Last week, The Fetching Mrs. Wall and I went to see the vintage WWII aircraft on display at the Lyon Air Museum, near John Wayne Airport. We had heard the planes flying overhead through the weekend, so we went to see them up close. Laurie’s dad was a B-26 pilot (“Marauder”) during that war and was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), so she wanted to see “Dad’s plane.” A slightly unnerving side note: The Marauder also had another, less attractive nickname: “The Widowmaker,” as it was one of that era’s most difficult aircraft to fly, and crashed all too frequently.

While at the museum, I had the honor of meeting (Ret.) Lt.Col. Robert Friend, a member of the Tuskeegee Airmen. Bob was signing autographs, mingling and talking with the museum’s visitors, and he had quite the line waiting to speak with him. Because I had something specific to discuss with Bob, I patiently waited in line for my turn. While chatting with Bob, we discovered we had a mutual friend: Col. Hannibal M. Cox, Jr., who was also a Tuskeegee Airman. Hannibal was a dear friend and mentor during my days at Eastern Airlines, and to have made this linkage with Bob Friend, made the visit to Lyon Air Museum all the more special! Alas, we lost Hannibal in 1988, and with him, went another of our cherished “red tails.” I’m just glad that Bob is not only still among us, but that he also lives in Orange County; which means I’ll get to see him again.



Editor’s note: After publishing this story, I was reminded by another Eastern Airlines colleague that we had yet another of the storied Tuskeegee Airmen in our midst: Jim Plinton. Jim was an Eastern VP and while a member of the “Airmen,” helped to train pilots! Two extraordinary men at an extraordinary time in US aviation!

COME ON PEOPLE…IT WAS A 4.4 QUAKE, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!! On TV this morning, Chris Schauble STOPS the morning newscast and he and his co-anchor dive under the desk. On Channel 7, Leslie Sykes does the same thing, but at least Phillip Palmer stayed cool and calm through it all. Most of the local morning programming even preempted the normal cut over to the networks at 7:00am; only NBC sensed there was “nothing (more) to see here,” and switched to the “Today Show.”

IT WAS A 4.4 FOLKS!! We should save our adrenaline for a time when we really need it. Like the 6.7 Northridge Earthquake that we experienced some 20 years ago.

My $0.02 for the day.

In late 2012, after losing my job in digital marketing, I decided to pull my avocation out front and make it my vocation. Hence the start of First Impressions Video. If you are a follower of this blog, you might tune in over there and if you’d like to see samples, let me know and I’ll direct you to my Vimeo site.

Thanks for stopping by!

A few days ago, we lost Sid Caesar; arguably one of the most brilliant funnymen of his era. I am a baby-boomer and today we lost one of our generation’s sharpest, wittiest, most indelible comic talents: Harold Ramis. Just think of all the movies this guy touched–either as actor, writer, director, or producer, and on a number of occasions, Ramis held multiple roles. Now think about the one-liners and catch phrases we ALL remember from these movies, and there’s no wonder we will miss Harold Ramis!! Thanks, Harold…you made us laugh–a lot!

Thoughts on a dwindling population

Posted: February 22, 2014 in History

Walt Ehlers, America’s last surviving D-Day Medal of Honor recipient passed away two days ago. How many of you knew that? How many of you knew what Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian did? Yeah, I thought so. Can we please make sure we’ve got our priorities straight and give honor and respect to those who deserve it?

Without complaining, these men and women from WWII came home, set all those horrors aside, went to work building this country in arguably the largest post-war industrial surge in our history, and became The Greatest Generation. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid, and there aren’t many left, so if you encounter a WWII veteran, shake his or her hand, look them straight in the eye, and say thank you.

Does anyone NOT think that raising the minimum wage ONE HUNDRED PERCENT won’t show up on prices? Come on now! And for the record, in my entire career, I NEVER had my salary doubled…EVER!! Want to make more money? Acquire the skills to move out of the lower positions in your company! Go to a tech school, junior college or 4-year university, and improve your skills! These jobs were never intended to be career positions! By the way, there are some fast food restaurants that DO pay more than minimum wage!

I love to cook! One of my favorite sayings is that “I love to cook…for people who love to eat!” Well among my friends, that is never the case. I have never posted a recipe until today, when a friend asked for my chili recipe and it occurred to me that I could use my blog. Then if any others want it–or any other that I may post in the future, I can just post a link. Various versions of this recipe have seen their way to chili cookoffs in the past…try it and enjoy!

NiblickAdMan’s 7-Alarm “Mad Dog” Killer Chili

Ingredients (You WILL need a large stock pot for all of this!!) Serves 10, with plenty of leftovers

  • 3 lbs ground or cubed sirloin
  • 1-30 oz can pinto beans
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans 1-15 oz can black beans (NOT black bean soup!)
  • 1-30 oz can finely diced tomatoes
  • 1-30 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-15 oz can tomato sauce (if you like your chili “soupy-er,” use a second 30 oz can)
  • 1-15 oz bottle chili sauce
  • 3 large onions, finely diced
  • 2 green peppers, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • OPTIONAL: 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 5 big shakes, liquid smoke
  • 3 tbsp, crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked habanero powder (if you can find it…”Chile Today, Hot Tamale” is the brand I use)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • OPTIONAL: ¼ cup sugar (if you like “Cincinnati Style”)

Chili seasoning (instead of store-bought packaged stuff) Stir in a bowl the following ingredients:

  •  1 tbsp  paprika
  • 2 ½  teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp  onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

OPTIONAL: 2 tbsp flour (as a thickening agent)

Note: You may want to double the seasoning for the large amount of chili we’re making in this recipe!

*     *     *     *     *     *

  1. Brown the meat, drain and set aside
  2. Sauté the diced onion, garlic and peppers in the olive oil. Add the meat back into the batch and stir well to blend everything
  3. Add the tomato sauce, chili sauce and all the beans; stir again to blend; bring to just below boiling point
  4. Add chili seasoning, crushed red pepper and bay leaves; stir and let simmer for an hour
  5. Add tequila and dark chocolate (you may also at this time, DRINK similar amounts of tequila, called “chef’s prerogative”); simmer for another three hours (lowest possible simmer temperature on your stove
  6. After 4 hours of total cooking time, turn off heat and let pot stand for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve in bowls with crackers, cheese to your liking, sour cream if you like it, and more finely diced onions. You can also use either cornbread, biscuits or rice on the side
  8. EAT!!
  9. Drink more tequila…beer is optional
  10. Take nap following the meal! See warning below

NOTE: I found a website that sells the smoked habanero powder…the original founders of “Chile Today – Hot Tamale” sold the business

WARNING: Over consumption of this stew could cause your toes to get painted the most hideous color of pink! The management assumes no responsibility for this!