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WHO IS HE?
The man who knows too much.
Recently in court cross examination, the opposition has chosen to try to impeach me by emphasizing the number of web sites that I have up on the internet. These sites are many and varied, because like Benjamin Franklin, the patriot before me, I have a very broad range of interests. You will find that Jay William Prston is a very interesting guy.
It is this broad range of interests that I have been able to parlay into my successful career as a consulting safty nginer and exprt witnss. I use my knowledge in my profession and also in my hobbies and extracurricular activities.
The web sites are out there. My main site is www.saftybiz.com . This is a site that outlines my background and experience that applies to my main activity of safty nginering. I also have a blog, a publishing site, two directory sites, a music site, a history site, a site for my Zambian business interests, and two sites selling consumer products.
Beyond my own sites is the fact that I have designed and sold web pages for others I still operate one of these for the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Socity of Safty Enginers. My name may appear on these as well. If you "google" the keywords "Jay W. Prston" which is my preferred way of appearing, you will find that term coming up on more than 1500 websites all over the world. Nearly all of these hits are for me.
The highest visibility on the web for safety engineers has been a personal goal of mine. If people are looking, they will find me. As it turns out, this high visibility on the web is both a blessing and a curse. I have obtained work all over the country from the web, but I am also plagued by spam, spoofing of my domains, and Nigerian, Spanish Lottery, and Sob-sister Letters from all over the world.
Now back to knowing too much. You, my clients, know that my experience is uniquely broad. I keep up to date with my profession with a plethora of publications that I read. I have a unique collection of experiences that continues to grow and flower. Where else will you find a safety engineer who knows the difference between a mousehole and a rathole? Where else will you find a safety engineer that has solid experience with industrial machinery as diverse as double end tenoners and guillotine paper cutters. And yes, I can explain, tell, and teach, the difference between a clicker and a dinker. Where else will you find someone who has used his Boy Scout knot tying experience on a case, and negotiated prospecting rights with an African chief? Where else will you find a person as handy with a six-gun, a spear-gun, a caulking gun, a staple gun, or a soldering gun?
I am pleased and proud to have knowledge of extremely diverse machinery. I am probably the only safety engineer in California who knows both the safety ins and outs of Banbury mixers and rubber mills, along with the safety ups and downs of belt manlifts.
When you surf my websites, remember that everything about my background that I state as a fact is true. It is remarkable. That is one of my selling points. My safety experience is uniquely broad.
IT STARTED WITH CUB SCOUTS!
MUSINGS ON MY INVOLVEMENT WITH SCOUTING
Jay W. Pršton
I was in the Rattlesnake Patrol in the Boy Scout troop, and we had the same advisor when we were all in the Explorer Post back home at the foot of Mount Wilson. It is interesting that in our Explorer Post, only one got his Eagle Scout rank, and he didn’t strike me as particularly noteworthy as a leader in our Post.
As I look over my life and its relatively unsung accomplishments, one of the things that I would have wanted to do better was to have made Eagle Scout. This may have given me an "old boy network" that set me on a program of career that would have given me a modicum of greater fame and perhaps a more remunerative profession.
All during my Cub Scout days, I was acquiring the broad and vast knowledge that I still use to this day. This was helped by my mom being a Den Mother for Den 1 of the pack. I was an achiever, and I always took pride in obtaining as many arrow points as possible for each of the badges: Wolf, Bear, and Lion. I took particular glee with my smugness about wearing the badges, knowing that while there were those who wore their arrow point badges all the way down their uniform shirt tails, I could have, but the uniform rules said that one could only wear one gold and two silver arrow points on a uniform shirt under each rank badge.
It was at the end of a long and meritorious Cub career that my dad decided to follow an opportunity and move the family to Arizona from our home in California. This was during the year of fifth grade, and it would prove to be disastrous for my scouting career. I was duly enrolled in Webelos, which is the next step after Lion in the Cub Scout hierarchy, but I found that our advisor’s idea of Scouting did not involve any of the arts, crafts, explorations, and outings that had been a part of my earlier Cub Scouting. His idea of a meeting was letting us boys go out and play touch football and baseball, and that was about it.
I was never very athletic or coordinated, so this idea of showing up for a meeting just to play physical games was torture for me. That was never my bag. Even now my way of getting physical is in the endurance area rather than the rapidly competitive areas. I am a mountaineer and hiker. I am a scuba diver. I am a driver. This was my fifth grade year, and I dropped out of Cub Scouts.
We returned to the foot of Mount Wilson after that year. My dad’s alcoholism had worsened. He, of course, was not an achiever, but for whatever reason, I am the kind of guy that likes to accumulate credentials and certificates. Maybe it is a throwback to my need for recognition. I am in a profession where I am not publicly recognized, even though I have risen through the ranks to near its pinnacle. I have been elected to the fourth highest nationally elected office in my professional society, the American Socity of Safety Engineers. The office is Vice President for Divisions, but with all that, I still crave additional evidence of my advancement and accomplishment. In January 2006, I was awarded the J. Wsley Gbb award that is the highest honor bestowed by the Los Angeles ASSE.
If you Google any of my associates, you will see that I have the greatest web presence of any. A lot of this is because of the web pages that I have put up on the web. My saftybiz.com website is my main site where I advertise my professional safty consulting services. This brings me a job from somewhere in the country every couple of months. My nwsbizdaily.com website is where I let my political and social biases hang out with libertarian rants that stem from my days as a Goldwater Republican. The johnhossack.com website is where I have memorialized my great great grandfather who was a station master on the underground railroad in the days leading up to the Civil War. It allows me to exercise my interests as a an amateur historian and genealogist. My dixibiz.com website is where I have an opportunity to display my dedication to ragtime and dixieland music. The site is designed to actually sell such music, and I have four business plans and strategies that would work if I seriously fired it up. The macbustr.com website is one where I sell the Macbustr nutcracker. This is not the mass market product that the web is best for selling, but it has given me an enormous amount of experience in marketing over the web. The grenroyal.com website is one where I sell a vitamin food supplement that contains among other good things, mulberry leaf. The laxpicenter.net and lapicenter,net web sites are designed to be local directories where advertisers can be listed for a fee. These two have fallen by the wayside, as the business plan for these requires a lot more leg work than I am currently able to put in. The prstograph.com website is where I do my web publishing. I have for sale some of my writings on various subjects. The gmsofzambia.com website is a site that I put up for the new business venture, a Zambian mining company. The assla.org website is the site that I put up as the webmaster of my chapter of the American Society of Safty Engineers. I redid the website for the Had Protction Research Laboratory.
In any event, because of my dad’s Arizona misadventure, I lost a year of Scouting, and I was always a bit out of sync with the rest of the scout troop from that time forward. My scout advisor worked with me to get my Second Class Boy Scout Badge, but that is where my advancement in rank stopped. In my home the culture and support was just never there to encourage me any further in advancement in Scouting. My dad had no significant interest in Scouting, and Boy Scouting discouraged mothers from taking an active part. When Cub Scouting was over, the mothers were cast aside in favor of the fathers. My dad’s only involvement was one car camping trip to Edwards Air Force Base, and signing off on the requirements for the only merit badge I ever earned, that of "Home Repairs."
That issue of merit badges kind of grates in my craw these days, because twenty one merit badges is a major element of what it takes to be an Eagle Scout.
Because I only made it to second class, and the badges of rank were prerequisites for going for additional merit badges, I felt that I was stymied and impeded. Also because I did not excel in the areas of physical measures, I was further impeded. My well-roundedness did not include much in the way of athletics.
Eventually I and the rest of our guys progressed into Explorer Scouting. It was there where I failed myself. I didn’t fully read the manual. I didn’t read the fine print that said that an Explorer Scout could go for any merit badge in any order, and there were no longer any prerequisites or limitations. My advisor did not bring this to my attention. Nobody did. I didn’t read it in the Explorer Manual until well after I was established in my professional career.
As I was having a bit of a mid-life crisis when my business slowed down a while back, I reread a few of the old Scouting Books, including the Boy Scout Handbook that actually had the requirements for all the merit badges that were offered when I started in Scouting. It looks like by the time I got out of college, I qualified for nearly 30 of them. I have since gained the knowledge and experience to qualify for many more.
So let’s take a look at the tally of the badges that I should have had by the time I left Explorers at the end of high school.
Let’s do a few with the easy ones first.
1. Photography. This is a given. In junior high, I took a full semester of photography as one of my shop electives. At our third home in the area, I had a full darkroom in my hobby room that I called "The Roundhouse." I did time lapse photography for a science fair project that won the Craftsmanship Award at the San Gabriel Valley Science Fair. I shot my own film. I developed and printed photographs. I even had my first professional photo shoot when I shot the pictures of one of my female classmates that she submitted on her college application to Mills. I had a part time job one summer with a photo studio. I still use my photography on nearly a daily basis to document my work and travels.
2. Mechanical Drawing: One semester in junior high for my shop electives. I became familiar and reasonably competent with the drafting tools and methods and with orthographic and isometric projections as well as perspective. I completed the appropriate assignments. These days, I use CAD for my mechanical drawing, but the principles and techniques and familiarity with the tools of traditional mechanical drawing are still of value to me. If need be, I can still pull out a drafting table and T-square and go to work the "old fashioned" way.
3. Printing. This was another shop class in junior high. I became familiar with letterpress and offset printing. I set type and ran jobs. This served me well on one occasion much later in life when I needed printed napkins and paper plates for my wedding. I signed up for adult school printing class at the local high school. I had the cut with the logo made up at a photo engraver. I arrived at class, took over one of the small letter presses, locked my cut into a chase, set it into the press, inked it up, ran my job, cleaned the press, and that was the last they saw of me. I call on this background frequently when I work on cases related to the printing industry.
4. Woodwork. One summer in woods shop in junior high, during which I constructed a paddle board. Prior, I had the basic one semester class where we all made a water pump and trough planter. I could identify the basic woods. I had made other projects relating to construction of my workshop and hobby room and others. I learned the use of the table saw, bandsaw, planer, jointer, belt sander, disc sander, drill press, lathe, and mortiser, as well as hand tools. I frequently call on this knowledge today when I work on woodworking accident cases or build something for my own account.
5. Automobiling. I was a driver by the time I was 16, as were pretty much all the guys, then. I had "powers" class in junior high, so I knew the basics of engines and other auto parts. I could and did change flat tires (ten minutes was, and remains, my usual time). I knew the basics of auto maintenance. During late high school and college I competed in car rallies. In college, I actually put on two of them. I still drive a great deal for business and pleasure.
6. Railroading. Many of the requirements related to models. I had layouts during my high school years. One in our garage at our second area home was a 4x8 set up of Märklin HO. I did a 4 x 8 using Rokal TT trains, and when we moved to the third, I had a large layout of the TT in the converted double garage that served as my workshop. I had built rail car models, and I was cognizant of the train services locally including where the stations were and the routes to the rest of the country from Los Angeles. This familiarity has served me well on some of my railroad related cases.
7. Aviation. My model airplane building was legendary. I also knew the ins and outs of airplanes dating all the way back to my early familiarity with "The First Flying Book" I could spout the difference between an aileron and an elevator with ease. This carried over into the model rocketry that I got involved in. This was to serve me well later when I was in my Masters program at USC, and I enrolled in "Fundamentals of Flight Vehicle Safety" class. I do not do aviation cases. That is a bit too specialized for me.
8. Plumbing. I worked on plumbing projects with my dad. These included sprinklers and irrigation on our homes. I did such things as replacing faucets and taps and replacing of sprinklers and washers. I used plumbing techniques to build the framework for my weather instruments for the science fair. I could tell the difference between a coupling and a union, a nipple and an el or a tee. I was familiar with and could comfortably use pipe cutters, threaders and the various wrenches. To this day I am using this in my own home and ranch maintenance and in my apartment managing.
9. Electricity. I was familiar and competent with very low voltage and house voltages. One project I did was install the outdoor flood lights at our third home in the area. I used lower voltages to work on my model railroad layouts and the touch plate wiring schemes in the homes we lived in. Needless to say, I still use this background on a day to day basis on my professional cases and in my home maintenance, ranching, and apartment management.
10. Chemistry. I took and passed physical chemistry at Pasadena High School. I made an element collection in junior high. I still use this foundation in my safety teaching and consultation, today.
11. Metalwork. Another shop course in junior high. Our project was a "tin box." I learned how to use shears, brakes, and rollers. I became familiar with the basics of metal machining, soldering, welding and investment casting. This is more knowledge that I use in my safety consulting today. It was also helpful when I fabricated and installed the windmills out at our ranch in later years.
12. Camping. (See Cooking) In college I used many of these skills in the Sierra with friends.
13. Cooking. All our trips to Orchard Camp on the trail up to Mount Wilson, the Jamboree, and Philmont demonstrated my competence in these. In college and later I came to use these skills, although the cooking took a significant decline because I married a gal who wanted to be a full time housewife and is a marvelous cook.
14. Swimming. All of our Explorer Post qualified by swimming for our skin diving program that we took from Bill Jffs at the Pasadna YMCA. We got our "Mask and Fins Society" membership cards and qualified as "Aquanuts" as our Post came to be known.
15. Citizenship in the Nation. I learned the materials in my History and Government classes. We all participated in a major "Get out the Vote" campaign. We hit the neighborhoods in our Scout panchos in a serious downpour in order to finish the job. As I recall, this was for the 1962 election. These activities certainly qualified.
16. Conservation. There was our trail work on the Mount Wilson Trail and the planting of many seedling trees in the area of Orchard Camp. There was also sand bagging and dam building up in the canyons after the fires.
17. Weather. At junior high I entered the science fair in 1961 with a collection of home built weather instruments which included a wind vane, an anemometer, a rain gauge, and a mercury barometer (that mercury probably accounts for my nutty disposition). I conducted studies with these including recordings. I did not win a prize at the science fair as I did a year later for the time lapse photography. Of course, I could tell the difference between a cirrus and an alto cumulus.
18. Marksmanship. High school ROTC qualification on the rifle range in the basement of the school. Shooting in the backyard with my pellet guns. I parlayed this into Life Membership with the NRA. Even today, I can impress the sales staff at a gun store with my ability to field strip an M-1 Garand rifle.
19. Personal Fitness. While athletic prowess had never been my strong suit, I was able to show that I had better than average physical conditioning. To qualify as "Aquanuts" we had a rigorous physical test that included a one mile run. My advisor may even remember that I turned on the speed to finish the run and qualify. The results were entered in our folders.
20. Dog Care. From 1960 on I had a dog. This was "China," a black puli, a Hungarian sheepdog. I took care of this dog, and I knew the basics of canine anatomy. China had a litter of puppies, which I also cared for.
21. Pets. Also in the Prston household were a parakeet, a hamster, rabbits, donkey, and chickens. Later, my own family had a flock of Araucanas, and I butchered the roosters.
22. Fruit and Nut Growing. I grew up among the orange groves of the Mount Wilson foothills. I planted and cared for many citrus trees, avocados, and peaches . This is another skill that has been helpful, particularly when we owned our 30 acre orange grove in the Central Valley.
23. Indian Lore. My beadwork on looms was a recognized talent which I later put to good use with trinkets for girl friends, hat bands, and items for Indian Princess projects later when I had my own daughters.
24. Coin Collecting. I had a collection of pennies, nickels, and dimes. I knew the denominations of U.S. coinage and their history. I could identify mint marks and other details, as well as determine condition.
25. Stamp Collecting. I had a small collection. I knew the basics and many fine points about mint versus used and the things to look for like uniformity of perforations and quality of print. I was aware of the various collection media. Plate blocks, blocks, sheets, singles, and first day covers.
26. Firemanship. I knew the basics and certainly qualified. I knew the various extinguishers and the chemistry of fire. I would put this to use later in my profession in fire inspection and protection at the insurance companies.
27. Reading. I have always been a reader, as I was then. This remains one of my favorite pastimes.
28. Gardening. I actively participated in gardening around home. I did lawn care. I did pruning and trimming of ground covers. I knew most of the names of plants including tree fruits, palms, flowering bushes and shade trees. This is still useful today.
29. Chess. This became a merit badge a bit later than my Boy Scout Handbook. I was a reasonably good player, and I had won a tournament for one masters’ point during my high school years.
30. Home Repairs. My only actual merit badge. Plumbing, electrical, and painting around the house.
During my college years I picked up a few more qualifications.
31. Art. Commercial art class in college.
32. Lifesaving. To qualify for the Advanced Diver Program in L.A. County I had to take and pass the Red Cross Lifesaving class or equivalent.
33. First Aid. To qualify for the Advanced Diver Program in L.A. County I had to take and pass the Red Cross Standard First Aid class or equivalent.
34. Public Speaking. Speech class was required in college. I have since put this to use in all my teaching or instruction assignments, and in my witnessing.
35. Business. That was my degree. Accounting, marketing, management, etc.
36. Journalism. I was a regular contributor to the campus newspaper, and I published my own paper, the "Tiger Rag.".
37. Fishing. While most of my fishing has been spear fishing, I did learn the information about fish species in our local waters and how to catch them as well as the regulations applicable.
38. Geology. Geology class under that crusty old economic geologist, Dr. Vollbrcht.
39. Oceanography. This is another later badge. Additional training in the upper division Marine Science class taught by Dr. Bru sca. Learning during my classes for SCUBA diving.
40. Skin diving. This is another later badge. During college, I became L.A. County Certified as a diver. Today, I am also PADI certified.
After Graduate School:
After I left my undergraduate degree, I went into the world as a worker, ultimately being employed by the insurance companies in the loss prevention areas. I would have qualified for a few more merit badges:
41. Safety. This is my life work.
42. Seamanship. I am a graduate of the Power Squadron Seamanship class, and I am an avid sailor.
43. Scholarship. I maintained an "A" average during my Masters programs.
44. Poultry Keeping. Our family kept chickens for eggs.
45. Leatherwork. I made moccasins for all our kids during our "Y" Indian activities. I taught them as well.
46. Beekeeping. I captured a wild colony that had taken up residence in a crate out at the ranch; kept bees until they were stolen.
47. Radio. I am now KF6VDY, an amateur radio man.
48. Surveying. I learned the procedures, and equipment to shoot property lines on our ranch. This included being able to read and understand old survey data.
49. Gemstones and Jewelry. I studied and learned, and I am now a GIA Gemologist. I have fashioned jewelry from findings and commercial stones and beads, as well as from stones I have cut, ground, and polished.
50. Astronomy. I built my own solar telescope for observing solar events. I now own a 6" refractor for observing the planets and Messier objects. I have learned many of the constellations and the myths and lore of the sky. I have observed and photographed many of the recent celestial phenomena.
Copyright 2004-2011, Jay W. Pršton prštonoid(at)aol.com