Monthly Archives: May 2009

Two Types of Intellectuals In Our World

Two types of intellectuals in our world, the first being a person who makes productive non government good paying jobs for others, and the second type, a person who is only concerned with preserving their own employment. The first type represents the entrepreneur, the shakers, and movers, with an indisputable focus for making jobs; and the natural by-product becomes making money. The trouble with the second type is they do not leave the world better than they find it; this has largely a negative effect on society. The second types are easy to spot, they are always the first to criticize others or brag their self-proclaimed intellect in public.

Here is the big problem; perhaps over a time span of 40 years, the first type of intellectual outnumbered the second type by 10 to 1. Today the second type of intellectual out numbers the first type by 3 to 1. What becomes significantly interesting, the second type of intellectuals reading this statement will now have a greater concern for validity of the ratios or measures outlined, then the historical reality of this written paragraph.

What does this mean, it took over 40 years of selfish intellectual learning to advance the economic chaos we are experiencing today, and it will take many years to reverse the effects. Reasoning behind this lag in reversal is the second type of intellectual is slow to build up interest, or become motivated, because in their eyes, it’s someone else’s problem.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein

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The Video Game Culture Problem

The video game culture problem, life does not have a reset or do over button. What has emerged from our society is a video game generation who has lost sight of real people limitations. In the gaming world when you die, your energy runs out, you lose and hit reset! Here is the problem, unfortunately, life does not have a reset button, and the results you acquire are permanent. Knowing the difference between reality and make-believe becomes impossible when you play endless video games. In truth, we have a generation in our society living with two realities, the first being an endless reset button with no risk to failure, and the second reality is fragile life itself. The behavioral concern occurs when mixing up the two. For example, someone driving a car and has an accident, that happens; or with the video gamer, the wrong reality kicks in causes an accident, today the mindset is no big deal, just hit the reset button.

Those of you who have children glued to the video game screen understand the reason for this blog. Having two conflicting behaviors creates a developmental clash in our society and people get hurt. This developmental behavior conflict stays with the person for their entire life. To reset is habit forming and easy, the video game culture has become generational, and virtually impossible to reverse. The old adage that too much of anything, even something fun, can actually be harmful, fits well with the video game culture.

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Captain Serge A. Yonov, Commanding Officer U.S.S. Connole February 1980 August 1982

I reported for duty on-board the U.S.S. Connole (FF-1056) around late January 1980. Captain Yonov assumed command February 1980 while docked in Catania, Sicily. The previous captain, kept to himself; he did not interact with the enlisted crew. This had been my first shipboard deployment, and I genuinely thought that was normal. Once Captain Yonov assumed command this all changed. True leadership creates positive change and a positive environment for change. Captain Yonov would speak with us not only about our duties on board the U.S.S. Connole, he would talk about family, hobbies, and things that were important to us. He understood the utmost importance of relationship and true team building. He understood that creating a closely bound community like the crew of a naval ship, depended on relationships forged in respect.Captain Serge A. Yonov

On a small frigate like the U.S.S. Connole you knew quickly who you liked or disliked, who you trusted, or distrusted. Captain Yonov encouraged trust built on relationships, from shipboard duties, to the ship’s softball team, and the daily news briefing we called Fish-Eye News. Fish-Eye News televised on the ship’s TV network; it was more crewmembers making fun of other crewmembers than real news. Sometimes very funny, sometimes not so funny. We worked hard and played hard and that was the Captain’s definition of ship’s crew. We spent a great deal of time at sea, and it seemed an equal amount of time on the beach in port somewhere. . . . When we ran into the Captain during liberty, he always did not want us to fuss over him. We would jump to attention or attempt to salute him, he would wave us off. One night on a liberty boat in Naples Italy, I had shore-patrol duty that night; we had a sailor stretch attempting to sleep across four seats. The captain came on board, when I attempted to clear a seat for the captain, he said do not bother, I can stand.

On U.S.S. Connole’s Bridge, you knew who was in charge; his leadership style was to encourage others to lead, from the officer of the deck to the enlisted crewmembers. During port entry and port exit, I was the Combat Information Center (CIC) Bridge Sound Phone Talker. My job was to take information from the radar operator in CIC and keep track of all surface ship contacts and yell out this information to the Bridge Duty officer and the Captain. Early in my career as a CIC Bridge Sound Phone Talker Captain Yonov told me it was not necessary to yell out all the surface contacts, he said, only tells us the surface contacts that posed a threat to our ship. The Captain’s request went against my training. What I did not realize until later, the Captain always encouraged his crew to think on their feet. He motivated us by trusting us. My memories of him asking me with his slight Russian accent, “What do you think Petty Officer Savo, should I worry about that contact?” One particular morning while transiting the Strait of Messina, I had just been relieved from the mid-watch, attempting to get some rest, and summoned to the Bridge once again. Captain Yonov apologized for waking me up; he said that not having me on the Bridge during the Strait of Messina transit made him uncomfortable. A good crew is a byproduct of mutual respect; our crew protected each other at sea, on shore and on the bridge of our ship.

Captain Yonov often discussed the importance of a sailor’s family and my family’s future in the United States Navy. He knew of my up and coming marriage, and my feelings towards the difficulties of Navy life on a marriage. My fiancée’s dad, a World War Two Veteran, Captain Yonov invited my future father-in-law to ride the U.S.S. Connole from Manhattan New York to Newport Rhode Island. Harold Gorman invited to the Bridge by the Captain, sat in the captain’s chair and Captain Yonov began explaining why it would be a fantastic career for Petty Officer Savo to stay in the Navy. A little background on Harold Gorman, he has never been shy or soft-spoken. Harold told the Captain that he was speaking to the wrong person. The person you need to have the Naval career discussion with is my daughter Patty. The Captain smiled, continued talking, and went on with his business of guiding his ship up the east river into Long Island sound and finally to Newport.

The last sea-story for this Blog, chasing a Foxtrot Russian submarine the ultimate sea going enemy, when this occurred I was on duty in CIC. I remember the Captain asking the CIC duty officer if he thought the Foxtrot we were tracking knew we were here. Absolutely said the duty officer. I agree, said the Captain. The Connole had an underwater telephone, and the captain went over to it and asked in Russian, that the Foxtrot surface and the sub did. That is where the famous U.S.S. Connole (FF-1056) shadows a “Foxtrot” class submarine photograph came from. Captain Yonov was not famous, and he was an extraordinary commanding officer, who leadership skill and honest belief in the power of his crew inspired us all, crewmembers and visitors equally!

U.S.S. Connole (FF-1056) shadows a “Foxtrot” class submarine, 1981.

Photo by: ET2 Bruce Chalk

Savo, P. (2009). Stories of Captain Serge A. Yonov. In W. Kaufman (Ed.), THE FABRIC STARTED HERE, Notes for the History Of The Last Senior Class of Sea Cliff School 1957 – 2009. Harrisburg, OR: Wallace Kaufman.


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Homeland Security Problem is the “Tip of The Iceberg!”

check please

The poorly informed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to veterans after a report issued by her department said troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at risk for recruitment by right-wing extremists. A leader’s role in a democratic society is to have enough experience to avoid insulting the men and women serving in the Armed Forces that keep them safe. Our Constitutional Fathers were patriots who believed in the freedoms that today are at risk because government officials act without thinking. Ultimately, we believe and hope the Obama administration finally becoming staffed with smart people; however, the evidence is contrary. Now the question that comes to mind, where was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) while this government wrongly insulted and accused our veterans?

What happen to due process for our Armed Forces, what happened to due-process according to the ‘law of the land’ and whose duties it to protect the Armed Forces’ civil liberties? Napolitano’s apology was not the solution; she was simply re-acting to the symptom, getting to the root cause to Napolitano department’s error, the only way to ensure it never happens again.

Our founding fathers, as a deterrent against fancy governmental double speak, created the Constitution. Due process for all citizens is the law. When supposedly smart people from the Obama administration insult our nation’s finest citizens, this problem is simply the Tip of The Iceberg. Again another reason why government must be for the people and not just for more government, ACLU asleep on watch once again, clearly time to cut the ACLU’s funding!


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