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.

Sarah Palin, please grow up, shut up, go away or learn some English

Sarah Palin (on loan from CNN.com)
Sarah Palin (on loan from CNN.com)

In a CNN.com blog post yesterday, Ms. Palin is quoted as saying:

I would think we all tear up during the national anthem at the beginning of a baseball game, don’t we? That’s an alikeness between Alaskans and New Yorkers.

Sigh. I think she meant to say something like “common bond” or “the bonds that united as as a nation” or even “similarity.” I am beginning to suspect she makes up words as she goes. She reminds me of Damon Wayans’ malaprop character on In Living Color. Malaprop is a big word, so I linked it up, in case Ms. Palin is reading… oh, never mind.

It really is time for the smart guys to be in charge. The beer-drinking buddies, the “Joe the Plumbers” are not the future of this country, they are its past. It is not cool to be dumb. It never was.

In recent decades, we’ve seen the damage one dumb man can do. We’ve also seen the damage a highly provincial man can do. Neither was good for this country as one led to high inflation and a hostage crises and the other led to wars, loss of a moral compass and submission to mob fear.

I’m not sure how many bloggers remained “anonymous” about their feelings on Sarah Palin. That women created a blog wake so deep and fast that if you didn’t attach your name to it, your blog was a waste of time to write or read. There was nothing about anonymity or boredom in that ride.

We’ve had a taste of what a smart Sarah Palin would be like. We call her Tina Fey. And the real thing pales in comparison to the imitation.

I was rejected by AdAge

I received an email from Charlie Moran yesterday, stating that my blog was just not good enough for them to care about at AdAge. Here is his email.

Thanks for submitting your blog to the Power 150. Unfortunately, because of high demand, we can only accept applicants who score at least 20 total objective points, that is, before a Todd Score is added into your total. Here is your point breakdown:

Yahoo InLinks (1 to 30): 1
Technorati Ranking (1 to 20): 1
Technorati Authority (1 to 20): 1
Technorati InLinks (1 to 20): 1
Alexa Points (1 to 15): 2
Bloglines Subscribers (1 to 10): 1
Google PageRank (0 to 10): 4
Collective Intellect (0 to 10): 0
TOTAL: 11

You are welcome to resubmit your blog once you’ve built up some more links and influence, although we ask that you wait at least three months before doing so. Hopefully, you’ll make it in next time, and, if not, there’s no limit to the amount of times you can reapply, as long as they’re three months apart.

If you have any questions about this policy, please check out my blog post about it and/or drop me an email, and I’ll be glad to help.

Thanks,
Charlie Moran

It is hard to argue about the in-coming links and Technorati stuff, even though I have been blogging here since 2005. See the first blog, started appropriately enough, with an end.

But, to score a 0 on Collective Intellect? Why doesn’t Mr. Moran just take a big ol’ bag of salt and just start pouring. Then, after that, he just wind up and take a big kick to my ribs.

What Mr. Moran missed when he rejected my blog was a chance to connect with a user of the marketing technology, not just a prophet of the technology whose use of the technology feeds into the validation of the prophesy. What Mr. Moran missed was that even small dogs can be big. What Mr. Moran missed was that he was just as guilty of using “big media” metrics to rank the “new media” as the new media guys rail against. Interestingly ironic.

Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. As more people are joining the social media movement, there seem to be just as many who work double-time to keep them out. Very much like a high school clique.

I’m not as popular as Seth Godin or as enamored with Web 2.0 stuff as Chris Brogan, but for the few people who read me faithfully when I share my thoughts, I like to think I am in their Top 150.

And worth every minute they spend with me, for which I am unconditionally grateful as only a puppy can be.

PS: From now on, I’m just going to focus on communities who recognize even small dogs are worth paying attention to, like Guy Kawasaki and Neenz at Alltop.com who welcomed me with open paws.

I know nothing, but let me tell you about it anyway

Few things make me more upset than “journalists” who have no knowledge of the facts of a story, write about it or get on television, answering phantom questions about hypoteticals. Then the anchor or host treats their answers like they relate to the story at hand. Then they guide the reader or listener through the “facts” of a story based on the answers to these hypothetical questions as if they are relevant. Unless you are paying attention and reject the entire story when this occurs, you will get the facts of the story all wrong. Is it any wonder Americans are so ill-informed about so much?

The latest example of this type of “journalism” can be found right here in my local newspaper, the Dayton Daily News. Not only does the writer start by asserting an unsubstantiated “fact” (…dying from [a seizure] is rare) but early in the article she states:

Medical specialists who did not treat the boy told The Associated Press on Tuesday that while Kawasaki syndrome is poorly understood, it’s extremely unlikely the disease had anything to do with the teen’s death.

Let me repeat: “medical specialist who did not treat the boy told…” And, AP, why are you lapping this up? What kind of journalism institution are you anyway?

And now, we have Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the worst offender of them all*, slated for the Surgeon General. Has he not done enough damage with his glib, over-arching generalizations of the American health care scene at CNN? I’m sure Dr. Gupta is a competent doctor, but it is unethical and immoral to lead people down a path that is so generic as to be dangerous to their health. Whatever you believe about Dr. Gupta’s competence, his words have weight.

I attribute this “fact-filling” as a desperate attempt by media to be the first on the scene and to fill 24/7 airtime with breaking news stories. Here is a bit of advice from the the old school: If you have nothing to say on the matter, just shut up before you start sounding like an idiot.

*No, I have no supporting evidence he is the worst, but go to YouTube and sift through the video.

Government should be counter-cyclic to the Main Street marketplace

Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse
I was listening to NPR on WMUB this morning about the freshman Ohio senators starting their terms and how hard their jobs will be dealing with the State having a $1.9 billion budget deficit, GM, Delphi, DHL and other large companies pulling out of Ohio and various other things.

Many of the in-coming senators went on and on about how they need to cut government waste and hunker down and spend smarter, blah, blah, blah.

And then it occurs to me: Shouldn’t government be counter-cyclic to the marketplace? When things are going well, the free market tends to create goods and services it needs without help from the government. When the economy is doing well, shouldn’t government be pulling back on services, conserving revenues for a down economy?

When the economy is not doing well, that is when we need government help. That is when the government should ramp up the spending, not pull back. Government waste during fat years is a lifeline to average folks and small business during famine years.

As an owner of a small business, I only heard that the various Ohio Revenue departments are going to start going after every single penny it feels it is entitled to. It will asses property values higher, it will send out random letters declaring I owe this penalty or that missed tax payment, whether real or not. It will extract and extort money from the down and hurting at a greater rate than normal. All in pursuit of “responsible budget balancing.”

And they will further spiral the economic crisis downward and wonder why the budget will never balance. When the Ohio Statehouse policies put people out of business, tax revenues dry up and no matter how threatening the letters are, you can’t get money from people you put out of business and kick out of their homes.

I know it is really hard for elected officials to act responsibly during the fat, happy party years but when we out here on Main Street are doing well, Columbus and DC should be saving for a rainy day, not joining in the party and buying the booze for the drunken puppies.

Am I wrong?

Extra blogging stuff pulled from my brain

Brain dump
Brain dump

I collect newspaper clippings for blog ideas. Mostly, the articles are things that sent my blood pressure over the edge or got me wondering “what if it were different” or just things that make me go “hmmmmmmmmmm..”

These clippings sit on my desk, tugging at me to write a blog post about them. But there just isn’t enough brain material for an entire blog post. So, they stack up, hoping to bump into other clippings that glue them together in this big “human condition” context. And, sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

And all the while they are tugging and screaming at me to do something with them, often culminating to a deafening roar. So, to quiet the clippings, sweep them off my desk and hopefully into a discussion with you, I am going to just knock out short thoughts of each and then let them go. Hopefully my readers will take off where I could not.

Nov 28, 2008, WSJ, Page A13
Breakfast with St. Peter My thoughts on this article are conflicted. I at once want to find a St. Peter for myself, but mostly I want to be a good enough person to be a St. Peter for others. I hope I am lucky enough to be one or the other before I meet the real St. Peter.

Dec 30, 2008, WSJ, Page B1
Claiborne CEO Flies Commercial to Cut Costs This was supposed to have been a blog post about the value of TIME and how important it is for a CEO or any leader of any multi-million dollar company, hospital emergency room or Oval Office to have enough sleep to be able to function. I know the “perception” of using a private jet to the average Joe is like burning dollar bills while dancing on a grave, but do we really want our leaders — corporate or otherwise — flying the crappy skies? I don’t. Read the article and decide for yourself.

Dec 21, 2008, DDN, Page C5
Motor City’s woes extend beyond auto industry One passage made me pause and think about my own retirement plan in America.

“…I’m seeing guys make a conscious decision they’ll be better off in prison than in the community, homeless and hungry…. In prison, they’ve got three hots and a cot…”

Here’s my retirement plan, given the current state of my 401(k) and less than 20 years left of a working career: On my 65th birthday, I will commit some sort of Federal crime bad enough that will get me sent to prison for life, but not death row. There, I will not have to worry about getting my medication, food or deciding between heat and food. If I am good enough, they may even let me keep a canine pet with me. That is the plan, unless Obama can turn around this “all for me and me alone” culture we have created for ourselves. Or, some foreign country will let me expatriate.

Jan 2, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Treasury to Ford: Drop Dead Part of me wants to scream out, “Jesus H. Christ, Mulally, did you not see the GMAC bank thing coming? What the hell is wrong with you?” and another part wants to slap Mulally on the back and congratulate him for doing the right thing, for taking an ethical stand. I’m conflicted, but am almost certain Ford Motor Company is toast.

And my last clipping…

Jan 3, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Blame Television for the Bubble Just when I begin to wonder where all the common sense, level-headed real people are, they do something crazy like write an opinion article in the WSJ. Yeah, I’m sick of all these 20-something yucks buying $500,000+ houses.. Where the HELL do they get the money, assuming that to make the kind of money they need to be making to afford a house that expensive at their age they had to go to one hell of a good school and have student loans coming out their butts. I have owned my home for 23 years and I STILL find home ownership expensive. What the heck am I doing wrong?

Ok, that is it. The clipping tray is now empty and I have dumped my thoughts out onto this blog post like Dumbledore’s thoughts into a pensieve.

What, can’t a dog be a Harry Potter fan?

You’re such a muggle.

Zune couldn’t play Auld Lang Syne at midnight

Zune
Zune
Apparently, a Microsoft Zune model couldn’t do the leap year calculation for 2008 and ending up freezing for it’s owners yesterday. In the WSJ, they reported that “… Zune owners flooded blogs and Internet chat sites to complain they couldn’t listen to music…”

What? How much of a flood could 12 people worldwide create?

All I know is that all three iPods and my iPhone were capable of playing Auld Lang Syne at exactly 12:00am on January 1, 2009. Even if I had to wait an extra second.