None of your reality is really real

North Clayton Village, Clayton Ohio

This is the town center of North Clayton Village in Clayton, Ohio. It has a nice wide Main Street, store front shops, a coffee shop, a park around the corner and apartments on top of the shops. It has everything you would ever want in a village.

Only it is a fake.

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Celebrate your win not your opponent’s loss

winningsoccer

Do you strive to win in an effort to push yourself to do the very best you can, with the expectation that your best will result in a win? Or do you focus your energy solely on defeating your opponent?

The difference is subtle, but changes purpose and meaning entirely.

I think the definition of good sportsmanship comes down to one statement: Celebrate your win, not your opponent’s loss. It works for sports, politics, business and life.

There is an old joke about two campers and a bear coming upon them in their campsite in the woods. One camper immediately starts putting on tennis shoes while the other starts running away, barefoot, yelling at the other camper to run fast or he’ll never outrun the bear. He shouts back, “Never mind the shoes. Run!” whereupon the other camper retorts, “I don’t need to outrun the bear; I just need to outrun you.” Many people choose to focus on outrunning their opponent. It is the easier of the two. You can see the goal as you only need to be slightly better than him.

There is a short-term upside to focusing merely on defeating your opponent. You will probably win a lot of races early on. But, you will never, ever, ever know how fast you can run. Or how far. In short, you will never be the very best you can be.

On the other hand, winners run past the first base as fast as they can. Winners follow the ball until it is either in the goal or out of play. Winners run past the finish line at top speed and winners keep selling even when they’ve made their monthly goal. Winning for these people is organic and happens regardless of what their opponents do. A win is always because the winner is able to outrun the bear, regardless of whether or not he has an opponent.

We’re seeing a lot of “defeat my opponent” strategy in politics today. Not a day goes by when I don’t get an email encouraging me to “defeat the health care bill.” Or some email encouraging me to “stop Obama” or make him a one-term president. Why not emails encouraging me to “embrace tort reform and tax code reform to enable cost-effective insurance plans?” “You lie!” is perhaps easier to shout as a mob. “Say NO!” takes less effort to write on a placard than reasons to support a point of view.

But when you live to win by defeating your opponent, there is no plan after that. After you win, what do you do now? You didn’t plan for anything after the win, only the win itself.

What bothers me most about the tea-baggers, right-wing media screamers like Limbaugh, Palin and Hannity and GOP today is not that they may be right in their opposition, but that they are spending more energy in screaming “NO!” for the sole purpose of defeating their opponent rather than in crafting a plan.

Their whole plan is to merely outrun the Democrats. As the bear dines on the Democrats, one by one, the bear will continue to be hungry and looking for food. And the GOP will have no one else to outrun but their own.

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Is that a blizzard up ahead? How we can easily get lured into a false truth

Many years ago, I was working as an area manager in Minnesota for a company that serviced retail stores. My area was all of Saint Paul, southern Minnesota including Rochester and Mankato and western Wisconsin. I was promoted to a corporate job in Dayton, Ohio and accepted in early December. Part of my transition duties was to take the new area manager to the stores and introduce him around. We decided to visit Rochester and scoot over to Mankato, then back up to St. Paul. Not a big deal, but there is no major freeway between the two cities so it was two-lane highway.

There was a forecast of a blizzard later in the the afternoon, so we set out early to beat the snow. We wouldn’t have another chance before I left and being stuck on a two-lane road in southern Minnesota in the middle of a blizzard was not our idea of fun.

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Tough-talking female politicians are not tough; they are bullies

In live debates and in interviews, we are seeing more and more women attacking their male opponents by telling them to “man up” and “have some cajones.” That’s not acting tough; that’s acting like a bully. It ranks right up there with punching a blind man in the face or kicking a dog in the ribs. Neither can really fight back. And we wonder why our kids can’t figure out where the bully boundaries are drawn.

There is no public defense for a man who is told to “man up” by a woman. If a man tells a woman to quit being a b*tch or other some reference, then he gets blasted for being a sexist. The irony is that a real man will take the verbal abuse silently and not fight back. A weak man will lash out.

Where are the women who fought for EQUAL rights, not a platform for guerrilla pot shots? Why are they not standing up and saying this is just as wrong and cowardly as a man taking shots at a woman’s age or breast size? To not stand up to a bully is to condone the bullying.

Powerful women choose to compete on a level playing field. Weak, cowardly women resort to lowering the bar only for themselves.

Women, manup against the bullies of your gender. If that offends you, feel free to kick the dog in the comments below.

Left to right: Sharron Angle, Robin Carnahan, Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin

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If you would have let me go to the party, this would not have happened OR how to blame the other guy for you being stupid

Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Rig Image

Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Rig Image

Somewhere in America (or even perhaps in a lot of somewheres) a teenager slipped out of her room through the window last night to meet her boyfriend who drove a less-than-safe car to go to a party that her parents said she couldn’t go to. There were probably a lot of reasons for her parents to say “no,” though she was not about to hear any of them. All she knew is her parents were being a-holes about the whole thing.

About half-way to the party, her boyfriend who may or may not have been under the influence of some substance or other made a stupid move with his less-than-safe car and it crashed off the road. They weren’t seriously hurt, but when the police came, they arrested him and called the teen-ager’s parents.

“This never would have happened if you would have let me go to the party and I could have driven my own car!” she later screamed at them as they were driving home.

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Let’s peek into Sarah Palin’s house and read her latest argument about the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. You can read the whole thing if you want, but the gist of it is “it is the ‘extreme enviros’ fault that this disaster occurred. If they would have let us drill close to shore and in places like ANWR, this never would have happened.”

Take a moment to compare the two. Take another to get angry.

The scary part of this argument is it is not just Sarah Palin; it is Bobby Jindal and the band of right-wing bloggers and commenters, thumping this argument. Eventually, it will become the GOP position to justify their support of “drill, baby, drill.”

We don’t need leadership of people who have reasoning ability no more advanced than that of a bratty teenager who just got caught doing something she was not supposed to be doing. Keep the adults in the driver’s seat and let’s think like adults. It was corporate decisions, lax government oversight and extreme greed that created this disaster.

Let’s lay blame where it needs to be. And like any good parent deals with teen-aged logic, let’s not feed and validate it by engaging it.

You are not lost, you are here and you know where here is, right?

You are reading DogWalkBlog.com, produced and written in Dayton, Ohio. We are talking with Rufus, one of the key writers of the blog where he reminds us why you, time and place are important for blog credibility and reader orienteering.

I was reading a blog from a linked tweet this morning and halfway through it, my mind jumped to a question we’ve probably all asked ourselves halfway through. “Wait a minute, is this a blog post written by the person who tweeted or is this a guest blog post or a link that was passed along by the person I’m following.”

I’m on an iPhone, so I scroll up to the top hoping to get some quick info, like the author’s name, date it was posted, maybe the location. Nope, nothing. Since I was reading it on my iPhone, everything was in a zoomed-in column and the author’s info was probably in the side bar. What a pain, I’m not zooming out for that. But my sense of irritation was so high at this point (mostly because I was trying to establish credibility for some of the statements that were being asserted) that I just quit reading and went back to my Twitterstream.

And I got to thinking about a post I read yesterday by Julien Smith. In the post, he was reminded during a recent radio interview of the value of constant station identification breaks and the recaps and reminders that a good radio interviewer will always do.

You are reading DogWalkBlog.com, produced and written in Dayton, Ohio. We are talking with Rufus, one of the key writers of the blog where he reminds us why you, time and place are important for blog credibility and reader orienteering.

And if the blog post this morning was an anomaly, I would not be writing this post now. But, it is not. Whether by lack of training, ignorance or good old fashion hubris, hundreds of thousands of web sites that should tell the reader where they are, don’t. “Everyone knows who we are,” is a familiar retort.

No, we don’t know who you are. Is the Springfield College in Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Tennessee or in fictitious Simpsonville? You would never know unless you crawled all over their Web site. (MA, down in tiny type at the bottom) How is this good for recruiting?

And folks who should know better — newspapers — are the worst offenders. Sure, we all know where New York, Chicago and Los Angles are, but where is The Richmond Times-Dispatch published? What community does it serve? Richmond, Indiana? Virginia? I dunno. And it is too much work crawling around trying to find out.

You are reading DogWalkBlog.com, produced and written in Dayton, Ohio. We are talking with Rufus, one of the key writers of the blog where he reminds us why you, time and place are important for blog credibility and reader orienteering.

Purists of the Internets would argue (did you catch my strawman argument? Pretty clever, right?) that the world is flat and that one’s experience, field of vision, place of residence, etc really don’t matter. It is the ideas, the engagement, etc, etc that really matter. Actually, it is not. When you have a homogenous view of the world that is created by your physical environment and fueled by willful ignorance, you end up writing crap like this book (review will not be forthcoming as I think “crap” sums it up nicely. Yes, I read it all the way through.)

And lastly, perhaps the worst offenders of all are local youth sports clubs. Unless you are THE Arsenal Football Club, please put your location front and center on your Web site. Above all, place very much matters to local youth sports teams.

Perhaps we can have little hide/click Blog Identification tags located in the content every three paragraphs so the reader can click on them and know immediately where he is and who you are. That would be a cool thing that newspapers should adopt. (I may even write a plug in for that.) But mostly, if we think about attracting new readers to our content, we would be less apt to assume everyone knows who and where we are.

Am I right?

You have been reading DogWalkBlog.com, produced and written in Dayton, Ohio. We were talking with Rufus, one of the key writers of the blog where he reminded us why you, time and place are important for blog credibility and reader orienteering. Tune in next week where we will bring you more exciting stuff, seen from the dog’s point of view. I’m your editor and host. Have a good day!

We all created Sarah Palin

sarahpalin1210

In August, 2008, John McCain was looking for a quick fix to turn his campaign around. He saw Barack Obama was black, Hilary Clinton was a woman and a woman almost beat the black man to the brass ring. But, in his assessment, Hilary was too much of a man to be a woman candidate, which is why she lost.

“If I can install a woman that was a woman, then I can scoop up the female vote, get the conservative males to vote for her… I mean me, and whoosh, right into the White House.”

The plan didn’t work for a lot of reasons, but not because that reasoning was flawed. It was the objective, superficial observation of a reality that is fast becoming what America is. John McCain hit it dead on, only he was probably four years too early.

Smart and thoughtful is out; quick and single-focused is in. Newspapers with their page after page of boring news are out; Twitter with its fast-paced, unconfirmed news bytes is in. And when you need sales, dip into quick, cheap stereotypes to sell stuff, like JC Penney and their Beware of the Dog House Web site. Because it looks like gender stereotypes are back on their way in again.

There’s a reason Mad Men is so popular. We’re seeing an increase of hot, young “conservative” women who espouse traditional-gender value roles, a large pool of emasculated momma’s boys who fantasize about living the playboy life of Don Draper and an even larger pool of older white Americans who see their country’s history rapidly fading away. The election of a black president was all the proof they needed to see a country driving itself over a cliff.

And along comes a plain-speakin’ women who looks hot in red, has five kids, a powerful job but doesn’t think or read too deeply. She’s just the right mix of hot and stupid for men to swoon and the right mix of mom and powerful executive for women to admire.

She engages us by using Facebook and Twitter (even though she slammed bloggers a mere year ago), she “wrote” a book and gets her op-eds published in the Washington Post.

Sarah Palin may be what Americans want in 2012; a quick, easy fix for what ails us. Not too strong, not too deep, nothing that makes us think a whole lot or work too hard. With that, I have every confidence Sarah Palin will deliver.

Palin 2012. When stuff just gets too complicated.

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.