Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp

Vol. 2015 No. 5

Interrelated elements of a viable culture: integrity, work ethic, soul, 
passion, and compassion, patterns adapted for changing technology.  Imperative knowledge is a component of judgment, an absence of which spells political mayhem, (anarchy) analogous to “Swords of Damocles” hanging by horsehairs above seven billion human beings.

                                                                                 Raymond Plank

                                                                                 May 2014

The above was written by me in 2014 then edited by Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies’ Professor Chad Oliver, updated by me recently. 


Although I continue to be an avid reader, having read over ten thousand books, this may sound like a lot.  It really isn’t for the reason I’m in my ninety-forth summer.  Reading goes slower, harder as I’ve lost use of my right eye, while continuing to meet my annual quota of ten thousand pages, plus periodicals etc…  As August 2015 gives way to September, the count is twenty-seven books and 8,274 pages – a bit ahead of schedule.


Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” I’d skimmed through in the late 1930ies when it became evident Germany and the U.S. would be going at it again and I wanted to see what kind of character loomed on the horizon before starting college.  This time around I read it more closely.  Hatred is very strong. 


On a lighter note in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve presumably lured, there’s the “old saw” where Adam lusted for Eve, “Stand back Eve, no one knows how big it’s going to get!”


I found two books by the very able editor David McCullough fascinating reading this year.  “The Wright Brothers” and the “Johnstown Flood.”  The Wright brothers exemplify determined focus of the pair in developing the first flying machine, the support of their father, a minister, and the acclaim accorded them.  No need for them to build a museum, the museums sprang up both in the U.S. and Europe, appropriately so, because their determination prevailed over the press; to gain support they took turns traveling to England, Germany, France, and Italy where they were warmly received.


The “Johnstown Flood” was 2015’s twenty-fifth book read.  For ignorance and greed, the loss of lives were surprisingly low but should not have occurred.  For light reading in 2015 I read three extraordinary books by Craig Johnson, who is ably supported by his splendid wife, Judy as well as his publisher.


This year Craig continued the practice recommended by his publisher to hold Longmire Days here in Wyoming, the site of his novels; twice the number of Buffalo population of 4,000 turned out for the three-day celebration in mid July.  The Longmire series was also carried on TV and ardently followed by my Houston executive assistant, Deb Koehler.


Most recently Deb sent me the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” by Ashlee Vance.  Little did I know that in addition to the electric vehicle Tesla, Elon Musk contributed his genius to outer space explorations and was retained by NASA.



Albert Quie, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s First Congressional District had graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  Serving in the U.S. House for twenty years where he concentrated on education, he returned to Minnesota and ran for Governor; we having met when he joined the Young Men of Minnesota.  Al asked Gene Trumble and me to support his campaign and head his Finance Committee.  Al was supported and elected Minnesota Governor by a wide margin.


At a well attended party in the Governor’s mansion, a woman from the press attended and made a nuisance of herself by asserting that the Quie Key Club went beyond a campaign phrase we had utilized, “Quie is key to Minnesota’s future well-being,” but rather a group which could expect favors from Governor Quie.  The funding for his campaign carried no large donations.  Finally, I tired of her leftist attack and spoke up along the following lines, “You know Quie is key to Minnesota’s future as is any governor.  You are going way beyond your vaunted freedom of the press. You are a God damn bitch!”  The reporter disappeared from the news and editorial reporting.  



Charles Bell, head of General Mills, was so offended that he lit into me and the following morning had his male assistant call me down by phone to continue the rant, to which my response was something to the effect that “some of us who were fortunate enough to return from war have now decided it was time to throw out the old guard and replace them which includes you.”  We did so and Lou Menk who then headed the Northern Pacific Railway, and was a friend, referred to the victory as “The Minnesota Miracle.”  Lou Menk moved from railroad to head International Harvester.


We took both U.S. Senate seats, a D.F.L. Governor having appointed a liberal to fill out the U.S. Senate term to replace a Senator who had died while serving in office.  We went from three to five members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and in the state legislature carried both houses. The outcome of that election was widely noted nationally as the “Minnesota Miracle.”






John Kocur, who went west from east was to become our then Apache General Counsel.  In the next Windows it’s John’s recommendation that I cover some of the innovations introduced in the development of Apache Corp.  I plan to do so. 


The all WWII membership of the Young Men of Minnesota as well as the YPO – Young Presidents’ Organization met jointly and decided to take over the Republican Party.  I personally had tired of the Hennepin County Chairman, in which Minneapolis was located, writing a social column for the local press featuring the activities of her social set, which we blew away.


Hopefully you’ll stay tuned….