Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Modern Parable

A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (Ford) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.

A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing. Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners, and free pens for the rower.

There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India. Sadly, The End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages. TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US. The last quarter's results: TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses. Ford folks are still scratching their heads.IF THIS WEREN'T TRUE, IT MIGHT BE FUNNY.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cocoa Mulch--Danger to Dogs and Other Pets

Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso, decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk. Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the companies web site, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs.Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that 'It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual do g). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it.'True information about the mulch can be found here - This site gives the following information:Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called 'Theo bromine'.It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. Just a word of caution ? check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are using in your gardens.Theo bromine is the ingredient that is used to m ake all chocolate ? especially dark or baker's chocolate ? which is toxic to dogs.Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.Please email the manufacturer at and request that accurate information about this product be posted on the packaging to avoid further tragedy.PLEASE GIVE THIS WIDEST DISTRIBUTION

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Women Supporting Women 4th Annual Poker Run.

Got A Bike? Like to Ride? Why not ride for a cause!
Women Supporting Women will be holding their 4th Annual Poker Run on July 12th 2008. Registration for the event will be at the Tony Tank Redmen's Lodge #149 on Clyde Ave. in Fruitland. Registration is $15.00 and includes a pin and BBQ Chicken prepared by the Redmen. The ride is about 3 hours long and transverses 80 miles.
From the Women Supporting Women Website:
Women Supporting Women is a community served, community supported agency that serves the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Our mission is to provide awareness, friendship, and support for breast cancer survivors and their family. The first meeting of Women Supporting Women was on July 1993 with 19 women attending. The youngest is 28 and the oldest is 73 years old. In 2006 we provided simple, but private & personalized services by distributing 250 educational tote bags; fitted 80 women with their temporary wigs; gave out 25 mastectomy bras; and met with 350 individuals and family members in personal sessions to provide a source of further information as they traveled through the different stages of their difficult journey. We are proud to say that we also attended 10 health fairs, and spoke at 18 civic and business organizations; including our annual Hope's on the Horizon dinner/conference providing an educational opportunity for all in a casual atmosphere. Our monthly regional newsletter is distributed to over 1,100 survivors and friends. All of our services are FREE Our success and services is now reaching out to survivors in the mid-shore areas with the May opening of a Women Supporting Women chapter in Easton. This chapter will service survivors in Talbot, Dorchester and Caroline counties. The mid-shore held its first event on April 28, the Oxford 10k Run/ 5k Walk & Dog Walk. We continue our services on the Peninsula and are supported by local businesses, community organizations and individual donations, as well as grants from the Community Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
A very worthy cause indeed. If you ride a motorcycle, please consider participating in this event. Cancer is a devastating disease and it's programs like these that ease the suffering of victims and their families. For more information about the ride or Women Supporting Women, or if need of the services they offer, please call 410.548.7880. They are there for you!

Hirams Riders--Raffle for Children with Dyslexia

Hiram’s Riders is a Scottish Rite Masonic organization in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. As with most such organizations they have a children’s charity which they champion. This particular club supports Children with Dyslexia and raise money for their assistance. This year the Riders are raffling off a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic motorcycle and trailer.

Chances for the Bike are $10.00 each and each chance has two 4-digit numbers. (that’s 2 chances to win). The drawing will be held on Labor Day, Monday, September 1st, 2008. The winning number will be the 4-digit number drawn for the Pennsylvania State Lottery that day. Numbers can be checked by visiting here:

If purchasing chances please include a self addressed stamped envelope for them to send your tickets to you. If using a personal check they will wait until your check clears before sending tickets. Money orders and bank counter checks are also accepted. Pleas make checks payable to "Hiram's Riders"

The winner, in lieu of the bike, can receive $15,000 cash. (the basic bike is worth more than that) Feel free to print out this coupon or e-mail me and I will send you a copy by return e-mail or regular mail if you prefer. Thanks for helping the kids and Good Luck!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

BB-57, U.S.S. South Dakota ,Commisioned June 7th 1941

On July 5th 1939 the keel was laid for the first of a new class of ship known as the “Fast Battleships” for the U.S. Navy. The USS South Dakota, keel # BB-57 was born in the shipyards of Camden New Jersey.
Commissioned on 7 June 1941 the South Dakota was sent to the Pacific Theater of War making the Panama passage on 21 August 1942. Intense efforts were made to keep her existence secret and for sometime she was referred to as "Battleship X” or “Old Nameless”.

At the battle of Santa Cruz the South-Dakota was hit with a 500 lb Japanese bomb that severely injured her captain, but in return she was credited with shooting down 32 enemy planes during the engagement, a record that stood for the rest of the war.

On the 14-15 November 1942 the South-Dakota was engaged in night action during the 3rd battle of Savo Island (Guadalcanal) and sustained heavy damage from 42 shell hits. Her reply to this insult was to sink 3 Japanese cruisers and inflict heavy damage on several others. In December 1942 she returned to New York for major battle damage repairs in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After repairs the South-Dakota had operations with the British Fleet in the North Atlantic. Although she flew the American Flag all radio transmissions to her at this time were coded H.M.S. Black Prince. Once again this was an attempt to keep her identity secret and to confuse the German Navy. The main goal of the South-Dakota for these North Atlantic operations was to try and engage the German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship to the sunken battleship Bismarck. No action was undertaken during this time.
South-Dakota returned to the Pacific in November 1943 and was used heavily in the Island Hopping campaign towards the Japanese homeland participating in almost every operation. The South Dakota fired the first heavy caliber shells on the Japanese home islands on 14 July 45 during the bombardment of Kamaishi, Honshu.

All in all the South Dakota earned 13 Battle Stars, sank 3 enemy ships, and shot down 64 planes. She was present in Tokyo Harbor during the signing of the Japanese surrender and as the most decorated Battleship in the Fleet the documents were supposed to have been signed on her decks. However, Harry S. Truman was the President at the time of the surrender and he was from Missouri. Since the USS Missouri was also present in Tokyo harbor, well the rest is history.
This ship is of special interest to me because for as long as I can remember my Dad told me stories of the South Dakota. Dad was a “plank owner” of this ship. Being a plank owner simply means he was a member of the crew that commissioned the ship and prepared it for active duty. Dad was a boiler man and was aboard the ship before it ever sailed the first time. He was there for the shakedown cruise, remained aboard her for the rest of the war and was in Tokyo Harbor during the Japanese surrender. The South Dakota was decommissioned after the war and in 1962 was destined for the scrap yard. Much was salvaged from the ship and a memorial to her grandeur is in Sioux Falls South Dakota where many pieces of the ship and its artifacts are on public display.

In 2006 while researching some information about the South Dakota, I learned the Navy had salvaged the teak wood decking from the ship. A little more than 1400 pounds of this decking was given to a historian for the ship and in return he distributed foot long pieces of it to member of the crew still living or to family members of the crew. The only cost for this wood was shipping and handling. I ordered a piece of this deck and my siblings and I presented it to Dad for Christmas 2006. Needless to say Dad was extremely pleased with it and he kept it handy to show to visitors. Sadly he only enjoyed it for a couple of months as he passed away in March of 2007. Not to worry though, he has his piece of decking with him still.

There is a bonus to this final note too. When the foot long piece of decking was cut for my Dad an eight-inch piece was all that was left from that particular board. The historian handling the wood sent me the extra piece and I have it to this day.

Dad was very proud of his service aboard this ship and I miss hearing his stories. Memories I cherish dearly.

Friday, June 6, 2008

D Day

Today is the anniversary of D Day.

On June 6th 1944 the combined Allied forces invaded Normandy France with the largest invasion force ever assembled in an effort to turn the tide of Nazi aggression. A little more than a year later the mission was accomplished and Europe was at peace.

Remember if you will all the lives lost on this day and the sacrifices of those still at home. Give thanks to those that have dedicated so much towards peace.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Monsoor. Navy Seal

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"

PO2 Mike Monsoor was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for jumping on a grenade in Iraq , giving his life to save his fellow SEALs. During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego , as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery ,SEALs were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming a column of two's, with the coffin moving up the center. As Mike's coffin passed,each SEAL, having removed his gold

Trident from his uniform, slapped it down embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin. The slaps were audible from across the cemetery; by the time the coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from all the Tridents pinned to it. A fitting end-off for a warrior hero.
R.I.P PO2 Monsoor
PO2 Monsoor was also awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the CAR.