Sunday, June 26, 2011

Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest 2011 -- Home

Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest 2011 -- Home

I just spent several hours sifting through thousands of my photographs for six (6) to submit in the Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest 2011. Energizer and National Geographic have partnered once again to give amateur photographers the opportunity to submit their work in several different categories.

This year, the categories are: Animals/Wildlife, Nature/Weather, Travel/Cultures, Family/Community, Arts/Music and Action/Energy.

While winning one of the prizes (trip to Alaska, Morocco or Bhutan) would be fantastic, I would be honored if one of my submissions was recognized from the thousands of entries.

On or about August 2, 2011, the judges will have narrowed their selections to 12 photographs, two finalists for each category/theme. At that time a "Voting Phase" will begin and the public, that means YOU, will be able to cast your votes for the photograph that you believe best captures the category/theme.

If you see another blog entry from me around that time, you can be assured that I will let you know if one of my entries made the short list!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say..............but I urge all of you to visit the website to view and enjoy some of the work of the other very talented people who have submitted their work from their backyard or from distances far, far away.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Air India.............What's your FATE?

Attached to a recent email I received from a colleague was an article on Air India explaining how criticism was growing about the airline. (Keep reading, there are pictures!)

The article began by stating that Bob Haygooni, a former United Airlines pilot who had been hired by Air India paid a mid flight visit to the cockpit of a flying aircraft to discover that the cockpit was enshrouded with a yellowish glow. The odd color was the result of the pilots having taped newspapers over the windows to keep the bright sunlight out. Mr. Haygooni stated that in 30 years of flying he had never seen anything like this before. If you have not read the article, here is the link: NY TIMES ARTICLE ON AIR INDIA

Since arriving and doing business in India, I have logged over 29,000 miles with Air India…….and while I have found the planes to be old, dirty and the interiors to be in disrepair, the in flight service from the flight attendants mediocre, and the food to be predictable, uncreative and almost inedible, I continued to fly them until I read this article.

What about how safe I felt? I consider myself to be quite perceptive, aware of my surroundings and humbly intelligent. In addition to all of the issues listed above, and what I had heard on the news about the recent crash that involved pilot error, or read in the paper of the strikes by staff shortly afterwards citing safety concerns, one might conclude that my self evaluation is wrong, or that I am on some type of mission of playing “Russian Roulette” with my life………believe it or not, I have never felt “Unsafe” flying on Air India………..inconvenienced, frustrated, disgusted, bitten by countless mosquitoes, sick to my stomach, and baffled YES……but never unsafe!

How could someone continue to fly an airline that had all of the tell tale signs of being a huge safety hazard? Is it stupidity, ignorance or something else?

Here is what it is:

1) I have been programmed to not believe everything I read or hear from the media.

2) I believe in GOD and I believe in FATE…….I believe that GOD is watching over me and that HE has pre-determined things that I am not in control of. While I have this belief, this does not mean that I would throw myself in front of a speeding car or lay on railroad tracks and believe that GOD would perform some miraculous feat………..

3) Remember, I am the same guy that had a brush with death on 26/11…………..see above…….I just simply put my life in GODS hands…………..and I have never boarded an aircraft thinking that I have placed my hands in the person who performs or does not perform maintenance on the aircraft, or the pilot or any of the countless people that even are literally responsible for keeping an aircraft airworthy and safe. Just like I don’t think about when I get on a bus, subway or in a taxi or rollercoaster………..I think a person would go mad and become a hermit and live his life in a padded room afraid to come out.

4) I believe in LIVING LIFE, not preventing my death………..

I am not sure how those of you feel when you read about my “philosophy” or my belief system. I would just hope that you would respect my philosophy and beliefs just as I respect your right to believe what you want to believe and practice.

The email and attached article I received on May 27th did cause me to put out an immediate edict and ban business travel on Air India for my team.

I believe that it was my FATE to receive the email in the manner I did, as I did not read the article in the newspaper myself on the day it was released for print………fate made me read it.

Just yesterday, while disembarking from a flight to Pune for business, I was walking past an Air India plane on the tarmac and FATE once again knocked at my door and caused me to look at the plane and notice that the cockpit had newspaper taped in the windows and it immediately brought back the reality of what I had read and reinforced that the decision I made just a few days earlier was the right one………and not a moment too soon.
This photo was taken on June 8, 2011 at the airport in Pune, India 13 days after a New York Times article story revealed that Air India Pilots tape newspaper in the windows of the cockpit while flying to block the sun

I was one of hundreds of passengers that walked past that airplane yesterday……..many may not have read the New York times article…………..some may have glimpsed at me taking a picture of the plane, but may not have noticed the newspapers………and still some further behind would not have noticed at all.


For those of you who subscribe to the “SEEING IS BELIEVEING” philosophy, maybe this blog entry and my pictures will cause you to rethink your choice of travel…….for those of you who read my blog, it could be your fate that brought you here. Some of you may feel that you should pass my blog onto friends, family or a colleague. You may also be in a position to change or recommend a change to your company’s travel policy.

Happy flying!