Monday, July 10, 2017

Being Safe Matters

Up here at the Old Place we know who we are, and generally how to stay out of trouble.  I have often said that it is not necessary to ask anyone’s opinion up here because we know each other so well.  Which is why we find other people’s TV troubles, especially law suits are so entertaining. They are our only real chance to argue with each other.  Of course, not having a dog in the fight tends to make those arguments more academic, but hey I’ve seen a bottle of 100 year old Scotch change hands over a tabletop discussion! So when the Black Lives Matter folks got sued over the 2016 police shooting, out came the Scotch bottle and things got rolling pretty quick.

I started things off with this statement, "Purely from a safety standpoint, what did they think was going to happen?"  Roosevelt, our JAG lawyer reminded us that the law asks, “What would a Reasonable Person have expected to happen," and then asked, “When is violence and the fermenting of additional violence the likely outcome of an action?” Our retired Marine, Ruth was quick to cite the deaths of Bob Jones and Travon Martin, the assaults on Reginald Denny, and the riots in Ferguson. Our historian,Tim reminded everyone of the "peaceful outrage" over the removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans. The previous points were followed by several hypotheticals:  A Christian woman walks into a mosque and starts trying to save people.  Is she welcomed or thrown out?  An Auburn fan, waving his blue and orange, walks into Bryant-Denny Stadium for a 'Bama pep rally.  Welcomed or bodily thrown out?  I walk into the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. section at Daytona wearing my Jeff Gordon shirt. . . well I don't even want to think about it!  Some things you just don't do. By creating a group called, "Black Lives Matter" don't you automatically alienate all non-blacks?  To some being alienated results in grumbling and FB rants, others start cleaning their guns.  (You will notice there are no groups called, "White Lives Matter, Native American Lives Matter or LGBTQ Lives Matter, and there damn sure isn't a group called, "Unborn Lives Matter!")  There is a general curiousity as to why they didn't call it, "African American Lives Matter or even "Colored Lives Matter?" The irony is, not even members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the NAACP like being referred to as "Colored."  It kind of reminds me of that Auburn fan.  Are Auburn fans, the Plainsmen or are they the War Eagles or are they the Tigers?  I am just an ignorant old Safety Man who long ago made peace with the world, but I am also a member of a brotherhood of folk who are experts on how to not get hurt.  Please people, give one of us a call.

Sitting in a rocker at the Old Place, I am Col. Jim.

Friday, July 7, 2017

“Oh See, C.C. Rider. Oh See What You Have Done.”

Up here at the Old Place we love the King.  He used to sing in small dance halls all over this area back in the day.  When word got out that young kid with the “Swivel Hips” would be appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, everyone around the lake crowded into Ruth’s General Store to see the action on her brand new black and white TV.  Turns out “The King” was clairvoyant!  The “C's” I am singing about today of course are the big media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, PMS-NBC, CNN, and the BBC.

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
In his book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu admonishes his readers to, “Know Your Enemy.”  My Liberal friends and family make many strong statements about Conservatives but generally have never listened to Conservative news sources or read Conservative sites.  They make assumptions based on incomplete data.  This is where the term, “Low Information Voter” came from.  Conservatives on the other hand have always been well informed because for years they had no choice; the C's were it!

Where Is the Motivation?
I am sure we all agree that the term, “Big Business” applies to the C’s as much as it does to Exxon. The C’s are multi-billion dollar businesses that would have great difficulty staying in business without the advertising dollars of other multi-billion dollar businesses, many of them Conservative.  Once consumers realized this, they began writing to advertisers telling them, “I will stop buying your product unless you stop advertising on ABC, CBS…” you get the idea. When those advertisers politely said, “No,” Conservatives, rather ironically, realized that the C’s were just another big, faceless, self-serving monopoly.  A very Liberal thought but read on. . .

Creating Your Own Worst Enemy
Until the advent of ole Rush Limbaugh in 1984 on AM radio, Conservatives only sources for news were the C’s.  When a C ran a story that a listener knew to be untrue, that listener was stuck without the consumer’s option to, “take your business elsewhere.” Oh sure you could write a letter and many did.  Conservatives began to talk about “media bias.”  We now call it, “Fake News.”  One fella who had enough was, media mogul Rupert Murdoch.  Twenty years ago, he hired former Republican Party media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes to start Fox News.  Fox was supposed to be a Conservative alternative to the C’s.  Ailes coined the Fox catch phrase, “Fair and Balanced.”  The Conservative distrust of the C’s as, only "Liberal agenda pushers" made Fox successful and quite literally created Hannity, Levin, the Tea Party and a host of others, all chasing Limbaugh’s lead.

When Too Late, You Realize What You’ve Done
Ever wonder why supposedly peace loving Liberals have become so violent of late?  In her book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Author J.K. Rowling explained it this way, "Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do!  Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!”  Young Liberals are terrified that they have created a monster that will ultimately devour them!  Sadly, there is now no "Safe Place" for them to run to or hide.  Their names and faces are all over the internet and cannot be erased.  "Oh see, what you have done!"  McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover would have loved it!  I just find it sad.

Sitting in a rocker at the Old Place I am, Col. Jim.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Pitfalls and Pratfalls

For the past few years the Old Colonel has been exercising his inner thespian and with the resurgence of Runnels Summer Camp, shall do so again by Crom!  Up here at the Old Place, we actually had a small community theater.  It opened back in the thirties and ran steady until the war.  Shakespeare was standard fare of course along with less well known productions of “The Barretts of Wimpole Street,” and “The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife.”  So, What's It Got to do with Safety?  Well, safety challenges abound in theater just as they do on the jobsite.  Actors are expected to be able to energetically battle with swords, dodge falling chandeliers and even fly!  Like any other form of elevated work, full body harnesses literally carry the load although their mission is very different.  Fall protection on the jobsite has to be able to sustain the incredible shock loading of falls from up to 6 feet!  Unlike fall protection, the flying harnesses of the theater will experience little to no shock loading so their design can be lighter and practically invisible which is necessary for the illusion.  Also, the worker whose life is saved by his personal fall arrest system usually ends up in the hospital anyway because of the G forces applied to his body.  We cannot afford to hurt our flying actors, so their set ups are vastly different.  Also on the jobsite we move everything from a 600 ton tank to a Georgia buggy full of scrap wood.  Moving sets around can be just as challenging.  Sets must be built on rollers light enough to move easily yet solid enough to dance on or maintain an odd shape.  One such item is a three or four sided monster referred to as a periaktoi, which is Greek for “revolving.”  (Most of us just call it a pterodactyl and be done with it.)   Periaktoi tip over easily, because they are often 12 to 15 feet tall and must be moved quickly but cautiously.  Out on the jobsite craftsmen bustle over uneven ground, dump trucks lumber by and backhoes wobble through with seeming disregard for each other.  Not so in the theater!  One of the director’s toughest jobs is what we call “Blocking;” the coordination of which rivals the best offensive lines to ever play the game.  Each actor, whether star or window dressing must move from mark to mark with the precision of a Blue Angels high speed fly by, one slip, one person not where the other actors expect them to be and the whole scene collapses, hopefully without injury.  Lastly, the people.  The deeper into the jobsite you get, the more diverse a people you will find: Carpenters, fitters, welders, electricians, crane operators, and yes even safety men must all find a way to get along and work together, meshing their various crafts and tasks to complete the job on time and on budget.  In the theater there are writers, and directors, set builders, and set movers, light and sound techs, costume designers and lest we forget (and many a director would like to) the actors.  Wildly diverse personalities, motivations, visions and dreams must coalesce to tell the story. The object of this all this intertwining is create a visual so natural we call it, “suspension of belief.”  The audience forgets it is watching a contrivance of talent, lights, sounds and movement and becomes immersed in the story. 

The great director John Ford once said, “I relieve myself of the rigors of directing by correctly casting the movie.”  Employers would do well to emulate this idea when starting a company or when manning up a jobsite.  After all, the show, must go on.

Sitting in a rocker at the Old Place, I am, Col. Jim.