Friday, December 5, 2014

Want to get in the Christmas Spirit?? Watch this wonderful short clip -- its amazing

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One of The Worse Stories We Have To Tell

Many of us, especially those close to my age, can easily remember that terrible disease polio. Several of us saw family members, relatives, neighbors and colleagues afflicted by this terrible illness.  

Rotary International, an Organization which I am active in and proud to be a member, has been trying to eradicate this disease from the planet for years.  Please take a moment and review the poster below. 

Hopefully you will see that there may be a light at the end of this long tunnel and the tragic story may have a happy ending.  I know today is Veteran's Day and we should all focus on thanking the Vets we know who served.  But maybe tomorrow or the next day, if you see a Rotarian in your community, you might just want to say thanks as well.

Gabe Gabrielsen

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Seven Mentors Who Changed My Life

Warning: Read this story with care. The thoughts I share are not intended for everyone. They are meant for public officials, organizational leaders and career-focused professionals who truly want to make a difference.

I would not have accomplished much in my life had I not followed the advice of seven great mentors. Their insights allowed me to understand my role and overcome the obstacles I confronted. 

What they shared allowed me to gain success beyond my wildest dreams.  The only regret I have is that I never had the opportunity to personally meet these mentors and thank them for the impact they made on my life.

My first mentor was Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus, a Polish monk born in the late 1400’s, stood on the shore to watch a sunset. As the sun set, he realized the earth could not be the center of the universe and he openly challenged the common belief that the earth was the center of the universe. He was ridiculed by his colleagues and chastised by the Church; however, Copernicus remained firm in his convictions. He challenged the status quo and in doing so, he re-shaped the concept of how we view the universe today.

My second mentor was Frederick Taylor. Taylor, a mechanical engineer, always looked for ways to improve organizational efficiencies. Taylor was approached by a coal company that wanted to increase their output of coal. For several days, Taylor sat and observed coal miners; he studied how they dug out the coal and loaded it on the rail cars. Much to the coal mine’s surprise, Taylor recommended every miner be issued smaller shovels with long handles. The coal mine's management laughed - they insisted larger shovels resulted in more coal. Taylor countered saying 25 lb. shovel scoops tire workers out quickly and by mid-morning most were exhausted; however, 15 lb. shovel scoops would not fatigue the miners and they would be able to easily lift 15 lb. shovels full all day - at a brisk pace. His point was give employees the proper tools and they can accomplish more.

Next was my mentor Dale Carnegie. Carnegie, a simple Missouri farm boy, noticed successful leaders share two things in common. First, they know a lot of people and second they feel at ease speaking in public. Carnegie believed “career success” could be accelerated if people would just reach out and meet new people and speak clearly in public.

The fourth mentor who accelerated my career was Evelyn Wood. Evelyn, a high school English teacher, had the wisdom to foresee that more and more of what Americans learned came from books - what they read. She noticed successful people read quickly and retain most of what they read. Her contribution to my career growth was that she created the Evelyn Wood’s Speed Reading Dynamics Course. Her simple course taught people (including myself) how to increase reading speed and improve retention of what was read.

Though not impressed at first, I came to revere Arthur Murray as one of my most influential mentors. Arthur, a draftsman by trade, noticed that successful people had great social skills; none were "wall flowers". He believed careers were limited when people lack social graces – especially dancing skills – yes dancing. 
Murray was so passionate about the correlation between good dancing and career success he created a worldwide franchise of dance schools - places where everyday business men and women could learn to dance. People who attended Arthur Murray’s dance schools were able to broadcast their social talent at civic functions. His students included Eleanor Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, the Duke of Windsor, prize fighter Jack Dempsey and of course yours truly Gabe Gabrielsen.

My sixth mentor was Elmer Wheeler. Wheeler, an advertising and marketing professional, believed knowledge and experience meant very little if no one bought into your ideas. Elmer coined a phrase "Sell the sizzle – not the steak." He suggested people never wave raw meat in front of a person; show the completed meal - salad, potatoes, dessert and wine.

When a small tire manufacturer in Ohio wanted to go after a share of the global tire market, Mr. Wheeler advised him not to sell tires in their ads. He believed the only way consumers would leave Goodyear and Goodrich and buy his tires was if he would sell the benefits of this new tire. Benefits like "peace of mind", "dependability", and most important, "family safety". 

That small tire manufacturer took Elmer’s advice and today people around the world know that, “Wherever wheels are turning – no matter what the load – the name that’s known is Firestone … when the rubber meets the road, drive a Firestone."

Finally, the mentor with the greatest impact on my career was Dr. David Schwartz. Schwartz, a professor at Georgia State University, sadly realized not all his students would accomplish amazing things. In fact, the vast majority, after graduating, just blended in even though they had stellar academic records and a prestigious degree. 

Schwartz concluded only the students who believed they could accomplish big things were the ones who did. Schwartz convinced me to believe in the magic of thinking big. Schwartz never saw the problem as too many chiefs; he saw the problem as too many Indians.

Well, there you have Gabe’s seven mentors and the powerful insights they shared:

1) Challenge the status quo.

2) Give your employees the right tools so they can succeed and accomplish more.

3) Win friends and influence people.

4) Learn to read fast and retain what you read.

5) Exhibit social graces and learn to be a great dancer.

6) Sell the sizzle – not the steak; never dangle unfinished products in front of someone.

7) Think big – and remember, “If you think it can’t be done” … you are right. “If you think it can be done”… you are right.

My hope is that some of you can adopt a few of these sage principals.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Should I Take Him Back To The Pound?

I took a new job because I thought it would be good for my career and the pay raise was great, but something was missing. Sure the people I worked with and met on the street were always friendly but when I got home, I always felt some what alone. 

One Thursday night I saw a commercial about dogs in the animal shelter and thought maybe a dog would be a good companion for me. So on Saturday morning I went down to the shelter. It was clean and the staff was friendly. After a lengthy discussion about my lifestyle and work schedule, the staff led me to a black Lab called Reggie. They thought Reggie and I would be a good fit and suggested I take him home. They said give him two weeks. If things don’t work out, you can bring Reggie back.

I agreed and so I took Reggie home.  They gave me all his things: a dog pad, his water and food dish, a large box of tennis balls and a sealed envelope with a letter from his previous owner enclosed.

I have to admit Reggie and I struggled; we really didn’t hit it off. The problem was he wouldn’t go anywhere without having two tennis balls in his mouth and he would only sometimes follow the commands I gave him - like sit, stay, come and heel. The worst part though was that he never listened when I called his name. I would have to say it four or five times to get him to look in my direction, but then he would go on doing whatever he was doing

After two weeks, I decided I was going to take Reggie back to the shelter. I just knew having him wasn’t going to work out. As I gathered up his things, his pad, the food dishes and all those damn tennis balls, I found that sealed letter the shelter had given me from his previous owner.  I sat down on the sofa and opened the envelope. I said, “Okay Reggie, let’s see if your previous owner has any advice to make things work better for us before I take you back to the shelter.”  I opened the letter and here is what I read:

“Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this letter. I made it clear to the people at the animal shelter that it should only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. If you are reading this, it means you are Reggie’s new owner. I have to tell you Reggie knew something was different when we left for the car ride to the shelter. When I packed up his pad and toys and set them by the back door this morning, he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong . . . which is why I have to try and make it right with this letter.

Let me tell you about Reggie - my wonderful Lab - in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, Reggie really does love tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hoards them. He usually always has two in his mouth at any time, and he tries to get a third in there. He hasn’t done it yet; and it doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll always run after them, so be very careful – don’t throw them near any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly when he ran out in front of a car.

Next, "Commands". Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones – “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.” He knows hand signals as well. When you put your hand straight up, it means go “back”. If you want him to “roll over”, put your hand out and turn it right or left. If you want a “paw” or “high-five”, put your hand up. 

He does “down” when you say down but only if he feels like lying down – I bet you could work with him on that to get it perfect. He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business. I’ve always trained Reggie with small treats. Nothing gets his attention like little pieces of a hot dog.

The feeding schedule I had him on was twice a day -- once about seven in the morning and again at six in the evening. I gave him regular store-bought food. The shelter should have the brand.

He’s up to date on his shots. Please call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with your information; they’ll make sure to send you reminders for when he’s due for future checkups. Be fore warned: Reggie really hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car – I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he always knows.

Finally, give him some time. I’ve never been married, so it’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so try to include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain. He just loves to be around people.

This transition for him may be hard - having to go to live with someone new, so please give him time to adjust. And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you . . .

His name’s not Reggie.

I don’t know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter this morning I told the staff his name was Reggie. He’s a smart dog  and he’ll get used to it and will respond to it. I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that seemed so final. Handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I’d never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him back, and tearing up this letter, it means everything went fine. But if someone else - like you - is reading it, well . . . well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in his demeanor if he’s been giving you any problems with the name Reggie.

His real name is Tank. Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you’re reading this and you’re from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents both passed away and I have no siblings - no one I could have left Tank with . . . and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Afghanistan, that they have someone make one phone call to the shelter . . . in the “event” . . . to let the shelter staff know that Tank could be put up for adoption.

Luckily, my squad leader is a dog guy and he said if anything happened to me, he would personally make the call to the shelter. And if you’re reading this letter, then he made good on his word; he called the shelter and told them I would not be coming back for Tank.

Well, this letter is getting too downright depressing, even though I’m just writing it for my dog. I couldn’t imagine if I was writing this letter for a wife or kids, but Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as I have been in the Army.

I hope and pray that you will make Tank part of your family; I am sure he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. That unconditional love I got from Tank is what I am taking with me. His love is an inspiration for me to do something important, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things to America . . . and to keep those terrible people from ever coming over here. If I had to give up Tank in order to do that, then I am glad to have done so.

All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don’t think I’ll say another good-bye to Tank though. I cried too much earlier today the first time I had to say goodbye. Maybe I’ll just peek in on him to see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Please give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss good night – every night – just from me.

Thank you.

Paul Mallory


When I finished reading the letter, I looked over at Reggie who was lying on his pad and said, “Tank Come Here.” Tank quickly filled his mouth with "three tennis balls" and ran over to me.  He jumped up on the sofa and put his head on my lap.  I decided right then = I am not taking Tank back to shelter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Truly Fascinating Story For All Business Travelers Who Fly In To or Out Of Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Many years ago, Al Capone, the notorious criminal, was involved in everything from booze to prostitution to murder.  Al had a personal lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie" and Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering was the primary reason Big Al was kept out of jail for so many years.

Capone paid Eddie well and Eddie lived the high life.  He and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion that filled an entire Chicago city block.  Though involved deeply with the mob, Eddie had one soft spot, his son whom he loved dearly.  Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education and despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie tried his best to teach his son right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to grow up to be a good man.

One day, Eddie decided to rectify wrongs he had done and went to the authorities to tell the truth about Al Capone so he could clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.  Eddie knew the cost for testifying against the mob would be great ... and he was right.  Within a year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago side street.  But in his eyes, Eddie gave his son a great gift.  When the police emptied his pockets, they found a rosary and a poem Eddie had clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop.  Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will.  Place no faith in time, for the clock may soon be still."

Now an unrelated --- but necessary parallel to the above story ---- please read you won't be disappointed.   


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Navy Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare, a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.  One day his squadron was sent on a mission.  After he was airborne, Butch looked at his fuel gauge and realized the ground crew did not top off his fuel tank.  He knew he would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and return to his ship.  Butch’s flight leader ordered Butch to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, Butch dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

On returning to the fleet, Butch saw in the distance a squadron of Japanese aircraft heading toward the fleet.  Since the fleet’s fighters were all out on their missions, the fleet was now virtually defenseless.  Butch was unable to raise his squadron leader on the radio to bring them back in time to save the fleet.  There was only one thing for Butch do … he had to stop the Japanese planes from attacking the fleet.

Without hesitation or regard to his personal safety, Butch dove into the formation of enemy aircraft; with his wing-mounted 50 caliber's guns he blazed in, attacking one surprised aircraft after another.  Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Even though his ammo was gone, Butch continued his assault by diving at planes, trying to clip a wing or hit a tail in hopes of damaging them and rendering them unfit to fly. Totally exasperated, the remaining Japanese aircraft headed home and Butch perished in the ocean.

Butch’s home town vowed not to allow the memory of this WWII hero to fade from their memory.  They named their city airport after him.  The City of Chicago decided to pay tribute to its courageous native son.

So for all you travelers who fly in or out of Chicago's O'Hare airport here is my recommendation:  The next time you find yourself waiting for a flight at O'Hare Airport, give some serious thought to visiting Butch’s memorial.  Take a look at his statue and his Medal of Honor he earned.  It is located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch “Edward” O'Hare - the World War II Hero was "Easy Eddie's" son.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Two elderly men were admitted to a long-term care facility and just by chance were assigned to share a room.  One had been involved in a car accident and suffered extensive internal injuries and was not expected live; the other had advanced heart disease and had undergone triple bypass surgery and had a 30% chance of recovery. 

The accident victim lost his sight and was restricted to his bed.  The heart patient however was required to get out of bed at at 10: 45 each day and walk around the room. So on that first day just before lunch the heart patient painfully placed his feet on the floor. 

As soon the blind patient heard his roommate out of his bed he asked, "Would you do me a favor and go to the window and look outside?  Please tell me all the wonderful things you see."  The heart patient slowly walked toward the window, pulled back the blinds and related the sights he saw. He'd describe the birds and animals playing across the street in the city park then to the delight of his roommate he described all the people walking down the street.

On the second day, the heart patient, while looking out the window noticed the strange actions of a young man who was sitting on the rim of beautiful water fountain not far from an attractive young lady eating her lunch on a park bench.

The next day the heart patient could see the young man on the fountain sat a little closer and it was obvious the woman noticed.  Soon they were engaging in conversations.  On the fourth day the heart patient saw the couple sharing their lunches and holding hands; he thought perhaps a relationship was about to start. 

During that night, the heart patient unexpectedly died from complications and his personal possessions were quickly removed from the room. Early the next morning a new patient, a young man with a broken arm, was moved in.

As lunch time neared the blind man asked his new roommate if he would go to the window and describe what was taking place outside - he particularly wanted to know about the type of birds in the park and what the young couple having lunch by the fountain were doing. The new roommate hopped out of bed and briskly walked over to the window.

He pulled back the blinds, starred for several seconds then began to laugh uncontrollably. "Why are you laughing?" asked the blind patient. "Because you asked me to tell you what was going on outside our window. Our window faces the side of another building and there is nothing we can see but a solid brick wall. There is nothing of interest out there."

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best or Worst Government Job? You tell me.

Most Americans know there is monument in Washington DC located in Arlington National Cemetery.  It was erected solely to pay homage to unknown American soldiers who lost their lives in military battles. Most of us refer to this monument as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or Soldiers; however, its official name, as designated by Congress, is The Tomb of the Unknowns.

To help us better appreciate this monument and the men and women who guard it - everyday- I am sharing and interesting story you might find of value.

During 2003, as Hurricane Isabelle approached the east coast and threatened to devastate Washington, members of the US Senate and US House scurried to evacuate the DC area and for the first time in history the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs made a decision to allow the military sentinels assigned to The Tomb of the Unknowns to suspend their duties and evacuate the area as well.

Without hesitation every one of the guards respectfully declined to abandon their posts – they all volunteered to stay and continue to man their posts.

For two days the guards on duty were subjected to hurricane force winds and were pelted relentlessly with rain as they walked their posts ... however, every guard continued to walk his post. Their refusal to suspend their guard duties means The Tomb has been continuously guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since it was inaugurated in 1930.

Now if you enjoyed this short story, you might find this trivia  regarding 
The Tomb of the Unknowns of interest as well.

Individuals selected for Tomb Guard Duty must serve a two - year assignment. Before accepting their post, each sentinel swears an oath they will not drink any alcohol on or off duty while serving their assignment.   Military personnel who apply to be a Tomb Guard must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and have a waist size that does not exceed 30 inches.

Newly assigned guards are required to study and memorize the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. Among the notables interned at Arlington are:

--- President William Taft
--- President John F Kennedy
--- Audie L. Murphy, Medal of Honor winner and the most decorated soldier of WWII
--- Joe Lewis, former heavy weight boxing champ - Sgt US Army
--- Abner Doubleday, Civil War General and founder of American Baseball
--- Lee Marvin, American actor PFC USMC WWII - Purple Heart recipient. 

Each guard is issued a specially designed pair of shoes that has extra thick soles. The thick soles on their shoes prevent their feet from being affected by the heat or cold. In addition, their shoes have metal heel plates that extend all the way to the top of the shoe to ensure a loud, distinctive click when the guards come to a halt

Every guard is required to wear gloves while on duty. Guards wet their gloves before reporting for duty to prevent their hands from losing their grip on the rifle they carry.

Within the Tomb lies one “Unknown” from World War I who was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Three Greek figures adorn the Tomb; one figure represents Peace, another Victory, and the last Valor.

Inscribed on the tomb are these words:


Tomb Guards carry M-14 rifles, all with hand-made rifle stocks. The stocks on these weapons were made by Tomb Guards. Each guard is required to clean his rifle daily and keep it ready for use at all times 

Guards take exactly 21 steps to cross The Tomb – the 21 steps symbolize a twenty-one gun salute.   

{The custom of a 21 gun salute stems from a naval tradition. When a warship encountered a friendly vessel it would fire all its cannons harmlessly out to sea, until all canon ammunition was spent. This act showed the ship was disarmed and signified the lack of any hostile intent. As military customs evolved - 21 shots became the norm.}

After walking across the Tomb, guards execute an “about-face” then pause 21 seconds before they begin their return walk back across The Tomb.
Guards always carry their rifles on the shoulder facing away from The Tomb. After they walk across The Tomb and execute an “about-face” – the guards ceremoniously move their rifles to the outside shoulder.

Since 1948, Tomb Guards have been assigned to a special platoon within the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment known as The Old Guard. 

During the winter months Tomb guards change shifts every 60 minutes – during the sweltering summer months Tomb guards change their shifts every 30 minutes.
After Arlington National cemetery closes to the public (7 p.m. to 8 a.m. April through September and 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. October through March); the sentinels continue to walk their posts.  That's right - The Tomb is guarded twenty-four hours a day - 365 days a year.

When a guard successfully completes his initial two-year assignment, he or she is awarded a “special lapel pin” – a small distinct wreath – which they can wear on their military uniform for life.

This small unique “wreath” signifies to all that they served as "A Guard of the Tomb".

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Her Name Was Rose ... She Taught Me A Lot

On the first day of class our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone in the room we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my side. I turned around to find a wrinkled old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. 

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze. 

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..." 

"No seriously," I asked. "I am curious to know what motivated you to be taking on this challenge at your age."

"Well I always dreamed of having a college education and now I am going to get one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months she and I would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' share her wisdom and experiences with me.

Over the course of that semester, Rose became a campus icon as she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students when she was living it up.

At the end of the semester I invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget the powerful message she taught us. After she was introduced she stepped up to the podium and suddenly dropped all her neatly arranged three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry; I'm just jittery - I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never be able to get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I think you should know."
As we all laughed she cleared her throat and began -

"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only two secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success.
1) You have to laugh and find humor every day.
2) You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. There are so many people walking around this world who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. For example, if you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I, at eighty-seven years old,  stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older - that doesn't take talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding new opportunities in the changes that confront us and to have no regrets.

Most elderly people I know don't have regrets for the things they did; they only have regrets for things they did not do. The only people who fear death are those who have regrets.' 

She then concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." 

She challenged each of us in that banquet hall to study the lyrics of that song and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished all her requirements for a college degree and
graduated with her class. She finally received her college diploma. 

Unfortunately, one week after graduation, Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students, faculty members and friends attended her funeral to pay tribute to a wonderful woman who taught by example and showed us it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. 

I learned three powerful things from Rose:

1) Growing older is mandatory - growing up is optional.

2) We make our living by what we get - we make our life by what we give.

3)The only thing God promises us is a safe landing; he never promised a calm voyage. 

Please share with your friends.  Gabe

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop

Robert Whiting, an elderly American gentleman 83 years old and a retired High School History teacher arrived in Paris by plane with a tour group.  At French Customs, he took several minutes to locate his passport in one of his coat pockets.

"You have been to France before, monsieur?" a French customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."

Mr. Whiting replied  "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."

"Impossible,  French law requires all Americans to have to show their passports on arrival in France!" said the French customs official.

Mr Whiting gave the French Official a long hard look, then, quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore in 1944 it was at Omaha Beach on D-Day to help liberate your country.  At that time none of us could not find a single Frenchman to show a passport to."
You could have heard a pin drop.

What a few more "You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop Stories? 

These are all very good short stories that every American government official - Federal, State and Local - should know and remember.  The next time you are criticized for the way you voted - never, ever apologize.

Sit back relax and learn ...

Dean Rusk - President Kennedy's Secretary of State - was in France in the early 60's when President Charles DeGaulle made the decision to pull France out of NATO.  President {Former General} DeGaulle said to Mr. Rusk he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Mr. Rusk looked him straight in the eyes and responded,  "Does that include those who are buried here as well?"

DeGaulle never responded to Dean Rusk.

You could have heard a pin drop.

While in England, while attend a large conference, as the Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans {the American Plans} for Iraq were just another example of  'empire building' by George Bush.

Mr. Powell turned to the Arch Bishop and said,  "Over the years, the United States has sent many of  its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders.  The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return was enough to bury those that could not return."

You could have heard a pin drop.

A few years later at another European conference held in France a number of international engineers were in attendance. During one of the morning breaks, a French engineer came back into the room saying,  "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt the American's have done?  They are sending an aircraft carrier to Indonesia because of the tsunami.  What do they intend to do, bomb Indonesia?"

A Boeing Aircraft Corporation engineer spoke up and said:  "Every American aircraft carrier has three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people a day;  they are all nuclear powered and can supply unlimited emergency electrical power to facilities on shore; they each have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 4,000 people three meals a day, they can produce 72,000 thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters which can be used to transport the injured and any victims to and from their flight deck. 

We Sir, have eleven such ships;  how many does France have?"

You could have heard a pin drop.

A few years later a U.S. Navy Admiral attended a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., England, Canada, Australia and France. During an evening cocktail reception, the American Admiral found himself standing with a large group of officers. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks.

A French Admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans are content to learn only English.  He then asked,  "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than French?"

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you and your fellow countrymen wouldn't have to learn to speak German."

You could have heard a pin drop.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Day Mrs. Thompson Quit Teaching

With School soon to start across America - I thought I would re-print one of my stories - my personal favorite. Whether this story is true or not I really don't know - however if you found it of interest please share it with every teacher you know in your community.  Maybe they too can quit teaching just like Mrs. Thompson.  

Mrs. Thompson stood in front of her fifth grade class on the first day of school and told a lie, a big lie.  As she welcomed the students and she said she would treat them all the same.  But that was not true because there was one student she would not treat the same – his name was Teddy Stoddard.

The school district hired Ms. Thompson the year before and she couldn't help but notice Teddy last year.  He was a known problem child with a lousy academic record. He did not play well with others children; his clothes were always a mess; he looked like he needed a bath and he had a bad attitude. Consequently, Mrs. Thompson delighted in marking Teddy’s papers with a broad red pen and placing big bold 'X's on all his wrong answers.  She loved putting a large 'F' at the top of his papers so other students could see his grade when she handed them out.

School policy required that each teacher review the records of their students during the first week of December.  Mrs. Thompson held Teddy's file off until last.  When she finally sat down to review his file, she was taken aback.  Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child who does neat work and has excellent classroom manners. He is a joy to have in my class - I will miss him next year."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an above average student who is well liked by his classmates. He has been having trouble lately because of his mother’s illness, and life at home has really been a struggle for him." 

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's recent death has been very hard on Teddy.  He tries hard to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life is negatively affecting him."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a withdrawn child who does not show much interest in school. He has few friends, often comes to class unprepared, and is frequently disruptive."

Mrs. Thompson was now ashamed of her behavior. She felt even worse a few weeks later when her students brought in their Christmas presents for her.  All were wrapped in holiday paper and tied with ribbons except for one. Teddy's.  It was clumsily wrapped in brown paper from an old grocery bag with no ribbon. 

Mrs. Thompson opened Teddy’s present first.   Some children laughed when they saw a rhinestone bracelet with several stones missing and an old bottle of perfume only 1/4 full; but Mrs. Thompson quickly stifled their laughter by commenting on how beautiful the bracelet was as she put in on.  She then dabbed some perfume on each wrist, inhaled deeply and said it smells wonderful.

Before he left class that afternoon, Teddy walked up to Mrs. Thompson's desk, slowly leaned in and said, "I just want you to know you smell just like my Mom use to."  He then ran out of the room.  When all the other students left, Mrs. Thompson cried at her desk. This was the day she vowed to quit teaching

Never again would she teach reading, writing or arithmetic, instead she would start teaching children.
She began to pay attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind came alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.  By the end of the school year, Teddy was one of the brightest students in her class.  Despite "her lie to treat all students the same," it was obvious Teddy was her pet.  The following year, Teddy transferred to middle school and Mrs. Thompson never saw him again.

Towards the end of the next school year, Mrs. Thompson found a note under her door.  It was a note from Teddy telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Seven years passed before she received another note.  This time Teddy wrote he had just finished high school - third in his class - and that he would be going to college and that, by the way Mrs. Thompson, you are still the best teacher I ever had in my whole life. 
Four more years went by when a letter from Teddy arrived explaining he had graduated from college and was planning on going to medical school in the fall and, by the way Mrs. Thompson, you are still the best teacher I ever had.

Several years passed before another letter arrived.  In this letter, Teddy stated he met a woman and they would be getting married in June.  He explained that his father died a few years earlier and he was wondering if she, Mrs. Thompson, would agree to sit in the place of honor reserved for the groom's parents at the head table. This letter was signed Theodore J. Stoddard M.D.

Of course Mrs. Thomson agreed. She arrived at the plush wedding ceremony wearing an old rhinestone bracelet with several rhinestones missing and carried a scent of a perfume that Teddy once said reminded him of his mother.  Dr. Stoddard came forward and hugged her. As he inhaled the fragrance of her perfume, he whispered in her ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for making me feel important and thank you for making a difference in my life."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back, "No Teddy you have it wrong.  I need to thank you. You taught me. You taught me I could make a difference."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How heavy is a glass of water?

Most people would agree the weight of a glass of water doesn't really matter ... what does matter is how long one has to hold a glass of water. 

If one has to hold a glass of water for 30 seconds, its weight would not be a problem; however, if one has to hold a glass of water for an hour, the arm would begin to ache. And finally, if one had to hold a glass of water all day long, that person would probably have to see a doctor the following day.

Since the weight of water in the glass - in the above three examples - remained the same it was actually the length of time one had to hold the glass of water that made the difference.

The same is true for difficult decisions we have to make at work. It's not the level of difficulty that causes us problems - it's the length of time we carry around the thought of ... waiting for the "right time" to make our difficult decisions.

Learn to "make all difficult decisions as soon as you can."  Don't carry around the burden of having to make a difficult decision any longer than you have to.  Make your difficult and tough decisions quickly. 

And don't forget - when you leave a board or council meeting or a public hearing that didn't go as expected, learn to leave your disappointments, dissatisfactions and frustrations at the town hall, village center, city hall, courthouse or school administration building.  You can always pick them up tomorrow when you return to the office.  There's no need to bring them home and burden your family with the weight of the problems you experience on your job. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Secret to Professional Success

Over three hundred people made reservations to attend the Chamber of Commerce annual awards meeting. Many brought friends and family members because the keynote speaker scheduled for this event was a wealthy executive who promised to share The Secret to Professional Success.   

Even though the luncheon started at noon, by 11:45 a.m. all the chairs and tables in the large banquet room at the Hyatt Hotel were full. As it neared 12:00 p.m., the attendees noticed the featured speaker had not entered the room and was not yet seated at the head table. 

Lunch was promptly served at noon and still there was no speaker at the head table. As the dessert was served many wondered where the speaker could be? Conversations soon began to take place at the various tables. All of a sudden a voice from somewhere in the back of the room yelled out, "Shut up!"

The crowd immediately drew quiet.  Everyone looked around but saw no one so they went back to their desserts and their table conversations.  Soon the same voice shouted,  “SHUT UP!

Stunned, the entire room became dead silent and everyone sat quietly and sipped on their coffee.  However after a few minutes, again the din of their conversations filled the room.  "SHUT UP," the voice barked again; however this time a diminutive well-dressed man entered the room from a back door and walked slowly to the front of the room and stood behind the podium.

Once behind the podium, he leaned into the microphone and said, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  I am your speaker.  I understand many of you are here this afternoon to learn the most 'powerful' secret to professional success.

I assure you the secret I will share with you this afternoon will help you tremendously in becoming a great success in your profession whether it be in business or government. 

The secret is simple and every great person understands; however most people find it difficult to employ. For the record, I have already shared this secret with you and I have shared it with you three times.  The secret I am referring to is to Shut Up.

When you Shut Up and let other people talk, you learn.  You hear their problems, you learn their dreams and you understand their concerns. When you Shut Up, you discover ways you can be of value to others and when you Shut Up you can learn ways to help others.  When you Shut Up, you begin to have professional success no matter what endeavor you pursue or what role you play in your organization.

So my advice to all of you if you want to be a success - Shut Up and Listen."

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Flight To Remember

The picture of the C-130A Hercules below was the 126th C-130 aircraft built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation of Marietta, Georgia. It was accepted into the Air Force inventory on August 23, 1957. 

On November 2, 1972, this aircraft was given to the South Vietnamese Government (Air Force) as part of the US Military Assistance Program.

On April 29, 1975, this C-130 was the last aircraft to fly out of South Vietnam before Saigon fell. As over 100 aircraft laid destroyed on the flight line at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, some of them still burning, this was the last flyable C-130 remaining on the Air Base. In a very panicked state, hundreds of people rushed to get aboard it, as this aircraft represented their only option to freedom.

People hurriedly crowded into this aircraft, packing in it tighter and tighter. Eventually, the load master informed the pilot, Major Phuong, a South Vietnamese instructor pilot, that he could not get the rear ramp doors closed due to the number of people who were standing on it. In a moment of inspiration, Major Phuong began to taxi the aircraft forward, slow at first - then faster.  All of a suddenly he slammed on the brakes. The load master immediately called forward stating he had just successfully closed the rear ramp doors.

In all, 452 people were able to get on board this aircraft, 32 of them had to crowd in the cockpit. US Air Force officials, using a conservative estimate of 100 pounds per person, believe this aircraft was overloaded by at least 10,000 pounds. Consequently, this C-130 had to use every bit of the runway and even the entire overrun before it was able to get lift and go airborne.

It's destination was Bangkok, Thailand, which should have been an easy 1 hour and 20 minute flight, but after an hour and a half, the aircraft was still lumbering over the Gulf of Slam and running low on fuel. A map on the aircraft was located and the crew was able to identify some terrain features and were thus able to navigate by sight and land the plane at Utapao, Air Base, Thailand, after a three and a half hour flight.

Ground personnel on Utapao Air Base were shocked at what "fell out" when they opened the aircraft doors. It was clear to everyone observing that a longer flight would have resulted in significant loss of life for many of the passengers. In the end, however, all 452 evacuees on this plane made it to freedom aboard this historic C-130.

The aircraft was reclaimed by the United States Air Force over the next 14 years and assigned to two different Air National Guard units. 

On June 28, 1989, this aircraft made its final flight. It flew to Arkansas where it sits today placed on permanent display for all to see. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

What’s the Difference between Rich and Poor?

One day, the father of a very wealthy family decided to teach his son a valuable lesson about life. His plan was to take his son on a weekend trip to visit an old friend who lived with his family out in the country. The father wanted his son to see firsthand how poor people actually live in America. 


On their ride home on Sunday evening the father looked over at his son and asked, “Well son, how was the trip? Did you learn anything this weekend?” 

“The trip was great Dad.  I loved it and all the people we met were so nice,” replied the son. 

Well did you see how those people in the country live?” asked the father?

Oh yes,” said the son.

So tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” the father asked. 

The son replied, “I saw that we have one dog and they have four. I saw that we have a swimming pool that reaches to the middle of our backyard and they have a creek that has no end. When we sit on our patio at night we look at the light flickering from those imported brass lanterns Mom bought, but when they sit on their porch at night they look up at the stars and study them.

We live on a small lot of land, but they have fields that go beyond sight. When we look out across our lawn we see green grass and other houses; when they look out their windows they can see the whole horizon. We have servants who serve us, but they enjoy serving each other. We buy our food at the grocery store, but they grow their own.  You built a large metal fence around out property to protect us, but they have all kind of friends who protect them

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then adding insult to his father’s injury the son added, “Thanks Dad so much for showing me how poor we really are.  I really learned a lot today."  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Johnny Can't Read - You Won't Believe Why

In the early 1950's an Austrian educational specialist published a study in America called "Why Johnny Can't Read."  His study argued that the Dick and Jane primers used at that time throughout American schools to teach children to read weren't working.

He believed they were horrible educational tools; according to him they were stupid, pointless, tasteless little readers.  He doubted whether any middle-class, middle-income, middle-IQ student could learn anything by reading  "Look, look" or "Yes, yes" or "Come see Spot" or "See the funny, funny animal."

He believed the stories in these primers were boring and the books ineffective at best in helping American children learn how to read. 

William Spaulding, a publisher from Houghton Mifflin's Publishing Company who worked in the educational division and read this Austrian study, thought it might be right. He met a man a few years earlier who he'd published a few not-very-well-known but very imaginative children's books that his children really loved to read over and over.

Mr. Spaulding thought this unknown writer of children's books might be able to write a book that would really be good for teaching American children how to read, want to read, and read over and over again. So he invited the author over for dinner one night and explained the dilemma to him.  Then Mr. Spaulding asked, "Can you write a book with a simple story that first-graders won't be able to put down and will just want to read over and over again?"

Stunned by the question and not sure how to respond, the writer asked if he could have some time to think about it and work on it.  He left that dinner and spent the next nine months composing a book he thought would meet the goals of Mr. Spaulding. 

 A meticulous editor and reviser, he believed that a children's book must be kept simple.  Every chapter had to be boiled down to just one simple paragraph so a child would be able to understand it.  He worked especially hard on the word count as he wanted to use as few words as possible.

The small children's reader this writer finally produced at Mr. Spaulding's request is now considered to be the most popular children's book ever written in American history. Within less then a year of its initial publication, it was selling 12,000 copies a month and within five years from its release it had sold over a million copies.  This was an incredible feat for a children's book.  

His book contained a grand total of 1,702 words but the kick is he only used 220 different words in the entire book. His simple yet effective book revolutionized the way children in America learn to read.  The book he wrote and presented to Mr. Spaulding nine months later was The Cat in the Hat.

Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel) is without a doubt the best-selling children's book author of all time.  He has since written 63 other children's books in all, including Horton Hears a Who! (1954), One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Hop on Pop (1963), Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (1975), The Butter Battle Book (1984), and of course, The Cat in the Hat (1957).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Large Wooden Bowl - If you have children please don't read

After Grandmother passed away it was obvious Grandfather  was not able to live on his own. His eyesight was failing and he often faltered when he walked. His memory was fading and worst of all he had developed a noticeable and  uncontrollable trembling in his hands. 

Rather then have him placed in a nursing home, his only son and daughter-in-law invited Dad to move in with them and their seven-year-old son. Grandfather was grateful and gladly accepted their generous offer.

Since the son's wife insisted on always having the evening meal at the big table in the dining room, Grandfather was assigned his place at the table.  Unfortunately Grandfather's failing vision and trembling hands made eating his meals difficult.  Every night peas, corn, carrots, soup and small pieces meat would often roll off his fork or spoon and land on the floor and the elegant carpet. In addition, his uncontrollable shaking hands would often loose their grip which resulted with him dropping his glass which would always make a mess on the fine linen tablecloth.

Both the son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the nightly mess and realized something had to be done.  They did not want to subject their son to Grandpa's behavior. They eventually decided the only thing to do was to have Grandfather eat alone in the kitchen where it would be easier to clean up his mess from the linoleum floor.

As soon as Grandfather was moved into the kitchen, a new problem developed.  Every time Grandfather accidentally dropped a glass or dish on the kitchen floor it broke. Luckily while visiting a local garage sale the son and his wife found a simple, large wooden bowl which they thought would be perfect for Grandfather.

Now each night the daughter-in-law would fill Grandfather's wooden bowl with the evening meal then set it on the kitchen table. Every one now seemed happy; the family ate a nice meal in the dining room while Grandfather ate his meal in the kitchen.  No one had to worrying about cleaning up any mess and the little son was not subjected to watching Grandpa's antics.
A few days later Dad arrived home early from work and greeted his wife in the kitchen.  "Where's Dad?" he asked.

"He's taking a nap," the wife replied. Since it was such a gorgeous day, the husband suggested the two of them share a cocktail on the deck. While standing on their deck, they noticed their son feverishly working on something over by the corner of the garage. Curious as to what he was doing, they walked over to their son.

"What are you working on, Son?" the father asked. 

The son looked up and innocently and replied, "Oh, I am making you and Mom a special present". 

"A special present?" they asked.

"Yes Sir," replied the boy. 

"Well what is it?" Mom asked. 

"It's a set of large wooden bowls just for you and Dad so, when you grow old, you will be able to eat your food in the kitchen and not make a mess in the dining room for my wife and I to clean up every night after dinner," the son replied. He then went back to his woodworking project.

Their son's words cut through them like a knife; neither the husband or his wife knew what to say. They turned and slowly walked back to the deck.  When they arrived back at the deck, they set their drinks down and just sat quietly.

That evening Mom, after spreading out her fine linen tablecloth, laid down two large pieces of plastic - one she placed on the table by Grandfather's place and the other on the floor under Grandfather's chair.  When dinner was ready, Dad walked to his father's room and took his father by the hand and led him into the dining room.  He pulled out a chair and said, "Father, please sit here." 

From that night forward, Grandfather never again had to sit alone in the kitchen eating from a large wooden bowl. For the remainder of his days he ate with his family in the formal dining room. Neither his son or his daughter-in-law ever seemed to mind cleaning up the mess Grandpa made each night while eating his supper.