Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Reader-friends of this blog were somewhat concerned with the maudlin tone of the preceding entry. I want to assure one and all that everything is fine. San Juan de la Cruz described the three stages of great human endeavor: great faith, great doubt and finally great effort.

This is what I mean when all I claim is that I am a physician with above-average intelligence who is applying to the Filipino people for a chance to contribute to national development. I surely do not want to misrepresent myself.

A photographer for CNN was assigned to cover southern California's wildfires last year. He wanted pictures of the heroic work the firefighters were doing as they battled the blazes.

When the photographer arrived on the scene, he realized that the smoke was so thick it would seriously impede, or even make impossible, his getting good photographs from the ground level. He requested permission from his boss to rent a plane and take photos from the air.

His request was approved and he used his cell phone to call the local county airport to charter a flight. He was told a single engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, "Let's go!"

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and roared down the runway. Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, "Fly over the valley and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures of the fires on the hillsides."

"Why?" asked the pilot.

"Because I'm a photographer for CNN," he responded. "And I need to get some close-up shots."

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment, finally he stammered, "So, you're telling me you're not the flight instructor?

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