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Thought for the Day

In 1979-1981 I was serving in the Coast Guard in Hawaii, Florida, and Los Angeles.  My boss at Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles, Tom Sechler, had "Stop Screaming" framed outside his office.   It was 40th in a series of full-page advertisements in the Wall Street Journal from United Technologies (now Raytheon Technologies). The ads never mentioned UT or its products, but instead provided words of wisdom and inspiration. The ads stuck with me, so I contacted UT, and they sent a full set of the ads.

Please bear in mind that these are from 40 years ago.  Although some of the statistics are no longer current, the sentiment of the series has met the test of time.  If you take issue with something in one of them, that is fine.  They were meant to make you think in what was then the world 40 years ago.

- Mike Lucia



Johnny and Suzy Better Get Cracking (#21)

A University of Chicago
study shows
Russian high school
students are
ten times
better educated
in math and science
American students.
While Ivan and Olga
are waltzing
through advanced calculus,
Johnny and Suzy are
still stumbling over
It’s disgraceful that at
a time so crucial to our
nation, many of our
aren’t even learning
the basics.
There is something
you can do
right now.
Work with your youngsters
tonight and every night.
Make sure they are learning,
and know the importance
of learning.
If your children are getting
a poor education,
don’t blame someone else.
Proper education
is the responsibility
of the parent.
They’re not
the school’s kids.
They’re yours.


Brighten Your Corner (#64)

Have you noticed the great difference between the people you meet?
Some are as sunshiny as a handful of forget-me-nots.
Others come on like frozen mackerel.
A cheery, comforting nurse can help make a hospital stay bearable.
An upbeat secretary makes visitors glad they came to see you.
Every corner of the world has its clouds, gripes, complainers, and pains in the neck – because many people have yet to learn that honey works better than vinegar.
You’re in control of your small corner of the world.
Brighten it…
You can.


The Little Things  (#59)
Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes.
The Pulitzer.
The Nobel.
But we’re all eligible for life’s small pleasures.
A pat on the back.
A kiss behind the ear.*
A four-pound bass.
A full moon.
An empty parking space.
A crackling fire.
A great meal.
A glorious sunset.
Hot soup.
Cold beer.
Don’t fret about copping life’s grand awards.
Enjoy its tiny delights.
There are plenty for all of us.


Where Are You (#50)

Your third grade teacher said you had a problem with math.
You gave up on math, and you forever eliminated two-thirds of the jobs available in this world.
Somebody decided the Navy needed a cook.
After your hitch, you opened a restaurant.
Mother was a nurse.
Now you are.
Why are you where you are?
Because you want to be there?
Think about it.
Maybe you ought to be somewhere else.
Maybe it’s not too late to figure out where, and how to get there.


Stop Screaming (#40)

Sometimes it seems a rise in decibels is in direct disproportion to the importance of the message.
Phrases like, 
“We want you to head our Chicago office;”
“Would you accept the ambassadorship to France?”
“Chill the wine, I’ll be right over;”
are spoken in warm, quiet tones.
Where is my package?”
“I told you I didn’t want any mayonnaise;”
“You locked the keys in the car?”
are shrieked at top volume, in the glass shattering range.
Screaming is an unnecessary response; 
and when the shouting is over,
the cold facts of reality are still quietly sitting there.


The Snake That Poisons Everybody (#35)

It topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, busts reputations, causes heartaches, nightmares, indigestion, spawns suspicion, generates grief, dispatches innocent people to cry in their pillows.
Even its name hisses.
It’s called gossip.
Office gossip.
Shop gossip.
Party gossip.
It makes headlines and headaches.
Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Is it true?
Is it fair?
Is it necessary?
If not, shut up.


The Most Elusive Gift of All (#26)

If you asked most sane and temperate men and women throughout the world what they wanted most for the holidays, their first choice wouldn’t come in a magnificent box with a fancy ribbon.
They couldn’t find it on a colorful page of a fat Christmas catalog.
They wouldn’t see it glistening out at them from a window of a smart boutique.
Because it’s the most precious and elusive gift of all…
peace on earth.


How Important Are You? (#15)

More than
you think.
A rooster
minus a hen
no baby chicks.
Kellogg minus
a farmer
no corn flakes.
If the nail 
factory closes,
what good is the
hammer factory?
genius wouldn’t have
amounted to much
if the
piano tuner
hadn’t shown up.
A cracker maker
will do better
if there’s a 
The most skillful
surgeon needs
the ambulance driver
who delivers the
Just as Rodgers
needed Hammerstein
you need someone
and someone 
needs you.


I Pledge (#8)

This message first ran four years ago [Actually 44 years ago!]. We said it in 1979, and we say it again, what a great day for America if every one of our students signed this pledge. The whole country would benefit and it wouldn’t add a penny to school budgets.


  1. I now realize that the greatest power in the world is the power of knowledge.
  2. I want to be smart. Dumb, misinformed people go through life missing so many rewards that could be theirs.
  3. I will learn my basic skills and be expert in them.
  4. I will read books on the subjects that interest me most. But I will also read books and articles on other subjects to broaden my awareness of what is happening in the world around me.
  5. I will discuss at dinner time what I have learned or questioned at school today.
  6. I will study the ideas and dreams of our history to see how they can help me today.
  7. I will set aside time each day to think about my future, to discuss it with people I respect and to work on accumulating the knowledge that can guarantee that future.
  8. I will pledge this to those who love me and are trying to help me succeed. More important, I pledge it to myself.

Student signature _______________________________________________________

Teacher (I’ll help you!) ____________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian (endorsed with great love!) ___________________________________


Don't Quit (#7)

Is that
what you
want to do?
Anybody can
do that.
Takes no talent.
takes no guts.
It’s exactly
what your
you will do.
Get your
facts straight.
Know what
you’re talking
And keep going.
In the 1948
Presidential election,
the nation’s leading
political reporters
all predicted
Harry Truman
would lose.
He won.
Winston Churchill
“Never give in.”
“never. Never.”
Sir Winston stuck
his chin out
and wouldn’t quit.
Try sticking out
your chin.
Don’t give up.


Don't Promise What You Can't Deliver (#6)

“I’ll have
your parts
in two weeks.”
Four weeks later
the parts arrive.
“I’ll put it
in your hand the
minute you walk
in the door.”
But all you get
when you walk in
is a handshake.
“Dinner will be
at 6:00.”
But as you dip
your spoon in the soup,
the clock
strikes 7:45.
“The doctor
will see you
in five minutes.”
35 minutes later
you’re greeted cheerfully”
“And how are we today?”
Avoid a lot of grief and 
inconvenience for the
people you deal with.
Think twice before you 
announce how long
something will take – 
and then
deliver what you
On time.


Don’t Be Sorry You Said It (#5)

you may blurt out
you really
don’t mean.
But words,
once spoken,
like bullets
once fired,
can’t be recalled
And they
can wound.
Before you
calm down.
Count to ten.
Speak with reason,
not just emotion.
You may want
to tear up
that letter
instead of
sending it.
before you sound off.
Give the urge
to blast
a chance to pass.
Otherwise you may
say something
you’ll regret


Does the Punishment Fit The Crime? (#4) [Statistics from 1980]

There’s a major
crime committed
in America at the
rate of one every
3 seconds.
A murder every
24 minutes.
A robbery every
68 seconds.
An assault every
51 seconds.
A burglary every
10 seconds.
A theft every
5 seconds.
The odds are
narrowing that you
will be a victim
of a bodily or property
But the person who
commits a crime has
only a 1 in 5 chance
of being 
and a 1 in 100 chance
of going to jail.
Our criminal
justice system
is inadequate.
Perhaps Lady Justice
should trade in her
blindfold for an
The eye with the
patch would retain
for the accused,
but the other 
eye would look
for ways
to protect you.

Comparing 2010 to 1980

Crime 1980 crime rate 2010 crime rate
Major Crime One every 3 seconds 3 seconds
Murder One every 24 minutes 36 minutes
Robbery One every 68 seconds 84 seconds
Assault One every 51 seconds 41 seconds
Burglary One every 10 seconds 15 seconds
Theft One every 5 seconds 5 seconds
Chance of being arrested
for committing a crime
20% 18%


Do You Remember Who Gave You Your First Break? (#3)

Someone saw
something in you once.
That’s partly why you are
where you are today.
It could have been
a thoughtful parent,
a perceptive teacher,
a demanding drill sergeant,
an appreciative employer,
or just a friend who
dug down in his pocket
and came up with
a few bucks.
Whoever it was,
had the kindness
and the foresight
to bet on your future.
Those are two beautiful
qualities that separate
the human being
from the orangutan.
In the next 24 hours, take
10 minutes to write
a grateful note to the
person who helped you.
You’ll keep a wonderful
friendship alive.
Matter of fact, take another 
10 minutes to give
somebody else a break.
Who knows?
Someday you might
get a nice letter.
It could be one of
the most gratifying

messages you ever read.


Get Out of That Rut (#2)

Oscar Wilde said,
“Consistency is
the last refuge of
the unimaginative.”
So stop getting up 
at 6:05.
Get up at 5:06.
Walk a mile at dawn.
Find a new way
to drive to work.
Switch chores with
your spouse
next Saturday.
Buy a wok.
Study wildflowers.
Stay up alone all night.
Read to the blind.
Start counting
brown-eyed blondes
or blonds.
Subscribe to an
out-of-town paper.
Canoe at midnight.
Don’t write to your
take a whole scout
troop to see him.
Learn to speak
Teach some kid
the thing you do best.
Listen to two hours of
uninterrupted Mozart.
Take up aerobic dancing.
Leap out of that rut.
Savor life.
Remember, we only
pass this way once.


Stay in Touch (#1)

These days,
our lives
are becoming
too impersonal;
too fragile.
should be
not allowed
to wither.
So why not
get in touch
with someone
you care about.
A high school
A neighbor from
your home town.
A former business
Your scout leader.
A childhood playmate.
A favorite teacher.
Your mother,
brother, aunt.
Make an effort.
Keep the people
who’ve been
important to you
a part of
your life.
Put this paper
down and pick up
a pen or a phone.
You’ll be glad
you did.