Production Control – Review and Renew your plans…


USS Essex 2018 Deployment

US Navy Photo:  MV-22 Osprey maintenance on the USS Essex flight deck

Just put most of my books onto the bookshelves at home.  It’s been a long year, moving into a new place 1000 miles from the last one and this is the second-last task to accomplish. (the garage awaits…)

Standard operating procedure at the end of the calendar year and quarter is a reassessment of goals, policies, and procedures, and mounting my mentorship onto the shelves has given me an opportunity to look and see where I can review.

Stephen Covey stands out with a CD set of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, next to the book, next to the hardback The 8th Habit.  This effort I’m sharing is the 7th and 8th combined; Production Control and Leadership.

Competing with Dr. Covey is Napoleon Hill.  Think and Grow Rich has been a staple of principles since my father introduced me to it in 1978.  I always like how Hill’s “conceive, believe, and achieve” reflects the Christian Gospel’s “ask, seek, and find”.  Also, the fact that Hill was working for the wealthiest man in the country in 1932 – 34, Andrew Carnegie, and that Carnegie adopted Hill’s suggestions should impress anyone in business to the importance of the work nearly 90 years later.

And since I brought up Carnegie, how about the ‘other’ one.  Dale Carnegie’s tenacity is at first the example of any beginning entrepreneur.  Standing outside a hotel in New York City and pulling people in off the street to fill his seminars astounds me.  One might think it folklore, until we learn the power of the ideas he put together.  Pathways to Success is the work I acquired going through the Carnegie program, but again, I was introduced to the man by my father in the late ‘70’s.

There are other leaders’ works on my bookshelves.  For actionable lessons, I like Failure is Not an Option, by Gene Krantz of Apollo/NASA fame.  Gene was raised in Toledo OH, close to where I grew up as well.  The philosophies from the farmland bolster what the American Dream is.  Rudi Giuliani’s Leadership, George W. Bush’s Decision Points, and a lesser known work The Leadership Lessons of Jesus, all beckon my attention.

It all began, though, with reading the Gospel of Mark when I was working toward a Cub Scout religious award, and The Boy Scout Handbook.  I still live by “On My Honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country…” and “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal…”

As the date of this writing is December 7th, let’s recall that these authors all write about the principles necessary for the realization of the American Dream, a dream that came under attack on this date, and was then defended by the Greatest Generation.  Let us thank them by continuing to support and build and TEACH that dream to all we meet.

What’s your plan for production control?  What ‘covenant’ will you keep with your foundational philosophies, and what new voices will you listen to as you prepare to move into the next year?!

Forward!  Into the Future!!


Americans vs. the Immigrants

No automatic alt text available.Friend of mine posted this meme on Facebook;  The humor is appreciated, though we have different takes.  Her point was what that white man himself is an immigrant population.  I took the view of ‘yes, and look what happened to them’, implying the Sioux’s and other nations’ lack of ability to control their territories was their downfall.  The argument could fill volumes of books,…er…meme frames,  …whatever.

Organized into brigades, the U.S. Army stands 1500 to 3200 soldiers per brigade.  Looking at this caravan of migrants walking towards our southern border, we may view this as two large brigades heading toward us.  Guatemala and Mexico haven’t stopped them per international treaty (offer asylum at the first border one arrives).  No, the migrants didn’t even ask.  They want to come to the U.S.  How will we handle it?  The only certainty is there will be a refugee camp on one or the other side of the U.S. – Mexican border sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The President’s action to support I.C.E. isn’t getting vocal support from the media nor his opponents.

And one question not asked by either the media or the opponents?  How did this start?  This is no trail of individual families trickling up or pouring forth looking for a ‘better life’.  This is a semi-organized mass of people that left Honduras in-mass and has ebbed and waned from 3000 people to as many as 7500.  What was the sudden motivation for this to occur?

News reports are sketchy, and biased all around, but the most sound reason I read (and lost track of) is the idea that this was started by Honduran and Salvadoran politicos looking to ‘clean house’ within their own borders, urging those unhappy with they way those countries are being managed to leave and go north.  Then again, perhaps we can follow ‘popular’ myths and claim the Russians have moved past just telling false stories on the Internet and forged a physical catastrophe on us to further destabilize our political system.  Who knows?  We may never, because no one in the media is asking the questions.  They are only working to show how these poor, defenseless, and indigent these people are.  It’s the only story they tell.

There is a doctrine in our history where one President told the European powers to stay out of Western Hemisphere politics.  Maybe it’s time to raise and modify the Monroe Doctrine.  We could reaffirm our interests in keeping foreign powers out of our ‘neighborhood’.  We could also expand it, and exercise some ‘imperial’ power to halt such ventures as the Caravan presents.  Perhaps it’s time to exercise sovereign controls in Central America for a couple decades, to bring those countries’ rule of law and economic prosperity on par with our own, giving no reason for their people to come to the United States in the first place.

Ruthless?  Maybe.  What is the balance of the cost of human and economic wealth of continuing such a weak immigration policy against our own ‘Caravan’ of military and civil powers?  How much more money will we spend in housing, releasing, then policing an undocumented immigrant (illegal alien) population vs. putting a few brigades on the ground in a neighboring land and doing some ‘nation-building’ where it will directly benefit us?  As we extract ourselves from Southwest Asia, perhaps the energy should be pressed into Central America.  We’ve allowed Rome’s methods of local control to fail, just as they did for Rome.  Procurators and governors backed by troops is what history has shown is necessary to subdue a tempest.

What’s in a corporate logo? Would you defend your business logo? What about our country’s logo?

What is a ‘logo’ worth in economic value? What does a logo say about a brand, more importantly, about your brand? What would you do to defend your own? Or would you defend it at all?

The first question is easy to answer with a simple Internet search on the value of a company a logo represents. Stock Analysis On Net, a NYSE service, report Nike’s Swoosh is worth a net profit of $2.7 million in net profit in the year ending May 31, 2018.  Disney’s logos represent a $165 million company and Netflix has grown to challenge that at $158 million.

Wikipedia* reports “The Swoosh is the logo of American athletic shoe and clothing manufacturer Nike. Today, it has become one of the most recognizable brand logos in the world, and the most profitable, having a worth of $26 billion alone.” Beyond the theme parks world-wide, Disney means cruising the ocean on a family and adult vacations, an 80-year legacy of family entertainment, arguably the most popular television broadcast network (ABC), and generally an all-round good feeling about ourselves and our lives. Disney’s logo invokes dreams. Netflix’s logo represents bringing those dreams and more from other artists directly into our homes, onto our computers and every portable device we carry in this ‘connected’ world.

There is another logo I mean to discuss. This logo represents more than Nike and Disney and Netflix could ever dream of upholding. I mean our country’s logo, the National Ensign, Old Glory, the Stars-and-Stripes. I mean our flag. It represents all of us, in our work and in our dreams. It represents an ideal of the freedom to chose one’s way of life. It represents the ideal of honoring the men and women we stand next to day-by-day to do our work, work that continues to build the nation. The concepts of that ideal are embodied in the poetry of “Give me your tired, your poor, your wretched refuse…. I hold my lamp beside the golden door.” The ideal is embodied in a Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”. The ideal is embodied in songs. “My Country ’tis of Thee, sweet land of Liberty…”, “God Bless America, land that I love…”, “This land is your land, this land is my land,…” and not the least which is our National Anthem, which constantly asks the question “Oh, say, can you see…” that flag still flying through all the turmoil and tumult of the day? How do we answer the Anthem’s question today?

A hundred years ago we taught our children in our public schools to stand and pledge allegiance to this flag as a core to helping them learn how it represents the ideals of our nation and every citizen of our nation, of how it is a beacon of hope to millions around the world. A hundred years ago, the entertainment mecca of Broadway was filled with songs and plays by George Cohan celebrating the flag and the ideals it represents. Twenty years ago, we stopped teaching our children to stand and pledge their allegiance, something about a multi-cultural society and offending non-citizens. Something about protesting injustice and bigotry in our country. We allowed, by court order in some places, our ‘brand’ to be denigrated. Today, that generation is kneeling to protest the ideals the ‘logo’ represents.

There are other ways and means to protest injustices and imperfections we suffer as a nation in not reaching our goals. Rosa Parks showed us a way. The hippies showed us a way with sit-ins. The million-man march showed us a way.   We have ways of arguing against the wrongs we perceive. Our own people have burned our flag, continue to kneel during our national anthem, spread feces upon it and made for others to stand on it in the name of ‘art’. Doing harm to our flag is akin to stabbing ourselves with a knife. We do harm to those it is intended to honor. We do harm only to ourselves.

The Judeo-Christian religion presents this principle in Jeremiah (29:7) “See the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you: pray for it to the Lord, for upon its welfare your own depends.” Shall we see to the welfare of our nation by defending its logo? What would you do if your brand was damaged? What would you do if your logo was abused, its copyright infringed upon? Then, what will you do to improve, protect, and defend our flag? I humbly suggest we begin by proudly displaying it, and by writing to and speaking to our school boards to reinstate honoring it in the classrooms.

One last question. Who would bend a knee in protest when seeing the Stars-and-Stripes raised over the remnants of the twin towers that were once the World Trade Center in New York City?

Bergen County Register

*Wikipedia had and may still have a reputation as unreliable.  I believe it has corrected the original difficulties of overwriting by pundits of any cause and is now as reliable as any resource for general information and knowledge, and as such resources,deserves to be cross-checked just the same.

Why The U.S. Navy Drills…And Why We Should Too

The one routine to be counted on in the Navy was drilling over our ultimate purposes.  We drilled to ‘fight-the-ship’, to do those things that were meant as our purpose.  I worked in the engineering spaces as my part in the crew.  Drilling on propulsion casualties, loss of electric generators, flooding from seawater cooling, and failures in reactor plant monitoring were conducted two-or-three times each week.  All sailors drill in fire-fighting and the duty sections drilled nearly every duty day, that is two or three times a week.  General Quarters is the ultimate mission and these we drilled once a week to every ten days.  The Captain needed to know whether the entire symphony of divisions on his ship could operate in unison, practicing for full-up capabilities and whether those divisions could manage casualties together; after all, the loss of a generator means somewhere a fire pump won’t pump water and a missile launcher won’t target or shoot.

We drill.  We learn what it is to be under stress by putting ourselves into situations, making mistakes, and practicing how to recover from those errors when we can tak take time afterwards to break down actions and review what might have been done better.  There is no time to ‘guess’ or ‘wing-it’ when lives are at stake.  That is a fantasy.  A crew must be prepared to take calculated action when the real battle takes place.

The purpose of studying moral principles, philosophy or theology, is the same as those Navy drills.  The time to prepare for moral testing is when there is no moral dilemma to work through.  Asking the questions about what marriage is, about legalizing or restricting the broader uses of narcotics or other drugs, wondering about who we are and who controls our lives are topics that need careful consideration routinely.

“Why do we ‘have’ to go to Church on (Friday/Saturday) Sunday?”  We don’t, of course, unless we wish to continue our discussions and our training in moral philosophy.  Within the boundaries of “Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath” and “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice” lies the opportunity for our desire to seek our own ultimate ends, our own purposes.  Beyond our parents’ upbringing (whatever that may have been) lies the community of those seeking an end beyond the material lives we live.  This is the ‘drill’ of moral philosophy and theology.  It is not to be left to the instances when we are challenged, but to be prepared for, planned for, and studied, that we may make sound decisions toward our own ultimate ends, within communities which support the same moral boundaries we share.

Choose to go to ‘church’, to go to that place where people gather together to remember, to learn, and to practice as community those moral principles by which to guide and live life.


Thanksgiving takes on another reason to be grateful this year.  Like the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock, we too have a new home this year.  It’s in a new town, one we’ve only ever passed through, in a part of Florida we’ve never explored.  That means new people to meet, new avenues to travel and explore, and a new Church community to contribute to.

Even so, for myself, I am bound to recall those past holidays that were spent away from the homeland, deployed across the oceans near other lands not so fortunate as ours.  A fire aboard ship is the worst of catastrophes as it leads to other, worse conditions.  USS Enterprise suffered a fire from paper fibers and dust in a shredding room.  The aluminum ventilation ducting in the space melted and the smoke went through out the entire aft end of the ship.  This same ducting ran through an ammunition locker.

5000 men and women are grateful today that the damage control teams lead by the ship’s Chief Petty Officers extinguished the fire before the ductwork failed in that locker.

The disparities of the days create a stark comparison in my memories.  I remain grateful to God for his mercy on us, both at sea and at home.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas as we begin the Advent season this 2017.

We kneel and we Stand

We stand to honor the Star-Spangled Banner. We stand to honor it because it represents us,…all of us. The Stars-and-Bars represent the best of what we are, what we hope for, what we dream for.
We also kneel to pay tribute to some things, to recognize those things that are greater than ourselves. We kneel in the face of the Divine, holding to a faith that the Divine is so powerful, so perfect, that we have such great fearful respect so as to have it force us by the weight of the encounter we humans are forced to our knees. We kneel in churches and temples, in prayer and in awe.
When the music starts, when the proclamation of the ideal, the greatness, the power of unity calls to us, … then we stand. So kneel if you wish to protest your perceptions of anger and frustration, the reality of life that says, though we are created equal in stature, our own abilities and capabilities determine so much of who and what we become. Be angry and frustrated.
But stand when the time comes, when the music begins, to honor the effort to work toward the ideal, to chose to be interdependent and accomplish together what we cannot accomplish individually. It is in this action, with this principle, that we stand and honor the flag of the United States of America.  We stand to honor ideals and dreams.Bergen County Register
photo credit Bergen County Register
Firefighters find the flagstaff of the World Trade Center after 9-11, raising a flag in the middle of the rubble.

Key West – The Caymen Wreck

June 1st, 1996 found us diving in Key West on an old cable laying ship.  The dive notes gave me only 20 minutes of dive time at eighty-feet.  Visibility was good and the temp was 80 degrees on the surface.  It was a cool day as June summers go, though maybe it’s because it was only  ten in the morning.  The last notation in the log said we saw two large jew fish.  Now, ‘large’ can mean a couple hundred pounds of fish, but then everything underwater looks twenty-five-per-cent bigger.  Photos are current from the web and representative.  Drawing is from my dive-log notes.

We dove with Southpoint Divers in Key West.  Very good, well controlled operation.  I would use them again and recommend them (at the time) to anyone asking.

The 1st dive was on a 230 ft cable & buoy tender called Caymen.  We saw three jew fish, largest one was (as big as me).  This fish must have gone 200lbs.  The smaller ones were half that.  All (this was) atop the deck.

Dive the World Jew Fish

(photo credit Dive-the-World weblog)

There were plenty of queen angels and others.  (We) didn’t see (any) eels.  (The) best part (of the dive) was that Mindy and I were comfortable diving together.  We were able to drift about and look at things, communicate our interest, even comfortable enough to hold hands for much of the time.  This made getting the other’s attention even easier.

The current made for some work in ensuring enough air was left.  I use five-hundred on my ascent from eighty-feet, working against it and keeping Mindy with me so she could get the float line.  The shop used a down line and tank at fifteen feet.  They are the first operation I’ve seen do this (it’s dive number 58 for me).  I was glad to see it.  One minor problem with the way the set it up.  The line sags and gets taut as the boat (rises and falls) with the waves.  Divers hanging on the line make it sag.  Still it makes a good reference for depth.

Down line

(Divers going below 60 feet need to spend time at 15 feet for a ‘safety stop’, where breathing air at less pressure allows the diver’s body to breathe off excess nitrogen.  The ‘down line’ allows the diver to hold at that depth for the five minutes, instead of drifting up or down, above or below an imaginary line in the water.  The ‘down line’ makes a good visual reference in a reference-less environment)

The second dive (this day) was a very nice reef dive.  Again, comfort with communications made it even better.  (Some of our dive partners) found lobsters right off.  I spent several minutes examining the one found under a rock on the bottom.  I looked for eggs.  I couldn’t get the lobster to move enough to see under the tail.

Next item of interest was a sea turtle.  I kicked over to (within a few feet of it) and drifted along with it for three to five minutes.  I felt ‘futility’ in watching the creature.  The front left fin was gone, but the bone and muscle under healed over with skin still moved as if the stroke in time with the right one.  I wondered if the animal even knows it lost a fin?

green sea turtle

The next event was following the sand between reef fingers.  I noticed some ‘tracks on the bottom and wondered what made them.  The appeared to be a single train going in a circle.  I chastised myself; “Dummy! Follow the tracks!” I quickly found the rock that the train came from.  It was a small conch.  It fit into the palm of my hand, and I turned it over to see the animal, but it, of course, drew into its shell, leaving me only the claw to look at.  Carrie (our daughter) was above us, and Mindy took the crustacean up for her to see before we returned it to the place where we found it.

The final ‘event’ is Mindy giving me excited hand signals.  (There was something) she really wanted me to see!  She put her hands into the sand…and stood on her head!!  Silly girl.  We sure had fun on this dive!