Mr. Woodford’s Lecture

This Saturday I delivered my presentation on the F-15 Eagle to an audience of around 60 people: museum staff, volunteers, visitors, friends, family. I’m happy to say preparation and practice paid off. Except for an embedded video that proved to be too much for the museum’s laptop, as I feared it might be, it went well. Very well. I’d share some of the compliments and rave reviews, but I don’t want to get a swollen head. Not too swollen, anyway.


May I just say, in referenct to “Mr. Woodford’s Lecture,” that the museum’s flyer reminded me of this one, and gave me a good chuckle:

Mr. Kite

Literally the morning of the presentation I found a significant error on one of my slides but was able to correct it before the big event. And just days earlier I learned that the F-15’s future with the Air Force is in limbo: the fleet may be retired as early as 2015, along with the A-10, in an effort to find money for the F-35. Naturally, one of my slides showed the F-15 remaining in service until at least 2025. That was true two months ago; two weeks ago the date became a moving target. I addressed that change verbally and left the slide alone, since the 2025 date is still the “official” one.

As long as new USAF pilots are still being assigned to fly the F-15 I can feel relevant and comparatively young … at least compared to older pilots who flew aircraft long since retired. When the last remaining F-15s wind up in the boneyard I’ll be just another old fart and might as well start talking to chairs.

The air museum’s volunteer coordinator spends a significant amount of her time worrying about docents saying inappropriate things to visitors. I can’t imagine anyone doing that these days … or rather, I couldn’t. I can now. Saturday, one of the older volunteers stood up to introduce me to the audience. He told me beforehand his job was to warm up the audience. What he didn’t tell me was that he’d warm them up with a joke about Jews, followed by a mean-spirited crack about women. You know, I try to make allowances for my older colleagues, but I wasn’t prepared for that.

The guy wasn’t a member of my team, which is good, because my team spends much more time talking to the public than other teams. Nevertheless, I sent a message to my team this morning to tell them what happened Saturday and ask them to mentally review the remarks and stories they share with museum visitors. I don’t think any of my folks would intentionally offend a visitor, but I don’t think the fellow Saturday thought he was offending anyone, either. I shared this story with a friend, who commented that people who tell jokes like that, especially older people, often don’t think anyone will be offended: “After all they didn’t mean anything by it and if they think it’s funny so will everyone else.”

I plan to turn the presentation into an article on the F-15, which I’ll post here and on my page at Daily Kos. For now, though, let’s hear no more of it.

There’s a wedding in two weeks. I’m officiating, so that’s what I’m working on now. The week after the wedding I’m setting trail for my bicycling group. My dermatologist is going to cut a small basal cell cancer out of my forehead in a few days, and I have to see my regular doctor to get some prescriptions renewed. And then there’s my blog, sadly neglected of late, ready for new posts. I live to serve, and it’s time I got back to work.

Who loves ya, baby?

© 2013, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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