Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Way It Was!

The Way It Was
Where Are All The Spitfire Pilots?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown September 18, 2015

Every day it seems as if there are more and more stories about man-made disasters around the world or horrible murders and violence even here at home in America.  This morning, after reading about a teenager who took the lives of three people because they argued, saddened me beyond description.  There is no logic behind such a story other than one person's total disregard for human life.

So as I sat at my desk with my new Vizio Sound Bar attached to my Desktop computer.  I tuned it to some really good listening to music and as I listened I was taken back to 1968.  My wife Diane and I were not married for even a year as yet.  Another buddy I knew in the Coast Guard had married a British girl.  We were invited to her parent's home in the English country side; I believe southeast of London. 

What a drive - beautiful country; great people.  Then as we approached their home, the only word that comes to mind is WOW!  It was a home right out of any book you might read about a British Country Home.  It was simply beautiful and our hosts were magnificent especially given that we had never met.  After a wonderful Sunday early afternoon meal, we sat out on the front porch that overlooked a wonderfully landscaped front yard that looked out over the British countryside.  It was like a painting you might see in a gallery.

"You're in luck!"  Our host excitedly said.  "It's running!"  He then took us to his garage and inside I could not believe my eyes.  A 1923 Bentley, painted in British Racing Green.  Huge headlamps aside the radiator.  Leather straps over the massive hood (bonnet for you British folks). Very large tires and it has seats for four maybe five people.  The four of us loaded up and we went for a ride through the British countryside.  In American jargon, it was definitely the cat's meow!  We were all saying to lookers on - LOOK AT ME!

The conversation turned to World War II of all things.  It was at first hard to compare the two; the beautiful country with the horrors of war.  Our hosts then described what it was like living in that same home during the war.  He said that on almost any given Sunday, like this one, back before America joined the war effort, Britain was at war with Germany.  The beauty of the Sunday afternoon would be suddenly broken by the roar of German and British Spitfire fighter planes overhead.  I have been fortunate to actually hear what that sounds like but that is a story for another day.  Suffice it to say that once you hear that noise you never forget it.

Our host painted the picture for us.  Planes fighting overhead like you see in the movies while the people of the village including them would take chairs out onto their yards to watch the overhead fighting.  If the German pilot were to be shot down, they would grab whatever they could, guns, shovels, pitch forks, rakes, boards and they would all head out to the field where the pilot either crashed or parachuted to safety.  If still alive, they would capture him and wait for the local  authorities to arrive.  If it was a British pilot shot down, they would rush to his aid.  And that is what they did on a Sunday afternoon or any afternoon for that matter, in the southern areas of England in the early 40's.  In case you are NOT aware, "The cost of the Battle was high – of the nearly 3,000 aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain 544 lost their lives and of the remainder a further 814 died before the end of the War."  

The point of this short story is that there are no "participation trophies" during time of war or life.  The German pilot if he survived and returned to Germany, considered it a win.  If he downed one or more of the British pilots he may receive a ribbon/medal.  If not, he received nothing.  The same was true for the British pilots.  Why is this a critical part of the story?  Because in life we have winners and we have losers.  It is very possible to win and not receive recognition and it is possible to lose and receive recognition.  You ARE either winning or losing, you are not simply participating.  If you are, you are doing nothing but treading water before you drown.  What is the difference?  If you win at all costs, then what have you expended to create that win for you?  Was it your total effort or your partial effort? Was it based upon a little cheating or a little bullying on the side to make it happen?  If you lost, did you give it your best or your partial best? Did you receive recognition or maybe nothing at all for whatever effort you gave it? 

The real question is, did you give it your absolute best?  Your best!  There is a wonderful short video on the value and effort it requires to "give it your absolute best."  The video is on the Internet but it could be taken down at any time.  I only hope it remains forever, it is that good and can be seen at  I hope you take the few minutes to watch it. 

Recently, I, like so many others and maybe you, watched the Republican Presidential Debates #1 and #2.  I cannot speak for others but I was disgusted as it seemed to be more and more about personal attacks against each other and given the state of politics and government over the past 20 or 30 years, we needed more substance than was given.  These two debates were no different than others I have seen.  If the moderator was not attempting to drive a wedge between two or more candidates, the candidates were attempting to drive that wedge.  These events seem to be more of a series of "gotcha moments" than they are attempting to find out what each candidate considers their core values, beliefs and principles.  If you watched, can you honestly say you learned more about the candidates than you did before you began to watch?  Do you know which candidates would adequately respond during a real crisis?  I didn't.

I am fortunate enough to have endured the four-year Presidency of Jimmy Carter when it seemed like the entire country was in the tank with no hope of emerging.  Along came Ronald Reagan who did not throw stones at his adversary, instead he painted the most rosy of rosy pictures for the future of America.  He reignited the belief that we live in the greatest country in the world and it can be great once again.  But then he said how he was going to make this happen.  Today we get accusations rather than visions.  We get distorted histories given by both the candidate him or herself or by the other candidates towards the others on the stage.

As I watched, I thought about the massive excessive spending  by America's politicians when the money was not there.  It is quite simple, America has spent MORE than it has taken in.  They need to take a lesson from Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty International when he says, "Lead with REVENUES, not with EXPENSES!"  PERIOD!  Imagine what America would be like if the country had no debt.   What are these candidates going to do to achieve a balanced budget and stop spending (expenditures) more than the government takes in (revenues)?  I did not hear that from any of them.  The world is on the brink of a third world war; there is no question about that yet our current government refuses to even call it for what it is.  The desire to live in peace by most but certainly not all people around the world is being threatened by Radical Islam; it is spreading like wildfire across the planet.  Do these candidates appreciate what they are getting themselves into and if so, what is each one going to do to protect Americans, AS REQUIRED BY OUR CONSTITUTION? What are they specifically going to do?  And what is each one proposing to do about the illegal INVASION (yes invasion, it is not illegal immigration, it is an illegal invasion) of America?  And while there are many more issues, I would like to also know what each one proposes to do to get both the Republicans and Democrats to work together to create solutions to these problems that WILL eventually destroy our country just as Germany wanted to destroy and takeover Europe and eventually the world.

We ARE at war and most Americans fail to realize that we are and we have been at war for some time.  We are at war with our own government which has failed us at every point by failing just TO DO THEIR JOBS as defined by the U. S. Constitution.  EVERY POINT!  And it starts and stops with spending more than it takes in.  This is an unsustainable operation of government.  I look to the sky once again in 2015 and this time I see the enemy combatants circling overhead as so vividly described to me in 1968, but this time I don't see the grossly outnumbered British warriors fighting off the superior in number enemies of the country.  Of course I use the term "British" to describe our own government charged with defending and protecting America.  But this time we are NOT outnumbered and we are strong but "we the people" are being handcuffed by our own government through laws, regulations, restrictions, failure to focus on what is important and what is not.  To illustrate this last point one only need look at the American light bulb and toilet.  Our government has gone to great lengths to define to the smallest detail what kind of light bulb we are REQUIRED to use and what type of toilet WE MUST use all while ISIL is overrunning the globe.  We are circling the drain in regards to money management and our borders if we even have borders, are as open as ever all the while ISIL grows in strength and we do nothing.

And what do some of our candidates talk about - the face of another candidate, who said what and when it was said, who smoked pot and when, how many times a candidate may have been married.  You may want to know this crap, and at least to me that is what it all is, crap.  What do I want to know?


Where are the Spitfire pilots when WE need them?  If you want an example of someone giving their absolute best, read the history about the Battle of Britain.  The entire country gave its absolute best and its reward - it won in the face of extreme odds of being able to do so.  Are you and I prepared to put forth that kind of effort to turn our country around?  I am, are you?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Every Move You Make

1950 - 2015
Every Move You Make!
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown September 16, 2015

A lot of people are not as fortunate as I am given the year I was born, 1945.  Besides World War II ending in 1945, yours truly was born in Youngstown, Ohio.  I don't remember much before 1950 and thus the reason this Nugget is entitled 1950-2015. 

I do remember the snow/blizzard of 1950 that hit Youngstown.  Specifically I remember the snow piles that were above my head.  I remember the street on which we lived where the snow was packed so tightly and so thick that a Schlitz Beer Truck that traveled the street on a regular basis did so on this day as well.  The driver was shocked to find the massive Oak Tree branches that he had cleared day after day before the storm now had no clearance at all.  Suddenly and violently the top of the truck was opened like a can and there was Schlitz Beer all over the street.  Lots of happy neighbors.

I also remember our elementary school class having Atomic Bomb Drills where we would all climb under our desks to protect us from the impending evil as if that would really save us from anything.

I remember the first black & white television and not long after that the first color television set.  In both cases the television sets outpaced the reception you could receive.  Oftentimes one of us would stand holding onto aluminium foil covered rabbit ears antenna to get the best reception on one of the three stations we could watch.

I remember actually walking to school all the way through to Junior High School.  Even attending High School I remember hitchhiking my way to school - no buses that I remember.  I once got into a 1962 Chevy Super Sport with 4 on the floor and a brass plate on the dash that read, "Do not lower the windows when speed exceeds 120 mph", that actually happened, the sign, not the speed.

I remember getting home from school and grabbing my baseball glove, bat and ball and heading to the park on my bike and not returning home until dark.  In the winter I would put on my boots, gloves, heavy coat and hat grab my skates and walk to the park where they would flood the tennis courts for us kids to skate.  Then at 9:00 PM when they would turn the lights off, home we went - walking in the snow alone.

I also remember watching Father Knows Best on television - all was right with the world.  Dads worked, Moms worked as homemakers, which is now a dirty word.  It was not necessary for a two income family if one had a good job.  So most of us had the opportunity to have a parent at home all the time.  Bloody noses, open wounds, breakfast, lunch, dinner and shoulders to cry on.  And there was always the pats on the back for doing a good job.  I remember turning my 45 rpm record player/radio on to WKBN and Jimmy Dudley to listen to the Cleveland Indians play baseball at night when I was supposed to be sleeping.  I remember sleeping with the windows open, year round and sometimes waking up with snow on my desk.

Why am I remembering these things now?  I recall sitting in a required presentation by Dr. Morris Massey ( that the U. S. Coast Guard "required" us all attend.  That was in the late 60's and I can recall it as if it were yesterday.  Why?  Because of its content and title.  "You Are What You Are (Today) Because of Where You Were When You Were Ten!"  Think about that.  If you were 10 during the depression years, you would have developed beliefs and principles brought on by the Great Depression.  You might have learned to be very selective in how you spent money or what and how much you would eat, etc.  I was 10 in the mid 50's and like I said, Father Knows Best and all was right in the world - really no wars, one parent working, one not, 2.5 children to a family and everyone was happy, at least in my world.  Then came the 60's and with it came Vietnam, flower children, free drugs, free sex, etc.  Again values and principles; or not.  You can go through history and ask yourself what kind of beliefs, values and principles were created during those years?

Why is this important?  It was important to the Leadership of the Coast Guard because we had youngsters and we had "old farts" excuse the language but that is what we called them.  So when an "old fart" had to discuss behavior with the youngsters they were coming from entirely different eras and thus different beliefs, values and principles. The "old farts" were hard on the youngsters because they had no formal training involving the different time frames, beliefs, values and principles.  It went without saying that everyone, according to age, were on different pages in the book.  As I said, I can remember the presentation as if it were yesterday.  That presentation also helped me in my real estate career by better understanding where my customers beliefs and values were coming from and most were not from the mid-50s as mine were.  Great, great, great training.

I write this now because at age 70 you must remember when I was 10, all was right with the world as compared to now where the world, at least to me, is rapidly falling apart.  I don't understand how younger people of today are more interested in playing video games, watching reality TV and having a general disinterest in what is happening in the world.  I remember joining the Coast Guard and feeling like I was doing something important with my life, saving people - serving my country.  I remember looking in the mirror every morning to see if my shirt was properly starched and wrinkle free, my name tag was not only straight, it was right side up and all my insignias and ribbons were on correctly.  I took great pride in that uniform - it was the uniform of my country and I was its ambassador - at least that is what I thought and believed.

But then it was Vietnam, and the aftermath of Vietnam with all the veterans returning home to a home that didn't want them - they were baby killers if you remember the shouts and articles.  America was falling apart under Jimmy Carter who became known as the worst President of the United States - ever!  Then came Ronald Reagan who shared his American Dream with everyone and almost immediately the world seemed to have righted itself.  So if you were 10 during the Reagan years, you grew up with a bustling economy, jobs were plentiful, pay was good if not great.  If you were 10 during the Carter years - well let's say it was not pleasant.

But if you grew up in the Clinton years what was the dominant memory of President Clinton - the blue dress.  My God, the President was having sex with an intern in the Oval Office which was not only apparently okay to do but it was also okay for the President to lie about it to the public.  This may and probably had been going on for a long time with past Presidents but who knew?  Now we knew, and what was the message being sent to 10 year olds during this horrible mess?

God forbid that you were 10 on 9/11.  I can't even begin to imagine what a 10 year old went through during that period and all the terrorism and murders that have occurred ever since 9/11.  They almost seem to be routine, expected and accepted.  What a horrible thought that is; again, at least to me it is.

But why is it not an absolute horrible thought to everyone else?  Why do so many not seem to care or even pay attention?  I am more convinced than ever that it goes back to "You Are What You Are Because of Where You Were When You Were 10!"

Here is the question for you the reader, when were you 10 years old?  What was happening in your environment to cause you to develop the behaviors and beliefs not to mention your character that has become entrenched in your mindset?  Was your environment positive or negative?  More importantly, what can we learn from this if it is all true? 

What about the environment you are bringing your children up in?  What kind of beliefs, values, principles will they develop because of the environment you are creating for them?  As an example, we all know smoking is bad for your health and the health of those folks around you.  So if you have children around the age of 10 and they see you smoking, that makes it okay to do and they would like to be like you; after all you are their parent(s) are you not?  Or let's say you cuss a great deal or even a little deal.  A 10 year old may think that such language is acceptable and even desirable; it makes them adult-like.  Or maybe you drink a bit too much and too often.  Again what message are you sending to a 10 year old?  Drinking is permissible and again desirable.  And of course there are the drugs; hopefully not for you!   Better yet, babies are born without an ounce of prejudice in their little bodies.  Where do you think youngsters get their prejudices from?  Unfortunately not only do they get it from their parents, they can now get it from their video games, television shows and books if they even read books.  And speaking of books, Dr. Ben Carson who is running for President in 2015 gives the credit for reaching such a high pinnacle to his mother.  She would make Ben and his brother, who all lived in the worst parts of Detroit at the time, read a book-a-week and then give her a book report before they could do anything else.  He said a library card saved him and his brother from the disasters others in his neighborhood experienced growing up and dying young.  Do you read books in front of your 10 year old?  If not, how can you expect him or her to want to read as you do or do not?

If you have never heard Andy Andrews talk about the Butterfly Effect, you need to.  It is only 10 minutes long and you can see it at:  In effect it means that each one of us has the ability through his or her actions to change the world.  Just one action causes another action to occur and on and on it extends.  It is a brilliant video clip that by itself could change the world just as you and I can by our actions or inactions.

Today the world if falling apart like no other time in my memory 1950-2105.  What am I going to do to help fix it?  Maybe just writing this Nugget for the Noggin or maybe something I might post on Facebook, an email I might send or a conversation I might have that affects others.  I flap my butterfly wings to cause someone else to do something, and they flap their butterfly wings, that causes something else to happen that in the end helps to change the world back to a peaceful place to live.

What are you going to do?  Where are you going to flap your butterfly wings?  Whose life are you going to help improve?  What lessons are you going to give your 10 year old?