November 21st, 2014

The Best Part is Underneath the Seat

I’m fond of Swedish people and Stockholm. I spent a Thanksgiving there (the most properly served MacDonald’s experience of my life) as well as an unforgettable week in August amidst the Mercedes Fashion Show complete with a up-close sighting of Lady Gaga. I could add to the country’s and city’s reputation for fascinating design, kind people, healthy lifestyle and cultural sense of fair play. If only the dark of night did not arrive at 3:30pm on a November afternoon with the commentary of the populace being, “it gets worse until January!”

Destiny reveals itself in spurts and patches and singular moments. Our fate is spread over time; it’s not a path through time.

I needed work in the early 1990s. I was on a string of impressive positions that ended up as former positions. Note to self for application in the next life is to look at things for they are and not for what I’d like them to be. Good would be to drop the mantle of “if you will let me help you to do something that you’re not doing, than you’ll become something that you are not.” I believe that the syndrome is rescuing ourselves through others. Then again, it’s how I got a telemarketing gig thanks to a Nobel Prize recipient.

The rapid adoption of all things Internet persuaded me that the the planet’s shift from the physical world to a nearly virtual one would require and enable sales to be conducted in a similar way. I started Perrien Sales Group, Virtual Selling as if people didn’t think little enough of sales and salesman.

It struggled as either I was ahead of the game or too small to be taken seriously as I only received a handful of jobs. The negotiation normally entailed a plea by some small business owner, “the cash-flow next month looks not-so-good. Can you help me to find some customers over the next 30 days?” Budget? “$500.00.” Of course, they typically had neither a prospect list nor relevant marketing materials. I would throw myself onto their ramparts hoping that my sacrifice would result in an on-going stream of related business. The customary outcome was that ours was but a single blind date. Even when a good sales lead was uncovered, my client was too occupied usually to follow-up with the interested party. This is how I developed the point of view that the reasons that most businesses do not have more business is because they don’t want it (won’t do the necessary things to attract the available business).

The one interesting exception was the referral by the Washington office of the German state of Baden Wurttemburg, home to the headquarters of Porsche and Mercedes with Stuttgart as its major city. My Swabian contact suggested, ‘that I meet a Frenchman from Burgundy based in New York who needs help with a Swedish client who is interested in paying for a pharmaceutical market research project in the US.’ I’m your man, I acknowledged. Plus the fee was over 10x that of my usual barren projects.

I spoke by phone with the charming Frenchman and invited to New York City to meet with his pharmaceutical client at the Swedish Consulate. The second time that this happened to me is when I had just begun at IBM and was invited to the supreme hide-away in the woods of General Electric in Croton on Hudson, New York. I was to observe the results of a 6 month How to Use the Internet training program for the top 50 executives at GE. After 15 minutes, the young consultant suffered stage fright and sat down. The presiding senior executive from IBM’s Atlanta Enterprise Education Group asked if I would continue the discussion with the Top 50 which recalled General Custer’s actual last words of “Sergeant, take no prisoners.” I tried and I failed and promised myself to never again throw myself on the pyre of “they’ll love me if I do this desperate deed.”

Back to the Swabians, the French and the Swedes. I hopped aboard the regional Midway flight to LaGuardia Airport on a lovely spring day. Aisle seat with a free breakfast and coffee. Virtual Selling, indeed. The man or woman next to me said, apparently to no one, “there’s- I missed the name that was said – who won the Nobel Prize.” I saw an older woman meander down the aisle and into her seat. Her?!

Flight lands; taxi into Manhattan; I stay with a friend on 48th; wake-up early to be sure that I’m at the Hyatt Hotel adjacent to Grand Central Station in plenty of time to meet Mr. Frenchman and his (soon I’m to discover gorgeous, German) assistant.


As I searched through the lobby’s waiting area for my new colleagues, I saw on a sofa the woman from the flight who was identified as having “won the Nobel Prize.” She was alone, appearing to be waiting as well. I noted this sofa and chairs on every subsequent IBM visit to this Hyatt. Wistful was I when the Hyatt remodeled a few years ago and our meeting spot was renovated away.

I approached her- this is pre-Google so I have an excuse for not knowing – and inquired if she was the woman on the flight from Raleigh “who won the Nobel Prize.” “Yes,” she replied. I probably said, “I was on that flight also.” Amazing what virtual salesman have in common with Nobel Laureates. She was polite in receiving me, meaning that she did not try to catch the eye of the lobby security staff, and invited me to sit with her. She asked about my family and my reason for being in New York. Of course, she introduced herself explaining that she shared the prize with Dr. George Hitchings in 1988. Her name is Gertrude Elion and their work lead to the development of AZT for treating AIDS. After a few minutes, my French and German partners arrived in the lobby. Dr. Elion autographed a business card addressing it to my two sons and I said goodbye.

At my second meeting in the Hyatt lobby that morning, the kind Frenchman asked about my first meeting. I honestly informed him that ’She’s from North Carolina. She won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. We flew up here together.’ Sharp rise in the valuation of my virtual stock ensued.

Focusing on the matter at hand, we agreed on the order of our presentations at the Swedish Consulate. As I recall, my role was to be a small one as I was there to prove that I was an actual entity that could do something related to pharmaceutical market research.

In the era of Pre-Uber, we caught a taxi for the short ride to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Into the impressive building near the East River (later I learned that there is a tennis court on top) and into the elevator for the entrance to the munificent offices and facilities of the Swedish government. This was a world of light-colored, wooden furniture staffed by tall, engaging, perfect English speaking, attractive and blonde Swedes. Our name tags awaited us and we were led to a massive conference room with a bowling alley of a conference table.

As we awaited the entrance of the Consular, we enjoyed perfect, ink black coffee and Swedish pastries. As I munched and sipped, the room began to fill with additional handsome and blonde people and these carried binders and folders and portfolios and plenty of note-taking items. This is getting serious, I thought to myself. In the end, about 15 sat around the table making polite conversation awaiting Mr. Big’s arrival.

With little fanfare, a secretary opened the door and in he came. All smiles with an apology for being a few minutes late, he shook hands with the Frenchman, greeted his staff and took his seat at the head of the lane.

I wondered how this would go and what role would I play, if any, in the discussion or negotiation or treaty signing. After his remarks, the Kind Frenchman was invited to describe the project’s ambition. After 2 to 3 minutes, I realized that I was to be the heart and soul of the endeavor given my extensive insight and experiences with the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. I tried to remain calm and to appear undaunted by the stares of professional interest from those around the table. Actually, I so wanted to be back in Raleigh talking with a two man software company about a $500 deal to find them a customer of any kind within the next month.

My French colleague concluded his warm-up act by suggesting that I describe my meeting with the Nobel Prize Laureate as my way of taking the floor. I thought, “maybe I’m overcharging those small companies and could increase my customer base if I lowered my prices to $300 or even $250.”

I related that tale of the Midway flight, the chance meeting at the Hyatt Hotel, the autograph and the coincidence of this meeting at the Swedish Consulate, the country which hosts the Nobel ceremonies. That’s All Folks.

Science is fraught with discoveries that are the unintended consequences of purposeful research. My own Eureka moment was provided by the Consular himself. As I told my Nobel tale, he nodded, then he smiled, then he nodded and smiled broadly. I finished and he shared with the table of experts, ‘how interesting. I had the pleasure of escorting Dr. Elion from New York to Stockholm for the ceremony with the King and the receipt of her prize.’ He continued by describing how pleasant of a person that she is and how very important is her work for combating the AIDS virus. I was now known by whom I hung-around with. Who would now dare question the Perrien Sales Group’s capacity to conduct effectively a mere pharmaceutical market research project across the United States of America?! In a virtual sort of way, of course.

Skipping further evaluation of my CV, we moved on to contract details such as start and end dates; the necessary format of the data to be provided and received; and a host of odds and ends that staff minions could handle given my recent exalted status.

The meeting concluded. The kind Frenchman took me to lunch. His German assistant was even nice to me after giving me the ‘you can’t be real’ vibe all morning.


In the end, the project didn’t go far as we tried to learn a lot from our contacts without telling them much about our purpose. I got the check and never saw the Swedish Consulate nor the Frenchman ever again.

Years later, now working with IBM in a physical way, I visited Stockholm regularly. I recommend the Nobel Museum. My favorite part of this beautiful space is the Bistro Nobel. If you will turn the Bistro’s chairs upside down, you’ll see the signatures of numerous Nobel Laureates as they visit the Museum after the Award Ceremony. I’ve never located Dr. Elion’s autograph (I know what it looks like, after all). But I once had a coffee in the Bistro, sitting on one of the simple and now priceless chairs, considering the casual poignancies of life where one may be amazed by what one can find even when one is not searching or researching.

November 19th, 2014

Blue Pane Studio produces app #72 for USDA


App may be accessed here:

Easily calculate daily nutrient recommendations for dietary planning based on the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). With this app, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Information Center:
• puts the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine’s DRI recommendations at the fingertips of health care practitioners, including Registered Dietitians (RDs), doctors, nurse practitioners and others who can help consumers interpret and use these DRI values to guide healthy dietary behaviors.
• enhances accessibility to the DRIs
• provides supplemental information, such as access to DRI reports, nutrition education resources and pregnancy weight gain charts to further educate users.

November 5th, 2014

Blue Pane Studio produces app #71: ICIS Journal


November 2nd, 2014

Return to Forever, the 40th Reunion

Ours of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1974, the 23rd Company (of 36 companies), formed-up on 30 June 1970. Those were the days of avoiding the draft to avoid duty in Vietnam. It’s about the only time that I can remember that I ever joined anything and even my formal acceptance to Annapolis required having no plans for college and a chance meeting at my high school graduation prom with the Assistant Principal, John Rice, who was also a USNA recruiting officer in his spare time.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. “I’m the local Blue and Gold Officer.” About 20 years later I learned what hoops that he and several members of the Jesuit High School faculty jumped through to expedite their recommendations for my acceptance. After high school graduation and 30 days of working as a carpenter’s helper for the venerable Pelican Ice of New Orleans, I received the telegram (that’s correct; and from Western Union; the days of cordless phones. Whoa!) from Senator Russell Long appointing me to the Naval Academy, class of 1974. Report in two weeks. There I went; here I am; over the past weekend, remnants of the 23rd Company met for our 40th.

3:c Yr Fall 1971

We moved to 5th Company for two years. This is a photo from Winter 1972.

USNA 23co 40th

Reynolds Tavern, Annapolis, Saturday 25 October 2014.

On day 1, there were 40 of us. On our graduation day of 5 June 1974, there were 22 of us remaining at the Academy including one who died within a month of graduation due to an intramural football induced injury. Along those four years, some resigned because ‘it wasn’t for them’; some got behind the academic 8 ball which is a tough recovery; the end of the Selective Service Draft sent others ashore (my number was 234); some had no problems and the rest of us meandered and bounced through to some conclusion. President Richard M. Nixon spoke at our graduation in the middle of his just-deserved Watergate woes.

We enjoyed a drink on a patio then dined in a private room for 34 at a charming downtown Annapolis restaurant. Our two Vice Admirals welcomed all (an impressive achievement for 2 of 22 graduates); we shared stories which reminded us that no one really changes with age; we just age-out. We laughed easily and generously and played a kind of Jeopardy game where we recalled stories from our days as midshipmen. In the end, a good time was had by all.

September 19th, 2014

“Defence of Fort M’Henry”


Sometimes business trips work out as planned; most times, such plans do not work out; from time to time, a trip exceeds one’s hopes and plans.

I’m fond of Baltimore. Big enough, small enough, familiar enough and foreign enough to offer adventure at every visit even though I gravitate to my favorites in Little Italy, Fells Point, the Harbor and about Roland Park.

Last week’s trip began in the usual way with an on-time departure that only got as far as 500 yards from the gate. We parked due to “traffic control issues”, meaning that the airline got an AttaBoy for leaving on-time even though the airline authorities knew that we’d have to wait before actually taking-off. Isn’t it funny that on-line departure refers to leaving the gate and not leaving the ground. Next time that someone leaves our house, I’ll say that they’ve departed even if I can see them standing in the driveway.

Arrived at BWI in a drizzle, in company with many Yankee fans for the weekend baseball series. I expected better performance from the New Yorkers in Derek Jeter’s final season. Happily, the Os are well ensconced in first place of their division. The day concluded in the drizzle, the Os lost in the rain and I returned to Fort Marriott to watch Navy football on my in-room tv. Willie Loman, who art thou?

Sunday was a new day in a new way. Ironically, it truly was a Sun-Day. Bright light showered from clear skies from the rise of the sun to its exchange with the moon. In between, I joined – without being invited or even being aware – the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composition of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner (SSB). Francis Scott Key, imprisoned on a British warship in Baltimore Harbor, so described the bombardment of Fort McHenry by our English cousins – actually former landlords at that time.

I believe that this SSB Commemoration is part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812. It would be inaccurate to call this program of semi-national festivities a celebration because, well, no one is celebrating it actually. Which is curious in an historical context and typical of Americans and our reverence or even awareness of the events that conspired to propel us to where we are in time. By the way, stunned was I to silence a few years ago when neither my high school nor middle school sons could not confidently place the Revolutionary War, The Civil War nor WW2 within 5 year windows. They knew the order of, shall we say, battle, but not the years. I suppose that they could just ‘look it up’ if necessary.

The War of 1812 was important in the development of America’s 19th century future. For starters, winning this war or, at least, not losing it, enabled us to remain independent of Great Britain. The War of 1812 reflects a poignant case of Buyers Remorse on the part of the British. Having banished Napoleon to Elbe in May of 1814, it seemed as though the Brits were eager to renegotiate the lease-buyback agreement with the Colonies, now charmingly referred to as the United States of America.

Taking a tough negotiation stance, the English pillaged Washington, D.C., burning the White House in August of 1814. Although the Treaty of Ghent in December of 1814 technically concluded the fighting between the USA and Great Britain, had the Americans not decisively defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, the English might have reneged on the agreement. Word travelled at much less than Internet speed in that time (“I’ll get right back to you in about 60 days.”). Until 1861, the Battle of New Orleans was celebrated as the second victory for American Independence. As Louisiana sided with the Confederates in the Civil War, there was little national inclination to continue to celebrate its prominence in keeping the country free from the British.

As I enjoyed a fish N chips lunch in the splendid Baltimore Harbor with a view of the Coast Guard’s training vessel, Eagle, a band from one of the visiting Navy’s set-up nearly in front of our table. At 1030am sharp, a soprano voice from the bandstand sang fluidly and enthusiastically our National Anthem. My view was of many hundreds, planted in all directions, standing in silence, absorbing every phrase of our anthem. Over the bow of the Eagle, one could see a section of Fort McHenry.

I’ve been to many military parades and plenty of sporting events where the SBB inaugurates the occasion. I love this song and am transcended by its relationship to the events in my life. Never have I been so moved by a rendition. The gent in front of me wore a tee-shirt with the words of the SBB on its back. For once, I read along as the soprano sang.

Later that afternoon, a friend remarked that Americans seem to be unique in their reverence for the national flag at public events. I’m not certain that this is accurate as I see plenty of country flags at televised soccer matches. It is true that Americans love our flag and whatever it may represent to the individual. Maybe it’s because this flag makes us all Americans which is a splendid and deeply gratifying thought for me if true. Nonetheless, my Sun-day in Baltimore began beautifully, inspired by a couple of minutes of collective reflection with hundreds and hundreds of strangers who happen to be my fellow Americans.

Later in the day, I ventured to the Walters Museum on Monument Square. Touring the Square, I stood in front of the United Methodist Church reading that Francis Scott Key died there in 1843 in its previous incarnation as the home of his daughter, Elizabeth Howard. At that moment, the six Navy Blue Angels flew right overhead enroute to a scheduled performance above the Harbor. Impressive, for certain, and might even give the British something to ponder in case that they ever consider a three-peat.

Unexpected as they were spectacular in tight formation only meters apart at the highest speeds, they were the second most impressive event of my day.

“O Say Can You See?”



August 17th, 2014

The O-Bird Has Flown The Coop

Returned home to a home just as we left it. Curious, wonderful, at last. Please know that children venturing finally from home is as satisfying an experience as it is sudden. Poof! Not here even though there is a bag of chips on the the nightstand, rumpled bedding and an opened sock drawer amidst the full laundry basket, the lacrosse gear and the flotsam of 13 years of public schooling. This layout recalls scenes from a crime drama where the person of interest fled hastily.

Last night, I was able to interpret the creaks and whistles of a sleeping house as the familiar even reflexive signals that Owen was just home. I even imagined the refrigerator opening. At 0300, I left the bed to make sure that he wasn’t here.

This occasion is as satisfying for all as it is opportune and unknown. His college dorm room is the width of three single beds with two actual single beds for him and his roommate. There is a small fridge and a microwave, a board of a desk and an open closet for his one suit, 7 pair of tennis shoes, winter clothing, lacrosse sticks and an 8 pack of toilet tissue. His first field report described a satisfying first night’s sleep, fun dorm-neighbors and a full day of campus orientation. “Dr. Livingston, I presume?”

Down from the mountain, we celebrated with a game of tennis; a late and lengthy cocktail hour; and Chinese take-out, the leftovers of which were, indeed, leftover when I opened the fridge this morning.

Right now, it seems as though Owen is away at summer camp. I won’t get started on how too-accurate is this resemblance to modern university life and practice. I’m sure that the regularity of reality will set in soon for us all. He’ll miss home-cooking and we will experiment with a replacement metronome for our lives. Even though the end of this family chapter, despite its lengthy forewarnings, seemed to arrive suddenly, we were ready for this denouement- honestly all eager for it. I believe that since life is short, children should set their own sails as soon as practical. Although only three hours away, he’s ventured over the horizon, his future fully his own. Of course, we remain the financiers and the warehousing service which will pretend to keep us connected to his numerous adventures. All in all, it’s everyone’s occasion to examine the familiar and, perhaps, opt for change. I think that I’ll see what it’s like to have Chinese food for Sunday breakfast.


August 13th, 2014

Blue Pane Studio Produces Apps #69 and #70

ISBM app


August 9th, 2014

One Last Cup: In Memory of Jane Allan Bowie

I was introduced to Jane Allan by the Queen of Carnival. 1971. In that fall, I had just begun my second year in Annapolis at the Naval Academy desperate for refuge or something resembling the life that I knew in New Orleans before joining the Navy.

We lived on 622 Adams Street in New Orleans in a duplex shared with Christine Westfeldt, a classmate of JA’s at Hollins College. Although unassuming and far beyond our social circle of Italian Catholics in parochial schools, we all knew that Christine came from the Westfeldt family where everyone became the King or Queen of Rex riding in the big float on Mardi Gras Day. To me, Christine was the young, older woman upstairs who let me use her apartment to study afar from the mayhem of the four women and one bathroom in our own apartment.

Then was the time of telephoning Information Baltimore to ask the operator if there “is a number for a Christine Westfeldt somewhere in the city?” There was; I called; she invited me to West University Parkway (was it 853?). “What an amazing neighborhood,” I thought as I arrived one Saturday after noon meal formation at the Academy. “You can walk to Memorial Stadium to see the Colts.”

It was fun from the beginning to the end, a total of about 3 years until I graduated in 1974, fully convicted never to return to Maryland or D.C. and, especially, Annapolis, ever again. Of course, several years later I married someone from Maryland at a ceremony in D.C. I was in Annapolis, at the Naval Academy, last week.

If I could, I’d tell these simple stories about Jane Allan only after we’ve poured a cup of the richest, darkest cafe au lait. Coffee in her apartment was ever at the ready. Strange to me, initially, was that she could cold-drip the chicory and then refrigerate the two inches of brew in a glass jar. It would keep for days or weeks or I don’t know how long?! I’m not sure that I ever saw her actually make a pot of coffee. From invitation to milk steaming to the ratio of 9 parts milk and one tablespoon of refrigerated coffee took a couple of minutes. Who needs a microwave?!

Over our years, I converted numerous fellow midshipmen to avid coffee drinkers as they sought to replicate that first fix from Jane Allan’s kitchen.

Across the hall from the apartment were 3 guys and a girlfriend. I recall that they had only two albums and both were Jethro Tull. Two of them had just served in the Army and dealt with the transition to civilian life by smoking pot a lot. So, we joined them. Sat on the floor, listened to Aqualung and got smarter with each toke. It was a blast. You may purge any adjectives that reflect poorly on The Junior League.

Christine deserves my gratitude for Jane Allan becoming my friend even though a woman 6 years older and out of college, with a job, an apartment, who knew the secret of exotic coffee, who could contribute something to every topic of conversation, who was primed to laugh at every moment, who knew everyone and everyone in Baltimore County, seemed ages beyond my age. She even taught me how to iron a shirt, the irony of which amused her as she thought of her own friends perceiving such instruction by her.

Over a short time, the trips to Baltimore from Annapolis multiplied. We’re talking no Harbor, Route 40 into town, Urban Homesteading where one could purchase a row house for $1 (the one that Jane Allan and I looked at is maybe right field at the Orioles Stadium but time distorts personal geography) and Bertha’s at Fells Point was about the only place there worth the risk of a car-jacking.

As I visited more often, I was accompanied by fellow refugees from the Academy: Nadolski, Sharpe, Warden, McBrayer, McCabe, Murdoch and the three girls from Manhattanville College. Jane Allan’s living room floor could be configured for whatever number of unannounced guests and her closet provided bedding for all always.


One Thanksgiving, she invited me to her parents home in Lutherville. A military flight cancelled at the last minute stranding my roommate and two others at…Friendship Airport. So, they were invited to dinner as well. We spent the late morning and early afternoon listening to Mr. Bowie’s tales of out-running the Gestapo in Hamburg while in the Merchant Marine and a tour in Burma as a surveyor where his team got lost and found a squad of Merrill’s Marauders. At dinner, Mrs. Bowie cleared some of the the 5,000 publications and books of hers. We sat together where she questioned us and amplified nearly every remark that we made with a relevant and interesting point or personal connection. We overstayed our welcome meaning that we were supposed to return to Annapolis by 4:30pm. One of us was sure that it was 6:30. We called the Academy, Mr. Bowie explained the situation, we were granted liberty until 8pm and he drove us all back.

I could go on with the story of how she helped me prepare for a picnic with the latest most beautiful girl that I’d ever met in the summer of 1973. This one from Seattle. Jane Allan recommended a picnic at Loch Raven Reservoir and a bottle of white Burgundy. I’ve never encountered either since. The LMB girl returned to Seattle.

Jane Allan’s friends were neat too. I guess because Hollins girls seldom met Mids? They were always older but still in there 20s (I’m cracking-up to think of such a characterization), serious, fun and curious about our lives in the Navy. Truly boys amongst women. And persuasive. Ken McBrayer of Atlanta studied hard to be accepted by the Navy’s new medical school program. He worked day and night, mostly on organic chemistry. I dragged him from Bancroft Hall to Baltimore over one three day weekend. JA introduced us to a friend, Ann?, who studied sculpture in the area. So smitten was Ken with the West University Parkway (WUP) retreat that when Ann mentioned that the sculpture studio used live models, Ken, without compunction or hesitation, either agreed or volunteered to be the unclothed, aka nude model for the next class on the holiday Monday. Ken did not go to medical school. He left the Navy, became an investment banker at Sandler O’Neill and died on 911 in the World Trade Center. At his memorial service, I related the moment that he drove my van with the wide mirrors and decapitated the mailbox of a Bowie neighbor in Lutherville.

My naval service shipped me out to the West Coast and beyond. My last tour of duty was in DC. I just remembered that my sister, her boyfriend and I had this idea to print Jazz Festival posters because of our New Orleans connection. We had no clue how to find a printer in the area. Jane Allan did. One of the resultant 4 color lithographs of Billy Holiday hangs in my office.

We last met in 2007 when our family of four visited Baltimore for the Army-Navy game, but not at Memorial Stadium. She took us to Cafe Hon for a drink and a midnight tour of the backroads of Roland Park which only a Bowie would know. BTW, I never made the Bowie, Maryland connection until that time.

I’ll forever, whether watching The Wire again or wondering what the Orioles are up to or when someone mentions all that Fells Point has become, drift to a picture of Jane Allan with the bow in her hair, the smile that signals that she is ready for anything and my eagerness to ask for another cup of her cafe au lait. I only wish that I had been a better friend.

July 17th, 2014

Do Not Ever Ring The Bell

May 21st, 2014

Casey Carroll, 29 yo Duke lacrosse player, is one of my heroes.

He spoke to our USNA Alumni Assoc in November 2013. Son and brother of New York City firemen. Preparing for his meeting with us, he expressed his fear of public speaking. Doesn’t he hide it well?!