Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tithing: Part 2.

As I madly work on getting the demonstration version of my church's web site ready to put on the web, I have to stop and marvel at how awesome God is. So, since I actually made the commitment to tithe, what happened? I'm totally fine!

I am financially where I usually am, as I do tend to spend a bit more than I should, but I am also socking away funds for my too-cool-to-even-imagine vacation, coming up in April. But, as always:

"You can't out-give God". A saying that floats around many churches. My life now has meaning, direction, purpose and FUN! Friends, it doesn't get much better then that! Material stuff has never made me happy inside, but having fun-loving and affectionate people in my life, fills me with a quiet contentment (if not a smile and a laugh).

God can't trust you with a duty for Him, until He can trust you not to go off half-crazy. He can't put important people into your life, until you learn how to keep confidences. I've learned, especially, that God won't do any of the above when I believe it is my right and due to have it!

Every day I live, every step I take and everything I do is a gift. I could have died yesterday and not be here right now. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I may howl when I get confused about web site design, construction and maintenance, but it is a gift to have a chance to try it again, for another day.

I met a man today, paralyzed from the neck down from a motorcycle accident. His disability always gives me pause. (It scares the liver out of me). But, just like me, he's learned to be thankful and basically content. I am amazed at the level of patience he has had to master. He must wait for everything to be done for him literally by another person! I fear I'd degenerate into a screaming shrew faced with those types of challenges.

God is also honoring one of my prayers. I want to be more aware of Him, even when my brain is doing something. I can sense His presence as I type. There is a kind of personal peace I'm discovering that is almost better then being with people. It is different, gentle, powerful and friendly. When I pull God in on my phone calls, iChats and other computer wonderings, it makes good conversations even better. My friends lavish their time upon me. My friends are all VERY busy people. I am amazed how I am interacted with by a flock of really classy folks. Like me, they have outgrown the need to constantly complain and find what is wrong. They delight themselves with their friends, families and some also have God.

I have real hope today. I don't know how my future will change for the better, but I know it is already in the process of that change. Now that I have finally gotten some control over a once out-of-control pride, God can trust me with praise from others, work for the church and a totally over-the-top vacation. Said vacation partly paid for and arranged by friends I also work for. My yearly vacation blow-out is an event I began after returning to Oakland.

I had abandoned my possessions with the crazy batterer and I was once again, starting over from zero. Dinners at the Marriott led to meeting their General Manager, which led to a really good room rate at this fabulous hotel. I truly was refreshed and relaxed, even though the Marriott City Center is right in the middle of downtown Oakland.

The next year new adventures were added as I learned more of what one can arrange for a vacation. A limo ride into San Francisco where I had the thrill of watching my guest and the chauffeur swap tales of their mutual trade. I did not realize that my companion had been a chauffeur while in college. Laughter was had by all. I have also discovered the absolutely divine amenity of a hot tub right in your room. Now, they make you pay for that, but IT IS WORTH IT!

I love being alone on my vacations, just God and me. I spend my time telling Him everything that is happening, while I'm dining, swimming, walking, or lounging around in a HUGE space (compared to my room). I drink more water, just for the joy of being able to use my very own private bathroom. Oh, man - no running down the hall, sleeping in street clothes because, when nature calls, I have to RUN! Thankfully, my current residence is secure and I no longer look at a hotel as a break from being in some level of danger. God is good to me!

So this April I get to do three days and two nights at a really up-scale Lake Tahoe resort. It is a photographer's paradise! Meadows, mountains, lakes and trees all within walking distance. I plan on using the heck out of my digital camera and you will all get to enjoy the photos, right along with me! Did I mention gourmet food? Four different price levels of heavenly food. Rack of Lamb, to Eggs Benedict (in two different varieties!), Filet Minoan and a lot of stuff I can't remember. This food is amazing. When you've had real gourmet food, you will be willing to pay for it! It's expensive, but so is a diamond. Keep the diamond, but let's hit the restaurant! The company which runs this resort also runs The Argent Hotel and I know their attention to detail and service will be fit for a queen! Did I mention goose down comforters, needle pointed spreads and chairs which compliment each other? I am truly blessed. I get to barrow a CD player, so I can hang out in my room and while looking at the fantastic view, I can enjoy my favorite music. Maria and John chuckle at my excitement, but Maria is also taking a trip to one of her favorite destinations. We're exchanging phone numbers so I can make her giggle with my breathless joy at being treated like I'm related to God!

For me, this all ties into tithing. For me tithing is simply a declaration that I'm serious about my faith. A stake in the ground, an anchor in the sea of life. All the rebellion I used to struggle with has vanished, leaving me willing and able to pour out large chunks of my life and time for God, the church and His people. Some of you may cringe at that. (I used to). Yes, I go to meetings and have a lot to do, but through it all, I'm happy healthy and grateful. I never want to re-visit my days of being adrift in a meaningless world without God, the church and His people. God has taught me how to cut people more slack. I was raised by impatient people and I used to serve up intolerance as a main stay of my personality. Today, I am finding ways to pause before blasting my fellow beings with my (at times) less-then-helpful, opinion or advice. I feel like all the pieces of me are coming together in a new way. How could I have taken so long to learn not to fear being responsible and mature?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

(Mis) Adventures In Management: An Unsent Resignation.

To My Pastor:

I don't know what you were drinking when you decided I could design and run the church's website. It turns out, I was drinking it also, as I eagerly embraced the challenge. Knowing absolutely nothing about the multi-level process, I jumped in with both feet and quickly discovered I was in a lake of quicksand.

More experienced computer people informed me that I could get programs to "help" with the design process. I began to agree with this wisdom, only after discovering six more coding languages, some 'expert' claimed I needed to know, before I could even begin to design a website!

Now, I possess 'idiot-proof' web designing software. I confess, I laughed at your admiration of me, when you reverently announced that I was working on the church's website. I'm not laughing any more.

Designing a website IS voodoo!

As Tom Lear said, in the sixties, about the New Math: "its so simple, so very simple - that only a child can do it!"

After several hours of really hard brain work, using the "idiot proof" software, I've accidentally reproduced one of my earlier web designs. Which said design, a friend politely ignored, choosing instead to design one with the same "idiot
proof'" software!

What is the next level below "idiot"?

Yours faithfully.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Product Surveys, Psychology and Self-Image: What, Huh?

Due to the confidential nature of these surveys, details have been altered to protect confidentiality of products reviewed.

I fill out internet surveys for two companies. Neither company is an advertising front, or email address gathering engine. Surveys come in basically two varieties: proposed advertising evaluation, or a product group review. The product group would be all soft drinks, cookies, or tooth pastes. No surprises in over two years of doing surveys.

Recently, however, winds of change are blowing around ye old survey land. Yes, I get it about how sex appeal, or the hope of same, has been selling products for years. But, now, sex appeal has been replaced with narcissistic self-esteem! Sure, when I go to some fancy-smancy up-scale restaurant and pay fifty dollars for a great meal, I'll admit, it does fluff my self-image. But, today I laughed through most of a survey on generic thirst quenchers. You know, the stuff you throw back when you're thirsty and broke? I found myself confronted with statements I had to react to on a ten-point scale. The scale ranged from total agreement to total disagreement. So far, so good, until I read: "when I drink x, I feel comforted in body and soul" (Excuse me? Are we discussing a massage, a spiritual experience, or Duddly's Carbonated Crud?) I couldn't believe it. And there was more, much more.

I flashed back to a lengthy survey a friend and I did together about fast food. First, the usual questions on reason for the outing, quality and event satisfaction. I was giving my friend his questions over the telephone. I read: "when I ate x, I felt warm and comforted". I was greeted with shocked silence and then laughter. My friend blurted out: "Are we talking about dinner, or hanging out with a puppy?" (Hey, I don't write 'em, I just read 'em)! These questions are plumbing some strange psychological depths. "When I prepare x for my family, I have high self-esteem because my life is organized and yet still fun". Who wrote this, Dr. Phil? We're talking about a freezer-ready fast food, not a therapy session!

But the winner for the most absurd statement over a generic, inexpensive soda pop was: "when I enjoy x I feel light, free and energized all over". My thought would be either really strong coffee, or really good sex, certainly not Duddly's Carbonated Crud! Am I missing something here...?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Inflation, M3, and Politicians: The Lying SOB's!

Today I received a most distressing email, which I will reproduce for you shortly. Friends, if you are twenty-years-old, or above, surely you sense that our money in The United States, is declining in value. Twenty years ago I couldn't have consumed two dollars worth of potato chips, in one sitting. Now, it is a snack, and a small snack at that!

I have a deep and abiding mistrust of our government. Poor people learn things which people higher up on the economic ladder are never faced with. There is the myth of subsidized housing. Yes, it exists, on several levels. The problem is there is a shell game going on.

Before The Americans With Disabilities act -The ADA, we blind folks of any age could live with the over sixty-five crowd. Thus there were maybe twenty choices for an affordable residence. Now, because of the fear of lawsuits, landlords segregate handicapped, over sixty-five and under-sixty-five. At 52 I now have 3 choices for government subsidized housing. But wait, this is a very special and cruel game they play.

I apply to get into the lottery which (if I make the one-thousand to one odds) qualifies me to be on a list. Moving up the list will take from three to five years for my name to come to the top. This is not always true, in one housing option, every time some one new gets AIDS I'm bumped! The other twist drives me crazy. (I don't get mad at the tragedy of AIDS.) So, I wait around and eventually I get a letter telling me that I've got a slot. But the apartment is for non-handicapped-over-sixty-five people. I stared at this communication in stunned disbelief. The system knowingly put me up for something I am legally kept from taking advantage of. But, while we run like rats in a maze, from application to lottery to our mailboxes, only to discover we've been screwed again, the government can truthfully claim they do provide subsidized housing!

Do you really believe the news reports of only a one-tenth-of-a-percent increase in inflation for a given month? I started on Social Security over twenty years ago and my monthly payment was less then six-hundred dollars a month. Now, I receive a bit over one-thousand-dollars a month! Before you all go nuts, my rent is half of my income, for a twelve foot by twelve foot room with a sink and no building provided heat. The hallway is warm, but I refuse to sleep with my door open, to let hallway heat drift through my room and out the window glass. A monthly bus pass (for unlimited rides) costs twenty dollars today, twenty years ago, it was only three dollars. Trust me, I'm not rolling in money. I say this not out of anger, but I still remember when over a thousand a month made one solidly middle class. It won't go that far now.

I hate to get political, but please read and react to the following information. I've signed up with these folks and have written my representatives. (They will locate your representatives for you.)

For those of you not in the United States, you may want to investigate your own country - I'm sure they're playing games there also.


"all evil needs to triumph, is for good people to do nothing" (holocaust survivor).

D o w n s i z e r - D i s p a t c h

Please forward to anyone you know who cares about the value of their money.

Dear friend,

The Federal Reserve can create new dollars out of thin air. Much of the federal government's deficit spending is funded with this "funny money." When more dollars are created prices rise and the value of your savings fall. Sadly . . .

We believe the Federal Reserve is about to create a whole bunch of new money. Why? Because, starting March 23 the Fed will stop publishing a statistic called M3. M3 is the best guide to how much new currency the Fed is creating. The only reason to stop publishing M3 is because .
. .

The Fed is planning to do a whole lot of "legal counterfeiting," and wants to hide it. This is a direct threat to your budget and savings. It must be stopped. Fortunately . . .

Congressman Ron Paul is sponsoring legislation to force the Fed to continue reporting M3. We need to force this legislation through Congress. It's the best brake we have to stop inflation. And the brakes come off March 23.

Please click here to send Congress a message telling them to pass Ron Paul's bill.

Jim Babka

President, Inc.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Transportation, Hypocrisy and Disability: Why Are You So Angry?

I love my church and in spite of some temporary difficulties, I still love my church and its members. At the moment I am completely demoralized and drained. I am having to re-visit some old territory I've been trying to leave behind for years. Some people act very strangely when having to deal with helping the disabled. The more severe the disability, the more complex the problem and the harder it is to sort out what is actually happening. I am speaking now, as the disabled person, having to navigate some very bizarre waters.

I have been offered transportation by my new pastor for those times when its raining. I loath this situation and would rather swim to church then deal with the problems of accepting a ride from the pastor, or anyone else. Rides are a problem, when you can never drive. The able-bodied community knows you can never drive and with 'good intentions' they strongly believe that SOMEONE should be willing (always) to share a ride, as long as they aren't the car-sharer. People, especially church people, fear being 'trapped' into doing something forever-and-ever-amen! Usually, once someone 'volunteers' to drive the disabled person, the rest of the able-bodied community breathes a collective sigh of relief. Now, they know THEY don't have to do it, but, thank God, SOMEBODY is doing it! The person who discovers this trap, eventually becomes angry. It is socially unacceptable not to 'like' helping the disabled, so they only have one other outlet. Usually done in a passive-aggressive, underhanded manner, the driver gets angry at the disabled person!

I almost got fired from a paying job over this thicket of unsaid hypocritical lying garbage. I didn't see what was happening. My boss had a BIG problem with my disability. (at the time, I carried a white cane, indicating blindness). She had to be 'corrected by my temporary agency supervisor to 'permit' me to go to the lady's room alone! My agency supervisor was stunned into silence when I called her for assistance with this issue. My work was excellent and I was an asset for the agency. With my supervisor's help, my boss at the job, grudgingly 'permitted' me to go to the bathroom alone!

This same on-site boss decided that since one of the other employees lived 'close' to my home, that we could car pool together. I don't know if the employee involved was 'requested' or 'ordered' to drive me to and from work. Things seemed fine for the first few weeks. I paid for gas, as I had no other way to thank her for the extra trouble of picking me up and dropping me off, each day.

Gradually, I noticed a change. People became silent when we entered the office. Something was very wrong and I got the distinct feeling it had something to do with me. Finally, the dam broke and an ugly truth tumbled forth from my boss.

"You know CyberGal, it is very selfish of you to EXPECT a ride to work every day" This is said so that all in the office can hear. I hadn't asked for, or expected a ride from anyone. I knew how to take a bus and did so on all my other activities, including work. I was taken aback and protested as much.

"I have taken the bus everywhere. You folks were kind enough to offer a ride. If there is a problem, I'll return to taking the bus" The tension rose markedly around me, as the able-bodied to able-bodied guilt-tripping stair-down games began. (I sensed a problem, but had no idea of the vicious dynamics being acted out around me).

"We can't have YOU take a BUS!" my boss cried out to the room. There was only one employee who lived close to me, and she'd complained that she wanted out of our arrangement. (She went to my boss, not to me.) I'd tried to give her an out many times, but she refused (to my face) to admit her true feelings.

"Patty is getting tired..." My boss trailed off and I got angry.
"Look. I've felt there was a problem, but no one tells me the truth. I'll take the bus from now on and the problem is solved. I take the bus..." I was cut off by patty's guilt-induced protests:
"I'd feel terrible thinking you are taking the BUS, but..." She halted this protest, as she remembered how she really didn't want to share her car.
"I'll have my husband drive me." (I lied), causing the tension in the room to vanish. I figured these people were to stupid to put it together about my lying, if they saw me walking on the street. I could always say I was going to my 'pre-arranged' meeting place. I knew from hundreds of experiences and out-and-out manipulations of people, that the vast majority of them are stupid beyond belief..

True to form, with a few well-planned lies. I took the bus alone, my job was saved and everyone in the office congratulated themselves for 'taking such good care of the handicapped'. If I sound angry, disgusted and a trace bitter, I am, on all counts. This situation is one where the person with the disability loses every time, no matter what we do. I loathe this problem, as in 52 years of trying, the only really satisfying solution is to rely on no one, come and go alone and pray no one notices.

I recount one of my favorite demonstrations of hypocrisy I've personally witnessed. I came to my old church on Sunday. It had been raining and several people were grousing at me, that someone should give me a ride. This is always my first cue to begin the "hussle to get a ride" game. I went to one of the assistant pastors, who lived north of me, but not too far afield. I saw her entire body tense up. She looked up at me and curtly replied: "Oh baby, I can't even get my own self here most of the time." and then she quickly vacated the room. Translation: Hell No! Fine. After checking with several other potential cars and getting much the same response, I gave it up and returned to my usual plan, I'd come and go by bus.

The next Sunday, it was pouring rain. I had about six blocks to walk, on top of the waiting around for a bus, so I got to church rather drenched. This same pastor's assistant grabbed me just before I entered the church and screamed: "Why didn't somebody give you a ride? Somebody should have... Oh this is terrible..." I cut her off with my contemptuous retort: "I asked YOU last week about a ride, you said "no" which is fine. Now, unless you want to solve this problem, shut up and let me come inside,"

For those of you who have recently become disabled, what I did is a big no-no. No matter what kind of garbage the able-bodied throw our way, we are always to be kind, compliant, submissive and GRATEFUL. To not be those things really angers the dear souls who want someone else to help us. I've never spoken of this issue in such stark terms. It feels wonderful to call a pile of social garbage, the stinking heap it really is!

As with most problems of being disabled, even the disabled themselves condemn one another if we dare to be less then kind, compliant, submissive and GRATEFUL. It has been crazy-making for me.. I am one of those rare folks who can't ignore the elephant under the rug, in the living room. There is a big lump and a bad smell. I am forever amazed how most people can and DO ignore that elephant. It makes me very angry. Sighted professionals refer me to the 'specialized' professionals who work with and for the disabled. These professionals refer me back to the general people, who sent me to them in the first place! The disabled community has several large subgroups, neither of which face reality. There are those in total denial, who equate blindness with having a broken arm. A hassle, but something totally do-able. Then there is the group that has given up completely. I find that I don't need their help in discovering MORE wrong with my world. I am amazed at the games we disabled play with each other. I have folks in my world, who hate me because I'm doing something with my life, but claim that with enough positive thinking, they aren't really blind. To quote my black buddies: "Say W-H-A-T???"

I have been through this dreary transportation thing many, many times. My early childhood experiences don't assist my adult attitude, as I was 'forgotten' more then once by my drunk parents. When I am engaged in looking for a car, the person attached to the vehicle is more like an enemy to me, I fight a tremendous inner fear of being abandoned again. I still have tears to cry over that one, but I refuse to let it start.

So, last night at church I had my first round of ride-o-romma. Person A made a huge issue of giving me a ride home. I finally accepted, figuring she'd tell me when she was leaving. Only after an hour of waiting did I discovered that she'd left without me! Then it was time to 'go fish'. My bad vision and messed-up emotional state don't help here. Person B, told C, D, and E about me needing a ride and I kept hearing that several people would give me a ride. I haven't visited this emotional nightmare for awhile, and I was over reacting. I kept apologizing, which really seemed to irritate pastor's wife. I wanted to sit down and sob. I was slightly sick to my stomach and so hyper. It is a feeling like, no matter what I do I'm doomed. Not an entirely rational reaction, but in some ways true.

Finally, as everyone was leaving the building my ride materialized. I'm not sure of the identity of the driver, but I am sure that I have some clean-up, and apology work ahead of me, when I return to church. I was given a message to pass to the still unknown driver. When I passed the remark about making sure the children were in the van. I was greeted with complete silence. (An oops moment, for sure!)

I got home shaky, angry, totally drained and emotionally wrung out. Unlike garden variety depression, this was a combination of re-processing old childhood fears and trying to sort out adult problems. I watched my mind trip over itself like a basset hound puppy tripping over its huge feet and long ears. I couldn't calm down. I wanted to find a good friend, curl up in their embrace and wait for them to 'make it all go away'. That desire lives with my hope for a money bush and being able to live at The Marriott as a permanent resident! Right, and now, back to reality. I do have wonderful friends. Church is helping me to stop over reacting, or at least to calm down a bit before posting a crisis email! Its okay to hurt, or be angry, sad, or whatever. It is, however unfair to your friends to collapse into their lives in a complete emotional meltdown. (And some people don't believe Jesus Christ is able to change a person's behavior! I may be irritating at times, but I could tell you stories, of the pre-Christian CyberGal that are very immature indeed!)

I'd written to a friend before leaving for church sending along pictures of my two proposed website designs, requesting his review. I also asked for encouragement, as I was totally overwhelmed with what it appeared I needed to learn before I could create a website. My friend went to the trouble of putting together an entire five page web site for me. He has iWeb, which I finally bought. It does most of the difficult technical work for you. My pastor liked the older-looking of my two designs, but my friend's design (from a professional media designer), looks modern, simple and eye-catching. I was moved by his effort and time sacrifice. He is a man with more life then time. However long it took to create the web site, was time he could have given to his family, or maybe just time to sneak a peak at a beloved Agatha Christie novel. He informed me that I was attempting to do too much too fast. The joy of a friendship like this is the knowledge that it is safe to tell the truth.

After thanking him for pulling me out of the emotional fire, I turned to the ride dilemma. I wrote a short version of this blog, but with a bit more emotional angst. I tried to end my email on something closer to a positive note, but I wanted to run away and hide. I ended with the observation, that maybe after some sleep, this too shall pass. I buried myself in Christian radio and eventually got to sleep.

What greeted me this morning was pure joy. My friend took more time to communicate his heart-felt opinion, that, sometimes people, even Christian people can be immature idiots. (Aahh, how that warms the cackles of my heart). He confessed his total unwillingness to go without his own car, because he hates to wait for people. He comforted me with: "I can only imagine how frustrating it must be...". Thank you for not telling me all about how you know the way I feel. See, my friends are all very special. They have to be smart to keep pace with me and my goofy ways. But the gift of knowing when your experience isn't even close to mine, is so wonderful. I never tell a totally blind person anything about their situation, as my vision gives my world a completely different set of opportunities and problems.

What a lovely email it was! Full of gentle care and a touch of playfulness. I am experiencing the joy of having friendships which truly work in both directions. I used to have relationships, I called 'friendships' but I was doing all the work. I was like an entertaining monkey with a Visa Card! When the money was gone, so were they! This friendship is so different. I share what I can and he shares what he can. It is lovely, healthy and a gift from God.

When my friend grumbles under the pressure of leading a Christian family and the responsibilities of child raising, I listen, but since I'm neither a parent, or the head of a family, there isn't much I can bring to that particular party. When I yowl about disability issues, my friend knows he can only walk with me so far. What a blessing! The truth really will make you free, as Jesus so rightly said.

While I have no bright new ideas on the above problems, I do have a better understanding of how God helps with and enters into our lives, when we remember: a) He's there and b) He is willing to teach, help, strengthen and inspire. It is extremely difficult for me to wait for anything. I have to attempt to sit down and quietly wait for something to develop without jumping in with both feet, running around in circles, only to confuse my fellow human beings. I also hate to be trapped into a never-ending-commitment. I can remember to pray, when the ride test comes around again. I do know that, until I find peace in spite of problems around transportation, God will run me through this test again, and again, and again. The faster I remember to pray, the sooner I will mine the lessons waiting for me. More of the old me will dissolve under the loving care of a God who is trying to re-make me into something wonderful, strong and emotionally mature.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Humor: The Godblog AND The 23rd Psalm For Geeks.

I choose to react to the Godblog as satire. I do not mean to offend anyone. Look at the absurdity of this highly creative and imaginative piece of entertainment.

My favorite links being:
  • God's FAQ's.

  • the link to Tecrokrati's Favorites.

Go over there and have a good laugh. I hope the blogger gets rich from spreading all this mirth.

Since I'm on the lighter side of religion, I ponder how lonely my geeky friends must be. These are the people who stopped speaking, or understanding plain English, long ago.

They now speak in some form of hieroglyphics:
  • 'sok' is "its okay".

  • 'n' or 'np' is "no problem'.

  • 'k' is "okay".

These people need God just as much as the rest of us, but no one has put religion into their lingo.

I will share a few examples:

  • Prayer to God is uploading.

  • Answer from God is downloading.

I now humbly submit my geek translation of part of the 23rd Psalm:

"The Lord is my web hosting service

His systems do not crash.

Although my software is attacked,

by viruses, adware and malware,

His firewall keeps my business running.

He doesn't make me constantly upgrade,

and my projects are always under budget and pre-deadline."

Kinda mists up your monitor, doesn't it?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Moral Decline and the Rise of Vigilantism

I am deeply troubled by several events covered on Adam Curry's The Daily Source Code pod cast. He lost a battle in The Netherlands, to have a publication punished for publishing pictures of his daughter, the location of her school and her transit mode. I have been stalked and this story frightens me.

As a blogger, I'm on the fringe of being a public figure. I feel it is very wrong to violate the privacy of anyone's family, famous, or not. Sadly, some people do pray on children. Mr. Curry was dismissed on his accusation of child endangerment with the retort that he is a public figure and therefore, publication of private information, goes with the territory! Mr. Curry was not seeking financial gain for himself, but a sanctioning of the publication for misuse of his property (photos on and endangering the safety of his child. He lost on both counts.

Adam is now going public with this situation and using his pod cast to run a contest to stalk and photograph the photographer who took pictures of his child. I am deeply troubled by this move also. While I sympathize with the desire to achieve justice, I shudder to think of what that photographer is in for. This is vigilantism on a global scare. It is moral anarchy.

As the pod cast continued a listener comment was played protesting the use of Jesus Christ as a curse word. He postulated that Adam Curry wouldn't like his name used in that manner. Adam's response leaves me cold. While he tried to acknowledge 'respect' for the protest, he justified his freedom from all restrictions on a pod cast, by saying that Jesus was a brilliant marketer. Using His name as a curse word, has kept Him public and current.

This attitude profoundly troubles me. I am not a Muslim, but would never knowingly defame any thing associated with their beliefs, out of respect for the importance of religious faith. I follow a simple system: when I'm a guest in your home, I show respect to your home. If I don't show respect, why should I have any expectation of respect being shown to me?

Our world is drifting deeper into moral relativism, where truth is determined by what works, instead of an objective standard, We move toward moral anarchy. If the ends justify the means, then it is fine to harass a photographer and his family, because "he started it"! This is surely a high water mark on Western Civilizations Decline and Fall.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ethics In Marketing and Business

I do not follow trends, as most of the time, I pay little attention to what the majority is up to. With this blog, I just began blogging. Now, after several months, I decided to see what other bloggers are up to. I am stunned. It is like a feeding frenzy to get attention, and in many cases "mouse clicks on ads for money".

The thirst for money via advertising has driven some to what I call BullDog Marketing: "Trick 'em, until they click 'em and then Sic 'em!" I got caught in an accidental click-athon, by not being careful, oh so careful about where my mouse was hovering, before selecting something. Once dumped onto an advertisers site, I got caught in a loop. It took almost ten minutes of clicking, box closing and aggravation to exit this site. I'm sure someone made some money off of my mistake. Friends, I'd shut them down, if I know how to accomplish the task. I loathe the manic, no holds barred climate of the internet. I refuse to play.

Oh, you counter, but you need traffic! Because: traffic equals financial potential! I actually have fans who are setting up fake flame-fights between fictitious people, to "drive" traffic to my site. They hope to lift my ratings and assist me in making money. This unsolicited behavior makes me very nervous. It feels contrived, dishonest and just plain wrong.

I have set up this blog to where my religious commitments are quickly stated. I don't wish to be associated with flame-wars (fake or real). I don't wish to use trickery to generate anything. I have stated my intention not to advertise in this space. I see my blog as a place to share thought and experience. I assume my readers are intelligent, busy, creative and curious. My writing style is what it is, if it doesn't speak to you, fine. Please, locate another blog, closer to your taste. I refuse to modify my style, just to generate traffic. Today's method is: if you can't get it done in sound-bite chunks, don't do it. I say: go somewhere else for that. I am what I am and that's it.

Here is my philosophy on sales. I'm going to cite two good (in my opinion), websites. I will provide links to both, should you wish to investigate either business further. Both links are to their home pages and are not entrapment sites. I use for this blogs traffic monitoring. I set it up out of pure curiosity. I therefore use the free part of their service. They give me opportunities to upgrade, but have never tricked me into doing anything. I have come to trust as an ethical business. So, when I happened to see a short, clear ad for, offering a free ebook on marketing, I clicked on it. I found a second ethical business which is huge. They market to large companies all over the world. I had to really search to find a way to simply thank them for the free ebook.

Why thank them? I was stunned by the high non-advertising content of a truly free ebook. In order to show me their sales and personnel gathering technology, they needed to give me a short education. This was serious content I found very useful.

I received two email responses: the first thanking me for subscribing (for free) to their site, and the second from a personal consultant, acknowledging my correspondence. No where did I find trick-links, free (not really) offers, or "get rich quick schemes". If I ever consider a sales position, I want to work for a company like websidestory. What refreshing maturity and dignity!

So, if you have dropped in because of a dramatic flame-war, or absurd, outrageous post, I am in conflict. I am glad you are here, but I regret, I'm probably not you type of blog. Even though I have no control over others' reactions to my work, I regret the problem of some visitors feeling manipulated into visiting this blog.

I know, I know, I just don't get it. My goal for this blog, is not to make money, or have the highest audience numbers on the net. My goal is to share one brains reactions with other brains who are tired of 'fluff' thinking. Not everything in this world should be reduced down to a bulleted list, PowerPpoint presentation, or a three sentence paragraph.