Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pardon Me While I Yawn ...

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been a little while since I've posted. I've been keeping a low profile; trying to stay under the radar, so to speak. With all of the negative press about sleeping air traffic controllers, I thought that would be the best course of action.

Unfortunately, the way things are going, I'd have to stay hidden from public view for the unforeseeable future.  I have to say that ATC is a pretty good gig but for the first time in nearly 20 years I'm a little bit embarrassed by the actions of a few of my fellow ATCers.

And even more embarrassed by the chest puffing, do-nothing-about-the-problem FAA and Transportation Secretary LaHood.  So far, the only thing that the FAA has done is make up a bunch nonsense rules for everybody that hasn't had a problem to follow. Of course, they haven't been given much choice by some of my fellow controllers. Really, guys? Beds? Pillows? Sleeping when there are airplanes to tend to? Coming to work with the idea that you get to sleep?

Nobody knows more than me just how hard staying awake with nothing to do can be.  If you've been following Out Of My Hat for very long, you'll remember my annual Maintenance Wakefulness Test (MWT) that I get to take again next month and my experiences from the past.

We all know the rules--just play along.  We also know that the one thing that most of our supervisors hate to do is ... well, their job. So just don't give them an excuse for having to do it! --just play along.  On most offenses that are subject to disciplinary action, we have nothing to fear because none of them are willing to go through the proper documentation, notification or procedures that they have determined are necessary.  They may try to blame it on the Union, but the truth is the Union just holds them to the procedures that they say are necessary for discipline or removal.

For a first time removable're pretty much hosed and there isn't much that anybody can do to help you.

Let's be honest with each other, the FAA isn't going to do anything that will make working crap hours with no rest and little to do any easier. They are not going to make meaningful changes to allow for more rest. And they are never going to make safety more important than politics.  As long as the FAA is charged with the dual role of regulating aviation and promoting the safety of the industry to flying public, it will be corrupt.

Safety was never compromised!

The foxes that guard the chicken coop are always going to tell you that the hens are perfectly safe! If a hen is killed; don't worry, they'll add another fox as a guard and promote the supervisor that was on duty!

Maybe we should all have to take the stupid MWT.  The irony of sleep apnea is that if you don't get it diagnosed, you get to keep working (you may be tired, but you're working). Once you have the diagnosis and are being treated, they pull your medical certification and require you to jump through the hoops to keep your job. It makes perfect sense when you look at it through the filter of government bureaucracy.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Night of the Cossack

I love that I have several signed books. I am looking forward to receiving my next signed book in just a matter of days. Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh is going to be released this week. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom and his publisher, Dennis Vance, just a few weeks ago at our monthly meeting of the OCACW.  Although, Tom has worked on other published projects in the past, this is his first fictional work to be published.  

I had the pleasure of asking Tom and Dennis a few questions. These are their answers:  

Q:  Your book is titled Night of the Cossack.  While most people would guess that cossacks are Russian, few could probably say what a cossack actually is. Tell me, what is a cossack and why did you choose this setting for your story?

Tom: Cossacks original definition was “freemen”.  They were under no one’s authority and basically hired themselves out to whomever.  Today they would be called mercenaries I suppose.  Eventually they were taken over by the czar of Russia in the very early 1900’s. I chose the setting for the book because my maternal grandfather was a Jew and a Russian Cossack.

Q:  At 69 years old...why now, Tom? What was it that prompted you, or compelled you to write a book now?

Tom:  I've been writing since I was a kid. I was always sending in poems to companies that advertised “turn your poems into song lyrics” in the back of comic books.  Of course, they always wanted money and I didn't have any. I started writing seriously when I was in my 30’s. I self-published a book, Behind the Scenes of the Bus Ministry, in 1975 that I used in conjunction with my ministry. Everything I've written until Night of the Cossack has been non-fiction.  Last year I cooperated with Barbour Publishing and 14 other writers in a devotional, The Great Adventure. I worked on Night of the Cossack for 5 years. It’s about my maternal grandfather.  Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. Since I’m a grandfather of 14, I wanted to have a grandfather I knew so I took a few facts I knew about him, researched, and wrote the novel. Age doesn't have anything to do with anything since I’m a child of The King
 (Note: The figure in the right foreground of the cover is Tom's grandfather.)
I have been a lay preacher who earned his living as a financial planner for 25 years.  I semi-retired and worked at the Salvation Army Harbor House for another 6 years.  I had a severe heart attack in 2004, which gave me all kinds of time to pursue my dreams. Writing is one of them. I was born in Wichita, KS in 1942 in the same hospital my maternal grandfather died in a year earlier.

Q:  Without giving anything away, is there something else (other than the first chapter from your website) that you could share to entice my readers to buy your book?

Tom:  The book contains adventure, hard decisions, deep emotion, tears, moral issues, etc. I think there’s something for everyone regardless of age. As your are probably aware, there is a shortage of good, clean, adventure stories for every age. I think this novel fills a much needed vacuum.

Q:  You've chosen to submit your book to a pretty new Christian publishing company. What prompted that?

Tom:  The publishing of this book is a “God thing” in my opinion.  Dennis Vance came to me to help him develop a website for a Christian publishing company he and his wife, Polly, were starting. During the process of discussion, he read the first chapter of my novel that was on my own website. He was hooked and wanted to read more. When he finished the manuscript, he and Polly took me and Barbara, my wife, out to eat and asked if he could publish it. Dennis and I have known each other for about 5 years.  I designed another site for him, .  He and Polly are committed Christians. I said yes.  He said he was afraid I wouldn’t be interested because he’s a new company and this would be only the second book for them. I believe Prov. 16:9 and 19:21 are two important verses and I felt God was directing both of us and still do.

Q:  Dennis, tell me a little bit about Bound by Faith. What are the principle characteristics that you want your publishing company to be known for?

Dennis:  At Bound by Faith Publishers, our mission is to help further God's kingdom by making disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ by publishing books that promote godly character. Our desire is to be used by God to help further His kingdom.

Most movies, TV shows, magazines and books are filled with provocative and indecent material. We think it is really important to provide good, wholesome books to the public. Our goal is to publish Christian books as well as books that promote family values. 

Q:  You've published Parenting Moment by Moment which is quite a bit different from Night of the Cossack. What other types of manuscripts are you looking to publish?

Dennis:  Parenting Moment by Moment by Carla MacLachlan is basically a discipleship book that shows parents how to raise godly children by using biblical principles.

Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh is our first novel. We are very excited about it and we think it is very important for the public to have great wholesome books like this available to them.

We are always looking for good discipleship material as well as novels. We are currently looking at a wonderful evangelism book as well as several children’s books. So if any of your readers have something that they want to submit to us, please have them go to and click on the submissions button.

Q:  A final question for Tom; is there another book in the works? A sequel or a completely new story?

Tom:  Both.  Night of the Cossack started out as a love story between my grandfather and grandmother. After writing 78,000 words or so, I decided it was too much for one book. I hope to finish two more novels, one about my grandmother and then one about them together. If I don’t get finished here, I hope to finish in Heaven.

I hope that you will follow the links, read chapter one, and order Night of the Cossack. I hope to meet with Tom for lunch soon to pick up my signed copy in person.

By the way, I know that Tom and Dennis are interested in what kind of marketing works well. If you happen to purchase a copy because of reading about it here, please let me know. I'll gladly pass on the information.

John <><