The complete Olympic Games include the Paralympics

My editor wrote this over at GerardMcLean.com and I had to share. It is something that I privately champion at every opportunity, and this being one of those time, here you go.

UPDATE: @Neenz just published the Paralympics page at Alltop.com last night, Mar 5. If you know of or write a blog on the Paralympics, submit it here to be included.

I first got schooled in the Paralympic Games from Kim* during a telephone conversation my first week on the job back in 1996. For those who don’t know, I used to sell exercise bikes to paralyzed people. True.

“I am a tennis player,” she said.

“You mean you used to play tennis?” I asked.

“No, stupid. I play tennis. Wheelchair tennis. And I’m training for the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney.”

“The Special Olympics?” I said.

“No, I’m in a chair, not a f***ing r*tard!” she shot back angrily.

She was not one to mince words. She had also served four years in the US Navy and she swore like a sailor.

By the time I left the company several years later, we had gotten to be pretty good friends. I wish I had kept in touch, but that wasn’t what Kim was all about. She was one who lived in the moment, curious and anxious for the future with no regrets for the past. She never made it to Sydney, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

That was my introduction to the Paralympic Games. They are held two weeks after the Olympic Games everyone knows about and gets broadcast on TV. Here is the Web site for the Games in Vancouver.

Eventually, I hope the Paralympic Games are played alongside the Olympic Games as paralympic athletes are every bit as tough as their able-boded counterparts. It seems to me that even when NBC doesn’t see the value in broadcasting the Paralympic Games, Social Media should be all over it. The Paralympics are like a really cool blog that you accidentally stumble into that you didn’t know existed, but changes your world view forever. If you want to see some real athletic ability, I encourage you to watch this year. And London. And Russia. And Rio.

Get involved on twitter. Encourage Guy and Neenz to establish a blog directory for the Paralympics on Alltop.com that doesn’t lead to disability. Write a blog article about how you feel about the Paralympics.

Do something inclusive. We’re all in this together.

*Withholding last name, but in case she ever reads this and I have permission to fill in the last name, I’d be happy to.
**Please don’t contact me about ELA being out of business. That happened way after I left.

The most offensive Tea Party sign ever

The Huffington Post ran a story with some slide shows, showing the most offensive signs at the recent tea parties. As I was looking through the slide show, I found the sign that was the absolute, most offensive one of all. And, if the words on the sign weren’t enough to get you steaming mad, consider the fact that it was put up by our own government!

Anyway, here is the most offensive tea party sign, outlined in green.

The most offensive Tea Party sign
The most offensive Tea Party sign

What’s next, no peeing on the fire plugs? Who’s with me, Pee Parties April 15, 2010! 🙂

Listen up, famous and cool people

alltop_coolpeople Here is my hit list and here is my challenge:

The first cool person who adds DogWalkBlog (can be found at http://pets.alltop.com) to their my.alltop.com page will be sent a personal Thank You bark from Charlie, the German Shepherd at DogWalkBlog.com

You must be on this “cool people” list and you must send me a DM or email at rufus [at] dogwalkblog.com

You just can’t be cool unless you have a cool dog.

Sorry, them is just the rules.

My.Alltop.com is like looking through the world through a paper tube

picture-10I’m a bit torn on whether or not I like the new my.alltop.com feature. On the one hand, it saves me from hunting through the various topics at Alltop.com, trying to find the best blogs. I can gather all of the “must read” blogs on one page and then go through and read the new stuff quickly.

On the other hand, it saves me from hunting through the various topics at Alltop.com! What new find am I missing? I fear that my.alltop.com will keep me from wandering around, sniffing out new stuff and finding some really cool gem I had overlooked before. Moreover, if DogWalkBlog does not make the first cut of someone’s my.alltop.com page, will they ever go to alltop.com and search me out? Probably not. (Guy, Chris, Neenz, please put at least this puppy on your my.alltop.com page!)

My.alltop.com may just be like looking at the world through a paper tube. I can see what I want to look at in clear focus, but I miss everything going around around me. A magazine rack works because it captures your peripheral vision while you are trying to focus on finding a magazine in a particular topic. My.alltop.com is like a coffee table, with all the magazines you subscribe to, fanned out. (Yeah I know I have several metaphors going on at once, but that is kinda the point of a magazine rack, isn’t it?)

For now, I will build and read my.allltop.com/DogWalkBlog because it is a whole lot cleaner than NetVibes. And, it loads faster. But I refuse to walk through the rack, looking at things through a paper tube.

I hope others will as well.

Picking yourself up as local government pulls you down

irisflowerIn his inaugural address, President Obama says, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.” But don’t you dare do it in Modesto, Califonia.

According to the Modesto Bee, Gordon and Lorraine Nicholson of Woodland Iris Gardens were shut down for selling iris flowers from their seven-acre farm because they did not have a permit to sell at retail. Not only that, but since they would have allowed the public to use their restrooms, the restrooms that were perfectly sanitary for the family to use, were now unusable according to Stanislaus County code enforcement. In addition, their Web site was forced to close. I’m surprised they didn’t have to surrender their dog to the county for failing to test his drinking water four times a year and buying an inspection seal.

All that aside, I suspect the public’s concern over sanitary laws is directly proportional to their need to go. If I gotta go, I will make do with a tree on the back 40.

The county code enforcement unit is just enforcing county zoning law and state laws, said Sonya Harrigfeld, director of the county Department of Environmental Resources. Just following orders without an application of common sense.

When Obama talks about this country building itself, he refers to a time when local governments didn’t regulate everything. “I’m sorry, Mr. Joad, but that Ford truck is piled up way too high with your family’s belongings. It is only allowed to be nine inches past the roof of the cab.”

While it is true that life was a bit more dangerous, the going was a bit tougher, they had no WiFi or GPS at least people were free to try to find a better life, to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and remake America without being told to wash their hands in county-inspected water. I’m afraid that as Washington tells us to hope and “act (swiftly and boldly), not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth,” local counties will reach out more swiftly and boldly to beat us back to the status quo.

When I read stories of local government officials wielding their “authority” they only have because we are too weak to challenge them, I think of this video and Seth Godin’s comments. It enrages me that local government officials — like the three talent judges — feel they also have the right to sit back from their lofty, tax-provided perches and judge ordinary folks who are just trying to make a living and thinking outside of the norm. Instead of encouraging innovation, their first instinct is to grab a pitchfork and lead a passe to “kill the beast.”

When in the Course of Human Events.

Four stages of a on-line service company

fblogo

I was reading and commenting on a post by Bob Scoble in which he rails on Facebook for bumping Joel Comm due to him having too many friends, fans, etc. which probably just amounted to a whole bunch of traffic out to Joel’s friends for which he should probably be footing the bill.

It got me thinking about almost every other online business out there and the stages it goes through. Here we go:

Stage One: “That is a stupid idea. It will never work.”
Stage Two: “Hey, that is pretty cool. How are you making money? Call me to invest when you are making money.”
Stage Three: “You suck. You owe me for making you what you are and you are not giving me what I expect, even though I built my entire life around you, paid you nothing and had expectations of you that you never promised me.”
Stage Four: “You are too big, powerful and are monopolistic. Kill the beast!”

In between these stages are statements peppered with “You know what you ougta do..” and “I would buy advertising on your site to help you grow if you only reached this demo or that demo,” blah, blah, blah.

Why do people continue to use free services to further their career, business or other interests and then think they have a right to complain about how a service treats them? You paid nothing for the service and you are owed what you paid for it. Nothing. If it doesn’t meet your needs, then go find something that does.

Or build it yourself and then you will find out what it is like to have thousands of users who are each all willing to pay you nothing for your efforts, drink all your beer and then complain about you and your lack of “give a crap.”

Or buy stock in the company you are supporting if you believe in them that much. At least then you will have an ownership stake and you’ve bought your right to complain. But, as an owner, you would then be paying for the cost of supporting users who do not pay you and will only be loyal to your brand until the newest best thing comes…..

Oh, look, is that a Twitter screen over there?? Is that the coolest thing or what?!?

The Mac OS goes to the dogs

Steve Jobs, we dogs think it was a mistake to start naming the MacOS X after cats. Really, not cool.

In the interest of Think Different, may I propose a name for your next version? Snow Shepherd

MacOS X 10.6 Snow Shepherd
MacOS X 10.6 Snow Shepherd. If you look carefully, it is already up and running 😉

Businesses that look small are huge, as long as they stick to the knitting

They say this feeds fourteen people. We ate it using three.
They say this feeds fourteen people. We ate it using three.
Television adds ten pounds. It also add a few hundred square feet to a restaurant if featured on the Food Network or the Travel Channel. Case in point.

Last weekend, we were in St. Louis for the NSCAA. Our one goal was to seek out and eat a Pointersaurus pizza at Pointer’s Pizza. For those of you who have not seen the Food Network and Travel Channel segments, it is a 28″ pizza and is as large as a table top.

First, we had to find the place. It was across town, with no parking except for an Office Depot across the street. We stopped in and bought some blank CDs to ease our guilty consciences about parking in their space. The store front looked no larger than a Dominos carry out. Did we have the right place? It looked bigger on TV.

Yes, we did have the right place. We went in and there were two tables. Two. And a waiting couch the size of a dime. The rest of the store was devoted to a counter to take orders and answer phones and two rows of pizza ovens.

That’s it. Answering phones, making pizzas.

Businesses that look small are huge in this economy, as long as they stick to the knitting. Pointer’s Pizza does one thing and does it very well; makes pizza. That’s it, nothing fancy.

I can imagine how the phone call went with The Food Network:

PP: “Pointer’s Pizza. What would you like.”
FN: “We want to come in and film your big pizza you make and put you on TV.”
PP: “Ok, come in, stay clear of the ovens and the phones. You are going to pay for the pizza, aren’t you?”
Long pause…
FN: “But we’re putting your store on television….”
Longer pause…
FN: “Of course we are going to pay for the pizza.”
PP: “See you next Thursday.”
*ring*
PP: “Pointer’s Pizza. What would you like.”

Stay small, stay focused, stick to the knitting.