Fear of Flying, Ch 4: I Get Promoted

Sorry, I’ve been distracted by life and some odd occurrences since I began writing this. My daughter says she would be creeped out but I find it amusing…

I was here: I’d finally had my “Eureka” moment and The Company’s (TC‘s) new “Package Delivery” customer had received IPCs (Illustrated Parts Catalogs) for planes with passenger doors. Also amusing.

For the next two years I wrote IPCs. During that time I was extremely lucky to work with two of the best Job Set Up people at The Company (TC).

The first was a retired military guy and though I never expected to get along with anyone who’d been career military, I both liked and admired him. When I worked with his son after my promotion I felt the same about him. They were very rare human beings. They lived and worked by ethical codes. Which means, of course, that neither of them got very far in aerospace.

The second was a divorced housewife who was funny, excellent at her job and, like the military man before her, was a wonderful teacher of not just work-related things but of life lessons. I once asked her why she stayed at The Company (TC) instead of going to a place that paid good money. She said she’d done that once but was so bored by the slow pace at the bigger company that she’d come back.

I found that to be true for most of the capable people who worked at TC, the few sprinkled here and there among the throngs of idiots with pencils. Almost all had left once and come back. It’s something I also found to be true when I later worked at big companies (one military and one combo military and commercial aircraft). [The ‘slow pace’ at large aerospace corporations was not due to lax contracts. It was due to thievery, lies, greed and cronyism.] I’ll get to those jobs eventually.

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Fear of Flying, Ch 3: I Pretend I’m a Parts Lister

Since I couldn’t just sit there and drink coffee and chain smoke forever I finally opened one of the Job folders stacked high on my desk.

Inside was a work copy of an IPC and a “Job Sheet” attached to an EPL (Engineering Parts List, the Parts List generated with a blueprint). The ‘job’ involved overhead storage bins in the cabin area of a passenger jet. I was relieved. I wouldn’t be responsible for killing anyone. But would my ignorance be the cause of storage bins crashing down on passenger’s heads in mid-flight? I imagined casualties in nursing homes across the country drooling into complimentary Airline Barf Bags (ABBs).

If IPCs had ever been placed in context within The Big Picture of Aerospace Manuals  (TBPAM) during the training class I would not have been so worried. But I did worry because I thought an IPC was an entity unto itself. Years later, when I’d moved up and out to different companies and wrote complete Maintenance Manuals, I found that TC‘s IPCs were incorporated into full manuals by Tech Writing Depts within the Aerospace Companies. With that knowledge I’d have thought, “Relax. They’ll catch any errors at that level.”

A foolish thought but it would have helped at the time.

If the Coordinator hadn’t come by after a few days I might still be sitting there shuffling those papers around my desktop. Luckily for me, he was an affable good-natured guy from some Middle Eastern country who didn’t seem to take much of anything seriously. “OK, so now you will be revising that IPC to those updates, right? Easy job! Yes! That is easy job!”

Oh thank goodness. A clue!!!

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Fear of Flying, Ch 2: You Too Can Be A Parts Lister in The Exciting World of Aerospace!

For those not familiar with IPCs and Parts Lists and Aerospace Manuals, here is an answer to the question “What is the function of an illustrated parts catalogue (ipc) for aircraft?” from answers.yahoo.com:

“ipc is a cataloge..generally like u purchase a refrigerator or other substance of a company u are able to see the catalogue so tht u can see the product and read the features.. ipc is also like tht and its given by every manufacturer to each comapny for ordering the product because the product u have to order u know how it look and what is the use but for the company u need the part number which is given in the ipc”

Hmmm. Probably a Tech Writer…

For those familiar with the process of creating Aerospace IPCs or who just want to listen to me shovel the dirt, skip the dull stuff. There’s a funny story at the end.

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Fear of Flying, Ch 1: I Accidentally Get A Job In Aerospace

In the mid-1970s I found myself in Southern California. I worked at whatever job I could lie my way into using my collection of references from out-of-state out-of-business businesses. I had no particular preference about what it was I did for a paycheck. Factory work, fine. Office work, fine. Bank teller, fine. I was in my early 20s, I was a quick study and as long as I could pay for cigarettes and some of the other necessities of life all was fine with me.

There was a guy who used to drop by my apartment to visit. Where did I ever meet him? No idea. Maybe at the Club for Currently-Not-Drinking Drunks (CCNDD). He had a huge crush on me for some reason though I certainly did everything I possibly could to make him miserable. At the time I was working across the street from LACMA and it was quite a ride to get there. Crush Boy (CB) said, “Why don’t you get a job at the place down the street? They’re hiring.” I asked him what sort of work it was. He replied, “They write manuals for jets or airplanes or something. Aerospace. You don’t have to know anything to work there.

I laughed! “What do you mean, ‘You don’t have to know anything to work there???’ If they’re writing stuff for aerospace how could that be possible?” He insisted what he said was true. I said that since a person didn’t need to know anything to work there he should go get hired. If that happened, I’d follow along.

Now CB was not the smartest guy in the world. To be completely honest, he was as dumb as a box of rocks and about as interesting. But a few weeks later he returned and announced that The Company (TC) had hired him.

Incredible! Could it be possible? Maybe he didn’t understand what they were really doing there?

So I called TC.

CB was right. I didn’t need to know anything. I set up an appointment for an interview.

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Fear of Flying: My Adventures as an Aerospace Tech Writer (Intro)

I preface this history of my *cough* “Aerospace Career” with Ripley’s old adage: “Believe It or Not!

fly meSince the past tends to repeat itself I expect to be ignored or ridiculed and written off as a crackpot with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and a present of manic-depression. Having been dragged through all that while I was working at trying to save taxpayers a few billion dollars, I have no qualms about being dragged through all that again.

Bring it on! I can always use a good laugh!

A few years back Frontline did two shows: “Flying Cheap” followed by “Flying Cheaper.” I’d been out of Aero for about 15+ years when the first show aired. I was not surprised at anything that had been “investigated” and found lacking. What did surprise me was that the documentaries were precariously balanced on a false assumption.

Though “Flying Cheaper” showed that outsourced aircraft maintenance meant that many mechanics using the Maintenance and Repair Manuals were incapable of reading English – or of reading much of anything at all…

Frontline assumed the people who had written the Manuals could read and write and that the Repair and Maintenance Manuals were correct and useful.

I dropped them a line and said I had nothing to lose anymore and would gladly tell them about my years working as a tech writer for commercial aerospace. Never heard back. So I tell this story here, for my benefit and because it will make my daughter happy.

If you find something to wonder about and worry about, good. If you find something to laugh about, even better.

Forwarned is forwarned: This long tale involves sex and drugs and alcohol, lies, greed, fraud, laughs, drama, insanity and plenty of whistleblowing. A sense of humor required!

JP Morgan & Frontline’s Money Power & Wall Street Propaganda Series

Frontline: Money Power & Wall Street

Quotes below are from an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Martin Smith on Feb. 6, 2012.

“So it takes rocket science to — I mean, — (laughs) — these are very complex deals, correct?”

[Martin Smith to Terri Duhon, Feb 6 2012, during interview for Frontline’s “Money, Power & Wall Street” series.]

I’m not the brightest bulb in the box. I’ve never been able to balance my checkbook and yet after watching this series I had a general understanding of CDO’s. One of the few good things I can say.

While it may take rocket science to understand the complexity of the deals, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Frontline’s much touted series had an agenda. Nor does it take a rocket scientist to figure out that the disingenuous comments by Terri Duchon (joined JPMorgan as a derivatives trader in 1994) and the interviews with others about JP Morgan’s 20-something wiz kids who came up with the idea of complex derivatives were contrived to manipulate our perceptions of those behind the melt-down.

Terri Duchon:

“They are complicated. But for someone who is well versed in fixed income products or who has been looking at portfolios of fixed income products for a long time, it’s not that much of a leap from what they’re currently looking at. So if you’re looking at individual bonds and loans, already thinking about them on a portfolio basis, and then thinking about the tranches of risk isn’t that much of a leap.”

Martin Smith:

“OK. But by that argument, why did other banks go forward when your bank and your team decided to stop? So if it’s not so complicated, why did so many others keep going, marching toward the cliff?”

Terri Duchon:

“Look, very simply, there are certainly some investors, some banks, some borrowers who are a bit greedier than they should be. And we decided to stop because the products just got more and more risky. The risk became something that we weren’t comfortable with.”

Apparently JP Morgan did not stop as the $2 billion loss this past week was not due to a hedge gone wrong but to another failure of complex derivatives trading. Trading a product that doesn’t exist, gambling high stakes on a poker hand without the advantage of being an autistic card counter.

Watching the show as it aired, I was shocked by the way the JP Morgan 20-somethings were allowed to portray themselves as ‘kids’ without a clue as to what would happen with their new idea. These were adults trained to think ahead, whose jobs inherently required long term financial forecasting. To say they were ‘unaware’ just shows how creatively manipulative they are. Ms. Duchon and others from that group were a bunch of 20-something psychopaths whose job it was to come up with plan to hide risk in a way that wouldn’t show up on the charts. I can imagine them all high 5’ing each other and yelling “OMG!!! WE RULE!!!!!” when they came up with the idea.

And then again after Frontline aired.

The list of experts not chosen for interviews says as much about Frontline’s agenda as the list of experts interviewed. With Frontline’s typical lack of balanced and informed viewpoints, it watered down to nothing more than anti-Obama propaganda, the kick off for another election season. Not that it matters much. Anyone who thinks one politician is different from another… well, I can’t help you. Please seek professional help.

Have we all seen enough of smirking bankers and Wall St. execs wending their way through crowds of angry citizens to collect their bonuses yet? MOVE YOUR MONEY out of these predatory financial monstrosities and into community banks and Credit Unions.

Recommended viewing:

Bill Moyers Interviews David Stockman on Crony Capitalism of Washington & Wall St

Recommended additional reading:

Practically anything on ethics and, even with his occasionally flawed constructs, Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death.”

Photos: The Writing On The Wall at the “Mental Health” Clinic

Actually, it’s the writing on the table but that didn’t work very well for a subject line.

Taken on one of my visits in Sept 2011. I’m looking forward to February.

I’m so glad to see that everyone’s new generic meds (rather than the ones that had been working for them) are working out so well. And I’m so thrilled to see that after the drastic cuts in mental health care in AZ  (slipped through during the SB 1070 furor), the state budget now has a surplus. Jan Brewer can’t wait to spend it on stuff no-one wants or needs.

The second decrypted (mostly, the sun was not very accommodating that day):



Posted Elsewhere July 16, 2008 & June 25, 2010: AZ Dental Hell (or ‘The Case of the Purloined Posts’)

[NOTE: Please do not ask me for further information on persons or places from these old posts. I also will not give anyone a name or advice on lawyers. If you need general information on assistance sites or would like general ‘how to’ or ‘what can I expect?’ info I’d be more than happy to help. Thanks.]

Dental Disaster? Don’t Bite the Bullet, Bite Back!

It really ticks me off to be censored without notice and without valid or legal reasons. On the site where I’d originally posted this information I had all blog posts open to the public. When I looked last year (?), the first post from 2008 had been changed to ‘members only’ with no additional comments allowed. Eventually the post just… vanished. Until now. Thanks to the Wayback Machine and pages cached by search engines, not much on the web is ever gone forever.

The second post dated June 25, 2010 is still on that site but has been changed by powers unknown to be viewable only by me. Since it’s still there (for now) along with all comments posted before it was made non-public by who knows who, I’m including a screen cap of that also.

Though legally bound not to speak further on this matter after a certain date when a certain agreement was reached, this post (and others) had been posted prior to that date. I consulted my attorney and was advised that prior statements were not subject to the newly imposed conditions. I was satisfied since I’d written about the matter and had given ‘progress reports’ as time went on.

The info is important (to me at least) and possibly to anyone who might not know what to do after a dental disaster. Look before you leap into any kind of dental treatment. Make sure you Scroogle or Google or Bing for information first. What you find out about certain “professionals” may surprise and even shock you. All AZ Dental Board Hearings, Sanctions, Dentist and Dental Professional Records are public and online (including mine):

Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners

My original post not subject to legally imposed silence: “Finally… Dental Village, Tucson, PAYS UP!!! State Dental Board Case OVER!!! Lawsuit in Progress!!! FIGHT BACK!!!! Jul 16, ’08 5:10 PM” can be viewed via The Wayback Machine and/or the Gigablast Cached Page (the 8 comments on that post are no longer available for viewing) and in this screen cap of the WayBack cache:

And since it was obviously public when posted in 2010, here is the follow-up which has been changed to viewable only by me:

And that’s that.

Tucson Citizen Posts Medicare and United Health Care Statements

I see that while I was sleeping the past few days Medicare issued a statement about the United Healthcare / Health Net situation. A post on Tucson Citizen forced United Healthcare to issue a statement as well although I was told in December that they were not going to make the situation public.

For some odd reason, no-one commenting there seems to believe the statements. Perhaps it’s because the statements are unbelievable!

From the Tucson Citizen: Medicare Advantage: Enrollment fraud investigated in Tucson

And yes, I did add a comment there that goes a bit beyond what I posted here in December and includes a word or two about the relationship between Health Net, United Healthcare and OptumInsight (formerly Ingenix) which should interest anyone who still thinks their medical information is private.

My comment included here for the record and for searches:

January 7, 2012 5:21pm:

Ah, once again we see the “Business of Poverty” that Bill Moyers covered so well a few years back.

When I found out this happened to me on Dec 22 I was told by both HealthNet and United Healthcare that they were not going to make this situation public. I called local news stations, emailed a few newspapers and no-one would pick up the story. Since I felt the information was critical and time-sensitive I posted about it on wordpress:

Dec 23: Arizona Health Net Medicare HMO Customers Fraudulently Transferred to United Health’s AARP Medicare HMO as of 12.07.2011

Dec 27: Update on Arizona Health Net / United Health Care Fraudulent Transfer Applications

A short summery of some of what I say below can be found in those posts.

Some agent did this? Hardly likely. No mention that most of the ‘fraudulent applications’ used people’s old addresses. Or that to fill out such an application the “agent” would have to have known the Medicare start date for each individual. I don’t even know what mine is. I’d have to look at my Medicare card.

There is a long trail leading to this instance of Medicare slamming. United Healthcare was caught doing the same thing in Florida (another large elderly and disabled population) in 2007 and it was a major story then:

Florida Lawyer Brings Class Action Against UnitedHealthcare


And then there were the HealthNet disks stolen in 2009 while en route to somewhere during the transition period of United Healthcare’s buy out HealthNet North East.

Perhaps the disks finally showed up. At United Health Care.

And last October, 9 HealthNet servers went missing from the vendor IBM facility. HealthNet states that the thefts don’t affect clients in Arizona and so did not provide ID theft coverage.

And on and on and on.

There is no such thing as personal medical information anymore. If HealthNet didn’t get Arizonan’s info from the disks that went missing in 2009 or the servers that went missing in October 2011 they’d all still have everyone’s info available to them anyway since they all use Ingenix (a “Health Information Exchange”) which is owned by… United HealthCare (Ingenix changed it’s name to OptumInsight after the NY Attorney General sued them and United Healthcare in 2008 for using algorithms that defrauded both doctors and patients):


Please file a formal complaint with the AZ Department of Insurance:


While other states have brought suit against HealthNet, United Healthcare and Ingenix Arizona seems to just let it all go by. Where is the AZ Attorney General?

Slammed By United Healthcare AARP Medicare Advantage in AZ? What To Do

If you or someone you know is affected by the Health Net / United Healthcare AARP Medicare Advantage slamming situation:

1. Call Health Net: Toll-Free: 800-977-7522

Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, 7 days a week (Oct 15 – Feb 14) and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, Monday – Friday (Feb 15 – Oct 14)

2. Call AARP Medicare Advantage: Toll-Free: 800-643-4845

3. Call Medicare and file a grievance against both HealthNet and United Healthcare: Toll-Free: 800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE)

4. File a complaint with the Arizona Board of Insurance by phone and in writing:

Toll-Free: 800-325-2548
Phoenix: 602-364-2499
Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

5. Contact your Arizona State Legislators and file a complaint against HealthNet and United Healthcare:

Arizona State Senate
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk: (602) 926-3559
Fax: (602) 926-3429
Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404

Arizona House of Representatives
Capitol Complex
1700 West Washington
Phoenix AZ 85007-2890
Info Desk: (602) 926-4221
Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404

Tucson Office
400 West Congress St.
Suite 201
Tucson AZ 85701
Senate Info Desk: (520) 398-6000
House Info Desk: (520) 398-6000
Fax: (520) 398-6028
Toll Free: 1-800-352-8404

6. Contact your US Congress Representatives and file a complaint against HealthNet and United Healthcare.

7. Contact your US Senators and file a complaint against HealthNet and United Healthcare:

Jon Kyl
Ph: 202-224-4521

John McCain
Ph: 202-224-2235
Call Locally: Local Office Locations

And then try really really really hard to imagine that heads will roll. Caution: Do not try this at home. Do not hold your breath.