Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gung Ho! Book Review

                                       In Control of Achieving the Goal

In Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles book titled: "Gung Ho!" elaborates on the many lessons we can learn by observing God's wonderful creatures. Spirit of the squirrel, way of the beaver and gift of the goose conveys meaningful messages on motivating people to work more efficiently. Only three simple steps were used to save 1,500 jobs as plant manager Peggy Sinclair asked for advice from an old Indian chief.  

Written in an easy to understand format, "Gung Ho!" is an inspirational story about Peggy Sinclair and Andy Longclaw working together to save the jobs at Walton Works. They never explained what they manufactured but what they did fabricate was better morale and more production. My only two questions for this book was the product and where the property was located. That would have gave me a better understanding regarding the economics of the situation.

The Spirit of the Squirrel implements Worthwhile work by helping others to achieve the same goal.  Moral values are the real boss as suggested by Longclaw and stated that these little critters keep the forest clean by removing rubbish. Having the knowledge of making the environment a better place has a reward all its own as decisions, actions and ambitions are shared. 

My favorite part of this book was Gift of the Goose and the TRUE (Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, Enthusiastic) congratulations concept. I learned the reason why geese honk at each other and the motive is to cheer one another on during long winter flights. If people could do the same as our feathered friends, maybe the struggle of life would not be so challenging with the right support. 
Most folks enjoy being bitter and seek pleasure in lashing out at one's mistake. This is not good if you are a business manager and chances are that your employees will quit and find a less hostile place to work. 

The only drawback from this book was that the story lacked detail. However, I did get a better understanding on motivation and determination. This book is ideal for business professionals that offers valuable insight on working together as a team. Without a team, there is no game. Without a game, there is no victory and with no victory everyone becomes a loser.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

110th Chicago Auto Show

                                           Let The Good Times Roll

GMC Sierra Snow Truck

First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest car show  in the nation and continues with over a century of Windy City tradition. Spanning over one million square feet of production, concept vehicles and exhibit space, we shall take a look at some of my top choices for 2018. "It's a popular show," explained Ford's Vice President, Mark LaNeeve. "This really kicks off the spring selling season," LaNeeve adds to say.

Despite the blizzard of fear, it will be hard travels for many auto enthusiasts this year as thousands of flights were canceled at both O'Hare and Midway due to inclement weather. Normally the Chicago Auto Show is packed with press geeks and car dealers from around the world. But with the heavy snow, many could not make it to the 2018 Auto Show. Under those circumstances, the McCormick Place has a number of CTA trains and buses along with weekend-shuttles located near Millennium Park. 

1973 Bel Air Police Crusier.
Very soon, I was warm and very comfortable inside this massive showroom floor examining the Klairmont Kollections, a Super Car Gallery and some vintage police cruisers. The Star Wars exhibit was pretty damn weak and not everyone will be happy paying $13.00 seeing the same old cars year after year. By nature, I am a rabid fanatic of both speed,danger, and future concept vehicles. But those were the good old days. Things are different now and looking at an X-Wing Honda  is not my idea of a good time. No Sir. Someone is being very cheap or extremely lazy and not giving the public what they really want.

 Aside from that,  I was all jazzed-up  seeing the Bat Mobile from Larry Klairmont's private collection. With over 300 cars and award winning vehicles from the early 1900's to the present,  Larry has something for just about anyone who loves cars. For those who love crime fighting, Greg Reynolds displayed his 1973 Chevrolet Bel Air police crusier.  Fully loaded with 15 inch wheels, a heavy duty transmission and a BO7 cop chassis, could out preform a felon and split their melon during capture. 

Rolls-Royce Phantom 
On the other hand, I enjoy being an outlaw and would love being in a high speed chase driving a Phantom Drophead Rolls-Royce down Interstate 55 at a reckless acceleration. Topping out at 155 MPH and no toll ways, this 453 horsepower engine is perfect for eluding the Chicago Gestapo. And with this $492,00 price tag, only an outlaw that reeks with fraud could afford such a luxury.  My karma is too clean to own this Super Car and for now, I'll stay green and ride my bike. 

That's about all I have for this report my friends. Being an outlaw journalist and staying out of jail will not be easy this year. But rest assure, let the good times roll.

Bat Man & The Evil Genius
Photos by: Gina Pfeiffer

Saturday, January 13, 2018

What Does This Button Do: Book Review

                      The Life & Times of Heavy Metal Vocalist, Bruce Dickinson

Somewhere back in time during 1987 I had the chance to meet Iron Maiden's second drummer, Nicko McBrian at Guitar Center in Chicago while he was promoting Paiste drum cymbals. This was to also spark interested in Iron Maiden's future release titled: "Seventh Son of the Seventh Son," a concept album about a boy with paranormal gifts. In 1995 I was granted an interview with the courtesy of Sanctuary Music Unlimited when I met with Ian Day whom took me back stage where lead guitarist, Dave Murray was waiting. Entering a small private room at the Vic Theater, Mr. Murray and I talked about the success of Iron Maiden and their undead mascot named Eddie. At 15-years of age, Murray told me that he dropped out of school to start a band with Steve Harris. "Bruce and Adrian left on their own, explained lead guitars Dave Murray and after my interview, I got a chance to meet Steve Harris and had seen the best concert of my life.

I never had a chance to acquaint myself with Bruce Dickinson and after several failed attempts trying to contact Rod Smallwood, I said to myself, "Fuck chasing this dead dream, and I quit Heavy Metal journalism. However, in 2018 Bruce Dickinson wrote a book titled: "What Does This Button Do?" and within seven days I was able to complete Dickinson's 366 page autobiography. I learned that dreams die hard for everyone, especially for Dickinson's parents as they ceased to achieve higher learning and stayed locked down to the blue-collar working class. Regardless, Dickinson's list of achievements include: a PhD in music, radio host interviewer, commercial pilot and lead front man of Iron Maiden. 

Pictures courtesy of: Harper Collins 
Under those circumstances, Martin Freshwater, Noddy White and countless names where dropped and that Bruce Dickinson went on tour with Rainbow and .38 Special. Maiden's PA equipment was hi-jacked by bandits over seas and later Dickinson undergone eleven radiation treatments while battling cancer. My favorte part of this book was chapter 30 titled: "Wing Nut." Taking to the skies in southern California is where Dickinson learned to fly a C-152 over Cajon Pass. 

Bruce Dickinson was able to offer some deeper insights on his world travels, touring and his battle with cancer. The language was a bit dry and could have used stronger attention to detail. On the other hand, Dickinson is a master songwriter and a champion of Heavy Metal. Writing a book does not come easy and his overall presentation was well delivered to his fans and new readership. I strongly recommend "What Does
This Button Do" and if you look close enough, you might access that On-Switch to ones imagination.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Commuter: Movie Review

Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga Shazd Latif & Liam Neeson
The daily grind of getting up, making coffee and heading to the salt mine as an insurance salesman is nothing new for our ex-cop Michel MacCauley played by Liam Neeson. On his way home from work, a mysterious woman approaches Neeson with a hypothetical question on the train and the trap has been established. Laboring to beat the clock and save his family from captors, Michel must find a person of interest and identify to  Joann played by Vera Farmiga.

Other characters in this high-speed mystery thriller included: Patrick Wilson (Alex Murphy) Sam Neill (Capt. Hawthorne) and Stuart Whelan (Police Detective) whom is uncredited in this motion picture.   In total there are 78 actors and actresses caught up in this criminal conspiracy and locating the hidden passenger will be a daunting task of fights and shoot-outs before everyone reaches the last stop.

Liam Neeson
Written by Byron Willinger & Phillip de Blais offers a strong dialogue between the performers in each scene. The sound and special effects where outstanding and with skilled eye of Director Jaume Collet-Serra gave the audience a thrill ride of death and adventure. Some shots in this film remind me of Total Recall (1990) and a music video by Megadeth called Sweating Bullets (1992) using captivating images and was well produced as the deadly plan unfolds.

As a film producer, I was surprised about the outcome of this film. However, I spotted the bad guy a mile away and regret graduating film school because I know the tips and tricks used to make these incredible motion pictures. Nevertheless, unanswered questions regarding the murders of the FBI Agent and the train engineer will have you on the edge of your seat. The message in this movie suggested that you should never talk to smiling strangers offering large sums of money in desperate situations. However, I would recommend this film to folks that love murder and suspense. 


Sunday, December 3, 2017

From Atoms to Evil:

                       Plea For Peace Inside The Nuclear Age

Monarator: Gretchen Helfrich, Sam Gambhir & Dr. Pomper
On December 02, 1942  the University of Chicago conducted a top secret experiment that changed the course of history. Controlling nuclear energy fission for weapons, propulsion and medicine was just the beginning for University Professor, Enrico Fermi and at three o'clock in the afternoon  his team was able to self-sustain a nuclear chain reaction inside a graphite chamber known as Chicago Pile one for twenty-eight minutes. Doing this type of experimentation was the equivalent of a caveman discovering fire, controlling an unstable  element and using this new tool could become a benefit or a weapon of mass destruction. 

The future of climate change, national security and world peace  balances on a thin wire of greed and a greater purpose to save humanity from a nuclear nightmare.  Now, 75 years later, world-class physicists have gathered at Reynolds Club at the University of Chicago that examined the future insights and to combat this pearl of extinction.  There are many things to consider when vaporizing enemy forces into uranium ashes and no use of a nuclear attack is morally permissible from any government standpoint. This act of genocide is a crime against humanity and could erase a language, a culture and eventually our fragile planet.

Former U.S. Secretary  of Energy,  Ernest J. Moniz
Luckily, I have become an environmental journalist and have studied under Dr. Tandarich and professor Kurt Lesley.  Urgent warning signs on global warming compelled me to cover the University of Chicago lectures as moderator, Gretchen Helfrich interviewed panelists.   On the floor of discussion were Sanjiv Sam Gambhir (Nuclear medicine & Radiology at Stanford) & Dr. Martin G. Pomper a leader in molecular imaging and Radiological science.  "Our bodies have adapted to radiation, explains Gambhir. Sound molecules are being used now as radio tracers to fight cancer cells and more education is needed." 

Cost, innovation and safety were concerns for former Secretary of Energy, Ernest J. Moniz took the podium. Without sounding pollyannaish Moniz stated that goal without a path was unfeasible and that a nuclear Holocaust will not solve any of the worlds problems. A miscalculation could become a problem in the future. Only a foolish nation would invite such a risk and allow their citizens access to build a dirty bomb. Such a speculation may seem uncompromising in this time of uncertainty The scale of suffering, human casualties and violating the moral fabric of our existance should be taken in consideration. No amount regulations will keep of safe from hostile forces. However, it is up all us to be kind to one another, because the miracle of life is true battle that we must endure.
The Evil Genius & New Friends

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Maiden Chicago

Lead Vocalist, Bill Swanson Departs toward the Final Frontier 

Millions of fans across the globe will testify that Iron Maiden is one of the greatest live bands of all time. Superior lyrics, galloping guitar riffs and excellent stage presence has given them that hard edge appeal for well over 40 years. Formed on Christmas Day in 1975 by bassist Steve Harris, he left his previous group, Smiler and assembled a weapon of Metal destruction more powerful than one thousand FV-101 British Scorpion tanks combined. Harris had been influenced by  novelist  Alexandre Dumas, author of The Man in The Iron Mask, which had a verbal connection to the mid-evil torture device and "the name" Iron Maiden was created. The British heavy metal band also incorporated their famous mascot, "Eddie" from the brilliant mind of Derick Riggs thus producing thirty-six albums and selling over 85 million records worldwide.
So, what has this got to with Maiden Chicago, you ask? The unemployment rate in the United States has remained unchanged, and is close to 8.0%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the blue collar working class struggling to make ends meet, some folks just do not have $150.00 of happy money laying around just to purchase an Iron Maiden concert ticket these days. In fact, more and more fans are supporting their local cover bands and enjoying a nice evening listing to the next best thing for a third the cost with beer money to spare.
Unfortunately, those days are over for lead vocalist, Bill Swanson as he begins a new voyage. “It’s been 27-years now when I first auditioned for a north side band called Tail Gunner, explains,” Swanson. “There are other things in life, and I guess it’s time for me to move on.” Now, after recapping his success as former front man for Maiden Chicago, Swanson is focusing more on home and domestic issues and less on Heavy Metal thunder.
However, Bill Swanson is not looking back, but is gazing into the future with more quality time to spend with his family. This could in fact, be his new agenda as he takes the role of a loving father and loyal husband.  “There’s always a lot of places to go hunting and fishing with my son,” Swanson expresses with deep admiration. Traveling a bit would be nice and showing him all the things my father did when I was his age is what I would like to do,” Swanson adds.
Eccentric emotions on this dark Autumn night in Lansing, Illinois. Heavy rain storms approaching JJ Kelley’s and no amount of words, music or fond memories can touch the human spirt like Maiden Chicago.  This was the kind of energy that will soon be forgotten by no one and remembered as one of the best Iron Maiden tribute bands in the United States.
Maiden Chicago decided to bring their act indoors. Opening their set with “Remember Tomorrow” pulled on the emotional heart strings to their adoring fans that night.  “Run to the Hills” “The Trooper and “Powerslave” had the crowd screaming for more Maiden as spectators enjoyed Maiden Chicago’s last celebration with Swanson.  Other members include, Al Contreas & Mike Zatezalo (lead guitarists), Gary Ingram (bass) and drummer Dan Driskill closed out their set with “Hallowed Be Thy Name” For those unaware the songwriting lawsuit regarding Iron Maiden, a gentleman by the name of Robert Barton claimed to have written some of the lyrics. This song narrates a motion picture on stage about a public execution. Barton secretly settled out of court with one of the credited songwriters, and in 2011 another blood-sucking money leech claims that they are the original  songwriters. After Brian Ingham tries to sue Iron Maiden for his share of the profits, the British Heavy Metal act is no longer allowed to perform “Hallowed Be Thy Name” live in concert anymore.
Heavy Metal may have bottomed out in America, as more lawsuits, Percocet and Gangster Rap music make way for a new generation. This has been a well coordinated exodus by record executives that lend money out to artists with no musical background. Of course, that’s only half the story. History will be hard to know in the future as fake news bombards these self-entitled Millennials with the media slowly brainwashing their critical thinking about slavery and the Holocaust.

More dangerous storms are approaching, and the days of Pac Man, Rubix Cube and Heavy Metal madness reach the end of an era. The party is official over. This was a very special time to be alive during the 1980’s.  Thirty-five years later, one can go to the shores of Lake Michigan and with brilliant vision can witness the damage done on those masculine concrete mountains. The blizzard of fear continues as our inner-child trapped like a wild beast ready to escape. You can see the destructive force of our savage nature and what humankind has become. Maiden Chicago will still continue without Bill Swanson and the thunder of his amazing energy on stage is now just a whisper above the Cirrus clouds as he launches into the final frontier.    

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Diamonds and Waste

                                        Advanced Technology Combatting Nuclear Waste
                                                             Science & Engineering

Okay, you are sitting in class and just before the professor enters the room and your phone or laptop device shuts down. This is not good, all the magic at your fingertips has disappeared and you need this tool for the big test next week. Now what? Just imagine never worrying about replacing batteries or being tethered to a wall like some wild dog on a leash, only to consume more electrical power. The future is now here and the researchers at Bristol University, UK may have found a way to harness nuclear waste into some type of synthetic man-made diamond.
In the 1950’s the United States took a savage approach using nuclear energy by powering the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Sure, this may have been a good idea at the time. Furthermore, this was beyond our technology at the time and now finding a way to store spent fuel has become a daunting task during the twenty-first century. Spent nuclear fuel holds valuable radioactive isotopes that are essential for industrial or medical use or could be processed into more energy.
On November 25, 2016 a fresh perspective to change the world was spearheaded by Professor Tom Scott and his research team at the University of Bristol. Scott’s area of research includes Geochemistry and Metallurgy of uranium and has successfully published over 60 papers and holds three patents and is the recipient of the 2014 RAEng ERA award for innovating extreme dose radiation detection system made from a synthetic gas-like man made diamond. This recent development could harvest nuclear energy as a power cell for satellites, high-altitude drones or even a Moon colony in the next 100 years.
Despite their low-power, relative to current battery technologies, the life-time of these diamond batteries could revolutionize the powering of devices over long time periods. The actual amount of carbon-14 in each battery has yet to be decided but one battery, containing 1gram of carbon-14, would deliver 15 Joules per day.  This man-made diamond battery could hold about 2 volts of electricity, which is equivalent to a small AA battery.  Standard alkaline AA batteries are designed for short timeframe discharge: one battery weighing about 20g has an energy storage rating of 700J/g. If operated continuously, this would run out in 24 hours. Using carbon-14 the battery would take 5,730 years to reach 50 per cent power, which is about as long as human civilization has existed.
Under those circumstances, we must examine the drawbacks of such a device and the responsibilities connected with environmental laws, and human exposure.  The first question that comes to mind is the structural integrity and the atomic bonds associated with Nickel-63. According to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, a fingernail is approximately 2.5 and a real diamond ranks a 10 on mineral resistance. So, to help understand this diamond battery, Wright Times reached out to the Environmental Club for more answers.  
“The science is valid,” explains Dr. John P. Tandarich, Club advisor. “On the other hand, this is a pie-in-the-sky idea and this battery has not been built yet,” adds Dr. John. Environmental Club officers include: Bethany Salgado (Club President), Ian Santillan (Vice President), Elena Sandoval (Secretary) and club treasurer, Tyrone Suplac and together they are implementing new ways of reducing the amount of chemicals that escape out of household dryer ventilation systems.  

In this final analysis, researchers and the world’s top scientists still have a long way to solve our nuclear waste problem. In addition, we can do our part as well by conserving energy and cutting back on our own carbon footprint. Simple task such as turning off lights, riding a bike to school or work and recycling unwanted materials could be a step in the right direction for a cleaner habitat. The diamond battery is a good idea. But at the same time, do not expect to find this product at a local hardware store. Hopefully one day scientists can resolve our nuclear waste problem so that all of can breathe cleaner healthier air in the future.