Report cards

My daughter just go her first report card- ALL good grades... she takes after her mom.

In grade school, my own report cards were always a jumble of assorted good grades intermixed with a healthy garnish of below average and unsatisfactory marks. Keep in mind that this was the 1960s and teachers were not inclined to care about how any sort of grade may scar a kid's ego. My parents always focused on the "citizenship" grade- If I kept that one up in the good range, the rest did not really matter. Of course there was always that one place in the report card where your teacher got to write-in a comment at the end of the year... mine must have troubled my folks a bit...

Grade K: "Wes is very nice to everyone and has only had one disciplinary event- That was when we were pretending to have the room set up like an airliner. The girls took turns playing stewardess boys took turns wearing the ear-muffs and playing the pilots. Wes was very upset when the game ended and he had not gotten to be the pilot and wear the ear-muffs. I explained to him that not everyone can be an airline pilot. I mean- it is not as if that incident would effect his whole life- what are the odds that he'll grow up to be an airline pilot?

First Grade: Not only does Wes not make good use of his time in class, but he is in a constant state of daydream. His presence in the class could easily be substituted with a common paperclip.

Second Grade: Wes cannot read aloud. I strongly suggest he be taken to the reading specialist and find out why he cannot read. (BTW- I did indeed go the the "reading specialist" who explained to my folks the difference between "Can't read aloud" and "Won't read aloud" as well as my being bored to death with "Dick and Jane" and "see spot run." Today I'm the author of 14, make that 15, books, and I still refuse to read ANYTHING aloud in public. It's a choice, not a disability.)

Third Grade (the first time): Wes never completes an assignment. He is continually drawing and doodling in class- in some cases has even drawn uncomplimentary images of me. He must repeat the third grade. (Insert maniacal laughter)

Third Grade (the second time) I have often considered moving the blackboard to a position outside the classroom window- that way perhaps Wes may actually spend some time looking at it.

Fourth Grade: There is an observation tower and a high powered rifle in Wes' future- I'm just not sure which end of the scope he will be on.

Fifth Grade: When I first learned that Wes had been selected as Captain of the school safety patrol I said to myself "My God! They've given him a badge! And now he's in charge!"

Sixth Grade: Wes cannot read. He also knows far too much about project Apollo than he should. He leads the class astray with unending NASA analogies. We have a classroom, we are not NASA- please try and make this clear to him before he enters Junior High School next fall.


11/26/09 klyde morris


Human factors

Although airlines are unwilling to invest in flight crew comprehensive training in human factors in order to improve safety, and are not willing to apply human factors to operations, there is one area where they have the human factors lesson well applies- passenger's wallets.

Back in 2008, as the price of fuel began to rise and the mismanagement of airline assets began to really show, someone in airline management used the volumes of information on human factors to find a great way to grub a lot of money. The formula involved simply charging a fee for every bag that every slob who was dumb enough to still buy a ticket decided to check. One after another the airlines implemented this little scam and factored that the other airlines would, for the most part, follow suit. They did. The calculation also involved the human factor that once these fees were in place across most of the"legacy carriers" passengers would soon hate the fees, but would also get used to being used in this manner. They did.

A year and a half later, the airlines are no longer facing the steep fuel costs, the pensions of their employees have been erased in the bankruptcy courts, capacity has been slashed and the airlines are raising the checked bag fees. The passengers- in a predictable human factors response- are grumbling, but still pay the higher fees.

In this coming holiday season, my mom will be flying out east here to be with us for Christmas. Northworst Airlines wants to charge her $20, each way, for her one bag. I refuse to pay- instead, I told ma to get a nice cardboard box. She will drive a block two days before her flight and take her box, containing her travel clothing, plus some winter and summer clothing, and she will go to FedEx and, using my FedEx account, ship her stuff by FedEx Ground to my house. When her visit is over we'll store some of her clothing here and what she wants to send back to her home we will FedEx back to her. That process will cost just over $8 each way and will screw Northworst Airlines out of their fee.

Figuring a way around their fees is a human factor too.


Your airline management resume

If you want to get a job in airline management you would do well to simply put on your resume that you are experienced in dry wall hanging.

The reason why dry wall hangers are well qualified to become airline managers is because they have grerat experience in screwing. Screwing one thing to another, screwing up(ward), screwing around (corners), screwing and then covering the screws so no one can see them, screwing their customers (walls) and knowing that when you've screwed as much as you can screw things at work- it's time to get out of the house and move on to another house and do more screwing.


Where are those Internet forum space experts now?

It has been HIGHLY amusing watching the Ares I haters after the launch. The silence has been quite loud. A few of them have tried the "re-contact" route, but that was rapidly shot down. There were some "yeah but" butts out there doing the "Yeah but, the 5 segment SRB will burn differently and may still TO" but no one is listening anymore.

The fact is that there are a lot of self-proclaimed "experts" out there as well as a crowd of their faithful followers who are now standing around with a lot of egg on their faces. NOT ONE of the critic's predicted horrors appeared- in fact, not even a hint of ANY of the predicted faults actually existed.

All of those cyber blow-hards with their blackberry-generated quips, their posts with tag lines saying things such as "Cancel the shaft now" or "Kill the stick" and so on have not had a lot to say- the screaming has gotten very quite and the arm waving has degenerated into a shrug or two. Even those "Kill the stick" sort of sub-tags have either vanished from forum posts or have been changed in many cases.

And so, the lesson here is that most of those critics who spoke the loudest, waved their arms the hardest and had the most toxic stuff to say about the Ares I-X did not really know what they were talking about- they only knew how to make it sound good and thus make themselves feel really important. Now, I'm sorry to say- their thrill is gone. But hey- perhaps the I-X Prime may come along and they can once again play in the mud puddle that is their own ego. They'll be back- trust me.


Swine Flu U

On Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 11:30 I was walking down the stairs at home and suddenly realized that my arms felt a bit achy. By noon, I was curled into a ball on the couch with 3 shirts on, a hood over my head and several blankets- shivering, cramped to the point where my hands were in fists and I had a temperature of 102.2. That's right- I was turned into a meatball in just 30 minutes!

Within 2 and one half hours I was in the doctor's office and he took a brief look at me and after hearing about the on-set he told me I, without any doubt, had the H1N1 Swine Flu. He then told me that mine, although a textbook case, was nothing compared to the guy who'd just been in ahead of me. That guy was a US Naval Academy football player. Described by the doctor as being "The most muscle-bound human I've even seen." He too was turned into a large pile of shivering meat with a temperature of more than 102. The doctor said that he asked the big, peak of health guy how long ago this had hit him. The giant midshipman raised his wrist watch with difficulty, looked at it and replied "22 minutes ago... sir." If it can take a guy like that down, one can imagine what it can do to dweeby, five decade old doofus like me.

I had my first dose of TamaFlu in me within 4 hours of being stricken and with a surgical mask stretched across my face, went directly into isolation in our guestroom. That is where I remained, with a pile of DVDs and a portable player... for the next 7 days. To protect everyone I had to remain isolated until I could go 24 hours, unmediated, without fever. Upon reaching that goal you're considered non-contagious.

The worst part about this flu is the non-productive cough. It does not allow you to sleep, because it never quits. The result is that I was awake, coughing, for 3 nights straight. Thankfully, for the past several years I've been collecting DVD boxed sets of old TV shows such as, Barney Miller 1976-77 season, WKRP- first season, Saturday Night Live 1977-78 season as well as the full Mel Brooks movie collection etc. I also have every DVD ever produced by Spacecraft Films. I needed all of these- just to keep me sane. I could not get into my work area, because my wife was using my machine to tele-commute to work while she took care of me, and my daughters use my laptop... besides I was too vegged out to do any computer work anyhow!

I was just thankful all the while that those wonderful folks at our Federal Government... you know the same ones who want to take over all of our healthcare... made sure that all of the Gitmo terrorists and all of the suits at the bailed-out banks got their swine flu shots before I did.