You are not a Ninja or a Rockstar

I read an article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today that says the hot new job title in technology is “Ninja.”

Really? Seriously? People like being called the “Ninja?”

Before that, we had “Rockstar” and “Guru” and … [insert other fantasy title here]. All mis-appropriated from a fantasy of a high-school nerd who wished he was a rockstar or ninja back in the day. Now that you are an adult with some power, money and skills you can be these things. But it still makes you look nerdy.

Ninjas are ninjas; rockstars are rockstars. You are just the guy with a really big brain who has skills and the ability to see patterns most of us envy. Is that not enough or is that just too much of the wrong thing? I suppose you reason that if being the really smart nerd in the room was every kid’s fantasy, then we’d all grow up wanting to be a big brainy nerd instead of a rockstar.

Be who you are and quit trying to live out a child’s fantasy in your adult life. Being a nerd back then may have been uncomfortable, but claiming to be a rockstar or ninja in an adult life makes you look ridiculous.

And it makes the rest of us uncomfortable because we’re not sure how grown up you really are.

As long as we are talking creative titles, I would be remiss if I didn’t throw out a few of my own: Lead Dog, Poop Maker, Bone Digger, Whiner, Barker, Butt Sniffer, Leg Humper. Thanks @1sassy_chick and @saintpetepaul for the contributions.

What would you do if you had $1 million dollars?

Dear President-elect Barack Obama;

I am a small business owner. I do quite well for myself as I am in a knowledge-based business servicing the youth sporting market and the retail services industries. I also dabble a bit in coffee and Web 2.0 consulting.

I was running some numbers this afternoon on the bail-out plans that have been proposed to date. As I look back on my college days some 20 plus years ago and my classes in English Literature — specifically with regard to American literature of the mid to late 1800s (Hawthorne, Dreiser, Meliville, etc) — I was struck with what is to me a strangely obvious fact. Modern capitalism has run its course and the current financial crisis is the front wave of a new economy.

At its basics, capitalism is providing money to build infrastructure for making goods and to a certain degree, providing services with the promise of a return on its sale or sale of the goods produced. Having been in a service industry all my life, I am not unaccustomed to “cramming” a product economic model (“making widgets”) into a service model. It really doesn’t work but we lied to ourselves just the same.

This country no longer makes things. We provide services; we assemble components. The old capitalist model where we invest in machinery, buildings, factories, etc for making goods is dead. It has been dying for a very long time. As such, funding the economy from the top down is not a viable option. There will be no trickle-down benefit as the economy will only swell and move if the bottom tiers start spending and buying goods and services. Yet, they can’t because they have no ready cash.

Capitalists talk in billions of dollars. Ordinary citizens talk about hundreds each week. Investment banks talk millions in transaction per day. Small business talks about hundred of thousands in revenue. When you pour $700 billion into Wall Street, it is like dumping a gallon of water into the Pacific Ocean. When you pour $1 million into a small business, it is like filling a bathtub with a fire hose.

Here is my proposal:
– Establish a fund of $400 Billion dollars.
– Give $1 Million dollar grants to 400,000 business that are ready, able and willing to provide services to a service-based economy.
– Each business can then afford to hire 6 people at a salary of $40,000. With health care, taxes, equipment, etc. that should equal about $60,000 investment for each employee.
– That leaves about $640,000 left for materials, computers, advertising, marketing, etc.
– Encourage a strong multi-generation team, such as Gen Y, Xers, Boomers and beyond. Working together, we make a difference we all want to experience.

That puts about 2.4 Million people to work, building knowledge centers for teachers, creating software to better manage health care systems, providing new event marketing systems for brands, creating better time balance management systems for new parents, perhaps even finding a cure for some diseases. The infrastructure of services you will jump-start will sustain itself well past the year the US Government will fund.

Your campaign proved the model. Small amounts of money spread across millions of people who are motivated to creating a better world than was left them works. We are ready, willing and able to make the change.

Lead us and help us say, “Yes, we can” one small voice at a time until it becomes a thunderous, mighty roar.

Warm regards,

G.

PS I look forward to seeing the new puppy Malia and Sasha pick out!

National City Bank staffed with crooks

I have not been able to get decent Internet all week, so on-line banking has been tough. Most of the National City Bank branches were closed because they did not have power. The online banking has been sporadically “malfunctioning” with the bill pay in addition to my Internet woes.

As a result, I now have $69.04 in late fees and interest on a credit card balance I never keep. I will call; I will get my money back and I will shut down the card and never use their credit card services again. They have never been willing to publish a date due on the account and they keep sliding the due date all over the calendar. Enough is really enough.

I will also switch banks. They started out great about 9 years ago, but slowly slipped into “really just sucks.”

Grow your own roots

Grow your own roots
Grow your own roots
I was walking along the back road at the MetroPark and noticed this row of posts that looked like telephone poles, cut off about five feet high. On top of many of them were these little trees that started to grow in the rotting out center of the posts.

These young trees that are growing rapidly and happily atop these poles had no idea that their lofty outlook and elevated position were the result of a seed landing somewhat serendipitously on top of a pole that someone else stuck laboriously into the ground. The small trees were completely oblivious to the fact that their progress — while grand and far above all their other peers who landed on the ground — would eventually be cut unceremoniously short when the caretaker snaps them off the top of the poles during regular maintenance.

Yet, the seedlings that got their start of the ground have developed roots and grown slowly will continue to thrive, some even growing to tall, sturdy trees, far surpassing the poles that once surrogated the brash, over-eager seedlings.

It occurs to me that this odd relationship among the poles, the seedlings atop them and the seedlings that grew from their own root structure is an odd metaphor for the generational clash we hear going on in the corners of the Internet. While there are some GenY who are developing their own roots, many are sitting atop tree stumps that are not their own. After a while, their lofty perch will be exposed for what it really is; a rotting tree stump center for which there is limited room for a root structure.

But at that very moment this metaphor was at its clearest, I felt the urge to lift my leg and pee on something. I chose the closest pole.

Can you own a dog?

I grew up in the great state of Minnesota. All of my views of the world, especially the ones about gender relationships, power balance, worth, etc. were shaped by my litter and the other dogs around me. For those of you not quite up on your Minnesota demographics and political history, the state was settled mostly by Scandinavians and Germans. Anyone knowing anything about these two cultures know that they have figured out the balance of power between the sexes a very long time ago. Bottom line; different parts, but equal in intelligence, decision-making ability and neither is subservient to the other. For that alone, Minnesota may be known as the most liberal state in the Union (next to California, of course, but they are all nuts!)

My litter consisted of me, my older sister, two younger sisters and a brother. My mom was in charge of us kids and she was always carrying around this big wooden spoon. When she got mad, she would start spewing out this string of French curses and her dentures starting flapping out of her mouth. If you weren’t already running, you were a dead dog. (She was French and took that quite seriously.. in fact, I think the only reason the French did not do so well during WWII was because they wouldn’t let their women fight. To date, the only thing that is scary to me than a French women with a wooden spoon is the thought of a French woman with a gun. But, I digress.)

The short order of that story was if you, as a male member of the litter had any thoughts whatsoever of being “better than” the females you were surrounded by, you were put in your place faster than a prison yard bitch. But, in a kind, non violent — though estrogen-charged — way.

I am amazed to this day with women who allow themselves to be “owned” by men, but am more in awe of the men who appear to like owning women. I’m not quite sure why a man would want to dominate and suppress one of the most creative, intelligent, strong-willed, resilient and beautiful beings God has created. I am not sure why men would rather not let them unfurl and touch those around them, making the world a better place one day at a time.

Can you own a dog? Probably, but why would you want to? And what do you do with it when the life has been crushed from its soul.

NEWS RELEASE: Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Rufus
c/o
Gerard McLean
DogWalkBlog
rufus@dogwalkblog.com

Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

ENGLEWOOD, Oh. – In a brave move today, Rufus announced his intention to be the first puppy dog reporting from Iraq. Inspired by a call from Tribune Publishing owner Sam Zell, who said in a video posted on YouTube, “..hopefully our revenues are so significant that we [Tribune newspapers] can do (stories) on puppies in Iraq.”

Rufus, 8, the author of the popular blog www.dogwalkblog.com wants to be that puppy dog reporter in Iraq for Sam Zell.

“Puppies DO matter,” barked Rufus emphatically at a recent press conference. “Even if you oppose the war in Iraq, you can still support puppy dogs in Iraq.”

The traditional journalism community immediately dismissed Rufus’s intention of visiting Iraq as silly, citing that stories of puppy dogs in Iraq were not newsworthy. Most Americans disagree.

“We’ve had enough gloom and doom reporting with the war and I think it is about time that we had an upbeat puppy dog story,” said Gerard McLean, Rufus’ handler and blog editor. “Dogs are very observant, have sharper hearing and sense of smell than most journalists and rarely miss signs of danger,” adds McLean.

“Puppies in Iraq are long overdue to bring in a sense of balance and perspective.”

Rufus is apolitical and sees a visit to Iraq as an opportunity to remind Americans and his friends elsewhere in the world, that there are things more valuable in this world than politics, the economy, war and terrorism. A good scratch on the ear, a brisk walk on a Sunday morning and an unabashed sniff of a neighbor’s buttocks are all things that dogs – and humans – can rally around.

“Our world may be changing rapidly,” barks Rufus, “But the loyalty and friendship of a dog is everlasting. That is something that is newsworthy.”

Rufus intends to publish the quest to Iraq daily on his blog, www.dogwalkblog.com and on www.puppyjournalism.com. The video of Sam Zell, which sparked this quest, is also posted on Rufus’s blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDy7vn7-LX4

The media is all wrong… again

Once again, the media has gotten it all wrong. I’m going to step out and say that America didn’t vote “the other guy” because they were unhappy about the war in Iraq.

Oh, now don’t get your underwear in a bunch. They are unhappy about the war in Iraq, but that is not why they voted the way they did and why the Democrats are now in control of the House and Senate.

We voted DEMOCRAT because we understand the consequences of the imbalance of power when all three branches are dominated by one party. We voted to have checks and balances restored. The Iraq war, Patriot Act, wiretapping without warrants, run-away spending, etc, etc, are all SYMPTOMS of a single party in power without the checks and balances in place.

Just like we did to the Democratic Congress/White House in 1994, we did with the Republican Congress/White House in 2006. The lesson is no greater than that. Regardless of how stupid you think the American electorate is, elected officials, never forget that we ultimately understand that this government is made up of three branches, all of equal power, all sworn to uphold the principles of check and balances.

America is not a kingdom; it is a republic. That much the common folk know.