We Should Be Used To This By Now

As some of you know, I have lived in the Cleveland area all my life. What’s more, I am and have been a die hard Cleveland Indians fan ever since I found out what baseball was. Thanks to these two facets of my life, I have long since come to terms with the special brand of disappointment that only Cleveland sports can deliver. This is a town which ploughs through snow and heartache on a very regular basis.

Having said that, I am not watching tonight’s return of LeBron James to Quicken Loans Arena. Personally, i’m done with the hype over booing the latest former Cleveland sports star who “broke our hearts” and find it a little hard to believe that this city still has the energy and anger after all the other drama we’ve dealt with for so long.


How To Keep Your Employer From Seeing Your Facebook Updates

If you don’t want your employer seeing your Facebook updates:

1. Don’t friend any of your coworkers (or, at least, your superiors) on Facebook.

2. Go to and run their privacy scan on your Facebook account. Lock down your account per the site’s recommendations to ensure that your account is not visible to anybody who is not your friend on Facebook, including your employer.

3. Don’t post anything on your Facebook page which could be considered a “career limiting move”. You never know who might see it and say something about it.

4. Delete your Facebook account. Nobody can fire you fire what you say on Facebook if you’re not on Facebook to begin with.

Just think of Facebook as that blabbermouth friend from high school. You couldn’t tell that friend ANY secrets because they’d just tell everybody they know.


Everything’s Bigger In Texas…Except Education

I’ll just let John Stewart explain this one:

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The Fair Elections Now Act

For the second time since I started this site, I’ve felt compelled to write my congressmen about what I feel is a very important issue.

About two weeks ago, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The case focused on the constitutionality of limiting corporations’ independent spending during campaigns for the Presidency and Congress.  In a 5-4 decision, the court essentially removed any restrictions on corporations and campaign spending.  What this means is that our voices as voting American citizens will be drowned out by large corporations with deep pocketbooks who want to see THEIR candidate in office. Our votes now count for much less than ever before.

I, like many others, feel this is unacceptable.

Harvard Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig has started an online petition called Change Congress in support of the Fair Elections Now Act.  The basics of the bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want.

Today, I had the opportunity to send an email to John Boccieri (D), George Voinovich (R), and Sherrod Brown (D), my representatives in Congress, to ask them to support the Fair Elections Now Act.  Here is what I wrote:

My voice should count as much as any other voter during the elections. With the recent decision by the Supreme Court, however, I feel that the power of my voice is now directly proportional to the size of my checkbook. To me, this flies in the face of everything the Founding Fathers stood for so long ago.

There is a way to fix this problem: the Fair Elections Now Act.

You have the ability to remind this country what a democratic republic is and how it is supposed to work. You have the ability to renew the faith of the American people in you and Congress. You have the ability to make things right.

Please do so. Thank you.

Please research the court decision and the House and Senate bills which have been introduced in response to the decision.  If you feel like I do, let your voice be heard. Don’t let our democratic republic be taken away from us.


Another Reason Bing Is No Google

I never use Bing to search the Internet.  Why would I?  Google has provided more than adequate search services to me for years.  Somehow, though, Bing managed to convince me that I should never use their service.

Here’s the deal:  I just finished updating my work calendar with the classes I’m scheduled to teach.  I wanted to make sure my schedule synced to my Google Calendar so I would have access to my schedule outside of work.  I’m doing this on my work PC using Internet Explorer 8 (haven’t installed FireFox or Chrome yet, sorry).  Being Friday and feeling a little lazy, I just type “Google Calendar” in the address bar.  I figure it should bring up search results, the top result of which should be the GCal link.

Here’s what I actually got.

Remember, I said I NEVER use Bing.  Why on earth does Bing think that I’ve “done so much searching lately”?  Also, I have never had to deal with a captcha image when doing a Google search.  This is a total inconvenience for the user (me).

Sorry, you won’t even stay the number two search engine on the internet with this kind of crap.


Why Wal-Mart Sucks

I have long had a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart and suspect that many of you reading this may feel the same way. On the one hand, it’s hard to ignore the prices, pure and simple. My wife and I discovered that when we bought cat litter and house cleaning items about a month ago and saved a wad of cash. I even applaud their movement to “go green”, relying more and more on solar energy to power their stores. On the other hand, however, there is the old adage that you get what you pay for. Today, I rediscovered that lesson, but also learned that Wal-Mart can go out of it’s way to make sure people get much more than that, and not in a good way.

My story starts this morning. I was driving along I-271, on my way to start the work week, when I noticed a strange rumbling sound coming from my car. After pulling over at a rest area, I found that one of my tires was almost flat. I was close to the Richfield exit, so I figured I could make it to nearby gas station and fill up the tire with air, resulting in only a short delay on my journey. Alas, it was not to be.

I did make it to the gas station. I even filled up the tire with air – at least, to about 20 PSI. That’s when I started hearing the tire popping, followed by a loud BANG! as the tire gave way. My 10 minute stop just turned into a tire changing delay of 45 minutes.

The good news is that I was able to call a local auto service shop which I knew very well, Wheatley Auto Service. They took the car in, gave me a loaner car for the day, and arranged to replace the tire. The bad news is that the tire in question was one I bought at Wal-Mart. In June. It barely lasted 4 months before giving out.

Now, before I continue with my rant, I will admit that the tire IS under warranty. That’s not a lot of help, however, when you’re miles away from the nearest Wal-Mart and you have to be at work to teach a class in about 15 minutes with a 30 minute drive ahead of you, especially when you’re stuck with a spare tire that keeps you at 55 MPH, increasing the travel time. I’ve also had quality issues with other Wal-Mart products, so I wasn’t keen on the idea of replacing one crappy tire with another.

There’s the “you get what you pay for” part of the story. Now for the “Wal-Mart gives you more IN A BAD WAY” part.

I came across this story via a Twitter post a couple days ago. You can find the details in both the South Bend Tribune newspaper and The Consumerist blog. Here’s an excerpt from The Consumerist, however, to give you a taste of what pissed me off about the whole incident:

“Walmart can try to spin itself as being on the side of good all it wants, but if it ever suspects you of shoplifting, you may find that you’re powerless to fight back. In the case of a couple accused of shoplifting some Bic lighters in Niles, Michigan this past August, Walmart detained them, the police came and cuffed one of them, their two kids were taken to a security room, and—after a review of security footage proved the couple’s innocence—they were banned for life from all Walmarts. To top it off, Walmart’s legal team has sent the couple a letter asking to be reimbursed for 10 times the value of the lighters, even though the police determined no shoplifting had taken place.”

Oh, and the kicker to the story? The couple is a gay couple.

While I’m at it, let me add some more fuel to the fire – the children are developmentally disabled Romanian children adopted by the above gay couple.

I am hereby declaring a boycott of all things Wal-Mart. I am asking you to do the same. If you don’t have an option (ironically likely because Wal-Mart stifled competition in your area), I understand, but, in my case, there’s a nice Target down the road, plus many regional and local supermarkets. On top of that, I’ve got TONS of online shopping options. I just can’t see ANY reason to support a company who has shown such a demonic disregard for humanity at so many levels.

Oh, and if you work for Wal-Mart, please update your resume and get it out there. You deserve a better employer.