Toilet Paper?? Really??

“Fear is contagious too.”

Panic begets panic. Calm begets calm.

And panic never helps. Reminds of one of legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s quotes: “Be quick, but never hurry.”

So, being stocked up does make good sense. Just in case.

But 1. I don’t get the “take everything you can find” mentality. And
2. I REALLY don’t get the toilet paper craze.

For one thing, excessive shitting is not generally a symptom of this disease.

But secondly, Jeez, people—LOTS of ways to wipe your ass.

When I was living in a cave for six months (well, that’s ANOTHER story, people) we used to use whatever we had—newspapers, socks, T-shirt sleeves, leaves, whatever. Gross, but better than nothing “in a pinch” (ha ha). But, hey, all of us have garden hoses. Bathtubs. Showers.

So, people—Don’t hoard the toilet paper! Leave some for the other guy.

That’s the smartest policy for everyone “in the end” 😉

Keep Living

We could save 45,000 American lives THIS YEAR.

And EVERY year. Starting TODAY!

And it’s easy.

All it would take is for President Trump to announce a national US speed limit of 20 mph!

Instantly, 45,000 lives will be saved. Easy. But why DON’T we do that?

Because people don’t want to live their lives at that pace (even though as recently as our great grandparents would have been thrilled—AND AMAZED—to get around so quickly).

That is not how we deal with the very real (can I say—epidemic?) of highway deaths year after year.

So, what DO we do:

We buckle up.
We look both ways.
We watch out for the other guy.
We don’t drink and drive.

Yet still, year after year, over 100 Americans still die every single day.

“It’s not the same” you say. “COVID-19 is a virus, something we can’t even see!!!”

True. But I’d bet that most fatalities likely never see the guy who ran the red light, or the drunk driver who crossed the center line and plowed right into them and their family.

It may be “different”. But not all that different.

I certainly take this pandemic seriously and I know it may kill me and others I know/love. I get that.

But is the “cure” gonna be worse than the disease?

Sure—I know when I fly or drive to go to the beach or to visit my kids, I could die as well (45,000 Americans A YEAR actually do).

But I still do it. We ALL still do it.

We buckle up.
We look both ways.
We watch out for the other guy.
We don’t drink and drive.
And we hope to God our number is not up that day.

We live our lives, with care and with common sense, but we don’t stay home and not venture out (and I know that I, for one, would have a REAL HARD TIME driving @ 20 mph 😀).

I don’t get this. I really don’t.

Just sayin…

-JB

We Did Our Jobs

Well, it’s Friday. Let’s all head down to the bar for a drink.

Oh…wait. Just kidding 🤪 Our routines are gonna change—no doubt.

BUT…remember my “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard” thought for the day?

Well, as of today, WE MADE IT THROUGH WEEK 1!

Proud of everyone. We did our jobs. We helped our customers. We solved problems. We stayed strong. We worked safe and smart. We pulled together. We communicated. We FIGURED THINGS OUT.

That is what we do.

I’m afraid it may be like this for awhile. For how long…who knows?  But we’ll get through it.

Enjoy the weekend,

-JB

Inch By Inch

“Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch”.

Keep doing the things we can control. Staying positive helps, in any situation. Eating right. Maybe trying to lose some weight (now that the bars are all closed so there won’t be the opportunity to eat a dozen wings with your beer when you’re out with your friends). Ditto for smoking. I know a lot of folks who ONLY smoke when they are out at the bar. Maybe use this “opportunity” to finally quit that terrible habit.

Stay in shape (or get in shape). I will miss training with Sam at Iron Oxygen while they are closed, but you don’t need to go to a gym to stay in shape. Work out at home. If you have weights or machines, use those. If not, the old fashioned push ups, sits ups etc work just fine (if you don’t believe me, check out Hershel Walker, ex-football player). Go out for a run, or just for a walk.

Don’t get negative. Don’t be “chicken little”. Like most tough times in life, we need to face it, to deal with it, to get through it.

Inch by inch when things get tough. But stay positive. Stay strong. Get through it.

-JB

The Chain That Connects Us

As we know, in 2001 it was the firefighters and the police and other first responders who drew the “short straw” and had to charge into burning, collapsing towers. Most of them did, without hesitation, and many paid for their heroism with their lives. It’s what brave people do.

Today, the nurses and doctors are our heroes, risking their lives daily to help us/the world deal with this confounding pandemic.

To me, it could be easy for them (or the firefighters or cops in 2001) to say, “I’m not going in there. That building might collapse”. Or, “Hey, if I go into the hospital today I might get the virus and bring it home to MY wife/husband and kids”.

It would be easy for them to say. Not irrational at all.

Probably smart and definitely SAFER for them and their families than going into work every day and “doing their job”.

But, by and large, THEY DON’T. They go. Every shift. Every day. At little thought for their own health and welfare. Isn’t that irrational?

But why do they go? Because brave people step up to the challenge.

Just like in a “normal” war (and I agree with the analogy that this IS a war, against an invisible enemy), people actually charge into battle, head towards the bullets, take the hill. They don’t simply put their safety first, and refuse to go because it is dangerous. It IS dangerous. But they still go.

I get the hunker down that is going on, and it makes sense for many. You don’t need to hit the bars every weekend, or to get your nails done. But, as I’ve said before, though our jobs here at LP are not as firefighters or policemen, or nurses or doctors, we still play an INDISPENSABLE ROLE in getting things where they need to be to support them, so that they—the true heroes, can do their job amidst all the disease and fear and uncertainty that they will be face to face with every day.

If their masks can’t get delivered. If they run out of sanitizing machines, or ventilators, they won’t be able to do THEIR jobs.

Or if food can’t get to the stores, and people start to have to fight to feed their kids, or to scavenger to find their medicines, I think we all know how ugly things can turn.

So, we’ll keep doing our job. We’ll keep finding a way (despite the many obstacles, some unavoidable, some-panic created) to support them from “the rear”. To keep things functioning.

I’ve heard the term “failure of imagination” to explain how we could not see this coming/not be prepared for this, and I agree. We didn’t see this coming.

Well, it is also a failure of imagination not to see how TRULY BAD things might get if this goes on for months/not weeks, and if society really shuts down. Just stop and think about that for a minute. That scares the shit out of me.

And, the term supply chain actually MEANS something. It is all a chain. If one of our customers, who makes a small part that then goes somewhere else—to another factory, in a different city/country—to be part of a ventilating machine is shut down, and that ventilating machine then cannot be produced, and is not there for the doctors and nurses (and patients) who need it to use, how does that work out?

If we can’t get respirator masks to the nurses in the hospitals and they get the disease while treating the sick and we lose them—if they get sick and die—then what??? Imagine…

We/things are truly all connected. And while shutting down that manufacturer, or stopping that trucker from driving cross country to deliver his goods, or stopping that flight that would otherwise bring in respirator masks might FEEL good and safe and right at the moment, I think we all need to look further down the road, look further down the SUPPLY CHAIN to recognize the dire UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of those seemingly smart, actions.

Just my 2 cents (and probably not worth any more than that). Sorry 🙂

So, let’s all be smart. Let’s keep our distance, sanitize, work from home if needed. Let’s be smart.

But let’s find a way to still play our role here, one way or the other, supporting the heroes at work and the nation’s economy that provides for us all.

-JB

One Day at a Time

We’ve seen this once before. 9/11.

The world did not know what was happening/coming next. People living in fear. Different cause/same effect.

But now as then, the brave people who are critical to the economy held their ground, did their jobs and got America/and the world through that terrible time.

The first responders.
The nurses and doctors and janitors.
The truck drivers and warehouse workers.
The airplane pilots and sea captains.
The flight controllers and the flight attendants.
The dock workers and factory workers.
The cops and the firefighters.
Our political leaders.
And the providers of all of our public services.

The people who continued to work, and to move the goods that supply the food and the medicine and everything that’s essential that keep our country, and our world, running. “The home of the brave”, right?

I always say, our jobs are not sexy. “What is logistics?”, I ask kids who come in here for job interviews —“We Move Shit”, I tell them Not sexy. But ESSENTIAL. Without us, nothing moves.

So, today, in spite of the fears, we need to stay at our posts; whether that be the office, the warehouse, the trucks – we help keep this world moving.

We’ve all seen this movie before and unfortunately already know what it can look like in “the end“. It can get pretty ugly.

We’ve already seen people standing in line for hours, and fighting for frigging toilet paper. And that’s even before things have gotten too bad (and who Really knows how bad it might/might not Actually get?)

But none of us want to find “how low can we go” as a community, a nation or a species. (I know I don’t 🙂

So helping those brave nurses and doctors get their supplies/keep functioning.

Helping those brave folks at all the Walmart’s and Wegmans stay open to provide food and necessities to their communities. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

We are the sherpas. We are “the control towers” who help get people/things where they need to go, whether it is easy or, like now, when it gets hard.

Hang tough. One day at a time.

Keep America and the world rolling.
Keep the hospitals and stores open.
Help deliver the goods and the services required.

The world stops and falls apart without people like us.

It sucks right now without March Madness, and the NBA and NHL and MLB, St. Patty’s Day parades. It sucks. But the world still goes on without all of that.

And, as much as we enjoy them, those things are not truly Critical to our survival. Not at all. And those athletes we worship are not the REAL heroes (as they’ll be the first ones to admit).

WE—and the front line folks who will help get us all through this, who will keep the wheels turning and the shelves full and the hospitals functioning. Now it’s our turn. WE’LL be the heroes now.

Be safe. Be smart.
But let’s FIND A WAY to get ‘er done, guys. One day and one delivery at a time.

Hero Time!

-JB

Viking Cruise: The End of Our Journey

Well, as this comes to a close, it has been a great experience. We got a pretty decent “sampler platter” of South America. From the French Guiana to the Amazon to Rio and Montevideo, to Buenos Aires and the Falklands/Malvinas, Tierra del Fuego, around Cape Horn, to Patagonia and then tomorrow to Santiago.  What a journey.

But not home yet. From Santiago, we’ll go to LA to see Derek, Jessie, and Ernie, and from there to Dallas to attend the annual Dallas LP Christmas Party and see the gang there. It’s been great (and will continue to be).

On a check off the goals note, I did pretty good:

Got most of the year end LP stuff done.

Kept in touch with the offices (sorry for the many “Whaddup?” Emails 🙂

Read 2.5 books.

Walked over half a million steps (>250 miles) in the 47 days on the ship.

Worked out in the gym ALMOST every day. I promise Megan and Sam 🙂

Ate PRETTY well. Actually, if the scale here is right, I lost a couple of pounds on the trip which was much needed 🙂

Hallie and I didn’t kill each other. Didn’t even come close. Was VERY enjoyable actually. Good to know we could do that.

And was not bored once. Not for one minute.

A great experience through and through.

One of the nice things about cruises is 1. You’re in a beautiful “hotel” where everything is pretty much taken care of for you, and 2. Every day you wake up in a cool place (3. And you don’t have to pack and unpack when you get there.)

If you haven’t tried one, I’d highly recommend it. Probably best to start with a 7-10 day cruise (quarters are tight and it’s easy to get on one another’s nerves—we witnessed more than a few cases of that on this trip). It’s not for everyone, but I find it very enjoyable.

And our trip was more of an “old folks” cruise. No kids. No casinos. No big parties. That was fine with us. But for those who want loud bashes all night, there are lines other than Viking that cater to those who do. I’m sure there is something for everyone out there.

In any event, I’ll report from Santiago.  Gonna see if I can find an American sports bar there so I can (finally) get to see the Bills play. Been missing the best football they’ve played in years.  Oh, well. Not the end of the world. And I know that because we just spent a few days there actually 🙂

Onward!

Viking Cruise: Heading North to Santiago, Chile

Well, finally on the way to our last port of call. The capital of Chile, Santiago.  I heard there are big demonstrations going on there. Memories of my youth 😀 (though probably smart if I stay away)

Our stop today, Puerto Montt, seen below, had to be cancelled. The docks are not accessible for big ships so what they do is they drop anchor in the harbor and then use their life boats to tender us ashore. However, when we got there this morning, there were 35 mile and hour winds and waves that made getting on and off the tenders difficult. Plus the anchor would not hold the ship in place.  So the captain called an audible and we left. Like he always says about the weather, “it is what it is.”

Disappointing because there is a beautiful lake and volcanoes here. Teddy Roosevelt said it is the prettiest lake in the world.

Next time, I guess. 😀

Heading North!

 

 

Viking Cruise: Punta Arenas, Chile

Arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile last night (I think our captain may have gotten a little lost on the way, judging from the map, eh?) 🙂

Anyway, today we got to kayak the Strait of Magellan. As you probably know, this is the pathway that Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, found that took him from the Atlantic to the Pacific and around the world 500 years ago. (next year is the 500th anniversary)

Very, very cool.

Punta Arenas is in Patagonia, and again, very far south. The city actually has almost the same population as Erie and tourism is a big part of their industry, especially as it has gotten warmer here over the years.

Allow me minor tangent from my travelogue please, if you don’t mind:

I am a big fan of technology. I know I’m not very good at it (I am still awed by the fact that connecting 2 tin cans with string rubbed with candle wax enables you to talk over that line, and have no clue how THAT works :), so I have ZERO clue how technology works, though I have used it all the time (I actually owned the first portable computer ever made—the Kaypro 2, back in the 1980’s before some of you were born!).  I love the brilliance and convenience of it.

But this REALLY amazes me:

Hallie’s Google phone can take this picture. (Actually you don’t even need the ship as background, JUST the numbers would work) and then Google spreads some magic sprinkle dust on the screen and it recognized those numbers as:

RRS Discovery (2013)

This article is about the 2013 vessel. For Scott’s 1901 ship, see RRS Discovery. For other ships of this name, see RRS Discovery (disambiguation).

RRS Discovery is a Royal Research Ship operated by the Natural Environment Research Council. The ship is the third such vessel to be built and named for the ship used by Robert Falcon Scott in his 1901-1904 expedition to the Antarctic.

History
Name: RRS Discovery
Owner: NERC Research Ship Unit
Builder: C.N.P. Freire, S.A
Cost: £68 million
Laid down: 16 February 2011
Launched: 6 April 2012
Completed: 3 June 2013
Identification: ·IMO number9588029

·MMSI number235091165

·Callsign: 2FGX5

Status: In service
General characteristics 
Class and type: Lloyd’s +100A1, Ice 1D, LMC, UMS, DP(AM), IWS, EP, Research Vessel
Displacement: 6260 tonnes
Length: 99.7 m
Beam: 18 m
Draught: 5.1 – 6.6 m
Installed power: Wärtsilä 8L20 – 4x 1770 Kw
Propulsion: ·2 × Azimuth Thrusters(5-bladed, fixed pitch)

·One retractable azimuth forward (1,350kW)

·One Tees Gill water-jet thruster (1,700 kW)

Speed: 12 knots
Crew: ·24 marine crew

·28 scientists

Notes: Endurance 50 days

Discovery was built as a replacement for the previous Discovery in the “blue ocean” research role.[1] The ship was ordered in 2010 from the C.N.P. Freire shipyard in Vigo, and was launched in April 2012. Discovery was delivered to the NERC in the summer of 2013 for a period of sea trials prior to her planned initial deployment.[2]

The ship is fitted with flexible laboratory spaces, allowing the laboratories to be tailored to the nature of the different scientific activities intended to take place on each cruise. Discovery is also fitted with an advanced hydroacoustic system in three major parts; a pair of major echosounders plus a hydrophone are installed in a special “blister” installation on the ship’s keel, while she also carries a pair of “drop keels” containing more echosounders, hydrophones and CCTV cameras.[3] Discovery is also capable of operating the National Oceanography Centre‘s ROUV Isis.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RRS_Discovery_(2013)

How on earth can the phone take a picture of 5 seemingly random letters/numbers and know that it this ship? I REALLY don’t get that.  Amazing! (And one of our biggest customers). Keep wowing ‘em, Google!

Heading north up the coast tonight.

Onward!