Category Archives: Random Ramblings

A Lesson in Personal Responsibility from Kenny Powers and Elbert Hubbard

Without beginning a rant I really have no time for today, I will simply start this blog post as this – people are bitches. Now is this everyone? No of course not, but the number of people in todays society that are and/or act like one grows with each passing day. They bitch about everything yet do little or nothing to change their position. The slogan “Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution” appears to have been replaced with “Handouts, self entitlement  and complaining for all”. This rant could go on and on in my world as I am sure it could in yours, but what can I say that Kenny Powers hasn’t already said in this video below. I’d work for him.

A friend who knows all to well my personal gripes with the talent level in today’s society passed this next little gem along to me and thus I to you. Some of you may have seen this before but I like to pass on things I find helpful to my growth as a man and member of said society. The essay first appeared in 1899 as a filler without a title in the March issue of Philistine magazine (wikipedia). The messages in this letter are very clear, and have implications from all aspects of society, from the fire service to private business. If you can’t understand what Elbert Hubbard is talking about, then you better take a good long look in the mirror, because it’s probably talking about you. Expect success and drop all the rest, you owe it to society not to be a load and not to turn a blind eye to those that are.

A Message to Garcia

Elbert Hubbard

IN ALL THIS CUBAN BUSINESS there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba — no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, “There is a fellow by the name of Rowan who will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia — are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”

By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing – “Carry a message to Garcia.”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.

No man who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands are needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man—the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook or threat he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant.

You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within call. Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio.”

Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task? On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions:

  • Who was he?
  • Which encyclopedia?
  • Where is the encyclopedia?
  • Was I hired for that?
  • Don’t you mean Bismarck?
  • What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?
  • Is he dead? Is there any hurry?
  • Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
  • What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him find Garcia—and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course, I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average I will not.

Now, if you are wise, you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile very sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself. And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift— these are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night holds many a worker to his place. Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate — and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia? “You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory. “Yes, what about him?”

“Well, he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him uptown on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “down-trodden denizens of the sweatshop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long, patient striving after “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues: only, if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer—but out and forever out the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best—those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself!”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled Number Nine boot.

Of course, I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a- slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds—the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the boss is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long, anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted. He is wanted in every city, town and village—in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed and needed badly—the man who can “Carry a Message to Garcia.”

HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE


As another 4th of July comes to bear, seeming to arrive even faster than the previous, it is often hard to find time to pause and reflect. As the rains moved into the East End tonight and the men rushed to the flag pole to keep the high flying red, white and blue from feeling a drop of water, I found myself in a rare moment of reflection. From previous entries it is pretty apparent where I stand on military appreciation and their role in what freedom we experience today. Although in the military, much like the fire department, you have those that do and those that wear a shirt that says they do, its a fairly safe bet that if 235 years ago a group of men hadn’t gotten tired of societies bull shit we wouldn’t be where we are today. I often find myself wondering, as I listen to the daily gripes of modern societies simpletons, if we could endure a similar struggle and come out on top. Could our politically correct world of “everybody gets a trophy” (Courtesy of Scott Kraut) and the “Job Corps” that has become government employment weather the storm of individual hardship without a finger to point blame or someone to listen even if you did? 

When feeling particularly cinical and unmotivated I like to play a certain scene from “A Few Good Men” as a pick me up.

This clip always seems to lift my spirits, that is until I realize that 95% of society side with Tom on this issue, while I on the other hand side with the decorated Col. Jessup. But as a society we have accepted mediocrity from our members despite how many other lives that impacts. But that’s another topic for another day.

Here is a short story I wrote for 30Engine.com of which I am particularly proud to have been a part of and always brings the reality of this great Country back to my mind.

Camp Leatherneck and the East End DCFD
 FROM THE EAST END TO THE MIDDLE EAST…AND BACK AGAIN: BROTHERS SHOW SUPPORT FOR SON OF TRUCK 17 LT. AND THOSE WHO SERVE

On November 10th, 2010 on the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corp and with Veterans Day approaching, the members of Engine 30 and 17 Truck received a very fitting email from our troops overseas. A little over a month prior the members of “The Heights” sent over a little “sign” of support for 9th Engineer Support Battalion of the USMC as well as all of our troops fighting for our Country abroad. The sign (shown below) included the company patches of the proud East End crews as well as the formally recognized patch of the District of Columbia Fire Department. The sign was sent to Cpl. Stephen J. Fennell, son of Truck 17 # 1 Lieutenant Stephen Fennell, and his fellow Marines on the grounds of Camp Leatherneck in Helmond Province, Afghanistan. See the attached picture of the brave Marines sporting the sign of support. The sign was hung in the weight room of Camp Leatherneck for the remainder of their deployment. The banner served the men as a constant remainder of the world they were protecting and the pride the crew from the East End and the rest of the DCFD has in their efforts to protect our freedom. Thankfully, the sign returned home along with the unscathed Cpl. Fennell and the rest of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion. One of the 1st stops Cpl. Fennell made when he returned stateside was to the quarters of Engine 30 to express his gratitude for our support and to share a well deserved meal with the crew. To all the members of the US Armed Services proudly serving our Country home and abroad, the members of “The Heights” and the entire District of Columbia Fire Department, we extend our deepest gratitude for your service. Semper Fidelis.

Cpl. Fennell safely home again

Regardless of individual struggles with society each of us may endure on a daily basis, it is the fine men and women of the Armed Services like Cpl. Fennell and Cpl. Kirk J. Bosselmann that have afforded us the right to worry about small issues that seem so big from under the blanket of freedom. Just say thank you and be on your way, otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post!

Happy Independence Day!

Those We Remember: Memorial Day 2011

Enough Said

Memorial Day and it’s associated “weekend” means different things to different people. For me it has always been a combination of remembering those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as well as about remembering those that made an impact in our lives and have since passed on. My life has been blessed to have been dotted with many influential people who helped shape my ideals and my outlook on life. From a young age it was instilled in me the importance of the sacrifice of those from the past, I’m sure I used to freak my parents out when at 10 year old I would rather go to Gettysburg or out back with a medal detector then to a movie. As a new father I try to do my best to give my son those same experiences that he will hopefully draw strength from later in life. Our first stop this weekend was to the secret resting spot of the hero for which my son gets his middle name, to visit “Uncle Kirk”. To see Kirks memorial video CLICK HERE.

Rocking the Air Force Jersey at Rolling Thunder 2011

Our next stop was down to the always amazing “Rolling Thunder” to honor Americas MIA and KIA. My 3 year old was so impressed with the display that he waved steady for over an hour, not an easy feat for a son with an attention span like mine. Here is a great video showing what determination and discipline looks like.

Memorial day brought a celebration at the Land of Kent where I got the special treat of a phone call from Afghanistan. One of Kentlands lost sons, Scott Motley, was checking in from an ocean away. A few good lucks and keep your head lows and he was off to serve again along side the rest of his brothers. Off to protect our right to cook hot dogs and visit the beach on this Memorial Day “weekend”. We are thankful for Scott and the rest of his Devil Dogs.

Scott Motley - USMC

Serving over seas flag flying proudly at the Land for Scott

From there is was back to the BBQ and talks of those who are no longer with us. One of which being Mark “Mick” McKenzie, the man who took me under his wing, taught me the ropes of the special service life style, and helped me see the error in my flare covered helmet ways. Here is a little video I made awhile ago in his memory. CLICK HERE.

Almost as if Mick was listening, Rescue Engine 33, with me in the seat, got put on a Capitol Heights house fire with fire showing from the rear of the home. STORY HERE. After an hour or so of work we got to slide on back to the Kentland BBQ to finish honoring the fallen.

A different kind of Memorial Day BBQ

Its funny how when your younger you don’t quite understand the importance of certain people or their roll until their gone. There are more than a handful of people I wish I would have had more time to sit and talk with, sit and learn with. To learn about all they had done in their lives and knowledge they had to offer. One such individual was my Great-grandfather Forest “Mike” Mills, who just recently passed away in 2006. I remember his stories of serving in the engine room of the USS Enterprise during World War II, about the sounds the ship would make when an enemy bomber crashed just feet from the great carrier. I listened as a child listens, for the story and not the meaning. Little did I know until several years later that this “ship” was not just any ship, but instead the Big “E” was the most decorated ship of the entire war, fighting in some of the most famous battles in history. Battles that shaped the future of our great Nation and ensured a bright future for those left behind. I wish I had paid a little closer attention to those story’s now that he is gone.

So for those we remember, and those we wish we had more memories of, happy Memorial Day.

My Great Grandfathers first and last trip to the WWII Memorial in DC

Forest "Mike" Mills, US Navy

A View from the Tillercage: A Brief Exercise in Rhetoric

An exercise in rhetoric inspired by the writings of Matt “Maine” Hall. His recent facebook descriptions of late night ramblings from the ghetto of our home in Landover has inspired me to try my hand. Here is a late night rambling from a memorial weekend spent in the back of Truck 17.

For Maine:

Our chariot comes to a stop just shy of the entrance to the apartment complex, the heroes of “The Heights” answer the never ending call for service, this time its the ever elusive activated CO detector. I watch as my crew makes their way up the hill towards the mountain of brick and mortar known as Benning Park Apartments. Heavy eyelids give way to an unrelenting stare as i catch myself gazing longingly through the dust covered window of my tillermans perch. The iridescent hue of a lone streetlight joins with the familiar reds and blues of a passing police cruiser, together they bring identity to the darken street sign. 4900 G st. SE. My temporary inhabitancy now has a name.

The air is cool and crisp as it recoils from the recently passed storm. The night is alive with activity, people pass but seldom wave, families and felons share the sidewalk together as they stroll into the emptiness of the East End night. My thoughts drift away from this place much the same as the dreams of the areas youth, away to a place far removed from the brutal realities of “The Heights”. Thoughts of a future with manageable hours, of nights with adequate sleep, of holidays at home with family and friends. The recurring thud of a car stereo gains strength as it closes on my position, the roar of exhaust from a passing donked-out caprice jerks me back to my observatory high atop 17 truck.

My attention shifts to a conveniently placed pair of “Air Jordans” dangling from the electric line above my head, swaying gingerly in the evening breeze, beckoning to this spot those in search of a quick high to lift them from this place. My band of brothers makes their way back down the hill from the building entrance, laughing and jostling, bonded together by the experiences and the tragedies they’ve shared, forged into friends at trail by fire. They know how quickly the song can change, how that next call for service might find them staring the red devil and his fiery minions square in the face, daring my brothers to enter in protection of these same families and felons that call East End their home. This fire forcing them to rise up to their best when DC citizens are at their worst. These men, these firemen, know that only the bond of brotherhood will bring them through the flames and back alive.

I chuckle to myself as a new thought creeps into mind. These moments i will miss, this ghetto i will miss, these brothers I will miss…

Welcome to “Just Looking Busy”

This blog is meant to bring to one place the many interesting aspects that make up my day. Facebook has proven to be a less than desirable way to share thoughts and ideas with like minded individuals, so welcome to this blog.

THE REASON BEHIND THE NAME: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AN AMERICAN HERO, CPL. KIRK J. BOSSELMANN

This is an article I put together as a labor of love in honor of the birthday of my best friend and hero, Cpl. Kirk Bosselmann. From the Patriot LWM Blog:

Over the years, many have asked as to the origin of the name for “Patriot” Land and Wildlife Management Services, Inc. Most just assume that we are borderline “overly patriotic” and sometimes even go as far as to suggest it is a marketing strategy, ha. Truth be told, on this day, March 25th, in the year 1983, Kirk J. Bosselmann was born into this world. A lifelong friend of Patriot president Joe Brown, Kirk spent the majority of his young life in and around the woods and waters of Maryland. Together the two developed a mutual appreciation for nature and an everlasting love of the outdoors and what it has to offer. Often, Kirk and Joe would joke about how great it would be to get paid to do what they love, be outdoors.   

When senior year at Poolesville High School came to an end, the boys had a tough decision to make. Joe was being recruited for college level football and Kirk had his eyes set west to become a firefighting “Smoke Jumper”. Joe’s path took him to Shepherd University to play football and study Environmental Resource Management as Kirk found a smoke jumping team in California.

Several weeks into each adventure, Joe received a call from California. It was Kirk, and he had decided his life needed more direction, he decided to become a Marine. Unknown to his family or friends, Joe made plans to join up with his pal in San Diego and take that leap together. Showing qualities only possessed by a true friend, Kirk convinced his friend not to leave Shepherd, saying “you try college, I’ll try the Marines, and in 4 years we can switch”. And so it was.

Kirk and Joe stayed in touch throughout the journey, with letters and emails changing hands often, and even the occasional return home for a little outdoor related R&R. Each time they met the talk usually led to the same conversation…”how cool would it be if we got paid to be outside?”

For 3 1/2 years all went according to plan, with Kirk returning safely from his first deployment in Iraq and Joe staying relatively uninjured on the football field and even somewhat successful in the class room (to both their surprises).

On November 27th, 2004 the call came. Cpl. Kirk J. Bosselmann, 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Scout Sniper Platoon, had been killed in action while bravely defending his brothers inside the Iraqi city of Fallujah. 2 weeks later Kirk received a hero’s goodbye from friends, family and a grateful nation in the perfect setting for how he lived, the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.

In his final letter to Joe, Kirk stays true to his core, imploring Joe not to weep, but carry on completing the dreams and goals they had set together. To live life to the fullest without a single ounce of regret.

And so, Patriot Land & Wildlife Management Services, Inc. was born, and they are proud to say they are getting “paid to be outside”….