Monday, August 6, 2018

Strugling With Our Humanity. It's Time To Call Bullshit, People!

by John Patrick Conway, Jr.

I just sent an email to the New York Times and I'm posting it below. However, before you read it I want to make something perfectly clear...a confession, if you will.

EVERYONE, regardless of any delineations in race, sex, religion, national origin or sexual preference has, at some time or another, struggled with their own humanity. Circumstances ranging from righteous fits of anger to passive-off the cuff thoughtlessness and cruising on down to those depths where the absence of any character has allowed an individual to dwell in the bottomless void of unadulterated hate, have allowed us all to pass from our lips statements of derisive and unkind import...present company included. I'm convinced that it is a trait hard-wired into our DNA, and anyone claiming otherwise is either a liar or delusional. 

But one of the things that sets the human race apart from all others is our ability to recognize our short comings; to see past ourselves and, most importantly, to do something about it when confronted by our own reflection in the to speak.

Each society sets, within its own orbit, limits of what is acceptable and what is not. Sometimes those limits have broad hues of grey; others with solid lines, black and white, not to be breached under any circumstances. But because we are all individuals we all see things differently, and agreeing on how and where to set these boundaries can be as arduous and seemingly insurmountable as finding...well, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

Yeah, I really just said that...

Today those limits are being tested and in a big way. Anti-Fa on the left and Alt-Right on the...well, the right. Where else? Whether this was bound to happen, or whether it has been inspired by a "Stable-Genius" with selfish motive to precipitate cause celebre in a criminal attempt to justify the unjustifiable...I'll just let that sink in a a matter for debate. Normally. But things are getting out of hand on both sides and a perfect example of that is the controversy now being argued about having to do with a recent hire by the New York Times.

Her name is Sarah Jeong. I'll leave it to you to google the details but, in short, I am of the opinion that she is the same kind of individual whose character inspires derision among people - as opposed to unity...just like Trump! There! I said it! Bite me!

So without further ado, my article to the New York Times:

To Whom It Should Concern:

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I consider myself a progressive. In fact, I just made my first ever donation to a young woman running in my district: $100.00 to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…just so you know where I’m coming from. I have been following the events of the last 24 hours where the NYT has demonstrated, for all the world to see, that so long as you use the most bizarre and convoluted reasoning, anything can be justified; that the ends can and do justify the means.

The NYT has extended an offer of employment to a woman named Sarah Jeong who has, over an extended period from 2012 thru 2015, demonstrated with her words her true heart. I do not care how much lipstick you try putting on this pig (pun intended), there is no excuse for this. So just that we’re clear – I will never, and I mean NEVER, read or refer to the New York Times as a legitimate source of news again.

Congratulations, folks! You just joined a special place on my “shit-list” right along side The Fox News Channel...and there you will stay until the NYT withdraws its offer of employment to Ms. Jeong, and those who extended it to her in the first place - knowing full well her true character - are sacked forthwith.

It’s time to call bullshit, people…


John Patrick Conway, Jr.

So there you have it. Roseanne Barr didn't say anything near as venomous as Ms. Jeong, nor over a period of time measured in years, people! And yet she lost her job, and quite possibly her career. And I'm not sorry; it goes both ways. At the very least Ms. Barr acknowledged her error in judgment where as Ms. Jeoung and the Editors at the New York Times have attempted to spin and, just like Donald Hump, justify the unjustifiable.

No! Na-uh! You do not win hearts and minds with rancor. Just ask Hillary, wait. Don't ask her. She still can't see past herself.

Copyright August 6, 2018. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

They Still Don't Get It! And Now The Ground Is Shifting Under Their Feet...!

by John Patrick Conway, Jr.

A couple weeks ago, on the same weekend, I read two articles that really had me concerned. One was the announcement of the Democratic Party's stated intention to head off and stifle another "distraction" the likes of which Bernie Sanders posed to the Sacred Cows of their Party in 2016 by requiring all those who wish to pursue a Democratic nomination to do so by first kissing the ring of the DNC, and running only as a registered Democrat. Another was an interview with George Soros who gave his take on why he believes Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in the general election.

As I said in my blog post of September 2017, Swimming In A Sea Of Media Red Herrings, after their momentary bout of clarity (some would say lucidity) where they pledged to open themselves to the screams of the rank and file, the Democratic Party has not only failed to learn from their own mistakes, but their hubris and propensity to characterize events as they wish to see or remember them, no matter how delusional, is back in full swing. So much for all their rhetoric on being the party of inclusiveness. Worst of all, they just telegraphed their intentions to stick with their corporate, big money, status quo...and to fucking hell with anyone who doesn't like it!

I haven't a clue as to how and explain this. Clearly, they've gone off the rails. One can only speculate that they're hoping Trump has proved so abhorrent to anyone with a soul that they can regain control of Congress later this year without having to do or say anything that may place them in the debt of their voting base (as if they would really give a shit). If that's the plan...they're finished. Voter turnout by registered democrats is at historic lows and without a reasonable belief that they, and their dreams, are not going to be served up to corporate interests as wage slaves then they might as well just stay home and catch the game on TV. 

As for George Soros, his characterization of Hillary's loss was nothing but Party-Line bullshit about how she just wasn't a good campaigner. Of course, nowhere did he acknowledge how his off the ballot gerrymandering, bought and paid for with his deep pockets, alienated the Democratic base to the point of absolute revolt against the DNC. Not one word about accepting any personal responsibility in bringing about the most pathetic defeat experienced by Democrats in recent memory.

So why was I concerned about all this? Simple. I'm concerned because the thought of Trump winning another election in 2020 is more than I can stomach...and the Democrats plan is just to phone it in? No fucking way!

I haven't heard jack-shit from Jill Stein and her Green Party in two years and that's unacceptable to me. This is serious. America needs to be engaged over time so that when 2020 rolls around the vast majority of her citizens will possess a firm grip upon the reins of self government, and without the fear of having to parry and thrust with corporate pirates.

Well, last night something happened. There was a long awaited tremor felt throughout the district where I live here in New York...and it's none too soon. A political outsider; a mere citizen; another college grad relegated to bar tending because that is what a higher education buys us today, took it upon herself to step forward and say ENOUGH! And then the Earth moved; it shook; it was felt by us all in the 14th District. A 28 year old young lady from the South Bronx with some experience in political activism, financially out gunned more than 10 to 1 by a twenty year-political incumbent, just spanked the ass of her opponent...and she did it with nothing more than the truth.

I've got to say that I was moved by her and her commercial on TV. It really was well done. It spoke to me on so many levels that, if I were a registered Democrat, I'd have voted for her in the Primary yesterday. But since I refuse to lend my name to their rolls, and the Dems stupidly exclude everyone but registered party members from participating, I'd have to take a wait and see approach as to whether I would get a chance to cast my vote in her favor come the General Elections this Fall.

Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and she was the David to Congressman Joseph Crowley's Goliath. Now, like Joe Crowley, I'm Irish-Catholic so you might have thought I would've gone with him...but you would be wrong. For me, he was unacceptable for having caved into voting in favor of The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) during the Housing Crisis. He, and others, attempted to justify the unjustifiable and was forever lost to me from that moment on. He truly showed who he represented in Congress and it sure as hell wasn't the working class people who comprise the overwhelming majority of the 14th District.

To tell you the truth, some who know me may think me to be ungrateful. You see, back in 2003 I had gone to his Office in Queens for help in dealing with a government agency. His Office then had a Congressional Aide on staff who was very understanding and worked to resolve the issue for which I needed assistance. Her name was Peggy Bartichek and when she was done she gave me a call, asked me what I did, where I worked and just seemed to take a general interest. I thought this to be a bit odd, but since she was so helpful I thought it was the least I could do to answer her questions. Little did I realize what was to follow.

At the time, I worked the trading floor at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). About a month or two after this call, a guy who I didn't know visits the Options Pit for Light Sweet Crude and Natural Gas were I was assigned. It turns out that he was the Operations Manager for the entire Exchange's Trading Floors of both the NYMEX and COMEX. Why he wanted to talk to me was a mystery. I was introduced to him and he was very congenial. I remember him saying something like, "I believe we have a common acquaintance." At the time I didn't recognize his last name so I was at a loss. Then he says something along the lines, "I understand we have an acquaintance in common from the Congressman's Office." Just then it hits me. I said, " mean Peggy? You know Peggy?!" That's when he tells me she's his mother. You could've knocked me over with a feather. From that point on I always felt as though he had my back. 

At that time I was still voting every election cycle, albeit for the lesser of two or three evils. But I resolved to keep voting for Crowley because of the people he surrounded himself with in his Office. People like Peggy. That was, of course, until he and others proved to be bought and sold by Wall Street. After that, I cut bait and never looked back. During his and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez televised debate, Joe Crowley claimed to fight against the Banking Industry and Wall Street by voting for Dodd-Frank which actually made me gag. The Dodd-Frank legislation he spoke of was a laughing stock among those of us who worked on Wall Street. It was to Banking reform what a Band-Aid is to a sucking chest wound, and many would argue that it was constructed to be easily broken down at a later time and, as things turned out, that's exactly what has been happening. As we speak it is being gutted by Trump and his administration, so for Joe Crowley to use his stewardship of Dodd-Frank as a defense against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assertions that he is owned by Corporate and Big Money interests was, to say the least, duplicitous.

Another thing. Without getting into the details of what saw me walk into his Office way back in 2003 (I plan to Blog about that another time), suffice it to say that it wouldn't have been necessary in the first place if it were not for him, and others like him, who saw to it that I, and others in my same situation, would be placed at a serious disadvantage in dealing with agencies of the Federal Government. Again, a story for another time.

As for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez...? I'm glad that my fellow citizens have begun to stand up for themselves. I just hope that this call to action is contagious; God knows it's long overdue. I just heard Nancy Pelosi, when asked for her reaction to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's victory upset over Congressman Crowley last night, give something of a dismissive response. Seriously, I hope Pelosi and the rest of her polluted Party is next to go.

And to Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her team: Well done and congratulations! I do not doubt your veracity and I believe you mean what you say. I just hope that you, and others with whom you caucus, can actually effect those changes you so passionately and eloquently champion. Though I do not agree with you on everything, you are a far and wide exactly what this country so desperately needs right now...and in the future.


Copyright June 27,2018. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Look How Far We've Come...In 91 Years

by John Patrick Conway, Jr.

It's really funny how, as of late, my internal sense of time seems to nudge me when I'm not paying attention. Last Saturday, May 19th, when I logged onto my computer to check my email, the weather and the news, I also opened YouTube to see what's what. For some strange reason I got the urge to do a search on the instrument panel for the Ryan NYP that Charles Lindbergh flew on his record breaking flight in 1927. For those of you who are unaware, the NYP stood for New York to Paris.

So anyway, why did I do this? Well, somewhere in my subconscious I must have sensed that May 20th was upon me...and you're probably saying to yourself about now: OK. Soooo...? You've got to understand that where most people mark the passage of time throughout the year with anniversaries, birthdays and the like, I've always anchored my position in time with dates of events in history; both personal, and in aviation history in particular. I don't really know why - I just do.

For example - Every year I take a moment and pause so as to reflect upon the significance, as I perceive it, of:

* January 27th - The Apollo 1 fire that took the lives of Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee in 1967

* January 28th - The Space Shuttle Challenger  disaster in 1986

* February 3rd - The day the music died. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (aka, The Big Bopper) are killed in the early morning when their pilot, probably suffering from spatial disorientation, crashes into a farmer's field just north of Clear Lake, Iowa during a snow storm

* March 1st - I solo for the first time and earned my wings in 1987

* April 12th - Yuri's Night. The first human to have orbited the Earth was a Russian Pilot and Cosmonaut named Yuri Gargarin. In the spirit of keeping  with the peaceful exploration of space, people from all over the world celebrate and raise a glass in honor of this brave soul, this on the anniversary of a truly momentous occasion in human history

* April 29th - My college graduation in 1990

* May 20th thru the 21st - Charles "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh solos non-stop from New York to Paris

* June 4th thru the 6th - The Battle of Midway. One of my fondest memories as a kid was my Dad taking me to see the movie Midway in was the thing back then. From then on I would always hope to be a Naval Aviator. Even as a kid I was struck by the sacrifices made...on both sides. I remember thinking that all those who perished over those three days probably had someone waiting for them beyond the Pacific's distant horizon, and felt sad they would soon learn their loved ones would never be coming back

*  June 30th - Albert Einstein submits the fourth of his five Anno Mirabilis papers, to the Annalen der Physik outlining his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905

* July 5th - my oldest friends Birthday. Glen and I met in the sand box at P.S. 179's Kindergarten in Fresh Meadows, September 1970. Whenever I think or speak of him, I always remember him as being twice as smart as anyone else I ever knew...and about five times smarter than me

* July 16th -  For four events.

One is that this is the day John F. Kennedy, Jr. was lost at sea along with his wife and sister in law when, flying from Essex County Airport, New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts he lost control of his aircraft, probably due to spatial disorientation, and crashed into the Atlantic.

The second is that this is the day Robert Oppenheimer's team from Los Alamos, New Mexico first detonated an implosion devise upon Trinity Site

The third is a personal Holiday where I have chosen to celebrate the Slide Rule, and I chose this day because of the fourth...

The fourth is that on this day Neil Armstrong, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin and Michael Collins are launched atop Apollo 11 for mans' first attempt to land upon the moon in 1969, and four days later...

* July 20th - LEM Eagle successfully sets down upon the Sea of Tranquility

* August 6th - Hiroshima, Japan is consumed by the first use of an atomic weapon

* August 9th - Nagasaki, Japan is, likewise, consumed by the second use of an atomic weapon

* August 24th - I left home for college for the first time in 1986. I was married on this day as well in 1997, but that's not something I celebrate...

* September 2nd - Japan officially surrenders on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay in 1945, officially ending WWII

* September 11th - The World Trade Center is destroyed, the Pentagon is attacked and four airliners hijacked by a bunch of fucking cowards too scared to live like real men

* September 27th - Albert Einstein submits the last of his five 1905 Anno Mirabilis papers to the Annalen der Physik detailing his assertion that matter and radiant energy are two manifestations of the same; that they are not absolute of one another and that their constant of proportionality is non other than the propagation rate of light wave form...and it's also the day I was born in 1965

* December 7th - Pearl Harbor is attacked by forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy, precipitating the entrance of the United States into WWII

* December 12th - I earn my first certification as an aviator by attaining my Private Pilots License in 1987

* December 17, 1903 - The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, succeed in achieving mans' centuries old dream of powered flight. After years of meticulous study of others who came before them, and who had demonstrated tractable proof with respect to assumptions of aeronautical theory, these two bicycle mechanics by trade endeavored upon a protracted research and development program (one which included the manufacture and use of a homemade wind tunnel, the design of propellers with variable incident blades, and the application of wing warping) which saw them claim their rightful place in history as preeminent aeronautical pioneers. It was on this day about the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hills just outside Kitty Hawk, North Carolina that their dreams were finally realized.   

So there you are. But exactly what does this have to do with the title of today's post, you say...? I'm getting there...Jesus, wait a minute. God! You're all worse than some girl friends I've had...

...come on, baby! Yeah, baby! I'm almost there, daddy...uh! Make me feel it! Hey, where you going! I'm not done yet!

Naaaah, I'm just fucking with you ;)

So where was I...? Right, timing. Like I was saying, last Saturday I start to do web searches related to Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis. I wasn't even cognizant of the fact that the very next day would mark the 91st anniversary of his departure from Roosevelt Field, Long Island. In fact it didn't hit me until the very next day. Most people I speak to today about this just do not get all jazzed up over the fact. Unless you're an old timer who was alive then, or an aviator yourself, and can appreciate the import of such a daring feat, it's hard to appreciate the weight of such an endeavor.

But try and look at it rationally. The man set off without enough proper rest in the fear that his competitors would seize upon clearing weather to beat him across the finish line which held for the winner the Orteig Prize of $25,000.00 and knowing full well that the flight would last, at his initial reckoning, 36 hours. Many had already died in the pursuit of this goal. To the press Lindbergh was, at first, thought to be a fool and that's exactly what they called him: The Flying Fool! But as time drew near they, and others, sensed within him a cool resolve that held his mortality in the balance. It was as if he placed his life upon a shelf not to be touched again by him until he proved himself worthy of it and the future that it promised. The man would make it, or he would die trying.

Some thought the entire affair a stunt, but he was quick to point out that a stunt was characterized by pure luck, and bereft of any element of skill - like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. And while he did acknowledge some existence of chance was involved, the question of having done everything humanly possible left only the most remote of possibilities that could see him fail. In the absence of such unlikely events or circumstances, there was simply no way to come up short.

And so on the miserable and wet morning of May 20, 1927 Charles Lindbergh lifted off at 7:52 AM from Long Island's Roosevelt Field...and then everyone just waited. People would gather around radios and news stands for just a scintilla of how things may be going. He flew along the New England coast, and at Plymouth, Massachusetts headed out over open water. Later it was reported that his aircraft was spotted over St. John's, Newfoundland and heading outbound over the North Atlantic. That would be the last sighting for a good while. The Press that had mocked him as the Flying Fool now held him out for all the world to adore as The Lone Eagle.

In the absence of reliable data, rumors and wild speculation would ebb and flow through the hours that followed. It was not until the next day, May 21st, that a sighting initially believed to be another false rumor began to look as though it held a whisper of truth...if you dared! An aircraft fitting the description of Lindbergh's NYP Spirit had been reported over Dingle Bay, Ireland...

After a night of fighting an almost unbelievable urge to sleep, carburetor and airframe icing, instrument meteorological conditions and concerns that he may have balled up on his navigation using only dead reckoning, it appeared that Charles Lindbergh proved himself equal to the challenge that he, and he alone, placed upon himself. He proved himself worthy after all...

Later that day he passed over Plymouth, England and navigated the English channel to position himself to make landfall at the mouth of the Seine River which he then used to guide him into Paris. It was dark again by the time he arrived now outside Paris, but the Eiffel Tower standing in the distance left no doubt as to where he was, and where he needed to be - which is to say Le Bourget Field 13 miles to the northeast. 

By the time his wheels kissed mother Earth once again at Le Bourget it was 10:22 PM in Paris, but only 5:22 PM back in New York. During his flight he advanced upon five time zones, averaged 108 miles per hour (thanks in part to the Prevailing Westerlies within the mid-latitudes) and cutting his time enroute to 33 hours, and 30 minutes. Most people couldn't handle an airliner cabin that long to say nothing of a cockpit that you wear as opposed to one you simply fit in. The rest is history...

So think about that! Thirty-three and a half hours. Cooped up in a small cockpit! Just so he could prove to himself and the world that the threshold of commercial aviation was upon us. In just those thirty-three and a half hours in May of 1927 the world got a lot smaller...and it has been getting smaller ever since.

So every year on May 20th and 21st, I hold a somewhat personal vigil. I ask myself things like...OK, right about now where would he be based upon a speed of just about 100 miles an hour, and I'll dig out some aeronautical charts or a Rand McNally and try and fix his position. Yeah, I'm weird like that...or is it cool? I'm going to go with cool...yeah, definitely cool!

Copyright May 22, 2018. All rights reserved.