Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Censored For Your Comfort

I chose this because it was relative; wait, OMG, did I really just say that?

While searching for a document, I was surprised to discover a long lost file of out-takes.  These are lines I have removed from "things" I’ve written for one reason or another.  Although variable in specifics, the reason most of them were removed comes down to one thing.  People would get upset if they read them.  They're just so sensitive.
You can’t be mad because it makes people uncomfortable.  You can’t be happy because you'll make others feel worse.  Being snarky isn’t kosher because it implies someone may be stupid.  Being smart isn’t approved because others may feel stupid.  Yet curiously, being stupid is ok.

Being funny is off limits also.  How many of you remember SNL's Garrett Morris singing "I'm Gonna Get Me a Shotgun"?  That was hilarious, and I must point out, almost 40 years ago.
Are there some jokes that are just wrong?  Sure there are.  But who cares?  Why get your panties in a wad?  They are just words.  Yet, lie to someone, cheat someone, and even beat someone and people will find a way to promote you.  You'll be a star.

Cut down an old failing tree and someone will hate you for abusing greenery.  Don’t plant trees and you hate the Earth.  Plant trees and you’re a tree-hugger.  Eat salads and you’re ok.  What?
Don't dare discuss politics and religion.  Oh boy, if you want to offend people just start a conversation about these subjects.  The only things more offensive are people voting with a miniscule knowledge base and the Baptists from my home town who were among the biggest adulterers on the planet.
Let's not forget the sexes.  Try pointing out (-----content deleted for sensitivity purposes------). If you want to field third grade level complaints, just do that.
Heck, share your plans for handling a long term power outage, like the ones we've experienced in the past few years, and that too will land you in hot water.  Half your friends will call you a hippie and the others will label you a right wing extremist.  It's maddening I tell you.

Many friends; all of them; three have, at one point or another, asked , “Why do you write things you don’t intend to get published"?  That's a great question.  Unfortunately that too is something I can’t answer.  It would surely offend them.
For these reasons and more, nearly everything I've ever written has been brutally pruned (word hater) in an attempt to sterilize (Nazi) the paragraphs to a point the average reader (you arrogant prick) could finish them without needing to call their mothers (bully) and pray for my soul (Jesus hater).  Unfortunately, such parameters mean that 90% (bean counter) of everything I have ever written was cut down to ten words or less.  There is a positive though.

Saved on a portable drive is a file of all the things I’ve cut.  If you could see them you would be crying with laughter.  Well, let me rephrase that.  If there was a way to ensure nobody would know what it was you were laughing about, you would be crying with laughter.  Otherwise, your  tears would offend someone and we couldn't have that.
Even better are the reasons why you would laugh.  Disgust, surprise, and brutal honesty come to mind.  Of course some of them would make you cringe.  That’s normal though so don’t feel bad.  You’d only be reacting the way society wants.  Because of that, I have chosen to protect our friendship by not publishing them.  Hell, some of the worst ones are about me.  The knowledge of which pisses me off because I shouldn’t be withholding things from myself.  How in the world am I supposed to know what else is in there?  It’s certainly a tricky world.

Originally my plan was to toss a few of these items your way so that you would have an idea of the things I had cut.  Then I became upset with myself and called 911 to express concerns a lunatic may be living here.  Once the cops arrived I told them I was offended at how long it took them to get on scene and that I felt their uniforms looked oppressive.  After they threatened to beat me over the head, I shared with them what I intended to share with you.  And let me tell you, the sight of a sobbing policeman is not pretty.  Fortunately, the tears had just started when one of them suggested they to spend some time with their families and they hurried out the door.  That’s when I decided that maybe I should  find something not so over the top, something just a little funny, and put it out there for your reading pleasure.
What I have chosen is something that was cut from a pilot report.  Now that I look at it, I don't know why it was removed.  After all, it looks just like something you would read in AOPA Pilot; right?
“Of course I guess it’s possible the overly sensational powerplant confuses the issue like a padded bra and stilettos on a man.  But I’m pretty sure this old girl is the real thing.  She feels so good in your hands".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

EAA's Next President?

Will the next EAA President look like this, or...

You’re sitting at your workbench staring out the open hangar door, deep in contemplation about the cracked piston in your hand.  In the background a siren wails from the classic rock station which was tuned, and the knob removed, years ago.  A display on the wall tells the story of you and your machine.  Memorabilia, posters, and pages from magazines all bear witness to the great times this machine has given you.  Through issue after issue, you’ve done your best to keep her flying.  Now though you’re worn down.  Aviation has taken its toll on you.

The feds become more illogical every year, fanatics want to remove you from the sky via bans on gas or outright flight restrictions, and the aviation lobbies have consistently failed you. What’s an aviator to do?

Should you spend two months looking for that part or have it made?  And if you find one, are you willing to pay twenty times what an ordinary piston would cost, for a serviceable unit that will likely fail you at the most inopportune time?  Silently the thought “If only this was still fun” crosses your mind just as one of your airport buddies pulls up in his modified golf cart.  By the look on his face, he has something to share and his appearance lightens to the mood.

Walking over to your bench with his trademark limp, you think of the modified motorized bicycle which gave him that hobble.  Always building something and often falling off it, he is the most resilient aviator you know and yet lately even he has grown tired of it all.  Today though he is smiling.

“I was over there machining a part for my sterling powered lawn mower when Fred called and said he’d sent me this podcast.  I started listening to it and half way through I had to come share it with you; listen”, he said as he held out his jail broken iphone with an amped up sound system. “It’s a podcast from the new president of EAA”..  Starting from where he left off, this is what you hear.

"…and so today I would also like to announce that EAA will no longer be chasing the pipe dream of improved safety.   Aviation is and will continue to be safe and our groups will continue to promote low risk practices.   We will though no longer accept the notion that aviation can be made appreciably safer than it already is.  We will also not be supporting any notions such as the FAA Chairman’s stated need to improve aviation safety by 10%.  Such a goal is impossible to meet without removing the very thing that is aviation and thus it sets everyone up for failure.   Without doubt, for anything to make aviation appreciably safer at this time you would have to perform the equivalent of adding four wheels to motorcycles.  Chasing these fantasies doesn’t make sense, it isn’t economical, and we are no longer going to participate in the fraud.  Yet, let me be clear.  EAA is not shunning safety or safe practices.  We are merely putting a halt to the wild goose chase which has evolved into an ever variable line in the sand.  Real improvements to safety are not statistical and fractional in size.  Real improvements are obvious and in the interest of safety, should such a breakthrough happen which could quantifiably and unequivocally decrease annual fatalities by a minimum of 15%, with a cost of less than 1% of the value of any airplane in which it could be installed, and yet also be implemented on strictly volunteer basis, EAA will be willing to come to the table to discuss it.  Until then, those of us forced with heading the charge of saving aviation must focus on the real world and the removal of obstacles that continue to hamper innovation and the progress of aviation.  Put simply, our goal is the survival of aviation, not bureaucrats.
As for innovation and progress…”

Can you imagine hearing anything at all like this, even remotely like this, from a leader of an aviation group?   No?  Why not?  Can you imagine what a boost to the moral of aviation this would be?  What if someone who understood reality and possessed a heartfelt interest in the survival of the sport of aviation actually became president of EAA?  Just think of what such a person could do for the organization?   The big question though is this; “Do you believe anyone like that will be the next president of EAA?”
...will that next president look more like this? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Loss of the Twinkie to Affect Aviation?

If you haven’t heard by now, there’s bad news on the horizon for one of Lee Bottom Flying Field’s most famous events, Sinful Sundays.  Despite the events popularity, a key component of the fun just became endangered.  Therefore, whether you're in the "Yeah I've been" or the "I've always wanted to go" category, keep reading to see how the Hostess shutdown could affect aviation.

Surely you’ve seen the photos of people enjoying their milkshakes and sundaes at Lee Bottom as planes of all types came and went in the background.  In recent years, Sinful Sundays became so popular, all but one exceeded 100 planes.  Having been to my share of pancake breakfasts and other monthly aviation oriented events, I can tell you that this is an amazing turnout.  Heck, some pilots now fly a 400 mile round trip in order to attend and they do so every four weeks.  In other words, once you’ve been to a Sinful Sunday, you keep coming back.  If you haven’t been to one, you’re probably asking yourself what the heck is so special about them.  Listen closely; promise not to tell anyone, and I’ll tell you. 
No no no, I mean scoot your chair a little closer.  Ok, here’s the deal (leaning in and carefully looking each way to make sure nobody else will hear me).  Go ahead; you have to lean in also.  This is a big deal so you have to treat it like one.  Here it is, the reason (looking over my shoulder just in case), the reason Sinful Sundays keeps people coming back is….(dramatic pause)…T w i n k i es.   “TWINKIES?  TWINKIES IS THE SECRET TO SINFUL SUNDAYS?”, you exclaim.  Well, it was a secret until you blurted it out.  Thanks, I thought we had a deal.

Ok, so I guess now that the secret is out we might as well talk about it.  It’s true; Twinkies are the secret ingredient that keeps people coming back to Sinful Sundays.  Admittedly the long, soft, green runway, beautiful scenery, wonderful people, and random collection of all types of flying machines enhance the flavor of the Twinkie infused treats.  Nobody can deny that.  Yet, we’re sure it has to be the Twinkies that makes pilots return.
Some places have BBQ, others soup, and a few even have crawfish, but Lee Bottom invented the Twinkie sundae and the events that play on it, Sinful Sundays.  Now though, the home of the Sinful Sundays is threatened with a crisis.  In case you haven’t heard, the Twinkie assembly line has been shut down. 
Of course if it were anything else, the management at Lee Bottom would just move on, BUT THIS IS THE STRAWBERRY TWINKIE SUNDAY MAAANNNN.  When the news came down the pipe late yesterday evening, we immediately instructed our assets on the ground around the globe to look for hidden stockpiles, for the first time ever we have employed drones to help aviation by seeking out Twinkie-runners in the mountains of Pakistan, and our Navy was sent a coded ULF message to make contact with, and seize, any barges on the river that may be transporting the final shipments of Twinkies to Ft. Knox.  If any of these operations pan out, it will be great news for Sinful Sundays.  Just in case though, we have already contacted a corporate spy, code named “Google”, that has secured for us what he claims to be the corporate recipe.  If all else fails, this should allow us to continue the tradition.
Meanwhile, keep Sinful Sundays in your prayers, tie a bottle of marshmallow cream to a tree in your yard, and wave the Lee Bottom flag until our Twinkies come home.