Clarence P. Finklewhip, Commander, Bureau of Redundancy

Appreciation and Charge for Paramedic Intern

In Fire Department, Philosophy, Uncategorized on July 8, 2016 at 2:55 am

Having become convinced of the absolute importance of ritual(s) to communicate points of passage and/or achievement, I composed the following today in commemoration of my paramedic Intern finishing his 20th and final shift which certifies and completes his basic training to act as a Los Angeles County Paramedic. I was mildly pleased to see just how much it affected all the men and women present who witnessed this small ceremony. In short, it is very satisfying to me to see how ritual(s) communicate, in a very weighty yet non-verbal manner, certain important milestones of our lives.



Paramedic Intern Joshua Hill,


Given that you’ve completed your internship in a competent fashion, I do hereby present you with this small token (a Leatherman Multi-tool) of our appreciation for your consistently professional attitude throughout the duration of your time here.


We hereby appreciate your timeliness when arriving at your assignment.


We hereby appreciate your consistent efforts to better yourself in this internship and have witnessed your diligent study and review of the paramedic curriculum.


We hereby appreciate your participation in station “life” while always recognizing your place as a guest.


We hereby appreciate your attention to the cleanliness of the ambulance and have witnessed you wiping down the rig many times at the close of the day.


We hereby appreciate your accepting responsibility for discovered deficiencies/re-stock issues even when these were not caused by you.


We hereby appreciate your efforts to reduce your “silhouette” in an effort to join the finest and most professional department in the United States and we congratulate you on your attaining that goal which certifies you to enter the LAFD Drill Tower in October.


We hereby appreciate your efforts throughout the entire duration of the paramedic program and heartily congratulate you on the completion of it.




Stand and receive your charge for the future: (he had to stand)


We hereby charge you to continue to be professional throughout the duration of your career, regardless of the circumstances, and to quickly recover if you “lose it”, which you will do, at times. In short, “Fall Forward”, recover, and move along smartly.


We hereby charge you to be smart but don’t get a big head.


We hereby charge you, in keeping with Retired Engineer David Braun’s mantra, to “Use all of your powers for good.”


We hereby charge you to keep your boots shined throughout the duration of your career.


Raise your right hand, place your index and middle finger on the your left bicep, tap three times and while holding it there, repeat after me: “I, Joshua Hill, understand that I am now part of the Blue Stripe Brotherhood and will use all my paramedic powers for the good of my fellow man.”


Thank you, Josh, for all your efforts.






Daniel D. Kush, FF/PM, FS100                                          David Brien, FF/PM, FS100






Prayer Before School-2015-2016

In Christian Living, Kids, Parenting, Prayer, The Church, Theology, Uncategorized on July 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

I started a tradition 3 years ago for my son, Owen, which is the recitation of a written prayer just as we pull into the parking lot of his school, Trinity Classical Academy. I compose it at the beginning of the year and then laminate 2 copies and stick one in each of our cars. The conclusion of this last school year marks the 3rd year that we’ve been engaging in this habit. Each year the prayer changes slightly but here is the one we used for the 2015-2016 school year:


“O God, You alone are the Great Knower of All Things and You alone are Wisdom. I give you thanks for Your kind provision of this academy and for leading my family here. Graciously grant to me the strength to study Your world, the joy of discovering Your world, and the grace to love Your world. (one of my most favorite phrases I’ve composed in a prayer) Be pleased to continue to bless my young mind and may Your thoughts become mine. Please grant me grace to obey the authorities placed over me, Mrs. Stickles, (his teacher), Mr. Seitz, (his principal), and Mrs. Caddow, (his headmaster) and give them wisdom in shepherding my young soul. I am in humble reliance upon Your mercy to do what I ought to do. (my second most favorite phrase) May the Church not be marginalized by this school, the students, or their parents. May Your strong arm of deliverance be around this school for the protection of the students and teachers and deliver us from evil. (shadowing the Lord’s Prayer) Thank you for Dad, who works diligently at his own employment that I might attend this school and help me to be a good steward of this blessing. Thank you for mom for all of her service and love for me in getting me to school, lunches, homework, etc. etc. [And we added around October 19 “…and we pray for a special blessing on Asher.” (our new son)]. I give you thanks in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

That’s it. Around the 2nd week Owen is able to pray it verbatim and, to the sometime consternation of Dad, is able to pray it at Mach 10 as we pull in the parking lot. Just thought I’d share this habit we have as it has allowed us to credibly say that we prayed almost every day before school started.


The City

In Creative Writing, Imagination, Uncategorized on June 12, 2016 at 1:52 am

The droning hum of my truck tires grinding against the grooved concrete freeway signaled that I was deep in the city of Los Angeles and I instinctively clicked my door locks as the weak tick-tick of my turn signal guided me to the trash strewn Century Ave off ramp. That vague feeling of heightened danger, always present at the bottom of the off ramp, came easing back into my tense spine and I readjusted my body position, checked my mirrors, and clicked my door locks a second time. A heavily soiled and disheveled man limped through the cross walk, inches from the purring grill of my truck, stooped to pick up an unseen item, and continued on to his unknown destination, his eyes locked in a wistful squint. I took notice, again, of the soil on the right armrest of my truck seat and how, in the misty City air, it was always slightly sticky. For the 45th time this year I made a mental note to buy one of those cans of upholstery shampoo with the soft yellow bristles at the top, presumably used to dispense the product and scrub it into whatever soil one was battling, in an effort to remove the gunky buildup of sweat and coffee and life that had gathered in a happy colony over the last 3 years of owning this perfect truck. The light flicked to green and I shifted my foot from brake to gas, depressed the pedal slowly, and eased into a left turn immediately passing under the freeway overpass, apparently a haven of the City’s vast homeless population. I am numb to the homeless blight these days; constant exposure to its sight and smell has rendered it non alarming, but I suddenly found myself thinking of all the people who will visit the Valencia mall today, happily filling their baskets with the latest disposable trinkets and their bellies with the latest tasty noshes, who have never tasted the air of the City, ripe with rot and filling up all the senses with the thick and moist vapors of humanity in an overwhelming way. The heavily repaired asphalt roadway reminded me that I was driving in one of the most densely populated areas in the world and here, at Fire Station 64, in the heart of Watts, I find myself, ready to offer the highest levels of service for the next 24 hours. Information only.