Be careful what you send people, they may just laugh at you with the world watching

This is just funny and clever stuff because it is in context. The dogs leaping into the pool isn’t bad viewing either.

And if you are a lawyer or a company with a lawyer and feel the need to send me a cease and desist letter, for anything I have done, said or will do and say, I will publicly ridicule it and you as well. I will probably pee on it instead of oven-toasting it!

Fight fair and write with care. And compete with your brain, not your lawyer. You’ll look smarter and less like a whiney-momma’s boy-cupcake-nancy-pansy.

Yup, that oughta get me at least ONE letter.

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Round up all the web geeks and pelt them with pebbles

I just spent the last hour of my life fighting with some CSS that works perfectly in Safari and MESI 7.0, but not in MSIE 6.0 or the “standards compliant” Firefox whatever version it is now. Since I am working pre-coffee, pre-office hours from a laptop on my kitchen table, I don’t have the luxury of checking out the site on a MSIE 6.0 browser. All I have is a really badly worded description of the problem, sent in an email by a very late Boomer who is using a language all her own to describe the issue.

Let me start by explaining I am very, very good at CSS, HTML, PHP, Perl, MySQL, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a whole host of stuff that has long been discontinued. I have been in the Internet and Web game since 1995 so I think it is fair to say I know what I am doing and have employed a pretty sizable library of fixes, kludges, hacks and plain ol’ cheats to make stuff work on a Web site. I can read, write and design. Don’t even start assuming I’m an idiot or unknowledgeable. You would be very, very wrong.

In some circles, I would be considered a geek. But in mine, I am a User Interface Designer. My job — some would say my obsession — is to make the interaction between the human and the machine seamless and intuitive. If training is needed, the system is too complicated. At least that is the ideal.

I have lost more time, brain cells and sleep to the hubris of geeks than any other tech-related issue. I am convinced the only reason that we have browser discrepancies with CSS, HTML, etc is because the geeks were in charge and they did not have the skills to play nice with each other or anybody else. They looked down at the user because they weren’t as smart, because they didn’t get it. And, they looked down at each other because each one was more right than his peer.

What if each company making street lights decided on a different order of the red-yellow-green? Of, decided that the colors were way too boring and decided purple-pink-magenta would be better. Or, what if they decided that light were just not good and they used coo-coo clock birdies instead? And imagine if a different signal was installed on each street corner. But, the wrinkle is that each user was able to choose which signal he/she liked best for that day, for that corner? What a mess!

So, now we have this mess of browser technologies that don’t play well with each other. For every hour I have to spend on the phone or email, explaining why MSIE 6.0 is a piece of crap, I would like to invoice Microsoft. And, in all fairness, Microsoft should take that invoice payment out of the paychecks of any geek who decided that their way was better. Let them live with the consequences of the mess their hubris created. Apple and Mozilla, you’re not off the hook either.

I expect the geeks to either ignore this post or defend their position. I really don’t give a crap which they do because today, I woke up as a fully frustrated user who doesn’t care to hear another excuse about why your way is better. I am no longer a developer; I will be a user first. If I have to fight with it, I ain’t gonna use your technology.

Standards are good. Community-agreed conventions keep use from wasting time. Pay attention to the user, geeks and peek out from your self-induced world every once in a while.

And quit going to geek conventions where everyone validates your opinion about the user. They’re wrong; we’re not stupid. We just have lives where technology is a tool, not an ends.

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3 things to know about Twitter

Everyone is doing top 10 things or 40 things you need to know about something. That is too much for my canine brain to process.

So, I am starting the Three Things Revolution! Follow me!

Three things you need to know to use Twitter:
1. Get a Twitter account at http://twitter.com
2. Write interesting tweets
3. Follow some people

That’s it. Everything else will flow from these three things. Trust me.

So, to recap:
Get. Write. Follow.

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Thank you, Debbie

This was sent to me by a fan. She writes:

Sometimes my life needs a little perspective. I decided after waking up very frustrated this morning to take 5 minutes and watch this….I’m so glad I did. I am going to have a great day! I hope you do too!

I’m glad I watched this. I hope you do too.

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They grow up so fast

Cameron Schaefer with BrazenCareerist writes a post about personal responsibility. You can read it here, but here is just a snippet.

This is what’s wrong with our society. We’ve become a people that hold everyone responsible, but ourselves.

Never before have I seen so much blame being placed on everyone but the person in the mirror. People waving angry fingers at big oil companies for high gas prices rather than blaming themselves for owning two S.U.V.’s and a boat. They completely ignore the law of supply and demand expecting that somehow prices will remain stagnant as consumption drastically increases.

This is like writing an angry letter to Hostess snack foods complaining about your recent weight gain while shoving 30 Twinkies in your gullet. Life’s about choices.

GenY is growing up and getting it. All it took was time. Thanks, Cameron.

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Northmont hires a leader?

I was reading the Englewood Independent yesterday and a sidebar article caught my eye. Northmont has hired a new superintendent, Douglas Lantz, formerly the superintendent from Franklin City Schools. Great! New blood, fresh leadership, a focus on building the human infrastructure of tomorrow…

But, then I get to Linda Blum’s quote. For the people who have since lined their recyle bins with the paper, here it is:

“[Lantz’s] experience as an athlete and a coach have taught him much about teamwork and the important components of an organized structure.”

What?? Where is the educational excellence? Where is the leadership skills that will infuse a new level of academic excellence into our kids that will better prepare them for leadership in the changing world? Where is the challenge of producing thought leadership in our students to better equip them to adapt to the dynamic world around them? Where? Where?

Perhaps it is best if we look at Mr. Lantz’s performance as measured by the State of Ohio Report Card System (yeah, I know.. but that is an entirely different blog.)

Northmont’s Report Card | Franklin City Schools Report Card

Well, I can do the analysis, but you all can probably do it better. Bottom line, we are bringing in a superintendent whose highest score was 92.8, Effective to manage a school district that has already achieved a score of 102, Excellent. Hmmm..

I think what Mr. Lantz has really learned from his being an athlete and a coach is that if you hang around long enough on the bench and show up every day for practice, the coach will eventually play you, whether you are good enough for the job or not.

I’m a dog who can read, write and think. Perhaps I should have applied for the job. As an athletic dog, I can probably out-run Lantz as well 😉

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Scott McClellan from a dog’s point of view

There is a lot of talk about Scott McClellan’s new book. Comments from it range of “now, we know the truth” to “he is bitter” to … oh, who really cares. Just everyone shut up already. If you want, buy and read the book, if not, just quit talking like you know anything.

Here is the canine take on what really happened in the White House and is best illustrated by the fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, 171 years ago! Amazing we knew so much about humanity back then and still we don’t pay attention. Kids, stay in school, crack a book!

For anyone under 40ish, here is the synopsis from Wikipedia,

An emperor who cares too much about clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital show off his new “clothes”. During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, “But he has nothing on!” The crowd realizes the child is telling the truth and begins laughing. The Emperor, however, holds his head high and continues the procession.

But, this is a fairy tale, so the emperor had to be the laughing stock. But, here is what would have happened if this were a true story.

Royal guards would burst out of the royal procession and beat the kid to death in a bloody attack, in full public view. Then, they would have arrested the kid’s family, beating them the entire way to the dungeon, where they would have been tortured and held without a lawyer indefinitely. Do you think the crowd would keep laughing? Do you think the crowd would turn on the royal guards and administer mob justice? Probably not. They would have kept their heads down, waved like they meant it and worked on trying to get out of the parade and go home as quickly as possible.

A lot of royal guards burst out of the royal procession after 9/11. And the crowd did not stop them and did not speak up. The few who did were beaten back like a bratty little kid. And deep in their hearts, the crowd knew this was wrong, yet kept silent because they didn’t want to get beaten and they didn’t want to get hauled off. (Bill O’Reilly, if you are reading this, this is a METAPHOR for what happened, not a literal representation. You use a lot of big words at the end of your show to describe how folks should write you. Can you say metaphor?)

For the people who are saying “If Scott felt this way, he should have spoken up sooner, not write a book later.” Hmmm…. 171 years ago, Andersen knew this. I think what Scott did was kept his head down, waved and tried to figure out how to get home as quickly as possible. Then, when he was safe, he cried out “The emperor is wearing no clothes.” But, the royal guards came after him anyway. And probably will for a very long time.

Please read, then speak. In that order. Start here.

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About Rufus

Some people have wondered about who Rufus really is and wondered if he is really who he says he is on DogWalkBlog (and elsewhere). So, just so you know.. and you know who you are.. everything on this blog is real. Here are some popular questions.

Is Rufus a real dog?
Yes, Rufus is very real. He was born in June 2000 and “rescued” from Jack’s in Trotwood by a very caring family who lives in Englewood, Ohio. There, he has flourished in the lap of near luxury, enjoying a MINIMUM of three walks a day, chasing rabbits, squirrels and playing with a squeaky toy.

Does Rufus really write this blog?
Well… not really,. He is, after all a dog and he has no thumbs. So, typing is very difficult. But, he is the alter-ego of his owner from time to time. At other times, he is a reflection of the world around him. Everything is this blog is a nakedly honest opinion as there really is no reason for a dog to lie or act a part. Rufus may change his mind from time to time or alter an opinion after some reflection, but the writings are a genuine glimpse into his mind.

What is Rufus’ favorite food?
He is a dog, so he has trouble narrowing down his one favorite. But, in order of preference, honey-dipped Tim Bits (but only from the Englewood store), then a double cheeseburger — without ketchup and onions — from McDonalds, Wendy’s vanilla frosty, a Frosty Paws from Captain Freeze and hot dogs from Englewood Indoor Soccer late at night.

Does Rufus vote? Does he have a political affiliation?
Rufus does not vote, but again, he is a dog. He does not have any political affiliation. He does pee on the Englewood Government Center lawn, but he has not yet shared what he really means by that. He has no political affiliation and his only criteria for being critical of any politician is they are acting stupidly.

How about a religion? Does Rufus believe in God?
People, again Rufus is a dog. But he celebrates all major religious holidays as long as they have some sort of food attached to them. Rufus does believe in God because things are way to complicated and designed to be a happy accident.

How do I become a fan of Rufus?
That one is easy. Just comment on his blog or send an email to rufus@dogwalkblog.com and ask to become a Rufus Fan. If you give him a mailing address and your name, he will send you an autographed photo with a personal message.

Last question. Does Rufus really sign his photos?
Yes, that is Rufus’ real paw print on the photo every fan gets.

Last question, for real, I promise. I want to send you something. Can I have your address?
Sure. If you would like to send a card or a letter or something like that, send it to:
DogWalkBlog, PO Box 6, Englewood, OH 45322

If it is larger, like a big box of sweaty money (extra points for naming that movie reference)
DogWalkBlog, 893 S. Main St, Unit 245, Englewood, OH 45322

Footnote I finally added on Dec 14, 2014: Rufus passed away on Oct 7, 2008. I still him terribly.

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The real death of the Dayton Daily News

For those of you who may not know, I was with the Dayton Daily News from 1998-2002. It was perhaps the most meaningful period of my life, in which I learned how to write objectively, think independently, treasure really, really talented people around me, learned how to change the world with little more than a thought and a pen, to learn patience, compassion and humility from greater human beings and learned how to find meaning in a job where I was paid almost nothing and expected to accomplish almost everything. I loved every heartache of the 4 1/2 years I spent there.

Yesterday, I visited the DDN building on Ludlow Ave in downtown Dayton. They were having a public sale where furniture, computer equipment, etc was being sold for whatever they could get. I went to walk the halls for one last time, to hear my friends, colleagues and mentors in my head one last time, to reclaim the same excitement I felt coming into the old newspaper building every morning. I was not disappointed.

….

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Myths and Rumors about Rufus

Some people have wondered about who Rufus really is and wondered if he is really who he says he is on DogWalkBlog (and elsewhere). So, just so you know.. and you know who you are.. everything on this blog is real. Here are some popular questions.

Is Rufus a real dog?
Yes, Rufus is very real. He was born in June 2000 and “rescued” from Jack’s in Trotwood by a very caring family who lives in Englewood, Ohio. There, he has flourished in the lap of near luxury, enjoying a MINIMUM of three walks a day, chasing rabbits, squirrels and playing with a squeaky toy.

Does Rufus really write this blog?
Well… not really,. He is, after all a dog and he has no thumbs. So, typing is very difficult. But, he is the alter-ego of his owner from time to time. At other times, he is a reflection of the world around him. Everything is this blog is a nakedly honest opinion as there really is no reason for a dog to lie or act a part. Rufus may change his mind from time to time or alter an opinion after some reflection, but the writings are a genuine glimpse into his mind.

What is Rufus’ favorite food?
He is a dog, so he has trouble narrowing down his one favorite. But, in order or preference, honey-dipped Tim Bits (but only from the Englewood store), then a double cheeseburger — without ketchup and onions — from McDonalds, Wendy’s vanilla frosty, a Frosty Paws from Captain Freeze and hot dogs from Englewood Indoor Soccer late at night.

Does Rufus vote? Does he have a political affiliation?
Rufus does not vote, but again, he is a dog. He does not have any political affiliation. He does pee on the Englewood Government Center lawn, but he has not yet shared what he really means by that. He has no political affiliation and his only criteria for being critical of any politician is they are acting stupidly.

How about a religion? Does Rufus believe in God?
People, again Rufus is a dog. But he celebrates all major religious holidays as long as they have some sort of food attached to them. Rufus does believe in God because things are way to complicated and designed to be a happy accident.

How do I become a fan of Rufus?
That one is easy. Just comment on his blog or send an email to rufus@dogwalkblog.com and ask to become a Rufus Fan. If you give him a mailing address and your name, he will send you an autographed photo with a personal message.

Last question. Does Rufus really sign his photos?
Yes, that is Rufus’ real paw print on the photo every fan gets.

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What I think about the writers’ strike

I was going to stay silent on this, but one too many people used the term “their fair share” and that just sent me over the edge.

Writers should get compensated for their skills. God knows, there are very few talented, MARKETABLE writers out there who can actually deliver a product within specification and deadline. These writers should get very well paid for their work. Here’s where I have a problem with the writers.

They get paid when they write and deliver the script. They get paid for rewrites. They get paid throughout the whole process. Yet, the studio owners, producers, etc DO NOT. They only get paid AFTER the work is in the can, out in theatres and, in the case of the Bee Movie well after the 200th million DVD is sold 🙂

But, if the work flops, the writers don’t have to give the money they got paid back. That is just a loss to the studio and the investors. And, far more works flop than make money. Yet, the writers STILL get paid.

So, let the writer share in the profit of DVD sales and Internet advertising. But, let them also share in the risk by not getting paid unless and until their work makes money. No? Only want the upside of things? Um. Most people do. They are called employees.

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Saying hi

A whole month goes by, 92 walks later and Rufus has not posted up anything on his blog… that is not to say lots isn’t happening, but no time to write it down… argh..

It is raining today. Rained yesterday night and Rufus is pouting. He is sleeping on the carpet piece on the kitchen floor because Christian stole his futon mattress for his student housing…. not liking the rain…

If you have a Facebook account, be sure to join the group Rufus.

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My fifteen minutes of fame

My fifteen minutes of fame
Thursday, February 1st, 2007 07:01:27 AM

Well, it finally happened! I’m famous, at least for the next fifteen minutes. So, I thought I would take this space to shout out to the various places and folks that got a mention in my article! (Dayton Daily News, Neighbors Northwest, page 1.) Tim Hortons, Rivershark, Inc., TourneyCental, and our very, very Special Olympics Polar Plunge that you should pledge, even if it is only a buck. Please folks, this is a really, really important and fun event. So pledge!! And if you want to come out and plunge, give Rufus a call at 937-836-6255.

And of course, a link back to the DDN at www.daytondailynews.com (or at our soccer page here.)

Well, that is about all of my fifteen minutes, so go back to your lives, read some more articles and get yourself addicted to blogs. They’re fun to read; fun to write.. (except for that space bar.. I don’t have thumbs and it is hard to hit…)

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Where have we been?

It has been AGES since we blogged, so our loyal fans are probably wondering where we have been. We are still here, doing three walks a day.

It has been a couple of high-travel months for me, and the January panic set in rather deeply this year, so there has not been that much time to writing.. well, the time has been there, but the mental exhaustion that comes with long days, has also been here. I promise to write more often.

Rufus has converted the entire Tim Horton’s morning crew. We pull up almost every day and order a large decaf, with a heat sleeve, a two Homey-dipped Tim Bits. Most of the time, they give them to Rufus for free. We’re going to induct them in the Rufus Fan Club once we get that off the ground (hopefully by summer!)

Well. not much else to say and it is once again time to walk the puppy!

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In the third person

Well, a funny thing happened when I decided to write a blog about my walks with Rufus.. I find myself writing the blog entry in the third person as I am walking, complete with sentence deletes and re-writes… I’m not sure if it a good thing, but it is a thing.. I’ll have to keep thinking about that.

Nothing special today.. walked on the Palace side of the street to Union.. crossed there and went to Java Spot.. had a cup of decaf and Rufus had a coffee cake muffin…. walked back behind Kmart, chased a rabbit.. (didn’t catch it, but made a really good effort…)

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