Idols and Statues

21 11 2017

Recently, I was having a conversation with one of my favorite people-one of my sons- about the statues that are being removed or destroyed all over the country. He wasn’t terribly concerned because, he felt that all statues are idols. A statue, like anything else, is what you make it. Statues are erected for many reasons; they commemorate historical events, or pay tribute to influential people. Many people view statues as art; some, as we are seeing in the news, view a statue as an object of hate; others see them as no more than a lump of granite or bronze without appreciating the talent required to make them. And, yes, there are some people who will worship statues. They have chosen to put an inanimate object before God. But, regardless as to how one might view a statue, it is a choice they made. So, yes, a statue can be an idol, but only if one chooses for it to be.

 

Merriam Webster defines idol as a representation or symbol of an object of worship. An idol is anything one puts before God. That could be a car or truck, a job, a craving for money, success or power and so on.

 

Not Exactly the Family Truckster

I once did safety consulting for Porsche. Inside a garage in the facility, awaiting delivery to their new owners, were two 918 Spyders, each valued at over one million dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a car and I’m glad for those who have the money to own one. I don’t, for one minute, begrudge anyone from enjoying such luxury. And I’m sure there are different reasons as to why one would spend a million dollars on a car. It may be because they like the feel of the car when sitting in the driver’s seat. You don’t drive a 918 Spyder-you wear it. The attitude of some may be, I have the money, why not enjoy it. But then there may be some who love their new Spyder…literally love it as much as they do their own family.

 

But it need not be a million dollar car that is the subject of one’s worship. When I was just a kid, around 12 years old, a particular school teacher at the local junior high school, and her husband, owned a Morris Minor. The Morris Minor was a British made car built from 1948 until the company stopped production in 1972.

 

I was in my front yard, along with a friend, and we were throwing a baseball. An errant throw went past my friend’s glove and sailed toward the street. At that moment, the school teacher, whom I was just about to meet for the first time, drove by in her Morris Minor. The ball bounced off the left rear fender and left a small dent. The teacher stopped the car, jumped out and looked at the dent. She then ran over toward me with a look on her face that said you just hit my 918 Spyder with a baseball. I could see her rage manifest by her cracking voice and the red moving from below her collar upward until it reached her hairline. She reminded me of an old Popeye cartoon in which Sinbad the Sailor squeezes Popeye until his head looks like a radish. She was extremely angry, but not as much as her husband, who was also a school teacher, was when he came to my house later that evening to voice his displeasure to my parents. He ranted about how long he had had that car and how much it meant to him. I remember hearing him say something about the car having 300,000 miles on it and how he had already…now I’m not making this up…bought a plot so when it finally died, he planned to have it buried. In other words, your object of worship need not be a million dollar car.

 

The Golden Calf

The Israelites grew impatient while waiting for Moses to come down from Mt. Sinai; so, they decided to take matters into their own hands and pooled their earrings, bracelets and other items of gold, and melted them down to cast into a calf. Now, they could have left it at that and things would have been okay, but when Moses returned to camp, he saw them dancing and paying homage to this idol-this false god, they had created. They could have placed it in the center of the camp, on a granite base, as a statue… not to worship, but to honor God, or even Moses for that matter. Or, Aaron, the ring leader, could have taken it home and used it as a door stop or used it as a paperweight. But no, they had to worship it. They reveled in it. They expected it to provide them with blessings they felt they weren’t getting from God. But that’s when things went downhill for these people.

 

An idol, regardless of the form it takes, is a choice. People choose to pursue worldly interests and ignore the one true God. People see hate or adoration in a statue. People put personal desires ahead of everything else in their lives. Worship the one true God and put your faith in Him. That will get you to heaven and make America great again.

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Targeting and Common Sense

29 09 2017

I have a strange way of looking at everything from a safety perspective. What can I say…I’m a forty-year veteran of professional safety? Well, this may be contrary to my creed but, I’ll go on record as saying I hate the targeting rule. Actually, it isn’t the rule I hate so much as it is its uncompromising, inflexible application. I would bet there are football officials who hate, under some circumstances, calling the penalty and ejecting a player. Case in point.  

 

C’mom, give me a break!

I was watching the NC State/Florida State game last Saturday, and NC State ran a reverse pass play. Just as the NC State player released the ball, a Florida State defender charged toward him with his arms reaching upward in an effort to block the pass. As he came down, his right arm hit the passer on the helmet. Play was stopped. Police were called. The K-9 units descended on the scene. The NCIS squad began shooting photos and gathering evidence in an effort to determine if, in fact, this Seminole bully was guilty of a crime. By the time the boys in the booth got through running and re-running the video evidence, the answer came down from that mysterious referee in the sky- that one we never get to see- and, suddenly, there was another victim of the targeting rule on his way to an early shower.

 

Now, ordinarily, I might stand and cheer over the fact that one of the opposition had been removed from the game; but, instead, I found myself thinking what a lousy turn of events. The guy’s arm accidentally hit the helmet of the opposing player. He didn’t swing at him. He didn’t take any violent action in an attempt to injure the player. In fact, he would be the one most likely to sustain an injury. A forearm against a football helmet is usually going to come out on the short end of that stick. But, because of the way the play transpired, it fell within the description of the rule and, according to rules, the player was thrown out of the game.

 

In a similar incident last week (I forget the game), one player dove in to tackle the ball carrier. His trajectory was taking him toward a collision with the thighs of the ball carrier but the ball carrier was hit from behind by another defender. As the ball carrier went to the ground, instead of hitting him in the legs, the defender’s helmet, through no fault of his own, hit the ball carrier’s helmet. Everything happened so quickly, there was no way the defender had time to stop, or alter his direction, to avoid the helmet-to-helmet contact. But the rule doesn’t allow for that, so again, officials followed the rule and the player was ejected.

 

Whatever happened to good ‘ole common sense?

The rule is good. It is necessary. The game has gotten more violent as players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. But, it’s like the 6-year-old first grader who points his finger at a classmate and then is suspended from school for three days because of the school’s no-tolerance gun policy. Those in charge need to have the ability to use a little common sense and apply the rule when neededsay, when a child actually brings his mom’s gun to school for show-and-tell. Yes, I realize there are a few libtards out there who would be so anti-gun they would forego common sense in favor of personal politics and find this child’s suspension to be warranted. But it would still, in most cases, give the child a fighting chance.

 

Football gear is a perfect example of the Peltzman Effect in action.

 

A University of Chicago economics professor by the name of Sam Peltzman, theorized back in 1975 that people would be more likely to increase risky behavior if required to follow a safety rule or, in this case, wear protective equipment. A chemist, for example, would be much more cautious while pouring hydrofluoric acid if they had no eye or skin protection. However, if wearing gloves, chemical goggles, face shield, and an apron, they may be a little less cautious.

 

The Fearless Gladiator

You put 200 pounds of testosterone in full football gear and he’s afraid of nothing. I remember when I was issued my first football uniform. I was about 10 years old and playing for the Maplewood Midgets. Don’t get your butt on your shoulders. The term simply referred to a football league comprised of little boys. Anyway, I got home and put on my shoulder pads and helmet and started running into everything in the house. I don’t believe we ever did fix that hole in the wall-just moved a chair in front of it. Well, I remember, too, a game in which I was called for spearing. Spearing is when a defensive player leads with the crown of the helmet to make a tackle. I just dove into the pile of little guys head-first and unafraid. I never would have done that without a helmet.

 

I’m not saying let’s go back to leather helmets and the game will be safer. What I am saying is, let’s be a little more flexible and use a little common sense when it comes to applying the targeting rule. If the playback shows no intention then lay off. No harm-no foul.

 





Char-Broil: The Bonnie and Clyde of Grilldom

28 06 2017

Okay. You’re shopping for a new grill and after an hour of checking out what’s available, you have it narrowed down to two. Then you notice a huge sticker glued to the top of one of your two finalists.

“MANUFACTUR’S WARRANTY:

Ø  99 YEARS-STAINLESS STEEL PARTS REPLACEMENT

Ø  FREE BURNER REPLACEMENT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN YOUR GRILL

Ø  10 YEARS-ELECTRONIC IGNITION

Ø  2 YEARS-ALL REMAINING COMPONENTS

MODEL 463242304”

I don’t know about you, but I interpret that to mean if I buy this grill, Char-Broil will replace stainless steel parts for 99 years and burners for as long as I own the grill. Now, that’s a great warranty. In fact, it was the warranty that made the choice an easy one.

 

Now, you get your new grill home, get out your tools and remove everything from its huge cardboard

Char-Broil Customer Support

container, including the manual which is still sealed inside a plastic bag. Finally, having completed the assembly of your new toy, you can relax and read the warranty. No. Of course you don’t read the warranty. Heck, you barely read the assembly instructions. Besides, why read the warranty? You already read it. What more could it say that wasn’t plastered all over the grill top on that sticker?

 

That was back in 2003. Every two or three years since, as my burners and stainless steel flame tamers needed replacing, I contacted Char-Broil, told them what I needed and paid them for shipping.

 

Recently, I called Char-Broil Customer Support to order replacement burners and flame tamers. I was told they would not be covered under warranty because I had exceeded the original price of the grill in free replacement parts. Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. After a brief, but calm protest, I was directed to the warranty printed inside the owner’s manual, which I still have…you know, the one that was sealed up inside the plastic bag and hiding inside the grill neatly packed in the large cardboard box that took two men and a Towmotor to get to the deck.

 

Char-Broil Director of Marketing

I took my protest to a higher level and spoke with a supervisor. He told me to send pictures of the grill, both inside and out, the burners and flame tamers and the sticker with the fake warranty. A few days later, I got their response. Char-Broil had denied my request but would offer me a discount on the parts. Well, I don’t see that happening because I’ll spend a thousand dollars on a new grill before I’ll spend another dime at Char-Broil.

 

The marketing gurus and legal team at Char-Broil know that few people will read the warranty, especially after they have plastered fake warranty information on a 12 by 17 inch sticker on the top of the display model. I believe there’s a name for that. It’s called bait and switch and I believe that’s illegal.  At best, it’s deceptive advertising. No, let me rephrase that…it’s lying. Of course, they blamed me for not reading the warranty inside the manual which was not available to me when I made the purchase. But any way you cut it, Char-Broil lied.

 

So, what’s the point of this minor diatribe? Just to warn anyone who reads it to be very careful when considering a made-in-China Char-Broil product. You may not get what you think.

 

 





Finally- April Gives Birth!

23 04 2017

Will this kid ever come?!

I got up last Saturday, turned on Fox News, and they were talking about April, the eternally pregnant giraffe, going into labor. I knew, for some strange reason, my wife would want to see this since she, like so many other women, had been glued to her iPad in anticipation of seeing the little booger hit the ground. So, I woke her up. Now before you call me sexist, I know men have been watching it too; but, polls show the female watchers outnumber males by 1500-1.

 

By the time she got up and got tuned in, a foot was sticking out. Then April paced around for another couple of hours or so before, PLOP, there it is.

 

“Oh, look at this!” she said with the excitement of scratching off the winning numbers on a lottery ticket. One would have thought we had just had another grandchild. “There’s the placenta,” she went on.

 

I looked at this little guy, a slime-covered, gangly legged, pile of giraffe sitting in the sand, his head bobbing around like a bobble head on the dashboard as if to be thinking, what the heck just happened? Then something occurred to me.

 

Now, as I understand, this wasn’t April’s first trip down baby lane. But what was it like the first time? I mean, when those two feet popped out from her backside, she probably thought, oh well, here I go again. But what went through her mind the first time she got pregnant and wasn’t familiar with the experience?

 

With baby number one, in similar fashion, when that first foot popped out, her first thought was probably, Not now, Oliver. I have a headache. Then, upon realizing Oliver was nowhere around, she probably looked rearward and saw that foot sticking out and thought, Whoa! What the heck is that?

 

Mama’s baby

It’s amazing how God gave mothers of any ilk the instinct to know what to do when they have babies. When his

face hit the sand, April jumped right in there and began cleaning up her baby. What was really cool was later, watching an extremely agitated April in the adjacent stall, when one of the zoo workers went in to do whatever zoo workers do to newborn giraffes. She wanted desperately to get to her baby to protect him from the intruder.  Maybe that’s it. I don’t care if you are a woman, a dachshund, or a long-neck giraffe; all mothers have one thing in common-a nurturing and protective instinct. That same instinct goes back to mama one. It was something she was born with and not something that evolved. That’s the common bond women share and what draws millions of women to computer screens to watch even a four-legged animal join the bonds of motherhood.

 





With Authority Comes Responsibility

12 01 2017

We’ve all seen the pictures of some poor schmuck in some third world country standing at the top of a pole, 77b597ff2e64070f7b16877a0e4fc36auntethered, while trying to do his job and avoid electrocution. Well, there was a day when working in this country was just as dangerous (and still is in some corners of the country). I see it all the time.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I am a safety consultant. I enjoy what I do. In my job, which I have been doing since 1988, I go around the country training workers to be safe, training managers to manage safety programs, identifying hazards by conducting mock OSHA inspections and program audits. To sum it up, I’m only trying to help management fulfill not just a regulatory but a moral obligation, as well as to provide safeguards for their workers. If you hire someone to work for you, you are responsible, by law, to provide those workers with a workplace that is safe and healthful. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts it this way: “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

 

This is known as the General Duty Clause and is found in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

 

In the years preceding the passage of the OSHAct, there were a reported 15,000 work-related fatalities each year in this country alone. But the sad truth is, it should not have taken legislation to force employers to make the workplace safer. Even before there was a regulatory requirement, there has always been, or at least for the past 3400 years, when Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, that moral obligation.

 

So, who was the first safety consultant? God. Through Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy, God told the Jewish nation to safeguard those for whom they were responsible. Deuteronomy 22:8 says, “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”

 

It was God’s position that if one should place himself/herself in a position of responsibility for another, he/she should take precautions to safeguard those under their charge.

 

I will say that in my 39-year career as a safety professional, I have seen vast improvement in management attitudes and recognition of their moral responsibilities; but, once in a while I go into a workplace that takes me back to the pre-OSHA days when there were no national workplace safety laws and employers put the lives of their workers at risk for the sake of the bottom line. Unfortunately, when I go into a workplace, I can only preach OSHA and not the Bible.





Learn to Lose!

19 12 2016

In the aftermath of the recent presidential election, I have been amazed at the reaction of those who are grieving over the results. Many of those liberals, who claim to be so tolerant, are acting like children who just dropped their ice cream cones on the sidewalk. Protesting, crying, incapable of everyday living, even rioting has been their child-like reaction to a Trump victory. They simply cannot accept the fact that Hillary lost the election. And to make matters worse, universities, or bastions of liberalism, are pandering to their childish intolerance by providing support groups, counseling, therapy dogs and even cancelling final exams.

Time Out

Time Out

 

I believe the grief of many is real, but that doesn’t justify such childish behavior. Instead, it begs the question, why? Why have these children of all ages gotten so upset that they need therapy? The answer is simple. When they, and in many cases, their parents and professors, were just munchkins running around the soccer or baseball field, there were parents and coaches insisting, we don’t keep score. There are no winners and losers. Everyone is a winner. Everyone gets a trophy.

 

Here’s the Biblical truth…you reap what you sow and you have sown, with your liberal, no-loser dogma, a generation of young people, many of  whom never learned how to lose. And, our so-called institutions of higher learning are merely perpetuating this deception. Newsflash…in life, you won’t always win. Someone has to finish second, third…last. Only one applicant will get the job. Where will your support group be when you are turned down for a car or home loan? Where will your therapy dog be when the jerk in the next cubicle gets your promotion? Will your professor be there to help you through your anger and grief when your vacation hotel tells you they have a no pets policy so you can’t take Daisy, the dachshund, along on your trip to Hawaii? It makes no difference who you are, you can’t always have your way; and, those who don’t learn that have some hard times ahead. They will one day learn that those thirty-seven participation trophies in their parents’ attic won’t even get them an empty Starbucks cup.





Following in the Footsteps of My Twin

18 12 2016

Where does this fall on your weird-o-meter? Last week I was doing work for a company in Jackson, Tennessee. Jackson is a small town about halfway between Memphis and Nashville. Because of the distance back to either airport, I planned to complete the work and drive back to a hotel near the airport so I could fly back home the following morning. I chose to fly into Memphis because I knew, from past experience, given the location of the two airports, driving back to the Memphis airport would be much easier.

 

On Tuesday night, my second night in town, I went to what turned out to be a diamond in the rough. It was an Italian restaurant named Baudo’s. Baudo’s isn’t much to look at from the outside, but the food was really good. Anyway, the hostess seated me at a small table off to the side of the dining room. Only seconds after being seated, a perky, young waitress came bebopping out of the kitchen toward me like she had just gotten to work. Actually, she had. I was her first customer. That’s one of the advantages of getting old. You get out to eat early, before the server has been worn down by demanding customers and 500 trips back and forth into the kitchen.

 

“Welcome back!” she said, cheerfully.

 

I told her this was my first time at Baudo’s.

 

“Well there was a guy here last night who sat in this same seat and looked exactly like you. You have a twin.”

 

Okay, there’s nothing unusual about that. I’ve always had people tell me I look like so and so. When I was younger, it was Dan Rather. Then as I got a little older, people told me I looked like Martin Sheen. So, I wasn’t very surprised at this.

 

Then I ordered my dinner…salad with house dressing and veal piccata with mashed potatoes.

 

“That’s exactly what your twin had last night,” she told me.

 

Now, that seemed a little odd but still not that big a deal.

 

The next day, I completed the work and made the two-hour drive to my hotel near the Memphis airport. It was actually in Southaven, Mississippi, about 8 miles south of the airport.

 

Even though I was surrounded by a plethora of restaurants, I decided, for a number of reasons, to stay in and just eat at the hotel restaurant.

 

The waitress was a generation older than the waitress back at Baudo’s, but no less energetic. I forget what they called it, but I ordered a cheeseburger with roasted red bell peppers and onions. About halfway through the burger, which I highly recommend, the waitress came by to check on me.

 

“Is it as good as last night?” she asked.

 

For a second, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Then I told her I hadn’t been there the night before. In fact, I had never been to that hotel before.

 

“Well there was a man here last night, sat right there where you’re sitting and had the exact same thing.”

 

Now that’s a little on the weird side. I was afraid I was going to return home the next day only to have my wife ask me if I enjoyed the back rub she gave me the night before!!