Can We EVER Get Beyond This?

For the last few days, I’ve been desperately grappling with recent events where men of color lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers sworn to “protect and serve.” I struggle because as long as I can remember, we were taught to respect the police, and that lesson has served me well–especially being African-American. I have had friends in law enforcement and have the privilege of knowing several here where I live, including a chief or two.

So, these events pain me a great deal. Disturbing me most of all are the anarchists and thugs who would dare take George Floyd’s death as an excuse to burn and loot, figuring that this would be an ideal time to commit such acts because law enforcement is in a defensive position and don’t want to provoke even louder cries of racism. And so, cities burn…….

I’ll be 72 years old in a couple of weeks. By that reckoning, I have outlived both of my parents by four decades since their passing and nearly as long, chronologically. I miss them terribly but am glad they don’t have to witness this kind of mayhem. Hell, we’re in the twenty-first century!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?? And the better question is, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?!?!

Over the last few days, we’ve heard from two city officials and one former NFL player, all of whom have something timely and relevant to say, in a manner far better than I, so I’ll let them do the talking. All of them speak to the abhorrent deaths that we have seen recently, but they are just as quick to condemn the rioting and looting. I should also point out that these interviews come from CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Please watch them all and suspend any judgment over which news outlet they came from.

First, is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. https://cnn.it/2ApBhRs
Next, is former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson: https://bit.ly/2XDTIKj
Last, is Detroit Chief of Police James Craig: https://on.msnbc.com/3dhrjAt

It is important to understand that there are countries and other entities out there that wish us harm and we need to refrain from actions that make the US look like a third world country. That plays right into the hands of our adversaries and we are NOT served well…any of us…by this conduct. Saddest of all, the most vulnerable of our citizens suffer the most. Even George Floyd’s family has implored citizens to knock off the rioting and looting.

So back to my question: What are we going to do? Something Ben Watson said resonated with me, that in order to make any meaningful change, “…we have to be willing to be uncomfortable, willing to be honest, a willingness to not be offended and not to offer ‘what-about-isms’ when people talk about the way they feel.” If we’re not willing to move into this kind of dialogue – family, friends and loved ones, nothing will change and the adversaries I alluded to earlier will just smile.

Think about that.

What the hell is wrong with today’s chicken?!?

I love to cook! Everyone who knows me knows that. One of my favorite phrases is, “I love to cook for people who love to eat!” Which is just about everyone that comes by for a meal. Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve noticed that chicken has gotten progressively tougher, and whether grilled, pan-fried, baked or broiled, it turns out the same: often tough, rubbery and sometimes, barely edible. And although dinner guests never complain, this has bugged me for quite some time. Now as a sidebar, I only use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because Laurie doesn’t like to eat “meat-on-the-bone.” But I’ve started to notice that it’s these cuts of chicken that are the culprits.

Out of frustration, I Googled “why is chicken so tough,” and got a public library in responses! One of the better explanations came from “The Reluctant Gourmet.” I am sharing his article with you here in the hope that if you also like chicken as much as we do, you will help bring pressure on chicken producers to take the necessary steps to rid the poultry market of this condition. If they don’t, it may just cost them, in the long run.

Have a great week!
~Nib

Just checking in…….

I haven’t written here in quite some time…sorry I’ve been away. I’ve been quite busy with the video business (firstimpressionsvideo.com), and the duties of running a household. Since my last post here, we lost Laurie’s mom, who lived a long life, at age 96. I should be so lucky to live that long–so long as the quality of life is good. More recently, we said goodbye to our dear feline buddy, Dexter. Laurie and I were devastated by this loss as it was NOT expected. Choking back tears, we both wrote stories about our all too brief time with an amazing cat, from our perspectives.

Laurie’s story: https://theferalcatblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/dexter-buddy/
Terry’s story: https://firstimpressionsvideo.com/2018/03/14/my-associate-editor-passed-away/

Here’s a bit of Dexter advice, as he left us to hang out with “Grandma Marge,” Always be kind to your pets, because we love you unconditionally. Even us cats. Well, most of us. Love, Dexter. And that’s just about as well as I could ever say it!

Be well.

SCAM ALERT!!

Note: this was also published today on my business website: FirstImpressionsVideo.com

They’re out there…we know they’re out there! We have to be vigilant 100% of the time; they only have to be lucky some of the time–and they are! So please indulge me–if you have time–and read the thread shown on the attached pdf below, starting at the end and working yourself back to page 1. You will see the story emerge as to what the scammer ultimately wanted me to do…needless to say, I didn’t take the bait.

There are a number of red flags in the perps initial message and subsequent replies, starting with a sudden change of her (we assume it’s a ‘she’) email address. She relentlessly refused to fill in my online form or provide any other concrete information about herself and the event she wanted videotaped. And although I didn’t fall for the scam, countless others have been victimized by approaches similar to this one. I suspect that “Kim” thought she had her “fish on the hook,” and moved in with her ask: that I carry out the entire transaction using her credit card, which included a generous overage to the bill, if I would only do her a ‘favor’ and send cash to the other participants in the deal. Well that just wasn’t gonna happen!!

You must protect yourself at all times, and if you get one of these BS inquiries, report it, as I did!

That is all. I will now go back to blog posts about videography and related subjects…things I would much rather write–and talk–about.

https://firstimpressionsvideo.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/subject-scam.pdf

Your email address or account got hacked!

Email_Subject_Lines

Easily, about 4 or 5 times a month, I get an email from someone I “know.” “Know” is in quotation marks because the sender is actually someone other than the person I really do know, but their email address or account has been hijacked by a scammer. The suspect email usually has very little copy and always has a link in the body of the message. First, if you are the recipient of the message, don’t–repeat, DO NOT–click the link! Any one of a number of bad things can happen and it’s just not worth it. Second, look at the sender’s address. If it’s something other than the usual address, that’s the clue that the address has been ripped-off.

Here is an article that provides additional information: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2927993/what-to-do-when-your-email-address-sends-spam.html. Scammers have way too much time on their hands, and there are a bazillion of ’em out there. Our accounts have been ‘jacked, so even if you’re tech-savvy, it can happen to you. All you can do is guard against it and take the necessary remedies and precautions when it does.

Good luck!

Lamentations of an industry I once loved (also published on LinkedIn)

I worked in the airline business (Eastern) for nearly a decade. Sometimes, I miss it. But I DO NOT like what has become of the industry, whether a “legacy” carrier or one that hasn’t been around long enough to be considered legacy. Notwithstanding the insane air fares and “fees, fees, all them FEES,” we are now witnessing travelers’ patience starting to fracture as the airlines continue to shrink “seat pitch*.” The airlines, in their drive for more revenue, jam as many passengers into the coach cabin as possible, have reduced seat pitch to a point to where if you’re a six-footer traveling on a cross country flight, you will probably have a very uncomfortable ride. Add to that the passenger in front of you who incessantly slams into your knees to recline their seat as if going to bed for the night and the kid behind you who insists on using your seat as a tree to climb, and it’s not hard to see why we have a sudden spike in air rage incidents. You’ve probably seen them recently reported in the national media, so I needn’t rehash them here. Once upon a time, you could sit in an airline seat and actually cross your legs—in coach!—but now, you feel worse than sardines in a can. A well-known airline analyst, Robert Mann, said it best, in a Daily Beast article, “It’s like rats in a maze. At a certain point they start eating each other.”

I don’t anticipate airline execs’ being clobbered aside their collective heads with a sudden sense of benevolence, under which they might increase seat pitch, so in the absence of that level of sanity, it might be time to consider locking the seats so they no longer recline. If you’d like to see a list of all the carriers (domestic and international), and their respective seat pitch—for all classes of service, click here.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I certainly don’t have a beef with the airlines earning a profit. In fact, when I look at the days when I worked in the industry, most lost money…in the billions! But it stands to reason that there could be a better balance in profitability, while maintaining a comfortable on-board environment for passengers.

I don’t travel as much as I used to, but many of my friends still do, and some travel a lot, so this subject should resonate with many of you. Feel free to share your thoughts…and keep calm when flying the “friendly” skies!

*Seat Pitch (as defined by Skytrax)

This is the distance between a row of seats – the measurement from the same position on two seats, one behind the other – it is NOT the legroom area as some believe. (For example, the back face of the seat in front of you, measured to the same point on the back face of the seat you are sitting in).

Lt. Col. Robert (“Bob”) J. Friend

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.

TeeLaurBobFriend

 

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!

How much do we REALLY want to pay for that burger?

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!

http://nyti.ms/1bm8Ayu

Illinois hires Ohio’s John Groce as head basketball coach

So……John Groce abandons Ohio U for Illinois! Disappointing for sure, but he leaves a MAC school for the allure of the Big Ten–and a new arena being built in Champaign–AND $1.4 mill a year! That’s almost what he made in his entire 4 years in Athens!!

Who do the Bobcats go after as Groce’s replacement?? It would have to be someone with a winning spirit–and record, and someone who wouldn’t be lured away (again) by the big bucks; in other words, someone already independently wealthy. I’m thinkin’ Phil Jackson! He doesn’t need the money, he’s got nothing left to prove…I think he’d be ideal! But that’s me!