Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dilbert - Honest Feedback

Something like this probably goes a long way to explain why airliners don't fly on clear days, weather reporters report inclement weather conditions as they stand in obviously better conditions than they describe, and why politicians....well, you know the rest....


Monday, August 29, 2011

Memo to NYC - That's No Hurricane, Mate

Most of us who spent some time along the Gulf Coast are aware of the difference between hurricanes, tropical storms, and rain showers.

Most of us who spent some time in or around the NYC area are aware that the media there has a huge megaphone that often has a problem restraining itself from hyperbole.

Memo to New Yorkers regarding this weekend’s “Hurricane Irene”:










Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thaelis 1961 - 1966



This picture was published in the Star Telegram and shows the 1965 senior class members of the Thaelis Service Club. Members were: Vicki Herring, president; Geneta Anderson; Janice Carter; Kathryn Teems; Joan Chastain; Jo Ann Glass; Karen Brantley; Gwen Brandt; Veronica Skidmore; Carol Perkins; Micki Bodine; Kay Taylor; Ilene Miller; Christy Hawrylak; Ann McCart; Debbie Maddox; Charlotte Hall; Marsha McCarty.

Judging from this picture, I would estimate that there were about 60 members of this club among us during any given school year...about 20 per class, and that it was an East Side club, since all these girls were EHHS students. The Club was first conceived by Mrs. Morris Walker who approached a group of Poly seniors proposing to form a service club (to circumvent the ISD prohibition against high school sororities) modeled after similar organizations at Paschal and Arlington Heights.  To apply for membership, a girl had to do twenty hours service work before making application for membership. Twenty hours of service work was required each year by each member. 

Thaelis had chaperoned parties during the year and would sponsor the Pink Cotillion Ball where the senior members made their debut.  Meetings were on a Sunday afternoon meeting in a members home and our adult sponsors were at the meetings. Thaelis members were not allowed to smoke or drink at any of their functions.

It was an established entity when our 1963 class entered EHHS as Sophomores, Fall 1960. I recall the buzz in the hallways each Spring over their Pink Cotillion and I attended a couple of their formal dances, but don't recall where they were, just who I was with. 

The girls were in control of this aspect of EHHS social life since they both sponsored the dances and chose their dates, Sadie Hawkins-style. According to a latter-day member, Thaelis was barred by EHHS officials about 1969.

Supporting this recollection is a notation in a 1969 CLAN page featuring the school board, stating among other things (paraphrased), "the board will take up the matter of recent controversies surrounding charity clubs."  (below)

In a 1995 interview with Larry King, responding to a question about life after death, Brando replied, “I think you’ll close your eyes and wake up and say, ‘What in the hell was that all about?’”


When was the Thaelis Service Club founded?  Roughly?  A: It was founded at the time EHHS opened in 1959 and was modeled after similar long standing clubs at PHS and AHHS.  The PHS and AHHS clubs were called Musegettes.

Did it have a sponsoring adult club?   If so, its name?  A: No, none known.  However, it is believed that membership in Thaelis operated as a legacy nomination for college sorority pledges.

Were there any affiliations with other such clubs at other schools?  A:  No, none known.  Possible link to college sororities.

Were new members selected from applications or nominations?  A:  Applications, from which 20 were accepted as Sophomores.  Membership was maintained at 20 per class.

Were new inductees pledged during 9th or 10th grade?  A: 10th.

Was there a numerical limit for new inductees?  A: 20

1962 Thaelis Seniors:  Carol Reeder, Zoe Ann Hunter, Karen Ruble, Judy Mallicote, Paula McClung, Jackie Rogers, Jim Ann Speck, Carol Warkentin, Taddie Curl, Jodie Dameron, Debra Davis, Jean Ferguson, Darlene Harvey, Mary Alice King, Janet Klabzuba, Carolyn Kynard, Mary Jo Mixon, Judy Mack, Carolyn Montgomery, Rebecca Willis.  

1963 Thaelis Seniors:  Gail DeVore (pres), Cheryl Reeder, Gay Burton, Tee Matthews, Judy Hill, Suzanne Hoffman, Pat Lambert, Betsy Hunter, Molly Howell, Vicki Held, Dianne Hardin, Marcia Huckaby, Celia Beall, Cheryl Spain, Harriett Hamilton, Sharron Ballem, and Carole Stallcup. 

1964 Thaelis Seniors:  Carole Ballem, Bonnie Lewis, Susan Warriner, Tutti Ziegler, Connie Lewis, Sharon Parks, Barbara Isham, Beth Butler, Cynthia Childs, Carol Ellis, Sherri Sledge (pres), Diane Hooton, Donna Kramer, Karen Haueisen, Myriam Hubbard, Donna Johnson, Karen Buckingham, Shelia Ward, Pam Shear and Suzanne Woodall.

1965 Thaelis Seniors:  Vicki Herring, (pres); Geneta Anderson; Janice Carter; Kathryn Teems; Joan Chastain; Jo Ann Glass; Karen Brantley; Gwen Brandt; Veronica Skidmore; Carol Perkins; Micki Bodine; Kay Taylor; Ilene Miller; Christy Hawrylak; Ann McCart; Debbie Maddox; Charlotte Hall; Marsha McCarty.

Adios - Think Pink

Monday, August 22, 2011

Online Data Insecurity

You’ve certainly noticed the non-stop news reports of security breaches occurring within so many of our top corporations and government entities, as have I. And perhaps you’re sharp enough to have developed some defenses for yourself; but, for a variety of reasons I would guess that you have not done so. Hopefully, due to your age and experience, you will at least be cognizant of the risks.

The latest report I’ve read presents some of the best reportage of the underlying problem I’ve seen. It begins, Until recently, medical files belonging to nearly 300,000 Californians sat unsecured on the Internet for the entire world to see.

If you’re at all concerned about the problem, I would highly recommend that you take a few moments to read the article; if not, ….. good luck!

The underlying problem, as I see it, is poor to bumbling management ... Dilbert’s Pointy Haired Boss is "running things." The people who should be looking after these things are largely over their heads, with respect to the technology and common sense.

Should the link be dropped, it points to an AP report authored by Jordan Robertson, entitled, “New data spill shows risk of online health records” dated 21 August 2011. A Google search should easily find it.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

1961 CLAN EHHS Highlanders

This picture was printed as the endpapers of the 1961 CLAN yearbook and shows a number of members of EHHS' second graduating class. To my knowledge, no other CLAN of the 1960s got a similar treatment. Color photography was relatively rare in those days, due to the expense, so this represents a fine example of early EHHS and of color photography.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


One of the things that makes playing Texas schoolboy football memorable is that the players report in for their first workouts about this time of year. If it's a tough year, like this one, then it only means that it is a little hotter than it was last year. As any Texan knows or recalls, a Texas August is hot.

Since the first game of the season is only a few days after the start of school and the last time we had any organized physical conditioning was in the Spring, the coaches had a job getting us into condition, so for 2-weeks, we had 2 workouts each day; one at something like 6:30 A.M. and the other perhaps 4:00 P.M. For much of the 2-week period your 16-17 year old muscles ached constantly and the morning workout was additionally painful owing to its early hour--felt kind of like working 12-hour shifts, day after day. The morning workout was relatively cool, but that afternoon workout was really hot. Nevertheless, sometime during those 2-weeks, your body would imperceptibly adjust itself and one morning you became aware that you were "in shape"...your muscles no longer ached. Now, for a 17-year old, "in shape" means that you feel like you can walk through walls. I've never felt that way since, but remember it well.

Coaches kept ice handy for use instead of drinking water, which was not permitted. Salt tablets were readily available for those who wanted them.

Beyond that, it was business as usual, heat be damned. That's something, isn't it? Could be why Texas schoolboy football is legendary throughout the country.

Come to think of it, the band had to be ready, too. Those kids must have been out there somewhere, getting their routines perfected, but I don't recall seeing them.

The school picture used in this blog's masthead is from a postcard that was sent out calling us in for an August 23rd physical and the start of 2-a-days.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Self Esteem & the FBG

There's been some turnover on the "team" and on a somewhat related matter, Dilbert has an observation:


Monday, August 08, 2011

Gas Prices - 2007-2011

Matched a picture taken about 4-years ago with one taken last week. Top 2 numbers are comparable...up about 36% since 2007. Milk has been about $2.79/gal. for as long as I can recall...if it had gone up at the same rate, it would be $3.80/gal. now...it isn't.


Sunday, August 07, 2011


"Sheriff... do the letters F.O mean anything to you?" (Smokey and the Bandit 1977).

A great line from a great 1977 movie, delivered by Burt Reynolds, as the Bandit, tickled me as a 32-year old and has remained in my reservoir of potential retorts ever since. Opportunities to use F.O. in a professional life are no less common than in other occupations. However, doing so is generally ill-advised as it tends to accomplish little, other than permitting a brief release, while exposing oneself to (probably) deserved criticism for losing your cool.

Nevertheless, I’ve found F.O. in response to a jerk to be a useful expression of disgust or frustration. If you are reading this post as a part of a general perusal of this blog, please disregard the words and enjoy the pictures.

However, if I’ve posted a link somewhere else inviting you here,

"Do the letters F.O. mean anything to you?"

F.O., ya'll

Thursday, August 04, 2011

On the Same Page ... but, Which One?

One of most difficult tasks I found while dealing with company organizations was the wide diversity of narrow interests various individuals constantly introduced into the equations. The world would be a very nice place, if only there weren't so many troublesome people in it. Scott Adams is once again dialed-in like a laser beam.

As for the ongoing tech/communications lunacy, Adams has it in his sights as well.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Vietnam - Robert S. McNamara & General Curtis LeMay

Studying the USAF’s early days inevitably leads to a focus on a surprisingly small number of men who played key roles in its development from just after the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk. The picture above is a visual link between General Hap Arnold, one of the first Army aviators to take a Wright flying machine into the air, to the formation of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), led by another remarkable USAF commander, General Curtis LeMay.

In the c.1945 picture, taken at the close of WWII, Arnold was the commander-in-chief of the Army Air Force and LeMay had commanded the Third Air Division of the Eighth after rapidly rising from the position of an Air Force Major at the start of the war. LeMay moved from the ETO to the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater in August 1944, later taking command of the final aerial assault on the Japanese home islands.

About the time we graduated from EHHS, Air Force Chief of Staff General LeMay, 57, and Secretary of Defense, Robert Strange McNamara, 47, were involved in epic clashes over the direction the defense of this country should take. LeMay was a highly experienced combat commander with an incredible service record; McNamara was a former “Whiz Kid” at Ford Motor Company, who had been a low-level statistician during WWII, ultimately working for LeMay in that role. After commanding the Berlin Airlift and leading the formation of the Strategic Air Command after WWII, LeMay, who was once McNamara’s Army superior, became McNamara’s subordinate when JFK came into office, bringing McNamara with him as Secretary of Defense.

McNamara’s culpability in taking our generation into Vietnam is told in the following article published in the AIR FORCE Magazine, August 2009, not long after McNamara died. LeMay retired in 1965, some would say in disgust.

”The No-Brainers of Robert S. McNamara

By Robert S. Dudney, Editor in Chief

His lack of integrity was deeply troubling, but it was the world-class arrogance that did the real military damage.

It should be evident to all that Robert Strange McNamara (b.1916), to paraphrase a line from the 1940 book Guilty Men, was among the worst selections for high office since Caligula chose to make his horse a consul at Rome. He died July 6, 2009, at age 93. Today’s officials can profit from studying his career.

McNamara, the Pentagon chief in the Kennedy and Johnson years, showed sketchy character on many occasions, but nowhere did he do this more baldly than in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. My predecessor, John T. Correll, dissected it in an editorial, “The Confessions of Robert S. McNamara.” I cannot improve upon it. He wrote:

‘Robert S. McNamara could give duplicity a bad name. In his new memoir, ... he says that the Vietnam War was a mistake and that he knew it all along. We should have gotten out in 1963, when fewer than 100 Americans had been killed. When he and other US policymakers took us to war, they ‘had not truly investigated what was essentially at stake.’

“McNamara was Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968 in the Kennedy Administration, which led the US into the Vietnam adventure, and in the Johnson Administration, which widened the involvement to a war in which 58,000 American troops died. He was not some star-crossed functionary who went passively along with a policy he opposed. He was so fiery an advocate that Vietnam became known as ‘McNamara’s War.’ His actions then and his statements now cannot be reconciled with honor.

“The duplicity has another dimension. News accounts bill In Retrospect as a stark admission of guilt, but an actual reading of it tells a different story. McNamara does, to be sure, acknowledge that he and his colleagues were ‘wrong, terribly wrong,’ but the admissions account for relatively little of the book’s substance. The bulk of it explains how these were honest mistakes and not altogether the fault of McNamara and his friends.”

Correll went on to point out a startling blind spot in the book:

“Somehow, it is not altogether surprising that McNamara comes close to ignoring the rank and file of the US armed forces. In the entire book, there are just four brief instances, one of them in a footnote, when the troops cross his mind. The best he can bring himself to say for those killed in action is that ‘the unwisdom of our intervention’ does not ‘nullify their effort and their loss.’”

Damning as these passages are, it is what comes next that most clearly spotlights McNamara’s biggest failing. Correll wrote:

“McNamara never learned the real lessons of the war. In Retrospect ticks off ‘11 major causes for our disaster in Vietnam,’ but they run mostly to philosophical mush like, ‘We misjudged then—as we have since—the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries,’ and, ‘We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions.’

“Incredibly, McNamara recalls—but regards it as insignificant—that the service Chiefs told him in 1964 that the US had not defined a ‘militarily valid objective for Vietnam.’ With similar arrogance, McNamara continues to believe that his strategic and tactical abilities were better than those of the military professionals and that his micromanagement of the war was a good idea.”

In short, his lack of integrity was deeply troubling, but it was the world-class arrogance that did the real military damage. Many have testified to the pervasiveness of this arrogance. One who experienced it up close and personal was Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, USAF Chief of Staff in the years 1961-65. LeMay was the greatest combat commander the Air Force had ever produced, yet it counted for little in the lounges of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Warren Kozak, author of a new biography, LeMay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay, notes that, “Robert McNamara had very clear ideas of what he wanted to do at the Pentagon. ... He was determined to take control.”

Faced with such brash confidence, LeMay and the Chiefs didn’t have much of a chance. McNamara killed key service programs. He halted the supersonic B-70 bomber that was LeMay’s top priority. The Pentagon chief forced on the Navy and the Air Force the dual-service TFX—later F-111. Most especially, LeMay quarreled with McNamara over the latter’s embrace of “gradualism” in Vietnam. LeMay was proved right.

The New Frontiersman saw little reason to consult with the Chiefs. They “sensed this and felt that Kennedy and the people under him simply ignored the military’s advice.” LeMay was “especially incensed” when McNamara brought in a group of young statisticians as a buffer between him and the military. LeMay referred to them with the dismissive term “whiz kids.”

Bombs Away

Monday, August 01, 2011

Pearl Harbor - Japanese Mistakes

What follows is a piece sent to me by a 91-year old new online friend of mine.  He was a P-47 combat pilot in the ETO.  His words on a variety of topics retain his strength of character, showing no discernible decline to my reading of them.  These guys were our fathers and grandfathers.....Gus.

Really interesting, and I never knew this little bit of history:

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, "Reflections on Pearl Harbor " by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?" Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?"

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"

Nimitz explained,

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America .. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.

I've never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg , Texas -- he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it--Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.