The H Word

*Jan 15 - 00:05*

Flight 1549

“A true hero!…You are a hero!…Sully = hero!…You, sir, are a real hero…This man is a hero!…”

Michelle Malkin’s Blog

Now that the jubilation has settled, I think it’s important to point out something.

No rational airline pilot wishes to be called a hero.

It’s true. If you are called that….name, it is the beginning of a nightmare. It means that a bad thing has happened. You undoubtedly had something to do with said situation (even if you were the reason it turned out well). It means there will be……consequences.

  • It means you will be put under the microscope by the Feds, and the passenger’s attorneys, and whatever dimwitted reporter is staked out at the front of the terminal after the accident/incident (your company always prohibits you from talking to the press – It’s in the Employee Handbook! READ IT!! LEARN IT!!! LIVE IT!!!!).
  • It means that you dare not pick up the phone when it rings once you get home (unless you have caller ID).
  • It means you are probably not going to be able to leave the house for awhile, and when you do, you’re going to have to replant that area out by the sidewalk, where said dimwitted press types are holed up waiting to dry gulch you in an interview (that you have to hide from anyway).
  • It means you’re probably going to end up in civil court for the remainder of your natural life, while the legion of passenger lowlifes take their shot at the Great American Lottery (lawsuits).
  • It means that if you get the aircraft safely to the gate, and if you get the last passenger safely off the aircraft, and if you’re able to walk off the plane, then you will have to run the press gauntlet at the front of the terminal.

I’ve known guys that have foreseen the impending inquisition, and changed into their civvies before walking out of the terminal. They then hid in the parking lot until one of the other crewmembers could rent a van and sneak everyone off airport property. (True story)

Do not confuse us with popular culture types. We do not desire fame, or notoriety for that matter. If we had wanted to spend the rest of our lives as media creatures, we would have taken theater when we were in college, or (shudder) run for office. With very specific and peculiar exceptions, we are “normal” people with strongly developed aversions to public acclaim, or scrutiny. If we do our jobs correctly, Joe Public doesn’t even know we exist. That’s how we like it.

There is no percentage for a line pilot in being called that….name. It’s not like the military, where you get to wear a nice medal (there’s no place on your uniform to wear it anyway), or maybe get a promotion because of it (your seniority system limits that). You certainly won’t get a raise or bonus for it (your union contract limits that as well).

No, being called a hero is never a good thing for an airline pilot. If you make the mistake of thanking us to our face we will smile, offer our embarrassed acknowledgement, and rapidly scurry off since we’ve been recognized (also never a good thing). If you are kind, just write a short note thanking us for saving your lives, and give it to a flight attendant (she’ll get it to us). We can read it when we’re alone. That’s a nice thing to do. A private expression of gratitude is always the best. We usually don’t have enough time, at home, as it is.

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Habibi To Shiva – Just Keep Singing

I mentioned this to Shiva, over on FreeRepublic. Oddly, it started out as a discussion of Cynthia McKinney.
More Headaches?
To: shiva

“The amazing thing is that the American Jewish community continues to vote overwhelmingly Democrat.
That has always puzzled me,too.”

And it’s not just Jews that seem to have displayed this enigmatic behavior. Consider the percentage of Catholics that were reported to have voted for Obama at around 50% (I know, based on exit polls). Just an opinion, but I think a significant number of people with “religious affiliations” aren’t religious at all. They view their religion as a social arrangement. I know a number of folks that pick their church based on how good the musical arrangements tend to be at the services. ?!?!?!?! (True story)

To live a life based on the tenets of a particular religion is terribly cumbersome. Moral relativism is normative. Those who actually take a personal stand on issues based on religious morality and ethics are often condemned. It makes things so difficult when one becomes judgemental about the world. People might form an opinion about you based on your non-PC beliefs. Some might even dislike you for it.

All these ethics and morals! They’re just no fun at all. Maybe that’s why a lot of church folks can’t handle the black and white of it. They simply view their church as a social, or ethnic (as opposed to ethic), affiliation and leave it at that. LIVING their lives based on their professed religion would be SO constraining. It’s best not to think about it, at all. Just keep singing and you don’t get those headaches. :-)

The distinction between being in, and of,  the world comes to mind here.

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An Arab With Cajones! Nofel al Jazairi

This was published in the Kurdistan Times, and translated via Free Republic. Looks like there may yet be hope for the Arab World if men like this can survive in it.

++++++++++++++

Prominent Iraqi Rips Arab Supporters of Shoe-Throwing Reporter
Kurdistan Times ^ | Monday, December 15, 2008 | Nofel al Jazairi

Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2008 1:23:47 PM by kristinn

If You Do Not Have a Religion and Are Not Afraid of the End…Then Be Arabs…

The words of Imam Hussein peace be upon him remain eternal when he was addressing the Ommayyad Arab army. What he is said is the following. The Arab does not kill his prisoner, does not insult his guest, do not assault women, does not kill children. It is the Arabic honor and manhood.

When Islam came I read a lot of the beautiful qualities that distinguished the Arab, but they killed Imam Hussein, and deported his families and children and there was no other person on the planet beside himself to be the grandson of the prophet, so imagine.

When you read the Arab history the tragedy repeats itself, and so does the violation of human rights, the violation of the forbidden, the violation of religion all under our so called Arab history although history is written by the ruler in the name of Allah.

But it becomes clear on the pages of the Arab history images that make the fair Arab be ashamed to be related to this history, but it appears that these shameful images have become the pride of some people and it was incarnated by some people from generation after another and it was very clear after the removal of the criminal Saddam from his rat hole–this criminal who brought the Iraqis into wars that they have nothing to benefit from and he pushed four millions Iraqi citizens into Diaspora all around the world. The pictures of millions of his victims were all over the media, but he remain the pride of some people!!!

I want to talk about an Arab ruler here and expose his positions just for reminder because unfortunately we forget very quickly and here lie the tragedies. If we remember we repeat the motto “May Allah forgive the past”!!! this motto that brought us woes and destruction.

My honored brethren

Egypt is the pumping heart of Arabism as some people like to call her. Egypt sent millions of Egyptians during the Iraq-Iran war to fill the void that was caused to Iraq and the Iraqis by the dirty fool who fought defending the so called Arab nation against the Persian invasion!!! The Iraq was dying defending the Arab nation but the Egyptian was replacing him in daily normal life!!!

When the United States decided to remove Saddam the regime of murderers in Baghdad then Hussnei Moubarak barked his famous words: “America liberates her enemies!!!” And he tried with all his international capacities to prevent the United States from liberating Iraq from the regime of murderers. His speeches were made public and they are not hidden.

Today, Egypt the pumping heart of Arabism has became the sanctuary to the enemies of the Iraqi people. From Egypt came the Channel of “Michaan Al Jabouri” who incited the killing of the Iraqi people. From it came the “Al Baghdadia Channel” and here is what I personally followed up on regarding this Channel when I was in Baghdad seven months ago.

There was a program called “an edict session”. The cleric was a Sunni Iraqi as he called himself and he resides in Jordan. During the program the cleric sheikh addressed the following verse from Koran: “In the name of Allah the most merciful the most compassionate. Oh messenger; tell what was given to you from your Lord. If you do not do so then you have not given his message”. He explained the verse live on “Al Baghdadia” TV which is owned by Mr. “Tarek Al Hashimi” the Iraqi Vice President and the candidate from the Accord Front. The Sheikh said: “There are heretic groups who explained the verse based on the establishment of companion, and that is an attack against the prophet and the companion. The religion is the religion is the Sunni and there is no other religion but this one. Some who visit the tombs and worship someone other than Allah and that is called poly-deity”. I am not here in a position to comment and he who wants to verify these statements that “Al Baghdadida” channel broadcast on 5/13/2008 in their program “an edict session” then let him correspond with “Al Baghdadia” channel and verify it himself. I do not want to talk a lot about the member of the “Accord Front” like “Zafer Al Aani” the representative of the people in the parliament or his colleague “Adnan Al Doulaimi” where we all heard and saw in our own eyes on the TV screen how he behaves as we are seeing a “Ommayyad” with all the characteristics of an “Ommayyad”

It is not strange that a reporter from “Al Baghdadia” channel welcomed the President of the United States with this subhuman style and he is the guest of Iraq and with him the elected Prime Minister. These people ( Al Baghdadia journalist) only understand the language that they used (throwing shoes at President Bush) because freedom and democracy are not for the murderers and animals from “Al Baghdadia” channel, and “Al Jazeera” channel, and thank you Hussnei Moubarak.. Thank you all the Arab Moukhabart (intelligence services) who thought that Iraq and its people are villagers from the villages of Kureish…you have been disappointed…what you have done to the honored guest of Iraq (President Bush) is nothing but a continuation of your history…but the new Iraq is free from this collar. Iraq is back to its legitimate owners. There is no place for murderers in the new Iraq. The genie is out of the bottle.

For the free word and for the dignity of the journalists, I send an invitation from this forum to each journalist who wants to keep journalism away from dirt, to denounce this act that is far from the manners and far from the good taste. From your information, the ex-lawyer of Saddam formed a team from one hundred lawyers to defend this journalist who is foreign to journalism and I call for the shutting down for “Al Baghdadia” channel which proved herself and those who work for her that they are a tool from the tools of division and murder.

Posted in Middle East, Political Commentary | Leave a comment

I Sing The Body Electric

No, I’m not retrogressing into Whitman (tried it once in college, didn’t like it). Walk with me for just a bit and I’ll explain.

For more than half of my adult life I’ve ‘rassled with chronic pain. It started with a misdiagnosed spinal cord tumor that wasn’t recognized for nine years. No fun! After six months of rehab, I had a year of relief, but then it got worser (as my daughter said) over the next ten years. Adhesive Arachnoiditis is one of those diseases that is incurable. One wag of an MD stated, “If Hell were a clinical medical condition, it might look something like Adhesive Arachnoiditis.” That doc was funny, but quite correct. It’s a really nasty condition. Professionally, this had slowed me a bit more than I liked. Still I was able to put in what most would consider a full career doing what I enjoyed, which is far more than most folks are blessed with.

Pills have their place, but the really good ones (narcotics) are just a dead end over time. The same goes for those really cool morphine pumps. I was interested in something with a bit more temporal consistency. An additional problem is that you are not quite the same person while you’re taking opioids. If you’re raising kids, they need to worry about what dad “might” do. If you’re doped up, they get a pass, and you’ve done them no favors in providing a sedated life lesson. I needn’t mention that it also limits your career when it comes to driving airliners.

What to do? Until a few years ago, there really weren’t any acceptable options in dealing with the problem. While it won’t ever get me back into the cockpit, Medtronic was kind enough to provide a solution. While visiting my pain doc, he showed me a little metal and plastic box that was significantly smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

The CPU/Battery/Stim Unit

The CPU/Battery/Stim Unit

Arguably, it’s a lot of trouble to get installed. You first have to go through a trial installation which involves placing a couple of temporary electrodes into your epidural spinal space. You can see the little fellows to the side of the stimulator. They are left sticking through your skin into your back where you get to enjoy their benefits for a full week. The battery pack, computer and wiring are all sealed under a clear adhesive covering to keep the parts protected. Don’t worry, they don’t hurt and you can’t see them anyway. This trial allows you to decide whether the benefits are worth the trouble of progressing to the next level of a permanent implant. In my case, it was far more beneficial than I dared hope.

After a couple of weeks of healing, I was back for the permanent implant. It took a little over an hour to get it placed. Generally, folks get to stay awake for the procedure. This is not nearly as problematic as it may seem. In my case, I not only got to have an epidural anesthesia, but was also administered a medication which has a side-effect that creates a temporary state of amnesia. That was unfortunate, because I really would have been interested in what was done to get the hardware installed.

The Lead Choices

The Lead Choices

In any event, I woke up with an electrode matrix installed within my thoracic vertebrate (you can see it there in the center), and the stimulator/computer/battery unit installed in my right flank beneath the skin. The surgeon was excellent. There wasn’t one problem with the recovery. There was no pain to speak of, and the big jar of narcotics I was sent home with remains unopened in the back of the medicine closet. Was it a big deal? Compared to previous surgeries I’ve had, this one was minor, but major in effect.

So how does it work? I’ll tell you in a bit.

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US Airways vs. The Flying Imams

Working on an update to the Flying Imam story at US Air. Will update soon.

Posted in Airlines, Political Commentary | Leave a comment

For Lack Of Oxygen

Perhaps it was the altitude. After all, most folks have to adjust slowly to areas of low oxygen pressure. Obama is hardly any different, especially as one who’s fallen off the smoking wagon. Remember that the Civilan National Defense Force (CNDF) was to have the same budget as the DOD. Let’s pray that this one doesn’t get off the ground.

Posted in Political Commentary | Leave a comment