Friday, April 14, 2017

The Socratic Test of Three - Something All Public Officials Should Think About

Socrates was a respected citizen, statesman and philosopher of ancient Greece. Many say he laid the seeds for modern western civilization.  He was revered by his neighbors and fellow Greek citizens for both his wisdom and high moral character. 

One day an acquaintance of his ran over to approach him and asked "Socrates, have you heard the latest news about Marcus?"  Socrates raised his hand slowly and said "Wait! Before you tell me what you have to say about Marcus, let's see if it passes - The Test of Three.

"The Test of Three?" inquired the man. “Yes” said Socrates. "The Test of Three."

"The first test" Socrates explained "is the test of Truth. Are you absolutely sure that what you are about to share with me about Marcus is the truth?" "Well no I don't know," replied the man, "I just heard it a few minutes ago."

"So," said Socrates "you want to share with me something about Marcus that you yourself have not confirmed as being true". The man replied "Yes".

"Well let's apply the second test" Socrates said, "the test of Goodness". Is what you are about to share with me about Marcus good?" "No, on the contrary Socrates ..." the man began; but Socrates cut him off and said "So You want to tell me something bad about Marcus even though you are not certain it is true?" The man shrugged his shoulders as though he were a little embarrassed.

Socrates smiled and said "Don't be disappointed you may still pass the third test - the test of Usefulness. Will what you share with me about Marcus be of any use or value to me?" "No, not really said the man." 

"Well then," commented Socrates, "If what you want to share with me about Marcus is neither True, nor Good and has no Use or Value for me - why in the world do you want to tell me this?" 

The man, then hung his head, obviously ashamed and just stood silent.  Finally he turned around and just walked away.

As elected officials, civic leader, or business owners would not all of our places of work - especially our seats of local government - be a much better off if we all just remembered and employed the Socratic Test of Three?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Airman First Class (A1C) Clerow "Flip" Wilson US Air Force (Served 1950-1954)

Yes its true Flip Wilson was in the Air Force and he lied about his age to enlist. He was stationed on the Island nation of Guam and assigned to the Strategic Air Command.

View his Service Profile

on at

Short Bio: Clerow dropped out of school in the 8th grade because he was embarrassed by the poor clothing he had to wear to school each day. 

At 16, he lied about his age and joined the U.S. Air Force. It was while serving in the Air Force that he got the nickname "Flip." While he was stationed on the Island of Guam, he entertained his buddies at night with jokes and humor.  One of they guys in his unit remarked, "He has 'flippeth' his lid" and the name stuck - ever since.

After Flip was discharged from the USAF he began to try his comedic talent in small night clubs and bars. Finally he built up the courage to try out for the Chitlin Circuit in hot spots like the Apollo Club in Harlem, New York.  Flip would often sleep in pay toilet stalls because he did not have enough money for a motel or hotel. He made ends meet by working as a bellhop and paid for the birth of his oldest son by working as a truck driver during the day. 

Flip was quoted as saying "But I was happy because I knew where I was going with my life."

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mayor Avoids Tragedy With Help of Township Officer

A local mayor was reported to have narrowly escaped injuries this week as the result of a quick-thinking township officer. We were informed that the mayor was attempting to mount a horse - a small golden palomino - even though he had never ridden a horse before.    

Bystanders at the scene confirmed that as the mayor was positioning himself in the saddle, the small palomino bolted and took off in a full gallop. Startled by the horse's unexpected actions the mayor lost control of the reins and began to slide out of the saddle. To stop his sliding, the mayor attempted to grab the horse’s mane but no matter how hard he tried, the mayor could not maintain a firm grip.

Frantic that he would fall under the horse’s galloping hoofs, the mayor threw his arms around the horse’s neck and held on tight but even then he continued to slide off the saddle. The horse meanwhile was totally oblivious to the mayor’s plight and continued to run at full speed.   

Realizing it was just a matter of time before he would fall off the horse and perhaps land under the horses legs, the mayor decided to leap from the horse and throw himself to safety. Unfortunately, his foot was now entangled in one of the stirrups making it impossible to jump.

Just moments before falling completely off the horse, a local township officer from a nearby community who was entering Wal-Mart at that time saw the mayor’s plight and quickly ran over to his aid. She unplugged the cord and assisted the mayor in getting down from the horse and then checked him for any injuries. Though the mayor was considerably shaken up by this horseback riding ordeal, he appeared unhurt so the township officer left and entered Wal-Mart to continue on with her shopping.

Monday, February 27, 2017

What Goes Around ... Comes Around

He almost didn't see the old lady who was standing on the side of the road; but even in the dim evening light he could see she needed help standing there in the rain. He pulled his old car next to her shining new Mercedes and got out. 

Even with the smile on his face as he approached her she began to look worried. No one had stopped to help her for the last hour or so. What was this man going to do? He didn't look safe; he looked poorly dressed and very rough.

He could see that she was frightened and cold. He waved his hand and said, "Don't worry, I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady on a raining night it was no easy task to fix so Bryan crawled under her car. Looking for a level spot to place the jack, he skinned his knuckles a few times. However in no time he was able to change the tire. But he had gotten dirty and his hand was bleeding.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was just passing through after visiting her sister who was in the hospital and she couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he put the jack back in the trunk and closed it.

The lady asked how much do I owe you young man. She would have gladly paid any amount he wanted for what he did as she imagined all the awful things that could have happened had this nice young man not stopped. Bryan never thought twice - "Not a thing Ma'am - I was just glad I was here to help someone in need". God knows there were plenty of times when people had given me a hand in the past and I just wanted to pay them back.

However he told her that if she really wanted to pay him, the next time she saw someone who was in need of help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and then he added, "Just think of me!" He stood next to her car until she drove off. It had been a cold and another depressing day for Bryan, but he felt good as he headed for home.

About six miles down the road the old lady saw a small cafe. She went inside to grab a bite to eat as it was still a long ride home for her. It was a dingy looking restaurant however the waitress came right over with a dry clean towel and said "Here, you might want to use this to wipe that wet hair". The waitress had a sweet smile.

The lady noticed the waitress was pregnant and when she returned with a menu the lady asked "How far are in your pregnancy". "8 ½ months the waitress replied". The lady thought if must be hard for her to be working at 8 ½ month pregnant, but the waitress never let the strain or aches of her pregnancy affect her positive attitude. The old lady wondered how someone so young and carrying a child could be so giving and friendly to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she handed the the waitress a one hundred dollar bill and said will be kind and take care of my tab for me. The waitress smiled and said sure.  The waitress quickly went to get cash register paid her bill and then walked back to bring the lady her change. However when the waitress returned to the booth the old lady was gone; she had slipped out the side door. The waitress then noticed something written on a napkin next to the lady's plate. Tears swelled in the waitress’ eyes when she read the note the lady left - it said: "You don't owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, so let me help you out. Under the napkin the old lady left four more $100 bills.

There were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another night at midnight the diner closer. When the waitress got home she undressed and climbed into bed; however she couldn’t stop thinking about that nice old lady and the hand-written note and money left. 

She thought how could the lady have known how much her and her husband had really needed that money? He had been laid off since the mill closed and with the baby due next month, it was going to be hard for them.

She looked over at her husband who was sound asleep.  She knew how worried he was the past few weeks not being able to find steady employment.  As he laid there sleeping she leaned over and gave him a soft kiss on his cheek. She then whispered soft and low, "Don’t worry honey - every thing's going to be all right. I really do love you, Bryan Anderson."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Gift Of Flying

Once upon a time there was a little boy who wished he could fly like a bird.  It was difficult for him to understand why he could not fly. He saw birds at the zoo much bigger than he was and they could all fly. "Why O’ why can’t I fly he asked himself".

Across town was another little boy; this boy had contracted polio when he was an infant and could not walk.  His wish was that some day he would be able walk and run like all the other boys and girls.

One day the little who wanted to fly like a bird became upset with his parents decided to run away from home.  After walking several hours he came upon a city park where he saw the little boy who could not walk playing in the sandbox.

He walked over to the little boy and asked him if he had ever wanted to fly like a bird.  "No," said the little boy “however I have always wondered what it would be like to walk and run like other boys and girls." "That is very sad," said the little boy who wanted to fly.

"Would you like to be friends so we can play together in the sandbox?  "Sure," said the other little boy come on in the sandbox.

The two boys played for almost an hour making sand castle after sand castle. Then the little boy's father walked over pushing a wheelchair.  He was there to pick up his son and take him to the car. The little boy who had always wanted to fly ran over to meet his new friend’s father and whispered something into his ear.  "I guess that would be OK," said the boy’s father.

The little boy who had always wanted to fly like a bird ran over to his new friend in the sand box and said, "You are a good friend to me; I wish that there was something I could do to make you walk and run like other little boys and girls. But I can't; however there is something I would like to do for you – if you will let me."

He then turned around, squatted down and told his new friend to climb on his back. When the little boy was secure on his back the other boy began to run across the grassy field.  Faster and faster he ran.  The faster he ran the more the wind just brushed across the faces of the two little boys.

Suddenly the little boy's father with the wheelchair began to cry … he started to cry uncontrollably.  For as he watched his beautiful son riding on the back of his new friend he saw his young son flap his arms up and down in the wind and begin  shouting at the top of his lungs…"LOOK DADDY- I'M FLYING – I REALLY AM FLYING DADDY!"

Thursday, February 2, 2017

All The Mayor Wanted Was a Quickie

A Mayor from Texas went to attend the Annual Mayor’s Conference which was held in Wisconsin. While in Dairy State the Mayor he entered a small restaurant that served beer.  The hostess seated him at a table and handed him a menu and said your waitress will be with you shortly.  Sure enough in a few minutes an attractive waitresses walked over and asked, "What would you like, sir?" 

The Mayor put down the menu - looked at the waitress. He starred at her beautiful complexion, her amazing facial features and her stunning figure. Then he smiled and said "I think I would like to have a quickie”?

Not amused the waitress turned around and walked away in disgust. After she regained her composure she returned to his table a few minutes later and asked again, "Sir, what would you like?"  The Mayor flashed her another broad smile and answered, "a quickie" is what I really want.

This time the waitress' anger took over; she reached out and slapped the Mayor across the face as hard as she could.  The result was a resounding "SMACK!" and then she stormed away.

An elderly gentleman who was sitting at the next table, sipping on a glass beer overhead everything that transpired.  He leaned over to the young man and said "your not from these pars are you?".  "No I am not, I am from Texas and I am up here on official business."  "I thought so said the gentle; well up here in Wisconsin we pronounce it 'quiche', ". 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Remembering President Harry Truman

Sadly, President Harry Truman does not often receive the credit many people think he rightfully deserves. Below are some interesting facts about Harry Truman our 33rd President many people may not be aware of.

President Truman was a different kind of President for three primary reasons:

First - and foremost, he was not elected to his first term of office; he inherited the position of President after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Second - While serving as President of the United States, he chose to pay all of his travel and living expenses such as the food his family ate out of his Presidential salary.

Third - he placed a sign on his desk in the Oval Office which read - ‘The Buck Stops Here

Ironically, President Truman probably made as many, if not more, important decisions regarding our nation as any as the other 32 Presidents who preceded him. Most notably on August 6th, 1945 he, and he alone, ordered the dropping of the 5 ton Atomic Bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

However, his true measure of greatness actually does not begin until after he left the White House in 1952.

After President - Elect Eisenhower was inaugurated into office as the new President of the United States, Harry and his wife Bess drove themselves back home to Independence Missouri in their personal automobile. There was no such thing as a Secret Service escort which followed them.

When they left Washington the only source of income they had was a small U.S. Army pension Harry earned and the only asset he and his wife Bess had to their name was a small house in Independence Missouri which Bess inherited from her parents. Other than the six years Harry and Bess spent in the White House, this was the only house the two of them ever knew during their entire married life.

Almost immediately upon returning to Missouri large corporations from across the county began to contact Harry Truman. They all wanted to offer his positions with huge salaries to come work for them. However Mr. Truman declined every offer he received saying "You don't want me, Gentlemen you want the office of the President, and that unfortunately doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and I am sorry but that office is not for sale."

Several Congressmen soon noticed the former President was paying for all the stationary and the stamps he was using to respond to letters her received from US citizens and people around the world who wrote him. Not only that, President Truman personally licked every stamp he placed on an envelope. Congress voted to grant President Truman the very first 'Retired Presidential Allowance. The following year, Congress voted to give him a retroactive Presidential pension of $25,000 per year.

In May 1971, Congress was preparing a bill to award President Truman the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday; however President Truman wrote a letter to Congress in which he stated he would refuse to accept any such medal. He said "I don't consider what I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise – all I did was my job."

The one Truman quote I will personally never forget was the one he gave during an interview with the New York Times. When asked why he had gotten into politics in the first place he said "My choices in life were simple, either become a piano player in a Missouri whore house or enter politics. And to tell the truth, the way I saw it there was hardly any difference – so I choose politics."

Many Presidents and numerous political figures that followed President Truman found new levels of success by cashing in on their time in Public Office. Many used creative ways to accumulate untold wealth as a result of their time serving in public office.

It might be wise for us to take a moment now and then to remember President Harry Truman.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Who The Heck Is Betty Crocker?

Betty Crocker is a household name that is pretty much known around the world today.  For over a century, Betty has created delicious recipes and proven baking methods that help even the most novice cooks and newlyweds can follow to easily bake scrumptious desserts and a variety of other baked goods.  Betty’s kitchen advice is trusted and followed by many.  But perhaps there is something you may not be aware of regarding Ms. Betty Crocker.

In 1880, the forerunner of the General Mills Company entered its newly milled flour in the International Miller’s Competition; surprisingly it won the ‘Gold Medal’. The small company was so proud to have won the gold medal; it changed the name of its flour to “Gold Medal Flour.”  Even though the original company changed hands several times, the name Gold Medal Flour has always remained the flagship flour; in fact it’s the largest selling flour in the U.S. today.

Back in 1921, one of the predecessors to today’s General Mills decided to run a special promotion regarding its Gold Medal Flour brand. The company asked housewives in America to submit any questions they had about Gold Medal Flour and it assured them everyone who submitted a question would receive a handwritten response from the company.  

Unbelievably, the company was soon overwhelmed with letters coming in from all across America from mothers and homemakers.  The company wanted to ensure continuity in responding to all the women who sent in questions so the company came up with the name Betty Crocker – because it just sounded like a good name to reply.  Every response to the questions submitted regarding Gold Medal Flour were answered by numerous women who all signed their replies - Betty Crocker.

Although Betty Crocker, was and always has been a fictionalized character, she became so popular with housewives and bakers around the world demanded to know what she actually looked like.  So back in 1936, after General Mills bought the company it commissioned a well known artist to create a likeness of what he thought Betty Crocker would look like if she were real - thus the first Betty Crocker image as we know today was created.

Over the years General Mills has continued to update Betty’s looks -  several times in fact. Each update provided Betty with a contemporary hair style and a modern, fashionable wardrobe. The last makeover Betty received was in 1996.  Betty however was initially portrayed as a matronly looking mother; today though she looks much younger, resourceful and confident.  In addition, Betty has always been committed to her family, her community and most of all she loves to bake.

What most people do not realize is that there is always a "Betty Crocker" on duty 24/7 at the General Mills Company headquarters in Golden Valley, Minnesota.  Betty is always there to answer any phone call and reply to any questions that arises regarding Gold Medal Flour.

What’s even more amazing is that according to AdWeek - one of the giant publications in the advertising industry,  has concluded that Betty Crocker reigned as “The Most Famous Fictional Female in the U.S." for almost a century.  She was recently bumped to second place by a younger upstart fictional character many of you might know.  According to AdWeek, the four most famous fictional females ever created by corporations in the U.S. are:

            1) Flo – The insurance spokeswoman from Progressive Insurance
            2) Betty Crocker – The wise baker/kitchen consultant 
            3) Mrs. {Joy} Butterworth – The syrup icon from Pinnacle Foods,

            4) Catalina – A beautiful, fun loving Chicken of the Sea mermaid 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What is Your Perspective as a Local Government Official?

Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us what’s really important. One person’s worthless object can easily be another’s prized possession. The quality of your life is based solely on your perspective.

One day a very wealthy businessman, the father of an eight year old boy, took his son for a trip to the country.   He thought it was time to teach his son the basic facts of life. 
The purpose of this trip was for the father to show his son how life would be if he were poor. Through a friend of a friend - the father arranged to spend a few days on the small farm owned a family that everyone considered very poor.  

So the father and son took off on a Thrusday afternoon and drove for about four hours to reach the farm.  They were warmly greeted by the farm family and decided to spend some time with them.  After three days and three nights they then jumped in the car to returned home.
On their return ride home, the father asked his son how he liked the visit at the farm.  “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can really be?” the son asked.  The father couldn’t help but crack a broad smile and said “Yes son”.
“So tell me what did you learn from our trip?” asked the father. Without hesitation the little boy said, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool in our back yard that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. Mom buys fancy us fancy imported lanterns to hang in our garden and they have the stars to look at each night.
Our patio almost reaches to the front yard but they have the whole horizon to look at everyday. We have a very small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they seem to serve each other.
We buy all our food in stores, but they grow and raise most of what they eat. You built that big fence around our property to protect us; but they have good friends and neighbors who protect them.”
The father was numb and speechless and needed to catch his breath.  Just then his son added, “Dad I really do want to thank you for showing me just how poor we really are.”