing of filters I obtain a box of twelve filters of the appropriate size for each of the air return vents in my home each December. It is a lot like buying your home a Christmas Present. Then, when you need to change a filter/filters you have them on hand.

Please be aware, as I stated above, I am not in the Air Conditioning Sales or Installation Business. Nor does the image I chose for the blog constitute an endorsement of any particular brand. I publish this blog to help my fellow members of planet earth save some money. Anyone who knows me knows that I continue to enjoy life. To enjoy life sometimes takes money.

Thank You for Reading My Blog today!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Price, Freedom
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded.
On August 3rd, I was a guest on a local TV station on their Talk Back segment. I talked about voting in the upcoming primary election on August 8th.
Here is the text of my comments:
The recent Georgia Primary Elections amazed me. I was shocked to my core when I heard that the level of voter participation was about twenty percent. Since our Nation was founded some 230 years ago about one and one half million heroes have given their lives in defense of our United States of America; so that we might enjoy the lifestyle we have today!!!
In the current War on Terrorism being fought in the Middle East we have had over eighteen thousand of our Nations Heroes wounded. These men and women are from our families, grew up in our neighborhoods or are the children of our friends. All of them have stood in Harm's Way for US!!!!!!
Yet I have heard that some among us do not have time to vote!!!!! Our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen have found the time to stand in Harm's Way. Over eighteen thousand of them will bear the scars of War for the balance of their lives.
Could you look at any one of these wounded Heroes next Tuesday evening and tell them that "You" could not find the time to Vote?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

"Politics in the Future"
Of course everyone has seen the famous image of a very Happy Sailor planting a kiss on the sweet looking girl when the Victory in Europe was announced as World War II was being completed. The Veterans returned home to a greatful nation and we all know what prosperity followed the War. Veterans attended college on the GI bill and received great educations and went on to be great leaders in our United States. Many more Veterans went on to marry and start families and obtain housing, again using the provisions of the GI bill. All of this because we in the United States were very grateful for what had been accomplished. These heroes went on to be active voters and some even engaged themselves in politics.
Now, let us fast forward to the current War on Terrorism being conducted in Iraq and other areas of the Middle East.
You can also view two U. S. Marines on duty in Iraq. There is also an image of a U. S. Army Hero conducting people to people operations in Iraq.
I feel that in the future, once these heroes return home that they will also engage themselves in voting and working to keep the United States a properous Nation, just as the heroes from World War II, Korea and Vietnam have.
What will be different, however, is the way these modern heroes will conduct their communications. We have a generation of heroes who have been sending their messages via E-Mail to their loved ones and families. We have a generation of heroes who have established blogs to communicate with their peers around the world and we have a generation of heroes who have embraced the digital age to the point that we who have friends and family serving our great United States around the world can view images of where they are stationed and what is happening in their deployed lives. The digital age with Blogs, E-Mails and Digital Images will allow these heroes to communicate in nano-seconds to anyone at any place on this earth.
You will note the title of this Blog "Politics in the Future" because I sincerely believe that there will be major changes on how things are done during future election cycles in our City, our County, our State and even our Nation in the Future. During the recent election cycle I had difficulty acquiring the Web Sites for several candidates in the Middle Georgia area. This will not be acceptable in the future. Additionally, Candidates may also realize that using a Blog to publish their goals and backgrounds will be most useful. I can see the future of campaigning reduced to using the Internet and E-Mails to get the word out.
Of course, the days of slick campaign signs and mass mailings are numbered as the number of citizens in this great country become more computer literate. One of my peers at the church I attend is well into being in the high 80s and she relies on her Computer for communications with family and friends around the world.
One of my own pet peeves is that often times Candidates are so consumed with producing a slick campaign, that they fail to respond to genuine request for information from the electors. However, I can happily state that during the recent primaries here in Georgia, I did receive prompt and informative replies from three candidates who were running for local Middle Georgia Offices. I see this as the future of politics and consider it very appropriate to share my thoughts and concerns with you regarding "Politics in the Future."
I look forward to an active electorate and am extremely grateful for the Heroes who have given the ultimate for the good of our Country. I also appreciate all who have served in our Nations past, those who currently serve and those who choose to defend our way of life in the years to come.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Education in Bibb County, Georgia

When I first started this Blog "The World This Week," I posted a message about the Bibb County Board of Education and their being accessible to the citizens of Bibb County. I publish the following information today. If you desire to let your thoughts be heard and also voice your concerns with the Bibb County Board of Education you are encouraged to visit:
Once you are on this site, click on the "Board of Education" tab. You will quickly ascertain that three members of the eight are now accessible via E-Mail. I salute and also appreciate these three Board Members.
Ms. Susan Middleton, Mr. Albert Abrams and Mr. Gary Bechtel are taking their oath seriously. We all need to commend them for their caring attitude and their ability to receive input from the citizens of Bibb County.
The staff of one, here at "The World This Week" appreciates these dedicated Board members. Thank You!!!!!